Beijing to be wireless city by 2008 Olympics

The local government is pushing for construction of a wireless LAN to be complete by the 2008 Olympic games.
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The 2008 Olympics is stimulating a massive construction project to make Beijing a wireless city — offering 3G communications and covering 90 percent of the city's main thoroughfares via WLAN or WiMax coverage.

Xie Linzhen, a commissioner from the Communications Technology Commission of the Ministry of Information Industry, discussed plans for China's wireless initiative in a recent public speech in Japan. In a report by "China Tech News," Xie said that Beijing's government was pushing for the construction to be complete by the 2008 Olympics.

Before the second quarter of 2008, Xie said there would be 9000 WLAN hotspots and 150 WiMax base stations in Beijing, covering 90 percent of the city's main avenues. He said high-speed data services would adopt WLAN and WiMax, while audio communications and low-speed data communications would use the city's TD-SCDMA network.

In 2006, China chose TD-SCDMA, a locally developed time division synchronous code division multiple access technology, as one of its standards for 3G, which allows video conferencing and faster music downloads to mobile handsets.

In a recent report in "China Daily," Xi Guohua, vice minister at the Ministry of Information Industry, said that China was considering two other global standards, CDMA2000 and wideband-CDMA, for 3G. The government has only said it planned to offer 3G services in time for next year's Olympics, without providing many details.

China Mobile Communications, which is building TD-SCDMA networks in eight cities, expects commercial trials to start after construction is completed by the end of October.

Zhang Yongqi, VP of Chinacomm, one of the companies building the wireless network, said that WiMax involved a higher cost and would only be used to complement TD-SCDMA and to serve corporate clients.

There are currently 15 WiMAX base stations in Beijing's Xuanwu District that serve the local environmental protection department.

The Beijing Olympics will be the first in the games' history to use WLAN, which would be used mainly by journalists. During the past year, there has been concern about the safety and security of WLAN technology.

China Mobile, one of the country's largest mobile operators and mobile communication partner of the Beijing Olympics, has been carrying out tests since last year.