ITEXPO begins in:   New Coverage :  Asterisk  |  Fax Software  |  SIP Phones  |  Small Cells

Editors' Notebook
June 2001

 In this month's edition of Editors' Notebook:

Mike von Wahlde

SPICE-ing Up Mobile Coverage: Littlefeet Inc.


We live in a fragmented world. It is downright frustrating, to be honest. Mobile coverage just isn't what it is supposed to be. I live in one of the most densely populated areas in the nation, and I can't get decent reception. Is the Connecticut/New York off I-95 border really that remote and rural that it can't be covered? I don't think so.

Every time a call is dropped, I think back to CTIA and wish my service provider would have stopped by the Littlefeet booth and looked into SPICE -- a rather small solution to a large problem.

For those of us trucking around while using voice, data, and Internet-enabled services, ANY solution to dropped calls and inconsistent service is welcomed. As providers know, sometimes the answers to coverage problems are not always as simple as simply putting up new towers.

Tower location is a major issue in densely populated, or environmentally conscious areas. Many people love mobile coverage but hate the presence of large, unsightly towers. An excellent example of sentiment towards these towers is in Niles, IL, a township bordering Chicago. A rather large tower was constructed at a prominent intersection, and looked rather unsightly. The Mayor of Niles took it upon himself to lambaste the company to whom the tower belongs, calling it unsafe and irresponsible (the tower resides about 15 feet from the intersection, but is protected with guardrails) on billboards erected across the street from the tower. While the tower remains, I would like to believe that some of the local customer base for that tower might have been preserved if a better alternative may have existed. In rather politically correct areas, mobile towers can create an even larger hubbub.

Littlefeet kept this in mind during the development of SPICE. SPICE is a wireless infrastructure solution that can be easily and economically deployed to address problems with mobile coverage. SPICE networks are deployed at the street level, providing robust coverage via clusters of intelligent, remotely managed units. Just by looking at the deployment photos it is obvious to no one that there is mobile coverage overhead. While the need for base station towers still exists, the need for myriad towers does not.

How does the network spread out coverage? The bSPICE directly connects to an existing BTS and relays signals to and from the coverage (cSPICE) units, which then transfer signals to the users' wireless handsets. The cSPICE modules are relatively tiny, and can be deployed on telephone and light poles and other small structures just above street level, thus concentrating the signals where coverage is often most needed -- along the streets as we motor by and along the sidewalks upon which we tread. By locating cSPICE units closer to users, coverage quality is increased substantially. Better coverage quality is also attained by distributing high-quality homogeneous RF signal across the coverage footprint, which minimizes dropped calls and stabilizes service.

Space and cost of upkeep are prohibitive issues in network deployment. SPICE modules run on 1.6 Watt EiRP (equivalent isotropic radiated power). At any time within a SPICE network, a handset is receiving signal from multiple cSPICE units. Conversely, when transmitting, multiple cSPICE units receive its signal. This multiple signal source architecture is what makes it possible to lower the power output and deploy the units at a lower height while still maintaining complete coverage.

The SPICE network has had trial runs in several cities across the globe. The first SPICE offerings are GSM-based in order to target the largest wireless sector first, and subsequent offerings will be made utilizing CDMA, UMTS, GPRS, and EDGE protocols.

[ Return To The June 2001 Table Of Contents ]



Many tears have been shed in the quest for high-speed broadband. Service providers and carriers have to worry about the double edge of the sword -- while consumers are struggling to get faster and faster, the economy is forcing carriers to operate cheaper and cheaper. With growing Internet speed being a huge consideration, it is in carriers' best interest to explore new options to improved efficiency and lower cost, while utilizing the infrastructure that has been so costly in the making.

Occam Networks offers a unique solution to these problems with their Broadband Loop Carrier. It integrates the functionality of a digital loop carrier, a DSLAM, and a media gateway into a single, compact platform. It can be deployed anywhere in the network, from a remote terminal to a central office, and serve both residential and business subscribers.

The Broadband Loop Carrier (BLC) supports lifeline POTS and traditional voice services, plus a full range of broadband services including ADSL, G.SHDSL, VDSL, and Gigabit Ethernet. The BLC uses a single, converged, packet-based network to support both voice and data, and as a result, provides for megabit broadband data services while simultaneously supporting traditional voice services.

Occam offers value to carriers providing broadband data service in remote areas as well by providing for the use of the BLC for basic voice service and turning up broadband on a per-user basis.

Occam's unique solution is a must-see for any carrier looking for a cost-effective way to roll out both voice and data to the increasingly connected rural/remote consumer.

[ Return To The June 2001 Table Of Contents ]

Greg Galitzine Doors Close, Windows Open...


With the echoes still ringing from the recent shutter-hanging at NorthPoint Communications, a couple of opportunistic service providers came to the rescue of customers suddenly orphaned by the demise of the cash starved DSL provider. Yipes Communications and Adaptive Broadband have both established high-speed communications services with a number of NorthPoint's former customers.

Yipes was able to establish optical IP service to two customers in particular: LETCO, an options specialist and trading firm based in Chicago's financial district, and King Chapman & Broussard Consulting Group, Inc., a Houston, TX-based management consultancy with a worldwide clientele of Fortune 500 companies.

Both companies were adversely affected when NorthPoint was no longer able to provide DSL lines for Internet access -- neither could afford to lose service when the provider declared bankruptcy. "LETCO depends on the Internet, not just for e-mail but to trade stocks and research company information on stocks we trade," said Senior IT Manager Steve Hoffman. "It's really a mission-critical tool for us."

When the firms learned that their DSL service would soon be terminated, neither had a backup in place. Their IT experts scrambled to find alternatives, only to find that other suppliers of DSL and traditional T-1 lines would take weeks to deliver service. Such long delays were unacceptable. "I couldn't afford the downtime," said Craig Puckett, IT manager at King Chapman & Broussard. "Reliable e-mail service is vital to communications with our consultants and clients."

Then his building manager told Puckett about Yipes, whose gigabit optical IP network already served offices where King Chapman & Broussard is headquartered. Puckett said, "I called Yipes on a Monday afternoon, signed a service contract on Wednesday, and had service up and running smoothly by Friday." With Yipes, King Chapman & Broussard now enjoys three times its previous Internet Bandwidth.

Yipes uses Ethernet to carry IP packets over optical fiber. This offers significant advantages over traditional wide area services in terms of cost, network simplicity, bandwidth scalability, and provisioning time, without sacrificing reliability, quality of service, or other essential network characteristics.

Adaptive Broadband
Another service provider who happened to be at the right place at the right time is Adaptive Broadband, a provider of fixed wireless broadband access technology. NextWeb, a Fremont, CA-based Internet service provider, saw it's subscriber base of small and medium business double in the wake of NorthPoint's downfall. NextWeb uses Adaptive Broadband's AB-Access fixed wireless equipment to provide high-speed Internet connections to their customers. Essentially, the technology enables users to ramp up from dial-up speeds of 56K to blazing fast access approaching 25 Mbps -- a nearly 400-fold increase.

Another Adaptive broadband customer, Northern Illinois-based ISP DataFlo was able to transfer many of their customers in under three days. According to DataFlo president, Doug Coker, "These customers are getting the same data transmission speeds that DSL offered and a more reliable connection to boot."

[ Return To The June 2001 Table Of Contents ]

Today @ TMC
Upcoming Events
ITEXPO West 2012
October 2- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas
The World's Premier Managed Services and Cloud Computing Event
Click for Dates and Locations
Mobility Tech Conference & Expo
October 3- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas
Cloud Communications Summit
October 3- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas