OLPC hardware: what if there was an SDR modem / chipset?

Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton lkcl at lkcl.net
Mon Jan 25 15:35:50 EST 2010

On Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 6:52 PM,  <david at lang.hm> wrote:

>> http://www.limemicro.com/products.php
>> you can see, from the evaluation board, that there are _fourteen_
>> separate R.F. coax connectors, and that the product description says
>> "listen for GSM stuff as well as transmit".   also it's 375mhz to 4ghz
>> not 600mhz to 6ghz as i vaguely remember saying earlier.  the other
>> one is definitely 100mhz to 6ghz though.
> interesting specs, I wish there was a datasheet and pricing available for
> download. I've registered with them so we'll see when they get back to me.

 this stuff is juuust at the point where it's ready for
mass-production.  ordinarily this stuff would be snapped up by e.g.
qualcomm etc. but i believe this is going to be different: the
companies involved are ... well, they're fully aware that it's
disruptive technology.

 the important thing is therefore to make an introduction into markets
which DO NOT conflict with "The Big Boys" i.e. introduce finished
useable modems into third world countries, emerging markets etc. which
"The Big Boys" have completely written off due to lack of profitable

 in other words, because the base stations are so expensive and will
either get eaten by cows or be stripped down for spare parts and the
copper wire (let's be honest _and_ cynical at the same time, why
not...) third world and emerging markets won't _get_ any WIMAX, 3G or
LTE base stations.

 so, there's therefore a wide-open opportunity to deploy SDR modems
which can be reprogrammed as a poor-man's Base Station in a pinch,
mayybe have a better external antenna attached to it.  if the on-board
DSP and ARM CPU can't cope with more than 4 simultaneous users _wow_
so what, big damn deal, that's 4 more users than they've ever had in
the area before _and_ there's no data charges.

 overall it's a completely unattractive financial opportunity _except_
for the manufacturers of the SDR modems and even then the cost will be
so low, the profit margins so slim, the "upgrade incentives" you see
in the 1st world are so just... not even there...

 basically what i'm saying is that it's a completely completely
different game (from the 1st world handset/smartphone/basestation
market), and it's one that has "OLPC" and "OLPP" (one laptop per
person) written all over it.  it just so happens that the same SDR
chipsets could also be used to increase profit margins in the 1st
world but that's another story: the markets i'm interested in seeing
SDR modems / handsets deployed are clearly separate and distinct,
which the 1st world corporations with vested and legacy interests to
protect _just_ won't be interested in, thank god.


More information about the Devel mailing list