Making Telecoms Work: From Technical Innovation to Commercial Success


Bridging the industry divide between the technical expertise of engineers and the aims of market and business planners, Making Telecoms Work provides a basis for more effective interdisciplinary analysis of technology, engineering, market and business investment risk and opportunity. Since fixed and mobile broadband has become a dominant deliverable, multiple areas of transition and transformation have occurred; the book places these changes in the context of the political, social and economic dynamics of the ...

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Making Telecoms Work: From Technical Innovation to Commercial Success

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Bridging the industry divide between the technical expertise of engineers and the aims of market and business planners, Making Telecoms Work provides a basis for more effective interdisciplinary analysis of technology, engineering, market and business investment risk and opportunity. Since fixed and mobile broadband has become a dominant deliverable, multiple areas of transition and transformation have occurred; the book places these changes in the context of the political, social and economic dynamics of the global telecommunications industry.

Drawing on 25 years of participative experience in the mobile phone and telecommunications industry, the author closely analyses the materials, components and devices that have had a transformative impact. By presenting detailed case studies of materials innovation, such as those shown at success story Apple, the book shows how the collaboration of technological imagination with business knowledge will shape the industry’s future.

  • Makes a link between the technical aspects and the business practice of the telecoms industry, highlighting the commercial and economic significance of new developments
  • Gives a historical analysis of past successes and failures in order to identify future competitive advantage opportunities
  • Supplies detailed case studies of supply chain disconnects and the impact these have on industry risk and profitability
  • Brings together technological detail with analysis of what is and is not commercially important, from the implications of energy and environmental networks to the technical details of wireless network hardware.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In this excellent book, Geoff Varrall uses his 25 years of experience within the mobile phone and telecommunications industries to analyse the components, devices, and materials that will have a significant impact on the marketplace.” (, 16 April 2012)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781119976417
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/8/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Geoff Varrall joined RTT in 1985 as an executive director and shareholder to develop RTT's international business as a provider of technology and business services to the wireless industry.
He co-developed RTT's original series of design and facilitation workshops including 'RF Technology', 'Data Over Radio', 'Introduction to Mobile Radio', and 'Private Mobile Radio Systems’ and developed 'The Oxford Programme', a five day strategic technology and market programme presented annually with the Shosteck Group. Over the past twenty years, several thousand senior level delegates have attended these programmes.
As a Director of Cambridge Wireless, Geoff is involved in a number of wireless heritage initiatives that aim to capture and record past technology and engineering experience and has helped with fundraising at the Science Museum for the new Making of Modern Communications Gallery opening in 2014.

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Table of Contents

Foreword xvii

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations xix

Acknowledgements xxiii

1 Introduction 1

1.1 Differentiating Technology and Engineering Innovation 1

1.2 Differentiating Invention and Innovation 2

1.3 The Role of Standards, Regulation and Competition Policy 2

1.4 Mobile Broadband Auction Values – Spectral Costs and Liabilities and Impact on Operator Balance Sheets 3

1.5 TV and Broadcasting and Mobile Broadband Regulation 4

1.6 Technology Convergence as a Precursor of Market Convergence? 5

1.7 Mobile Broadband Traffic Growth Forecasts and the Related Impact on Industry Profitability 5

1.8 Radio versus Copper, Cable and Fibre – Comparative Economics 6

1.9 Standardised Description Frameworks – OSI Seven-Layer Model as a Market and Business Descriptor 7

1.10 Technology and Engineering Economics – Regional Shifts and Related Influence on the Design and Supply Chain, RF Component Suppliers and the Operator Community 8

1.11 Apple as an Example of Technology-Led Market Innovation 12


2 Physical Layer Connectivity 15

2.1 Differentiating Guided and Unguided Media 15

2.2 The Transfer of Bandwidth from Broadcasting to Mobile Broadband 15

2.3 The Cost of Propagation Loss and Impact of OFDM 17

2.4 Competition or Collaboration? 18

2.5 The Smith Chart as a Descriptor of Technology Economics, Vector Analysis and Moore’s Law 19

2.6 Innovation Domains, Enabling Technologies and their Impact on the Cost of Delivery 20

2.7 Cable Performance Benchmarks 33

2.8 Hybrid Fibre Coaxial Systems 34

2.9 The DVB-S Satellite Alternative 35

2.10 Terrestrial TV 35

2.11 Copper Access – ADSL and VDSL Evolution 36

2.12 The Copper Conundrum – the Disconnect between Competition Policy and Technical Reality 42

2.13 OFDM in Wireless – A Similar Story? 42

2.14 Chapter Summary 54

3 Interrelationship of the Physical Layer with Other Layers of the OSI Model 55

3.1 MAC Layer and Physical Layer Relationships 55

3.2 OFDM and the Transformative Power of Transforms 56

3.3 The Role of Binary Arithmetic in Achieving Sensitivity, Selectivity and Stability 61

3.4 Summary 69

3.5 Contention Algorithms 69

3.6 The WiFi PHY and MAC Relationship 73

3.7 LTE Scheduling Gain 83

3.8 Chapter Summary 88

4 Telecommunications Economies of Scale 91

4.1 Market Size and Projections 91

4.2 Market Dynamics 97

4.3 Impact of Band Allocation on Scale Economics 103

4.4 The Impact of Increased RF Integration on Volume Thresholds 113

4.5 The RF Functions in a Phone 118

4.6 Summary 123

5 Wireless User Hardware 125

5.1 Military and Commercial Enabling Technologies 125

5.2 Smart Phones 129

5.3 Smart Phones and the User Experience 141

5.4 Summary So Far 142

5.5 RF Component Innovation 146

5.6 Antenna Innovations 153

5.7 Other Costs 162

5.8 Summary 165

6 Cable, Copper, Wireless and Fibre and theWorld of the Big TV 167

6.1 Big TV 167

6.2 3DTV 169

6.3 Portable Entertainment Systems 170

6.4 Summary of this Chapter and the First Five Chapters – Materials Innovation, Manufacturing Innovation, Market Innovation 171


7 Device-Centric Software 175

7.1 Battery Drain – The Memristor as One Solution 175

7.2 Plane Switching, Displays and Visual Acuity 176

7.3 Relationship of Display Technologies to Processor Architectures, Software Performance and Power Efficiency 177

7.4 Audio Bandwidth Cost and Value 181

7.5 Video Bandwidth Cost and Value 182

7.6 Code Bandwidth and Application Bandwidth Value, Patent Value and Connectivity Value 184

8 User-Centric Software 185

8.1 Imaging and Social Networking 185

8.2 The Image Processing Chain 186

8.3 Image Processing Software – Processor and Memory Requirements 191

8.4 Digital Camera Software 194

8.5 Camera-Phone Network Hardware 196

8.6 Camera-Phone Network Software 196

8.7 Summary 197

9 Content- and Entertainment-Centric Software 199

9.1 iClouds and MyClouds 199

9.2 Lessons from the Past 200

9.3 Memory Options 203

9.4 Gaming in the Cloud and Gaming and TV Integration 205

9.5 Solid-State Storage 206

10 Information-Centric Software 211

10.1 Standard Phones, Smart Phones and Super Phones 211

10.2 Radio Waves, Light Waves and the Mechanics of Information Transfer 212

10.3 The Optical Pipe and Pixels 214

10.4 Metadata Defined 217

10.5 Mobile Metadata and Super-Phone Capabilities 219

10.6 The Role of Audio, Visual and Social Signatures in Developing ‘Inference Value’ 221

10.7 Revenues from Image and Audio and Memory and Knowledge Sharing – The Role of Mobile Metadata and Similarity Processing Algorithms 221

10.8 Sharing Algorithms 222

10.9 Disambiguating Social Mobile Metadata 223

10.10 The Requirement for Standardised Metadata Descriptors 223

10.11 Mobile Metadata and the Five Domains of User Value 224

10.12 Mathematical (Algorithmic Value) as an Integral Part of the Mobile Metadata Proposition 225

11 Transaction-Centric Software 229

11.1 Financial Transactions 229

11.2 The Role of SMS in Transactions, Political Influence and Public Safety 230

11.3 The Mobile Phone as a Dominant Communications Medium? 232

11.4 Commercial Issues – The End of the Cheque Book? 232


12 Wireless Radio Access Network Hardware 237

12.1 Historical Context 237

12.2 From Difference Engine to Connection Engine 238

12.3 IP Network Efficiency Constraints 240

12.4 Telecoms – The Tobacco Industry of the Twentyfirst Century? 242

12.5 Amortisation Time Scales 242

12.6 Roads and Railways and the Power and Water Economy – The Justification of Long-Term Returns 243 12.6.1 Historical Precedents – Return on Infrastructure Investment Time Scales 243

12.7 Telecommunications and Economic Theory 244

12.8 The New Wireless Economy in a New Political Age? 250

12.9 Connected Economies – A Definition 251

12.10 Inferences and Implications 254

12.11 The Newly Connected Economy 255

13 Wireless Core Network Hardware 257

13.1 The Need to Reduce End-to-End Delivery Cost 257

13.2 Microwave-Link Economics 258

13.3 The Backhaul Mix 259

13.4 The HRAN and LRAN 260

13.5 Summary – Backhaul Options Economic Comparisons 263

13.6 Other Topics 264

14 Cable Network and Fibre Network Technologies and Topologies 267

14.1 Telegraph Poles as a Proxy for Regulatory and Competition Policy 267

14.2 Under the Streets of London 267

14.3 Above the Streets of London – The Telegraph 269

14.4 Corporate Success and Failure – Case Studies – The Impact of Regulation and Competition Policy 269

14.5 The Correlation of Success and Failure with R and D Spending 271

14.6 Broadband Delivery Economics and Delivery Innovation 273

15 Terrestrial Broadcast/Cellular Network Integration 275

15.1 Broadcasting in Historical Context 275

15.2 Digital Radio Mondiale 277

15.3 COFDM in DRM 277

15.4 Social and Political Impact of the Transistor Radio 278

15.5 Political and Economic Value of Broadcasting 280

15.6 DAB, DMB and DVB H 281

15.7 HSPA as a Broadcast Receiver 283

15.8 Impact of Global Spectral Policy and Related Implications for Receiver Design and Signal Flux Levels 284

15.9 White-Space Devices 287

15.10 Transmission Efficiency 289

15.11 Scale Economy Efficiency 289

15.12 Signalling Efficiency 289

15.13 Power Efficiency Loss as a Result of a Need for Wide Dynamic Range 290

15.14 Uneconomic Network Density as a Function of Transceiver TX and RX Inefficiency 290

15.15 Cognitive Radios Already Exist – Why Not Extend Them into White-Space Spectrum? 290

15.16 An Implied Need to Rethink the White-Space Space 291

15.17 White-Space White House 291

15.18 LTE TV 292

15.19 Summary 295

15.20 TV or not TV – That is the Question – What is the Answer? 295

15.21 And Finally the Issue of Potential Spectral Litigation 297

15.22 Technology Economics 300

15.23 Engineering Economics 300

15.24 Market Economics 300

15.25 Business Economics 301

15.26 Political Economics 301

15.27 Remedies 301

16 Satellite Networks 303

16.1 Potential Convergence 303

16.2 Traditional Specialist User Expectations 303

16.3 Impact of Cellular on Specialist User Expectations 304

16.4 DMR 446 305

16.5 TETRA and TETRA TEDS 305

16.6 TETRAPOL 306

16.7 WiDEN 306

16.8 APCO 25 306

16.9 Why the Performance Gap Between Cellular and Two-Way Radio will Continue to Increase Over Time 307

16.10 What This Means for Two-Way Radio Network Operators 307

16.11 Lack of Frequency Harmonisation as a Compounding Factor 307

16.12 The LTE 700 MHz Public-Safety-Band Plan 309

16.13 The US 800-MHz Public-Safety-Band Plan 310

16.14 Policy Issues and Technology Economics 313

16.15 Satellites for Emergency-Service Provision 315

16.16 Satellites and Cellular Networks 316

16.17 The Impact of Changing Technology and a Changed and Changing Economic and Regulatory Climate – Common Interest Opportunities 317

16.18 And Finally – Satellite and Terrestrial Hybrid Networks 318

16.19 Satellite Spectrum and Orbit Options 321

16.20 Terrestrial Broadcast and Satellite Coexistence in L Band 324

16.21 Terrestrial DAB Satellite DAB and DVB H 324

16.22 World Space Satellite Broadcast L Band GSO Plus Proposed ATC 324

16.23 Inmarsat – L Band GSO Two-Way Mobile Communications 324

16.24 Thuraya 2 L Band GSO Plus Triband GSM and GPS 325

16.25 ACeS L Band GSO Plus Triband GSM and GPS 325

16.26 Mobile Satellite Ventures L Band GSO Plus ATC 325

16.27 Global Positioning MEOS at L Band GPS, Galileo and Glonass 325

16.28 Terrestrial Broadcast and Satellite Coexistence in S Band 326

16.29 XM and Sirius in the US – S Band GEO Plus S Band ATC 326

16.30 Mobaho in Japan and S DMB in South Korea – S Band GSO Plus ATC 326

16.31 Terrestar S Band in the US – GSO with ATC 327

16.32 ICO S Band GSO with ATC 327

16.33 ICO S Band MEO at S Band with ATC 327

16.34 Eutelsat and SES ASTRA GSO – ‘Free’ S Band Payloads 328

16.35 Intelsat C Band Ku Band and Ka Band GSO 328

16.36 Implications for Terrestrial Broadcasters 328

16.37 Implications for Terrestrial Cellular Service Providers 329

16.38 The Impact of Satellite Terrestrial ATC Hybrids on Cellular Spectral and Corporate Value 329

16.39 L Band, S Band, C Band, K Band and V Band Hybrids 329

16.40 Summary 330


17 Network Software – The User Experience 335

17.1 Definition of a Real-Time Network 335

17.2 Switching or Routing 336

17.3 IP Switching as an Option 336

17.4 Significance of the IPv6 Transition 336

17.5 Router Hardware/Software Partitioning 336

17.6 The Impact of Increasing Policy Complexity 337

17.7 So What Do Whorls Have to Do with Telecom Networks? 338

17.8 Packet Arrival Rates 342

17.9 Multilayer Classification 342

18 Network Software – Energy Management and Control 347

18.1 Will the Pot Call the Kettle Back? 347

18.2 Corporate M2M 348

18.3 Specialist M2M 348

18.4 Consumer M2M 349

18.5 Device Discovery and Device Coupling in Consumer M2M Applications and the Role of Near-Field Communication 349

18.6 Bandwidth Considerations 350

18.7 Femtocells as an M2M Hub? 351

18.8 Summary 352

19 Network Software – Microdevices and Microdevice Networks – The Software of the Very Small 353

19.1 Microdevices – How Small is Small? 354

19.2 Contactless Smart Cards at 13.56 MHz – A Technology, Engineering and Business Model? 357

19.3 Contactless Smart Cards and Memory Spots – Unidirectional and Bidirectional Value 358

19.4 Contactless Smart Cards, RF ID and Memory Spots 358

19.5 Contactless Smart Cards, RF ID, Memory Spot and Mote (Smart Dust) Applications 359

19.6 The Cellular Phone as a Bridge Between Multiple Devices and Other Network-Based Information 359

19.7 Multiple RF Options 360

19.8 Multiple Protocol Stacks 360

19.9 Adoption Time Scales – Bar Codes as an Example 360

19.10 Summary 361

20 Server Software 363

20.1 The Wisdom of the Cloud? 364

20.2 A Profitable Cloud? 364

20.3 A Rural Cloud? 365

20.4 A Locally Economically Relevant Cloud? 365

20.5 A Locally Socially Relevant Cloud? 365

20.6 A Locally Politically Relevant Cloud – The China Cloud? 366

20.7 The Cultural Cloud? 367

21 Future Trends, Forecasting, the Age of Adaptation and More Transformative Transforms 369

21.1 Future Forecasts 369

21.2 The Contribution of Charles Darwin to the Theory of Network Evolution 370

21.3 Famous Mostly Bearded Botanists and Their Role in Network Design – The Dynamics of Adaptation 371

21.4 Adaptation, Scaling and Context 371

21.5 Examples of Adaptation in Existing Semiconductor Solutions 372

21.6 Examples of Adaptation in Present Mobile Broadband Systems 372

21.7 Examples of Adaptation in Future Semiconductor Solutions 373

21.8 Examples of Adaptation in Future Cellular Networks 373

21.9 Specialisation 375

21.10 The Role of Standards Making 376

21.11 The Need for a Common Language 376

21.12 A Definition of Descriptive Domains 377

21.13 Testing the Model on Specific Applications 379

21.14 Domain Value 380

21.15 Quantifying Domain-Specific Economic and Emotional Value 381

21.16 Differentiating Communications and Connectivity Value 382

21.17 Defining Next-Generation Networks 383

21.18 Defining an Ultralow-Cost Network 384

21.19 Standards Policy, Spectral Policy and RF Economies of Scale 385

21.20 The Impact of IPR on RF Component and Subsystem Costs 386

21.21 The Cost of ‘Design Dissipation’ 386

21.22 The Hidden Costs of Content – Storage Cost 387

21.23 The Hidden Costs of User-Generated Content – Sorting Cost 387

21.24 The Hidden Cost of Content – Trigger Moments 387

21.25 The Hidden Cost of Content – Delivery Cost 388

21.26 The Particular Costs of Delivering Broadcast Content Over Cellular Networks 388

21.27 Summary – Cost and Value Transforms 388

Index 391

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