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Current Trends and Likely Futures in Wireless Systems JOHN E. MAJOR No matter how you look at it, the 1990s has been an incredible period for communications in general and wireless communications in particular. For example, the paging industry, once predicted to be eclipsed by the cellular industry, is now growing faster than ever. By the end of 1993, there were some 50 million pagers in use worldwide; 150 million units may be in service by the turn of the century. That is 150 million units for a service that was expected just several years ago to pass out of use. Meanwhile, cellular communication and now Personal Communications Services (PCS) have exploded onto the world scene. Although there were just 600,000 units in service at the end of 1985, some 33 million units were in service worldwide at the end of 1993, and the prediction is for well over 100 million cellular and PCS units by the year 2000. Moving beyond sales figures, governments worldwide have em- braced the issue of communications, and wireless communications in particular, as a national priority. The U.S. government stimulated this trend when it began using two new acronyms, NII (National Information Infrastructure) and GII (Global Information Infrastruc- ture). Neither the NII nor the GII is fully developed yet, but open debate about them at the national and international level has focused attention on important issues and helped accelerate the process of change. 53

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WIRELESS SYSTEMS 55 quirements, it cannot deliver the promised convenience, services, and . applications. INDIVIDUAL VOICE AND PUBLIC IMAGES After some 100 years of technological progress in telecommuni- cations, we live in a world that can be characterized as having "indi- vidual voice" and "public images." Individual voice means that al- most anyone can have a voice conversation with almost anyone else, anywhere, at any time. With cellular and cordless technologies, the phones are locally or regionally wireless, and the wireless network that supports them is implemented by a highly complementary paral- lel wired network. There are some limitations in terms of access, costs, and competition, but recent PCS decisions will greatly improve these areas. Ours is a world of public images because those broadband, or video-based, services are still comparatively expensive or controlled tightly. Whereas anyone can make a phone call, only those with specialized equipment and an FCC license can broadcast a television show or movie. Further, in this world of individual voice and public images, information and computing have largely been left out of the technological picture. Newspapers, books, and learning services are obtained pretty much as they were at the turn of the century in newsstands, libraries, and schools. The NII/GII initiative holds the potential to change dramatically all of this and in so doing to empower all citizens through the oppor- tunities that result from making communication services personally accessible. In the NII/GII vision, the separate worlds of individual voice and public images will be unified. That is, individuals will have full access not to just voice services, as they do today, but also to image-based and information services that can now only be imag- ined. This is telecommunications with full mobility and connectiv- ity, and it will be made possible by completing the second- and third- generation systems that must be part of the global telecommunications agenda. A VISION AT RISK The promise of NII/GII lies in three synergistic forces: the avail- ability of bandwidth resulting from developments in fiber optics and

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54 JOHN E. MAJOR Although this is a global story, one can gain an understanding of it by focusing on events in the United States. In 1994, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allocated 3 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum for a new class of service called narrow-band PCS- paging, if you will. That move doubled the available spectrum and opened up the potential for whole new classes of services. For ex- ample, one will be able to know that a page was received, and be- cause the network will be able to locate the cell the pager is in, it will be economical to send much longer pages, such as the day's agenda. Finally, the person being paged will be able to respond with short messages such as, "I'll reach you this evening." Following narrow-band PCS is PCS itself, which is essentially upbanded cellular communication.) For this service, 120 MHz of spectrum has been set aside, which is more than twice what was previously available. This not only makes possible truly competitive cellular service, with the attendant benefits of decreasing costs and increasing features, but it also offers the prospect of enhanced voice quality for a wireless last-mile alternative that would provide compe- tition in the local loop. The FCC has allocated another 20 MHz of spectrum for unlicensed PCS to be used for building networks and wireless local area networks (LANs). Finally, some 33 MHz has been designated for use by big LEOs, or low Earth-orbiting satellite networks, to provide global wireless service. All of this the 3-, 120-, 20-, and 33-MHz allocations has oc- curred in just 2 years' time. Similar activities are under way around the world. The pace is startling, and if we proceed with courage, energy, and vision, we can expect much more to happen as the de- cade proceeds. The outcome of these trends depends greatly on what we choose to do, for there are still many unresolved issues in the NII/GII debate. These include concerns about security and privacy, interoperability, information access, ease of use, portability, ubiquity, network avail- ability and manageability, applications development, and network components. This paper will focus on just two of these: portability and ubiquity. Unless the NII/GII initiative satisfies these two re- ~ Upbanded cellular communication is cellular service at the 1.8-gigahertz (GHz) band. Today's service is at the 800-MHz band.

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WIRELESS SYSTEMS 57 channels? It took great courage and vision to make the changes necessary to support television. Similar vision and courage are nec- essary to develop broadband wireless networks. This picture of broadband wireless communication of the future prompts two questions: Does having wireless matter? If it does, can this future be realized with the technology now available and despite other likely constraints? The answer to both questions is "yes." Already, we have seen the high value people put on mobility. That demand for mobility is generating vast new high-growth industries that produce products to make our citizens more accessible and our companies more efficient. Substantial new export markets are open- ing up for these products. APPLICATIONS OF MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS What I have just outlined is the broad picture, but what happens in specific circumstances and industries is perhaps more important. The availability and dependability of private land-mobile communi- cations is one of the primary factors that has allowed the United States to establish and maintain its position as the world's leading producer of goods and services. Private land-mobile radio is used by all segments of the industrial, business, public-safety, public-service, and land-transportation workforces. The continued growth of this nation's commercial and public-service activities demands additional communication capabilities. It is imperative that the industrial and public-safety sectors have access to new imaging and decision-pro- cessing/remote-file access technologies. Even though personal com- munications services will be available to the general public through common and private carriers, public-safety, public-service, and in- dustrial users will continue to satisfy their specialized communica- tions requirements through private systems. A community of private land-mobile radio users is necessary to maintain global competitiveness. Motivated by the constant need to improve productivity and service, private users will invariably mi- grate to the specific communications solutions that provide the great- est advantage to their operations. An additional allocation of radio spectrum is essential if these users and their industries are to continue to flourish in increasingly competitive global markets. Wireless systems will serve the critical day-to-day operational

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58 JOHN E. MAJOR needs of a variety of industrial, public-safety, and public-service sec- tors. These include: Law Enforcement . Mobile transmission of fingerprints, mug shots, warrants, and other images to and from law enforcement field personnel Mobile transmission of maps, floor layouts, and architectural drawings for crime-in-progress operations . Tactical use of live mobile video for hostage, arrest, and sur- veillance operations High-resolution graphics and electronic transfer of maps and other graphic information to police vehicles . security On-board information and security systems for mass transit vehicles Vehicle- and personnel-tracking systems Wireless "dog tag" locator services to help assure personnel Ener~v Conservation and Management ~ (~ ~ _ ~ ~ . Advanced distribution automation, such as remote monitor- ing, coordination, and operation of distribution and transmission com- ponents from centralized locations, for load management, advanced metering, and system-control functions . Demand-side management (DSM) systems; for example, managing the consumption of electric power and natural gas Transmissions to monitor and record pipeline flow and pipe- line pressure indicators . Real-time monitoring, alerting, and control in situations in- volving handling of hazardous materials Health Care and FirelEmergency Medical Systems Remote monitoring of patients' vital signs in health-care fa- cilities to allow immediate response in the event of a patient medical crisis Mobile transmission of maps, floor layouts, and architectural drawings to assist fire fighters and other response personnel in the rescue of individuals in emergencies

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WIRELESS SYSTEMS 59 Transmission of visual signals and physician instructions in support of rescue operations High-speed transmission of high-resolution medical imagery and data from paramedics to hospitals Automated inventory control Pollution Control High-resolution graphics and electronic transfer of maps and other graphics information to mobile users . other crises . Management and remediation operations following spills or Real-time monitoring, alerting, and control in situations in- volving handling of hazardous materials . lion projects Visual inspection of pipes and cables exposed during excava- Industrial Productivity Automatic transmission of messages advising of impending shortages of parts in a manufacturing environment Vehicle and personnel tracking systems . Locator service based on wireless transmitters to address per- sonnel security . lions Remote safety and security inspection of inaccessible loca- Automation of process- and quality-control functions Transmission of scheduling and cost updates, job site inspec- tion results, and performance assessments relating to construction projects . Wireless ``face-to-face" conferences between in-house pro- duction and sales personnel Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems (IVHSJ . Traffic management systems that adjust to actual traffic con- ditions rather than rely on historical patterns . Systems that can electronically weigh and inspect commer- cial vehicles in motion, issue and monitor permits, or track a con- tainer throughout a multimodal shipment

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60 fares JOHN E. MAJOR Systems that permit electronic collection of tolls and transit Devices that alert authorities to the need for emergency ve- hicles at the site of a collision or other roadside situation The recent spectrum allocation for PCS will not satisfy the per- sonal-use needs for emerging wireless technologies. The regulatory scheme adopted for PCS makes it impractical, if not impossible, for private users to obtain and use their own PCS licenses for the new telecommunications technologies they need. Private users, including those in public-safety fields, need to use continuously the spectrum allocated to them so that they can design systems to meet specific needs. Consider two examples. First, for the typical PCS user, radio coverage while in a building or even in a basement might be desir- able, but it is not critical. If a portable phone does not work in these locations, it is an inconvenience but no more. However, for a fire fighter trapped in the basement of a burning building, that same lack of coverage could be a life and death matter. Systems only deliver this type of coverage throughout a service area if they are specifically designed to do so. Second, if a system does not work during very adverse conditions a flood, an ice storm, or a power blackoutit is again just an inconvenience for the typical PCS user. This is not true for the radio systems used by certain crucial components of our infra- structure. Phone and utility companies, for instance, design such systems to work regardless of emergency conditions. In fact, the functioning of these systems is critical during such emergencies. PHASED APPROACH One aspect of the NII/GII vision calls for fully mobile commu- nications. Implementation of this goal should take place in two phases; the first requires immediate attention, and the second requires specific actions toward deployment by the turn of the century. Phase I Spectrum allocations for second-generation LEO satellite sys- tems for hand-held, two-way subscriber units and pagers. Although the first generation of LEO technology is only now being brought to

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WIRELESS SYSTEMS 61 market, it is not too early to plan additional spectrum allocations in anticipation of LEO's success. An additional 60 MHz will be re- quired to allow for the expansion of existing systems and the emer- gence of anticipated competitive systems. Spectrum allocations for industrial and public-safety digital sys- tems with broadband capability. It has always been a priority of the FCC to ensure that all necessary spectra critical to public safety and industry support are made available. As such, the long tradition of support and forward-looking solutions for public safety and private industry has been marked by the continued leadership of the United States. To prepare for the next series of changes, it is estimated that 75 MHz of spectrum will be needed to deliver digital systems with broadband capability. These systems will not support continuous full-motion video, but they will allow selected slow-scan video, im- age transmissions, file searches, and the transmission of building layouts, maps identifying the locations of hazardous chemicals, and ^. . t~ngerpnnts. IVHS. One function of the information highway is to support and make more efficient existing physical roadways through OHS programs. These programs need additional spectra to support the transfer of information between vehicles and IVHS infrastructure. Twenty MHz is needed to meet this requirement. Phase II Analog cellular, paging, and private systems provided the first generation of wireless communications. The second generation con- sists of digital systems, such as U.S. Digital Cellular (USDC), that re- mined existing systems, PCS, and the first phase of the NII mobility initiatives. Third-generation systems for private or public use allow paging, or image data, or voice transmission with similar functional- ity but with flexible broadband capability, increased capacity, satel- lite system interconnectivity, and global roaming. These systems not only support data, but they support it at LAN rates. They deliver the full capacity of the NII/GII vision to the mobile person. Clearly, a substantial amount of spectrum will need to be set aside to support competing public systems, wireless cable access, and private systems with this capacity. Efforts are just beginning to assess spectrum use and availability around the world.

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62 JOHN E. MAJOR THE ROLE FOR THE GOVERNMENT How can government help? First and foremost, the government needs to accept what history has shown that mobility is essential. Wireless solutions need to be an explicit part of the NII/GII agenda. The initial 155 MHz should be for industrial and public-safety ser- vices, IVHS, and satellite services. Substantial additional spectrum will be required to support third-generation systems. Government assistance needs to be focused on making spectrum available. Re- mining of portions of the spectrum used by broadcast television should be considered in light of the capability of Phase II systems to deliver both broadband data and video. Clearing the spectrum is not just a regulatory challenge. Solutions need to be developed to trans- fer existing services to either wireline or to new spectrum areas. CONCLUSION For the next 5 years or so, thanks to the vision and efforts of governments around the world, we can expect current trends in wire- less communications to continue. Cellular and cellularlike services will become more global and more ubiquitous. Wireless local-loop services will provide increased competition and basic service in rural areas worldwide. Paging services will become more sophisticated, and they, too, will become even more global. Satellite services that deliver global, portable service will emerge, allowing true global roaming. Beyond these initial trends, greater allocation of spectrum will allow services for satellite system expansion, IVHS, and indus- trial and public safety use. After that, we will see the emergence of broadband wireless services. That is the potential of these new telecommunications technolo- gies. The United States has led the world with its communications and computing visions in the past, and, with mobility as part of the NII/GII agenda, it will do so again well into the next century.