Society Tutors Chinese on Wireless Certification

Visitors get overview of IEEE Communications Society's certification program for wireless engineers

6 August 2009

A delegation of China’s top government telecommunications officials met with IEEE in April as part of a 20-day U.S. tour to learn more about how the industry operates in this country. Composed of bureau chiefs, directors, and senior engineers from each of China’s 25 provinces, the group of about 25 people spent an afternoon at the IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc) offices in New York City. There they learned about ComSoc’s certification program for wireless engineers and heard the latest on 3G and 4G deployment. They were also given an overview of IEEE’s history. The stop was one of several the group made in the United States to learn more about the latest advances in telecommunications, new government regulations, and service issues.

China’s communications system is administered by officials at the provincial level. They are responsible for the regulation and development of the Internet, wireless communications, broadcasting, and the production of electronic and information goods, as well as the postal service and software industry. Among other duties, they enforce regulations, grant spectrum licenses, and sponsor R&D.

During its tour, the delegation visited AT&T, the California Cable and Telecommunication Association, Maryland Public Service Commission, Verizon, and Wireless Communications Association International, which represents all sectors of wireless broadband communications. The group also met with former Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin.

COVERING THE BASES IEEE Member Rulei Ting helped set up the visit to ComSoc, of which he is a member. A senior project manager of communications technologies and services with AT&T in Middletown, N.J., Ting gave the delegation an overview of the IEEE Wireless Communication Engineering Technologies (WCET) certification process developed by ComSoc. Ting leads the team that writes the questions for the certification exam, and several people from the team spoke to the group through the delegation’s Chinese translator.

“Because the delegation would acquire a lot of information on their trip about regulations, service provider issues, and new technologies, I knew I couldn’t answer all their questions, but about 80 percent of the topics covered in WCET would,” Ting says. “We wanted to encourage the officials and their coworkers to get certified because the benefit of the WCET certification is that it is so broad. It provides a breadth of knowledge.”

The wireless certification is aimed at engineers who hold a bachelor’s degree and have at least three years experience in the workplace. Areas the exam covers include radio-frequency engineering, propagation, and antennas; network and service architecture; network management and security; facilities infrastructure; licensing agreements; industry standards and policies; government regulations; and new technologies such as 3G and 4G.

Celia Desmond, former society president, Jack Howell, the society’s executive director, and Ting Qian, senior project manager with the society’s marketing and creative services group, kicked off the meeting with an overview of IEEE’s 125-year history and how ComSoc itself has evolved over its 57 years.

“IEEE’s history is important because it gives the WCET program credibility,” Ting says. “IEEE is a well-known brand name in China, and many in the audience told me that what IEEE has contributed to industry is far beyond what their country’s engineering associations have accomplished.”

Since one of China’s goals is to accelerate the upgrade of its 2G and 3G networks, David Lu and IEEE Senior Members Chi-Ming Chen and Amit Mukhopadhyay also covered the state of 3G and 4G wireless technology. Lu is executive director of AT&T’s network assurance and performance, and Chen is a principal member with the company’s technical staff. Both work in Middletown. Mukhopadhyay is a distinguished member of the technical staff of Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent’s advanced network planning area in Murray Hill, N.J.

“I believe this visit was a good starting point for more exchanges of information that will help all parties,” Ting says. “Chinese communication authorities need to understand more about current trends at the international level, and WCET provides a platform that equipment vendors, service providers, and regulatory bodies could all benefit from. The IEEE Communications Society is interested in doing more collaborative work to serve the growing communication needs in the United States, China, and elsewhere.

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