06/05/2005

Advanced IP Pipeline | FCC May Require VoIP 911 By September

Advanced IP Pipeline | FCC May Require VoIP 911 By September

If the FCC regulate E911 requirements it's likely Ofcom will too. People tend to forget that since the abolition of telco licenses in the UK, ANYONE who offers a communications service has obligations under the Communications Act, though Ofcom have relaxed lifeline (and 999) services for VoB services.

Telcos maintained regulatory departments for a reason (to ensure they complied with regulation) and though the regulatory environment has been made less complicated, it's still there and just because someone is offering a Voice service over IP, they're still offering a voice service.

Zigbee

Zigbee is a new standard that's going to make a huge difference in the world of industrial communications and even in home automation.

Zigbee comes out of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) in the US, the same people who specify WiFi and even Bluetooth (it comes out of the 802.15 group which is the same as Bluetooth).

Though Zigbee only offers low data rates (up to 250Kb/s, compared to 1Mb/s for say Bluetooth or 11Mb/s for 802.11b) it is extremely flexible, supports a variety of network configurations and is self configuring. There can be 65,000 devices in one Zigbee network.

Zigbee devices are meant to be low power, they turn themselves off when not in use, it's the life of the battery which is likely to determine the life of the device. Of course having devices turn-off randomly means the network has to reconfigure itself quite regurlarly but that's where it's very efficient and it takes about 30mS (Bluetooth takes up to 3 seconds).

There's 3 types of node in a Zigbee network, ZC (controller), ZR (router) and end-node. There's only ever one ZC which controls the complete network in a heirarchical tree, lots of ZR's and each ZR is connected to end-nodes. The ZR's are allocated address space by the ZC, and then further sub-allocate their address space to the end-nodes. Networks can take vairous configurations including complicated mesh designs.

Since the networks are self-healing and very quick to recognise new nodes etc, it would seem to be a perfect solution to WiFi mesh networks, just implement the Zigbee stack on top of the WiFi radio hardware, and citywide networks supporting 65,000 nodes suddenly become easy to do - now someone just needs to do it.

WiMAX again

Intel has announced its first WiMAX chip last week (PRO/Wireless 5116 broadband interface for modems). Of course it isn't WiMAX as the standard hasn't yet been ratified but that's likely to happen by Q3 this year.

Initially they see it being used in outdoor fixed link applications, but followed by indoor self-install type applications.

It's good to see Intel follow their own hype (but then they have to), and WiMAX is going to work well in environments where the regulatory environment suits it, it's just a shame it's unlikely to be in the UK.

Capanina

Capanina

This is an EU funded initiative to trial HAP (High Altitute Platform) systems. If it works it offers a sensible way of getting broadband to rural areas (and trains) where traditional broadband isn't available.

The HAPs themselves will use a combination of radio and free space optics to communicate between HAPs, while end users will have to have a trackable satellite-like dish. Trains and moving objects will use electronically steerable antennae.

In theory it should work, at 20Km they're above commercial air traffic and there's lots of sunlight making solar panels effective.

Also 120Mb/s to an end-user might make moving to the country a real improvement to city life.