* Posts by Femtoman

4 posts • joined 14 Sep 2009

Three bumps up mobile broadband contract charge


How do their costs relate to inflation ?

Telcos including wireless operators have costs that bear little relationship to inflation so I don't agree I afraid that this is acceptable. Besides as an operator you need to factor in any increases in your costs when you set one or two year tarrifs. We'd need to understand how their capex and opex - relating to this service - vary over time to determine whether their margin has fallen. I've told 3 that having studied the contract carefully I am ending it as they have increased their price. The contract is poorly written and open to dual interpretation.

Either way it's not a great way to build customer loyalty. Looks to me like a good day to bury bad news approach - VAT's increasing so we'll add a bit more on as well.

And for that reason I'm out - of being a 3 customer!


Apple's iPhone 4 denial: insulting or ignorant?


It's all about Antenna Engineering and Physics

This isn't a software problem ( integration time of the signal strength measurements - RSSI) in my humble opinion but a hardware problem associated with an unusual approach to realising the antenna. There are several radios in any phone - 2G, 3G, Wi Fi, GPS & Bluetooth - operating at different frequencies and the challenge is to optimise the receive and transmit performance of the antenna system without having to have say a pull out antenna - remember those on the early analogue units ! Optimisation takes account of the way the unit will be used - will it be used on a belt ( such as a pager) or in the hand & pocket/bag as with a phone.

Antenna systems are therefore carefully engineered components whose designs are tuned for best performance.

The human body - being a lump of salty water - will when brought near an antenna affect its' performance and therefore the antenna engineer has even more challenges to take this into account whether we are left handed or right handed. But they have all managed it pretty well up to now.

If you then - in a first - as far as I am aware - allow the antenna system to come directly into contact with a hand - and even more alarming allow the antenna feed point ( that part on the bottom left with the plastic seperation ) to be touched then it will de-tune the antenna and the signal will go down. No amount of software fiddling will change that - it's an antenna design problem in my humble opinion.

The solution requires a rethink of the antenna system design - so that perhaps form is not triumphing over function. Which may I realise be a problem in itself. What a nonsense to have to stick tape/blue tack/nail polish or even a rubber wrap around on your brand new 'leading edge' phone. As has been said it would be fairly easy for a test house to do a full test on the RF performance with and without a human ( or test equivalent ) to put this matter to bed for once and for all. I do agree with the chap who said it is basic physics - sadly that means there isn't an app to fix this ........


Vodafone Access Gateway 3G


Femto's are a key part of future strategy for mobile operators

I've had a Voda femto since July. I consider I'm actually part of a Beta test ( i.e. sort of internal pre release to market test to identify problems and fix them) because there are many outages - once or twice a week. When the system stops working all the lights on the femto say 'I'm working' but you can't make or receive calls - even though you phone shows all the signal bars. So you miss calls and you don't know you're missing them - until you try to make one !

Voda's Gateway was clearly rushed to market - the sign on process when I signed up was all but manual - whatever you entered on the sign up web page was manually taken off by a human and re-entered into a different system as the software that did it automatically was six weeks ago ( that's what they told me when I rang in to report my first problem - I don't bother now

There are many issues to solve both technically and commercially - but I'm convinced that femto's will become a key part of the LTE landscape. I too raised my eyebrows at paying to extend Voda's coverage into my home ( I'm out in the boonies - usable signal only if you put one arm in the air, it's raining and there's an 'R' in the month ! ) but not much in the way of alternatives.

If you think about it the operator is stepping outside their fully controlled and managed network to one where the end to end performance relies on somebody elses internet connection - try running speedtest.net on your broadband at 7pm and see how that all but grinds to a halt and the ping time allows you to make a cup ot tea !

It will be interesting to see how all of this pans out - like many operators mobile telcos would love to have their hub at the centre of your & mine homes.


Vodafone's Access Gateway denies access


Femto - Catch 22 ?

There does appear to be a bit of a problem with Femto's - I have a Voda one which has outages once or twice a week. Problem is you don't know the femto service is down - the green lights on the femto say all A OK but calls can't be received or made because there is a problem back in Voda's inards. So you don't know that basically your phone is dead unless you go outside the femto area or turn it off and then you get missed call voicemails.

Bit of a Catch 22

Having suggested to Voda that they need to inform people of the ooutage - so they send a txt - which may or may not get through - I guess it depends on the nature of the fault.

The Femto needs to indicate when the end to end service is down.