Qualcomm’s Lauer Outlines Efforts to Ease Network Bottlenecks at Wireless Conference

[Corrected 11/11/09, 3:15 pm. See below] Qualcomm chief operating officer, Len Lauer, says the San Diego wireless chipmaking giant is working across a broad front of technology development to accommodate a surge in wireless data traffic.

“The mobile Internet has arrived,” Lauer says in the opening keynote talk yesterday at the 2009 3G CDMA Americas Regional Conference. With more than 4 billion wireless subscribers around the world now—including 885 million 3G phone users—Lauer says the growth in wireless data is reflected by a roughly one-third increase in revenue reported over the past year by Verizon, AT&T, and other major carriers.

[Corrects to say Lauer was comparing monthly data traffic in 2014, not monthly growth in data traffic] By 2014, or just five years, Lauer says  worldwide mobile data traffic in one month will exceed total mobile data traffic for all of 2008.

Qualcomm founder and former chairman and CEO Irwin Jacobs and his son Paul Jacobs, who is Qualcomm’s current chairman and CEO, sounded a similar theme when they warned of capacity constraints last month during a keynote appearance at the CTIA Fall 2009 conference in San Diego.

In addition to the increasing demand for mobile data from smart phones and netbooks, Lauer says the trend can only accelerate as new wireless device categories proliferate, especially in what he calls machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. Examples of M2M technology developers include CardioNet, a Pennsylvania wireless health company that uses wireless sensors to continuously monitor heart patients for irregular heartbeats; wireless smart grid technologies being deployed by electric utilities (including San Diego Gas & Electric), and eBook devices like Amazon’s Kindle.

“Other operators are seeing this as a viable market, but it is going to take awhile to develop,” Lauer says, citing estimates that 229 million M2M cellular connections are forecast for 2013. “We do see from Qualcomm’s standpoint this being a very large opportunity for our chips.”

To cope with the surge in wireless data traffic, Lauer outlined a range of technology advances that Qualcomm has underway:

—The latest generation of advanced wireless receivers, which include updated revisions to the EV-DO (Evolution Data Optimized) telecommunications standard (part of Qualcomm’s CDMA2000 family), operate … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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