The wireless future of telecommunication

By : |March 22, 2011 0

BANGALORE, INDIA: Is the future of telecommunication going to be wireless? If so, how promising will it be? The session on ‘Future of Telecommunication’, at EmTech India 2011, here today, focussed on these aspects of the telecom industry.

Prasanto Kumar Roy, president and chief editor, Cybermedia, who was the panel moderator, started off with a casual note, “Future of telecommunication is going to be wireless”.

However, when he came down to his ‘healthy cynicism of a journalist’ (as he himself puts it) mood, he set the tone for the discussion and pulled out the pitfalls with regard to reliability, performance, bandwidth, and power crisis of 3G from a realistic perspective.

This in turn, as per the moderator, makes him skeptic of wireless networks and forces him to go back to his ‘good old wired network’.

“So future looks promising, however will it be? And, will wireless network work for a country with a billion people?” wondered Roy.

In an attempt to answer, Aloknath De, country manager, ST Ericsson India listed out technology innovations happening in the telecom space. He also added that today we have 10Mbps to 100 Mbps kind of speeds available.

On the other hand, Vishwanath Poosala, head, Bell Labs, the research arm of Alcatel-Lucent, noted that today WiFi and Femtocells can be the solution for overloaded networks and low power crisis. And tomorrow, White Space Spectrum (a spectrum used only by television operators in India) for WiFi will be an answer to the bandwidth, power, and performance issues that wireless networks have to live up with today.

Poosala also added that though 4G will not be required for the day-to-day activities today; however, it will be very important for value-added services such as radio, video, etc.

Poosala also noted an interesting aspect during the conversation: “Yesterday was about connecting place to place. Today it is about connecting people to people and tomorrow it will be only about connecting devices to devices.”

He also cautioned the audience of a scenario wherein, with about 50 billion devices talking to each other by 2025, everybody out there will be reduced to mere endpoints.

When asked where does India stand in terms of localization of wireless networks, Moe Z. Win, Associate Professor at the Laboratory for Information & Decision Systems (LIDS), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), said, “Not too far away. Today we have enough resources to demonstrate the technology. However, it will take some more time for devices to come into the market.”

He also added that infrastructure alone will not address the problem. It also calls for high leveraging activities.

“Femtocell is an idea to address low battery problems and leverage your neighbour’s processing; peer-to-peer conversation will be the answer for today’s issues,” the professor added.

While concluding everybody agreed that whatsoever, it would take some more time for all the said technologies to make a difference in realistic terms.

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