Saturday, January 05, 2002

Another interesting wireless data weblog: Alan Reiter's Wireless Data Web Log

He disagrees in many ways with Theo Kanter.

Alan Reiter emphasizes that carrier operated cellular networks will continue to be the first choice for voice communication and should be coupled with wireless data networks.

Theo Kanter proposes VoIP and says circuit switching and resource reservation capabilities of conventional carrier networks are unnecessary overhead ("because bandwidth is not a fundamental problem"). Secondly he claims that because session initiation functionality (i.e. "calling someone") is built into the carrier networks they severely limit the way the network can be used.

On Jan 7th I received the following clarification on this from Theo Kanter:

This entry of CB's weblog ( cites my research and indicates that Alan Reiter and I have opposing views. I think this is an oversimplification as it assumes my statements about simplifying transport and hence also enabling the delivery of multimedia services to mobile users that are no longer *bundled* with the method to gain network access can be simply interpreted as that carrier operated cellular networks are going to go away. What is safe to say is that voice *will* be carried by packets in the backbone, as it consumes very little bandwidth on top of all other multimedia and data traffic. Then it is a matter of choice for the consumers, whether they are interested in more than voice. If they are only interested in voice, then they can get a voice service over a circuit-switched access exactly as it is done to today. This process of technology replacement is already taking place and part of the roadmap towards 3G. The controversy lies is how to deliver voice as part of a mix of multimedia and data services. My statements (bandwidth-reservation and circuit-switching have no future) concern the alternative methods of transport and that other ways of delivering these services exist, which incidently also challenge the current business model of operators of cellular voice services. The correctness of my assumptions are further emphasized by current developments in e.g. the Nordic countries where a mixed wireless broadband infrastructure (3G/WLAN) is being deployed. This indicates that we will see *new* types of operators and that the old ones have to adapt and this change is what we are observing at this moment. Hope that this sheds some light on the alleged controversy.