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« Journal Peers into Cell Future | Main | Helio Says Goodbye to Hybrid »

March 28, 2007

EVDO Rev. B Starts to Rev Its Publicity Engine

By Glenn Fleishman

Ars Technica writes up the coming specs for EVDO Rev. B: We won’t see it until for a couple of years at least—EVDO Rev. A is just really rolling out right now on Verizon and Sprint Nextel’s networks—but Rev. B will scorch Rev. A speeds. Rev. A might top 3 Mbps in ideal circumstances, but Rev. B showed 9.3 Mbps on average using a 5 MHz channel (3xEVDO, I believe, versus 1xEVDO today) in testing.

A fact that doesn’t get the same kind of attention as these speeds is how the backbone serves the cell sites that produce such high numbers. I have been told many times in the past by industry insiders that the U.S. cellular network only has a subset of its site served by more than T-1 lines or the equivalent. This is changing, but it’s a huge cost, and many locations can’t easily support fiber lines or faster service. This is where fixed WiMax and other wireless backhaul may come into effect, using licensed bandwidth on a point-to-multipoint basis to drive data to the cell sites which then distribute in a cloud around themselves.

Because of the slow pace of broadband speed improvements in the U.S., it’s likely that Rev. B could outstrip wireline broadband in many parts of the country and parts of many cities. While fiber to the home or node will be widespread by 2009, it’s predicted to be available to perhaps a quarter of the US population, of which only a portion will subscribe. Thus Sprint and its mobile WiMax and Verizon and its Rev. B could give wireline a run for its money. Except that Verizon’s current position is that cellular data isn’t a replacement for wireline; Sprint’s mobile WiMax rollout has a very different attitude, closer to Clearwire’s.

Posted by Glennf at March 28, 2007 12:46 PM

Categories: EVDO, Future


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