Next generation wireless networks

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  • 88 Bell Labs Technical Journal Autumn 1996

    IntroductionThe market for wireless telecommunications

    infrastructure equipment is expected to continue to

    grow at an astonishing pace. Lucent Technologies

    Network Systems projections show the market for

    infrastructure equipment and support services increas-

    ing at a 20% compounded annual growth rate until

    the year 2000. Factors that contribute to this growth


    Deregulation in telecommunications markets

    on a global scale,

    Rapidly growing economies and an insatiable

    appetite for telecommunication services,

    Decreasing terminal costs,

    Migration of analog networks to digital net-

    works, and

    Increased competition among service

    providers and the resulting need for differenti-

    ated services.

    Rapid market growth, the emergence of new

    applications and services, and general increases in

    wireless use rates have changed our view of telecom-

    munications services, the network infrastructure, and

    end-user products we associate with mass-market

    telecommunications. The network infrastructure must

    support not only mobile communications, such as cel-

    lular and personal communications services (PCS), but

    also fixed wireless access for narrowband and broad-

    band services, as well as data and network access to

    people and computers. The advantages of tetherless

    communications combined with a broader range of

    services will continue to bring forth technology and

    product innovations in this arena for the radio access

    and integration of access systems with circuit-switched

    narrowband terrestrial networks and packet-switched

    broadband asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) net-

    works. At the same time, end-user equipment will

    evolve in terms of both the user interface and the

    capabilities to handle speech, audio, data, image, and

    video services.

    The network infrastructure to support these ser-

    vices must continue to evolve for base station and net-

    work switching and control systems. This paper

    Next Generation Wireless NetworksGeorge E. Fry, Albert Jordan, David Y. Lee, Anil S. Sawkar, Nitin J. Shah, and William C. Wiberg

    The market for wireless telecommunications infrastructure equipment is expected tocontinue to grow at an astonishing pace. Projections show the market for infrastruc-ture equipment and support services increasing at a 20% compounded annualgrowth rate until the year 2000. Factors that contribute to this growth include thederegulation in telecommunications markets on a global scale; rapidly growingeconomies and an insatiable appetite for telecommunication services; decreasingterminal costs; migration of analog networks to digital networks; and increasedcompetition among service providers and the resulting need for differentiated ser-vices. The network infrastructure to support new wireless services must continue toevolve for base station and network switching and control systems. This paper dis-cusses the next generation of wireless communications infrastructure productsdesigned and manufactured by Lucent Technologies that will provide end users witha wide range of wireless access and advanced services.

  • Bell Labs Technical Journal Autumn 1996 89

    discusses the next generation of wireless communi-

    cations infrastructure products designed and manu-

    factured by Lucent Technologies to provide end

    users with a wide range of wireless access and

    advanced services.

    Forces Driving ChangeNumerous forces drive the need for change in the

    wireless infrastructure. Any one of these forces is suffi-

    cient to cause wireless equipment vendors to adapt

    their product offerings. In combination, they have a

    multiplying effect resulting in an imperative for wire-

    less network advances not seen before. This section

    explores the various forces driving the need for next-

    generation wireless infrastructure products.

    Deregulation and the Competitive ClimateThe emergence of standards and persistent market

    growth will continue to diminish the barriers to entry

    and raise the level of competition among equipment

    providers. We have already witnessed the emergence

    of new entrants who have made great strides in estab-

    lishing themselves in the market. Some have done so

    by providing particular adjunct solutions consistent

    with emerging standards (for example, stand-alone

    home location register [HLR] databases, authentication

    centers, intelligent antennas, and even cellular digital

    packet data [CDPD] systems). Successive generations

    of products, as well as competition facilitated by open

    systems defined by both American National Standards

    Institute (ANSI) and European Telecommunications

    Standards Institute (ETSI) committees, have resulted

    in the introduction of wireless solutions at extremely

    competitive price points.

    The net result is that todays advanced base sta-

    tions and switching equipment (hardware) will

    become tomorrows commodity products, and manu-

    facturers must innovate new products to maintain or

    enhance market position. Success in the marketplace

    will depend instead on the delivery of complete solu-

    tionsespecially softwarethat bring enhanced value

    to carriers.

    The Federal Communications Commission

    recently completed the auction of A-, B-, and C-band

    PCS frequencies in the United States. Total receipts

    $7.7 billion from the A and B bands and $10 billion

    from the C bandare a clear signal of the intention of

    the new entrants to compete aggressively in a mod-

    ern emerging market. Internationally, governments

    are quickening the pace of deregulation as they rec-

    ognize the clear benefits of competitive forces driving

    service costs down and enhancing local telecommuni-

    cations infrastructures. Increased competition will

    lead carriers to seek new ways to differentiate or

    Panel 1. Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Terms

    AMPSAdvanced Mobile Phone ServiceANSIAmerican National Standards InstituteAPadjunct processorATMasynchronous transfer modeCDMAcode division multiple accessCDPDcellular digital packet dataDCSdigital cellular switchE-SMRenhanced specialized mobile radioETSIEuropean Telecommunications Standards

    InstituteGSMGlobal System for Mobile

    CommunicationsHLRhome location registerINintelligent networkIQin-phase and quadratureISDNintegrated services digital networkLANlocal area networkLEOSlow earth orbit satelliteMSmessage serviceMSCmobile switching centerMUXmultiplexerNNInetwork-to-network interfaceOA&Moperation, administration, and mainte-

    nancePCSpersonal communications servicesPDApersonal digital assistantPDNpacket data networkPOTSplain old telephone servicePPCpacket processing complexPSTNpublic switched telephone networkQOSquality of serviceRFradio frequencySMRspecialized mobile radioSMSshort message serviceSS7Signaling System 7TCAPTransaction Capabilities Application PartTDMAtime division multiple accessUNIuser-to-network interfaceWLLwireless local loop

  • 90 Bell Labs Technical Journal Autumn 1996

    focus their service offerings and to reduce costs.

    With competition increasing for basic voice ser-

    vices and minute-of-use prices falling, carriers are

    seeking to differentiate themselves in two notable

    ways. First, they are attempting to develop branded

    identities through the use of logos and signature

    sounds/tones (for example, pre-call announcements

    and voice mail notification tones) and focused market-

    ing campaigns. Often, such attempts involve forging

    marketing partnerships with other carriers in other

    markets who may have deployed non-Lucent equip-

    ment. In this situation, interoperability and feature

    transparency are crucial to a campaigns success.

    Network-based features and services must be flexible

    in the ways in which they are administered and pre-

    sented to an end customer.

    Second, carriers are trying to segment their sub-

    scriber base and offer more targeted features and ser-

    vices. Initially, these features and services have taken

    the form of simple multirate and use-sensitive billing

    plans. More recent approaches, however, have

    become more complex, bundling wireless and wireline

    services, adding geographic or time-of-day/day-of-

    week restrictions, and supporting custom calling plans

    or private networks. The trend is toward more sophis-

    ticated horizontal (messaging, paging, and data) and

    vertical (cellular dispatch, power company meter read-

    ing) applications. Ideally, carriers would like to see a

    continuous stream of new applications and features

    becoming available to their subscribers. Such a strategy

    is key to their differentiated and share growth in the


    Additionally, to foster competition among equip-

    ment vendors, carriers will demand solutions that are

    based on industry standards with the ultimate goal of

    achieving interoperability among network nodes.

    Standards not only will allow carriers to secure solu-

    tions at lower price points. Standards-based solutions

    will also enable carriers to obtain a complete solution

    by purchasing partial solutions from a multitude of

    equipment providers. Such an environment will place

    new pressure on equipment vendors to become com-

    petitive in areas that were bundled with the total net-

    work offering.

    Increasing Customer Demand for Telecommunicatio