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Richard H. Frenkiel

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[[Image:Richard H. Frenkiel.jpg|thumb|right]]  
 
[[Image:Richard H. Frenkiel.jpg|thumb|right]]  
  
Richard (Dick) Frenkiel was born on March 4, 1943 in Brooklyn, New York. He attended Tufts University and Rutgers University, emerging with an aura of competence in mechanical engineering.  
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Richard (Dick) Frenkiel was born on March 4, 1943 in Brooklyn, New York. He attended Tufts University and Rutgers University, emerging with degrees in Mechanical Engineering and a deceptive aura of competence.  Soon after joining Bell Laboratories in 1963, he was mistaken for an electrical engineer of similar height and became involved in cellular systems engineering, where he did little serious harm.
  
He joined [[Bell Labs|Bell Laboratories]], where for two years he was involved in the design of recorded announcement machines. Abruptly, in the waning days of 1965, he was offered a chance to become involved in the early planning of cellular systems. While his practical knowledge of [[Radio|radio technology]] may have caused some concern, his abilities in the design of announcement machines were no longer in doubt. He therefore embraced this opportunity eagerly, beginning an involvement that was to last more than sixteen years.  
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During those early years, Dick had the good fortune to be paired with Philip T. Porter, a cellular pioneer who combined radio knowledge with innovation and a willingness to teach. They focused on cell geometry, vehicle locating and handoff, and overall system architecture, leading to an early system proposal. With Porter and [[Joel S. Engel|Joel S. Engel]], Dick was an author of the "High Capacity Mobile Telephone System Feasibility Studies and System Plan" which was filed with the FCC in 1971 and became an important cellular text.  
  
During those early years, Dick had the good fortune to be paired with Philip T. Porter, a cellular pioneer who combined radio knowledge with innovation and a willingness to teach. They focused on cell geometry, vehicle locating and handoff; and overall system organization, leading to an early system proposal. With Porter and [[Joel S. Engel|Joel S. Engel]], Dick was an author of the "High Capacity Mobile Telephone System Feasibility Studies and System Plan" which was filed with the FCC in 1971 and became an important cellular text.  
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After an obligatory "growth experience" at Corporate Headquarters, for which he was forced to acquire several suits, Dick returned to Bell Labs to focus once again on the design of AT&T's Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS). His "underlaid cell" concept greatly reduced the cost and logistic complexity of cell splitting, and became AT&T's most sought-after patent in cross-licensing agreements.
  
After an obligatory "growth experience" at Corporate Headquarters, during which he acquired several suits, Dick returned to Bell Labs, where he managed a group of systems engineers. Their focus was on system architecture, with emphasis on vehicle-locating techniques, channel parameters for spectral efficiency, and methods for efficient cell splitting. His "underlaid cell" concept allowed cellular systems to combine fragmentary grids of split cells with the continuity of an underlaid grid of larger cells. This allowed gradual transitions in cell size, which greatly reduced cost and logistic complexity while increasing trunking efficiency.  
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Dick was head of the Mobile Systems Engineering Department at Bell Labs between 1977 and 1983, a period which saw the transition from experimental systems to commercial service. When the trial of AMPS began in Chicago in 1977, it was the world's first fully operational cellular system, serving more than 1000 paying customers. (In the absence of final rules for cellular systems in the US, it would remain a trial for more than 5 years.)  Using data from the Chicago trial and a "Cellular Test Bed" in Newark, NJ, and from large scale computer simulations, his department evaluated cellular performance, refined operating algorithms and specifications, and proposed a nationwide standard for cellular operation in the US.  
  
Dick was head of the Mobile Systems Engineering Department at Bell Labs during a five-year period which saw the transition from experimental systems to commercial service. Using data from the experimental systems in Newark and Chicago, and from large scale computer simulations, his department evaluated cellular performance, refined operating algorithms, and defined a set of interface specifications to allow nationwide compatibility among cellular operators. He served on the EIA Committee which proposed the cellular Rules which ultimately were adopted by the FCC.  
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For Dick, the euphoria of AT&T's first cellular service in Chicago was somewhat diminished when the company was torn apart by the government and excluded from the cellular business. While not directly responsible for this calamity, he wandered away to become head of R&D for AT&T's cordless telephone business unit.  There, he led the team that developed AT&T's 5000 series of cordless telephones, which pioneered many innovative features and were the first cordless phones to achieve the voice quality of corded phones. He was also responsible for the early manufacture of those products in the Far East, where he acquired several additional suits at more attractive prices.
  
Dick is now at AT&T Information Systems Laboratories, involved in the development of radio products. He lives with his wife Maizie, who teaches a well-known dead language, and his daughter Kathy, who is searching for the right college. His son Scott is a Junior at Rutgers. He tolerates jogging, enjoys eating, and spends much time sitting with his feet in an elevated position.  
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Dick retired from AT&T in 1993 and joined WINLAB, the Wireless Information Networks Laboratory at Rutgers University, where he still teaches a course in wireless business strategy. In 1999, he served as mayor of Manalapan Township, where he has lived with his wife, Maizie, since 1966.  As mayor, he was known for the unusual quality and variety of his suits. He has written a manuscript about life at Bell Laboratories that can be downloaded at http://www.winlab.rutgers.edu/~frenkiel/dreams.
  
Mr. Frenkiel is co-recipient of the 1987 [[IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal History|Alexander Graham Bell Medal]], along with [[Joel S. Engel|Joel S. Engel]] and [[William C. Jakes, Jr.|William C. Jakes, Jr.]], "For fundamental contributions to the theory, design and deployment of cellular mobile communications systems."
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For his work in wireless, Dick has received the [[IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal History|Alexander Graham Bell Medal]] (1987), the Industrial Research Institute Achievement Award (1992), the National Medal of Technology (1994), and the Draper Prize (2013). He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of Bell Labs and the [[IEEE Fellow Grade History|IEEE]].
  
 
[[Category:Communications|Frenkiel]] [[Category:Radio communication|Frenkiel]] [[Category:Telephony|Frenkiel]]
 
[[Category:Communications|Frenkiel]] [[Category:Radio communication|Frenkiel]] [[Category:Telephony|Frenkiel]]

Latest revision as of 20:44, 7 February 2013

Biography

Richard (Dick) Frenkiel was born on March 4, 1943 in Brooklyn, New York. He attended Tufts University and Rutgers University, emerging with degrees in Mechanical Engineering and a deceptive aura of competence. Soon after joining Bell Laboratories in 1963, he was mistaken for an electrical engineer of similar height and became involved in cellular systems engineering, where he did little serious harm.

During those early years, Dick had the good fortune to be paired with Philip T. Porter, a cellular pioneer who combined radio knowledge with innovation and a willingness to teach. They focused on cell geometry, vehicle locating and handoff, and overall system architecture, leading to an early system proposal. With Porter and Joel S. Engel, Dick was an author of the "High Capacity Mobile Telephone System Feasibility Studies and System Plan" which was filed with the FCC in 1971 and became an important cellular text.

After an obligatory "growth experience" at Corporate Headquarters, for which he was forced to acquire several suits, Dick returned to Bell Labs to focus once again on the design of AT&T's Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS). His "underlaid cell" concept greatly reduced the cost and logistic complexity of cell splitting, and became AT&T's most sought-after patent in cross-licensing agreements.

Dick was head of the Mobile Systems Engineering Department at Bell Labs between 1977 and 1983, a period which saw the transition from experimental systems to commercial service. When the trial of AMPS began in Chicago in 1977, it was the world's first fully operational cellular system, serving more than 1000 paying customers. (In the absence of final rules for cellular systems in the US, it would remain a trial for more than 5 years.) Using data from the Chicago trial and a "Cellular Test Bed" in Newark, NJ, and from large scale computer simulations, his department evaluated cellular performance, refined operating algorithms and specifications, and proposed a nationwide standard for cellular operation in the US.

For Dick, the euphoria of AT&T's first cellular service in Chicago was somewhat diminished when the company was torn apart by the government and excluded from the cellular business. While not directly responsible for this calamity, he wandered away to become head of R&D for AT&T's cordless telephone business unit. There, he led the team that developed AT&T's 5000 series of cordless telephones, which pioneered many innovative features and were the first cordless phones to achieve the voice quality of corded phones. He was also responsible for the early manufacture of those products in the Far East, where he acquired several additional suits at more attractive prices.

Dick retired from AT&T in 1993 and joined WINLAB, the Wireless Information Networks Laboratory at Rutgers University, where he still teaches a course in wireless business strategy. In 1999, he served as mayor of Manalapan Township, where he has lived with his wife, Maizie, since 1966. As mayor, he was known for the unusual quality and variety of his suits. He has written a manuscript about life at Bell Laboratories that can be downloaded at http://www.winlab.rutgers.edu/~frenkiel/dreams.

For his work in wireless, Dick has received the Alexander Graham Bell Medal (1987), the Industrial Research Institute Achievement Award (1992), the National Medal of Technology (1994), and the Draper Prize (2013). He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of Bell Labs and the IEEE.