Motorola has demonstrated at the CDMA Americas Congress in San Francisco an end-to-end solution for wireless data at 64Kbps.
The company said its 64Kbps techno-logy will be available to service providers in the US in the first quarter of next year.
According to a Motorola official at the conference, delivering the solution is the first step in a strategy that will lead eventually to third-generation (3G) packet data services at 384Kbps or more.
Vendors and carriers at the well-attended meeting touted the potential for handfuls of Internet-based data services carried on 3G wireless, including text messaging, stock information, advertising and location-specific directions to a destination. In a gen-eral-session presentation, Bell Atlantic Mobile demonstrated giant-screen videoconferencing over a 3G network at a peak throughput of 460Kbps.
But vendors and observers cautioned that this type of big-bandwidth service will not be available for at least a year.
Maureen Govern, vice president of network architecture and technology at Motorola's Network Solutions Sector, said the company is developing a set of technologies with Cisco Systems and Sun Microsystems, called Aspira, that will take advantage of routing and server intelligence to deliver high-quality services over a wireless network.
Today, CDMA data traffic can go directly over a packet network and bypass circuit switches, called mobile switching centres, that were designed for voice calls. Aspira will go a step further to take advantage of these more efficient and scalable packet networks, she said.
"With Aspira, we'll begin to migrate the voice traffic, too," Govern said.
However, Govern added that Aspira will be delivered concurrent with 3G products, which are not likely to become available until 2001 or later.
The 64Kbps solution, which was demonstrated at the show using a mobile PC and a wireless modem, will signifi-cantly boost the throughput available on CDMA networks. Motorola's current solution in the US, for example, offers only 14.4Kbps peak performance.
Motorola has also announced that the 64Kbps CDMA solution will form the basis of services set to go live in Japan on January 7.
But according to one analyst at the conference, wireless data services may take off even without that boost.
The key to acceptance is how quickly smaller bits of data can appear on a device, and how much it costs users to get those extra services from their handsets, he said.
"What breaks this thing open is cost reduction," the analyst said.