New Terms for a New RealityJune 2, 2010
WireIE was founded on the basis that significant change was imminent in the world of wireless network technology, our company’s core expertise. This change would impact the way services would be delivered. In fact, the very nature of the services themselves would significantly change. New approaches to designing, deploying and managing networks would result, and WireIE was ideally positioned to be a leader in this changed market.
At WireIE we always have our sights set on the next generation. Of course, “next generation” is a relative term because from the client’s perspective it doesn’t necessarily mean transforming to 4G. As a global company, some of WireIE’s clients operate in markets where the business case for 3G – ‘their’ next generation – is only now becoming valid. Regardless, our industry is well on its way in it’s transformation from the legacy of circuit-switched voice infrastructure to frame/packet data networks based on the Internet Protocol (IP). And it’s not just the infrastructure that’s transforming. So too is the business itself.
As with any transformation, some are challenged to let go of the old and familiar, and embrace the new. Others may be tempted to take experience from the old and superimpose it on the new.
The Telco in a World Dominated by IP
At WireIE, we’re promoting minor adjustments to terminology that we feel more appropriately capture the reality of the transformation our industry is going through. For example, most of our clients have traditionally been telcos – an abbreviation for telephone company, ortelecommunications company. In most jurisdictions, telcos are common carriers. A common carrier is an entity that transports goods or passengers for a person or company. The common carrier is usually licensed and regulated by a government authority and is responsible for protecting against any potential loss of goods during transport. Implicit in a common carrier’s obligations are corresponding regulatory protections to ensure the common carrier is financially sustainable.
While we don’t dispute the common carrier aspect of telcos, we believe the historical context of the telco term under-represents and potentially misrepresents the nature of their transformed business.
With the integration of IP into the very core of our networks, it could be argued the nature of our business begins to have more in common with Internet Service Provision (ISP, or in the case of a wireless network, WISP). Sure, there is inevitably underlying telco infrastructure supporting an ISP, but in the world of IP where routing is highly dynamic and adaptable, and therefore tolerant of carrier facility disruption, we feel it’s more valid to talk in terms of the network. As such, we choose to refer to telcos as network operators.
As a company that transforms networks, there’s a method in our madness. Network transformation of the magnitude we’re seeing as a result of data usage, also means business and operational transformation. Using a term like telco reinforces the cultural inertia some are experiencing in our industry. In our view network operator modernizes the language.
There’s So Much More to Wireless IP Networks Than Wi-Fi
WireIE offers a number of solutions for wireless network access, along with an innovative suite of IP Packet Radio solutions for backhaul. Because of the broad adoption of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11) as a wireless IP access technology, many are naturally inclined to assume that when wireless and IP are mentioned in the same breath, we’re talking about Wi-Fi. In this day and age, and certainly going forward, nothing could be farther from the truth.
4G wireless technologies are entirely IP based and 3G/3.5G technologies have significant IP infrastructure supporting their wireless data services. 3G, 3.5G and 4G are macro networks offering ubiquitous coverage and mobility. They support roaming. They also offer predictability and reliable service levels. Designing, deploying and operating a wireless macro network requires highly specialized expertise, along with sophisticated design tools. WireIE extends and transforms macro networks using the industry’s best-of-breed.
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