3Com Plans for 3G Wireless Networks

3Com Corp. unveiled its map for helping code division multiple access (CDMA) wireless service providers to migrate to third-generation (3G) networks, which are expected to provide high-speed data access speeds of up to 2 Mbps.

The migration plans, which are a critical component of the company's wireless connectivity strategy, include the development of a suite of industry-standard, open-interface network products for a 3G CDMA wireless data network infrastructure.

Phase I of the seamless, low-cost migration path will support the IS-2000, Release 0 (1XRTT) standard, which will increase mobile packet data and voice access speeds up to 144 Kbps. With its greater efficiency and capacity, the 1XRTT solution will be able to host more than 10,000 concurrent calls in the space of a standard central office rack. Phase I is scheduled to begin market trials by the end of 2000.

Phase II, which is scheduled for early 2002, will initially support the IS-2000, Release A (3XRTT) standard for access speeds of up to 384 Kbps for mobile packet data and voice, as well as video. Ultimately, Phase II will also support access speeds as high as 2 Mbps for stationary packet data, voice, and video applications.

"3G technology requires a fundamental change in the design of wireless networks," says Irfan Ali, senior vice president and general manager of 3Com Carrier Systems. "Until now, circuit switches have been at the core of virtually every wireless network. But with the migration to packet switching and higher data speeds, today's circuit switches are ill-equipped to handle the demands of this new technology."

In the new 3G networks, radio nodes (RN) will connect directly -- via a new R-P interface -- to a packet data serving node (PDSN), which will perform the traffic aggregation function, which is similar to that handled by circuit switches today. The PDSN uses authentication, accounting, and administration (AAA) servers for user authentication and traffic management, and then forwards traffic to a gateway router/home agent (GRHA) at the designated IP network.

3Com plans to offer a suite of three standards-based products for the 3G CDMA Wireless Data Network: a PDSN, which will aggregate user traffic from the CDMA network and provide the entry point into the data network; AAA servers for accounting and traffic management; and a GRHA, which will terminate user traffic at the designated IP network.

The products will be offered as a system for optimum performance, but are also designed to work independently in an open 3G architecture. 3Com plans to deliver the first implementations of these products to wireless service providers toward the end of 2000 to enable the carriers to introduce new 3G wireless services to their customers.