Thursday 17 February 2011

The Latest on 3G and 4G Terminology

This entry updates my previous entry concerning the impact of HSPA only sites. It addresses recent changes in the generation or G nomenclature, in particular the use of 4G, LTE and WiMAX.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations sponsored regulatory body for such things, held the World Radiocommunication Seminar 2010 (WRS-10) in Geneva, Switzerland the week of December 06, 2010.

One of the decisions was that the collective name for the next generation of wireless services will be called International Mobile Telecommunications - Advanced (IMT-Advanced) and have the two components “LTE-Advanced” and “WirelessMAN-Advanced”

In a related announcement, it approved the use of the term 4G for LTE or WiMAX technologies and “other evolved 3G technologies providing a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third generation.”

This legitimized a practice the major US vendors started using a year ago as they increased their data speeds with HSPA and HSPA+ (LTE) or EV-DO Rec C (WiMAX) technology and started to identify the service as 4G in the their major advertising campaigns with a note in the fine print that it was using enhanced 3G equipment.

Canadian carriers continued to use the more traditional terms. This led to some amusing entries in technical forums and newspaper comment sections by officious sounding experts bemoaning the fact that Canada was stuck in 3G while the US was already using 4G. In reality, Canada was ahead on the US in deploying the advanced technology but adhering to the internationally approve terminology.

Once the ITU announced the new guidelines, the Canadian carriers jumped quickly onto the bandwagon. These two press releases by Telus, one in 2010 and one in 2011 illustrate the point. In 2010, the 42 Mbps download was called Dual carrier HSPA+. In 2011 Telus touted the same system as 4G. I would expect the other major cell vendors will be close behind. Barrett Xplornet is currently proclaiming their new wireless and satellite services as 4G.

Maybe the meant to be humourous Best Buy Super Bowl with Bieber and Osborne about a 6G phone may not be that far off after all.

Saturday 12 February 2011

North Sault Broadband and Cellular News 12 Feb 2011

Followers of the blog with an interest in the status of the North Sault broadband (high-speed Internet) and cellular service will by now be aware that the services are still not available.
The best I can report is I am receiving updates to the effect that the remedial work required by MTS Allstream on their Bellevue tower before they will approve Tbaytel mounting their equipment is taking longer than planned. The delays are attributed to engineering design work, engineering coordination and the weather. Much of this work is being done by third party contractors.
The Heyden and Goulais (Buttermilk) sites are ready. Once the tower reinforcement and the antenna mounting hardware work is completed at Bellevue, the necessary broadband and microwave antennas will be installed. The system can then become operational
The Bellevue tower is critical to providing service as it acts as the hub and spoke with links to the Goulais (Buttermilk), Heyden and Searchmont sites.
As Albert Einstein said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Wishing to avoid insanity, I am not going to predict a new projected in-service date.
I am in regular contact with Tbaytel staff and will post any credible date they provide. In fairness, Tbaytel is somewhat at the mercy of the Bellevue tower owner, and their third party engineers, who has the final say on what can be mounted on their tower.
On a positive note, I received confirmation from Tbaytel that the 3G HSPA Rogers overlay project will be implemented in the Algoma District, including the North Sault area, this year. I will post additional information as it becomes available to me. See my blog for how it is working in other areas.

3G HSPA Broadband in South Algoma and West Sault

I have received reports that the Northland Consultant team has been extremely busy installing external Yagi style antennas and connecting them to customer provided Bell or Rogers data hubs. My understanding is they have done installations on St. Joseph Island, on the mainland along the St Joseph North Channel, the area north of Bruce Mines towards Rydal Bank, Echo Lake Road area and the area south of the SSM airport.

Once set-up, speed tests show a 3-5 Mbps download and 2-4 Mbps upload. I guess I had better be like the ISPs and state that these are samples only and your actual statistics may vary due to terrain, weather, local situation and other acts of the technology gods.

If you are near any Bell or Rogers cell site and want broadband (high speed Internet), you may want to give this a try.

For more information about HSPA broadband, see my blog entry.

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Pointes des Chênes and SSM Airport Wireless Broadband

Vianet is offering wireless point-to-multipoint broadband service in the Pointes des Chênes and SSM Airport areas. The Internet Service Provider (ISP) will use wireless technology to deliver broadband (high-speed Internet) to the subscribers' premises. The figure following illustrates the basic components of wireless broadband (high-speed Internet) system. This wireless system is completely different from Wi-Fi or satellite systems.
Full details are available at
Summary and Map
Vianet’s Sault Ste. Marie Ontario Wireless
  • $49.95 /month
  • Equipment rental included
  • Speeds: Up to 1.5 Mbps downstream, up to 512 Kbps upstream
  • 5 Email Accounts
  • Free Junk mail filtering
  • Webmail Access
  • 100 MB of personal web space
  • No Charge Dialup connection if wireless access fails
  • One time Install charge of $149.95
Coverage Areas: Link
Sign Up Now:
Online | By Fax