ETRI, at Forefront of Technology
Development in IT Sector
Takes the lead in such IT technologies as WiBro and T-DMB
Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), a nonprofit state-funded research organization in Korea, has made major establishments in the IT sector as development of TDS in the 1980s and CDMA commercialization in the 1990s, thus making Korea being catapulted to fame as one of Global IT powerhouses.
In the latest feat ETRI has made is the successful development of a prototype of WiBro, a wireless broadband internet technology, that will come into the global limelight along with digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) technology during the APEC 2005 Korea in Busan.
Minister of Information and Communication, ETRI President Lim Chu-hwan, Chin Dae-jae, Samsung Electronics President Lee Ki-tae, SK Telecom Kim Shin-bae and other telecom industry people and government officials got together to witness the historic unveiling of the prototype of WiBro at the ETRI head office in Daejeon last December 13. The celebration was significant as WiBro promises to set another milestone in history of Korea's own technology development following the success story of commercializing CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access), a digital cellular technology that use spread-spectrum techniques.
ETRI has made the feat in close collaboration with business community and academic and research institute circles as they did for commercialization of CDMA. The development of the WiBro prototype was made under a project to develop the High-speed Portable Internet (HPi), the Korean version of 802.16e, developed by ETRI as the nation's standard. Samsung Electronics and four telecom operators participated in the HPi project, conducted from 2003 through 2005, by shouldering 27 billion won and 12 billion won out of the total R&D outlay, respectively.
The HPi is a key sector of the government-initiated so-called ?T 839 Strategy.?The government allocated 100 MHz of electromagnetic spectrum in the 2.3 GHz band in February 2002 and Telecommunications Technology Association of Korea standardized WiBro Phase 1 in late 2004.
Korean companies have manufactured CDMA and WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) equipment according to global standards. WCDMA refers to a technology for wideband digital radio communications of Internet, multimedia, video and other capacity-demanding applications. However, Korea has succeeded in developing IEEE 802.16e -based equipment for the first time in the world after taking the lead in standardizing the WiBro technology.
Speaking specifically, Korean cellular phone makers have depended on Qualcomm of the United States for the supply of key chips of mobile handsets, emerging as one of Korea? stellar IT exports. Samsung Electronics have developed core chips, but their uses in cellular phones are negligible.
With the development of the WiBro technology, Korea may have secured technology prowess to compete with rival countries in the key chip sectors.
WiBro, the world-first application of Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM), is a technology offering portable internet service on move.
Experts share the view that chances are high that OFDM technologies may be selected as the global standards of soon-to-be fourth-generation telecommunication technologies.
Korea is better positioned to develop fourth-generation telecommunication technologies ahead other rival countries by succeeding in the development of the WiBro technology for the first time in the world, making the most use of homegrown technologies.
In a related development, Samsung Electronics demonstrated WiBro) Hand-over technology at the 3rd Samsung 4G Forum 2005 held in Jeju in the last August. WiBro, a home-grown Korean standard closely related to the mobile WiMAX technology (IEEE 802.16e standard), is a wireless high-speed data communications service that is operational at speeds of up to 120 km per hour. Hand-over technology is essential to the true mobile connectivity of the WiBro service. The technology allows devices to be connected seamlessly to internet servers or other networked devices while commuting or moving. This is a significant breakthrough given that the hand-over technology is one of the most difficult and critical technologies to develop and commercialize.
Samsung became the first company in the world to demonstrate hand-over technology that is based on the WiMAX IEEE 802.16e standard. Industry representatives attending the Samsung 4G Forum 2005 experienced the company's WiBro hand-over technology through the live demonstration.
Samsung Electronics inked a deal with Sprint Nextel Corporation to supply equipment for a Wibro trial.
TDMB, first Korean-made global standard technology
ETRI has gained global recognition for Terrestrial Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (T-DMB) technology developed since the T-DMB technology, developed on its own was adopted as the standard of the World DAB (digital audio broadcasting) Forum last December. Starting with Munich, Germany, Korea conducted a demonstration tour on the technology in such countries as Brazil, UK, and France, displaying its technological prowess in the category of mobile television, and receiving international acclamation there. Germany and France are moving to test-operate equipment using the T-DMB technology.
The territorial DMB technology, the first Korean-made standard, is expected to not only gives us a new opportunity, but also brings us a new burden of exploring the global market on our own. In the case of Korea? commercialization of CDMA, developed by Qualcomm, Korea's dependence on the technology has been a disadvantage. But Korea has been able to gain support from Qualcomm in exploring overseas markets. Unlike the CDMA technology, Korea is doing its best to export the DMB technology to overseas markets.
The prospects have been getting brighter since the broadcasting regulatory agency BLM in Bayern, Germany, keeping an eye of the technology on display at exhibitions, began to consider introducing the technology during the 2006 German World Cup finals. The German institution requested ETRI to demonstrate the technology. Even though the introduction of the technology has yet to be finalized, chances are high that the Korean-made terrestrial DMB technology could make its debut there.
Korea is struggling to expand the export base of the technology.
Established in 1976, ETRI has been at the forefront at technological excellence. The research institute has successfully developed information technologies such as TDX-Exchange, High Density Semiconductor Microchips, Mini-Super Computer (TiCOM), and Digital Mobile Telecommunication System (CDMA). As a recognized leader in the information and telecommunication research institute in Korea, ETRI is exerting itself to be the best in the fields of information and telecommunications.
In order to become the world's leading R&D institute in the IT research field, ETRI said it will pursue for the best intellectual property, the best in human resources, and the best per capita technology royalties.
Management at ETRI is striving for pursuing "Renovation Management," "Quality Management," and "Knowledge Management."
ETRI said it is making strenuous improvement and development to position ETRI as globally competitive technological institute, we are making continuous improvement and development. nw
Lim Chu-hwan, president of Electronics and Telecommunications Institute
Lee Ki -tae, president of Samsung? telecommunication network, test-operates Wireless Broadband (WiBro) Hand-over technology during a recent demonstration in Jeju last August as Lim Chu-hwan, president of Electronics and Telecommunications Institute, looks on.