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3G Bandwidth Requirements vs. Network Capacity

Posted on Thursday 25 May 2006

Despite the fact that I no longer work in the WWAN industry on a daily basis I remain fascinated by it, especially when it comes to the data side of the house. (I realize that with the advent of digital networks that all traffic is technically data, but the carriers, internally and externally, continue to differentiate between voice traffic and non-voice traffic.)

At the end of this article in InfoWorld about a speech Jim Balsillie gave in Washington about patent reform I noted this:

After his speech, an audience member asked him to predict the future of video over wireless devices, and he said it will have some uses, but it also faces a number of limitations. Wireless data applications are just at the beginning of their potential, but wireless spectrum has limited capacity, and wireless devices have limited power supplies and storage, he said. He predicted some wireless services will soon begin to charge extra for large-bandwidth applications such as video.

Some video applications will take up the spectrum space of 150 wireless voice calls, he said. “There’s no free lunch in physics,” he added. “You can’t assume away your limitations.”

Well, Jim, welcome to the reality club. You might want to refer to these earlier posts by yours truly for background: this one, this one, this one, and even this one. (If you find your undies in a twist after reading the last one, check the date.)

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