Understanding Internet

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Understanding Internet

When we talk about internet we are referring to the particular needs of travelers who need to access the internet. Australia may lag the rest of the developed world when it comes to broadband speeds but, according to a government report released recently, when it comes to overall internet performance, we get pretty much what we pay for.

About three million Australians are now connected to broadband, meaning, we no longer lag behind other OECD countries in terms of broadband penetration. However, we still suffer some of the lowest broadband performance speeds.

There are a number of options for the traveler:

  • Go to an internet cafe. Don't knock it - It is often the only real way without breaking the bank.

  • If you are in mobile phone range of CDMA, then proper equipment, properly designed to work in motorhomes, and caravans is a reasonable go - Yes it is not satellite, so it does have limitations.

  • If you need internet outside the range of mobile CDMA network, then it is a case of careful consideration of your needs as over-specifying needs will break the bank of even the big guys. Don't believe stories about equipment being internet-ready. Do you homework diligently.

  • While we are at it, new services such as 'Next Generation' or 3G will not get to where CDMA is now for a long time to come, so take any sales pitch with a grain of salt.

  • We will be exploring and offering during 2007 new product to address the satellite gap, however, as I have said above, we get pretty much what we pay for. Please log your interest in our contact section.

     

Ok, now to some of the basics. You have your computer and all stuff going with it, namely, camera, photo editing stuff and all the other toys and you still need to Google. Let's revisit the understanding of internet access.

The basics are generally clear and need to be understood.

We have two paths of communication.

  • One path out to the internet, generally referred to as outbound. This path goes out to the site you are wanting to visit

  • A path from the internet to you, generally referred to as inbound.

There is a great distinction between this type of service from, say, TV and radio because TV and radio broadcasts do not have an outbound requirement - only inbound  or commonly known as receive only. Right now, look at what is really needed. At home or office, we are all now pretty familiar with dial-up on the phone where transmission is slow. We now get offered broadband by cable or telephone line that is a lot faster. We now have mobile phone internet, which is reasonable speed, may be unreasonable operating charges but dies in the most inappropriate places.

Campersat is a satellite technology company so we look for satellite solutions. This may not be for everyone, but for TV and radio, it has proved invaluable to us all and generally taken for granted. Pay TV distributes to customers anywhere in Australia by satellite and leaves cable connection only to the high-density metropolitan areas. Let's look at the different satellite scenarios: There is a great distinction between this type of service from, say, TV and radio because TV and radio broadcasts do not have an outbound requirement - only inbound,  or commonly known as receive only. Right now look at what is really needed.

At home or office, we are all now pretty familiar with dial-up on the phone where transmission is slow. We now get offered broadband by cable or telephone line that is a lot faster. We now have mobile phone internet, which has reasonable speed, may have unreasonable operating charges, but dies in the most inappropriate places. Campersat is a satellite technology company so we look for satellite solutions.

This may not be for everyone, but for TV and radio, it has proved invaluable to us all and generally taken for granted. Pay TV distributes to customers anywhere in Australia by satellite and leaves cable connection only to the high-density metropolitan areas.

Let's look at the different satellite scenarios:

  • Low frequency satellites have very limited bandwidth and, therefore, cost per kilo byte (kb) is massive and used only for services that can either afford to use them or carry small amounts of data

  • Low orbiting satellites, such as mobile phone satellite, are up some 200 km and are small and can't carry a lot of data, so in general, you can only service low data rates with medium data costs.

The only solution for affordable broadband is to use large satellites in fixed orbits, just like those giving us TV and radio. The key is to get the outbound signal to these when you don't have access to phone lines. Think of the constraints:

  • Dishes all over Australia wanting to send signals

  • Dishes must be pointed accurately so not to send signals to neighboring satellite.

  • The system must be under automatic control to do this.

  • Equipment needs to have all the aspects of professionalism to make this happen for all customers and to have rogue equipment interfering with legitimate services.

  • To date, this sort of equipment has been consigned to real professional users and expensive equipment, as you see on TV trucks or military situations - usually operated by a technician army.

So where does this leave us?

We are now offering commercial equipment with professional standards to fit this need. It is not a budget, but it is affordable and a necessity for a niche element of our wandering travelers who must have good internet to do business or carry on essential activities when away from it all. Let's call him (her) Oscar.

So you pull up and press the button. We now have:

  • Oscar's really solid professional mechanism and motor drives springing in to action

  • Oscar has an onboard computer in his mount.

  • Oscar has onboard sensors that measure the pitch and roll of your vehicle so Oscar knows just how well (or badly) you have parked. ( Well, it is nighttime and it is raining)

  • Oscar's onboard GPS does know where you are even if you don't. (and, yes, you can read and look yourself up on the map.)

  • Oscar's onboard compass also knows which way your vehicle is pointing so you don't have to look at where the sun is at dinnertime.

  • Oscar has all the facts to know just where to point the dish. So up goes the dish in the exact direction. No doing 360-degree wheelies and no searching where even we know there are no satellites.

  • Oscar then locks on to the satellite, trims the dish and automatically communicates with the satellite ground station to set up the internet circuit.

  • What about the control panel? Well, Oscar has a nice small control box less than the size of your satellite TV receiver with a smart popup touch screen just like the ones on expensive cars.

  • This screen has all the facilities and display to tell you what is happening and just where it is looking. It even tells you how long to take to find and lock on to your internet.

  • Great! Now enjoy your surfing.

Another nice thing, no multiple core cables to install. The power and control for the whole shebang is by one single coax cable.

Just three coax cables to install. This one, plus one for receive and one for transmit. Easy. Just mount your satellite system anywhere on the roof where it is out of the way of all the other stuff up there and cable to your computer desk.

Once connected, power consumption is negligible with only the satellite modem operating whilst you are on the net.

CDMA Wireless Broadband

In a nutshell

  • Add to your existing Campersat system

  • High speed download internet

  • 4.5 times faster than modem

  • Telstra plans on CDMA, commonly referred to as Wireless Plans

  • Plans can be always on or timed

  • Cost-effective

Separate models for USB or ethernet (network) operation

Stop Press: Telstra Shops March 2007

Effective Immediately - Campersat has been advised by the back door that Telstra Shops have been instructed by their managment not to connect new CDMA services or not to reconnect CDMA services.  This means, guys, you are on your own on this one. If you need new product, Telstra will sell you Next G product. You will need to make sure that Telstra can provide you a service where you intend to travel. Best of British luck!

We suggest you talk seriously to your Telstra Account Manager.

We understand government connections are not affected.

Understanding the technology and the 3G hype

Unlike the closure of the old analog mobile network, with which there was a fixed date by which the analog network needed to be closed due to regulatory reasons, Telstra intend running the CDMA and our Next G networks in parallel for some time.

The Campersat CDMA pack is an easy to use, simple to install lifestyle device designed to fulfill an infinite number of user requirements. From home users to IT professionals, the ethernet modem has something to offer for everyone.

What is 3G?

The media and sales world has done a great job in recent years at confusing all of the technical terms that are used to describe the many cellular communications systems that exist, to the point that the lay person can be excused for having problems understanding what it is all about. This article aims to dispel some of the myths and shed some light on the techno-babble that has engulfed mobile communications in Australia in the last couple of years.

Where did it all begin?

There have been several generations of cellular networks operating in Australia. They can be typically grouped into the following:

"1G" can typically be considered as the original AMPS analog network.

"2G" has two forms in Australia, namely GSM Digital and CDMA. These are considered second generation networks. GSM operates on 890-960 MHz + 1710-1880 MHz in Australia (hence GSM900/1800) and uses a form of transmission where each voice channel is separated in time plus frequency, with 8 timeslots/radio channel and typically about 40 channels available on 900 MHz to each of the Australian GSM operators. CDMA operates on 825-890 MHz in Australia and is typically named CDMA800 here but could also have been called CDMA850. CDMA is also a form of digital cellular network which uses a protocol called IS-95 where different "spreading" codes separate out individual voice channels and all codes are sent simultaneously on the same frequency. Different frequency bands are used for GSM and CDMA in other parts of the world. In the US, the 825-894MHz band is also used for GSM services and is known as GSM850, while both GSM and CDMA also operate on the 1900 MHz band available in America. GSM is available on 450 MHz as well in parts of Europe as well as on extended frequencies at 900 MHz (extending lower down to 880 MHz).

"2.5G" services is the popular name for the wireless packet data "bolt on" to the GSM voice network, known as GPRS packet data. GPRS allows about 40 kbit/s max if you have a multi-slot device - i.e. one which can concatenate multiple voice timeslots together turning multiple 13 kbit/s channels into one data pipe - a four slot mobile can achieve approximately 40 kbit/s on GPRS/GSM). 3G has a sub-class defined as any packet speed higher than 144 kbit/s. Technically, IS-95 CDMA's 1xRTT packet data "bolt on" is 144 kbits peak burst - and so CDMA's 1xRTT was called 3G (also known as CDMA2000 or IS-2000). Telstra launched a service called Telstra Mobile loop in approximately 2003 branded as 3G using this service. More typically, you could achieve 80-120 kbit/s from it. Telstra has had 1xRTT deployed on its national CDMA network for about 2 years now. GPRS has been deployed on the GSM network since around about 2000.

The term "3G" has become a generic term for 3rd generation mobiles and no longer can be really linked to a particular cellular network technology. What we might call "true" 3G services then fall into two branches.

- One comes from North America (the home of IS-95 CDMA) and is the 1xEV-DO, 1xEV-DV, 3xRTT and other similar add on standards. Some work in band within the original CDMA radio modulation/channels, other are extra channels "clipped on the side" like EVDO is (EVDO carriers are exclusively packet access with no voice capability). This is why EVDO is not provided universally across the entire Telstra CDMA network at this time. 1xEV-DO can provide speeds around 1.8 Mbit/s but more typically achieves 500-800 kbit/s in typical radio environments.

- The other, from Europe, was originally called UMTS (Universal Mobile Telephone System), and was being developed by the 3GPP working parties, which developed the original GSM specifications. As it was derived from the same working groups who developed GSM, it developed the commercial name "3GSM" however the actual transmission system is in fact a different form of CDMA, which bears little resemblance to the CDMA developed in the USA. UMTS's CDMA is also known as WCDMA (W = wideband) as it is 3 times the radio channel bandwidth of the existing IS-95 CDMA system. UMTS was originally developed for spectrum between 1980-2170 MHz where a universal international band was defined by the ITU. The R99 release of the UMTS standards provided for voice calls (13 kbit/s circuit), video calls (64 kbit circuit) and packet data transfers at speeds typically up to 384/64 kbit/s.

Not all countries have allocated this spectrum to a "Universal Mobile Telephone System" purpose, but that was the original idea. As with any good ideas, it was also adapted to operate on other radio bands, including the 1900 MHz US-CDMA band, the 1800 MHz GSM band, the 1700 MHz band (in Japan) and now the 850 MHz AMPS/CDMA band. There is even talk of defining operating protocols for UMTS on the 900 MHz GSM band.

It is the 850 MHz band (825-890 MHz) variant, which Telstra is deploying nationally to all existing Telstra CDMA (and GSM) sites, thus providing the same or better coverage as the combined capabilities of CDMA & GSM (the link loss requirements are basically the same), and it is exactly the same protocols and signaling as the 2100 MHz versions deployed originally by Hutchison-3 (now partnered by Telstra and Hutchison via 3GIS Pty Ltd), as well as that being deployed as "3G" by Optus and Vodafone. The Telstra network will as a result be able to deliver the same functionality as the existing 3G UMTS/WCDMA/3GSM networks but over a considerably greater coverage area without a huge investment in building 3-4 times as many new sites (a direct impact of using 2100 MHz with its higher radio signal losses). The 850 MHz signal will behave around corners and in buildings much more like the existing GSM and CDMA networks than its new 2100 MHz rivals can. You could consider it as being 2G 850/900 MHz voice coverage performance with 3G data and capacity performance previously relegated to the poorer propagation conditions found on 2100 MHz.

These advantages and Australia's geography are obvious reasons why Telstra chose 850 MHz to deploy its new national 3GSM-850 UMTS network. Another of the big drivers that has obviously assisted greatly is that Cingular Wireless in the US has chosen this European system, over the US developed CDMA2000 path, for its national wireless broadband and cellular network, and is rolling it out across their entire market of some 51 million+ customers. That is a figure that makes handset manufacturers sit up and take notice, and brings economies of scale to the Telstra network proposal.

Next comes the cherry on top. HSDPA stands for High Speed Downlink Packet Access. HSDPA is an "in- band" addon to UMTS/3GSM/WCDMA networks defined in the Release 4 version of the UMTS standards which vastly increases the packet transfer speeds from 384 kbit/s to a theoretical limit today of 14 Mbit/s, with a 384 kbit uplink. Telstra's vendor, Ericsson, don't yet appear to have their equipment able to deliver 14 Mbit/s however 3.6 Mbit/s and shortly afterwards 7.2 Mbit/s will be available, with 14 Mbit/s apparently due a year or two after that. This system shares the existing voice carriers with data users. All UMTS/3GSM/WCDMA operators will be able to deploy HSDPA, but the beauty of Telstra's ability to do it on 850 MHz will be the lower path losses and greater coverage for the same data speeds as a result. Following on from HSDPA is HSUPA, which gets you ultimately between 3.6 and 7.2 Mbit/s uplink speeds, and then there is MIMO which apparently takes this even faster - to speeds approaching 45 Mbit/s on the downlink.

You might then be asking why Telstra is the only one doing this on 850 MHz. Simple. Telstra is the only carrier with 850 MHz licenses with national coverage, which they purchased in public spectrum auctions held by the ACMA as part of closing the analog network. Currently, the only other license holders are Orange (Sydney, Central Coast, Melbourne and Geelong) and AAPT (rest of Australia - who never commissioned a network here although at one point they did start then halt construction of a IS-95 CDMA network around the time One-Tel collapsed). Optus and Vodafone did not elect to invest in that frequency band. They will also have a hard time deploying UMTS on 900 MHz GSM spectrum when that option becomes possible, because, between them, they don't have enough under-utilized GSM900 spectrum (most likely) to squeeze all their GSM users into while they clear enough channels within their existing allocations to allow for deployment of WCDMA/UMTS/3GSM900.

Cellular mobile and, in particular, national wireless broadband access on the new Telstra 850 MHz network could reasonably be expected to start something of a revolution in Australian telecommunications in the next 6-12 months. It certainly will be an exciting time to see these new technologies unfold and their potential be realized.

By "WirelessNetNut @ Whirlpool"

(Adapted from a forum post on HSDPA 7th May 2006)

 

 

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