Tuesday, 17 October 2017
Monday, 16 October 2017
Qualcomm was granted FCC authorization to conduct experiments using a small 5G R&D development and demonstration network at 4.4-4.94 GHz in its hometown of San Diego.
Specifically, the location is within a 0.5-mile radius of Qualcomm’s campus in the Sorrento Valley area of San Diego. The authorization is effective until Oct. 1, 2019. The application lists 30 mobile units and four base stations to be used in a test network that will use a single TDD 100 MHz channel bandwidth. Qualcomm explained that the requested frequency range of 4.4-4.94 GHz is for technology development purposes only and not targeted for future nonfederal wireless communication deployment in the U.S.
Qualcomm said the network supported by the experimental license is critical for the company to develop, validate and then demonstrate 5G technology wireless communications systems. Engineers designed the network to generate the smallest amount of RF interference to incumbents in the requested frequency range while also providing the RF coverage area required for engineering development and showcasing advanced wireless technology for indoor, outdoor, static and mobility user environments, the company said. “The network is required to support both conventional passive antennas configurations as well as advanced beam forming technologies that will be utilized by 5G networks,” the application states.
The network as described uses four fixed sectors to provide the RF coverage area to a maximum of 30 mobile devices anywhere within the 0.5-mile coverage area. Three of the locations use one directional antenna while the third site has two directional antennas. The mobile devices can be used in static locations, in vehicles or in human mobility scenarios, according to the application. Most mobile testing will occur at ground level, but there’s a chance that some mobile may be located inside buildings exceeding one story.
RELATED: Apple, Facebook and more lobby for expanded unlicensed use of 6 GHz band for 5G devices.
Qualcomm is part of a broader coalition that is calling on the FCC to open up the 6 GHz band to unlicensed operations and allow them to bring faster service, lower latency and more pervasive coverage to consumers. They note that the timing couldn’t be better: the IEEE 802.11ax Task Group recently voted to extend coverage to the 6 GHz band, expanding 802.11ax from 5 GHz into new gigabit-enabled channels, and consumers will rely more heavily on Wi-Fi in the future to power new use cases. About 30 entities signed the filing, all agreeing that Part 15 access to the 5925-7125 MHz band (aka the 6 GHz band) is essential in meeting demand for the next generation of wireless broadband services.
The companies span the consumer equipment, internet media, software, cloud, semiconductor, enterprise, service provider and rural connectivity industries. Their proposal is in response to the FCC’s call for comments on expanding flexible use in midband spectrum between 3.7 and 24 GHz.
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.
Saturday, 2 September 2017
Friday, 25 August 2017
As major industry players race to be the first ones to debut pre-standard versions of 5G, the current emphasis is on the millimeter-wave spectrum. The idea is to have 5G NR (typically millimeter wave) infrastructure provide additional capacity in hot spots or hot zones within LTE networks, seamlessly supplementing the LTE coverage.
In the 3GPP, the stakeholders are working on defining the 5G radio access technology, which is called simply the New Radio (NR).
Structurally, it builds on the groundwork laid by LTE. The radio is based on OFDM technology just like LTE. The fundamental numerology is still based on LTE’s 15 kHz subcarrier spacing and the same basic time unit of 32 53/96 nanoseconds derived from it: additional options (30 kHz and 60 kHz to begin with, with other figures up to 480 kHz for future consideration) are available for subcarrier spacing, and they are all 2X times 15 kHz. The frame and sub-frame durations are still 10 ms and 1 ms respectively.
In fact, it may not be wrong to say that for someone trying to understand the radio technology, 5G will be closer to 4G than 4G was to 3G, 3G was to 2G, and 2G was to 1G: the main difference will be in the scale. In 5G NR, several concepts that were developed in and for 4G LTE will be taken forward.
Wednesday, 19 July 2017
Monday, 17 July 2017
Thursday, 25 May 2017
Apple will evaluate millimetre wave (mmWave) technology as part of its planning for future deployments of 5G networks, after being cleared to conduct the tests by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The US regulator granted Apple an experimental mmWave licence, which the vendor requested, Business Insider reported. mmWave technology is designed to enable faster data speeds on mobile networks, and improve the cellular performance on smartphones, and Apple will use the licence to ensure compatability of its iPhone devices with future mobile networks. In its application to the FCC, Apple explained it was seeking to: “assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters and receivers using this spectrum.” “These assessments will provide engineering data relevant to the operation of devices on wireless carriers’ future 5G networks.”
The licence will allow the company to test the technology from two locations in California. The testing process will take no longer than one year, according to Apple. Although 5G standards are yet to be released, operators in the US and beyond are already outlining their paths towards launching the technology, and have begun to conduct trials. AT&T, for example, recently detailed plans to launch 20 networks it said will lay the foundation for 5G during 2017, while rival Verizon agreed a $3.1 billion acquisition of Straight Path Communications, which holds hundreds of mmWave licences in the 39GHz and 28GHz bands – both of which the FCC cleared for use in 5G. Apple’s move is not a surprise, given its products rely heavily on mobile networks to run.
Monday, 22 May 2017
As technology has shifted from a focus on connectivity to content, mobile carrier revenues have suffered. An analysis from Mobile Experts found that while the monthly expense for basic phone services has plummeted from the late 1950s to today, TV/radio and internet costs have increased exponentially.
But according to Mobile Experts, the move to 5G could provide some relief to struggling carriers. The firm indicated 5G is expected to deliver a 10x reduction in cost per bit compared with LTE. Rather than pouring that savings into new use cases, much of it will be directed toward various video services, Mobile Experts said. Why? Because that’s where the money is. “Personally, I don't believe that new 5G applications will drive a lot of revenue.
Virtual reality? No, that's short-range wireless, not mobile. Massive IoT? No, we have cheaper solutions for that. Critical IoT? Maybe, but that revenue will grow very slowly,” Mobile Experts Principal Analyst Joe Madden commented. “There’s no growth in the phone business – the phone line is simply a tether that keeps a subscriber connected to an access provider. Prices for data keep coming down, so while there is potential growth in delivery of data, the future profit potential is weak. On the other hand, people that produce quality video programs are all migrating to Netflix and Amazon, and making more money than ever before."
Rather than being a race to provide the best access technology, Madden predicted the battles of the future will be fought over control of high-quality entertainment – movies, shows, games, and virtual reality experiences. While wireless operators obviously need to make video delivery more cost-effective, it would also behoove them to develop a strong repertoire of entertainment options, he said
What the 5GAA and Samsung are working on will be globally transformational.” In addition to joining the 5GAA board, Samsung was elected to serve as vice chair of the 5GAA’s Working Group 4, which is responsible for exploring connected car-related standards and radio spectrum opportunities.
RELATED: Samsung pursues connected cars with $8B acquisition of Harman Samsung in March closed its acquisition of Harman, a major player in the connected-car market. More than 30 million cars are equipped with Harman's connected car and audio systems, which include embedded information and entertainment, telematics, safety and security. Samsung expects that the combination of this expertise paired with its own experience in mobile devices, wireless networks and chipset development will serve to empower the 5GAA’s mission to accelerate the commercialization of communications solutions that improve mobility and safety on transportation networks. Samsung joined the 5GAA in January.
The 5GAA was established in September with founding members Audi, BMW Group, Daimler, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm. RELATED: 5GAA, NGMN argue for cellular, not DSRC, in NHTSA proposal A white paper (PDF) from 5GAA elaborates on why Cellular-V2X (C-V2X) technology at the radio level is an essential enabler to connected transportation services throughout the world. The 5GAA perspective is that 3GPP-based cellular technology offers superior performance and a more future-proof radio access than IEEE 802.11p and can leverage ETSI-ITS, ISO, SAE and IEEE upper layer standards and tests that have been refined by the automotive industry and others in the ITS community for more than a decade. Samsung Electronics America also was elected to the board of governors for 5G Americas earlier this year. Samsung’s representative on that board is Juha Lappalainen, vice president, technical solutions, networks division at Samsung.
Tuesday, 28 February 2017
nor does Qualcomm PR people announcing that their world's first 5G chip will take future phones "supersonic" but at least we all agree that there will indeed by far more than 5 amazing things you'll be able to do with 5G!
Tuesday, 21 February 2017
The main difference is that their attention is increasingly on higher frequencies, as their competitive differentiation shifts from coverage to high capacity. This was highlighted by the deal, announced last week, for Hutchison’s 3UK arm to pay £250m ($309m) for UK Broadband, currently owned by Hutchison’s sister company PCCW. UKB has 208 MHz of nationwide spectrum holdings, mainly between 3.5 GHz and 3.7 GHz – until recently, an area of the spectrum largely ignored by mobile operators because of its limited range and indoor penetration, and because it is often licensed only for fixed wireless usage. Now, however, it is starting to be seen as a strong band for high capacity TD-LTE deployments, and has gained new profile from the US’s creation of the CBRS service in 3.5 GHz – a very different band plan from that in the UK, but raising hopes that a device ecosystem will start to develop internationally.
Even fixed-only spectrum is becoming more attractive as operators look to build quad play services, and eye the US leaders’ experiments with fixed 5G in millimeter wave bands. But the UK regulator was an early mover in permitting mobile services in 3.5 GHz, so UKB’s assets will also be relevant to 3UK’s core activities, in a world of small cell densification and the desperate race to build capacity for new 4G and future 5G services. Purchase draws parallels between 3UK and Sprint This could be a useful purchase for 3UK, putting it in a similar position to that of Sprint in the US. As fourth-placed players, both these operators have struggled to gain market share, and are disadvantaged in sub-1 GHz bands, which have driven 4G rollout until now.
But they could both leapfrog rivals in some capacity-oriented deployments by harnessing plentiful higher frequency spectrum. Sprint plans significant densification in high value markets such as New York City, using its 2.5 GHz unpaired spectrum, which it will aggregate to its lower bands. This, it claims, will offset its lower holdings of spectrum in some lower ‘beachfront’ bands; and it enabled it to stay out of the bidding for 600 MHz licences, so saving money. It also means it will be in less of a rush to deploy unproven millimeter wave technologies since it has plenty of capacity left in 2.5 GHz. UKB does not bring 3UK such a rich spectral dowry as Clearwire did Sprint, but these will still be very useful assets for a company which is in a poor position in UK airwaves.
It controls about oneeighth of the total in use for wireless services, while BT/EE controls 45%. 3UK has been lobbying for BT, which will be excluded from the upcoming auction of 2.3 GHz licences, to be barred also from the 3.4 GHz sale, on the basis that these higher frequencies are becoming mainstream and valuable, and could be deployed more quickly than many operators have previously expected. Neglected bands can help redress spectrum imbalances If Ofcom ignores that call, at least 3UK will redress the balance somewhat with its new purchase, which will boost its current spectrum holdings totalling 74.9 MHz, by a huge 208 MHz. It has 124 MHz in the 3 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands; in the 3.7 GHz band, UKB has a hefty 2x84MHz of contiguous spectrum, and it also has rights in the 3.9 GHz band and, interestingly, the 28 GHz and 40 GHz bands, the former the focus of intense interest for pre-5G trials in various countries. Not that UKB’s actual customer base will do much to change the fourth MNO’s business – under its Relish brand, it serves only about 15,000 customers, offering fixed residential and business broadband wireless in parts of London and elsewhere. By contrast 3UK has 9.2m active subscribers.
But if an ecosystem develops around the 3.5 GHz TD-LTE band over the next few years, including the all-important handsets, 3UK could find itself owning a mighty tranche of newly valuable airwaves, acquired at a bargain price compared to most auctions. In addition to the upfront price, it will make a £50m ($62m) deferred payment as credit towards a wholesale deal for UK Broadband on 3's network. Dave Dyson, CEO of 3UK, said that it would continue to operate the Relish service as a standalone business and with its fixed services sold alongside 3’s mobile offerings. He said that the acquisition “takes the risk out of the auction” but does not address the issue of 3UK’s competitive disadvantage in the sub-1 GHz bands. There are signs of momentum building behind 3.5 GHz as a band for TD-LTE densification. ZTE and Huawei have been particularly active in developing infrastructure and CPE, and have been working with two Italian ISPs – Tiscali and Linkem – to roll out LTE. The UK deal awaits regulatory approval, but is unlikely to face significant opposition, unlike 3UK’s attempt, last year, to merge with Telefonica’s O2 UK arm.
That deal collapsed in the face of opposition from EU competition authorities. UKB’s current owner PCCW, bought the spectrum licences in 2003 and the company has had various shots at deploying networks and services, initially using TD-CDMA technology, then WiMAX and most recently TD-LTE. While CK Hutchison is controlled by Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, PCCW is run by his son Richard Li. The UK firm’s 2015 accounts show that revenue more than doubled to £3.2m in that year, but it made a loss of £37.4m. 3.5 GHz initiatives outside the US The 3.5 GHz band has a newly high profile thanks to the US’s CBRS scheme. But in many other parts of the world, 3.5 GHz has long been open and established as wireless broadband spectrum (usually fixed, but increasingly regulators are allowing mobility). The Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) noted in December that the 3.5 GHz ecosystem (bands 42 or 43) continues to grow, and 82 user terminals are now available in this band.
Last week, Pakistan's Wi-Tribe said it would deploy the first LTE-Advanced network in the country from May, and the first in south Asia in the 3.5 GHz band. The former WiMAX operator says its network will reach peak speeds of 100Mbps, which it will boost to 200Mbps by the end of next year and 400Mbps the year after that, as terminals and fixed CPE support that. Huawei will supply the equipment. Wi-Tribe plans to invest over $25m in TD-LTE-Advanced over the next three years, and its owners have committed to reinvesting all profits from the company's operations over this time back into the business. Late last year, Huawei signed a deal to deliver TD-LTE equipment for 3.5 GHz to Italian ISP Tiscali. Huawei said that it was well positioned to supply CBRS equipment in the US because it had put considerable development into TD-LTE for 3.5 GHz elsewhere, and the tweaks will be minimal.
The same will be true of ZTE, which has also been very active in 3.5 GHz LTE, and also has an Italian contract for TD-LTE in this band, with former WiMAX provider Linkem. Many such deployments will be migrations from WiMAX, which was commonly rolled out in 3.5 GHz. Tiscali itself signed its €40m ($45m) contract with Huawei after acquiring former WiMAX operator Aria, which had already signalled its intention to shift to TD-LTE. As WiMAX ISPs make that move, larger providers, and even MNOs, are likely to pounce. The CBRS scheme in the US Meanwhile, across the Pond, the CBRS (Citizens’ Band Radio Service) scheme has set some interesting precedents for creative approaches to sharing spectrum. The CBRS spectrum, as defined by the FCC, sits in the 3.5 GHz band, at 3550-3700 MHz. Adopted back in April 2015, the scheme uses a similar dynamic access database as that used in TV White Spaces (TVWS). That access system has three tiers - Incumbent Access, Priority Access and General Authorized Access.
The incumbents include authorized federal and grandfathered fixed satellite services, currently in the 3.5 GHz band, and the FCC notes that they will be protected from interference from the Priority and General users. The priority users are going to be bidding on 10 MHz channels in the 3550-3650 MHz portion, with limits on the number of active licenses and their duration. Lastly, the general tier supports open and flexible access to the band, using any portion of the CBRS band that isn’t currently in use. Many of those pushing models for that portion are members of the CBRS Alliance, which aims to drive use cases and a broad ecosystem of devices. One way to do this is to carry out high profile demonstrations, and it doesn’t get much more visible, or challenging, than a motor race track. Nokia, Alphabet and Qualcomm demo CBRS at high speed Nokia, Alphabet, and Qualcomm teamed up to demonstrate what they say was the first instance of a private LTE network in the CBRS band.
They used the signal to send a 360-degree VR experience from a stock car racing around at the Richard Petty Driving Experience event, at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Hitting speeds of 180mph, the tech would allow a viewer to see what it is like driving one of these NASCAR racers – and the trio are pitching the technology as a way for venues to offer new services and experiences using a private LTE network in the CBRS bands. Nokia provided the radios and Qualcomm the in-car modems, while the demo used Alphabet’s spectrum access system (SAS) and YouTube Live Events for streaming. Nokia customized the private LTE CBRS network with the first multiframe configuration of a TD-LTE network using config 0 and 64QAM to boost the uplink data rate from the car, and config 2 for high downlink rates in the spectator area.
It also used Smart Scheduler configuration and Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) to reduce latency and support seamless mobility. Using CBRS bidding, Nokia, Alphabet, and Qualcomm envision a world in which sports venues and campuses would be able to fire up a private LTE network on a temporary basis, without the need to buy the type of spectrum licence that MNOs require for national operations. Using the LTE network, they could then push content and experiences to users in the vicinity. Private networks and slicing in shared spectrum This was also the first test of a private LTE network running in the CBRS spectrum. And Nokia said the demo showed how enterprises, venues and other organizations could deploy their own private LTE networks in shared spectrum and achieve similar levels of performance and reliability as in licensed bands. Of course, Nokia wants to supply or, better still, manage those networks. The Finnish firm is intensely interested in private networks these days, seeing them as a way to ex-tend its business beyond telcos and into direct sales and services for vertical and government markets. “Not only are we showing how the CBRS band can enable new business ideas using LTE, but also how such futuristic applications like this are possible,” Nokia head of strategy and business development for North America, Chris Stark, said.
He added: “We want this trial to act as a catalyst for carriers and enterprises to start thinking about leveraging this band for new applications. Beyond the high speeds and amazing views this demo provides, the real opportunity is in the life-changing applications that will benefit from the 3.5 GHz U.S. CBRS spectrum and transform users' experience.” Progress is being made to ensure the CBRS spectrum can be harnessed for real world services using current wireless technologies, rather than waiting for 5G. Definition of standards and protocols is taking place via the Wireless Innovation Forum (WinnForum), whose members include Google, Ericsson, Nokia, Ruckus Wireless/Brocade – as well as Federated Wireless, which has devised an SAS. In December, the WinnForum announced public availability of its signaling protocols and procedures for the CBRS band. It also worked with Alphabet to demonstrate inter-operability between their respective SASs, using the SAS-to-SAS interface protocol defined by the WinnForum.
In December, the FCC conditionally approved seven SAS administrators for the band, including Alphabet, Federated Wireless, Amdocs, Comsearch, CTIA, Key Bridge and Sony Electronics. The SAS is to coordinate the three tiers so the band is available for commercial use on a shared basis with existing federal and non-federal incumbents. Commercial access points for CBRS are expected to become available in the first half of this year, but device roadmaps are less clear. AT&T petitions for test licence for 3.5 GHz Also in 3.5 GHz spectrum, AT&T has asked for the FCC for a special temporary authority (STA) to conduct short term tests between 3550-3700 MHz, among other bands (which also include several millimeter wave bands). It wants to conduct these tests in suburban and rural environments in the California Central Valley including locations around Fresno and Bakersfield.
The aim is to collect continuous wave (CW) data for a propagation modelling study, evaluating path loss characteristics in outdoor environments in these midrange and high bands. The operator will use up to 40 base stations provided by test equipment company BVS. Last year, AT&T Laboratories was already active in the 3.5 GHz band, gaining an experimental licence to conduct tests in Georgia, using prototype 5G systems with integrated adaptive antennas. The company is also the most supportive of the CBRS shared spectrum scheme, among the major US MNOs, and the only one so far to join the CBRS Alliance. T-Mobile has also indicated it may consider CBRS as part of its future spectrum patchwork but the clearest attraction is for potential alternative operators such as Alliance co-founder Google.
Tuesday, 31 January 2017
5G’s impact to likely to be equal to that of electricity or the automobile and will enable 11.5€ trillion of global economic output in 2035
Qualcomm has been boasting, at trade shows and elsewhere, for some time now about its leadership position in 5G. The X50 modem, which Qualcomm announced a few months ago, is the first in a family of 5G modems that will provide an anchor to early deployments of 5G and will be essential to the millimetre wave systems that will start trials and deployments in late 2017 and early 2018.
Cambridge Wireless, a network which brings together senior players in the mobile industry, may have moved its annual shindig from the esteemed university to London's Emirates Stadium, but it brought with it the glorious tradition of the debating society with the motion “Do we need 5G?” The answer was “no". This, amazingly, came from a room full of the very people who are setting the standards and doing the deeply clever work on how to use higher frequencies and squeeze more bandwidth out of them.
The debate was chaired by Bob Schukai, head of advanced product innovation at Thomson Reuters. The “Yes” camp was championed by Howard Benn, head of standards and industrial affairs at Samsung Electronics Research Institute, while the victorious “No” camp had as its leader Tony Milbourn, strategy veep of embedded technology company u-blox. The debate focused on the current definition of 5G requirements as stated by the leading operator trade associations. Benn argued that 5G "is the next generation of mobile carrier incubated radio access network technology, ready for early service adopters by 2020." However, Milbourn countered that “we have benefited hugely from standards; 2G built a momentum big enough to justify significant R&D, which in turn drove down costs to make the market big enough for more R&D, and so on. But the standards-making machine has now moved to a point where it is defining things beyond the needs of the consumer".
"Essentially, it's like washing machines; there is a rapid growth in the supply of washing machines before everybody has one, but once people can wash their clothes easily it becomes a replacement market, where the differentiation is the colour of the knobs," he added. "Consumer cellular is at this point. The area for investment is coverage, not yet another standard that sucks capital out of operators and delivers something that consumers don’t need," said Milbourn. But Milbourn added that his argument does not apply to M2M or IoT.
“For a new connected world we do need new standards, urgently,” he told the audience. Speaking in defence of 5G, Howard Benn said “we need 5G because history tells us that we can’t predict what services will be popular from 2020 to 2030, so we need a super-efficient and super-flexible system to cover all bases.” Gooner Schukai, no doubt revelling in the venue, said “less than a billion people were online as we entered the 21st Century; by 2020 this figure will be four billion – largely in line with the predicted four billion smartphones in use by then." "Our insatiable appetite to consume content on a variety of screens means that we have a responsibility to think about the infrastructure needed to support this level of data consumption with speed and security across wearable devices, cars, phones, computers and sensors — in fact anything that needs a connection to the wireless infrastructure," he added.
The debate generated a wide range of comments from the floor, from the need for a wider field of influence into 5G standards, to concerns about the "technical debt" of the industry, including the burdens of IPR and standards. This conference was the first for Bob Driver, who has just taken on the role of CEO of the organisation. “The lively debate encapsulated the positive mood of the conference and need for rapid progress to support the next generation of wireless services,” said the newly installed Driver. “However, the vote against 5G reflected a strong feeling that 5G, and future of wireless connectivity in general, was so vital to every industry sector, and every citizen, that the development needed to embrace a wider constituency. It was clear that there is a need to consider the wider business models necessary to lead the industry, rather than only focusing on the technologies.”
Thursday, 5 January 2017
Intel, which has been involved in 5G tests and trials in the U.S. with operators like AT&T and Verizon, says the modem goes hand-in-hand with its new 5G transceiver that supports both sub-6 GHz and millimetre wave spectrum, joining and working with the mature 28 GHz RFIC that’s part of the Intel Mobile Trial Platform. Supporting ultra-wideband operation and enabling multi-gigabit throughput with ultra-low latency, the modem pairs both with Intel’s sub-6 GHz 5G RFIC and 28 GHz 5G RFIC to deliver a global reach across the key bands of interest for 5G systems, according to Intel. And if it sounds too soon to support 5G—the 5G standards are yet to be finalized—Intel says it’s compliant with multiple industry forum 5G specifications, so no worries there. Key 5G New Radio features supported include low latency frame structure, advanced channel coding, massive MIMO and beamforming, according to Aicha Evans, Intel’s VP and GM of Communications and Devices Group. Evans explained that waiting for the standard to be finalized before starting to develop products would just mean everything would be too late. “We’re making sure to work with the industry,” including operators and OEMS, so that it all works standards- and pre-standards-wise and “we don’t want fragmentation in the industry," she said. With all the devices coming online, from drones to gateways to automobiles to manufacturing and so on, “it is essential that we don’t let the industry fragment and have many different specifications in many different countries and many different industries” because that would lead to a lot of inefficiencies for everyone.
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Evans declined to discuss exact latency numbers as those discussions are ongoing, but she said the goal of the industry is for latency to be low enough to support things like critical healthcare applications and autonomous driving, meaning latency will have to be extremely low. Intel said the 5G RFIC supports the 3.3-4.2 GHz portion of the sub-6 GHz bands, enabling deployments and trials in China and Europe with flexible sub-channelization. It also supports 28 GHz, for deployments and trials in the United States, South Korea and Japan, and it supports 2x2 and 4x4 MIMO configurations, including dual-polarization sub-channelization.
Intel also says it’s offering the first 5G-ready test platform for the automotive industry, allowing automakers to develop and test a wide range of use cases and applications ahead of the expected rollout of 5G in 2020. Of course, as some operators and analysts are saying, SDN and NFV are essential going into 5G, and Intel’s got that covered as well, boasting a holistic end-to-end strategy. Intel VP Data Center Group and Network Platforms Group General Manager Sandra Rivera’s group is very much leading the way there and “we do everything together,” Evans said, noting that there are not a lot of companies that have this entire portfolio end-to-end, although a lot of them are trying to do so. “We don’t make a move without each other and this is Intel’s differentiation,” she said.
As for legacy systems, a lot of stakeholders in 5G say that LTE isn’t going away anytime soon, and 5G will need to be compatible with LTE. Intel says its 5G modem pairs with LTE modems such as Intel’s XMM 7360 LTE modem to provide 4G fallback and 4G/5G interworking, so LTE won’t get left behind.