Researchers at British Telecommunications Plc hope to have cracked running combined voice, data and video over Groupe Speciale Mobile GSM systems in the next six months. British Telecom’s efforts are separate from those by Nokia Oy, LM Ericsson AB, Siemens AG and Alcatel Alstrom SA who are working to develop next generation GSM with added wideband wireless multimedia capabilities. The work is being done in the UK at British Telecom’s labs in Martlesham. Researchers have so far achieved five frames per second of video over GSM’s limited 9.6Kbps bandwidth using a Pentium Pro-based machine. But this is only a slow jerky picture compared to the typical 25 frames per second of a television picture, commented William Johnston, senior engineer in the Mobility Engineering Unit. Johnston has achieved this in laboratory tests by linking three mobile phones together using the Multilink PPP protocol to get a research concept of what can be achieved. The goal of his research was to determine the best way of using the H.363 video standard with GSM. British Telecom does not plan to turn the research into commercial product, but plans to use it as a marketing tool to promote use of its network. In addition it is using the knowledge it has gained to contribute to the standards meetings it is involved in to determine the best definition of the H.324 standards, of which the H.363 video standard is a subset.
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