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2001 Evolution Towards Reconfigurable User Equipment

2001 Evolution Towards Reconfigurable User Equipment

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IEEE Communications Magazine • February 2001
158
Evolution TowardReconfigurable User Equipment
0163-6804/01/$10.00 © 2001 IEEE
 A
BSTRACT
To date, research into reconfigurable mobilecommunications has predominantly focused onthe software radio concept, and specifically onthe hardware technologies required to movephysical layer processing into a programmableenvironment [1–3]. Although an interesting andnecessary challenge, this only represents a frac-tion of the overall support and technologyrequired to realize the potential of the concept.Other necessary developments include net- work/terminal cooperation for seamless inter-standard handoff, QoS management, a securesoftware download mechanism, terminal soft- ware architecture supporting reconfiguration,configuration management, capability negotia-tion, and so on. Summarizing results from earlyproject deliverables from a European Researchproject, IST-TRUST (Transparently Reconfig-urable Ubiquitous Terminal) [4], this articledescribes the likely overall system environmentand the key technical challenges to beresearched for realizing a reconfigurable termi-nal to meet the needs of users within that envi-ronment.
F
UTURE
W
IRELESS
S
 YSTEMS
 As we look beyond the third generation (3G) of mobile communications, we can initially perceivethe convergence toward an IP-based core networkand ubiquitous, seamless access between 2G, 3G,broadband, and broadcast wireless accessschemes, augmented by self-organizing networkschemes and short-range connectivity betweenintelligent communicating appliances (Fig. 1) [5].In this “composite radio environment” where sev-eral highly standardized legacy radio transportschemes exist, the medium-term goal would be todevelop reconfigurable network and terminaltechniques to enable interworking, and so deliverdiverse and exciting applications using the mostappropriate radio access scheme(s). Appropriatein this sense refers to the dynamic choice of access scheme(s) to achieve seamless, uninter-rupted delivery to the user, customized to userneeds in terms of content, quality of service(QoS), and cost. In such an environment, verti-cal handover may take place between differentaccess systems (from the cellular down to thepersonal network layer, e.g., Bluetooth), com-bined with real-time service and resource negoti-ations to seamlessly achieve the desired QoS.Interworking, mobility management, and roam-ing would be handled via the medium access sys-tems and IP-based core network.IST Transparently Reconfigurable UbiquitousTerminal (TRUST),a collaborative research pro- ject partly funded by the Council of EuropeanCommunities, is examining the feasibility of sus-taining such a vision in a composite radio envi-ronment. However, achieving interoperabilitybetween many very different radio access stan-dards is extremely challenging in terms of bothtechnology and overhead. A longer-term vision considered by TRUSTfocuses more on optimizing spectrum access,spectrum being the fundamental limiting resource.Enabled by progressive spectrum deregulation,terminals may negotiate dynamically for spectrumappropriate to the service(s) to be delivered, withspectrum allocation appropriately optimized toachieve maximum local system capacity. Otherenablers for such a vision might be the emergenceof self-organizing networks (dispensing with fixedfrequency planning) and reconfigurable terminalsoperating flexible, scalable radio access schemesin any part of the cellular/broadcast spectrum.Some network concepts supporting such a schemeare alluded to in [6].
R
EGULATORY 
I
SSUES AND
R
EQUIREMENTS
R
EGULATORY AND
S
TANDARDIZATION
C
ONSIDERATIONS
Reconfigurable radio technology is acknowl-edged by the FCC, the U.S. regulatory authority,as an important mechanism to allow the mod-ernization of spectrum engineering practices toimprove spectrum efficiency [7].
Nigel J. Drew, Motorola Ltd  Markus M. Dillinger, Siemens AG
T
OPICSIN
S
OFTWAREAND
DSP
IN
R
ADIO
 
IEEE Communications Magazine • February 2001
159
Evident in the recent International Work-shop on Reconfigurable Mobile Communica-tions Systems organized by the TRUST project[4], European regulators such as RegTP inGermany are also considering evolution of theregulatory position in light of these technolo-gies, and are encouraging the industry to field views and proposals. For the longer-term vision, deregulation of spectrum and minimalstandardization are key to breaking down the“generation” cycle in mobile communications, where years of standardization work, resultingin the release of the “next”-generation system,may well be already outdated by technologyadvances. The vision of a flexible, scalable sys-tem into which new technology developmentsmay easily be integrated, could potentiallyminimize standardization requirements, speci-fying only fundamental communication mecha-nisms such as:An interface for connecting new radioaccess points to the converged backbonenetworkA communications channel to the terminalover which spectrum access is negotiated,or evolution of an adequate spectrum-access etiquetteA mechanism by which spectrum access maybe policed (e.g., consideration of the case where a software radio pollutes local spec-trum, having downloaded and installed soft- ware which causes rogue emission)Furthermore, the role of regulators willrequire evolution, possibly focusing on :Policing user privacy and security in ascheme where user profiles, configurationinformation, and a significant quantity of personal data is stored and widely distribut-ed. Security and privacy measures must be jointly agreed on by industry as well as reg-ulations to resolve potential conflicts, forexample, between users and the advertise-ment industry.Ensuring fair access to spectrum throughreal-time policing and prevention of servicemonopolies.However, the huge investment in legacy sys-tems will ensure that 2G and 3G cellularschemes will be retained for many years. Thekey is to establish the business model and tech-nologies through which an evolved uniform, scal-able system may be adopted as and whensegments of spectrum are released.
R
EQUIREMENTS FOR
F
UTURE
M
OBILE
C
OMMUNICATIONSFROM THE
U
SER
P
ERSPECTIVE
Given the increasing demand for flexibility andindividuality in society, what does all of thismean to the end user? Potentially, the value would be in the diversity of mobile applications,hidden from the complexity of the underlyingcommunications schemes. This complexity wouldbe abstracted into an intelligent personality man-agement mechanism, learning and understandingthe needs of the user, and controlling the behav-ior of their reconfigurable terminal accordinglyin terms of application behavior and access tothe supporting services.TRUST attempts to rationalize this “seamless wireless utopia” by studying the “real” require-ments for reconfigurable terminals and creatingrealistic working scenarios. Technology research
Given theincreasingdemand for flexibility and individuality in society, whatdoes all of thismean to theend user?Potentially, thevalue would bein the diversity of mobileapplications,hidden from thecomplexity of theunderlyingcommunications schemes.
s
Figure 1.
 A seamless future network including a variety of access technologies [5].
OtherentitiesShort-rangeconnectivityReturn channel:(e.g., GSM)DABDVBDownload channelIP-based core networkServices andapplicationsWLANtypeIMT-2000UMTSCellularGSMWirelinexDSL
 M
 e
 d
 i
a
a
c
c
e
s
s
n
r  
 
IEEE Communications Magazine • February 2001
160
s
Table 1.
 Reconfigurable mobile communications requirements study.
END USER HIGH LEVEL REQUIREMENTS
Ubiquitous mobile accessRobust connection is essentialAccess to mobile-specific web, multimedia, broadband and broadcast content: seamless handoff betweenradio access modes (user not interested in which ones).Service discovery and transparent dynamic adaptation of applications to match available services andpreference profiles; home country roaming will become an issue for usersGlobal roaming (important for only a small subset of potential users)Quality expectations vary Service degradation and dropped service (e.g., broadcast TV, interactive games, voice telephony) must bewith taskmanaged. Similar levels of service are expected on the train as in the home.User must have high-level control where cost is concerned.Ease of access to Current technologies will set benchmarks (e.g., Internet download)applications and servicesTransparent discovery and switching between services and radio access modes, based on an intelligentestablishment and interpretation of user preferences and application requirements.However, some users will require more control for private vs. business use.Low-cost and relevant Intelligent discovery, presentation and selection of service options and billing schemes; distribution ofservices and meaningfulapplication processing between network and terminal to reduce terminal resource requirement.billingBilling should hide some of the inherent system complexity, i.e. only one bill.Set cost constraints for servicesTechnology comfortUser friendly consumer product model versus computer (PC) model: computer-literacy should notbe required but may be useful. Intelligent client-server management schemes must offer freedomfrom complex PC-like application installation and configuration; but users may still want some control;User-friendly handling of delays, disconnections and new connections via meaningful feedback to the user;Transparent handling of version/configuration control for application and system software(including radio access stack software) and accountability of system to user for reconfiguration changes.Support expected from the service provider and operator in finding services and updating software.Intelligent use of battery resource, both locally (local application, display, sound) and in network accessSimple UI and appealing aesthetic.Reasonable equipmentExpectation that terminal equipment will offer support for fast-evolving complexity and diversity oflifeapplilcations and services
 APPLICATION DEVELOPER/CONTENT PROVIDER
Common ExecutionAllowing development of applications and associated content independently of underlying networkEnvironmentservices and terminal capabilities: self-configuration via capability exchangeApplication DiversityTerminals capable of supporting fast-evolving complexity and diversity of applications and services;Utilization of increasing terminal resources to enrich application (e.g., spare DSP processing capacity)
SERVICE PROVIDER
Fast, open service creation,Allowing development of services independently of underlying network services;validation and provisioningProvisioning of validated services configured to underlying network and terminal capabilitiesInform user of services Requirement for an effective scheme to ‘advertise’ available services in a service discovery negotiationavailableMaintain connections andAbility to seamlessly switch connections to alternate radio access schemes or alternate network operatorsadapt to required QoSboth in call and in standbyDynamically modify resource allocation to maintain desired QoS over radio channels
NETWORK OPERATOR
Maximize utilization ofFlexible allocation of spectrum according to differing user demands.allocated spectrumRadio resource and network management to support coexistence of access schemes within allocatedbands and spectrum sharing between operators.Maintaining QoSMaintenance of Quality of Service is a fundamental measure of network operator performanceLongevity and flexibilitySupporting reconfiguration in the radio access equipment and the media access fabric interfacing to theof network equipmentcore networkOwning customersMechanisms to support operator control of terminals, at all levels
TERMINAL AND COMPONENT MANUFACTURER
Economies of scaleConsolidation of product variants onto reconfigurable product platformsBug fix and softwareAbility to download and install software to overcome bugs and enhance functionality/performance reducesenhancement provisioningrecall costs and increases differentiation and revenue streamFast product creationReconfigurable IP authoring fostering maximized reuse, hardware/software codesign and platform-basedIP integration methodology.

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