Standardization in the Wireless World

The advent of next-generation mobile computing calls for open standards and platforms to enable interoperability. As has been discussed in this chapter, a full spectrum of wireless technologies is set to be integrated to allow roaming in on unprecedented levels. Proprietary technologies do not fit into this new era of convergence, as it would be difficult for them to gain ground to a great extent due to the limited number of vendors and compatible products. On the contrary, open, well-crafted standards for the technology will enable and encourage any interested business parties to engage in developing and manufacturing products or offering services that are guaranteed to be interchangeable or compatible. Open standards essentially provide a solid foundation of framework of a technology as well as design constraints, thereby boosting the spread and acceptance of the technology.

A standard is a specification or definition that has been approved by a recognized standards organization such as ITU, IEEE, and ETSI, or is generally accepted as a de facto model by the industry. In the context of computing, standards exist for computer hardware, communication protocols, programming languages, operating systems, and some applications. Network communications have a wide range of standards, such as IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard for LANs, IEEE 802.11 and ETSI HIPERLAN for wireless LANs, GSM, and IS-95 and IS136.

In addition to communication standard bodies such as ITU, IEEE, and ETSI, some other standard bodies have been founded for specialized technological fields. The American
National Standards Institute (ANSI) is primarily responsible for software and programming language standardization; it has created ANSI C and C _ _ . HTML and XML have been adopted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has released a number of requests for comments (RFCs) that serve as the basis of many network protocols. Many computer peripheral standards such as the PCMCIA, Universal Serial Bus (USB), and compact flash have been created by industrial forums or associations.

Cellular Standard Groups
The two standard bodies behind competing cellular technologies are the Third Generation
Partnership Project (3GPP) and Third Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2). 3GPP is an international organization supporting the development of UMTS/WCDMA systems.
3GPP partners include ETSI of Europe, ATIS of the United States, ARIB and TTC of Japan, TTA of Korea, and CCSA of China. 3GPP has released two versions of UMTS standards, namely Release 99 and Release 2000. 3GPP2 is the parallel partnership project for cdma2000 technology. It consists of TIA of the United States, ARIB and TTC of Japan, TTA of Korea, and CCSA of China. ITU is a United Nations organization responsible for maintaining and extending worldwide coordination of different governments and private sectors and managing the radio-frequency spectrum. 3GPP and 3GPP2 are formed under ITU.

IEEE Standards
The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) has been the key standards organization in promoting networking technologies for many years. For wireless technologies, IEEE has established several working groups, mainly under the 802 standard committee.

» IEEE 802.1: LAN/MAN architecture with emphasis on internet working and link security (inactive).
» IEEE 802.2: Logical link control, part of the data-link layer protocol of a LAN.
» IEEE 802.3: Ethernet, the dominating LAN technology.
» IEEE 802.4: Token bus, a LAN technology utilizing token rings over coaxial cables.
» IEEE 802.5: Token ring, another token ring LAN technology (inactive).
» IEEE 802.6: Metropolitan area networks, a specification of MANs using Distributed Queue Dual Bus (DQDB) (inactive).
» IEEE 802.7: Broadband TAG (Technical Advisory Group), a broadband LAN.
» IEEE 802.8: Fiberoptic TAG, a fiber-optic LAN standard (inactive).
» IEEE 802.9: Isochronous LAN, an Isochronous Ethernet (IsoEnet) (inactive).
» IEEE 802.10: Security, specifying key management, access control, and data integrity for LANs and WANs (inactive).
» IEEE 802.11: Wireless LAN, a set of protocols for wireless LANs operating on unlicensed 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz bands.
» IEEE 802.12: Demand priority, 100BaseVG-AnyLAN (inactive).
» IEEE 802.13: Not used (for some reason).
» IEEE 802.14: Cable data, a MAC layer specification for multimedia traffic over hybrid fiber and coaxial networks.
» IEEE 802.15: Wireless PAN, a set of protocols for short-range wireless networks, including Bluetooth (802.15.1).
» IEEE 802.16: Broadband wireless access, PHY and MAC layer protocols for PTM broadband wireless access; WiMax is based on 802.16.
» IEEE 802.17: Resilient packet ring (RPR), a protocol to improve resilience for packet data traffic over fiber rings.
» IEEE 802.20: Mobile Broadband Wireless Access, PHY and MAC layer protocols for mobile data access.

Standards War
Emerging innovational technologies usually imply huge business opportunities. Different groups of industry alliances always attempt to influence the standardization of these technologies in favor of their own business interests. This sometimes leads to serious conflicts within a standardization body which inevitably puts the technology in stalemate and affects the promotion of the underlying technology with respect to providing a unified, interoperable solution framework for interested parties. For instance, the IEEE standardization of UWB (802.15.3) has been deadlocked due to proposals from two rivalry groups: the MBOA Alliance (Intel and TI lead) and UWB Forum (Motorola leads). Each side claims its proposal is superior to the other. Seeing no immediate ratification of a standard, both groups are moving forward to advance their approaches in commercial developments, effectively creating a segmented UWB market. The evolution of cellular networks is another example of a standards war. The lack of a global standard of cellular networks has resulted in two dominating 2G GSM and CDMA systems and two ongoing 3G deployments: UMTS/WCDMA and cdma2000, backed up by two organizations, 3GPP and 3GPP2, respectively. If a united standard agreement cannot be reached by the different groups, it is very likely the market will make the final decision. The standards body will supposedly pick the approach that is the most popular in the marketplace. Interestingly and understandably, it is not always the technically superior approach or system that eventually wins the majority of the market. We have seen this happen with Betamax versus VHS, two competing videotape standards back in the 1990s. It would be interesting to see what will happen to those emerging wireless technology standards.

Source of Information : Elsevier Wireless Networking Complete 2010

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