LONDON The former and current CEOs of Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego, Calif.) -- Irwin and Paul Jacobs, respectively -- took the stage at the CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment 2009 being held on their home turf, and entered the net neutrality debate in the U.S. with Paul Jacobs calling for heavy data users to be discriminated against as wireless networks reach capacity.
Paul Jacobs' call came a day after Julius Genachowski, head of the Federal Communications Commission, warned that there was not enough room available on the airwaves for the "explosion" in wireless data traffic.
Jacobs said he had given the FCC chairman his views on "traffic shaping" as one solution to what the FCC describes as a "looming spectrum crisis".
The answer, at least for now, is small cell sites on the radio access network side and better backhaul, according to Paul Jacobs.
"It is very obvious that we are pushing the limits of wireless capacity," sister website Unstrung reported the younger Jacobs as saying.
In the future, however, Irwin warned, carriers couldn't expect more spectrum to become available to aid speed and capacity. "I think now other aspects are going to coming in, we will be looking at architectures and networks," said Irwin Jacobs.
This means thinking about much denser radio networks, the current CEO enjoined. With more of a femto or picocell architecture in place, carriers could expect an eight- to ten-times improvement in network performance, Qualcomm expects.
Managing interference with so many more radios in place will be one issue, he said. Managing handover between many tiny base stations will be another.
"There are new tricks going on, they are just not the same as the old tricks," Paul Jacobs told the CTIA audience. "That's going into the LTE Advanced standards now."
Backhaul is a massive issue for carriers with data services, the current Qualcomm CEO added: "At the moment in some places there are higher rates over the air than there is in the backhaul, and that's not good."
In his speech, FCC chairman Genachowski had said that the FCC had not yet decided what measures to take to preserve an open internet. Proceedings would begin this month to establish "rules of the road".
He conceded that mobile had unique congestion issues and the last thing the FCC wanted was to impose "heavy-handed and prescriptive regulation".