updated 08:40 am EDT, Fri August 6, 2010
Nokia Siemens DFCA could make more room for 3G
Nokia Siemens Networks today detailed a technology that could potentially help mitigate the data crunch at some cellphone carriers. Dynamic Frequency and Channel Allocation (DFCA) reduces the amount of bandwidth that a GSM call needs to work. The approach can either double the room for conventional voice calls or leave more room for cellular data, including 3G over HSPA or 4G on LTE. Either can reduce the need for extra cell sites or improve the quality on existing parts of the network.
The network infrastructure builder hasn't named customers for DFCA but has emphasized that software, rather than hardware, achieves much of the work.
Implementing DFCA could help alleviate the congestion caused by the rise of smartphones, which have triggered slowdowns primarily on AT&T's network in the US but have also been attributed to issues on O2 in the UK, SoftBank in Japan and in other networks with a large population of users with iPhones and Android devices. In many cases, data is overtaking voice, and DFCA or equivalents from rivals could re-prioritize networks without having to immediately add equipment.
Carriers like AT&T aren't using Nokia Siemens hardware through some or all of their networks and wouldn't see uniform benefits without changing hardware.