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September 18, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 1:58pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Alcatel-Alsthom SA’s Space and Defense Division and Stanford Telecommunications Inc have released new details of their proposed high speed wireless technology, which promises operators the chance to offer data exchanges at speeds 250 times faster than ISDN. The Alcatel 9900 WW wideband wireless access system, likely to be in operation by the end of next year, could provide a massive boost to competition by undercutting traditional telecoms providers. Described as ‘wireless local loop’, the system bundles voice, video and data over a wireless link between a customer site and the telecoms and data backbones switches. The market it is aimed at is twofold, first to interconnect mobile phone base stations into a central station, and second to provide high speed data, voice and video access for consumers or small and medium sized businesses. To receive the service, customers will need around $750 in equipment and an antenna 20 centimeters in size. The products are due to be trialed in mid 1998. Operators most likely to be attracted by the system are the new entrants to the de-regulated communications business, which Alcatel believes are going to need the low capital cost associated with wireless. Rather than having to lay their own networks, they will be able to deliver broadband communications to customers instantly. The system uses variable microwave radio frequencies between 10 and 41GHz, using Asynchronous Transfer Mode over the Time Division Multiple Access protocol. Each base-station has the capacity for four 155Mbps channels, and can carry traffic asynchronously -different download and upload speeds- which is ideal for Internet access, or synchronously for voice and video. The research and development costs of the project have been shouldered equally by Stanford and Alcatel. Alcatel has provided the radio and telecoms expertise, while Stanford has researched the signal processing technology, which it has been working on for three years. Both companies reckon that they have a has a six month product lead over the competition. Both Alcatel and Stanford, however, continue to invest in high speed wire technologies, Stanford with its cable modem products, and Alcatel with Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line products. Both deliver high speed communications at around the same speed, for a price of for the equipment at both ends of the line of $1000, but these are marketed at established telecommunications or cable companies.

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