Monday, 8 January 2018
Sunday, 7 January 2018
As we wander around our homes we find ourselves frustrated by inconsistent wireless coverage. Most of us have two available networks: WiFi @ 2.4 or 5GHz and the 4G LTE mobile wireless network. Thanks to basic topology and wireless propagation, downstairs the WiFi is often good and the cellular signal is poor, while upstairs the reverse is true. But my old Samsung Galaxy 4 handset lacks the smarts to create seamless connectivity. Why do we have to bring personal wireless technology expertise to solve this problem when the networks should be smart enough to able to do this intelligently themselves?
Ahhh but of course, we all know why: our WiFi is on a fixed-line copper network with a few tens of meters range at most that is separate from the cellular mobile smartphone wireless network served by a tall cell tower around 4Km away, in completely separate network domains, working with very different technologies, and often with two different service providers.
Fixed-mobile convergence is a very old topic. So old that it probably has traversed the hype cycle not once, but several times since mobile phones emerged decades ago.
In a couple of years 5G, however, is now looking in hood shape to change the game. While clearly driven by new massively capable MIMO radio technology, its radically new core architecture is also being designed to be agnostic to the access technology used, whether it be 5G, 4G, WiFi, fixed and mobile, etc. This will be achieved by a clear separation between functions used to support the various access networks and functions used to support new services.
Okay, so for the very first time, that gives us a logically clean architecture on which to build a sound solution. But how then do we solve in-home coverage problems?
Multi-access convergence will soon begin to transform the end user experience!
Luckily, some people get to work with not one, but two very smart teams looking to solve these issues: Nokia Bell Labs and BT Labs. Since late last year, Nokia Bell Labs has engaged on a joint project investigating the potential of multi-access convergence anchored by a scalable cloud-native 5G core. The exciting result is how we see a way that can greatly improve the end-user quality of broadband experience in the home.
Stephen Johnson from BT Labs and Stepan Kucera from Nokia Bell Labs have shown this 5G converged core demo as an alpha test complete with a mini-Faraday cage. Using such a mini Faraday cage, it's possible to replicate what happens when one or more brick walls get between our WiFi router access point and the device. Even as the WiFi signal was degraded and eventually cut off, Nokia demonstrated how 5G could pick up the slack using an innovative Bell Labs solution. Together, BT Labs and Nokia Bell Labs brought this as a demo unit to BT’s Innovation Week at Adastral Park earlier last year, where visitors could see rock-steady throughput rates being delivered to the end user device. Even with these early successes, they are only starting to tap into the potential of how the 5G core will reshape the way connectivity is delivered to end-users. By going for multi-access capability, the users and their needs are put at the very centre of the architecture, transforming how we all will experience new services and clever applications that depend on seamless ultra-high-performance network connectivity. Representing both operator and infrastructure vendor viewpoints, the collaboration between two world-renowned labs, Nokia Bell Labs and BT Labs, is critical to making this 5G a commercial reality. In the meantime, we all continue to wander around our homes, eagerly looking forward to experiencing consistent, fast connectivity intelligently delivered by 5G after 2020.
Monday, 11 December 2017
The difference between 4G and 5G is smaller than other generations. There are new aspects to both core and radio interface, but whether you call them “evolutionary” or “a new generational” is hard to say But SDR & CR are fundamental techniques. They are independent of the radio interface or the numeral before the G.
The kind of technology in 5G is now tangible so it will soon be iniversal Same with cognitive radio, which is a bit of a buzzword without much content: phones used CR to chose GSM or GPRS, to adaptive adapt modulation density and femtocells used it for frequency planning many years ago.
Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Friday, 1 December 2017
Verizon shared a few tidbits about what it’s learned from millimeter wave trials, which it has been studying in 11 markets across the country, and it’s looking better than originally expected when it comes to propagation and range.
Verizon Chief Network Officer, Nicola Palmer, noted that the operator has been conducting trials with nonpaying customers—but real people, nonetheless—in 11 markets, including Dallas.
The tests are using 28 GHz spectrum and 120+ nodes, she said during the opening keynote today here at the FierceWireless Next-Gen Wireless Networks Summit. Each location offers a unique set of parameters and diversity, including diversity of suppliers, topology, geography, building/construction materials and demographics. There are places with lots of trees and others with a lot of cactus, all purposely chosen so that they could test in different environments. “What we’ve learned from these trials is simply invaluable,” she said. “We believe this makes up the largest 5G test bed” in the country and possibly the world.
First, “millimeter wave propagates a little better than we thought,” in terms of line of sight as well as in terms of elevation, she said. For example, they assumed they could get to the 6th floor of an apartment or office building, but tests are showing they are able to get up as high as the 19th floor. They’re also seeing speeds in and above the 1 gigabit-per-second range beyond 2,000 feet. The industry had been expecting maybe around 500 or 600 feet or so, and “it doesn’t happen everywhere all the time, but we’ve seen good results in the 2,000 feet range,” she said. In addition, they’re getting better penetration through various wall materials; there’s been real innovative solutions emerging to get signals into homes, she said.
Low E glass has been a known issue, and some great plug-and-play solutions are being developed to overcome that problem. In terms of latency, “we’re under 10 milliseconds,” she said, and “we expect that to get lower." By comparison, LTE networks are getting 50 milliseconds or so. “This is only going to get better as we continue to optimize,” she said. Regarding density, propagation modeling and trial results are showing that the densest cities, with very little augmentation, can already provide good street-level coverage at 28 GHz on existing infrastructure. “This is a little different than we thought,” Palmer said, and it’s not perfect and it’s not everywhere, but in the cities where it has the density it aspires to, street-level coverage appears to be pretty good.
That’s good news considering how difficult it can be to get permits for deploying new gear in cities. Verizon plans to start testing 5G mobility in 2018. It did some initial 5G mobility testing at the Indy 500 in May, when a driver used augmented reality to drive around the track while the windshield was blacked out. The driver used the augmented reality video to “see” where to drive around the track.
“We are on track to launch a 5G broadband offering in 2018” in several cities, she said, reiterating plans to launch a fixed wireless broadband offering during the course of 2018. She also ticked off the many awards that Verizon has garnered, attesting to its pride in network quality, something competitors like T-Mobile have been agitating about. Palmer did not call out any competitors by name, but she noted that Verizon has achieved a number of industry milestones over the past months, including achieving 953 Mbps in a real-world environment in Boca Raton, Florida, where “we threw the kitchen sink at it, admittedly,” using 4x4 MIMO, LAA, 4 carrier aggregation and 256 QAM. RELATED: Verizon, Qualcomm, Ericsson hit 953 Mbps with commercial LAA system in Florida
The 27-year Verizon veteran also reiterated that 4G doesn’t go away; it lays the groundwork for 5G, and LTE will continue to be around for the foreseeable future. And she underscored how important it is to be partnering with others in the supply chain. Verizon announced in October that it was getting together with Qualcomm Technologies and Novatel Wireless to collaborate on 5G New Radio (NR) millimeter-wave technology development and over-the-air field trials based on the 5G NR Release 15 specifications being developed by 3GPP. The companies said they were going to initially focus on the 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands and showcase how using advanced 5G NR technologies can achieve multigigabit-per-second data rates with mobility at significantly lower latencies than today’s networks.
Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Sunday, 26 November 2017
The obvious approach to Customer Service that is more up Google's alley, is to simply develop a customer service chat interface, which it can easily integrate with Google Classroom or Google Assistant and sell it to educational establishments and other businesses to use. Eventually, after enough data is going to be massed, Google could likely handle all customer interactions on its own (maybe with some live people monitoring the conversations but only stepping in under rare circumstances).
This would save Google the massive expense of developing a huge customer service department, training programs, and potentially outsourcing the chat interface software.
Some bulleted lists detailing the pros and cons of each strategy are found below:
Starting A Live Customer Service Department: Allow for product support on their own products.
Create another direct customer interaction point besides stores (and one that is potentially much more impactful for a digitally-based company).
Allow collection of data on customer service interaction expediting the proliferation of an AI bot version.
Create A Customer Service Chat Interface: Allow them to create a new interface for their own use, that is also a marketable B2B product for the G Suite they already market to schools and businesses and Google Classroom for the rest of the world.
What About Google doing Both?
By doing both of these strategies in conjunction, there are many synergies: One of the most obvious is that it would increase justification to create an in-house version of the live chat interface (whether from scratch or a ported version of Hangouts, Duo, or any number of other chat interfaces they have already created like the little used Google+).
This would reduce the huge cost from buying the SaaS from a company like Livechat. The fact remains that it would then be a Google product to fold into G Suite or sell on its own with appeal to enterprises would be a great up-sale for cloud services or other products.
Additionally, the costs could also be offset for employees they hired to do the customer service via the interface while honing the AI by potential revenues from selling the software.
The main reason to do this would be that this is one area they lack behind many companies they compete with like Apple, Microsoft and Amazon. Further, many of Google's apps are basically unsupported. For example, if a business or school migrates from Google G Suite to a competitor, there is nobody at Google to help people transfer their documents to another Google account, let alone the competitor. There is nobody to talk to when you are having trouble with the software. The most you and I can do is file a bug report requesting a change in features. NOT good enough in our Healthy Mindful MenteSanas future plans. We see such a clear view from Project Loon's 12 mile high magination. It's "just" a matter of bringing the 21st century, New Millennium customer service idea for Alphabet down to earth.
Tuesday, 21 November 2017
Apple is leaning heavily toward Intel’s flavour of 5G for a future iPhone. The iPhone maker’s engineers have been engaged with Intel counterparts for early work on 5G, the upcoming technology for next-generation wireless broadband, while dialogue between Apple and the dominant modem supplier in the industry, Qualcomm, has been limited.
Qualcomm’s 5G modem chips offer more specialized carrier features like “Uplink Carrier Aggregation“ but many will not be widely adopted by carriers. Apple engineers believe that Intel’s 5G modem will fit its requirements for a future iPhone. Intel has lagged far behind Qualcomm in the modem market, but has a small army working on 5G, numbering in the multiple thousands. The initiative to provide the 5G modem for the iPhone is now considered a “must-win” for Intel. Intel first announced its 5G Modem at CES 2017, and said today in a press release that it has “successfully completed a full end-to-end 5G call based on its early 5G silicon … a key milestone in its development.” The completion of the modem aligns with Apple’s plans for a 5G iPhone to arrive in 2019 or 2020. A 5G iPhone will be capable of connection speeds of a gigabit per second and beyond, which could radically change the way we compute, communicate, and consume content using the device. The move to 5G is technically complex, requiring lots of coordination between the phone maker and potential vendors far in advance of official vendor selection.
THE BATTLE FOR THE IPHONE
Qualcomm has been supplying modems for the iPhone since 2011, and has a far more mature and full-featured 5G modem. After a big R&D investment, the company announced the world’s first 5G modem, the Snapdragon X50, back in October 2016. Intel, after its own gargantuan effort, won a small share of the Apple modem business starting with 2016’s iPhone 7. The company has been willing to customize its products for Apple in ways that Qualcomm likely would not. Apple has used the Intel modems in its iPhones for the T-Mobile and AT&T GSM/LTE networks, and, because the Qualcomm modems are especially well suited to CDMA networks, has put them in iPhones for Verizon and Sprint.
That dynamic may now change as the carriers transition their networks to 5G. Verizon, for one, has said it plans to no longer require that new devices connect to older CDMA networks starting in late 2018 or early 2019. When Verizon does that, Sprint, US Cellular, and a few other overseas operators will still support CDMA, but the CDMA ecosystem will begin to collapse.
Without a CDMA requirement, Apple has one less reason to stick with Qualcomm, which invented the widely used version of the technology.
A Strained Relationship Is EVIDENT today.
Meanwhile, Apple’s relationship with Qualcomm has soured over the past year amid an increasingly serious legal dispute over the patent licensing fees paid to Qualcomm by Apple suppliers. Also, Qualcomm is now the subject of a monster acquisition attempt by rival chipmaker, Broadcom, but has already rejected an eye popping $103 billon bid, which it said undervalues its business.
All of this seems to point toward the possibility, (or is it probability?) of Apple looking to Intel as the sole provider of 5G modems for the future iPhone. The end game is obviously to build the Intel modem onto an integrated system-on-a-chip (SoC) that would also contain the CPU, GPU, and most other iPhone components. The SoC would be co-designed by Intel and Apple plus most importantly the chip would be fabricated at an Intel facility. Some believe Apple’s full embrace of Intel could happen even sooner. The Wall Street Journal recently cited unnamed sources saying that Apple is already building iPhone prototypes that use Intel 3G/4G modems only. The report named a smaller chipmaker, Taiwan-based MediaTek, as a possible (if somewhat unlikely) second supplier.
Qualcomm would not go on record for this story. (Suppliers are required to sign strict non-disclosure agreements that prohibit talking publicly about their business with Apple.) Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment. Intel did however provide a telling statement: “While we do not comment on customer products, as evidenced by our news today Intel is making great momentum on our 5G roadmap to accelerate the adoption of 5G.”
Tuesday, 14 November 2017
Thursday, 2 November 2017
More on KRACKS, the WiFi WPA2 attack technique reads info that was previously assumed to be safely encrypted.
A very detailed research paper can already be downloaded. The recommendation from MenteSanas is not to delay acting on this risk any further.
Wednesday, 1 November 2017
Google routing blunder sent Japan's Internet dark on Friday
They go on sale in the U.S.A. and Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Finland, France, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Australia, Japan, and even New Zealand.
Tuesday, 31 October 2017
The other AT&T and T-Mobile shoes drop into Puerto Rico supporting Project Loon and LTE 4G. Similar 5G plans will appear next year or does Project Loon wait until 2020?
CCA reiterates opposition to Verizon's Straight Path 5G spectrum buy with FCC petition
Monday, 23 October 2017
Tuesday, 17 October 2017
Monday, 16 October 2017
Tuesday, 3 October 2017
Monday, 25 September 2017
At the San Feancisco Mobile World Congress Americas 2017 during the keynote session on the first day there was Meredith Baker, the president of the CTIA, taking the stage to talk about 5G and its many saving graces.
She explained that “5G will make every industry and every part of our lives better.” That seems very plausible considering the fact that 5G is 100 times faster, supports 100 times the number of devices and is five times as responsive as 4G.
To put it into context, 5G will introduce entirely new immersive forms of education. So we’ll be living in a new world where field trips won’t need permission slips or long bus rides – they can happen easily, instantly, and virtually (although our children will likely miss the fresh air). But in light of some of the recent hurricanes that have hit – and devastated – Texas and Florida, Ajit Pai, Chairman of the FCC, reminded the audience that “wireless connectivity was a lifeline for people affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.
Many people were found because of wireless calls, like the 14-year-old girl who asked Siri on her iPhone to call the Coast Guard.” This is a very interesting point and one that may not always get the most attention when it comes to discussions about 5G.
It's extremely important, As Ajit Pai said, “For public safety, wireless communications are critically important in the recovery process.” I agree and would suggest that St. Martin and other islands hardest hit could be the first to take advantage of 5G as they rebuild their cellular phone network infrastructure. The key to making 5G’s benefits a reality will, of course, come down to how well devices perform on the new network.
According to GSMA’s 2017 Global Mobile Trends Report, early 5G deployments will focus primarily on high-bandwidth applications as an extension to 4G, notably 4K ultra-HD video and VR/AR apps. Aa a Q2 2017 State of Mobile Device Performance and Health Report noted, crashing apps are a common reality in today’s 4G world. So I can only imagine that apps may initially experience some lags and crash when 5G is first launched.
It is hard to predict the innovations that will arise from 5G. What impact will having faster internet from your tethered phone then get from your office network? IT administrators could lose control of the gateway where many critical security measures are enforced.
Employees will be able to move and send large files faster to the cloud than to local storage servers. 5G is going to unleash a myriad of security issues, not least among them controlling data flows. This is something data governance and compliance professionals should start thinking about today.
Thursday, 14 September 2017
Guess you will collaborate on 5G Trials?
Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) and Samsung Electronics America are collaborating on 5G and 4G LTE wireless networks lab and field trials at various locations in the United States. The trials, which began this summer, are expected to run through the end of the year. The 5G trial is evaluating fixed use cases using Samsung's pre-commercial 28 GHz (mmWave) system and devices. The 4G trials are performed at 3.5 GHz (CBRS), utilizing Samsung's combined 4G LTE small cell technology in an outdoor environment to evaluate mobile use cases. "We are pleased to collaborate with Samsung on these trials, which provide Charter better insight into how our advanced, powered, high speed network - which currently passes 49 million homes and businesses - can be used to enable 5G services," said Craig Cowden, senior VP, Wireless Technology at Charter. "In addition, as we move closer to the launch of a Spectrum wireless service in 2018, our work with Samsung on trials of 4G small cell technology will support our overall wireless strategy." Tests will include Samsung's strand-mount 4G LTE outdoor small cell, which provides both 4G LTE and WiFi service over multiple frequencies.
Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Verizon at the Mobile World Congress Americas trade show said it may have solved one of the key problems dogging the 5G space: how to transmit 28 GHz signals through windows that block UV rays.
While this might sound like a minor inconvenience in the multibillion-dollar buildup to 5G, it’s actually not. Getting millimeter-wave signals to travel anywhere is difficult, but it’s really hard to get those signals to travel through windows that are coated with material that reflects UV light (and most new homes and offices require this kind of coating in order to lower cooling costs).
This situation poses a big problem for Verizon, because the carrier wants to be able to use 5G to deliver superfast internet to homes and businesses instead of fiber. If those signals can’t get past windows, users would probably have to have Verizon technicians install antennas on the outside of their home or office. This kind of specialized installation would be expensive, to say the least, and would therefore significantly cut into any savings Verizon might score by using 5G instead of fibre.
So how exactly did Verizon (and its partner Nokia Bell Labs) solve this particular problem? As Edward Jack, lab manager at a Verizon Innovation Center, explains, the carrier employed a solution that’s both high-tech and simple at the same time. Basically, Verizon invented a two-part 5G modem: One part sits outside a user’s window, and the other part sits right on the other side of the window. The two parts are connected by magnets or some other method (in Verizon’s demo they were taped to the window) in a way that ensures the two halves line up exactly. The antenna, receiver and transmitter are on the outside of the window, while the power, display and connection ports are on the inside. The two halves communicate through the half-inch of glass wirelessly, but Verizon’s Jack said that the connection technology used there was the “secret sauce” of the design and he wouldn’t tell me exactly how it worked. Suffice to say, though, that the operator’s prototype modem functioned as advertised; Verizon was able to transmit a 28 GHz 5G signal from a transmitter to a receiver on the outside of the window, and then through the window to the internet port on the inside. Jack said the demo supported speeds up to 1.2 Gbps, but he noted that Verizon’s eventual 5G service would likely support much faster speeds than that.
So, why is this new solution important? Verizon is hoping to use its 5G Technology Forum network specifications, developed with Cisco, Ericsson, Intel, LG, Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung, for a fixed wireless service in the 28 and 39 GHz bands. The company hopes to launch commercial service next year. Importantly, Verizon wants to make sure that users can install their own equipment for the service, because it’s a lot cheaper for Verizon to just mail a customer a 5G modem and have them attach it to their own window rather than have a Verizon technician install some kind of antenna on the outside of that home, office or apartment building.
Verizon has said it is testing its fixed 5G service in 11 markets around the country. If those tests are successful, Verizon could significantly increase its internet footprint beyond what it can serve today with its wired Fios service. Further, Verizon would also be able to challenge a range of existing wired internet players, like cable and telco providers, with a fixed 5G service—as long as Verizon can figure out a way of getting its millimeter-wave 5G signals from its towers to end users’ locations.
To be clear, though, Verizon’s new two-part 5G prototype modem is just one potential solution, and the design might not make its way into Verizon’s eventual commercial product. Or it might only be used in locations where UV window coating is common, like in the Southwest.
Further, UV coating on windows isn’t the only obstacle Verizon and other 5G providers need to overcome in the years ahead. Signals in the millimeter-wave bands (typically those around 28 GHz and above) in some cases have trouble passing through foliage and rain; they also don’t travel nearly as far geographically as traditional cellular services can.
Verizon’s Jack acknowledged that the carrier still has a number of problems to overcome in order to make its fixed 5G service a reality. However, he pointed out that Verizon’s two-part modem is a potential solution to a major obstacle in the race to 5G, and a further indication that the industry continues to apply its considerable engineering wherewithal to making 5G a reality. In talking to Jack, a soft-spoken engineer clearly geeking out his new prototype, it does feel like that kind of inventiveness is worth acknowledging, and maybe even celebrating a little.