Wireless Systems Design

It's Quality Of Service Or Bust

These days, the most common complaints about cell phones have to do with quality of service (QoS). Consumers want and expect to receive landline-type service on their cell phones. Dropped calls are simply no longer acceptable. One solution to this problem is for providers to add more base stations. Both interference and the number of dropped calls would then drastically decrease while capacity increased.

While this solution sounds simple, it also is deceptive. Take, for example, what happened in my neighboring town. Last summer, it erected a base station. Within a month's time, irate neighbors had organized themselves. They began tirelessly explaining how this base station was going to cause cancer in everyone within a three-mile radius. The city council never knew what hit it. Last I heard, the contract that authorized the building of the base station had been revoked. The council was even threatening to have it torn down—all because of the so-called large amounts of radiation emitted from the tower.

I am not going to debate the accuracy or fallacy of this group's belief. The fact is that many people around the world foster similar concerns. Some also protest the installation of base stations on the grounds that they are aesthetically unappealing. There appears to be no way to please both of these camps and deliver the cellular consumers' QoS. Or is there?

As many of you may already be aware, a strange phenomenon exists in nature whereby some materials exhibit superconductivity at relatively high temperatures. Though this discovery came about many years ago, a company called Superconductor Technologies, Inc. (STI) is now actually using it as the backbone of a solution for improving QoS.

According to the company, high-temperature-superconducting (HTS) technology can be used to produce cryogenic-receiver front ends (CRFEs). These CRFEs optimally enhance the wireless uplink (mobile to base station). In essence, CRFEs feature high selectivity and high sensitivity, which leads to enhanced capacity, coverage, and quality. These characteristics make them ideal for solving interference and capacity issues in both suburban and urban areas. Impressively, this solution boasts a small size and a MTBF of 250,000 hrs.

To date, STI has currently sold and deployed over 2000 systems. Clearly, this viable solution is quickly gaining speed. Looking at conflicts like the one that's occurring in my neighboring town, it's easy to understand why STI might be on the right track. For more information on the company or HTS technology, go to www.supertech.com. Or, e-mail me at cajluni@penton.com.

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