Milestone-Proposal talk:Development of CDMA for Cellular Communications, 1989
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Here is a version of the citation that came from Advocate Dave Bart, and which has my support as Proposer:
On November 7, 1989, Qualcomm publicly demonstrated a cellular radio system based upon Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). The technology, later known as cdmaOne, incorporated features that maintained voice quality, increased capacity, reduced dropped calls, lowered device costs and extended battery life. cdmaOne formed the basis for IS-95 and follow on second and third generation cellular standards
This citation is currently being assessed by a few technical contacts in the cell phone industry, and I will provide feedback as I receive it.
Brian Berg, R6 IEEE Milestone Coordinator
Based on extensive discussion with the proposer, the above milestone wording was suggested for consideration. We believe this accurately identifies the historical importance and contribution of the Qualcomm demonstration. -- Dave Bart, Milestone Advocate
The team with whom I have been working proposes this alternate citation:
On November 7, 1989, Qualcomm publicly demonstrated a digital cellular radio system based upon Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) which increased capacity, improved service quality and extended battery life. This formed the basis for the IS-95 second generation cellular standards and for all third generation mobile broadband cellular standards which have been used in billions of devices worldwide.
The advocate stated that the citation was "way too broad" re: "all third generation mobile broadband cellular standards." However, I respectfully submit that there are only three recognized 3rd Generation standards: CDMA2000, WCDMA and SC-CDMA. All use CDMA, and so I feel that use of the word “all” is appropriate here.
The advocate also stated that "billions of devices worldwide" is "...not defined. What devices? Billions based on what count?" I agree that this should be made more clear, and that the statement should have proof as well. I therefore propose adding the words "mobile cellular" for clarity. Proof of this statement is not difficult to find. There are currently around 3 billion 3G devices worldwide, a fact shown, for example, in a chart showing 2G, 3G and 4G LTE presence in the world over time that can be found in a Working Document created for the European Union's European Parliament here: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52016SC0306 (on p. 8 of the PDF here: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52016SC0306&from=en).
I therefore propose this new 60-word citation (whose only change is adding "mobile cellular" near the end):
On November 7, 1989, Qualcomm publicly demonstrated a digital cellular radio system based upon Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) which increased capacity, improved service quality and extended battery life. This formed the basis for the IS-95 second generation cellular standards and for all third generation mobile broadband cellular standards which have been used in billions of mobile cellular devices worldwide.
In addition, I can add the above-cited proof re: the "billions" claim to the text of the proposal, and I will also add some other citations as well in order to fully substantiate this claim.
Committee response -- Allisonmarsh (talk) 22:43, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
Minor comment: there should be a comma before which.
More significant comment for consideration: Anytime we start down a path of naming a milestone that is part of a series of innovations, we need to make sure that we are honoring the most significant achievement. What are the possibilities of milestones for 1G, 3G, 4G, and future cell standards. I see that this honors Qualcom, but were there any other people doing similar work? (I don't want other companies thinking we are choosing one over another). Should the military roots be mentioned?
Re: Committee response -- Bethrobertson (talk) 19:02, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
Mentioning the military origins could very well add to the historical context, and, perhaps not make it seem like Qualcom came up with the innovation out of nowhere, but built on past achievements.
This milestone discusses Qualcomm's demonstration of "a" digital cellular system, not "the" digital cellular system. This language was specifically intended to allow for other milestone claims that may be made for related technologies or other applications. Therefore, I don't think we need to try to include any earlier or other military variants. In any case, Qualcomm's version of the technology did provide the major underpinning for IS-95, which itself later evolved. Adding a comma before which is OK. Dave Bart
1. Comma: Response: This is a minor issue - we accept this change.
2. "Anytime we start down a path of naming a milestone that is part of a series of innovations, we need to make sure that we are honoring the most significant achievement. What are the possibilities of milestones for 1G, 3G, 4G, and future cell standards."
Response: Note that the Milestone honors CDMA, not any one of the "xG" standards. These standards are agreed to by many entities in the mobile industry, and therefore honoring one of these standards would be very complex due to the number of entities that would have to agree to what was being honored. Thus, it seems unlikely that any particular xG standard would be proposed as a Milestone. It is conceivable, though, that some underlying enabling technology might be proposed for a Milestone at some point in the future.
3. "I see that this honors Qualcomm, but were there any other people doing similar work? (I don't want other companies thinking we are choosing one over another)."
Response: As noted in the proposal, "Despite resistance from the mobile industry that was largely already invested in TDMA, Qualcomm proposed a more radical solution to the capacity problem using a spread spectrum technology called CDMA." TDMA was the trend at the time, but the Milestone honors Qualcomm's boldness in going against resistance to TDMA and demonstrating the CDMA was feasible, and the result of this is the fact that CDMA was an important enabler of what ended up being standardized as 3G about a decade after the 1989 demonstration cited by the Milestone.
4. "Should the military roots be mentioned?"
Response: Military roots are noted twice in the proposal, and each of the following quoted instances is followed by substantive supporting information in this regard: - "CDMA, which was historically used for military communications, is a technology in which signals are spread over a frequency using a unique code for each signal, and the resulting low-power signals travel over the same frequency at the same time." - "Led by Irwin Jacobs and Andrew Viterbi, Qualcomm entered the cellular industry, leveraging expertise in digital wireless technologies that at the time were applied only to satellite communications for military and transportation use cases." - In addition, the Swarts book "CDMA Techniques for Third Generation Mobile Systems" (available on google books by googling "cdma military classified") shows that much of the military work in this area was classified and thus cannot be cited. Use .
Being new to this discussion, I have two thoughts on the plaque citation:
First, "IS-95" is a rather technical term that may not be meaningful to a general public audience. Could it be replaced, explained, or deleted?
And second, based on the supplemental material and my understanding of cell phone history, it appears to me that increasing the channel capacity eliminated an important bottleneck to the development of mobile technology by enabling the future growth of cell phone systems. This contribution seems to be primary to the others cited on the plaque. In other words, only once we are able to build a large network of users will users begin to worry about battery life, for example; as long as only a limited number of users have mobile access, battery life was probably secondary.
Should the plaque citation emphasize the increase in channel capacity more strongly for a general audience?
If so, I propose a revision along the following lines:
"On November 7, 1989, Qualcomm publicly demonstrated a cellular radio system based upon Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). Building on military research, the technology overcame a bottleneck to future growth by increasing the capacity of cell phone networks and allowing more users to share bandwidth. It also maintained voice quality, reduced dropped calls, lowered device costs, and extended battery life."
This revision would also address the "IS-95" issue and mention the military origins (I thought the previous user had asked the military roots to be acknowledged in the plaque citation, not just in the supplementary material).
I am impressed by the quality of the supplemental material, and my concern is only about how best to present this significant accomplishment in 60 words to a general audience.
Thanks for the comments. I note that these comments propose a rewrite of most of the carefully crafted citation.
The proposed new citation removes all mention of 2G and 3G standards. As cellular communications is build on standards, and since this Milestone most importantly shows the impact of Qualcomm's work on these all-important standards, the proposed new citation dramatically vacates the most important aspects of the Milestone. IS-95 is a necessary distinguisher in the context in which it appears regarding these standards. While arguably rather technical, this term allows the impact of Qualcomm's work to be correctly described, and is only a minor portion of the whole citation. Hence, the removal of this term would make the citation inaccurate.
In addition, the proposed citation removes the phrase "which have been used in billions of mobile cellular devices worldwide" and thus vacates the description of the important legacy of the Milestone that we see today, and will continue to see in the future.
I also respectfully disagree with the "battery life was probably secondary" postulation. Mobile devices have had battery life issues for decades, and still do. Extending battery life for any kind of usage is very important, and should not be minimized within the citation. This can be seen, for example, in the first two paragraphs of Chapter 1 of the book "IS-95 CDMA and cdma2000: Cellular/PCS Systems Implementation" as shown here .
I will address the military research comment in a subsequent response.
Regarding the military research aspect, it would actually be best to address the foundation of CDMA: spread spectrum technology, for which there was much military and non-military development work. I therefore propose adding the words "spread spectrum technology" to the first sentence of the citation as follows:
On 7 November 1989, Qualcomm publicly demonstrated a digital cellular radio system based upon Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) spread spectrum technology, which increased capacity, improved service quality, and extended battery life. This formed the basis for the IS-95 second-generation cellular standards, and for all third-generation mobile broadband cellular standards which have been used in billions of mobile cellular devices worldwide.
The resultant citation is improved since it cites a very fundamental technology which is more generic than just military research or applications. This foundational basis can be seen by going to books.google.com and searching for << cdma "spread spectrum" >>. For example, the Preface of the book "Spread Spectrum and CDMA: Principles and Applications" as accessible here .
Note also that "spread spectrum" is explained in the application, it is discussed in the context of military applications, and these words are also included in the title of two of the patents cited.
Qualcomm's demonstrations were not exclusive, so their demonstration of "a" system is the appropriate wording. Adding "spread spectrum technology" to the wording is reasonable. The link to adoption of IS-95 standards is the primary contribution, so although it is a technical phrase, I don't see any way around that term. I accept the revisions, but we now exceed 60 words. I inserted the verb "used" at the end of the last sentence. How about:
On 7 November 1989, Qualcomm publicly demonstrated a digital cellular radio system based upon Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) spread spectrum technology, which increased capacity, improved service quality, and extended battery life. This formed the basis for the IS-95 second-generation cellular standards, and for all third-generation mobile broadband cellular standards used in billions of mobile cellular devices worldwide.