Friday, 20 November 2015
Tuesday, 17 November 2015
Interview: AT&T on spectrum and 5G
So, Glenn Lurie of AT&T, let's talk about the future.
There's a lot of hype, we're in a 4G era at the moment, but obviously there's a lot hype around 5G. What's AT&T's take on 5G? And I'm asking that really because AT&T hasn't publicly said an awful lot about 5G at the moment, some of your competitors have.
Give us a little bit of an insight into your thinking around 5G?
Let me start with this, you said the right thing, 4G is really good, right? And what I want to make sure we don't do as an industry is start talking about something that's four, five years away. 5G is going to be very important in the industry, but today with 4G LTE there isn't anything you can't do. It's a very, very big pipe, it's got low latency, the speeds are phenomenal and really you can do anything you want. The key to 5G and the reason we've been, I wouldn't say quiet, is that the standards aren't done.
3GPP is still working with all the carriers around the world, you've got a lot of PR happening and I think we have got to be careful with just PR. 5G will be spectacular all right, it will have some new elements to it, will it be faster or lower latency, we'll see. It will have a layer for IOT. One of the things that's exciting about that is when you think about IoT and putting a sensor on a light in a smart city, I want that sensor to have a battery life of 10 years. Well today we don't have that, but we believe, it's not done yet, that that could be an element to 5G; a low power, low latency kind of a situation and layer inside of those standards. So for us, we don't want to get too far out in front of our headlights, right.
5G will be great and important but today we have a phenomenal network, especially in the US, we spend billions of dollars on it, and it works wonderfully and I think we should focus there. Yes the US has been a market leader in 4G.
But Glenn there have been reports recently that maybe the US is falling a bit behind the rest of the world in the move to 5G. Are you concerned by that at all? I think those reports came from guys who do what you do everyday which are folks in the media, and reality is, yes there's a lot of PR coming out of Asia and other places.
Look we're not concerned about that, we're in the middle of it, the US is right in the middle of it, we were very influential in what came out in standards for 4G LTE and we'll be very influential on what happens in 5G.
Finally Glenn, just wanted to touch on a hugely important topic in the US industry, and that is spectrum.
Obviously we can never have enough spectrum, but your thoughts on how AT&T can help lobby to help get more spectrum. I understand there's a big incentive auction for example next March, is that something that AT&T is going to play a big role in?
I think spectrum is the lifeblood of this industry. The usage continues to go up, right, you saw the stats flying around, it's incredible and the good thing is that people want more, that's terrific for the industry. But we have to have spectrum to be able to do that.
We've already participated in prior spectrum auctions, we've said we will participate in the one coming, but the reality is we need a long-term plan, a long-term plan with the FCC.
Obviously working with CTIA they've been very involved in helping build that plan. We really need to put in place spectrum going way out and I think you're hearing more and more that the government gets it, they want to do that, the current FCC is positioning it that way, but this is something that's not going to stop, it's going to be a journey.
Because as we wirelessly enable everything, which we're going to do and we're doing today, we're going to continually have to re-evaluate what our spectrum portfolios do, we're going to have to evaluate the technology to make the best use of it, and have it be most efficient, but without question you said it very well, we're going to need more.
Glenn thanks so much for your thoughts. Thank you. My pleasure, thank you. Glenn Lurie tells Mobile World Live why any concern around a slow move to 5G by the US operator – and indeed the country in general – is unnecessary. And he argues the US needs to come up with a “long term plan for spectrum”, with demand set to continue to rise as more devices become connected.
5G subscriptions will hit the 150 million mark by 2021, just a year after the first commercial networks are due to launch, with uptake expected to prove faster than the initial demand for 4G, according to Ericsson’s 2015 Mobility Report.
Ericsson’s latest report is the first time the Swedish vendor has included forecasts for “5G subscriptions”, which it defined as having a “device capable of supporting LTE Evolved or NX, connected to a 5G enabled network, supporting new use cases”. In a London briefing earlier today to discuss the findings, Ericsson’s Patrick Cerwall, head of strategic and tactical marketing, explained the thinking behind forecasting for 5G subscriptions, five years before launch.
He said the figures were based on both Ericsson’s reporting model, as well as conversations with operators. “We see 5G as the later stages of 4G, and this network will also be able to run on 2G and 3G networks,” he said. “5G is built on 4G, and with the road it is on, we see all mechanics are in place for it to go faster than we did with initial 4G.” He also said Ericsson still did not know how the market would actually measure traffic on 5G when it comes to launch.
The bulk of 5G uptake will come from South Korea, Japan, China and the US initially, while the company predicts mobile broadband subscriptions as a whole will more than double from today’s figures by the same year.
The report states mobile broadband subscriptions hit 3.4 billion in Q3 2015, and is forecast to grow to 7.7 billion by 2021, while mobile subscriptions as a whole will reach 9.1 billion, with LTE making up the largest share of all subscriptions, totalling 4.1 billion.
The company added the 4G standard reached around 850 million subscriptions in Q3, and could reach its first billion by the end of this year. Mobile data to surge Other key highlights from the report showed that total monthly mobile data traffic is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate of “around 45 per cent”, with the rising number of smartphone subscriptions and increasing data consumption per subscriber set to result in a 10 fold increase in total data traffic for all devices by the end of 2021.
During the briefing, Cerwall said the high figures actually “came as a little bit of a surprise, as growth acceleration for video actually recently began to decline”.
Forecasts for mobile video traffic also stood out, with traffic from video set to become “increasingly dominant”, with forecasts for it to grow 55 per cent annually through to 2021, when “it will account for around 70 per cent of all mobile data traffic”.
In 2015, video accounted for almost 50 per cent of mobile data, while 15 per cent of traffic came from social networking. This however did not account for video from social media, revealed Cerwall, with Ericsson opting to put this under the separate video bracket.
Speaking of T-Mobile US’ plans to offer video data streaming for free on select services, Cerwall said the move was “risky”: “As we have shown, it’s a bit risky to do free video as that is what is significantly driving up traffic.” Asia-Pacific will have the largest share of mobile data traffic in 2021, with China forecast to add 260 million mobile subscriptions alone.
In keeping with scaled back projections for the number of connected devices, which Ericsson had initially claimed would reach 50 billion by 2020, the company said there would be 28 billion devices connected by 2021, with more than 15 billion on M2M and consumer electronic devices by the timeframe.
“There are as many mobile subscriptions as people in the world, and every second 20 new mobile broadband subscriptions are activated,” said Rima Qureshi, SVP and Chief Strategy Officer at Ericsson.
“Apart from mobile phones, there will also be a multitude of other connected devices communicating.” 5G to go “beyond mobile broadband improvements”
Within the report, Ericsson also talked up the potential for 5G, claiming that the mobile network “will offer significantly higher throughput, lower latency and more data capacity compared to previous generations of mobile broadband services”. The company said it had built a prototype for applying 5G networking functions and data analytics to public transport, with one case study it is working on designs that plan to optimise the operations of public buses.
Ericsson said a 5G world will help optimise urban traffic flows, enabled by reliable connectivity with data analytics, with dense urban mobile coverage able to provide ubiquitous connectivity, opening up opportunities to improve public transportation, resulting in reduced congestion and increased availability.
“As mobile technology evolves towards 5G, network services with mission critical data traffic, such as instructions sent from a cloud service to a driver or an automated vehicle, will coexist with other types of network services,” read the report.
As expected, Ofcom has now rubber-stamped the L-band deal which saw Qualcomm sell a portion of its spectrum to Vodafone and Three, publishing a statement on the matter.
Vodafone has bought the 1452-1472MHz frequencies, and (the soon-to-be-merged-with-O2) Three's spectrum at 1472-1492MHz.
Spectrum is a touchy subject, but this must have been one of the easiest decisions ever for the UK regulator.
Indeed, when it put out a public consultation on the sale it only got one response – of the opinion that selling spectrum to someone who might actually use it was A Good Thing.
So that's unanimous then. Ofcom looked at how fit and proper Vodaphone and Three were to buy the spectrum and concluded that both companies seemed to know precisely what they were doing with the spectrum they already had, so purchase away.
More interestingly, the regulator looked at how it affected the allocation of spectrum between the operators. Unusually, it deemed 1400MHz as “low frequency”, more akin to 800MHz and 900MHz than the 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands, although EE's total spectrum holding is so much greater than that of Vodafone, and more than twice that of Three, that it’s not going to distort the market.
When BT merges with EE the combined company will have even more of a holding – and when O2 and Three merge the shares will all be roughly equal.
Funnily enough virtually nobody has shown much interest in L-band in the past, and its main use is likely to be as an ideal aggregated carrier to provide more 4G and 5G bandwidth. However, recently both CEPT, the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations, and the GSMA have highlighted L-band as being a useful frequency for global use.
Strangely financially silent, none of the parties involved in the sale will say quite how much the spectrum went for. Since Qualcomm paid just £8.3m, but when – the day before the official announcement – we suggested a huge profit was being made (I.e. tenfold! and more than £100m), one person who claims to know intimate details of the clever deal let it slip that Vodafone and Three paid a bit more than £100m each. Interesting L-band spectrum times ahead, perhaps?
Huawei's Mobile Broadband Forum in Hong Kong was a fun place to attend. While BT and the UK government may think that 10Mbps downstream and 2 Mbps up is plenty of speed for Broadband for the masses, nobody else does it seems, and the mobile world is now gearing up for 1Gbps down and 100Mbps up!!
In fact, the so-called 4.5G non standard, "standard" which has not been ratified even has an official name, and this is relabelled as being "LTE-Advanced Pro". Whatever it’s going to be called, the ability to increase the bandwidth well beyond the 150Mbps of standard 4G comes from three specific technologies, namely carrier aggregation, more reliable advanced modulation, and an increase in the number of antennae.
Carrier aggregation is up and running on EE and Vodafone right now (the networks simply combined), with typically 20MHz of spectrum space from each of two frequencies – say 800MHz and 1800MHz in the case of EE – to provide more bandwidth and up to 300Mbps downstream.
If the two carrier frequencies are contiguous you can get even better performance. The LTE 4g spec would still technically allow lots of carriers to operate, but the cost of licencing the spectrum means that most people are looking to going along the four frequencies path as a sensible limit.
Naturally, merely improving the modulation technique needs far more processing power but Moore's law is our friend here and at least mobile phone carriers don’t need to buy any more spectrum space.
Going from 64-bit to 256-bit QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation), where out-of-phase carriers are modulated, and increasing the rate of modulation improves the throughput no end.
Again, it is the Infrastructure companies that are really keen to sell 256QAM kit into mobile phone operators, and are pushing it hard today.
The final element of the increased performance shtick is the shere magic of MIMO, (multiple-input, multiple-output). This cleverly uses several antennae so that multiple data streams can be transmitted on the same frequency at the same time with clever error correction left to sort out the resultant mess.
In 4.5G LTE-Advanced Pro this is likely to be four or eight instances. For 5G, look to Massive MIMO with 256 or more input and output channels.
Putting all this together, mobile phone operators and infrastructure manufacturers are confident of seeing speeds of 1Gbps as being entirely possible from the technology by 2020.
Huawei and Hong Kong Telecom actually demonstrated a basic prototype system producing 900Mbps at Huawei's Mobile Broadband Forum in Hong Kong last week, with all three technologies running well and a real-world handset running over 200Mbps downstream data rate with just carrier aggregation, and two instances of MIMO.
Putting these very high speeds in the hands of end users begs the question of what the hell will they be used for; yet history has shown that unexpected uses always seem to appear and grow up quickly and sooner or later gradually become the norm. At the forum last week just the two mostly hyped but obvious examples of self-driving cars and augmented reality 3D headsets were much discussed. We'll see how it pans out when 8k video streaming content providers weigh in since that is seen to be their goal!
Wednesday, 4 November 2015
Nokia Networks revealed more about a MoU signed last week with China Mobile Research Institute (CMRI) to co-operate on 5G development, the first for a foreign vendor. The two firms will work together on the research, standardisation and industrialisation of 5G features such as multi-connectivity and high-speed seamless mobility.
China Mobile last week signed a one-year framework deal with Nokia Networks valued at more than $1 billion (€930 million). The MoU on 5G was part of this wider deal, although TD-LTE and VoLTE grabbed more headlines. Indeed, parent Nokia made much of the performance of its networks business in China during last week’s quarterly financials.
CEO Rajeev Suri highlighted the strong growth in the country, which partially offset decreases in sales from North America and Europe. Nokia and CMRI will work on service scenarios and requirements for 5G, including support for IoT; combine on 5G development in international standards-making bodies such as 3GPP and ITU, as well as jointly promote TD-LTE evolution in 5G via the GTI initiative, and hunt out more spectrum.
The two will also research and develop prototype 5G features, including multi-connectivity, seamless mobility and MIMO. They will also run joint demos of typical 5G applications, as well as verifying key 5G technology and systems via field trials. “I am happy to see that Nokia Networks is the first non-Chinese vendor to sign a 5G strategic cooperation agreement with China Mobile Research Institute.
We started to actively drive 5G development in China as early as 2013, and have made great efforts to encourage Sino-EU 5G strategic cooperation,” said Vicki Zhang, head of technology, Greater China, Nokia Networks.
Tuesday, 3 November 2015
4G LTE networks, by the middle of this year, now offer service to 755 million users, according to GSMA Intelligence. This high number is also projected to surpass one billion by the end of 2015 and reach 3.6 billion in 2020. But the rapid uptake of LTE services has created new challenges as well as opportunities for operators as they roll out and upgrade their mobile broadband (MBB) networks.
Worldwide data usage is on track to expand by more than 60 % over last year and monthly data traffic is forecast to increase tenfold by 2020. To keep up with this soaring demand, an increasing number of operators are already looking to deploy LTE-Advanced.
As of 31 July, 131 operators in 60 countries had plans to invest in LTE-A, according to GSA statistics. That’s 30 % of all operators with LTE networks. In addition, it’s no secret that traditional revenue sources, such as voice and SMS, are in steep decline and operators are struggling to find new revenue streams.
Monetising data continues to be one of the most significant obstacles that all operators face.
The Global Mobile Broadband Forum is tackling this key theme and helping develop a long-term industry vision for MBB connectivity and innovation.
Huawei is once again organising its Global Mobile Broadband Forum (MBBF). The event is between the 2nd and 5th of November at the Asia-World Expo in Hong Kong. It is expected to attract over 1,000 operators, regulators, industry partners and media from right around the world.
“Transformation does not happen behind closed doors,” said Qiu Heng, President of Huawei’s Wireless Network Marketing Operations. “If you want other industries to use the network, you need to meet their real needs. Our communication with other industries is still at an early stage and we aim to meet with them as well as operators at this forum to explore future possibilities together.”
One area of discussion, Qiu said, will be around operators’ ability to develop new sources of revenue from IoT (the Internet of Things sector) as well as Huawei’s efforts to develop a wider ecosystem to create opportunities in related industries.
The two-day conference features more than 20 external speakers from operators such as HKT, SoftBank, Telefonica and Vodafone, as well as Bosch, CNN, Google, Phillips, Visa and Time.
Huawei’s rotating CEO and deputy chairman Ken Hu will kick off the forum with a presentation on ‘Building a Better Connected World’. He is followed by HKT group executive director Alex Arena, who will talk about the need for speed before 5G.
GSMA acting director general and CTO Alex Sinclair will speak about global spectrum considerations. Huawei is expected to make a number of announcements during the event, including a 1Gb/s demo from HKT, Hong Kong’s largest operator, and a joint GSMA-Huawei white paper on the benefits of C-band spectrum for MBB.
This is Huawei’s sixth annual MBBF conference and they will showcase the latest MBB trends covering 4.5G applications, 5G innovation, narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IOT) and the MBB network evolution in a 2,000-square-metre demo area.
This year’s forum will also feature the MBB experience tour, with attendees given the opportunity to see HKT’s 1Gb/s service in action.
Tuesday, 20 October 2015
Partnering with us to go after the campus market, which is changing from wired to wireless. HP has a good history on the wired side, so we felt this was an opportune moment to bring the sides together, but go to market with a mobile-first story. After all, as customers re-architect their infrastructure they’re not going with four cable drops to every desk, they’re looking at where the traffic is, which is all on the wireless networks these days. HP agreed with that and basically said, “Why don’t you guys come in and not only grow Aruba, but take all of networking within HP and make it a part of the whole ecosystem.” So HP Networking and Aruba have come together in one organization and Dominic Orr [formerly CEO of Aruba] is the leader for that and I am Chief Technology Officer. We are focusing on integrating the Aruba products with the HP network products to create a mobile-first campus architecture. Does the Aruba name go away and does everyone move to an HP campus? No, and there is some exciting news there. The go-forward branding for networking products in the campus is going to be Aruba, including the wire line products. Over time you will start to see a shift in this mobile-first architecture with Aruba switching also coming to market.
RELATED EARLY ACCESS Q&A: New Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins heads into “hyper-connected” mode Juniper's third attempt at WLANs
And we talked about real estate. Do we all move to the HP facilities in Palo Alto or do we stay here? The good news is we’re going to stay here for at least 12 months, and after that we are building a facility for Aruba, so we are going to move into a new building right down the street. Will that include the HP Networking operations in the area? No, we have a global development model, so we have development sites here in Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and Roseville. And we have sites in India, China, Canada and in Costa Rica. There won’t be any changes to any of the development sites. As the business grows we’re going to have to grow most of those sites. HP has bought other wireless players along the way, including Colubris and 3Com, so how does it all fit together? Colubris was a pretty focused wireless acquisition back in 2008 and those products have done well for HP, but that customer base is ready for upgrades to 11ac and as they upgrade they will migrate to Aruba. The former product line will be end-of-lifed over time, but we’re not going to end support for it. There is a small team supporting it and will continue to do so until customers are ready to migrate. 3Com was a much broader acquisition, involving data center campus products, routing, etc. Most of the R&D for 3Com is in China with H3C [the joint venture 3Com formed with Huawei Technologies before 3Com was acquired by HP in 2010]. There is a two-prong go-to-market approach for those products. There is a China go-to-market, which has done really well. In fact, they are number one, even ahead of Cisco, from an overall network market share perspective in China. For the rest of the world we were using the products to go after the enterprise.
As you probably heard recently, we are going to sell 51% of our share in H3C to a Chinese owned entity because there needs to be Chinese ownership for them to further grow share. H3C will be an independent entity on the Chinese stock market and will sell networking gear in China and HP servers and storage as well. So that becomes our way to attack the China market while we will continue to sell the other network products to the rest of the world. Those products are doing very well, especially in the data center. They run some of the largest data centers in the world, names that are less familiar here in the U.S., but very large data centers for the likes of Alibaba, Tencent and other companies that are basically the Amazons and Facebooks of China. 3Com has a wireless portfolio called Unified Wireless. That product line will also be end-of-lifed but still supported, and as we migrate to next-generation architectures we will position Aruba for those buyers. The definitive statement we’ve made is Aruba will be the wireless LAN and mobility portfolio in general and Hewlett-Packard’s network products will be the go-forward switching products. Two products that are really helping to integrate our product lines are: ClearPass, which is our unified policy management platform, which is going to be the first point where access management is integrated between wired and wireless; and AirWave, which is the network management product which will become the single console for the customer to manage the entire campus network. For the data center we will have a different strategy because data center management is about integrating with servers and storage and everything else, but for the campus the AirWave product will be the management product.
3Com has a product called IMC Intelligent Management Console that will continue if customers need deep wired management, but if you need to manage a mobile-first campus, AirWave will do the complete job for you. Given your longevity and perspective in the wireless LAN business, are we where you thought we would be in terms of Wi-Fi usage when you first started on this path 13 years ago? It’s taken longer than I thought it would, but it has certainly far surpassed my expectations. Back in 2002 there was no iPhone or iPad. Wireless was for mobile users on laptops and we believed it would become the primary means of connecting to the network and you would no longer need to cable them in. That was the basic bet we made when we started Aruba. My hope was we would get there in five to seven years and it took 15, but things always take a little bit longer than you think. The seminal moment in our business was the introduction of the iPad. Even though the iPhone was around most people were still connecting to the cellular network and not Wi-Fi because of the convenience. Laptop-centric networking was still prominent, but when the iPad arrived there was no way to connect it to the wire and there were all sorts of challenges. How do you provide pervasive wireless connectivity, because the executives that brought them in were taking them along wherever they went. Security was a big challenge because they were all personal devices.
Wireless LAN stalwart Aruba was acquired by HP last March for US $3 billion, so Network World Editor in Chief John Dix visited Aruba co-founder Keerti Melkote to see how the integration is going and for his keen insights on the evolution of Wi-Fi. Melkote has seen it all, growing Aruba from a startup in 2002 to the largest independent Wi-Fi company with 1,800 employees.
After Aruba was pulled into HP he was named CTO of the combined network business, which employs roughly 5,000. In this far ranging interview Melkote talks about product integration and rationalization, the promise of location services and IoT, the competition, the arrival of gigabit Wi-Fi and what comes next.
Keerti Melkote, CTO, Aruba Networks, an HP company Why sell to HP?
Aruba was doing really well as a company. We gained market share through every technology transition -- from 802.11a to “b” to “g” and "n" and now “ac” -- and today we’re sitting at roughly 15% global share and have a lot more than that in segments like higher education and the federal market. But we were at a point where we could win far more if we had an audience at the CIO level, and increasingly we were getting exposed to global projects that required us to have a large partner in tow to give us the people onsite to execute on a worldwide basis.
So we began looking for what internally we called a big brother to help us scale to that next level. We talked to the usual suspects in terms of professional services, consulting companies, etc., but then HP approached us and said they were interested in partnering with us to go after the campus market, which is changing from wired to wireless. HP has a good history on the wired side, so we felt this was an opportune moment to bring the sides together, but go to market with a mobile-first story. After all, as customers re-architect their infrastructure they’re not going with four cable drops to every desk, they’re looking at where the traffic is, which is all on the wireless networks these days. HP agreed with that and basically said, “Why don’t you guys come in and not only grow Aruba, but take all of networking within HP and make it a part of the whole ecosystem.” So HP Networking and Aruba have come together in one organization and Dominic Orr [formerly CEO of Aruba] is the leader for that and I am Chief Technology Officer. We are focusing on integrating the Aruba products with the HP network products to create a " mobile-first campus " architecture.
Does the Aruba name go away and does everyone move to an HP campus?
No, and there is some exciting news there. The go-forward branding for networking products in the campus is going to be Aruba, including the wire line products. Over time you will start to see a shift in this mobile-first architecture with Aruba switching also coming to market.
In 10 years time you and I may be trying to watch silly cute cat videos in 4K, 8K or even 16K resolution, but cellular mobile networking will be as much a big-data problem as a bandwidth drag race.
The systems that mobile carriers brag about now for delivering games and streaming HD media to smartphones will have to be totally re-architected in the next few years to accommodate billions of sensors, cameras and remote-control connections, according to Marcus Weldon, president of Bell Labs.
The New Jersey-based research group is part of Alcatel-Lucent, which could become part of an even larger mobile equipment vendor next year if Nokia wins approval for a takeover bid. So Weldon, who is also Alcatel's CTO, has an interest in overhauling vast networks of cells and back-end systems. But Bell Labs has been ahead of the curve a few times in its more than half century of existence, inventing the laser, the transistor and Unix, among other things. 9 tips for speeding up your business Wi-Fi What's happening in mobile now is the start of a trend as big as the Industrial Revolution and the emergence of the Internet, according to Weldon. It's the instrumentation of everything:
" By 2025, we will be well on the way to measuring everything going on in the world and being able to remotely control most machines", he says.
The few sensors out there now, collecting digital security video or counting cars going over a wire on a highway, are just the beginning. "We've instrumented almost nothing in our physical world," Weldon said. Others call what's coming an acronym known as IoT or the Internet of Things. Even simple devices can tell intriguing stories, like the Jawbone UP activity trackers that gauged an early-morning earthquake by showing whether users woke up.
The concept can be extended to things like logistics, where cheap wireless devices on boxes could fill in the gaps in package tracking. Today's wireless networks won't even be able to deal with the vast number of objects that will be sending signals in 10 years, let alone the amount of data they may be transmitting, Weldon said. Mobile Virtual and Real Network Carriers will have to rebuild their entire infrastructure and systems for signaling, the procedural messages that networks and devices exchange just to make communication work.
For example, a typical cellular base station on a tower is built to handle signaling for only about 1,200 devices. That may be enough to serve all the mobile subscribers in a rural area, but after all these sensors and connected machines get installed over the next 10 years, that same cell tower might have 300,000 devices to keep tabs on, Weldon said.
Sunday, 27 September 2015
The “world’s largest academic 5G innovation centre” (5GIC) opened in September at the University of Surrey in the UK, which will see the country’s current four operators collaborate on development of the technology. The facility, which has been in the works for three years, has more than £70 million investment behind it, and will house 170 researchers, with 24 members overall, including China’s Huawei as a lead researcher. Through work already completed, the institute claims to have developed technology enabling speeds over 1Tb/s, and filed over 15 patents. Speaking at the launch, Rahim Tafazolli, who is heading up the facility, outlined his vision for the development of 5G, while cautioning the importance of designing the right network architecture to fully understand how the technology will develop. “We have to bear in mind that 5G is expected to serve the market for 20 years from 2020 to 2040,” he said. “We will work on the heart of the design of the network and look deeply at user requirements. For something to last for so long, we need to look at how we design the networks – lower latency and higher reliability will be key to that.” Mr Tafazolli said the institute and its partners wanted to create a complete 5G solution on the campus by 2018, which includes a complete core network that is compliant for IoT. 5GIC will also work with standardisation bodies, but wants to “wrap up all contributions to the standardisation process by next year”. From then, the institute will develop integrated solutions in a real time environment from its research testbed which will be used “as a playground to test future technologies”, and will enable full 5G functionality and capability. 5GIC also has provisions for start-ups and SMEs, with nine of its members coming from that segment. During the testing phases, students will be invited to the campus to hack the 5G network, “to learn how robust it actually is and how it can be improved”, said Tafazolli. UK operators come together Representatives from Vodafone, EE, BT and O2 were present at the event, and spoke of their commitment in working with the research institution, while O2 and EE representatives said any pending M&A transactions would not have an effect on their commitment to 5G development. While O2 is presently in the midst of a takeover bid from Hutchison Whampoa, EE could soon be acquired by BT, with the deal still going through the regulatory motions. Telefonica O2’s VP of R&D Mike Short said any deal with Hutchison “may still take 12 months, and it’s all full speed ahead until then”. “We’re not looking to slow down, and when you create a leading market, no-one should be taking a short term M&A view. 5G is reliant on collaboration.” BT’s Chris Bilton, who revealed the company had been partnering with 5GIC “even before it started working with EE on various acquisition opportunities”, said 5G was going to be more important as customers continue to adopt mobile solutions. “The opportunity for this technology will be the ability to do things you can’t do with 4G, and that’s where the future lies.” Perhaps a soon-to-be colleague, Paul Ceely, head of network strategy at EE, instead opted to focus on the continued growth of 4G, where the company leads the market, which he believes is “laying the foundations for a future 5G”. “There’s still a long way to go with 4G, and the pull is still huge.” Vodafone’s group R&D director, Luke Ibbetson, meanwhile, said 5G was not all about pushing the consumer to adopt 5G technologies, which some operators in the UK have struggled to do with 4G, but said the technology would emerge more as a hotbed for changing other industries. “From M2M all the way through to the future of robotics, government and healthcare, we will build a technology to promote this growth.” A world first for 5G During the briefing, Tafazolli revealed 5GIC would display “some 5G technologies ahead of anyone in the world”. These demos included the first transmission of ultra HD 4K video, which was streamed to a mobile device over an enhanced outdoor mobile network, which used software and hardware to show the capabilities of 5G with “bandwidth hungry applications such as ultra-high definition”. Two sites were deployed compatible with 5G radio computing architecture to provide the demo, and was run in collaboration with Huawei and BBC. A second demonstration showed off a new “5G spare code multiple access radio wave form,” which 5GIC said could support 300 per cent more IoT devices compared to 4G. In the live demo, numerous devices connected to a central system, showing how multiple users can occupy the same spectrum resource. “We want 5G to be 1,000 times faster than the highest 4G speeds, response time and latency needs to be 50 times faster, 5G has to be 100 times more reliable and its capacity per square metre needs to be 1,000 times that of 4G to accommodate IoT,” added Tafazolli. “Wireless connectivity is the future and collaboration with other industries will be just as important as we develop this technology.
Monday, 14 September 2015
Wednesday, 15 July 2015
Ericsson’s CTO for the APAC region, Magnus Ewerbring said that further development of 5G and LTE technologies must be linked, following recent operator comments that the industry should continue to develop 4G because it cannot stand still waiting for its successor’s appearance.
The vendor supports 5G being based on two radio access parts, said Ewerbring. One part is LTE Evolution which extends on LTE-Advanced and other improvements added to LTE. The other part includes “more radical changes” addressing very high bitrates in high bandwidths, he added. “The two parts are aligned on higher protocol layers. 5G will therefore naturally drive the further evolution of LTE,” he pointed out, speaking ahead of his appearance at this week’s session on 5G Leadership in the Asia Pacific Region.
An Orange executive recently urged the industry to continue developing 4G technology to meet evolving customer needs. Alain Maloberti, SVP of network architecture and design at Orange Group, warned that “we cannot stand still for five years in order to wait for 5G”. Elsewhere, the Ericsson executive also threw out a few examples of 5G existing in test form. The vendor has demonstrated over-the-air tests of pre-5G systems, which are still 20-30 times faster than today’s networks. In Asia-Pacific, it signed 5G MoUs with CAICT (China Academy of Information and Communications Technology), Japan’s NTT Docomo, Korea Telecom, Singtel and Telstra. At this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Ericsson demonstrated the kind of services that might be expected with 5G-based M2M, including an excavator that was remotely controlled thousands of kilometres away. Low latency is essential to such an application, which 5G can deliver.
Recently, a consortium including Ericsson started 5G research on real-time control of equipment in mines. The consortium will assess the possibilities of 5G with very short latency providing the basis for real-time control. “The latency shall be significantly lower than in today’s systems, perhaps down to 1 miilisecond end-to-end.”
Big Asian operators agree that 5G talk is all about the use case
The telecom industry is abuzz with talk about 5G, even though implementations are years away, with the discussions already focused around use cases, business models and the wider ecosystem, according to the CTOs of leading operators from Japan and South Korea. NTT Docomo CTO Seizo Onoe explained that the type of discussions taking place are very different than with 3G and 4G, when the technology came first, which then led to services and new businesses long after deployments. “With 5G the actual technology to support the business cases will come later.” SK Telecom CTO Alex Choi agreed, noting that over the past couple of years the telecoms industry has been in the process of defining the use cases for 5G. “The use cases being discussed span many technology domains and, therefore, it is essential for the different technology domains to share the visions, strategies and use cases for efficient and timely development of 5G networks and services,” Choi said. Because many incremental steps tend to make things more complicated, Onoe said, the telecoms industry needs to take fewer, more significant steps on its road to 5G. The industry should stop the evolution of old technologies after it finds a new one, he said. “This would make things more simple through quicker migration to the new. Actually, I tried to stop HSPA evolution standardisation after LTE had emerged, but I couldn’t and then finally 8x HSPA specifications were created. Thus many steps were created in 3G.” This is not only true for core networks but also for radio networks and device implementations, he said. “5G will need a big step with significant gains for futureproof expandability,” Onoe explained.
LTE-Advanced has technical specifications for speeds of over 1Gb/s, which have not yet been implemented, so there is room to enhance current 4G networks, he noted, adding that Docomo will also continue work on the evolution of 4G, while at the same time seeking to provide 1Gb/s services before 2020. “I don’t see the aggressive push to 5G having a negative impact on 4G. We have a concrete plan for the 4G evolution and some 5G features might be implemented over the 4G evolution path, which will help smooth the introduction of 5G.”
Docomo is currently conducting trials on basic technologies and demoing the performance of some applications in computer simulations. He expects to see 4K and 8K UHD videos and sensor networks over 5G available for real-time monitoring of athletes in the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.
Choi said by the end of the year it will focus on setting up a 5G test-bed to identify and verify the feasibility of potential key enabling 5G technologies independently.
Wednesday, 8 July 2015
16 providers join latest EU-backed 5G research project
A group of 16 leading providers will join ‘FANTASTIC 5G’, the latest EU-backed research project designed to develop standards for the next-generation of mobile technology. The initiative, “designed to boost capacity, flexibility and improve efficiency for 5G”, according to a release from project lead Alcatel-Lucent, is part of the European Commission’s first phase of its 5G Public Private Partnership initiative (5G-PPP). The EC gave backing to 19 projects designed to develop research around 5G standards in an announcement last week, after receiving a total of 83 proposals, and will invest €128 million in phase one. “I want Europe to be the world leader in 5G,” tweeted Gunther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for the digital economy and society, earlier today. “Our PPP will help to bring us there.” FANTASTIC 5G will see a number of other leading operators and vendors team up, including Nokia Networks, Huawei, Orange and Telecom Italia, to develop a new air interface below 6GHz for 5G networks. It will run for 2 years, with a total of €8 million in EU funding. The project follows the formation of the 5G NORMA consortium, announced last week, also backed by the EC, which will see 13 leading vendors and operators partner to begin thinking about the mobile network architecture for 5G. The EC added that all 19 projects are “designed to work together and collaborate to deliver “critical 5G technology building blocks”. Alcatel-Lucent said FANTASTIC 5G aims to develop highly flexible 5G solutions to support data traffic, support more devices and enable versatile solutions to support diverse device types and traffic characteristics. “FANTASTIC-5G is of key importance, as the multi service air interface concepts being developed in the project will be evaluated and validated by the partners,” said Frank Schaich, research engineer at Alcatel-Lucent. “This helps to build up consensus and to facilitate the standardisation process of 5G.” Overall, the EU pledged a total of €700 million in public funding to develop 5G networks, with 5G-PPP broken up in three phases. The research phase of 5G-PPP is due to complete next year, before companies are due to move on to system optimisation. Large scale trials are then planned for 2019, with a target launch for 5G in 2020.
Thursday, 25 June 2015
If 5G is an “incremental step” over 4G technology “we are going to fail”, Erik Hoving, CTO of Dutch operator KPN, warned this morning.
“5G is going to ask different things from us as an operator, it’s going to give people different things. If you look at what the demand for 5G is, it’s capacity, but it’s also latency.
There is never going to be a Google car driving safely if the latency isn’t solved, and latency isn’t going to be solved if we continue doing what we are doing today,” he continued.
So far, the mobile industry has developed through “a huge amount of incremental steps that we all thought would bring a better world for our customers. But at the end we have this huge spaghetti of core networks.
And listen to the words – a core network. In any other industry, core would mean one,” the executive commented. “Everything we do needs to start with a picture of the future, which often our industry didn’t do.
Our industry is extremely incrementally driven, because most of the companies are stock-market quoted, and the next quarter is the most important quarter,” Hoving observed.
But, in the face of growing data demand, “there is no way we can step back from the incremental things,” he said. “You have to invest in your core network, you have to invest in your access, you will have to invest in frequencies, because the amount of data that is being consumed is exploding in our face.”
“I think 4G is going to be the horsepower for mobile data consumption for a long while. It’s going to be mixed with WiFi, definitely, and ultimately this will grow into 5G, but first we have to define exactly what 5G will mean,” the executive continued.
With this in mind, “we as an industry, and at KPN, have to simplify what we have first. Because it’s way too complicated,” he said. “If we do not clean-out what we have today, in core networks and in IT at the back-end of our industry, some of our companies will collapse.
Because there is no way you can continue with this IT shebang that we have. We have to first clean-out and virtualise,” Hoving argued.
With many operators here iterating that 2G networks are likely to have a long lifespan, the KPN technology head was especially critical of its younger brother, 3G.
“Basically, 3G is a very mediocre solution. 2G is a voice-centric solution. 3G was created from a technology perspective with a half-baked data solution. And we rolled it out again incrementally,” he said.
Saturday, 9 May 2015
Imagine the world in 2020, only five years from now. If predictions hold true, more than 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet (creating the Internet of Things), through smart homes, smart cities, smart factories, smart everything. Two recent Cisco studies show there’s $19 trillion in IoT value is at stake in the private ($14.4 trillion) and public ($4.6 trillion) sectors. The studies see, for example, $2.5 trillion in value from better use of assets, improving execution and capital efficiency, and reducing expenses and cost of goods sold.
In 2020, cars could be driving themselves and people could be monitoring their health through a variety of smartwatches and other wearables. And, of course, smartphones will continue to proliferate. 5G could also become a reality as early as 2020 (some estimate it will be later, perhaps 2025). Carriers’ base stations can handle hundreds of simultaneous users now, but that’s not enough to accommodate the billions of new devices that will hook into the Internet of Things. Some estimate that equipment makers will need to increase base station connectivity capacity by a factor of 1,000. RF and microwave electronics are also becoming more valuable. Consider RF chips in smartphones. Instead of 30-40 cents for RF chips in a 2G phone, chipmakers will see $2 to $3 in a lower-end 3G smartphone. It then rises to $4 to $6 for a mid-tier LTE smartphone and $10-plus for high-end global LTE smartphones. No estimate yet on 5G smartphones, but it’s sure to be more. These trends are good news for everyone involved in technologies associated with RF, microwave, millimeter wave, and THz frequencies, many of whom will be attending “Microwave Week” in Phoenix, May 17-22.
Besides the flagship IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium (IMS), Microwave Week also hosts the IEEE RFIC and ARFTG conferences. Microwave Week 2015 will start with RFIC Symposium, and followed by IMS Symposium, Microwave Historical Exhibit and ARFTG Microwave Measurement Conference. The RFIC Symposium kicks off Sunday evening with the awards ceremony followed by two plenary speakers: Dr. Peter H. Siegel from Jet Propulsion Laboratories will talk on “From THz Imaging to Millimeter-Wave Stimulation of Neurons: Is there a Killer Application for High Frequency RF in the Medical Community?” He’ll be followed by a talk by Dr. Hermann Eul of Intel titled “RF as the Differentiator.” On Monday at the IMS Symposium, University of Illinois’ Swanlund Chair Professor John Rogers will deliver the plenary session address. This kicks off a week of more than 160 technical sessions that indicate industry growth at the intersection of RF and microwave technologies with health. Dr. Rogers’ opening keynote, “Soft Assemblies of Radios, Sensors and Circuits for the Skin,” will focus on the experimental and theoretical approaches for using soft materials, ultrathin micro/nanostructures and controlled processes of mechanical buckling to achieve ultralow modulus systems of semiconductor devices. The resulting skin-like technology has the potential to provide clinical-quality health monitoring capabilities for use outside of traditional hospital settings and laboratory facilities. “Rogers sets the precedent for bridging the gap between research and real-world application,” said Vijay Nair, IMS symposium general chair. “His expertise allows him to provide deep insight into how technological innovation can result in significant opportunities for the microwave industry and for society as a whole.” Closing IMS2015 on Thursday, May 21 is Agilent Technologies’ Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President Dr. Darlene Solomon, who will present her vision for how breakthroughs in cellular biology will enable advances in biology-based engineering in her talk, “The Century of Biology is Great for Engineering.” “Solomon’s holistic approach to the application of technology to address societal issues offers a unique perspective to illustrate the great opportunities ahead for RF and microwave engineers,” said Nair. The focus of the ARFTG 85th Microwave Measurement Conference; Automatic RF Techniques Group (ARFTG) on May 22nd, will be “Measurements and Techniques for 5G Applications.”
Wednesday, 22 April 2015
Huawei sees 5G as revolution, not evolution The gap in performance between current LTE-ADVANCED 4G networks and the requirements of future 5G networks means the new technology is a “revolution, instead of a mere evolution of today’s 4G network,” said Yang Chaobin, CMO of Huawei’s wireless network unit.