Site:                Nokia
                      P.O. Box 45
                      00211 Helsinki
                      Finland

Date Visited:  27 April 1999

WTEC Attendees: W. Stark (report author), N. Moayeri, R. Rao, J. Winters,
                     A. Ephremides, L. Young, M. Iskander

Hosts:            Heikki Huomo, Vice President, Research and Technology Product Creation
                     Yrjo Neuvo
                     Antti Yla-Jaaski

BACKGROUND

Nokia is a leading manufacturer of wireless communication equipment, including cellular phones and base stations. Nokia has research facilities across the world including Helsinki and Richardson, Texas. Nokia revenue has been increasing at a rate of roughly 30-35% per year for the last 15 years. Nokia has led the industry in marketing phones. Nokia has hired outside companies for research including TI for research on solid state devices. Nokia spends about 8% of sales on research and development. Not all of this was internal research as Nokia sponsors research by other companies and universities. Nokia has 44,543 employees in 45 different countries with research centers in four countries.

The meeting at Nokia began with a fairly large group (around 30) of engineers, product developers. These engineers were participating in a continuing education program whereby Nokia brings in experts from universities together with Nokia engineers. Nokia has a formal mentoring type of program for engineers in order to continue their professional development. This may be quite unique compared to many other companies.

The meeting had several parts. First, Prof. Ephremides, chair of the WTEC panel, gave an overview of the goals of the study and sponsorship. Second, two members of the Nokia research staff, Hekki Huomo and Antti Yla-Jaaski made presentations, followed by discussion and questions from the panelists. After this, a lunch meeting with Hekki Huomo and Antti Yla-Jaaski was held, where further discussion regarding research took place.

At the first part of the meeting, research areas of interest to the panel relevant to wireless communications were discussed. Dr. Neuvo of Nokia added display technology and EMC effects to the list of important research areas. Dr. Huomo discussed the generations of wireless systems from first generation AMPS/NMT to third generation, from analog modulation to digital modulation. The second to third generation is from mainly voice to a combination of data and voice along with packet oriented services.

He also discussed wireless computing where the data rate is from 2-155 Mbps, the carrier frequency is much higher (2GHz and above), and the service is best effort. The architecture of the network is also not celluar/ hierarchical. The future drivers for wireless communication include multimedia communications. A new way of presenting information is needed. The Internet was a success because of available content with intuitive access. A means of differentiating between personal data and work-related data was also discussed as a future goal. Data would be gathered, in this scenario, depending on whether the user is at home or in the office.

It was suggested that service and protocols will have more influence in the future and that the driver of technologies will be service and application protocols and not more capacity (as is the current driver). The following list of technologies needed to achieve these applications was suggested:

SUMMARY

Nokia is a very product oriented company with a heavy emphasis on marketing cellular phones. It has become an international company, leading the industry in cellular phones, and is focusing on systems integration. Nokia has a unique system for mentoring employees with university faculty. The research drivers for future wireless communications include high speed, high frequency transmission of multimedia data, and personalizing data retrieval. The research topics needed to achieve this include board assembly/packaging, chip scale packaging, RF passive integration with MCM-D, flip chip technology, filer integration with BAW, CMOS RF, enhanced digital and analog ASICs, user interfaces, external interfaces, antennas, and battery and energy management.


Published: July 2000; WTEC Hyper-Librarian