In the previous chapters we presented and analyzed all major forms of wireless communications and divided them into two major groups: The world of cellular mobile networks as represented by three generations of networks with the corresponding technologies, and the other, the world of so called “fixed wireless” communications grouping WLAN, WPAN, WiMAX, and Near-Field Sensor Networks. In the pursuit of the ultimate goal of communications “anytime, anywhere, any technology” there is a need for interoperability between the cellular mobile radio networks of the latest generations and any form of fixed wireless networks, i.e., Fixed-Mobile Convergence (FMC), the subject of this book. From the user's perspective, convergence means use of the same mobile cell phone or mobile handset across any type of wireless network and transmission of digital information at the highest available data rate, all at the lowest possible cost.
This chapter will provide an overview of the fixed-mobile convergence concept. We will address the terminology, architectural components, interfaces, protocols, the overall requirements, and the technical forums that have been created to advance fixed-mobile convergence concepts. We will also introduce two major solutions that address this convergence at the standards level. Convergence is also one major aspect of the grand schema of designing the New Generation of Wireless Networks; along with associated architectures, applications, and services. The actual pair solutions of convergence between cellular mobile networks and individual fixed wireless networks will be presented in subsequent chapters.
The high-level characteristics of this integration/convergence are:
A meshed wireless infrastructure as the conduit for voice, data, and video communications;