PROFILE MOHAMMAD SHOAIB
COLUMN FOR THE RECORD
POLITICS & POLICY 1- ACCESS TO INFORMATION
2-
URDU UNIVERSITY
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY  DATA COMMUNICATION
SOCIETY  CORRUPTION: HOW TO COMBAT
AND CONTAIN IT?
CORPORATE PROFILE  1- THE AWAKENING OF THE SLEEPING GIANT
2- MALLPK.COM

 

DATA COMMUNICATION

 

 

By Tariq A. Nizami
Sep 30 - Oct 06, 2002
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The world, as we all know, has already been turned into a global village and a new wireless paradigm is supposed to be something that played a vital role in it.

Mobile communication and data communication are two of the fastest growing areas in the communications industry. In particular, mobile data communication, which includes wireless Internet, carries a great deal of momentum. The media is keeping a vigilant eye on the evolution of wireless data, and operators and various kinds of enterprise have put wireless datacom at the top of their strategic agendas.

Wireless data communication combines mobile communication and data communication by giving consumers easy access through mobile phones, pagers, or other wireless devices to relevant information on the Internet and intranets. Operators see wireless data communication as an opportunity to create innovative services on top of existing networks and investments. Doing so will give them a means of differentiating themselves — for instance, to enhance their business image, reduce churn, attract new subscribers, and increase traffic volume per subscriber. Enterprises are increasingly looking for ways of increasing employee productivity. Wireless data will enable professionals to access corporate data, such as e-mail, production status, price lists, and other critical information for doing business while they are away from the office. Specific vertical segments, such as financial institutions, have expressed interest in wireless data as a way of distributing services. In this context, wireless data would improve their overall image and increase the availability of services through a rapidly growing low-cost distribution channel. These needs and initiatives have created "phone browser technologies," such as the wireless application protocol, or WAP.

NEW BUSINESS ROLES FOR OPERATORS

The intersection and merger of the wireless telecommunications and Internet industries are forming the mobile Internet market. In this realm, which is still very much characterized by transition, the rules of the game are changed and several traditional value chains have been upset. Consequently, on entering this realm, many players feel uncertain of their role. Mobile companies have carefully evaluated the situation and identified a number of emerging business models that operators can adopt to position themselves in this turbulent market. Although the business models of the mobile Internet are similar to those of the Internet, some differences have been identified:

•The role of portals to the mobile Internet is more prominent than that of portals to the traditional Internet.
•The emerging classes of service will have more impact on the success or failure of the mobile Internet than mobility-enabling technologies.
•The mobile Internet represents a major opportunity for electronic commerce (e-commerce). Opportunities are knocking the mobile Internet industry and all we have to do is to tap these knocking opportunities.

WAP is assumed as a catalyst of the mobile Internet and mobile companies are actively helping to shape the mobile Internet industry with enabling technologies, such as WAP, Bluetooth, EPOC, Parlay, GPRS, UMTS, and associated products. In particular, the wireless application protocol is an early enabler with the potential both to offer and unlock value in the emerging mobile Internet industry. In fact, WAP is probably the one technology that will kick-start the new industry and open the doors of opportunity.

I want to describe the new wireless paradigm with its emerging business roles and opportunities and then provide a brief background to WAP along with a comparison of competing technologies and solutions but due to a shortage of time I would not go into the details.

This all becomes too tricky, technical jargons, acronyms and so on and so forth, ok lets have a view of some basic facts about communication, its origin and its development chronologically along with some definitions. I am sure it would create a lot of interest in the audience. Ok we must take a good start with definitions,

WHAT IS COMMUNICATION?

It is an exchange of ideas and information or the exchange of meanings between individuals through common system of symbols. The subject of communication has concerned scholars since the time of ancient Greece. Until the modern times, however, the topic was usually subsumed under other discipline and taken for granted as a natural process inherent to teach.

Ok very interesting definition, what do you understand by Audience?

Individuals or groups of individuals who are being targeted to receive the intended information or messages.

The most important thing here is "Medium", it is the path way through which the encoded messages reaches the audience, this definition will lead us towards all this data communication. Well its time to start our chronological analysis,

START OF ELECTRONIC AGE

During the electronic age in the 1900's people used electronic knowledge to send messages to space. The radio, television and other wonders of modern communication were possible.

All these facts and figures have been discussed just to enhance the interest level of the listeners and now we must back to our actual topic, ok now let me discuss the classification of the communication networks.

CLASSIFICATION OF COMMUNICATION NETWORKS

Communication networks are usually defined by their size and complexity. We can distinguish four main types:

* Small. These networks are for the connection of computer subassemblies. They are usually contained within a single piece of equipment.
* Local area networks (LAN). These networks connect computer equipment and other terminals distributed in a localized area, e.g. a university campus, factory, office. The connection is usually a cable or fibre, and the extent of the cable defines the LAN.
* Metropolitan area networks (MAN). These networks are used to interconnect LANs that are spread around, say, a town or city. This kind of network is a high speed network using optical fibre connections.
* Wide area networks (WAN). These networks connect computers and other terminals over large distances. They often require multiple communication connections, including microwave radio links and satellite.

The converging areas of IT and telecommunications are possibly the fastest moving, most exciting areas of business and industry today. In an increasingly global and knowledge-based society, information management and transfer both are critical.

Information transfer at high speed, voice or data, means telecommunications. Despite the well-publicized recent difficulties, the revolution in telecommunications continues. New technology and de-regulation of the telecom industry are opening up new possibilities in many areas.

Users of telecommunications services are becoming more demanding — of increased amounts of higher quality data, transmitted ever faster. Interactive, broadband services for business and home — e-commerce, entertainment and location-based services — are expected, and in some cases, are already with us. While talking on the topic of data communication we just can't ignore the role of satellite.

THE ROLE OF SATELLITES

Satellite communications (satcom) allows people and businesses to exchange or broadcast information via satellites. This information can be images and television, voice and telephony, Internet, computer data, or a multimedia combination of several data types.

Satellite communication is one of the most versatile communications technologies. Satellites are used for all sorts of telecommunication systems with very different characteristics: from long distance, high capacity telephone connections between remote countries to very low rate data monitoring systems or mobile telephony.

Normally satellite communication is part of the global telecommunications infrastructure — users will not be aware of whether information is reaching them through terrestrial means or via satellite, or indeed, through a combination of both. However in the last few years satellite systems have been incorporated into millions of homes and businesses throughout the planet. Satellite television now reaches 100 million European homes — 50% of households, either directly (37 million dishes point to the sky all over Europe) or through cable distribution systems. Additionally, the rapid development of the Internet has driven demand for satellite services for the distribution of data to servers on the edge of the network.

The Satcom sector is expanding rapidly, with the majority of growth expected from the demand for broadband services. For example, subscribers to interactive multimedia services via satellite could exceed 2 million by 2006, though some estimate the demand to exceed 10 million.

Satellite communications has a number of specific advantages over alternative terrestrial systems;

* From their position in the geostationary orbit the satellite illuminates countries or continents with their signals they are optimal for broadcasting, TV, radio data or any other new service.
* They permit the quick deployment for new systems or new services. An example of this is digital television. Service providers and Broadcasters such as BskyB, Canal+ and Direct TV all selected satellites because they are the best way to make these new services available to the most people, in the shortest period, at the lowest price.
* The versatility of satellite communication systems makes them very adequate to provide quick deployment of infrastructure for emergencies, disasters or when specific high capacity links are required (such as transmitting news,sports or other events from any place in the globe etc — this is referred to as Satellite News Gathering Systems).
* Suitable for all sorts of system architectures such as public networks, corporate networks or client-server systems.
* The cost of the satellite links is independent from their distance. While high capacity trunks are usually being replaced by optic fibre systems, satellites continue being a key element of thin routes of public networks in many countries since they are the most economic, and often the only solution.
* Mobile Satellite Telecommunication Systems, such as INMARSAT, provide the means to communicate with ship, planes and other vehicles no matter where they might be.

Future systems will exploit these characteristics for the benefit of users. Interactive broadband systems tend to offer high user capacities at very low cost — low cost terminals and low cost services. These are based on an evolution in the technology allowing satellite capacities and performances 10-20 times greater than is currently possible.

On the basis of the development of these and many other applications, the market for satellite-based broadband interactive services is predicted to be worth 18 billion Euro by 2007.

As with many areas of the broader IT and telecommunications field, much of the interesting innovation for satellite services is taking place close to end-users at the application development, and service provision, end of the value chain. In order to add sufficient value, many service providers are looking at the development of end-to-end services, where content becomes an integral part of the offer.

The advent of 3rd generation mobiles, and the increased amount of data being transmitted for broadcast and bandwidth-hungry applications, present many new opportunities for satellites, as part of the infrastructure needed to support this new communications environment.

DSL, Cable, and Satellite are the three basic technologies vying to provide you with high-speed data connectivity. DSL will come from the phone companies, Cable will come from your cable provider and Satellite communications will come from other sources such as Hughes Electronics (Direct PC/TV people).

There's not necessarily going to be one technology better than the other, but it's a matter of which one serves your needs best, which one is available to you, and at what cost.

The large providers are inking deals left and right with each other to ensure they capture this market. Dell and Compaq will both include DSL "modems" in their computers and @Home (data via cable) will soon be providing its service in retail stores, it means — no more "cable guy".

Once the data reaches at home or at office, its going to have to reach the various computers and other electronic devices waiting to receive. There are several technology solutions available now and being designed for the future to provide in home networking solutions. 1) The traditional LAN solution with a hub and NIC card 2) Networking via AC power circuits in the home, with adapters plugged into wall sockets 3) Wireless solutions that use radio air waves to communicate 4) and a networking solution that leverages your existing phone lines.

Like with high-speed data communications, there's really not one solution that's best. I know that the wireless solution will be the most expensive — but for your situation wireless may be the best option. As far as Phone line or AC circuit networking — as long as they connect your computers, make you productive, and have industry support it really doesn't matter — to a degree. Once you talk about wiring your entertainment center and alarm system, these technologies have glaring differences, but this discussion is about computers. So I must not go into further details because I don't want to create a hostile and antagonistic environment anymore. So its time to wind up with the words,

Browser technologies for handheld devices are one of several key enablers for the mobile Internet. Of the competing browser technologies, WAP is almost certain to emerge as the dominant solution for second-generation systems. Over time, WAP will maintain its position and evolve to adopt the characteristics of third-generation wireless systems.

Certain key characteristics that have been observed in newly emerging business models are as follows:

•The role of mobile portals is more important to the mobile Internet than that of traditional portals to the Internet.
•Several new classes of service will accompany the rise of the mobile Internet.
•The mobile Internet vastly improves the potential of mobile electronic commerce.

As new business models take form, network operators are finding themselves in a key position to serve as mobile Internet payment and transaction centers, mobile Internet portals, and sites for mobile Internet-based e-commerce.

The services have already evolved with the introduction of GPRS, Bluetooth, and third-generation wireless technology. Application developers who develop WAP services will later develop services for EPOC, GPRS, Bluetooth, Parlay, and third generation systems. WAP is thus more than just another wireless technology; it is the catalyst of the mobile Internet. Within two to three years, WAP will have become a convenient commodity among mobile end-users, significantly changing the way they approach and carry out numerous daily tasks.