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Optical/IP

Nextel Trials Flarion's Flash

Nextel Communications, the only major U.S. carrier that has not announced its migration path to third generation (3G) networks, is testing alternative technologies as a way of offering high-speed data services.

Ray Dolan, president and CEO of Flarion Technologies Inc., speaking at the Bear Stearns & Co. Inc. technology conference in New York, says that Nextel is running a trial on six base stations using his company's Flash-OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) technology.

OFDM is a digital modulation technique that splits the signal into several different strands at different frequencies. Flarion has implemented its own version of OFDM in its RadioRouter base station, which overlays existing cell sites and spectrum and provides a routing interface to existing IP networks.

Flarion says its technology can support an average data rate of around 1.5 Mbit/s for users in a standard, PCS-size cell site, while using only 1.25 MHz of spectrum. This makes it approximately four or five times more spectrally efficient than comparable 3G technologies, such as CDMA2000 or UMTS, and cheaper to implement.

Investigating alternative technology for offering data services may well be a more pressing need for Nextel than for rivals such as Verizon Wireless or AT&T Wireless. The operator has stuck with its proprietary iDEN network technology, and it is currently saddled with enough debt to make the idea of rolling out a whole new nationwide network very painful. Yet Nextel is strongly favored by business users in the U.S., so it potentially has a lot to gain from offering premium data services.

Using Flash-OFDM could be a way for Nextel to offer data without paying the upgrade costs of 3G. The smart money in the market says the operator will eventually move to CDMA2000, but Flash-OFDM could help it to delay any such rollout, while keeping costs down.

For Flarion's Dolan, it's simply a question of choosing a technology that is cheaper than the upgrade paths most carriers are currently on. Carriers are being forced to look at alternatives because the costs associated with rolling out 3G networks are horrific. "Freak capital markets have masked the train wreck that is happening with 3G," he says.

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung
http://www.unstrung.com
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Silas 12/4/2012 | 10:16:09 PM
re: Nextel Trials Flarion's Flash Dear Mr. Dalon:
You are right on with your remarks on the heavy & unsurmountable financial burden for carriers to upgrade to 3G or XG infrastructure, and your vision about your FlashOFDM technology. It is my observation & recommendation, NOT a prediction that current 2/2.5/2.75G & XG network will remain mainly as the voice network, or plus a very small chunk of limited data service down the road, just like Apple Computer in the PC world, IP centric wired & wireless LAN & WAN will rule the world. Good luck to you & Nextel. Silas
Silas 12/4/2012 | 10:16:09 PM
re: Nextel Trials Flarion's Flash Dear Mr. Dalon:
You are right on with your remark on the heavy & unsurmountable financial burden for carriers to upgrade to 3G or XG infrastructure, and your vision about your FlashOFDM technology. It is my observation & recommendation, NOT a prediction that current 2/2.5/2.75G & XG network will remain mainly as the voice network, or plus a very small chunk of limited data service down the road, just like Apple Computer in the PC world, IP centric wired & wireless LAN & WAN will rule the world. Good luck to you & Nextel. Silas
Silas 12/4/2012 | 10:16:09 PM
re: Nextel Trials Flarion's Flash Dear Mr. Dalon:
You are right on with your remark on the heavy & unsurmountable financial burden for carriers to upgrade to 3G or XG infrastructure, and your vision about your FlashOFDM technology. It is my observation & recommendation, NOT a prediction that current 2/2.5/2.75G & XG network will remain mainly as the voice network, or plus a very small chunk of limited data service down the road, just like Apple Computer in the PC world, IP centric wired & wireless LAN & WAN will rule the world. Good luck to you & Nextel. Silas
drcarey 12/4/2012 | 10:16:07 PM
re: Nextel Trials Flarion's Flash Silas,

I would be interested in how you're defining "3G." As defined by the ITU, the lower bound includes 1xrtt. At last count, there are over 10 million users, worldwide, on 1xrtt or 1xEV-DO. I agree that the UMTS/WCDMA 3G worlds have the odds stacked against them but Verizon has 45 cities with 1xrtt (144kbps) already commercially available, unlimited use pricing effective June 30, and Sprint rolls out 522,000 square miles of 1xrtt data on or around week 1 of August.

We love Flarion's technology and it's CEO knows cdma perhaps better than Qualcomm itself (he was the #2 guy at QCOM forever). But, in our mind, the magic of Flarion is their demonstrated ability to hold--and transfer--an the IP address of a live data or voice conversation to/from a private 802.11b network from/to a public carrier (like Sprint or Verizon).

That's 4G and Flarion has as much demonstrated technology as any.

As for Nextel, they do have a higher proportion of biz-to-total users but, in 3,500-end-user advanced wireless implementations and 12,000 end-user wireless activations at large, Nextel is seldom spec'd outside of the on-site-service and construction industries. It will be a while before their "business" approach comes together to the degree of Sprint's, Verizon's, Cingular's, or even VoiceStream's. They'd be better served putting some cohesion to their amazing technologies and dedicate less resource to simply claiming to be a "solutions" player.

Kind Regards,

Doug Carey
co-Founder
alwaysBEthere
612.243.9233

[email protected]
noitall 12/4/2012 | 10:15:59 PM
re: Nextel Trials Flarion's Flash Unstrung, are you planning to put one together?
joset01 12/4/2012 | 10:15:55 PM
re: Nextel Trials Flarion's Flash We're be doing a top 25 private companies that will hit in July. However, we'll be doing a bit differently than before. More details v. soon.

[email protected]
willywilson 12/4/2012 | 10:15:50 PM
re: Nextel Trials Flarion's Flash 1. At last count, there are over 10 million users, worldwide, on 1xrtt or 1xEV-DO. I agree that the UMTS/WCDMA 3G worlds have the odds stacked against them but Verizon has 45 cities with 1xrtt (144kbps) already commercially available, unlimited use pricing effective June 30, and Sprint rolls out 522,000 square miles of 1xrtt data on or around week 1 of August.

2. It will be a while before their "business" approach comes together to the degree of Sprint's, Verizon's, Cingular's, or even VoiceStream's.

===========

1. Slight problem with the data side of 1XRTT: It doesn't work. Other than that, it's a fantastic story! The 144 kbps is pure Silicon Valley fantasy b.s. hype that only a sheer idiot would believe, much less repeat in public.

No carrier tells people in private that their 1XRTT stuff will reliably do better than 20 kbps once it gets normally loaded. The WSJ reported a couple weeks ago thad downloads on Verizon's 1XRTT networks are 28 kbps average. These are UNLOADED networks, incidentally. Once they are loaded those speeds will drop. All kinds of coverage holes. End user devices suck power like crazy.

Here's how it will go: The CDMA carriers are running data over ordinary voice channels via BREW, which is much cheaper than the phony baloney 1XRTT wideband (claimed) data. Gotta love the techno-hypesters who still have yet to learn that they actually need to introduce products that work.

GPRS is turning into a bust, too, and w-CDMA will be years coming. Any wonder that the wireless companies are sucking wind? Oh by the way, there aren't any widdeband/broadband wireless data apps that anyone wants anyway.

2. Sprint and VoiceStream's business plans are coming together? LOL!! Hey, I think Nextel is a joke, too, but Sprint is a disaster unfolding before our eyes.
deepciscothroat 12/4/2012 | 10:15:31 PM
re: Nextel Trials Flarion's Flash From the bowels of the packet empire (and Chambers' ops review)

Cisco's top 3 Competitors

Nokia
Ericsson
Tahoe

pretty clear

btw, NEXTEL is a Cisco beachhead in the wireless world
dalbum 12/4/2012 | 10:14:53 PM
re: Nextel Trials Flarion's Flash I hope that Unstrung has taken a look at the MMDS space for its top 25 list. There are a lot of vendors in this sector -- almost entirely private upstart companies -- that are offering some appealing alternatives to DSL and cable broadband. Unlike the older broadband wireless services, many of these new technologies feature home antennas that users can plug in themselves and that sit on the desktop.

Companies like IPWireless and Navini are touting full mobility for residential broadband delivery. Iospan Wireless' product offers high enough data rates and QoS to use it for both residential access and cellular backhaul. Other companies like Aperto and Beamreach are actively in development of non line of sight systems. It's all cool stuff that definitely deserves a nod from Unstrung.

Get on it, Dan!
joset01 12/4/2012 | 10:14:47 PM
re: Nextel Trials Flarion's Flash Hi

Yep, I agree.

I did a burst on IPWireless the other day (first UMTS in the US, no less!). And you'll definitely be hearing more about them and the other companies you mentioned.

Navini have gone a bit quiet recently though, wonder what that's all about?
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