Standardization - an even battle-field?

Monday, May 7, 2007

The standardization process for the wireless standards also illustrate how the dynamics in the wireless industry play out. 3GPP2, of course, is a one-man show. If QualComm wants to make the best of its Flarion acquisition by standardizing the purchased IP, it has a clean passage to do so. It is however not such a smooth ride in 3GPP.

3GPP is dominated by the European bigwigs and others who are wary of QualComm's engineering capabilities. They are very careful not to allow any one player to dominate or even insert essential IP for which they will be paid huge royalties. In fact, 3GPP, has almost devolved into an effort to stop the advances of CDMA2000 and the resulting dominance of QualComm. The WCDMA evolution path from the GSM world has been carefully written such that QualComm does not own all essential IP required to build a modem. Of course, this is where each company's position on what is essential IP differs. This is also the genesis of all the lawsuits and counter-lawsuits that have hit the wireless world recently. We will get to this point a little later. For the time-being, let us focus on some action in 3GPP.

3GPP has multiple working groups. There are a couple though where the fiercest of wireless battles are fought. The first is Radio Access Network Working Group 1 (RAN WG1 or simply RAN1), where its all about the future. The so-called "Long Term Evolution (LTE)" path talks of the means to the next generation. The second is RAN4 where the current modem development technology is defined. In other words, RAN4 defines the present and the specifications that each phone has to meet.

In the sequels, you will find some highlights from both of these working groups to provide a look into the mindset of each of these companies.

Posted by Vijay Nagarajan at 10:32 AM  


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