Deep future panel at PIMRC

The PIMRC 2010 panel on Wednesday morning in Istanbul on the “Deep future: Beyond IMT advanced” was led by Werner Mohr of Nokia-Siemens Networks (left)and provided a few interesting discussion items.  One of the key issues discussed where mobile data traffic projections and  the need for additional spectrum for “mobile”. Again exponential curves for traffic growth were presented and a corresponding towering demand for spectrum  – up to 1 GHz spectrum (Cengiz Evic of Alcatel-Lucent) , of which about 300 Mhz had already been identified. My question to the panel was – is this growth really sustainable? The “exponential” character all agreed is mainly due to the introduction of flat rate data plans – and if more and more users will the caps of their plans, it will indeed limit the growth (or even stifle it).  Rahim Tafazolli of the University Surrey outlined some of the solutions – more advanced signal processing techniques (e.g. collaborative transmission) and/or smaller cells. The latter all agreed is a way to save energy and provide a lot of capacity, with significantly lower spectrum demands. The argument was re-enforced by Shozo Kato or Tohoku University who proposed 60GHz high-capacity, short range WLAN solutions that would eliminate the spectrum problems. My question how the operators will deal with indoor coverage since from a business perspective its much easier for the facility/building owner to install the wireless infrastructure since he usually has the backhaul already in place, remained unanswered.  This is really a clash of business models between mobile operators charging for their services and facilities owners that see wireless access as a sanitary requirement, just as electricity and air-conditioning.

Walter Tuttlebee of the Mobile VCE in UK (left) gave an interesting review of what problems would be “Nice” to solve, and for which solutions are “Necessary”. Among the latter he pointed out the Energy problem – there is no way of escaping lower energy consumption if we want to maintain the industry’s growth (and eventually our survival).  Personally, I added the cost reductions as another necessary problem to solve to sustain current growth in wireless access.

Jens Zander

About Jens Zander

Professor Jens Zander is professor in Radio Communication Systems at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. He has been among the few in Swedens Ny Teknik magazine's annual list of influential people in ICT that have been given the epithet “Mobile Guru”. He is one of the leading researchers in mobile communication and is the Scientific director of the industry/academia collaboration center Wireless@KTH. His research group focuses on three main areas – the efficient and scalable use of the radio frequency spectrum, economic aspects of mobile systems and application and energy efficiency in future wireless infrastructures.
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