Archive for the ‘Location’ Category

Positioning LTE Direct against other proximity-aware technologies

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

LTE Direct, now being standardized in 3GPP as part of Release 12, is a platform for directly discovering and connecting nearby peers. Qualcomm and Samsung sponsored an LTE Direct workshop earlier this year in which several major operators participated. A few days ago Qualcomm made available a white paper, prepared jointly by some of the participants, that summarizes key points from the workshop.


Experimental Radio Applications at the FCC

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

This summarizes a selection of applications for the Experimental Radio Service received by the FCC during January 2011. These are related to land mobile radio, VHF propagation study, satellite communications, network-centric warfare, TV white space, software defined radio (SDR), military command and control, remotely piloted aircraft, LTE, radio direction finding, OpenBTS, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), peer-to-peer communications, flight test telemetry, automotive telemetry, WiMAX, surveillance radar, vehicle radar systems, and millimeter-wave communications.


The New York Times’ Slant on Location Services

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

I’m surprised to read in the New York Times that “location services have not caught on.”

The number of people using location-based services like Foursquare and Gowalla remains small, and does not appear to be growing, according to a report published Thursday by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Guess we don’t have to worry about a spectrum crisis/crunch.

The survey asked 2,065 adult internet users if they “use a service such as Foursquare or Gowalla that allows you to share your location with friends and to find others who are near you.” 5% said yes. In May 2010, that number was 4%. Thus, the Times’ view.

The report also says, however, that the margin of error is +/- 3% for the current number. Pew does not say what the margin of error is from its May survey. Moreover, Pew has no detail on the May survey, in contrast to the current survey, so it is hard to draw a comparison at all. Assuming the May margin of error is the same, a drop from 5% to 4% could instead be an increase from 2% to 7%.

“Location-based services” covers a lot of ground, far beyond social networking, especially in the wireless world. I think Foursquare and Gowalla are more properly called location-based applications.

I’m intrigued by a question Pew uses as a prelude to the above one. They asked 3,001 adults if they use the internet or e-mail. 74% responded yes, compared to 79% in May. Pew has no comment on this, a fairly sharp drop. Kind of like newspaper circulation.

Experimental Radio Applications at the FCC

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

This summarizes a selection of applications for the Experimental Radio Service received by the FCC during August 2010. These are related to radar, military communications, mesh networking, unmanned aerial vehicles, satellite services, biomedical telemetry, aircraft telemetry, safe-driving systems, geophysical sensors, electronic warfare, smart grid, and antenna testing.

  • INOVA Geophysical Equipment Limited filed an application (with supporting exhibits) to test a proprietary mobile radio system in the 30-36 MHz and 150-174 MHz bands. The radio links would be used to control remote geophysical seismic recording equipment, which INOVA manufactures. At the end of testing, INOVA plans to put the radio equipment into production and lease it to customers.

  • Fortress Technologies filed an application for experimental license to test several of its secure mesh-networking products developed for military applications. Several exhibits are included but they are not publicly available due to a confidentiality request. Operation is to be on 4.9425-4.9875 GHz.


Ultra-Wideband: How Regulatory and Standardization Delays Slowed a Wireless Technology

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

The FCC recently issued an order denying reconsideration petitions in its ultra-wideband (UWB) proceeding. That effectively ends the 12-year UWB rulemaking process. Mitchell Lazarus recounts how UWB became bogged down at the FCC and in a failed standardization attempt in IEEE 802.

UWB, as authorized by the FCC, operates across 3.1 to 10.6 GHz, with very low power at any one frequency; its tendency to cause or receive interference is very low.

IEEE 802 attempted to create a UWB standard in IEEE 802.15.3a but did not, as neither of two competing proposals reached the necessary voting threshold for approval. One of the competing proposals, Multi-band Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (MB-OFDM), has since seen some consumer success in Wireless USB, which is based on a platform maintained by the WiMedia Alliance; data rates are up to 480 Mbps at a range of about 10 feet.

UWB was eventually standardized in IEEE 802.15.4a, where it exists as an alternative physical-layer to standard IEEE 802.15.4-2006, a standard for very low power, low data rate devices. (The IEEE 802.15.3 family is for higher data rates with higher power consumption.) It uses what was the other competing proposal in 802.15.3a, Direct Sequence UWB (DS-UWB). This standardized form of UWB has been commercialized for asset tracking and other location services, but not yet for consumer applications.

Google patent application: Estimating wireless device location using measured data rates

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Location-based services are reaching beyond navigation and E911. Social networking, advertising, and other emerging applications are driving research and development into better technologies in support of these services, starting with the location estimation process itself.

Today, there are several ways to determine the location of a wireless device in a network. As a rough estimate, the device knows the identification of the base station or access point with which it is associated. That’s a start, but a base station can cover a wide area. To refine that, devices can use GPS. Networks of cellular base stations can measure differences in the timing or signal strength of an uplink signal, and use the results to estimate location. MAC addresses of Wi-Fi access points can be sniffed and mapped by roving monitors. Sometimes, two or more of these techniques are used in concert.