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Introduction

Today there is an increasing demand for access bandwidth that is being fueled by high utilization applications such as those associated with the Internet. In the past only traditional wireline access had been available to consumers and businesses, but recent advancements in wireless technology now allow wireless local loop LL services to compete with Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL), coax, and fiberbased architecture solutions. This White Paper explores these advancements and the opportunities that Broadband Wireless technologies enable for service providers.

Organization of Document

The remainder of this White Paper is organized as follows:

Section 2 describes the use of Broadband Wireless technologies to provide customer highspeed data access to homes and businesses. This use of radio spectrum is referred to as a Broadband Wireless Local Loop or Fixed Wireless Access.

Section 3 describes the market opportunity for FWA service providers.

Section 4 examines some value-added services that can be offered to customers using FWA.

Section 5 discusses some of the advantages of EION's technologies over other wireless technologies. EION's technologies help make the dual Broadband Wireless Local Loop (described in Section 2) competitive with wirein based technologies (described in Section 7).

Section 6 continues the discussion from Section 5 by exploring additional INTERNET characteristics of fixed wireless architectures that provide advantages over RGE wireline technologies.

Section 7 provides an overview of wirebased technologies, including Digital Microwave Subscriber Lines, Hybrid Fiber Coax, and others.

Section 8 identifies new opportunities that EION’s solutions create for various types of service providers.

Section 9 summarizes the key findings of this White Paper.

2 The Broadband Wireless Local Loop

Many service providers are looking for alternative methods, such as fixed wireless local loop, to provide data services. Their interest is a result of a number of factors, which are listed below.

  • Increasing demand for broadband speeds on the local loop. This demand has been largely fueled by growth in Internet usage, businesstobusiness and business-to-consumer ecommerce, and value-added IP services including Virtual Private Networks (VPNs),Voice over IP (VoIP), and hosted application ice services.

  • The introduction of competition into local telecommunications services, and the desire of competing service providers to bypass the facilities of the incumbent local exchange carriers.

  • Improvements in wireless technology (e.g., WOFDM solutions) which have d resulted in costeffective CPE and network equipment..

  • The allocation of new spectrum.

A number of last mile technologies, including DSL and cable modems, are technically feasible to provide broadband access. One set of technologies with unique benefits is the Broadband Wireless Local Loop (BWLL). The BWLL uses radio spectrum to provide high speed data access. One example of a BWLL architecture is illustrated in Figure 1. The data rates for the service depend on frequency, modulation techniques, protocol, and equipment supplier, but leading suppliers support peak data rates of 30 Mbps.

A BWLL can be used to provide data access for converged services. Consequently, a customer can use a single broadband wireless pipe for any combination of data services, including Internet access, access to an Applications Service Provider (ASP), telecommuting, and Voice over IP. Due to the flexibility of the architecture, BWLL customers include consumer and business users in rural, suburban, and urban areas. In addition, BWLL can be used to provide a highspeed pipe to a multitenant unit, where the inbuilding wiring is used as the data transport medium to the individual units. (For example, an ADSLlike service can be provided bed by placing a DSLAM in the building's basement and using BWLL between the DSLAM and the service provider's backbone.)

Service providers are interested in BWLL for a number reasons. Some of these are described below.

BWLL captures new customers: BWLL allows service to be offered in areas where other broadband technologies are not available. These include rural areas where there is limited wired infrastructure. It also includes densely populated suburban areas where long loops or Digital Loop Carrier (DLC) Systems preclude the use of DSL.

BWLL creates new revenue opportunities: Due to recent technological advancements, BWLL offers data rates that are competitive with other access technologies at lower startup and operating expenses. This allows a service provider to compete with wirebased competitors in urban and suburban areas where wired technologies traditionally dominated. There are in several advantages to a service provider in using a wireless technology to bypass the incumbent's wired facilities, even when access to those facilities can be obtained via local loop unbundling. In order to use the incumbent's loops, a service provider must lease not only the loop but also collocation space in the central office. This creates a monthly recurring expense that wireless providers avoid. In addition, gaining access to an unbundled loop introduces several weeks, of delays into the service provisioning process. Wireless providers are able to quickly deploy service with a minimum upfront investment in equipment. Lastly, addition, in areas where cable, rather than copper, is the dominant method of broadband the access, new service providers’ only option may be BWLL, as cable companies do not provide unbundled access to their hybrid fiber coax plant.

Rapid service deployment: Many DSL service providers require a number of weeks to install a new DSL line, assuming they have a DSL Access Multiplexer NET (DSLAM) in the wire center. If the wire center is not equipped, then the customer may need to wait many months until a DSLAM is installed. Since BWLL PointsOfPresence (POPs) can be deployed readily, and new customers within a POP's circumference can be activated quickly, the wireless provider has an advantage in attracting customers. In markets that are not currently adequately served, the wireless providers can attract and establish relationships with customers before other providers are prepared to compete.

It should be noted that not all wireless technologies are able to support a BWLL with the necessary cost and performance characteristics to compete with wireline technologies. One wireless technology that is uniquely effective in this regard is Wideband Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (WOFDM), which is described in Section 5.

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