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PC World

Wireless Web gets a boost


November 11, 1999
Web posted at: 9:47 a.m. EST (1447 GMT)

by Cameron Crouch

(IDG) -- Someday soon, we may all surf the Internet wirelessly, on myriad gadgets attached to our hips.

Qualcomm's high data rate technology may get the proverbial ball rolling. On Monday, Qualcomm unveiled its HDR technology, which promises wireless data connections at impressive speeds of up to 1.8 megabits per second.

"On the tenth anniversary of the demonstration of our digital cellular phone technology, CDMA, there are now over 65 companies who've licensed it," says Dr. Irwin W. Jacobs, Qualcomm chair and chief executive officer. "They're looking for a third generation of CDMA that supports voice and data."

Steps to super speed

But before HDR comes the next step, called 1x, says Jacobs. 1x uses the same bandwidth as the current IS-95A standard but offers double capacity for operators. Products using this technology will start to appear by the end of this year.

"With CDMA we were responding to the desire for capacity increase and wireline voice quality; now the interest is in wireless data, with the Internet clearly the key to that," says Dr. Paul Jacobs, senior vice president of Qualcomm and president of Qualcomm consumer products.

Optimized for packet data services based on standard Internet protocols, HDR will help mobile users get connected to the Internet, with a peak data rate of up 2.4 mbps, using a standard cdmaOne 1.25-MHz channel bandwidth.

HDR will be a strong competitor for DSL, cable modems, and satellites, says Irwin Jacobs. "It will not only support those kind of high data rates in the home, but also when you're moving."

Along with the technology demonstration, Qualcomm announced a new family of chip sets and system software to support HDR. The first product, the iMSM4500 Mobile Station modem, will support HDR and the existing IS-95A and IS-95B standards. It provides a Universal Serial Bus interface to support high data rates, and is expected to be in production in 2001.

New wireless data technologies provide significant bandwidth, Paul Jacobs says. "We're really at about 13 kilobits per second with today's phones; when you browse [the Web] it's pretty slow. At 56 kbps, the Web becomes interesting and at 128, you can have streaming and things."

With HDR, you could sit down with a laptop and browse the Web at higher speeds than you can get on a wire network, he adds.

  PC World home page
  Nextel preps phone, portal
  Wireless home LANs get cheaper

All the little gadgets

HDR-enabled devices will put built-in cameras, color screens, and Web browsers in mobile phones, predicts Paul Jacobs. Still, not all phones will go the way of the total--and portable--computing device. He expects voice-based phones will continue to get smaller while others will be used solely to download information.

For entertainment companies, high-speed wireless is very enticing, Paul Jacobs adds. Radios will be embedded in many devices.

"Instead of playing your GameBoy in the car, you can carry a wireless device and play Internet games with someone else," he says.

Yahoo unveils wireless service
August 13, 1999
3Com readies Palm platform for smart phones
August 4, 1999
3Com eyes WAP for use in Palm devices
July 19, 1999

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Year 2000 World
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