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Wireless Networks

AMSC's ARDIS Packet Switched Wireless Wide Area Network

ARDIS network is a nation-wide packet-switched wireless wide area network that offers shared public network services to many users across USA and several other countries. It was originally designed and implemented by Motorola and IBM - both companies have since then sold their equity interest in it - it is now owned and operated by American Mobile. Here are a few brief facts about Ardis:

ARDIS Network Summary Information

Brief Description
  • National (USA)  terrestrial, trunked packet data radio network for data applications only; currently no voice.
  • Multiple transmitters in base stations connected to a local switching nodes. Local switching nodes connected to one national switching node. Mobile devices connected to ARDIS via supported modems. Typically, information servers at host computers are connected to the national switching node.
Frequency Bands
  • ARDIS operates in the 806 MHz to 821 MHz range for uplinks and in the 851 MHz to 866 MHz range for downlinks. 25 KHz channels are used.
  • National; top 400+ MSAs with 10,700 cities: 90% of U.S. urban businesses and 80 % of the total population are covered.
  • ARDIS has subsidiaries or affiliated networks in the UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.
Capacity and Speed
  • ARDIS operates one to ten 25-KHz channels per coverage area.
  • Currently (1995-96) supporting 44,000 users nationwide — more than RAM.
  • Total capacity is far from full in some areas.
  • Gradually increasing capacity and coverage as demand increases.
  • Currently supports 4,800 bps (MDC 4,800) in most areas; RDLAP @19,200 bps is available in 33 areas in the U.S. and some parts of Canada. RDLAP service is being expanded, based on customer demand and business economics.
Protocols Supported
  • X.25, asynchronous, Bisynchronous natively: TCP/PI and IBM’s SNA (LU 2 and LU 6.2) supported through third-party gateways.
Most Suitable Applications
  • Short OLTP transaction-based and messaging, such as credit authorization, sales automation, public safety, transportation truck tracking, e-mail, etc.
  • Long file transfer is NOT suitable for packet network.
  • $39 per month for Bronze Pack (100 messages) to $139 per month for Platinum Pack (650 messages) for Ardis personal messaging service.
  • $0.06 per packet plus $0.03 per 100 bytes for packet-based non-messaging applications with no e-mail.
  • Available throughout urban U.S., Canada, UK and selected countries in Asia.
  • Higher than cellular but some applications also need end-to-end encryption.
  • Good nationwide coverage with seamless roaming within metropolitan areas;
  • Deep in-building penetration.
  • RDLAP @ 19,200 bps gives good response times for OLTP-type applications.
  • Network is less hierarchical than RAM Mobile’s Mobitex. This may leads to fewer hops and better response times for some roaming users.
  • Increasing support by hardware, systems and application software vendors.
  • Limited throughput and speed in some areas (19200 only in large cities) — not suitable for file transfer.
  • Not suitable for session-oriented applications relying on continuous synchronous connections.
  • Limited coverage in rural areas. Can be overcome by dual radio for satellite coverage.
  • Lack of support by remote access hardware vendors such as Cisco, Ascend, Nortel, etc. .
  • Cannot transmit facsimiles directly to fax machines.

For more information on Ardis , read chapter 8 of the Mobile Computing Handbook or refer to other radio network books.

If you want to get vendor information about Ardis, go to Ardis (American Mobile Satellite Corp.

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