In the area of networking, switching and routing there will continue to be a disconnect between European, Japanese, North American, and worldwide standards.

Even through the 3rd generation, the interfaces, signaling, and roaming will remain incompatible. Furthermore, although there is every intention of providing higher data rates as well as voice telephony, many systems are unable to integrate voice, data, and multimedia so that there is a smooth convergence of wireline and wireless networks. The third generation migration of GSM includes GPRS, which is a packetized transfer to the user level, but it is still based on connection oriented sessions by stealing slots from the GSM TDM air interface. GPRS II extends the way that databases are accessed (for roaming, etc.) but the basic architecture is the same. In the United States, there are similar methods for AMPS Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD), the North American TDMA IS 136 standard, as well as Packet communications in CDMA 2000. While there are many proposals to integrate ISDN, or ATM into the wireless network, there remain fundamental problems with them.

Incorporating the ability to use IP for mobile traffic is fraught with problematic issues ranging from effects during handoffs to roaming. Mobile IP as taken up by the IETF may be more suitable for relocation of computer resources than to true mobility as in rapidly moving vehicles.

It appears that one way to achieve a true four-way convergence of wireline, wireless, telephony, and multimedia traffic is to rethink the entire concept of leaving the core network as well as the air interface as a connection oriented circuit switched network.

Among the topics of needed research are the following:

Published: July 2000; WTEC Hyper-Librarian