Feeds

Ofcom lays out wireless roadmap

Planes, trains and automobiles

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Ofcom's annual research report, this year entitled The Wireless World of Tomorrow, focuses on how wireless technologies might change the transport and healthcare landscapes over the next 20 years.

Public transport, in particular, is expected to benefit from wireless technologies - though much of the innovation Ofcom expects to see is outside its immediate remit.

Inter-modality is considered key, with wireless tickets working on buses, trains and underground in the way that London's Oyster card already does. However, integration will extend to timetables and vehicle locations.

Ofcom predicts that within 20 years you'll board a bus which knows what train you're planning to catch and can alert your mobile that you're not going to make it. Fun stuff, but very little to do with spectrum management, which is Ofcom's remit.

Trains will need more spectrum, though their immediate needs will be met by GSM-R, the variant of GSM suited to railway use, which is to complete deployment by 2012. Initially, GSM-R will provide driver and track-side communications, but it's also designed to take care of signalling and points control.

But what train lines really want is Moving Block Operation, as proposed by the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS), where the position of every train is known at all times and trains just avoid each other rather than having exclusive use of a specific section of track. Ofcom thinks that's going to need more spectrum, ideally something below 1GHz so it has enough range to be easily deployed.

Once National Rail finds some spectrum to buy on the open market, it's expected to use it for everything from reporting back train locations to monitoring the condition of the track.

The open market is also where rail companies are going to have to find higher frequencies to offer Wi-Fi and the like to passengers. Some lines already use WiMAX as a back-haul, connecting on-train hotspots to track-side relays, and Ofcom expects to see a lot more of that - but isn't going to hand over any spectrum to facilitate it.

Aircraft might get some spectrum allocated to them, though not for a while as satellite connections are expected to be good enough until around 2024 when the military should have gotten round to giving up some spectrum in the 9-10GHz region.

Before then, narrower VHF bands will provide more efficient usage, and video connections are expected to allow air-traffic controllers to watch terrorists taking control of planes as it happens.

For non-terrorists, travelling by air will be much easier thanks to e-tickets and millimetre-wave scanners, and cock ups like Terminal 5 will (apparently) be completely avoided by embedding RFID tags in all new suitcases.

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.