Feeds

Ofcom plays precog on tomorrow's wireless world

Nuke war, meteorite hit could disrupt your signal

Boost IT visibility and business value

Ofcom put healthcare and transport at the top of the agenda in its annual research and development report, released today.

Most of the report, entitled The Wireless World of Tomorrow, is concerned with the technical details of frequencies and allocations, but Ofcom can't resist a gaze into the crystal ball with predictions of Wi-Fi-enabled heart-rate monitors and in-car congestion warning systems.

Ofcom also can't shake off its love of new technologies. Dynamic Spectrum Access - handsets that pick a frequency on the basis of local usage - get a vote of support, as does the future of copper wires.

The regulator spent some of the last year establishing the theoretical limit of ADSL as 50Mb/sec, to homes within 2km of the exchange. That assumes someone fits a nice fat pipe, fiber perhaps, to the exchange to connect all those homes to the wider internet.

Ofcom admits its predictions are based on a very optimistic view of the UK's economic development, but justifies that on the basis that for spectrum usage fast economic growth is a worst-case scenario - the more money we have the more wireless technology we'll be able to afford.

The report acknowledges that many things could slow spectrum usage: "A large asteroid impact or regional nuclear war are two examples considered."

But assuming civilisation survives, Ofcom sees wireless providing solutions to a host of problems over the next 20 years.

On the roads "congestion will be a thing of the past", thanks to in-car information about traffic problems linked to GPS navigation systems, and "an aim of zero accidents ... now looks realistic" with technologies such as Electronic Brake Lights that inform cars that someone in front is braking, rather than waiting for the fleshy bit behind the wheel to react.

Medical use of wireless is also set to explode with wireless sensors inside the body communicating with on-body electronics, that connect to in-ambulance systems that integrate hospital records to provide paramedics with information on their hand-held computers.

Ofcom admits that in-body systems might not be widespread over the next 20 years, but the rest of the scenario is expected to happen, and is going to need at least one chunk of spectrum reserved for it - in stark contrast to its usual policy of selling frequencies to the highest bidder.

"Safety-critical data streams should be supported by dedicated spectrum," states the report, though it falls shy of defining exactly what counts as safety critical.

The automotive industry is expected to make more use of existing spectrum allocations. One of the biggest problems with putting wireless in cars is their tendency to travel between countries, so some standardisation of frequency allocation is going to be necessary, which means talking to the EU.

We'll be bringing you a more detailed look at both areas examined in the report over the next day or two, as well as the research Ofcom has lined up for the next 12 months - wireless entertainment. But if you can't wait then you can download the whole report (pdf) direct from Ofcom ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.