N-WEST News #5
August 3, 1998
National Wireless Electronic Systems Testbed (N-WEST)
Results of the July 24 N-WEST Strategy Session, including:
From 9 am until 4:30 pm on July 24, 1998, at the U.S. Department of
Commerce Laboratories in Boulder, Colorado, the National Wireless
Electronic Systems Testbed (N-WEST) held its first meeting with its
Supporting Companies. Detailed minutes have been distributed to the
Supporting Companies. This report highlights the meeting's primary outcomes.
- AREAS OF CONSENSUS
- FUTURE WORKING GROUPS
(1) AREAS OF CONSENSUS
Consensus: Importance of N-WEST Effort
The group reached a consensus that the mission defined by N-WEST is vital
to the rapid growth of the broadband wireless industry. The participants
are committed to ensuring its success by participating and by encouraging
the participation of other companies.
Consensus: Broadband Wireless Access
It was agreed by consensus to define the focus of the group as Broadband
Wireless Access (BWA), including terrestrial, satellite, and stratospheric
systems but specifically excluding unlicensed and mobile applications.
Standardization efforts may apply to more than one type of BWA system in
more than one frequency band. Economies of scale favor the adoption of
common standards whenever practical.
Consensus: Cheap Terminals
The group came to the consensus that our standardization gola should be
"cheap terminals," meaning inexpensive customer premises equipment (CPE).
CPE standardization will certainly affect other elements of the system, but
CPE cost reduction should be the driver. High-end customers that may
justify initial deployments are not as sensitive to CPE cost, but it is
with high-volume, inexpensive CPE that BWA can make significant inroads
into serving a broad market.
Consensus: Indoor Unit/Outdoor Unit Interface
The group agreed that one appropriate interface to standardize is that
between the outdoor unit (ODU) and indoor unit (IDU) of the CPE. This
interface is not seen by the customer, but its standardization can strongly
affect costs. For instance, this would allow competition in the market for
the ODU and IDU independently; this is important because these two pieces
of equipment may be manufactured by very different companies. Furthermore,
the IDU may be standard across a number of different BWA systems, each
making use of a different ODU with the same interface. It was agreed by
consensus to consider both IF and data interfaces between the units.
It was agreed by consensus that a bandplan, including the
upstream/downstream division of the spectrum and a channelization scheme,
is the most pressing standardization issue. There was broad agreement that
more than one channel plan may be required to support various applications.
One LMDS bandplan proposal was presented and considered.
(2) FUTURE WORKING GROUPS
It was agreed that the August 9 N-WEST Kickoff Meeting should include
presentations on several of the topics we discussed and should result in
several short-term working groups that can begin addressing them in more
detail. We have set aside meeting space for these groups to begin their
efforts on Monday morning, August 10. These working groups should include:
- Standards Status
- This group will evaluate current standards and identify which are relevant. It will then evaluate which aspects of the existing standards are applicable, which aspects need to be replaced, and which gaps need to be filled. It appears that this group could evolve to assume the task of coordinating with other standards bodies.
- Organizational Options
- This group will evaluate options for formally organizing the industry efforts associated with N-WEST.
- This group would draw up a list of the various applications foreseen for BWA, including point-to-multipoint and point-to-point for voice, data, and video. They would then list the unique requirements that differentiate these services and imply competing standards interests.
- Issues Requiring Standardization
- This group would itemize and prioritize the issues requiring standardization. It would also suggest interfaces in need of standardization.
- This group would develop and evaluate bandplan proposals.
Members of the group agreed to participate in the August 9 N-WEST Kickoff
Meeting. Some agreed to present specific presentations there. They also
agreed to actively encourage other companies to participate. The
participants agreed on the success of this initial meeting and expressed
enthusiasm about N-WEST's future.
We are interested in your comments. Please let us know if you would like to
be on the August 9 agenda for a formal presentation or if you would like to
participate on a working group (either one of those listed above or a new
one). Written comments are also welcome.
If you intend to attend the August 9 N-WEST Kickoff Meeting, please
register using the on-line form.
Roger Marks (firstname.lastname@example.org)