IP Portfolio

Feature

Ultrafast 4G LTE speeds are changing the face of wireless technology.

WiLAN’s R&D and patents are part of both the foundation and the future of 4G LTE.

Established in 1992 to develop and commercialize technology that made low-cost, high-speed wireless networking a reality, WiLAN is part of the history and the future of 4G LTE.

4G LTE (short for fourth-generation Long Term Evolution) is becoming the first truly global mobile phone standard because it delivers data at the super-fast speeds consumers are demanding to power their smartphone experience.

“Back in 1993, at a time when most people were accessing the internet through a dial-up modem, WiLAN was launching an OFDM-based wireless networking system offering data rates up to 20Mbps ” says Christian Dubuc, Vice President of Licensing Technologies at WiLAN. “WiLAN’s idea of a high-speed wireless experience was truly visionary, and this vision is becoming a reality now with technologies such as 4G LTE,” Dubuc says. Dubuc spearheaded Nortel’s proposal for an OFDM-based evolution in the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) that resulted in the creation of the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) project. He is also a named inventor on several Nortel 4G patents.

Dubuc and his colleagues at WiLAN have built on this vision of ultrafast wireless. Today, through a series of patent acquisitions involving pioneers in the development of broadband wireless data systems, the company has established a portfolio of over 15 distinct patent families that it believes are essential to implementing parts of the LTE standard. WiLAN also remains an innovative player in LTE R&D through its wholly owned subsidiary Cygnus Broadband.

Cygnus Broadband was founded to research solutions that can optimize the deployment of mobile networks in the face of the ever-exploding demand for bandwidth-heavy multimedia data traffic. Next-generation networks must support mobile access for applications such as Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, Skype video and streaming XM radio. Yet the congestion of data traffic from the vast number of users accessing these applications over the finite radio spectrum raises significant challenges when it comes to providing an exceptional user experience. Through its research efforts Cygnus Broadband has identified solutions that can optimize the transport of application traffic at the edge of the network, where it matters most.

“With 3G and earlier standards, the quality of the service — whether your call was dropped or your email got through — was the primary driver for consumers. Today, we’re focusing on the quality of the experience. Did my streaming video freeze? Milliseconds count more than ever,” says Ken Stanwood, who heads up Cygnus Broadband.

One focus of Cygnus’ research is to show service providers ways to achieve “application awareness” and increase the throughput of congested systems by intelligently considering the varied requirements of different applications. Ultimately, the results of Cygnus’ R&D efforts will allow 4G networks to allocate bandwidth more intelligently and, in turn, enhance the user’s quality of experience.

For the past 14 years, Stanwood has been involved in developing the foundational technology for 4G broadband wireless networks. He holds over 60 U.S. patents in broadband wireless communications. His involvement with WiLAN also predates Cygnus. WiLAN’s patent portfolio includes patents that are applicable to LTE, which came from companies where Stanwood played a key role.

“My involvement with WiLAN over the years definitely points to the company’s commitment and continuity when it comes to LTE,” Stanwood says.