Thursday, September 27, 2007

Update on WiMAX

The WiMAX World 2007 Expo invited many participants to issue press releases. Here is a short overview of what is happening at the moment.

1. Equipment and technology
Several vendors have started interoperability testing. Also, competion for erstwhile first-movers Alvarion, Redline, Navini and Aperto is still on the rise, as Nortel, Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent and Motorola expand their offering. Alvarion is teaming with Hitachi for the Japanese market.

2. Auctions and licenses
Many auctions will be carried out in the short or medium term. Watch out for Japan, where two groups have formed, one around DoCoMo and one that includes SoftBand and eAccess.

3. Trials and deployments
There is no single trend here. Many emerging markets use the technology to leapfrog fixed network investments, AT&T is aiming for rural markets and Sprint is moving ahead on its 4G plan.

Of course, there is also the ongoing debate of WiMAX vs. LTE (not to mention Terahertz). It seems to me that LTE has a considerable advantage:
  • It is an evolutionary technology to entrenched networks.
  • It could be the tentative end point of both GSM and CDMA evolutions, as Verizon Wireless and Vodafone have attested.
  • And the performance is continually enhanced, whereas WiMAX doesn't seem to have that much upside (but I am not quite sure of the latter point - readers please fill me in on that).

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dell, Tele2 and Google: moving away from cheap services

This New York Times article will probably not reveal anything new on Dell, but it does ring a bell in the telco and internet world.

Basically, Dell is trying to overcome the end of the Dell model. This business model (build to order), together with a strong focus on the US corporate market, gave the company considerable scale, before it broke down. Now however, using its scale, it can 'simply' expand its strategy and hope to make a comeback.

Dell has numerous options: work with retailers, move abroad, turn to the consumer market; add notebooks, software and services; rationalize the company.

Tele2 provides a comparable evolutionary path, from low-cost reseller to fully-fledged quad play operator. It comes with quite a bit of pain, i.e. the sale of operations in many countries (Portugal, Belgium, France, Denmark, Hungary; Italy is next in line).

Finally, Dell and Tele2 could be providing roadmaps to Google. Most services are free + ads, and Google doesn't seem to overlook a single web-based service area. Again, get as many people as possible hooked on your (free) services, and then see how you can develop away from the ads model.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Telefonica and KPN: no longer predator and target

Mid July Telefonica largely abandoned its takeover strategy. Instead, it will focus on internal growth. "The time has come to change focus, and sweat our assets."
Late August, KPN strengthened its Belgian mobile operation Base by adding the Tele2 Belgium assets to it. This effectively precluded a Belgacom merger or offer.

Look at the above chart to see what investors thought of all this non-M&A activity. Telefonica is no longer a predator, and KPN a much less likely target.

Tiered service and the broadband incentive problem

The 'Broadband Incentive Problem' must be among the most vexing for operators. Obviously, usage-based payment is a way out of it, but not easily implemented. People like flat fees and have no clue how much an MB is. Mark Desautels of CTIA recently rephrased the problem and highlighted that the flat-fee business model implies that light users (email and browsing) are in fact subsidising heavy users (downloaders).

This is why I like Comcast's recent plan for a low-tier (sub 1 Mbps) service. At a low price point it will attract even 'nonline' persons - and at the same time provide them with a simple upgrade path, once they start living on the net.
Contrary to this is Hong Kong Broadband Network's plan to end its 'entry-level' 10 Mbps service (on its new FTTH network). HKBN will focus of speeds of 100, 200 and even 1000 Mbps.

Are there no nonliners or light users left in Hong Kong?

Monday, September 17, 2007

KPN pushes outsourcing to the max

John Marcus of Current Analysis recently wrote an article on outsourcing coming to fixed telcos. Now, KPN has been doing its own over the past few weeks, outsourcing several tasks (CRM, billing, testing, graphical systems) to a range of IT companies (Accenture, IBM, Capgemini, LogicaCMG, Satyam, Sogeti and ICT Automatisering). Before, several wireless access networks were outsourced to Ericsson and E-Plus outsourced construction, operation and maintenance to Alcatel-Lucent.

Obviously, this raises the question: how far will KPN go? Will the fixed network in the Netherlands follow? Could that be a first step toward sharing, selling, separation, or even FTTH? Will KPN develop as a service provider?

More to follow.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Gaiacomm: mad scientists v. the establishment

Back in July, I picked up a couple of factoids on the (not so good) real-life performance of WiMAX and xMax. I also noted that xMax had (surprisingly) received an award from Frost & Sullivan. Previously a company named Gaiacomm International had received a similar award. Referring to Gaiacomm as a ‘dormant’ company got its CTO commenting to my post. And that developed into quite an extensive exchange of questions and answers. By now, I have a large set of documents and presentations on the Gaiacomm wireless technology.

Gaiacomm has many facets to get skeptics ranting and raving. So here I am, calling upon scientists and corporate executives to take a look at Gaiacomm’s claims. If anybody is interested, I can mail the material.
Let me make it perfectly clear that I have no personal interest in the matter (unlike Stuart Schwarz, who was rewarded for validating xG’s xMax technology). I am interested in physics and in the proposed technology, where two quite different signals (ultra low and ultra high frequency) are superimposed, using DNA-theory. I cannot validate the claims, but I call on other people to verify or falsify them.

The wireless industry is at a junction. 3G Networks aren’t used to the max, but 4G is being developed already. Several companies are entering the industry (Apple, Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft), others are trying to grab a larger share of it (Nokia through Ovi, Vodafone through music downloads, etc.). Spectrum auctions are coming up around the world. Competing standards (WiMAX, xMax) are vying for ‘Third Stream’ status of sorts to existing GSM and CDMA-based networks.
In other words, it is now or never for Gaiacomm.

My plan B would be is to turn the whole thing into a movie. It has all the right ingredients to inspire a person like Michael Moore to produce a documentary on the wireless industry. It could even go beyond the ‘$200bn Broadband Scandal’ (Bruce Kushnick) or the ‘$750bn Telecom Heist’ (Om Malik). It would include:
  • conspiracy theories, the CIA, the FBI and the NSA, as well as the states of Israel and Kuwait;
  • a weapon of mass destruction, secret nuclear testing (Project Argus), mysteriously disappearing documents, leukemia casualties;
  • the abandonned Wardenclyffe Tower antenna site in Long Island, other huge aboveground and underground sites in Wisconsin and Michigan;
  • an amateur-turned-physicist from Greece, a Kentucky farmer who first invented the wireless telephone, a Latvian love-sick man who produced writings on magnetism and single-handedly built a giant coral monument for his unrequited love, and an autodiadict ‘mad scientist’ named Judah Ben-Hur who pays his bills by owning a company that transports human remains in Los Angeles.
The core elements of the story are:
  • Gaiacomm proposes to build an open access 4G wireless communications system.
  • It builds on a wide range of scientific theories, even beyond physics.
  • Basically, it uses VLF as the carrier signal for terahertz radiation. The earth’s telluric currents are used to carry the signal worldwide.
  • Gaiacomm is seeking $15m to build a prototype.
  • And yes, they do address the Shannon theorem.
Here are the contents to my short story.

1. Introduction
2. The technology in quotations
3. Q&A
4. Specifications and Performance
5. Business Model and Current State of Affairs
6. Obstacles
7. Sources

1. Introduction

Gaiacomm claims superior wireless technology that could be the basis for a new 4G system. It builds on:
  • standard physics theories, including Maxwell, Tesla, Faraday, and quantum physics;
  • some unusual physics: terahertz technology; ground radiation; telluric currents; the Christofilos theory; Nathan Stubblefield, the Kentucky farmer who invented wireless telephony before Tesla or Marconi; and Edward Leedskalnin’s theories on magnetism;
  • DNA theory and the workings of the sun;
  • the same remarkable Edward Leedskalnin, who single-handedly built Coral Castle, for inspiration to Judah Ben-Hur.

2. The technology in quotations

Gaiacomm is guarding its protocols well. It does not want anybody to hijack them. Obviously, that makes validation hard, if not impossible. Moreover, describing the technology in general terms is a daunting task. The proposed architecture is quite different from any existing wireless system. So, here is a set of quotes from the documents I have that will give you a sense of what it is all about.

  • This GWC (global wireless communications) technology primarily deals with a global network of land-based communication systems that uses the magnetic field of the earth (telluric currents) as a means to carry, reflect, and redistribute the signal, a modulated helix protocol, and dedicated continuous power output which will allow the use of newly designed wireless devices that are built around the new wireless protocol (terahertz).
  • The vision of Gaiacomm International Corporation is to utilize its global wireless communications technology platform to enable both reliable and fairly priced wireless communications to people of all nations and races.
  • William Gilbert discovered it, Faraday proved it, Maxwell laid the mathematics, Tesla and Nathan Stubbelfield built it, and Gaiacomm improved it to be as originally planned.
  • The sun transmits energy to earth, and the earth filters out or absorbs the energy required to sustain an almost perfect bio-system. The earth also is an A/C induction engine that generates a sea of energy to protect itself and allow those with the insight to use its telluric currents to wirelessly communicate to the entire planet. The hardware (antennas, etc) must be made of an iron nickel base; the filters and detectors must be of a carbon/silicate base in order to channel the required waves (terahertz, VLF). The software must keep track of the signal, and direct its functions throughout the entire chain.
  • To get terahertz radiation thru water and earth one only needs to go up the scale of energy, provided you use a low frequency as your carrier. The atoms (electrons, etc) will combine with each other to allow a ’binding’ (interlace) to allow you to transmit as much data as you wish thru the earth, around the earth and thru the ’air’ at little loss or drag due to the combining elements used, power applied and placement of the antenna on the planet.
  • Science and business has stopped at the gigahertz range for reasons of financial survival. We challenge any scientist to prove that our 4G global wireless system does not work (function) as we claim. Many scientists and the like have disputed our claims but no one person has proven it with hardware. Anyone can claim, as we have, but we also wish to build what we claim. We do not have the financial or legal resources to protect our intellectual property rights, thus the seemingly vague responses.
  • What we discovered is that the earth and its fields are very dynamic and oscillating at various frequencies. If one isolates these frequencies one will soon discover that there is one field that behaves and responds to impulses imposed on it. Like a rubber band pushed and pulled on to yield perfect response. These frequencies are terahertz waves. Extensive research has been done to generate these waves in a lab and in some cases in the field. The ’trick’ is to interlace the terahertz wave with the required data encoded and embed it on a low frequency wave to carry it worldwide and then “match” the signal wave to allow it to be reflected off the magnetic field by-passing the ionosphere. The ionosphere operates within the confines of the equipment and generation of the field/waves employed. Gaiacomm has taken the quantum leap to employ the next wave, which is the beginning of subspace communications. We use a form of frequency hopping which is properly synchronized. The net result is to maintain that single logical channel.
  • We were able to understand the dissertation written by Shannon: “A Mathematical Theory of Communication”, Bell Syst. Techn. J., Vol. 27, pp. 379-423, 623-656, July, October 1948 and realized that Bell Labs (AT&T) needed a set of rules/laws to control the empire of communications, and by having one of its “own” establish a “blueprint” to build to, it sealed the success of Bell Labs (AT&T). Hardware designed in 1948 and later was all based on the “blue print” (Shannon) established, supported by Bell Labs (AT&T) and the rest of the scientific academia. Without this “blueprint”, Bell Labs (AT&T) and others were just “shooting in the dark”. It also guaranteed the establishment of a communications empire that could be controlled by the evidence supported by Bell Labs (AT&T) scientists, i.e., Shannon. It is evident that an information-bearing signal needs a specific bandwidth, whether it is to be transmitted in original or modulated (by a carrier) form. Or in other words, “how many bits of information can be transmitted without error per second over a channel with a bandwidth of N Hz, when the average signal power is limited to P watt, and the signal is exposed to an additive, white (uncorrelated) noise of power N with Gaussian probability distribution”. Thus Shannon came up with a ’formula’, C = W log2 (1 + P/N) bits/second. Given the vastness and scale of electromagnetic energy that exists in the universe, Shannon and others only defined a small section of energy that makes up the particular frequencies used. Maxwell already suggested that the electromagnetic spectrum is “endless”. Terahertz waves have unique properties when combined with others “like”, and “dissimilar” waves. It was also noted that when filtered power is applied (modulated) to terahertz waves and VLF waves below 9 hertz it also displays unique properties. Shannon defined a set of rules/laws for designers (engineers) to build to, (Shannon’s Law), given the frequencies used and allowed at that time (3kHZ-NHZ) - and the hardware (oscillators, etc) designed to accommodate the overall systems. The hardware designs were limited due to technology and a better understanding of the governing dynamics of electromagnetism, thus Shannon and others developed a ’baseline’ for general communications. Since 1920, no one successfully challenged the foundations (science) of communications (Information technology) (Shannon’s Law) because of the ’control’ and the well-established network that existed then and now (2007). The monies spent (billions) over the years and the numerous competing networks have “sealed” the fate of others like Gaiacomm International from challenging the communication systems that exists today. Thru perseverance and hard work we have re-discovered what others have left behind. Hardware and materials today are well equipped to handle new designs; software algorithms that did not exist in 1948 add depth and scale to our designs. It is almost impossible to compete with the existing wireless technologies and governmental controls, thus we decided to “go around” Shannon’s Laws and governmental controls and develop a new “standard” of rules based on the same fundamental principles established by Maxwell, Tesla and others. Shannon and others defined what was required at that time, (hardware and software restricted) thus making it difficult to design reliable systems that can operate with great efficiencies today (2007). We believe that any amount of error-free data can be transmitted over a channel of any given bandwidth not limited by noise (Terahertz/hertz (VLF)). We believe that Shannon's Law applies to a particular channel of spectrum known during that period of time; we are able to add more channels because of the characteristic quality of Terahertz energy and the forward development of technology today (2007). We believe that wireless technologies, are limited to the spectrum available because of control from a few and the lack of knowledge of electromagnetic energy. No one other than Gaiacomm International has decided to use another spectrum (terahertz) not currently regulated or controlled by the few (FCC, ITU, etc). We changed the values of the equations (Shannon) to satisfy the new data (power/frequency/entropy/snr, etc). We believe that there is not a finite, maximum speed for transmitting ’intelligent energy’. Transmitted power and filtered circuits to specs makes this possible. “The two fundamental factors governing the maximum speed of data transmission are the shape of the signal and the choice of “code” used to represent the intelligence”. We have discovered that Terahertz waves generate a specific “shape” when modulated using a “code” that allows for this signal shape (OFDM, PCM, UMB, Wimax etc). Instead of rectangle or square waves we can generate a different geometric shape. Resonance plays an important role in this, as does the filtered power. Theoretically you will have lower interference and higher capacity gains. Interference cancellation and forward error correction technologies are such that they can allow for a superior transmission, thus assisting in the ’seamless’ generation/transceiver/interpretation protocol.
  • The overall system will consist of an array of custom designed equipment, tooled parts and specialized processes all combined together to prove without a doubt the existence of terahertz waves and the methodology required to use the magnetic field and the earth’s entire surface to transponder and receive a signal at any given rate without loss of signal strength.
  • Digital data encoding schema: Structurally, DNA is a double helix: two strands of genetic material spiraled around each other. Each strand contains a sequence of bases (also called nucleotides). The two strands of DNA are connected at each base. The same applies for the terahertz band and the low frequency band bonding technique. A double helix combination. Each base will only bond with one other base, as follows: Adenine (A) will only bond with thymine (T), and guanine (G) will only bond with cytosine (C). This bonding combination applies to the relationship of terahertz/hertz bonding combinations. Example of this would be a one strand of DNA like this:
    The DNA strand bound to it will look like this:
    Together, the section of DNA would be represented like this:
    DNA strands are read in a particular direction, from the top (called the 5’ or ‘five prime’ end) to the bottom (called the 3’ or ‘three prime’ end). In a double helix, the strands go opposite ways:
    5’ T-T-G-A-C-T-A-T-C-C-A-G-A-T-C 3’
    3’ A-A-C-T-G-A-T-A-G-G-T-C-T-A-G 5’
    Now lets consider the same technique applied to the terahertz and hertz band combination:
    We have left out the last sequence codec on purpose. Thru the study of the DNA helix matrix, we found that this technique can be mimicked in a communications schema.
  • What we propose is to demonstrate a wireless communications system in principle by building an antenna/receiving system with an estimated cost of material and labor at $3.5 million, this includes all transmitter/receiver hardware, all electronic test equipment, special tooling molds, material needs, housings, cabling, circuit breadboards, measuring equipment, small electronic hardware, building to house the equipment, lab to plan and assemble, test bed data collectors, software programming equipment, electric power usage, mockup of submarine submersion gear, scuba equipment, travel to various locations, hotel and other living expenses, mobile terminals, spectrum receivers, antifading hardware, high speed power transmitter controllers, redundant compensation controllers and software, redundant propagation compensators, multipath propagators, auto tracking hardware, adaptive space-time processing algorithms, radio on fiber to transmit multiservice radio signals thru optical networks, develop a special frequency reuse modulator, network control station, environmental data collection, down converters, data links, geo-data collection, redundant magnetic allocations, magnifier coil, oscillators of various sizes, numerous small materials, mockup submarine shell, scalable mobile network to demonstrate digital service to handsets, laptops and other wireless devices, special smelting process to yield material used for conductive antenna, design of isotropic equipment including antenna array, Bit error rate controller,(1 bit will be in error for every 1 billion bits transmitted), bit rate generator( unlimited N), Bits per second booster( over 1 billion per second), coder/decoder, compandor(compressor-expander), datagram generator(packet), datalink connection identifier, frame relay, line frames, power and frequency modulation equipment, last mile data collection, documentation equipment, film hardware, video equipment for recording of data and experiments, multiplexer hardware, rate adaptation hardware design, router designs, routing tables developed, computers of varying speeds and size, software programs of varying need, 10,000sq ft structure for design, testing and assemblage of equipment to be demonstrated, custom built transducers, resonators, optics, fiber strands.
  • The science implied here is demonstrating that terahertz waves and hertz waves combined together can be modulated to the magnetic field of the earth reflected back to the surface area, demodulated and spread in a wave that can be received at a specific point, measured and understood. A link will be established with a wireless device, a submerged craft, a aircraft, an array of stealth vehicles, computers of varying mix, and all forms of wireless communications pre-determined protocols to demonstrate without any doubt that claims made can be validated by independent sources as well as staff of Gaiacomm. All rates of transmission will be subject to discloursure before demos are scheduled.
  • Power requirements: We require dedicated power source to the lab.
  • We plan to have a full-scale demo ready for extensive evaluation within 12 months of funding. A detailed project schedule will be prepared later.

3. Q&A

Here are a number of questions and answers that Judah ben-Hur specifically supplied to clear up a number of things.

  • Are you suggesting that the reflective nodes, repeaters act basically as a mesh between all repeaters and the base station? NO NOT EXACTLY. THEY ARE A 360 DEGREE HOMOGENOUS FUNCTIONAL SYSTEM. Also, if the base station antenna is 300 ft tall, how tall is the repeaters? Same? I AM ESTIMATING THAT THERE WILL BE A SLIGHT DIFFERENCE IN HEIGHT FOR BOTH HUB AND TRANSEIVERS. THE 300FT CAN BE USED AS A BASELINE FOR NOW BUT I AM WORKING ON REDUCING THE HEIGHT. I am also assuming that the repeaters are isotropic (spherical) antenna, just like the base station. YES, THAT IS CORRECT.
  • Also, based upon MIMO processes and math, the MIMO radio takes into consideration multiple paths in and out of each radio; we could use MIMO technology between the BS and RS and use multiple paths to ensure data transmissions. YES WE COULD BUT I MUST SOLVE THE MULTIUSER DECTION PROBLEM FIRST. WE WILL HAVE INTERSYMBOL INTERFERENCE, ETC THAT NEEDS TO BE OVERCOME AND NOT PATCHED TO SATISFY A FEW. I AM NOW STUDYING THE VITERBI ALGORITHM. WE NEED TO SOLVE THIS A BIT TO INCREASE THE MEGABIT THRUPUT. I ALSO AM SOLVING THE CHANNEL MODELING PROBLEM THAT NOW EXISTS WITH WIRELESS NOW. Also, based upon RS repeaters, if we need to cover basically 100 miles radius from the BS, how far out would the repeaters have to be from the base station, I need this info for the Michigan preso. WE CAN EITHER PLACE THEM AT THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE BORDERS OF THE STATE OR 300-MILES SQ FROM THE HUB. MAKE SURE WE ARE CLOSE TO POWER. Also, instead of using fiber optic ring around the RS and BS, we could use a different frequency and/or different channel to mesh the station together instead of hard-wired fiber optics. The question is, can we create a reverse RF mux to basically bring in multiple channels of THz signals together as one? WHAT WE DO IS DE-MULTIPLEX THE SIGNAL FROM AS MANY CHANNELS AS WE DESIRE COMING INTO THE BACK DOOR EITHER BY MICROWAVE, FIBER OR WHATEVER WE DESIRE. ONCE WE GET THE DATA WE WILL THEN RE-PROCESS IT, COMPRESS IT AND RE-MODULATE IT TO TERAHERTZ AND THEN BROADCAST IT USING HZ AS THE BUS TO CARRY OUR DATA TO MULTIPLE DESTINATIONS AT 186, 363.2536 MILES PER SEC.
  • Since we are running both Hz & THz, does the receivers have to pick up both the Hz and THz signals and just the THz? The system main hub is the antenna element which means that it is very important to have the right material and geometry of each element to create the effect that is desired which is to act as a conduit of RF energy that is reflected from the magnetic field of the earth and re distributed using the earth’s surface as a counter-reflector thus transposing a signal into a 360 degree footprint. We will employ the dynamics of HZ waves (ELF) to carry the signal thru the earth and all bodies of materials, however embedded within that wave is the Terahertz signal which will have its own unique signature.
  • Since we are running both Hz & THz frequencies, will we have to dual-polarize each single transmission? Yes that is a possibility. It would make since to have the signal polarized from the base station. TDD would be most likely because it uses a single channel to transmit and receive rather than FDD, which uses two channels one to transmit, and one to receive. We will decide which one soon. They both have advantages.
  • To cover 500,000 sq miles, signal must run approx. a radial coverage of 700 miles, is this correct? That would be correct if you were calculating the SKA using the basic array for coverage of antennas in the hundreds based on current RFI suppression schemes and dealing with variable beams from the antennas. We are using an isotropic antenna array with very exact coverage footprints based on the distance of elements, power and broadcast schema that will be employed. In conclusion: high dynamic range requirements argue for large numbers of antennas. So the SKA would be 500,000 ska.
  • Since data-bandwidth is directly related to signal strength, what bandwidth can be expected at 700-mile distance? First we will need a processor more than 32bit to process the information received. Something like MIPS as an example. 100 or more gigabits per second at more than 700 SKA. That is contingent on the processor.
  • What is the ratio of mega-watts to radial distance? 1-100 vs. miles. Every 1,000 watts of continuous dc power will yield 100,000 ska, Our isotropic antenna will radiate in all 3 dimensional directions PD = (P(t) / 4 * pi * r^2). This is the power density formula.
  • If a single signal does not have to be polarized, then we can expect to run redundant broadcast by polarizing the signal, correct? Yes, see answer #2.
  • We need to support IPv6 for European and North American support, this gives us the ability to use SIP right away without writing our own protocol, your latency calcs show virtually none, is this correct? There will be some latency but not the current values that exist with any current telecommunications system. Yes we will use a modified version of SIP to account for the increased compression, signal strength and frequency used. I.e. Hz/THZ.
  • Encryption is going to add over-head to the payload, have you had any thoughts on what to use here? Encryption is vital and there should be no compromise. 448 bit high compression software or higher are a must. There are commercial companies that specialize in this type of software.
  • All items I have read have to deal with broadcast signals typically used for coverage to clients, either mobile or fixed CPE devices, has there been consideration for a very narrow focused signals for wireless back-hauling our towers so that we only have to run fiber to 1 or 2 spots? If we used a 10-degree antenna, can we achieve 100 tbps over 100 miles? The antenna is an isotropic radiator that broadcasts omni directional. You will still need some optical fiber and wireless optical devices for backend and backbone connection.
  • We will want to cut all calcs by thirds for this reason: re fingerprinting or RF triangulation. We will need at least 3 different signals to help the system accurately locate attached clients; this is a huge feature and is worth building it into the system, do you agree? Yes, I agree. We will be able to divide the channels in such a way to be able to use more than base stations to get a fix. We can use landmark areas like buildings and mountains to get a fix by skipping across the horizon or even using the crust of the earth (Plates) to get fixes of location. Each type of rock has a unique signature that can be used to reference and locate.
  • As I understand your document, you basically want to use a DNA -like helix structure for data compression, correct? Yes. This is the framework and geometry in nature that works well and can encode and decode without loss of data. Nature has given us a means to transpose signals without jeopardizing its strength.
  • Has anyone done any programming on this yet? Only on paper with algorithms to define the colony and cluster.
  • Obviously this is data-compression, allows us to send more data at the same time, due to the helix structure, we will need to compress and de-compress this helix upon receiving and sending in order to transverse the system, what type of processor, memory and delay will this cause? Any thoughts? We will need the best processor on the planet. Intel and others like them have prototype chips that just need a box to go in. Ex. 001010101,01010101= 1 in short 2 for 1.

4. Specifications and Performance

Here are some factoids from the paperwork.

  • The core of this proprietary technology exists of both GAIA3 (OFDM-based) and WORP (wireless outdoor routing protocol’).
  • Transmission speeds are up to 100 Tbps, but predicted ‘fixed’ performance is 10 Gbps, mobile performance 10 Mbps.
  • Antenna: THz radiation, using the 1-6 THz band (not regulated); MIMO; 100,000-1m Watts. VLF radiation 0-9 hertz to carry the embedded signal.
  • Shannon’s Theorem does not apply in the THz band because the hardware has changed to accommodate a higher more robust frequency band.
  • Worldwide coverage: 9 antennae (transmitters/stations, 50 ft diameter) and 27 towers (transceivers).
  • Antenna coverage area: up to 5.1m m^2.

5. Business Model and Current State of Affairs

Gaiacomm opts to be a B2B company, offering wholesale services to both existing operators and new entrants. They can outsource their network to Gaiacomm.
“This removes barriers to entry for marketing-focused organizations that want to enter the wireless market.”

Currently, Gaiacomm is seeking funding ($15m) “to construct a working prototype that not only can demo the technology but also enable Gaiacomm International to commence commercial operations on a limited scale to produce revenues.”

Fahdtel issued an RfP to Gaiacomm in August 2004 for a nationwide network in Kuwait. However, in the end they decided to go for 3G instead of 4G/Gaiacomm.

Frost & Sullivan award (Sep 2004).

Gaiacomm presented itself at the ‘4th Annual Terahertz System Conference’, May 15-16, 2006 in Washington, DC.

6. Obstacles

To be completely open about my take on this technology, I put together this list of potential obstables to testing, funding and validation – or even being taken seriously.

  • Will it work? How will it scale? How will it perform relative to GSM/LTE, CDMA/UMB and WiMAX?
  • Claiming 100 Tbps and being very secretive over one’s protocols smells like a scam – or of somebody trying to get rich quick. The claims are seemingly outrageous, even though real-life claims are more modest (10 Mbps for mobile). Comparisons with xG will not help. Jim DeGries unfortunately was turned off before taking a serious look.
  • Current wireless networks are deeply entrenched and the entire industry is working on evolutions toward 4G (GSM to LTE, CDMA to UMB). Other newcomers include WiMAX and xMax. Established players may want to prevent Gaiacomm from launching.
  • Demand for high-speed multimedia services is disappointing. (However, it may show quite some elasticity once prices come down.)
  • The theory is very difficult to understand from a physics point of view, involving quantum physics and a whole range of other theories.
  • Google, the Great Disruptor, could want to partner with Gaiacomm, but is too entrenched in the existing wireless business by now through various partnerships. The same goes for Yahoo!, Microsoft and Apple.
  • ‘Side effect’: weapon of mass destruction. “Selective ignition of atoms to create a controlled fusion explosion over a selected target (Compton Effect). Land based (thousands of kilometers from target) or orbited device. (Ref: Eastlund Patents, Tesla Patents).”
  • “Weapon of mass destruction: by understanding the dynamics of the atmosphere or we should say the basics of rf signals and the effects they have on molecules one can then understand how to manipulate them in such a way to create a fusion reaction by matching their resonant frequency then offset it with a power burst coupled by a slight phase shift of the signal generated which in plain terms will ignite the surrounding layer of atmosphere and incinerate everything within its path from 1000km to 600ft underground. To give the “source” code combination of this process will expose the trade secret of this technology and place many people at risk of someone using this technology to hold the world hostage. All is needed is one ISO antenna of N height, Power is P resonate coding is RSCI, oscillating frequency is nT+nHz, = FLSHB. The beauty of this technology is that you can ‘dial’ in a pre-selected region of an area and begin the process from a distance away or several thousands of miles. To verify this data see Dr. Bernard Eastland’s work on this in his patent from ARCO in 1985, (APTI). We were able to take his data and perfect it by understanding the principles applied.”
  • The company is in fact dormant, as Judah ben-Hur admitted.
  • It’s PR could use some tweaking. Perhaps people are even turned off by the CTO’s very name (Judah Ben-Hur), not to mention his postings on all sorts of forums and blogs.

7. Sources

Corporate web site
20 Business Applications That Will Benefit from Gaiacomm’s TeraHertz-Based Technology
Project Nemo
Request for funding to the FBI
Presentation (+ data sheets) to the ’4th Annual Terahertz System Conference, May 15-16, 2006 in Washington, DC. Topic: The Art of Global Wireless Communications’
4 sets of Q&A (July 24, 2007, August 3, 2007 and Sep 11, 2007 (2x))
Argument Shannon word file (August 3, 2007)
Answer to Kuwait RfP (Sep 5, 2007)
Conference call (July 26, 2007)
RFP from Kuwait (FahdTel, dated August 29, 2004)
The Art of Global Wireless Communications 2002 (dated Dec 2, 2002)
Nicholas Constantine Christofilos (not dated)
Terahertz Technology and the Sun (Sep 3, 2007)

Frost & Sullivan:
Frost & Sullivan Honors Gaiacomm International with 2004 Wi-Max Technology Innovation of the Year Award (September 22, 2004)
Movers and Shakers interview
xG Technology, Inc. Lauded for its Innovative, Long-range Broadband Technology (June 25, 2007)
Emerging Mobile Broadband Technologies Poised to Revolutionise the Wireless Industry (July 23, 2007)

History of radio
Invention of radio
Wardenclyffe Tower or Tesla Tower
Terahertz radiation
Project or Operation Argus
Shannon’s theorem
Double helix
William Gilbert
Michael Faraday
James Clerk Maxwell
Nikola Tesla
Nathan Stubblefield
Edward Leedskalnin
Coral Castle

My post on the performance of WiMAX and xMax, referring to Gaiacomm as ‘dormant’ (July 2, 2007)
Forum of (Jan-Feb 2007)
Wild Wireless at Wireless Facts and Fiction (Jim DeGries blog; July 23, 2007)
An Introduction to the Mysteries of Ground Radio (Gerry Vassilatos; not dated)
Operation Argus report (1982, 142 page pdf file)
Project Argus film clip on YouTube
The Coral Castle website
The Nathan Stubblefield website

Good Morning!

This report from USA Today makes it absolutely clear where the FCC is, when it comes to a la carte programming: "... on Tuesday plans to begin considering banning programmers from tying ...".

Once more, for those who haven't had their coffee yet: PLANS to BEGIN CONSIDERING banning.

Thanks, Leslie.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Making IPTV more attractive by adding apps

These two releases look promising: middleware companies making efforts at developing applications for IPTV. The end user is empowered, the international developer community enriches the middleware, and the capablity is taken out of the hands of telcos.
  • Orca Interactive teamed with Muvee. The resulting 'Livephotos' app enables end users to "create personalised video albums from their photos and video clips, accompanied by their preferred style of music".
  • SeaChange launched its 'TV Platform Developer Program'. "The program is designed to deliver value-added applications."

Thursday, September 06, 2007

How to prepare the investment community for FTTH

Yesterday I met with an executive of a leading European telco. He invited me to exchange views. For me, these are always excellent opportunities for some reality checking.
FTTH once more demanded most of our attention. As I see it, telcos are trying to pursuade the investment community to get to grips with it.
Below are my take-aways.

My companion strongly believes in the viability of VDSL, mainly because FTTH embodies a difficult business case, but also because FTTH simply cannot be rolled-out quickly enough.

Being a member of the Smiling Fiber gang, I of course have no doubts as to the demand side of the equation. FTTH is the end game. Moreover, a back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that you need at least something like 30 Mbps in the mid term (to support several HD TV sets, BB and voice). In order to guarantee this kind of bandwidth, you really need peak performances of around 100 Mbps. QED. (Buffering a few seconds will also go a long way in raising QoS.)

As to the roll-out speed, I suppose telcos do have a point when they install VDSL – for the interim. Look at Verizon: most of the FiOS assets are built in greenfieldish places, which leaves the company extremely vulnerable in places like Manhattan, where Cablevison (Optimum) et al are upgrading. Who knows how many years before Verizon starts digging up those streets of Manhattan (the potholes could come in handy).

As I have noted before, no matter what telcos say in public, they are all aware of the necessity to move to FTTH, even if this may be some years away.

Public telcos are very much aware of investor focus on FCF and concern over FTTH. However, I see them working on multiple fronts subtly preparing the investment community for the big leap into fiber. PR-related strategies include:

  • Stress the reality of fiber today. Thousands of miles are fiberized already, ‘only’ the local loop remains.
  • Talk about greenfields. Both KPN and BT say they will roll-out to new boroughs. Now I happen to live in a big new housing development area (no crisis here), but what I have is … copper. A friend of mine who has recently moved into this area (see Map to the right) hasn’t had her home connected yet, but I am pretty sure it will be copper. In other words, committing to greenfields must be taken with a grain of salt but it is great PR.
  • Acknowledge the benefits. Capex may be high, but opex will drop dramatically. And superior services can be delivered.
  • Point to international developments. Not only PTT-like companies (Verizon, NTT, KT, Telekom Slovenije), but altnets as well (Iliad, Neuf Cegetel, SoftBank, Orange Slovensko), and even MSOs (Numericable, a Japanese co-op).
  • Drive the costs down. Verizon publishes decreasing costs for both passing and connecting homes, benefitting from its scale. Mergers will generate some economies of scale. Further, choose point-to-multipoint (sharing a fiber strand) PON technology (however, sharing fiber up to the OLT location may not be sufficient in the longer term, so you may prefer active ethernet over dedicated fiber all the way to the ONT). Also, make sure you have a sound in-home strategy ready, in order to avoid a costly addition to your opex. There is a variety of wired (HomePNA, MoCA, HomePlug for using copper, coax, PLC) and wireless (WiFi 802.11n Draft 2.0, WiMedia UWB) standards available.
  • Try to get state subsidies. This strategy worked well in Korea. Point to the economic and social benefits of a FTTH network.
  • Wait until greenfield (and other) FTTH build-outs represent let’s say 5% of your access lines. That will be the time to say: “We are at 5% already, and these homes have double the ARPU and a tenth of the churn of the copper base. And you didn’t even see our FCF suffer!”

3. Separation
We disagreed over the issue of investment incentives. Conventional wisdom is that full separation is, if not unnecessary, expensive and bad for network investments. It is supposed to take away any incentive for the NetCo to invest.

Personally, I do not quite see this. In my view, the NetCo would do wise by investing for the long term, enabling it to offer an extensive portfolio to its (wholesale) customers. Of course, there are the usual investment uncertainties; who could guarantee take-up of your shiny services? But I believe this can be dealt with. There are many new services waiting to be (built or) expanded, including monitoring, eHealth, video telephony, home access to corporate VPNs, etc.

4. Consolidation
We briefly spoke about KPN, and its Telfort, Getronics and Tele2 Belgium deals.

After our meeting was over, I got the idea for the perfect answer for Belgacom. If KPN are not stearing toward a merger with their Belgian counterpart and instead go for head-to-head competition, why not make some acquisitions in Holland? (Not unlike Swisscom buying FastWeb).
Tele2 seems to be committed to the Netherlands (a large scale ad campaign has started in relation to its 10th anniversary), DT is buying Orange NL (but may sell-on the former Wanadoo LLU assets to Tele2, bbned, Scarlet or Vodafone) and even bbned (Telecom Italia) is here to stay (it has just started a campaign for the Alice brand, which is new to Holland).
So what is left? Reggefiber! Perhaps Dik Wessels is ready to sell out of this FTTH vehicle, and with Belgacom funding roll-out could be accelerated. Reggefiber appears to be a very disciplined company, which is making a success out of FTTH. In addition, it would be a nice testing ground for Belgacom.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Google goes wireless - one way or the other

Google is set to enter the mobile market. Most recently, both an OS and a handset popped up in stories around the net. However, the company seems to follow a two-pronged strategy: do-it-yourself, or hook up to the existing ecosystem.

Once more Google is the frienemy, so it should try not to enrage existing partners. It could do this by granting them the lion's share of advertising revenues (in both the PC and the wireless spaces). Google has the technology (apps, user experience) and the advertiser relationships and could try to maximize volumes.

As to the DIY side, Om Malik provides a good point to start as it contains links to the Boston Globe (an article citing several industry execs who have seen prototypes but are under non-disclosure agreements with Google), to Engadget (on the OS) and a much-quoted blog post from Simeon Simeonov.

I believe the rationale is quite straightforward:
  • Extend its reach beyond the PC into mobile markets. Sooner or later, broadband will be ubiquitous (anywhere, any device).
  • Join the FMC (fixed/mobile convergence) trend. FMC is played from both ends. Mobile operators not only aim for FMS (substitution), but they are adding fixed services at the same time. Fixed operators not only launch the triple play, but the quad play as well.
  • Leverage its brand name. The mobile world (unlike the PC/Mac world) is controlled by operators who have an iron grip on their networks and the applications that will run on them. If Google wants a share of the mobile advertising market, it needs control over more elements of the value chain. Its strong brand may just allow it to do so. (Compare similar efforts at Apple (iPhone) and Yahoo!, whereas Nokia just announced the launch of Ovi).
  • 4G is coming. Both technology (GSM/LTE, CDMA/UMB, WiMAX, xMax and perhaps more) and spectrum (auctions coming up in many countries, including the US and the UK) are evolving toward a new generation. This is a good point in time to get on board.

To add to all this speculation, here is an overview of (rumoures of) wireless initiatives coming out of Google:

On the other hand, Google seems to be hedging its bets by forging deals with current wireless players:

Monday, September 03, 2007

Google and EutelSat to the rescue

Google added a feature to Google Maps which allows bloggers to display maps. Check out the sidebar to see where I am.
All I need now is decent access to the world from my German place. That may come through satellite.