Pragmatic 5: The Next Ubiquitous Thing

23 December, 2013

CURRENT

John and Ben discuss the convergence of wireless communication from radio telegraphy to analog mobile phones, then from analog to digital, and handover-transition-unified devices and the importance long awaited jump to 100% IP-based telephony.

Transcript available
[MUSIC PLAYING] This is Pragmatic, a weekly discussion show contemplating the practical application of technology. Exploring the real world trade-offs, we look at how great ideas are transformed into products and services that can change our lives. Nothing is as simple as it seems. I'm Ben Alexander, and my co-host is John Chidjie. How are you, John? I'm very good. How are you doing, Ben? Doing well. So, I'd just like to make a quick correction to a mispronunciation that I made in episode three. As I had originally said, Brad Fortin. Actually, I've now listened to an episode of one of his podcasts, the Metacast, and it's actually pronounced Brad Fortay. So, I just wanted to apologize for my mispronunciation. I'm a bit like that with names. I'd like to make sure I'm saying them correctly because I've got a weird last name. So I think it's usually universally accepted that Chidgy is a bit weird. So I always try and get people's names right. So sorry about that, Brad. Hopefully that's all good. I'd also like to say thank you to Andrew Clark for the kind words he said about Pragmatic on his solo podcast. There's a link to it in the show notes, the Andrew Jay cast. It's kind of funny sometimes and even insightful sometimes. So, just check it out. It's not too bad. So, I'd also like to say a very special thank you to Nathan Waters, who said some very kind words on Twitter. He referred to Pragmatic as the new hypercritical, which for me is very high praise. Whether or not we ever reach that sort of standard or level, I don't know. But I think it's lovely that other people are seeing us that way. And that's great. And thank you so much for that. that's the sort of feedback that makes me want to keep going. So I appreciate that very much. Today's topic we're going to talk about is the convergence of wireless communication. So for those that don't know about my background, I am an amateur radio operator, which in North America everyone calls them ham radio operators. And I've been playing with radio, I started out with CB radio back when I was 14. So I sort of have a very long history with radio personally, however long that is. I'm 37, I'm assuming. Yeah, okay, a long time. Can't do math, our calculator, but anyway, 20 something years. And I've always been fascinated by the idea of wireless, anything and everything. And it's only going more and more wireless as our technology advances and wires are generally disappearing, I think. So certainly from products made by Apple, but in any case. So, I think it's a fascinating area to look at and where I want to work towards is I want to work towards multi-path TCP. So, we will get to that, but I think it's important to sort of put in context one of the reasons why I find this so fascinating, such an interesting topic is we need to sort of start just a little bit of a history lesson. So, bear with me. If you know some of this stuff, that's fine. But anyway, so let's get stuck in. So, way back when, everyone goes on about Marconi and how wonderful he was, and he was, but actually it was Hertz that originally demonstrated in 1888 that EM radio waves could be transmitted and received. So, it was actually Hertz was really the person who had the most significant contribution to radio in terms of its invention. But Marconi was the guy that scaled it up. And his initial goal was to take radio and make it long range, long distance and essentially where previously telegraphs have been around as we actually talked about in a previous episode, telegraph as in Morse code telegraph, wide telegraph have been around for several decades by that point. But what Marconi wanted to do was take that wireless so that you could have telegraph transmissions or wireless telegraph transmissions to between continents, they're separated by large oceans or of course to ships who are out at sea. Can't drag a cable behind them to talk on a wide telegraph, so wireless is sort of a must for that. Now, the funny little thing that a lot of people don't know about Marconi was that Marconi was actually invited to sail on the Titanic and he actually opted to take Lusitania about three days earlier. He was crossing, doing a crossing three days earlier before the Titanic unfortunately met its iceberg and they didn't get on well. So, Marconi's wireless telegraph at that point was still pretty new. And to have said pretty new, I mean, it was kind of one of those things. It was not every boat had it, not every ship had it. The big ones did, including the Titanic. And the nearby RMS Carpathia, I think that's how it's pronounced, Carpathia, they received a distress call that had been relayed from a land-based station about the Titanic. And they actually were able to get there. They got there about two hours after the Titanic had actually gone completely underwater, and they were able to rescue 705 people. Now, I say the funny thing, the interesting thing is that if that had happened, if that incident happened a decade earlier, it's very questionable whether or not so many people would have actually survived that long in the lifeboats and in the middle of the Arctic Ocean at that time of year. And it was, I don't think they would have saved quite so many. So, the whole move to wireless telegraph and Mark Coney's invention, In fact, there were a couple of Marconi employees on the Titanic actually when it went down. So I think they survived. In any case. There was some confusion with the flares that the Titanic was sending up and I think that that would have been the frontline communication method before radio really took off. I don't know. I guess it is a little scary. I think it comports with what you just said, is that they all would have died because they put something up. I think it was supposed to be a white flare or a red flare and they launched the wrong one and one of these boats that was nearby just didn't come. Yeah, this is the thing is that although where they were was sort of a relatively busy sort of shipping lane in a sense, the problem was that back then they didn't have all of the aids that we have now and this was a relatively new technology so had the Titanic not had the wireless telegraph, the Marconi's wireless telegraph, then it could have been a bit of a slightly worse ending to what is already a terrible tragedy but anyway. So I just thought I'd make note of that because when Marconi comes up that sort of pops into my head and I keep thinking about well yeah this is transformative technology in a lot of ways. So in any case, all right, a little historical aside there. So while all this has been going on, of course, the telephone is being developed in parallel. So this is just talking about wired telephone at the moment because we've got to cover both because we need to look at their convergence. So a lot of people actually developed the telephone and this is a common misconception is that people think Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and technically that's not true. He was definitely the first person to patent it in the US in 1876. a lot of people would consider that story about the guy in the next room and he said come to the next room and the guy comes through to the room and it's like, how did you hear me and was over the speaker thing. A lot of people consider that story to be apocryphal. Whether that's true or not, I don't know. I don't think we'll ever know. But the point is that there are actually about five or six different people working on the telephone around about that time. Each of them contributed different elements to it. But in the end, Bell was the one that got the patent and many people see that as being, okay, well, you own the patent, therefore you invented it. So, in any case, the telephone exchange for me is kind of interesting as well because the actual telephone exchange wasn't in, it had nothing to do with Bell. It was actually developed by a Hungarian engineer and I'm going to really struggle with this name. I think it's pronounced Tivadar Puskas and that was in the same year but the funny thing is it wasn't developed for the telephone it was actually developed for the wired telegraph because at that point of course you know telegraph was going all over the place so what they had to do was they wanted a way of patching through a tele through basically a telegraph exchange so that you could connect up all these different telegraphs coming from where from all these different locations and patch them through to other locations so that was the original idea behind telephone exchange and it was originally developed for for Edison, actually. So, anyway, it then got transformed to be used for telephones. So, as a telephone exchange, only a couple of years later. And from that point between 1900 and 1960, exchanges, they became more advanced and they introduced, rather than simply going tap, tap, tap to get the attention of the operator and saying, "Hello, operator. I'd like you to connect me to Bob's Farm or whatever, or Downton Abbey, wherever, if you're into that show. Which anyway, no, sorry. Anyway, and in between 1990 and 1960, they started to use a rotary dial system. And the idea of the rotary dials is simple, is that the rate at which the dial spins around count out a series of pulses. And when I say pulses, they were literally like voltage dips or spikes. I'm pretty sure they were dips actually. And you'd hear an audible click and be like a click, click, click, click, click, click. But because the rate of the rotary dial was fixed, as your hand went one direction to dial it around or a seven, you would get seven clicks at the correct rate. So it wasn't possible to sort of like game it and so I'd go too fast or too far or drag it back. It was all sort of, the speed of it was all controlled and everything. And it actually worked really well because you could then take those voltage dips, drive a bunch of relays, and they would literally be able to tap out the number. So you were essentially, it was a very basic form of digital communication because you were transmitting the phone number to the exchange. So the first exchanges used a bunch of relays like electromagnet, electromechanical sort of system to select the correct number and then route the call. And this sort of started to make the individual operators used to be a human, someone would sit there and patch the phone lines through literally with patch leads, and these exchanges became more advanced. But it was all about a telephone conversation, one audio line connect from point A to point B and so on through multiple exchanges, usually to get to where you're going, especially if you're going any significant distance outside of your hometown. And then in the 60s, they came up with touchtone phones and they used DTMF tones. And this then allowed for digital exchanges. So you no longer had to rely on relays, you could go electronic, you go with a transistor based system, which is far more reliable and far more compact and more energy efficient and less prone to breaking and that sort of thing. And that's for the moment, we're just gonna park the telephone discussion for the landlines piece. And then we're gonna switch back to radio. So, handheld transceivers, aka two-way radios, sort of became widely available during the time of the Second World War. But the problem with them was that they didn't connect to the PSTN, and you'll see PSTN come up in a lot of literature. It stands for the Public Switch Telephone Network. So, essentially, two-way radios were great if you wanted to talk to your mate around the corner or maybe even five, six, seven kilometers away. You could put a repeater on top of a hill And you could all talk to the repeater on the top of the hill and that would then rebroadcast your signal on a different frequency that other people could listen to, you know, with a split duplex operation and that kind of thing. So and now good for that, but you couldn't dial someone, you couldn't say, right, I want to connect to Joe Bloggs at 555-1212 or whatever the hell. And that was a problem because a lot of people now had landline phones at that point in history. And they said, well, these two over radios are great, but when I'm out and about, I want to be able to call someone who's not out and about necessarily. I want to call someone who's at home. How do I do that? So in 1947, AT&T introduced the first, I guess what you would call a mobile telephone system. Well, actually, that is what they called it, the MTS, which was short for mobile telephone system. And because it was rather bulky, shall we say, it could only really be fitted to cars and it needed a fair bit of juice. So, you need a car battery, the amount of kick you need in a car battery. And these things are five or 10 watts of power. They were a decent amount of power that you had to get out. They used to have these big aerials in the center of the roof because that's the best place to put an antenna on a vehicle. And they're expensive. They were just unbelievable. I mean, you think 30 cents a minute is expensive for your phone calls, for your voice? These were all in something like the equivalent dollars at the time was over $100 a minute or something insane ridiculous numbers absolutely insane and These systems were very basic You basically you pick the phone up and you would get a line to an operator and now that was the mobile operator and they Could patch you through to the PSTN so you could call landline numbers and that was fantastic But it was essentially you're talking on that channel you own that So no one else could talk because you were talking. Okay, and And it was very basic, very simple. And the high cost meant that that would work. It was fine because, well, let's face it, there weren't enough people that had these for it to be an issue. Obviously, that wasn't going to last for long. Yeah. So, in the 60s, a lot of things happened in the 60s, they moved to an automated dialing system. system. So, the car phones basically got their own dialing system as in like keypad. Again, with DTMF, just like you had with your landline phones at that point. And a group of competitors in the United States created something called the Radio Common Carrier or RCC, you know, for short. It covered more and different areas than AT&T system did. But the problem was that they still didn't have the roaming thing sorted out. So, if you left your home county, district, city, and went a decent distance, a few hundred miles away, then your phone was not guaranteed to actually work. So in essence, it was a better coverage and it was more interoperable, but there were no guarantees. So it was still very niche, very expensive, well, cheaper, much cheaper than the original system. but it wasn't, you know, yeah, it was basically still analog but the only advantage was that they'd sort of essentially automated the dialing process. Anyway, in comes Motorola in 1973 with the first portable mobile phone that didn't have to be in a car. And it was an atrocious brick of a thing. this thing essentially had 30 minutes of talk time and it took 10 hours to recharge the battery. Because of course back then, there was, they weren't even nickel metal hydrides, they're still using very low energy density NICADs. And they needed a lot of them to generate the power that you needed. It was still analog and it would work with the AT&T system, I believe. It wasn't, it's funny, with all the development that's been happening, what was happening in America and also in Europe. The interesting thing is that the first actual fully automated analog mobile phone system that had a lot of the features that we consider to be a requirement for a cellular system was actually NTT and that was in Japan. And that was in 1979. And that's sort of generally considered to be what they call 1G. So, we are we going about 2G, 3G, 4G. Well, this was what they consider to be 1G. And in North America, they developed a different standard, but essentially worked the same way, just different sets of frequencies, slightly different bandwidths, all that sort of other thing. And they called it AMPS, which is the analog mobile phone system. And that was in 1983, so four years later. But AMPS was different because it had a much better defined cell structure and frequency reuse pattern and well it used the concept of FDMA, Frequency Division Multiple Access which I always find to be a little bit weird. The terminology is strange to me but because I mean frequency division multiple access is kind of like a fancy way of saying you've got a bunch of channels sitting next to each other, pick a channel. It's kind of there's no there's nothing fancy about it. So really quickly, let's assume the signal is and I'm just I'm pulling these numbers out of the air I don't know what they were for amps but let's just say 25 kilohertz channels. So each of your 25 kilohertz channels backed up against each other you fit four of them in a hundred kilohertz you know slice of the spectrum. So essentially all you're saying is well you pick up the phone and it picks a channel that's not in use. Well, maybe channel one is 700 megahertz exactly. Channel two is 700.025 megahertz. Yeah, and you see it'll simply pick the channel that's available and then you go away and call the number and it connects it through the exchange into the public network and away you go. You're off and running. Nothing really too fancy. Not encrypted, totally analog, but at least it had some more structure about intelligence behind picking a spare frequency and the ability to hand off or hand over as you move around. I'll talk a little bit more about hand over later or hand off, whichever word you want to use, same difference. Okay, so fast forwarding to the 1990s and in the 1990s things started going digital and digital had a whole lot of advantages over analog and there was a whole bunch of different systems like TDMA, time division multiple access systems that started taking the the frequencies of the individual channels and chopping them in time as well as in frequency. And of that of course the most popular one at the time was the European standard GSM, Global System for Mobiles. And of course the competing standard CDMA, Code Division Multiple Access, which technically GSM and CDMA are both spread spectrum technologies. So they're not narrowband, they're wideband signals. So instead of having lots of little 25 kilohertz channels, you'd have a big you know like 500 kilohertz wide channel let's say and you separate the data in different ways and this is what everyone starts calling 2G or digital cellular and there's all sorts of improvements by doing that the biggest reason you want to do it though is essentially is channel utilization so one of the problems that goes right back to the analog the public switch telephone system is the concept of essentially of a channel of a connection. So, when I call you on a phone line, it'll open up essentially it'll say, okay, the phone line from your house to the nearest exchange is one physical piece of copper and that's going to have audio that I'm going to hear and audio that I'm going to send out to you. So, essentially I have that entire channel in each directions is assigned to me. I own that piece of copper, that's mine. And the bit rate on there might be 64 kilobits a second, let's say. Once you go into an ex-telephone exchange, it then says, "Okay, well, I'm now going to chop you up into pieces." There was a time, of course, when everyone had to have an individual channel and you would simply patch it through with a bunch of leads and you would amplify the signal and it would get noisy and terrible and it'd be really faint and people were yelling at each other from one continent to the other because the loss was so terrible, the noise was terrible. But when we went digital, we could slice the channels up. And that's what they did with T1s, E1s, T3s, E3s and so on. They take that 64 kilobit and they say, "Okay, well, I've got a one megabit per second connection here on fiber optics between two telephone exchanges. So I'll put your little 64 kilobit slot here in slot number one, and you'll always get slot number one every so often such that your 64 kilobits per second is always going to be processed at that same speed. So you'll always have, you'll have a dedicated channel that you can talk on and listen on. And this whole concept of channelized data is a big problem. It worked well back in the days when there were not as many people talking. But the problem is it's terribly inefficient. And why it's inefficient is because when I'm talking to you is most of what I'll be saying is actually dead space, dead air. So I'll say, "Hey, how's it going?" You'll respond, at which time I'm not saying anything. So my entire outgoing direction of voice information is essentially nothing. So it's just absolutely horribly inefficient. And even in a standard sentence, I think the statistics depend on the individual, like how fast you talk, and depending on what medication you're on, whatever. Point is that the rate at which you talk is going to affect how much data is actually contained in that. So it was terribly inefficient. And in many respects, the public switch telephone network is still very inefficient in that way. So when it came to radio, and radio is even more of a precious resource, because when you put a cable between point A and point B, you own it. It's yours. It's a party line. It's got-- not a party. Sorry, it's not a party line. It's dedicated. All of the data is contained completely within that cable. So if you want more data, more bandwidth the same from point A to point B, just lay another cable next to it. No biggie, right? So, fiber optic cable, what's that? You're going to pull through a 24 core? No, bugger that, pull through a 48 core, you know, double your money. Why not? More fibers, more data, more bandwidth, it's all good. So, the problem with radio spectrum is that's not how it works. So, once you broadcast at a certain amount of power, anything else on that frequency within a certain distance is yours. you're going to be interfering with it if you try and do something else a few hundred meters away from another transmitter on the same frequency. So, that's a big problem. So, spectrum, radio spectrum is a precious resource. So, you can't just waste it with this dead air. And that's what the original analog system did. It was essentially just a replication of the public switch telephone system, which was bad. So, the whole idea of this, not just not really spread spectrum, but more the digitization of it is that we went from being an analog voice to vocoded, voice coded. They call them vocoders. So, a vocoder will turn your voice into a compression either an 8 kilobit or 13 kilobit stream. There's this enhanced audio thing that Apple was messing with for a while and it's a slightly higher bit rate and it turns the human voice into a much more condensed, less than 64 kilobit per second, which is the point, much less amount of data. And you can now digitally, you can time splice it. So, you can say, right, you personally, John, you're calling Ben, and you're going to get this part of channel one in this GSM spectrum. So, you're not even taking up a frequency anymore. You take up a small fraction of that frequency and time. And you can slot in other people's phone calls and think of it like slices of bread, right? So you stack up each of the calls in different time slots and away you go. I mean GSM does more, it also does frequency hopping and to avoid interference and all sorts of other spread spectrum stuff, but that's not really the point of the technology as far as this discussion is concerned. But the problem is, even with that vocoding and compression, it's still a channel. It may well be using less bandwidth and it's a step forward in the 2G systems, but it really is still just a channel. So, with 2G, it was an issue because that was the time at which mobile internet was starting to, dare I say, take off. Not really. I mean, do you remember WAP, Wireless Access Protocol? Yeah, sadly. Oh, God, it was terrible. It was so bad, wasn't it? It's not that it wasn't taking off, it's just that it began to be feasible, I think. You could potentially do some work, but not really. Yeah, exactly. And the language that they had for it was such a stripped down version of what was acceptable. And you have a WAP interface for... I remember I had a Motorola Accompli, which was a resistive touchscreen phone. the screen size was probably about half. If you were to cut an iPhone's, current iPhone screen in half, it was actually probably smaller, but that may be a third. And I still got this somewhere. I don't know, hang on, no, I don't. I gave it to the kids to play with 'cause it was, well, useless to me. It was dead to me now. Anyway, so smartphones have come a long way in 10 years. But anyway, it had WAP, and I remember browsing the Qantas flight schedule at the time 'cause I was flying to Sydney for an interview. And I had a look at it on WAP when I was looking, out at the beach. I'm like, "Oh, this is just the best thing in the world. I'm surfing the web and I'm sitting by the beach. It's all just so amazing." But even that was tragically slow. It was terrible, painful. And the reason was that the data that had been provided was an add-on technology. So, it was never designed for us. So, when 2G came out, they didn't really think too heavily about data. So, what they did is they started to have these add-ons, sub channels, if you will, however you want to think about it. And that's when you start talking about GPRS, EDGE, and in the case of CDMA, EVDO, and all the different technologies had a different acronym for like GPRS is, oh god, I forget what GPRS stands for. EVDO is like Enhanced Something Data. Oh god, I forget. The problem is you just get used to calling it EDGE and the EVDO and you just forget what it stands for. But anyway, whatever, never mind. The point is that these add-ons didn't support large bandwidths or data rates because the format, the actual frequency allocation and the way that channels were processed, it was never designed for data, at least not this sort of IP-based data. And therefore, everyone thought, well, you're not going to want to transfer a lot of data. And this is the environment where RIM really came, or what are now called BlackBerry, really came to the forefront is because they were compressing all this data on the server side so that you could get this data through this really narrow pipe now to your mobile devices. So, and that was when they really took off. Along comes 3G. And 3G was cool because they'd actually decided to put a lot more thought into weaving data into it. But the sad truth is that 3G was really just an enhancement again on the same old idea, which was you have a channel for your voice. It's just that the channels for your data were bigger, wider, and better integrated. On the CDMA side, the CDMA 2000 standard additionally actually didn't natively support data and voice at the same time. And there was a lot of people originally when the iPhone came out and the iPhone, CDMA iPhone or Verizon iPhone, when it first came as iPhone 4, I think, when that came out, it didn't actually support simultaneous voice and data. And the reason was simply that the standard, the addition to the standard CDMA 2000 center was something called SVDO, which stands for Simultaneous Voice Data. That was something that had to be retrofitted into the network. And my understanding is that I think Verizon and Sprint still haven't done that. My understanding is that's the case. So, and I would say the reason is simply because of 4G. Why retrofit something into your existing gear when you're already intending to upgrade to your 4G stuff? So whereas on GSM it was designed so essentially you could run them simultaneously That was just built into the standard for 3G when they would update the GSM standard for 3G. Having gone back and forth between Sprint Verizon and AT&T, AT&T's 3G is I mean, it's not as fast as the LTE, especially not in Verizon but it's certainly faster than sprint and well into the good enough territory. You can clearly tell the difference. It's quite speedy. Yeah, and this is the thing with-- we now get to talking about 4G. And so 4G is where things start to actually get exciting because 4G is when after all these years, decades now, we are finally done with channelized voice data. It's no longer, "Here's a time slot, here's a frequency, or here's a Walsh code in the case of CDMA." We are no longer separating it like that. Everything is going to be IP packet-based. So, I mean, there's a whole bunch of other things, of course, the 4G stand, LTE, WiMAX, whichever 4G stand you're talking about. Not that other one, the GPRS thing, whatever, but not GPRS, sorry. The one that AT&T does, they call it 4G, but it's not really that one. I forget what its acronym is. - GSM Plus? - No, something else plus, but yeah, and it was something like that. But anyway, the point is that, you know, LTE and WiMAX, and let's face it, WiMAX is not doing so good, so it's gonna be LTE. So LTE, long-term evolution is, you know, that's where the party's at at the moment, and it's really cool. There's a lot of stuff in the background, some very clever technology, and the world is essentially, is beginning to standardize on LTE. Hallelujah, right? I was sick of this GSM CDMA shit. We're finally standardizing. Yay, lovely, good. And it's IP based, which is fantastic because now the data rates are at a level where you can now pack up voice comfortably. You can pack it all together and send us packetized data. You're no longer wasting it. So you're no longer having to have channels, sections of channels where there's dead space anymore that you still have to keep allocated for a phone call. you can now just dynamically adjust the bit rate based on the amount of data that needs to be transferred. Hey, beautiful, brilliant. That's just the way it should be. So, LTE is a huge pipe, massive bandwidth. So I think it's several tens of megahertz, depending upon how you wanna configure your channels. It's quite impressive. I mean, from an RF design point of view, that'd be very challenging to be honest, I have to admit, but in any case. So, why 4G is such a big deal because of getting rid of the whole channelize thing is now that voice and data is essentially kind of like your home internet connection. So you can send whatever data you want across there, you can go Skype, you can browse the web, you can do whatever and all from this through over the same connection at the same time except now it's wireless, you just wander around and do whatever, there's no other sorts of compromises like that. And it's at this point we're now going to pause the mobile phone discussion just briefly. And now I just want to talk a little bit about what I sort of experienced when I was at Nortel. So, for those that don't know, I actually worked at Nortel for about two and a half years. It was in two stints. One was in '97, the other one was in the end of '99 through 2000 and the early part of 2001. And during that two and a half years, I did various roles but the more interesting of the roles was when I was doing RF hardware design in the Wilder's Development Center in Calgary and we were working on a new project and I was like, well I don't know, R&D and it's like we've got a great concept, we're going to do something called Appliance BTS and this thing is going to become the next big thing. And you're all, you have the team, you're all pumped up and it's like, right, let's do this and I'm off doing matching and so on and looking at different network performance for the prototype designs and everyone was all pumped and then the stock goes in the tank and everyone gets laid off and we don't really need appliance BTS anymore. So that was kind of a sad ending after I just sort of pumped that up a bit but hey it's okay it happens right stock goes in the tank it happens and Nortel now no longer exists essentially so yeah it's a bit of a sad story really. But the point of the story isn't that. The point of the story is the appliance BTS. So, way back when Nortel had... and this is not an idea that was just unique to Nortel, okay? There was lots of companies that were thinking this. The idea is you have a mobile phone, personal communication device, whatever you want to call it. And what it does is it's capable of of transmitting and receiving high and low powered signals, but it will choose whichever is nearest and cheapest and easiest in order to make a phone call. So the concept of an appliance BTS is all the radio towers that you see around the city are huge, lots of power. They're all three, six sector cells. There's quite a lot of range that you could get, 30, you know, or so 20 miles, 30 mile range. Some of them are more compact with only a couple of miles in high density areas, like in a suburban, like in the middle of a CBD, central business district of a city, you would have dozens or if not a hundred of these things, just covering very short distances. So, and we talked about this previously, I think. So the idea is that the Appliance BTS was the next level down. So you've got macro cells, micro cells, nano cells, pico cells, and essentially you get the idea that the smaller you're going, the less range you have. So the Appliance BTS was going to be a product that essentially would work within a building. So it was gonna be designed to have antennas on multiple floors that would work three to four floors. And you essentially would, it would connect into a data bearer which would go out to whoever your mobile phone carrier was, and it would connect up with you to the rest of their system. So you essentially have a Pico cell within your building, and that would allow anyone with a mobile phone connected to that carrier, of course, to essentially get much, much cheaper signals from within the building. This is the majority of people that commute and work. You'll have your phone at home, and then you'll drive, and then you'll get to work, and you'll spend your day at work, and you'll do a lot of phone calls when you're at work. So the idea was that you could then have this feature in a building such that you weren't loading all of these other, even if they are micro cells covering four or five city blocks, you would have Pico cells within the buildings that would take the load off of the micro cells or in the case where it wasn't micro, the macro cells and so on. And this was the whole concept. And the phone would automatically choose which to use. The idea being it was an economics thing and it helped the carriers as well as the individual. But there were issues and the issues were really quite simple. And that was that the mobile phone technology did not scale down in terms of cost very well at all. So customers were simply not interested in paying that amount of money. There was also a resistance to people saying, I don't want a mobile phone tower in my building. I don't want one next to my house at home. Why would I want one in my building? I want to work there eight, nine hours a day. And this resistance inevitably, along with the price, meant that the dream of having ever a smaller sized radio systems for your mobile phone system sort of petered out and lost momentum. Now, obviously, my opinions and everything that I'm talking about here is driven primarily from from my exposure at Nortel. So it was a CDMA product. It was essentially, it was developed by Nortel. There may well be other companies like Motorola or Lucent or Alcatel or Ericsson, whoever else, and they may well have been working on their own versions of this. And this is most likely the case. And I'm not aware of what they were doing, but all I know is that the Nortel one was canned. And anyway, what's funny about that is I now look at what's happening with multipath TCP and I sort of smile to myself because I'm thinking that's awesome. And why it's awesome is something else came along. It was actually happening at that time, but no one saw it as being an opportunity because everyone saw it as being, I'm on a mobile phone, it's a channelized system. I'm gonna have my phone call. It's gonna follow me from a series of handovers between the different size cells and sectors and so on. And it's all gonna be a switched mobile phone system. What they didn't see was, what they didn't see coming was something called wifi. And wifi is where things sort of get very interesting. So wifi, okay, in Australia, we, yeah, we're not a big country in terms of population, although we are a big country in terms of area. Mind you, most of you can't live on it, at least not comfortably. And we like to pretend, claim that we've invented lots of stuff. And we have, but most of it's not all that significant. That's fine. It's okay. It's fine. Not every country invents everything. And that's fine. But one of the things that's often touted as being an Australian invention is Wi-Fi. The truth is actually, Australia didn't invent Wi-Fi. What we did do though, is we have the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation. I think it stands for CSIRO, essentially government research organization. And they get a whole bunch of government funding to do all sorts of things, everything from astronomy, to agricultural, to you name it. If it helps the economy or the country in some way, they'll fund it as a research organization. So what happened is there were some bright CSIRO scientists that came up with ways of refining and improving aspects of the IEEE standard. Of course, everyone knows the IEEE standard by its name, which is 802.11. And what they did is they essentially brought the technological side of it forward, making it more reliable, improving all sorts of different aspects of it. Most importantly, though, they patented a lot of these things. So, rather like Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone, therefore he invented it, people think, "Oh, well, CSIRO, Australians, we patented a whole bunch of stuff about Wi-Fi." Not all of it, but a whole bunch of things. Therefore, Australia must have invented it. Well, no, technically no. It was actually not invented by an individual. It was put together by a working group for the IEEE, right? So, it was a bunch of people from different market areas who put it together. So, anyway, that's a little bit of history about Wi-Fi. And essentially, it was being developed during the 1990s but no one in the cellular business was looking at it or thinking about it because it had nothing to do with channelized voice. It had nothing to do with that at all and data was just sort of a glint in the eye of the people designing the mobile phone system at the time because they were thinking about voice and data only really started to be an issue when they realized, "Oh, we've got to tack on data somehow to our 2G." Anyway, so 802.11a and B, the standards were ratified for the one of a better way of saying it in 1999. G was in 2003, N was in 2009, AC was in 2012. And the next one coming along that's going to use 60 gigahertz band for Y gig should be happening in 2014. So, it's a ratification standard, but that's just obviously that they're planning to, doesn't mean it will. It's funny, I'm thinking where you're going with this, I'm thinking back to, so you said it was in the 90s that Wi-Fi was, well when did the, well it must have been in the late, late 90s, early 2000s then that Apple started shipping it in those Macbooks. But I remember the jump between, and this is just like a personal anecdote, but the We jumped between dialing in to Genie or the local bulletin board services over the PTSN line. When we first got our Time Warner cable modem, and discovering Ethernet, and I can think of just... So you've got these two worlds, right? You have the computer geeks and then you've got the phone geeks. And the computer geeks are all aware of this IP and what's happening and what's going on here and this sudden massive boost in bandwidth and capability, but it's still tied up in these wires. But then you see, you know, what was always strange to me was the idea of some poor guy running a bulletin board having, in my head, having just a bank of phone lines running into his house. Or General Electric running Genie having all this crazy amount of hardware. It's funny because I guess I was right. The intuition about it was just that, "Oh, that seems so horribly inefficient and how could anyone afford to make any money doing that?" I don't think they did make any money. Is that where we're headed here? That the two collide with the results that we all kind of can expect? Yeah, that's where this is going. The bottom line is that Wi-Fi transformed the way that people see connectivity. I mean, Wi-Fi has become the common ubiquitous standard and the thing about Wi-Fi that makes it ubiquitous, sorry, that has allowed it to become ubiquitous, I should say, is the fact that it operates in an unlicensed spectrum. So, when you've got your AT&Ts and whoever else of the world, all your different telcos out there, telecommunications companies, they have to bid for spectrum. They have to go to the FCC or in Australia, it's ACMA, and they have to bid every five years or however many years it is. I think it varies, but some of them are three or five your leases and you literally pay them millions of dollars for access to that spectrum in these locations over this period of time after which the rights go back to the government and then the government go and they put it out again. Nice little revenue raiser and the spectrum's getting more precious and you know and so therefore the prices are going up. Competition's hotter. Anyway the point is that unlicensed means you don't have to worry about that. So hence Wi-Fi you can put in 10,000 Wi-Fi base stations sitting right on top of each other if you wanted to and no one will stop you. So no one owns that spectrum. It's unlicensed everywhere in the world. I mean, okay, I say that everywhere in the world. There are subtle differences. Some countries have a few additional channels that others don't. Like in Australia, I think we've got an extra two that some other countries don't have and I think Japan has a couple of extra channels that no one else has. So, you know, it's not universal but it's as universal and it's universal enough that that makes no such that it makes no difference. And the two bands at the moment that we're operating in a 2.4 gigahertz and five gigahertz, and they've got channel selections in there for Wi-Fi that are all unlicensed. Now the data has become, now the Wi-Fi and the high data rate stuff like the N and now just starting to trickle through some of the AC stuff, at least from Apple and some of the other manufacturers, a few routers that I've seen now supporting AC, some Netgear ones, I think. and it's gonna become the next ubiquitous thing. But Wi-Fi as a whole is great because people are now saying, well, I don't need to plug an ethernet cable into my device. And it's showing up in everything. It's even, it's showing up in not just obviously laptops, which is the obvious spot and smartphones, but now Wi-Fi is showing up in everything from TV sets to printers and light bulbs, which is incredible to me. So things that you would never think, hey, this is now potentially we can connect to the internet because now our modems, ADSL modems, files, routers, all that stuff now supports wifi. And because it never used to be that way. Now you'd get an ADSL modem or a 56K US Robotics modem, and you'd plug that in and it would have a USB or a serial or even a parallel connected depending on how far back you wanna go. And it was a dedicated link, one computer, one connection, but now everything's got wifi in it. So you just put a Wi-Fi router chip in your modem and a modem router and presto, you've got yourself a Wi-Fi hotspot and anything can connect to it in the house that you want it to, or your business or your public park or wherever you're installing your base station. So Wi-Fi has become ubiquitous. And this has had nothing to do with the cellular network in any way until recently. this is where we sort of converge our two wireless stories. So we've got the cellular on the one hand, which is licensed expensive bandwidth. And you've got on the other hand, wifi. Wifi isn't channelized, it's packetized. And what have we just done with 4G? Well, we just gone packet based haven't we? So now we've essentially got two IP based systems. And yes, they do, they get along together just fine. And that presents the possibility for the first time of having truly seamless handoff. And why that's a big deal is that in cellular terms and cellular systems, handoff is sometimes referred to as handover. It depends on if it's your UK or US, but whatever. I mean, 'cause I did all my work in the US, I call it handoff 'cause that's where I learned the terminology. But in any case, there's different levels of handoff. You've got, let's say you've got a base station handling 20 phone calls in a cell. If you're in that cell, of a cell like a honeycomb, a hexagon. And so you move from, there's a slice of the pie from 0 to 60 degrees. And let's say you move from that across from 60 to 120 degrees. So you move from sector alpha to sector beta or beta, you know what I mean? As you move between that, that's a sector to sector handoff or in CDMA parlance, that's a softer handoff because you're actually handing off a phone call between a Welsh code on one to a Welsh code on another. It could be even a different frequency but you're handing over within the base station. So that's a softer handoff. That's easy because that's controlled by the base station. Base station says, "Yeah, I'll just, you know, you start here, now you go over there. It's all sweet." Then the next level out from that is a cell to cell. So you're saying, "Right, my tower on top of hill number one, tower on hill number two, you're moving from tower one sector alpha to tower two sector gamma. Okay, great, no problem. we're all talking to each other because we are now we're in the same network we're all Verizon. So it's like I say they call that a soft handoff because it's within the same network. Things get more difficult when you do a network to network handoff and that's what they call a hard handoff and the hard handoff is a pain in the ass because you then have to go all the way back to the base station controller and it has to then talk to the other company's base station controllers so you could roam between Verizon and Sprint. So you would then be able to go from a Verizon network and seamlessly continue your phone call going on to the Sprint network. And that's what they call a hard handoff. And hard meaning, yeah, it's hard. Because more often than not, you're just going to drop the call. You'll go and it'll say, "Oh, there's a slot available. I think it's kind of a... Not too late." Ran out of signal. Oh dear. So, hard handoff is a pain in And this is all a problem with channelized data because you think about it right you've let's say you're in sector alpha and all of your channels are utilized and then someone comes into your sector and says "hey there I need a phone call I'm about to lose my signal on this other guy's sector" and they look at the list and it says "well you know what I haven't got any channels available so get bent" at which point you drop the phone call. It's like "oh great" so anyway this is all an issue. So when it comes to multi-part TCP, the idea is kind of funny actually. I just want to do a little aside quickly about CDMA and GSM. I worked in the CDMA team so of course we think CDMA is better and it is. And the funny thing is the reason CDMA didn't do so well I think is because it was a technology that was ahead of its time. It uses something called direct sequence spectrum and what it does is essentially all the signals are overlapping on top of each other and by using orthogonal vectors what you can do is you can literally correlate the signal with a known code sequence and that will extract through by doing that correlation that will extract the bit stream you're trying to get. So you'll have a walsh code for example keep going about walsh codes and that code 1 to 64 let's say in the original CDMA standard that'll pull out channel one or channel two or channel three depending on what code you've got. And the wonderful thing about that is that because it was all done in that way it was actually possible for you to be simultaneously talking to two mobile phone towers at the same time. So in GSM systems if you're halfway between two towers you've got the worst signal to both towers but in CDMA what you're doing is you're taking the signal to both of those two towers and you can add them together. so you actually get a significantly better signal. CDMA is a superior technology. It handles multipath a lot better and all sorts of other fading issues because it can do that. Of course, that's wasteful, of course, because that's a precious resource. So you mean one phone call, you're taking up two sectors at the same time, two different towers, you greedy bastard. You can't be doing that. That's not fair. So anyway, bottom line though, CDMA, although it was a superior technology didn't really take off so much because it lost momentum. GSM has had too much momentum and it just became like Qualcomm brought the technology to the market because there are a bunch of guys from Qualcomm, the US military had developed CDMA for military applications. And so they were trying to bring it to the consumer market and had no idea how to mass produce a massive product and that's how Nortel got involved. This is a long story and I don't want to go on about it too much. Maybe that's another topic for another day. But the point is that it had all sorts of reliability issues. Telstra, essentially in Australia, they ripped all of their CDMA gear out. They persisted with it for a few years and they said, "This is crap. It's terrible. We're ripping it out. Bye-bye. See you later." And then they've started installing what they call their NextG network, which is 3G and now 4G network. But it was all based on originally on GSM. So they played with it and then said, "Nope, it's just too unreliable." The companies that stuck with it, obviously, Verizon and Sprint, there's a few others around the world, but CDMA by the numbers is not a very popular standard, despite the fact that technologically it's superior to GSM. But take that with a grain of salt, boys and girls, because okay, I admit I have some bias because I worked in the CDMA team. Okay, so there you go. I own Qualcomm stock, so I remember my bias. I was there for the big ride up and most of the ride back down. I think it's great that Qualcomm have stuck with what they're good at, which is making chips. And I say that what they're good at in air quotes that you can't see, because back when we were doing reliability work on their stuff, the CSM Channelizer ASIC was an absolute piece of crap. It was terrible. It was given us such horrible yields. It had Copeland area issues. It was just a disaster and we hated it and them with a passion. But never mind that. That's too much inside baseball. So, okay, why does all this matter? Why do I even care? Why do I think this is amazing? I think it's amazing because what we've done now is we have taken the idea of Appliance BTS, we've taken the idea of all the softer, soft and hard handoffs, and we've now said, you know what, we're now going to an IP-based system. We got IP-based system, Packet-based system, sorry, I should say Packet-based system in Wi-Fi in the home, which is connected to a high bandwidth pipe going added to the internet over the over a data backbone and then you've got your mobile phone system now doing exactly the same thing but wirelessly. So what can happen? Well what can happen is Apple can say I'm going to start a FaceTime audio phone call with you. And I'm going to start this because I'm sitting in my office. I've got Wi-Fi through my office but I also have a 4G radio tower just outside. I'm going to start up a data connection simultaneously between both of them. Which we did the other day. That's exactly right. Yes, we did. I was on a phone with no cellular connection. I was on an old off-contract phone. And had you walked out of the building and gotten in range of a 4G tower and out of range of Wi-Fi, in theory, if it worked smoothly, in theory, the phone call should have continued without abatement. Now, I want to try that. I've read a few people saying that it sort of works. I imagine that what they're doing is they're simply saying, and I know that Apple are adding FaceTime audio in 10.9.2, I think, which is coming out shortly. And everyone is raving about that because that would mean FaceTime audio on the desktop, on laptop, as well as on a mobile system. So, you could do it on iPad, iPad mini, you could do it on MacBook Air, you can do it on anything that Apple makes. And that is the game changer. Well, you're not just Chuck Skype though, but see that's the beauty of this is that what you're essentially doing is you've just finally all after all of these years of everyone being angry at their telco for charging 30 cents a minute for a cellular phone connection. Well, you've just turned them into a dumb pipe. You've turned them into your home internet provider. Which is why they've been fighting that the longest. I mean, that's the AT&T when they finally-- I mean, we've had FaceTime with video, clearly more data going through, right? This conceit that somehow there's anything precious left is-- game's up. Everyone knows. Well, yeah, I think-- People are about to figure it out. --people are paying attention. Right. People that are paying attention know it's already over. It's inevitable. It's like what iTunes did to the music industry. So, it's all, well, not all over, but it's... I wanted to ask you as I was thinking about this. So, if we end up in the... Does this just end the concept of a phone call? Because we're... I mean, ultimately, right? Because we've got this... if channels disappear, right? If this idea that we have to open up a line and make the connection... And we have this really weird, bizarro dance for how we do it, where I decide I want to talk to you, and then you're interrupted by a noise, and you have like nine seconds to respond. And then when you respond, you have to give me all your attention. You know, this whole thing doesn't seem to fit anymore. And I think if you've been using all the different messaging services, I mean jumping back and forth between things like Skype and Twitter and Facebook and iMessage and all these different platforms, phone calls are the one weird, bizarro standout, hold out, hold out. And culturally, how long will that hold on when there is literally nothing underneath that makes it different? Well, the bottom line is that the channelizing of the technology is simply the method by which we establish communication between two people that are not face to face. So, the concept of an idea of whether or not there's such a thing as a phone call anymore. I think that what we've done is we've augmented the idea of a phone call and the barriers that previously limited us in the same way the barriers used to exist whereby you couldn't call someone on a mobile phone because mobile phones didn't exist. You know, that changed in the late 40s, but late 1940s. So, we're reaching a point now where this is the next step. And the next step is the idea that Nortel was exploring with the appliance BTS. And what I find fascinating is how this was all made possible by two things, Wi-Fi becoming ubiquitous and 4G essentially being an admission that, you know what, we need to go to a packet-based network because we've got so much experience with the internet and packet switching now that we know how to do this and we knew how to do this right. And so, they've done it before. The LTE is a wonderful standard. I mean, it's got issues obviously, but it's such a big step forward from 3G. It's huge and it's massively significant. And Wi-Fi has sort of just come out of nowhere. And because the guys in the industry didn't see it coming, or if they did see it coming, they never saw it as a threat. I guess that's the definition of not seeing it coming. But anyway, so that's what I find fascinating is that this is an inflection point in communication, personal communication, voice communication anyway. And obviously, all the same stuff that we just talked about applies to data as well. I mean, if you're downloading a file, let's say you've got pocket casts or downcast or instacast or overcast or some other kind of cast, whatever, casting fishing rod probably not that when you're doing that you walk out the door you're halfway through your download it should in theory be able to continue that download if you've got 4G connectivity when you walk out the door without interruption without a broken download and you don't have to go and do it again I've actually tried that unfortunately I don't have 4G coverage when I walk out of my door I have to go about half a kilometer down the road got 3G, don't have 4G. It has to be 4G for it to work. So, anyway, essentially, that's really where my thinking ends on this is that this is extremely cool where it's going and it's fascinating the way that the technologies have evolved to essentially converge in a way that was not foreseeable a decade ago but now just so clearly makes so much sense. I've got another question. Sure. And it's just, you know, it's, it's, I guess not asking for a prediction, but just thinking if this makes sense. So obviously this is, this is not great news for the carriers. No. This is, I think they got a, they're probably being dragged, kicking and screaming into this. Yet, you know, even though we've got this white space spectrum, right? have your, you know, you use the term, you know, whether it's a precious resource or not. I mean, it still is a precious resource, right? We just don't have an economic value attached to it. And I say that thinking about where we're going for Christmas dinner tonight, and it's going to be my mom's house, which is next to a big apartment complex, which means if I try to get on Wi-Fi, I'm going to see about 8,000 instances of two-wire, 263, and all the, you know, basically all the built-in Wi-Fi, completely unconfigured garbage modems that came from Time Warner, just set up in, just, you know, picture just a phalanx of these things just surrounding her house. And the Wi-Fi there's terrible, and her connection's bad to begin with. So it's just gonna end up stressing both ends of it, right? Because if the carriers are having financial pressure for putting up more towers and at the same time we're just flooding our homes with noise, is this going to be all good or are we going to have a squeeze? Absolutely. Look, bottom line is that there's two paths you can go with frequency allocation. You can take the fully regulated route and you can prosecute people that essentially interfere with those who are legally licensed. And that's what happens with mobile phone cellular spectrum and a whole bunch of other ones. I also work a lot with telemetry, for example. Telemetry systems, it's the same deal. You get a frequency allocated to you, to the council, and they use it for transferring data about sewage pump stations, let's say, or booster pumps for water, for raw water for dams and so on, to water implants, all that stuff, that's all regulated by either the FCC or by ACMA or whatever the European authorities may be in your country of choice. Bottom line though is if you go unregulated, you've got no leg to stand on. If you've got 10,000 Wi-Fi hotspots stacked on top of each other, which is again, the ridiculous example I painted earlier, no one's going to stop you and no one can stop you. I have exactly that problem in the office building that we've moved into is we now work in an office building. It's a 13-story building and there's lots of small offices and lots of Wi-Fi hotspots. So what I've done is, you know, knowing that this is an issue is I've specifically made sure that we had a Wi-Fi router that supported 5 gigahertz. So if you scan the 2.4 gig spectrum, just like you said, there are hundreds of hotspots and it's insane. It's the same at home here. I mean, thankfully, yeah, we got one of the Airport Extremes and I got a little scanner app for my phone and if I drop it down to 2.4 gigahertz, you just see just everywhere they show up. Yeah, absolutely. And going to the AD standard of Wi-Fi, they're adding 60 gigahertz as well. So that's a newly unrestricted license band that most countries have agreed on as well. So they're adding a third band beyond that because 5 gigahertz is getting crowded as well. So, there is a recognition that this is an issue and all they're going to keep doing if Wi-Fi continues to go the way that it's going and everything supports it and every house has multiple Wi-Fi hotspots or people living in apartment buildings, more people in the apartment buildings. Previously, let's say you had 100 apartments in an apartment building, let's say 20 of them had geeks in it that had these things or maybe people getting time on a cable or maybe 20 people had time on a cable, whatever, as that number grows and grows and it will, essentially, you're going to have that problem. So, you're going to need to open up more bands and they realize this, which is why they're progressing that way. So, you've got 5 gigahertz band and then you'll have 20, 60, so you have two and a half, five and 60 gigs. Mind you, 60 gigs would be an absolute nightmare to get through a wall. As it is, 5 gigs doesn't like a wall. 2.4 is not all that hot on either, especially if you've got anything conductive given the walls, you got steel frame a house or you've got lots of reinforcing. - Maybe that's good given the problem that I see at my mom's house, right? Is that knocking the size of these networks down a little bit might be helpful. - Well, another alternative idea would be, a little bit of discrete shielding. I mean, it may well get reach a point. For example, I'll just pull a UK example. My wife spent some time living over in the UK in London where there's a lot of terraced houses and everyone sort of lives on top of each other and space is at a premium and it's a very expensive place to live in London. So, they have very, very strict laws about sound insulation. So, you have to have sound insulation in the walls, in the floor, the ceiling, in a building, so that the people above you and besides you don't annoy the hell out of you, which it can be strictly enforced. Now, who is to say that in the next 10, 15 years that we do not get similar standards in apartment buildings, but for wifi shielding, designed specifically to create a Faraday cage to contain wifi signals within an apartment to stop just this sort of problem. I mean, I can foresee that that would be great from that point of view, mind you, if you're trying to get cell phone signals, that would be a killer because the cage works both ways. You stop stuff getting out, you also stop stuff getting in. So, you know, but then again- - Right, but if I have my wifi connected to my, you know, a high speed wired broadband, then I don't need the cell phone. Yeah. - That's exactly right. So, the problem would solve itself. So, I can see that potentially happening in some cases. So, anyway, it's interesting to think about where it's going, but yeah, where it is at the moment, I'm just, I'm very excited because this is what we envisaged when we were working on Appliance BTS over a decade ago. And we've reached this point through a means and a path that I never would have predicted, which is awesome. which is awesome. So the last thing I want to really talk about though is the problem with FaceTime Audio, now I'm going on about multi-part TCP and FaceTime Audio, and that's all wonderful and beautiful. And it's a wonderful thing and yada, yada, yada. And it is, but the problem is FaceTime Audio is just, is an Apple standard. And the difference is that I can take a phone call right now, which is operating on IEEE standards. And I can make that phone call to talk to whoever I want anywhere in the world through a whole series compliant network hardware and mobile phone systems everywhere in the world. I can't do that with FaceTime audio unless the people on the other end have got an Apple device. And so that's the problem is that it sounds like we are so close, but the problem is that a lot of people in the world don't use Apple devices. So until we reach a point at which it is a standard that Apple, that everyone else complies with, we won't have actually been able to ditch the voice component of a carrier. And carriers will not become dumb pipes until we reach that point. So, essentially, what will then happen is that the carriers will simply do what they do now for iPads, is they have like a data plaque, a data plan, data sim. You won't have a voice component, you'll just have a data sim. And that's where it will end up. But until we have that unifying standard, we still have, this is what it could be, isn't this great? But until we have an international standard, we don't have an end result yet. So we're still a few years away from that, I think. Yeah, it's this very slow, think about like a canal with like series of locks, you're kind of, you know, going up and down the gradations of what's possible. And there's, I think there's probably a component there with the so-called subsidies and the way that the iPhone drives network adoption. I imagine the carriers have at least some sort of vision of a soft landing at the end of all of this, and Apple has a role to play in that. Yeah, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Apple wants to drive it this way, the same way that they did with music and iTunes, is that this is a better end result for the technology and for usability and for users. And it's going to great with the carriers. And they're just doing it a little piece at a time, chipping away at it, chipping away at it. You're making less money per person, but you're reaching more people. You're driving-- or you're making less money per interaction, but you're driving more interactions. And Apple gets to sit at the center of that. Yeah. That's their goal, at least. Because that's the thing. If it did just happen overnight, you would have economic collapse for everyone involved. and it'd be like the Napster situation. Yeah, that's true. I think carriers need to get used to the idea that they are just going to become data pipes and the ones that are switched on realize it's inevitable but this gives them a transitional period to build out their data networks and switch to LTE at which point in time a lot of this discussion will become academic and it'll just be a given. They'll just be no different to Fios or Comcast or whoever you've got over there over here, you know, like Telstra Big Pond or whatever your home ADSL fiber. Well, you see that with with, I think, you know, companies like Verizon, which, you know, has moved into, you know, it has their files, right, that they're, they're moving into the cable, you know, what is the domain of the cable companies. So I think everyone sees what's coming. They're just it is I I think you could just see that this has been kind of planned to be a managed sort of deleveraging, I guess it feels like. Move your resources into the new technology rather than just shutting everything down and putting up with the disruption that that would be. Yep, exactly. If you want to talk more about this, you can find John on Twitter @JohnChidjie. It's the same on app.net. And check out John's site, techdistortion.com. If you'd like to send an email, you can send it to john@techdistortion.com. I'm Ben Alexander, and you can reach me on Twitter @fiatluxfm, or you can see show announcements and related materials by following the show account @pragmaticshow on Twitter. Thanks for listening, everyone. Thanks, John. Thank you, Ben. (dramatic music) [Music] (upbeat music) (upbeat music continues) [Music] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO]
Duration 1 hour, 13 minutes and 8 seconds Direct Download

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People


Ben Alexander

Ben Alexander

Ben created and runs Constellation.fm and Fiat Lux

John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.