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Report by Engr. Naseeruddin

The Institution of Engineer Pakistan, Saudi Arabian Centre (IEP-SAC), Eastern Province Sub-Centre organized a technical seminar entitled, “Historical Perspective and Future Prognosis of Wireless communications” on April 12, 2001 at Dhahran International Hotel, Dhahran, which was presented by Dr. Asra-ul-Haq Sheikh, Bugshan/Bell Labs Chair Professor at KFUPM. The seminar was attended by over 100 Pakistani Engineers in addition to a number of Pakistani & Saudi guests and representatives from the press.
The program was opened by Engr. Aziz Arshad, Secretary IEP-SAC, Eastern Province Sub-Centre who invited Engr. Ghulam Sarwar Khokar for recitation from the Holy Quran. The welcome address was given by Engr. Ismet Amin Khawaja. Chairman, IEP-SAC Eastern Province Sub-Centre who gave a brief description of the activities of IEP in Saudi Arabia. Engr. Rizwan Ahmed gave a short introduction of the Chief Guest, Dr. Sulaiman Al-Juraid, Vice President Business Development Lucent Technologies, Saudi Arabia.
The speaker Dr. Sheikh was introduction to the audience by Engr. Ali Haroon. Speaking on the topic Dr. Sheikh provided the historic background to the development of wireless communications, the difficulties, which these systems had to surmount to reach the current status. Some of these difficulties, such as spectrum shortage, still remain till today. The development of Wireless Communications has been spectacular that most of the predictions made on the future of Radio communication have been proven wrong.
The speaker also described briefly how mobile cellular system work, particularly how calls originate and are received by the mobile terminal. The talk also focused on to the first and the second generation (2-G) mobile
cellular systems. The newly emerging services lead to the development of third generation   (3-G) systems as the data oriented applications have
now highlighted some of the limitations of the current systems. Professor Sheikh also described the evolutionary trends in going from 2-G to 3-G system and beyond.
The 3-G system are not expected to face the perennial problem of spectrum shortage since in the WRC-2000 meeting, additional 519MHZ spectrum were assigned to wireless communications.
Professor Sheikh also presented personal views on the evolving integrated structure of the telecommunication network. In order to accommodate voice, data and image traffic, the backbone network needs to evolve from circuit switched network towards an intelligent network, which will handle mixture of circuit switched and packet switched traffic. The eventual network architecture will be based on packet switching. The final part of seminar provided a window to the future applications of wireless communications and
evolutionary trends towards 4-G system. The wireless communications will be used for banking weather, traffic and travel information and finally electronic wallet.
Professor Sheikh was of the view that wireless communication would eventually supercede the wired network and very exciting developments are ahead in wireless communications.
In his keynote address, Dr. Sulaiman Al-Juraid lauded the members of IEP for organizing such seminar. He also commended the work of Pakistani Engineers working in his organization, Lucent Technologies in Saudi
In the end the Chief Guest and the speaker were honored with a memento of the plague of IEP-SAC, Eastern Province Sub-Centre. A set of Journal and
Directory of Pakistani Engineers in Saudi Arabia was also presented to the Chief Guest. The program concluded with a delicious dinner served to the attendees.

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