Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mobitex

Mobitex is a well established, widely deployed dedicated, packet switched system. It is a narrow-band network offering a gross bit-rate of 8 kbps on 12.5 kHz channels. Note that several users may have to share this available bandwidth. Ericsson is the only supplier of network equipment for Mobitex, but radio modems, software and network add-ons are available from third party vendors.

The specification for 8 kbps was ready in 1990. In Sweden and Nigeria the systems are run on an older specification from 1986, which only offers 1.2 kbps. Because of this low bitrate, you don't hear so much about Mobitex in Sweden. The biggest network, run by RAM Mobile Data in the US, consists of about 1200 base stations with 93 % coverage of the urban business population.

The interface towards the net is specified in an open specification, developed by Telia, and nowadays administrated by the Mobitex Operators Association (MOA). The network layer is specially adapted to mobile computer communication, making it possible to develop applications for the vertical market. For the horizontal market, where you would rather use standard protocols and standard APIs, a specially adapted network layer is a disadvantage, but standard protocols can be run over the Mobitex network layer. These solutions are not specified in the interface specification. A number of products to solve the problem of standard protocol communication have emerged on the market.

To make connections to the X.25 environment easier, a network integrated X.25 gateway has
been developed, and an integrated IP solution is under development. The network architecture is hierarchic. There are two levels of switches, main switch and area switch. For large networks a subdivision in subnets, inter-connected with a backbone, can be used. On the backbone, TCP/IP is used, leaving the Mobitex provider free to choose the backbone supplier.

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