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Articles on this Page
- 06/25/18--14:41: _Free Apps for Field...
- 07/03/18--00:06: _Terahertz and Beyon...
- 07/12/18--11:35: _Minimum Bandwidth R...
- 07/19/18--04:30: _5G Synchronisation ...
- 07/24/18--00:39: _Multicast Operation...
- 07/29/18--12:46: _Automating the 5G C...
- 08/05/18--09:41: _ITU 'Network 2030':...
- 08/10/18--11:10: _Changes in LTE pric...
- 08/13/18--00:57: _Telefonica: Big Dat...
- 09/04/18--23:44: _LiFi can be a valua...
- 09/11/18--04:09: _Introduction to Fix...
- 09/14/18--08:06: _End-to-end Network ...
- 09/20/18--23:31: _Base Station Antenn...
- 09/23/18--23:56: _5G New Radio Standa...
- 09/28/18--01:45: _Multi-technology :T...
- 10/02/18--12:25: _Benefits and Challe...
- 10/08/18--10:09: _Wi-Fi gets new name
- 10/09/18--23:18: _Automated 4G / 5G H...
- 10/19/18--01:07: _5G Network Architec...
- 10/26/18--00:09: _The Yin and the Yan...
- 10/29/18--05:00: _Overview 3GPP 5G NR...
- 11/06/18--11:20: _Telefonica, Mayutel...
- 11/18/18--23:58: _5G NR Radio Protoco...
- 11/24/18--01:51: _5G Top-10 Misconcep...
- 12/03/18--23:07: _Can KaiOS accelerat...
- 06/25/18--14:41: Free Apps for Field Testing - Part 2
- 07/03/18--00:06: Terahertz and Beyond 100 GHz progress
- 07/12/18--11:35: Minimum Bandwidth Requirement for 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) Deployment
- 07/19/18--04:30: 5G Synchronisation Requirements
- thirty-nine operators are known to have been investing in eMBMS demonstrations, trials, deployments or launches
- five operators have now deployed eMBMS or launched some sort of commercial service using eMBMS
- 07/29/18--12:46: Automating the 5G Core using Machine Learning and Data Analytics
- 08/10/18--11:10: Changes in LTE pricing strategies
- Mobile data services are still largely structured by on data allowance, but high volume and unlimited plans are increasingly common.
- Unlimited does not necessarily mean high-end: some target users with a small budget, providing a very slow connection.
- Quality of service becoming central in structuring product lines – especially speed which my or may not be combined with data caps – as is content quality.
- Certain applications being favoured through zero rating (traffic not deducted from the customer’s allowance). This can be a way to market unlimited plans and avoid fixed-mobile substitution.
- Growing number of partnerships with OTT video services, rather than selling premium content plans, which are tending to wane.
- Internet para todos: Telefonica and Parallel Wireless on a mission to connect 100 Million Unconnected
- Automating the 5G Core using Machine Learning and Data Analytics
- ITU 'Network 2030': Initiative to support Emerging Technologies and Innovation looking beyond 5G advances
- Artificial Intelligence - Beyond SON for Autonomous Networks
- Twitter et al. for Small Cell Planning
- 09/04/18--23:44: LiFi can be a valuable tool for densification
- O2 uses light to transmit data in latest network trial
- IEEE Task Force Works on Standard for Light Communications
- Learn How Li-Fi Works from Its Inventor, Harald Haas
- Light Communications for Wireless Local Area Networking
- LiFi can bring enhanced connectivity to your workspace, while also enhancing data security
- 09/11/18--04:09: Introduction to Fixed Wireless Access (FWA)
- 09/14/18--08:06: End-to-end Network Slicing in 5G
- 09/20/18--23:31: Base Station Antenna Considerations for 5G
- 09/23/18--23:56: 5G New Radio Standards and other Presentations
- 09/28/18--01:45: Multi-technology :The future of IoT geolocation
- Asset Management
- Fleet Management
- Anti-theft scooter/bike rental
- Logistics/parcel bags tracking
- Worker safety for Oil and Gas
- Elderly and Disabled care
- Tracking solution for skiers
- Pets and Animal tracking
- What are the market opportunities and use cases enabled by IoT Geolocation?
- What are the benefits of multi-technology geolocation?
- What are the benefits of using LPWAN technologies(LoRaWAN, NB-IoT, LTE-M) for connectivity?
- How LPWAN-enabled Geolocation will evolve in the future?
- How is Actility building multi-technology geolocation platform?
- 10/02/18--12:25: Benefits and Challenges of Applying Device-Level AI to 5G networks
- While the device-level AI and network-level AI would generally work cooperatively, there is a risk that some vendor may play the system to make their devices perform better than the competitors. Something similar to the signaling storm generated by SCRI (see here).
- If the device-level and network-level AI works constructively, an operator may be able to claim that their network can provide a better battery life for a device. For example iPhone XYZ has 25% better battery life on our network rather than competitors network.
- If the device-level and network-level AI works destructively for any reason then the network can become unstable and the other users may experience issues.
- Automating the 5G Core using Machine Learning and Data Analytics
- Telefonica: Big Data, Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Connect the Unconnected
- ITU 'Network 2030': Initiative to support Emerging Technologies and Innovation looking beyond 5G advances
- End-to-end Network Slicing in 5G
- 5G New Radio Standards and other Presentations
- 10/08/18--10:09: Wi-Fi gets new name
- NTT Technical Review: Standardization of Next-generation Wireless LAN IEEE 802.11ax
- YouTube: Rohde & Schwarz webinar - Five things to know about WLAN 802.11ax and why testing is important
- YouTube: Will 802.11ax and IoT Rejuvenate 2.4 GHz Band? | Perry Correll | WLPC_EU Lisbon 2017
- The 3G4G Blog: 5G & 802.11ax
- The 3G4G Blog: WiFi: Standards, Spectrum and Deployment
- Quora: What is the difference between WLAN 802.11 b/g/n and 802.11ac? Which is better?
- 10/09/18--23:18: Automated 4G / 5G HetNet Design
- 10/19/18--01:07: 5G Network Architecture Options (Updated)
- 10/26/18--00:09: The Yin and the Yang of AI & Blockchain
- PWC: How can telecom, media, and entertainment find the value in blockchain?
- Jisc: Blockchain: An Enabler of Efficiency, Choice and Agility in Education
- PWC: Building blockchains for a better planet
- AT&T Launches Blockchain Solutions Targeting Supply Chain and Healthcare
- 10/29/18--05:00: Overview 3GPP 5G NR Physical Layer
- 3GPP 5G – Briefing for Evaluation Groups
- 3G4G: Workshop on 3GPP 5G NR submission towards IMT-2020
- 3G4G Blog: 5G New Radio Standards and other Presentations
- 3G4G Blog: Base Station Antenna Considerations for 5G
- 3G4G Blog: 5G Network Architecture Options (Updated)
- 3G4G Blog: Automated 4G / 5G HetNet Design
- 3G4G Blog: Benefits and Challenges of Applying Device-Level AI to 5G networks
- 3G4G Blog: Introduction to Fixed Wireless Access (FWA)
- Operator Watch Blog: 5G Development and Progress in Singapore
- 3G4G Small Cells Blog: Ultimate Guide to the Telecom Infra Project (TIP)
- 3G4G Small Cells Blog: Internet para todos: Telefonica and Parallel Wireless on a mission to connect 100 Million Unconnected
- The 3G4G Blog: Telefonica: Big Data, Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Connect the Unconnected
- 3G4G Small Cells Blog: Rural Small Cells: An end user story
- 11/18/18--23:58: 5G NR Radio Protocols Overview
- 3G4G: Workshop on 3GPP 5G NR submission towards IMT-2020
- 3GPP 5G – Briefing for Evaluation Groups
- 3G4G Blog: Overview 3GPP 5G NR Physical Layer
- 11/24/18--01:51: 5G Top-10 Misconceptions
- 5G NR Radio Protocols Overview
- Overview 3GPP 5G NR Physical Layer
- 5G Development and Progress in Singapore
- 5G Network Architecture Options (Updated)
- Automated 4G / 5G HetNet Design
- Optus launching commercial 5G Fixed Wireless Access services in January 2019
- Benefits and Challenges of Applying Device-Level AI to 5G networks
- 5G New Radio Standards and other Presentations
- Base Station Antenna Considerations for 5G
- End-to-end Network Slicing in 5G
- ITU 'Network 2030': Initiative to support Emerging Technologies and Innovation looking beyond 5G advances
- 12/03/18--23:07: Can KaiOS accelerate the transition from 2G / 3G to 4G?
- Cheap and affordable
- Given as a gift (generally because its cheap and affordable)
- 2G has better coverage than 3G and 4G in many parts of the world
- Second/Third device, used as backup for voice calls
- Most importantly - battery can last for a long time
- Africa, The Next Big Feature Phone Opportunity?
- AfricaCom 2018: Africa Joins the Digital Revolution with First-ever Smart Feature Phones
As I have used both these apps frequently, here is a small summary on them.As Veix and others have said, missing Network Signal Guru and Cellmapper which are the only two I use nowadays.— Peter Clarke (@PedroClarke1) June 25, 2018
Network Signal Guru: This is surprisingly very popular and is quite useful. The only issue is that you need to have a rooted phone with Qualcomm chipset. I know many testers have their favourite phones and quite a few testers buy the latest phones, root them and start testing using NSG (Network Signal Guru).
I prefer using Motorola Moto Gx series phones. They are cheap, not too difficult to root (YouTube have quite a few tutorials and Google search works too) and I find that their receivers are better than others. Have detected cells that other phones cant and have even camped and speed tested on them too.10 spatial streams, 4x4 MIMO, DL-256QAM, UL-64QAM, 4-Carrier Aggregation, LAA, 80MHz of spectrum, 500Mbps in the middle of Manhattan.— Milan Milanović (@milanmilanovic) March 10, 2018
Nicely done @TMobile@NevilleRay@EricssonNetwork@Qualcomm_Tech@MotorolaUSpic.twitter.com/jvrQwvERef
So what can NSG do?
It can provide lots of useful information on the physical layer, cell configurations, neighbor cell lists, MIMO, etc.
Finally, one of the best things I find is the signalling information. Some of the details are only available for purchased option, its nevertheless very useful. Just in case you are wondering how much does it cost, its roughly £50 per month license in UK.
Cell Mapper: I find this much more helpful as it can be used without rooting. CellMapper is a crowd-sourced cellular tower and coverage mapping service. Its simple and only used for basic testing but nevertheless very useful. To give you an idea, the other day I was camped on a cell with very good signal quality but very poor data rates and there weren't many people so congestion didn't seem like a factor. On investigation I found out that I was camped on 800MHz band that has limited bandwidth per operator and there was no CA.
Cell mapper, as you can see provides information about the cell you are camped on, the cell tower location, what other sectors and frequencies are there, etc.
Do you have a favorite testing app that I missed? Let me know in comments.
Terahertz wave: Just as we use the phrase ‘kilo’ to mean 103 , so we use the term ‘giga’ to mean 109 and the term ‘tera’ to mean 1012 . “Hertz (Hz)” is a unit of a physical quantity called frequency. It indicates how many times alternating electric signals and electromagnetic waves change polarity (plus and minus) per second. That is, one terahertz (1 THz = 1,000 GHz) is the frequency of the electromagnetic wave changing the polarity by 1 × 1012 times per second. In general, a terahertz wave often indicates an electromagnetic wave of 0.3 THz to 3 THz.
While there are quite a few different numbers, this is the one that is most commonly being used. The following is the details of research NTT did.
In this research, we realized 100 Gbps wireless transmission with one wave (one carrier), so in the future, we can extend to multiple carriers by making use of the wide frequency band of 300 GHz band, and use spatial multiplexing technology such as MIMO and OAM. It is expected to be an ultra high-speed IC technology that enables high-capacity wireless transmission of 400 gigabits per second. This is about 400 times the current LTE and Wi-Fi, and 40 times 5G, the next-generation mobile communication technology. It is also expected to be a technology that opens up utilization of the unused terahertz wave frequency band in the communications field and non-communication fields.
Complete article and paper available here.
Huawei has also been doing research in W (92 - 114.5 GHz) and D (130 - 174.5 GHz) bands.NTT Docomo has been doing 5G Field Testing of Ultra-high-speed, Long-distance Transmission Using mmWave in 28, 39 GHz in collaboration with @Huawei . Achieved high speed communication over distances exceeding 1 km with mmWave - https://t.co/a03SdqVhI7pic.twitter.com/rlsqRAJ5YC— 3G4G (@3g4gUK) July 2, 2018
A recent presentation by Debora Gentina, ETSI ISG mWT WI#8 Rapporteur at the UK Spectrum Policy Forum is embedded below.
This presentation can be downloaded from UK SPF site here. Another event on beyond 100GHz that took place last year has some interesting presentations too. Again, on UKSPF site here.
Ericsson has an interesting article in Technology Review, looking at beyond 100GHz from backhaul point of view. Its available here.
If 5G is going to start using the frequencies traditionally used by backhaul then backhaul will have to start looking at other options too.
Happy to listen to your thoughts and insights on this topic.
During the Q&A, Egil mentioned that because of the way the USA has different markets, on average they have 31 MHz of 600 MHz (Band 71). The minimum is 20 MHz and the maximum is 50 MHz.
So I started wondering how would they launch 4G & 5G in the same band for nationwide coverage? They have a good video on their 5G vision but that is of course probably going to come few years down the line.
The Master Node (recall dual connectivity for LTE, Release-12. See here) is an eNodeB. As with any LTE node, it can take bandwidths from 1.4 MHz to 20 MHz. So the minimum bandwidth for LTE node is 1.4 MHz.
The Secondary Node is a gNodeB. Looking at 3GPP TS 38.101-1, Table 5.3.5-1 Channel bandwidths for each NR band, I can see that for band 71
NR band / SCS / UE Channel bandwidth
The minimum bandwidth is 5MHz. Of course this is paired spectrum for FDD band but the point I am making here is that you need just 6.4 MHz minimum to be able to support the Non-Standalone 5G option.
I am sure you can guess that the speeds will not really be 5G speeds with this amount of bandwidth but I am looking forward to all these kind of complaints in the initial phase of 5G network rollout.
I dont know what bandwidths T-Mobile will be using but we will see at least 10MHz of NR in case where the total spectrum is 20 MHz and 20 MHz of NR where the total spectrum is 50 MHz.
If you look at the earlier requirements list, the number being thrown about for bandwidth was 100 MHz for below 6 GHz and up to 1 GHz bandwidth for spectrum above 6 GHz. Don't think there was a hard and fast requirement though.
Happy to hear your thoughts.
5G will probably introduce tighter synchronization requirements than LTE. A recent presentation from Ericsson provides more details.
In frequencies below 6GHz (referred to as frequency range 1 or FR1 in standards), there is a probability to use both FDD and TDD bands, especially in case of re-farming of existing bands. In frequencies above 6GHz (referred to as frequency range 2 or FR2 in standards, even though FR2 starts from 24.25 GHz), it is expected that all bands would be TDD.A nice presentation by Ericsson from #WSTS2018: Sync in 5G: What is really needed? - https://t.co/X3XIokELpepic.twitter.com/6du5ezFfqE— 3G4G (@3g4gUK) July 17, 2018
Interesting to see that the cell phase synchronization accuracy measured at BS antenna connectors is specified to be better than 3 μs in 3GPP TS 38 133. This translates into a network-wide requirements of +/-1.5 microseconds and is applicable to both FR1 and FR2, regardless of the cell size.
Frequency Error for NR specified in 3GPP TS 38.104 states that the base station (BS) shall be accurate to within the following accuracy range observed over 1 ms:
Wide Area BS → ±0.05 ppm
Medium Range BS → ±0.1 ppm
Local Area BS → ±0.1 ppm
The presentation specifies that based on request by some operators, studies in ITU-T on the feasibility of solutions targeting end-to-end time synchronization requirements on the order of +/-100 ns to +/-300 ns
There is also a challenge of how the sync information is transported within the network. The conclusion is that while the current LTE sync requirements would work in the short term, new solutions would be required in the longer term.
If this is an area of interest, you will also enjoy watching CW Heritage SIG talk by Prof. Andy Sutton, "The history of synchronisation in digital cellular networks". Its available here.
Many regular readers of this blog are aware that back in 2014 I wrote a post looking critically at LTE-Broadcast business case and suggested a few approaches to make it a success. Back in those days, 2014 was being billed as the year of LTE-Broadcast or eMBMS (see here and here for example). I was just cautioning people against jumping on the LTE-B bandwagon.
According to a recent GSA report 'LTE Broadcast (eMBMS) Market Update– March 2018':
Its good to see some operators now getting ready to deploy eMBMS for broadcast TV scenarios. eMBMS will also be used in Mission Critical Communications for the features described here.
In a recent news from the Australian operator Telstra:
Telstra is now streaming live sports content to a massive base of around 1.2 million devices each weekend and sports fans consume 37 million minutes of live content over our apps on any given weekend.
This increase brings new challenges to the way traffic on our mobile network is managed. Even though a large group of people might be streaming the same real-time content at the same time, we still need to ensure a high quality streaming experience for our customers.
This challenge makes our sporting apps a prime use case for LTE-Broadcast (LTE-B).
Earlier this year, we announced we would be turning on LTE-B functionality on the AFL Live Official app for Telstra customers with Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 devices. Following extensive testing, Telstra is the only operator in Australia – and one of the first in the world – to deploy LTE-B into its mobile network.
At a live demonstration in Sydney, over 100 Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 devices were on display showing simultaneous high definition content from the AFL Live Official app using LTE-B.
Its interesting to note here that the broadcast functionality (and probably intelligence) is built into the app.
According to another Telstra news item (emphasis mine):
The use of LTE-Broadcast technology changes the underlying efficiency of live video delivery as each cell can now support an unlimited number of users watching the same content with improved overall quality. To date though, LTE-B technology has required that a dedicated part of each cell’s capacity be set aside for broadcasting. This had made the LTE-B business case harder to prove in for lower streaming demand rates.
This has now changed as Telstra and our partners have enabled the world’s first implementation of the Multicast Operation on Demand (MooD) feature whereby cells in the network only need to configure for LTE-B when there are multiple users watching the same content.
This combined with the Service Continuity feature allows mobile users to move around the network seamlessly between cells configured for LTE-B and those which are not.
Earlier this year we announced our intention to enable LTE-Broadcast (LTE-B) across our entire mobile network in 2018. With MooD and service continuity we are one step closer to that goal as we head into another year of major growth in sporting content demand.
Supported by technology partners Ericsson and Qualcomm, Telstra has now delivered world first capability to ensure LTE-B can be delivered as efficiently as possible.
Service Continuity will allow devices to transition in and out of LTE-B coverage areas without interruption. For instance, you might be at a music festival streaming an event on your phone but need to leave the venue and make your way back home (where LTE-B is not in use). Service Continuity means you can continue to watch the stream and the transition will be seamless – even though you have the left the broadcast area.
Taking that a step further, MooD allows the network to determine how many LTE-B compatible devices in any given area are consuming the same content. MooD then intelligently activates or deactivates LTE-B, ensuring the mobile network is as efficient as possible in that location.
For example, if a die-hard football fan is streaming a match we will likely service that one user with unicast, as that is the most efficient way of delivering the content. However if more users in the same cell decide to watch the match, MooD makes the decision automatically as to whether it is more efficient to service those users by switching the stream to broadcasting instead of individual unicast streams.
Its good to see Ericsson & Qualcomm finally taking eMBMS to commercial deployment. Back in 2015, I added their videos from MWC that year. See post here.
Qualcomm whitepaper above makes it much clearer. Back in 3G MBMS and early days or eMBMS, there used to be a feature called counting, MooD is effectively doing the same thing.
Note that this Expway paper also refers to Service continuity as Session continuity.
3GPP TR 23.791: Study of Enablers for Network Automation for 5G (Release 16) describes the following 5G Network Architecture Assumptions:
1The NWDAF (Network Data Analytics Function) as defined in TS 23.503 is used for data collection and data analytics in centralized manner. An NWDAF may be used for analytics for one or more Network Slice.
2For instances where certain analytics can be performed by a 5GS NF independently, a NWDAF instance specific to that analytic maybe collocated with the 5GS NF. The data utilized by the 5GS NF as input to analytics in this case should also be made available to allow for the centralized NWDAF deployment option.
35GS Network Functions and OAM decide how to use the data analytics provided by NWDAF to improve the network performance.
4NWDAF utilizes the existing service based interfaces to communicate with other 5GC Network Functions and OAM.
5A 5GC NF may expose the result of the data analytics to any consumer NF utilizing a service based interface.
6The interactions between NF(s) and the NWDAF take place in the local PLMN (the reporting NF and the NWDAF belong to the same PLMN).
7Solutions shall neither assume NWDAF knowledge about NF application logic. The NWDAF may use subscription data but only for statistical purpose.
Continuing from 3GPP TR 23.791:
The NWDAF may serve use cases belonging to one or several domains, e.g. QoS, traffic steering, dimensioning, security.
The input data of the NWDAF may come from multiple sources, and the resulting actions undertaken by the consuming NF or AF may concern several domains (e.g. Mobility management, Session Management, QoS management, Application layer, Security management, NF life cycle management).
Use case descriptions should include the following aspects:
1.General characteristics (domain: performance, QoS, resilience, security; time scale).
2.Nature of input data (e.g. logs, KPI, events).
3.Types of NF consuming the NWDAF output data, how data is conveyed and nature of consumed analytics.
5.Possible examples of actions undertaken by the consuming NF or AF, resulting from these analytics.
6.Benefits, e.g. revenue, resource saving, QoE, service assurance, reputation.
3GPP TS 23.501 V15.2.0 (2018-06) Section 6.2.18says:
NWDAF represents operator managed network analytics logical function. NWDAF provides slice specific network data analytics to a NF. NWDAF provides network analytics information (i.e., load level information) to a NF on a network slice instance level and the NWDAF is not required to be aware of the current subscribers using the slice. NWDAF notifies slice specific network status analytic information to the NFs that are subscribed to it. NF may collect directly slice specific network status analytic information from NWDAF. This information is not subscriber specific.
In this Release of the specification, both PCF and NSSF are consumers of network analytics. The PCF may use that data in its policy decisions. NSSF may use the load level information provided by NWDAF for slice selection.
NOTE 1:NWDAF functionality beyond its support for Nnwdaf is out of scope of 3GPP.
NOTE 2:NWDAF functionality for non-slice-specific analytics information is not supported in this Release of the specification.
3GPP Release-16 is going to focus on 5G expansion & efficiency. Listen to the @3GPPLive Webinar here: https://t.co/tKzXJ3cUFjpic.twitter.com/1xCZfpT9lt— 3G4G (@3g4gUK) July 14, 2018
The 3GPP standards group is developing a machine learning function that could allow 5G operators to monitor the status of a network slice or third-party application performance.
The network data analytics function (NWDAF) forms a part of the 3GPP's 5G standardization efforts and could become a central point for analytics in the 5G core network, said Serge Manning, a senior technology strategist at Sprint Corp.
Speaking here in Madrid, Manning said the NWDAF was still in the "early stages" of standardization but could become "an interesting place for innovation."
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) froze the specifications for a 5G new radio standard at the end of 2017 and is due to freeze another set of 5G specifications, covering some of the core network and non-radio features, in June this year as part of its "Release 15" update.
Manning says that Release 15 considers the network slice selection function (NSSF) and the policy control function (PCF) as potential "consumers" of the NWDAF. "Anything else is open to being a consumer," he says. "We have things like monitoring the status of the load of a network slice, or looking at the behavior of mobile devices if you wanted to make adjustments. You could also look at application performance."
In principle, the NWDAF would be able to make use of any data in the core network. The 3GPP does not plan on standardizing the algorithms that will be used but rather the types of raw information the NWDAF will examine. The format of the analytics information that it produces might also be standardized, says Manning.
Such technical developments might help operators to provide network slices more dynamically on their future 5G networks.
Generally seen as one of the most game-changing aspects of 5G, the technique of network slicing would essentially allow an operator to provide a number of virtual network services over the same physical infrastructure.
For example, an operator could provide very high-speed connectivity for mobile gaming over one slice and a low-latency service for factory automation on another -- both reliant on the same underlying hardware.
However, there is concern that without greater automation operators will have less freedom to innovate through network slicing. "If operators don't automate they will be providing capacity-based slices that are relatively large and static and undifferentiated and certainly not on a per-customer basis," says Caroline Chappell, an analyst with Analysys Mason .
In a Madrid presentation, Chappell said that more granular slicing would require "highly agile end-to-end automation" that takes advantage of progress on software-defined networking and network functions virtualization.
"Slices could be very dynamic and perhaps last for only five minutes," she says. "In the very long term, applications could create their own slices."
Despite the talk of standardization, and signs of good progress within the 3GPP, concern emerged this week in Madrid that standards bodies are not moving quickly enough to address operators' needs.
Caroline Chappell's talk is available here whereas Serge Manning's talk is embedded below:
I am helping CW organise the annual CW TEC conference on the topic The inevitable automation of Next Generation Networks
Communications networks are perhaps the most complex machines on the planet. They use vast amounts of hardware, rely on complex software, and are physically distributed over land, underwater, and in orbit. They increasingly provide essential services that underpin almost every aspect of life. Managing networks and optimising their performance is a vast challenge, and will become many times harder with the advent of 5G. The 4th Annual CW Technology Conference will explore this challenge and how Machine Learning and AI may be applied to build more reliable, secure and better performing networks.#CWTEC 2018 planning committee working hard to bring an exciting conference - explores the role of #AI in delivering Next Gen. Network performance; & bridges the gap between #AI/#ML& Telecos communities! @zahidtg@Bob_CWCEO@swunger Paul Ceely @bt_uk , John Haine @BristolCSNpic.twitter.com/4uGprC1usg— Sylvia Lu (@SylviaLuUk) July 23, 2018
Is the AI community aware of the challenges facing network providers? Are the network operators and providers aware of how the very latest developments in AI may provide solutions? The conference will aim to bridge the gap between AI/ML and communications network communities, making each more aware of the nature and scale of the problems and the potential solutions.
I am hoping to see some of this blog readers at the conference. Looking forward to learning more on this topic amongst others for network automation.
As per this recent ITU Press Release:
The International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technology (ICT), has launched a new research initiative to identify emerging and future ICT sector network demands, beyond 2030 and the advances expected of IMT-2020 (5G) systems. This work will be carried out by the newly established ITU Focus Group on Technologies for Network 2030, which is open to all interested parties.
The ITU focus group aims to guide the global ICT community in developing a "Network 2030" vision for future ICTs. This will include new concepts, new architecture, new protocols – and new solutions – that are fully backward compatible, so as to support both existing and new applications.
"The work of the ITU Focus Group on Technologies for 'Network 2030' will provide network system experts around the globe with a very valuable international reference point from which to guide the innovation required to support ICT use cases through 2030 and beyond," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.
These ICT use cases will span new media such as hologrammes, a new generation of augmented and virtual reality applications, and high-precision communications for 'tactile' and 'haptic' applications in need of processing a very high volume of data in near real-time – extremely high throughput and low latency.
Emphasizing this need, the focus group's chairman, Huawei's Richard Li, said, "This Focus Group will look at new media, new services and new architectures. Holographic type communications will have a big part to play in industry, agriculture, education, entertainment – and in many other fields. Supporting such capabilities will call for very high throughput in the range of hundreds of gigabits per second or even higher."
The ITU Focus Group on Technologies for 'Network 2030' is co-chaired by Verizon's Mehmet Toy, Rostelecom's Alexey Borodin, China Telecom's Yuan Zhang, Yutaka Miyake from KDDI Research, and is coordinated through ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Sector – which works with ITU's 193 Member States and more than 800 industry and academic members to establish international standards for emerging ICT innovations.
The ITU focus group reports to and will inform a new phase of work of the ITU standardization expert group for 'Future Networks' – Study Group 13. It will also strengthen and leverage collaborative relationships with and among other standards development organizations including: The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Data Communications (ACM SIGCOMM), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Communications Society (IEEE ComSoc).
According to the Focus Group page:
The FG NET-2030, as a platform to study and advance international networking technologies, will investigate the future network architecture, requirements, use cases, and capabilities of the networks for the year 2030 and beyond.
The objectives include:
• To study, review and survey existing technologies, platforms, and standards for identifying the gaps and challenges towards Network 2030, which are not supported by the existing and near future networks like 5G/IMT-2020.
• To formulate all aspects of Network 2030, including vision, requirements, architecture, novel use cases, evaluation methodology, and so forth.
• To provide guidelines for standardization roadmap.
• To establish liaisons and relationships with other SDOs.
An ITU interview with Dr. Richard Li, Huawei, Chairman of the ITU-T FG on Network 2030 is available on YouTube here.
A recent presentation by Dr. Richard Li on this topic is embedded below:
First Workshop on Network 2030 will be held in New York City, United States on 2 October 2018. Details here.
Its been a while since I blogged about pricing strategies (see old posts here, here and here). I recently enjoyed listening to Soichi Nakajima, Director of "Digital Telco and OTT" at IDATE DigiWorld when he presented a talk on LTE pricing strategy. The slides are embedded below
I think the slides are self-explanatory but here is the summary worth highlighting:
How LTE plans have changed: shift in focus from data allowance to quality of service
The slides are available to download from techUK page here. There is also a bonus presentation on "How to address the challenges of providing connectivity on trains".
Earlier, I wrote a detailed post on how Telefonica was on a mission to connect 100 Million Unconnected with their 'Internet para todos' initiative. This video below is a good advert of what Telefinica is trying to achieve in Latin America
I recently came across a LinkedIn post on how Telefónica uses AI / ML to connect the unconnected by Patrick Lopez, VP Networks Innovation @ Telefonica. It was no brainer that this needs to be shared.
In his post, Patrick mentions the following:
To deliver internet in these environments in a sustainable manner, it is necessary to increase efficiency through systematic cost reduction, investment optimization and targeted deployments.
Systematic optimization necessitates continuous measurement of the financial, operational, technological and organizational data sets.
1. Finding the unconnected
The first challenge the team had to tackle was to understand how many unconnected there are and where. The data set was scarce and incomplete, census was old and population had much mobility. In this case, the team used high definition satellite imagery at the scale of the country and used neural network models, coupled with census data as training. Implementing visual machine learning algorithms, the model literally counted each house and each settlement at the scale of the country. The model was then enriched with crossed reference coverage data from regulatory source, as well as Telefonica proprietary data set consisting of geolocalized data sessions and deployment maps. The result is a model with a visual representation, providing a map of the population dispersion, with superimposed coverage polygons, allowing to count and localize the unconnected populations with good accuracy (95% of the population with less than 3% false positive and less than 240 meters deviation in the location of antennas).
2. Optimizing transport
Transport networks are the most expensive part of deploying connectivity to remote areas. Optimizing transport route has a huge impact on the sustainability of a network. This is why the team selected this task as the next challenge to tackle.
The team started with adding road and infrastructure data to the model form public sources, and used graph generation to cluster population settlements. Graph analysis (shortest path, Steiner tree) yielded population density-optimized transport routes.
3. AI to optimize network operations
To connect very remote zones, optimizing operations and minimizing maintenance and upgrade is key to a sustainable operational model. This line of work is probably the most ambitious for the team. When it can take 3 hours by plane and 4 days by boat to reach some locations, being able to make sure you can detect, or better, predict if / when you need to perform maintenance on your infrastructure. Equally important is how your devise your routes so that you are as efficient as possible. In this case, the team built a neural network trained with historical failure analysis and fed with network metrics to provide a model capable of supervising the network health in an automated manner, with prediction of possible failure and optimized maintenance route.
I think that the type of data driven approach to complex problem solving demonstrated in this project is the key to network operators' sustainability in the future. It is not only a rural problem, it is necessary to increase efficiency and optimize deployment and operations to keep decreasing the costs.
Finally, its worth mentioning again that I am helping CW (Cambridge Wireless) organise their annual CW TEC conference on the topic 'The inevitable automation of Next Generation Networks'. There are some good speakers and we will have similar topics covered from different angles, using some other interesting approaches. The fees are very reasonable so please join if you can.
I heard Professor Harald Haas at IEEE Glasgow Summit speak about how many of the limitations of LiFi have been overcome in the last few years (see videos below). This is a welcome news as there is a tremendous amount of Visible Light Spectrum that is available for exploitation.
While many discussions on LiFi revolve round its use as access technology, I think the real potential lies in its use as backhaul for densification.
For 5G, when we are looking at small cells, every few hundred meters, probably on streetlights and lamp posts, there is a requirement for alternative backhaul to fiber. Its difficult to run fiber to each and every lamp post. Traditionally, this was solved by microwave solutions but another option available in 5G is Integrated Access and Backhauling (IAB) or Self-backhauling.
A better alternative could be to use LiFi for this backhauling between lamp posts or streetlights. This can help avoid complications with IAB when multiple nodes are close by and also any complications with the technology until it matures. This approach is of course being trialed but as the picture above shows, rural backhaul is just one option.
Here is a vieo playlist explaining LiFi technology in detail.
We have just produced a new tutorial on Fixed Wireless Access (FWA). The high level introductory tutorial looks at what is meant by Fixed Wireless Access, which is being touted as one of the initial 5G use cases. This presentation introduces FWA and looks at a practical deployment example.
According to GSA report, "Global Progress to 5G – Trials, Deployments and Launches", July 2018:
One use-case that has gained prominence is the use of 5G to deliver fixed wireless broadband services. We have identified 20 tests so far that have specifically focused on the fixed wireless access (FWA) use-case, which is five more than three months ago.
Embedded below is the video and presentation of the FWA tutorial.
If you found this useful, you would be interested in other tutorials on the 3G4G website here.
Network slicing is a specific form of virtualization that allows multiple logical networks to run on top of a shared physical network infrastructure. The key benefit of the network slicing concept is that it provides an end-to-end virtual network encompassing not just networking but compute and storage functions too. The objective is to allow a physical mobile network operator to partition its network resources to allow for very different users, so-called tenants, to multiplex over a single physical infrastructure. The most commonly cited example in 5G discussions is sharing of a given physical network to simultaneously run Internet of Things (IoT), Mobile Broadband (MBB), and very low-latency (e.g. vehicular communications) applications. These applications obviously have very different transmission characteristics. For example, IoT will typically have a very large number of devices, but each device may have very low throughput. MBB has nearly the opposite properties since it will have a much smaller number of devices, but each one will be transmitting or receiving very high bandwidth content. The intent of network slicing is to be able to partition the physical network at an end-to-end level to allow optimum grouping of traffic, isolation from other tenants, and configuring of resources at a macro level.
The key differentiator of the network slicing approach is that it provides a holistic end-to-end virtual network for a given tenant. No existing QoS-based solution can offer anything like this. For example, DiffServ, which is the most widely deployed QoS solution, can discriminate VoIP traffic from other types of traffic such as HD video and web browsing. However, DiffServ cannot discriminate and differentially treat the same type of traffic (e.g. VoIP traffic) coming from different tenants.
Also, DiffServ does not have the ability to perform traffic isolation at all. For example, IoT traffic from a health monitoring network (e.g. connecting hospitals and outpatients) typically have strict privacy and security requirements including where the data can be stored and who can access it. This cannot be accomplished by DiffServ as it does not have any features dealing with the compute and storage aspects of the network. All these identified shortfalls of DiffServ will be handled by the features being developed for network slicing.
I came across this presentation by Peter Ashwood-Smith from Huawei Technologies who presented '5G End to-end network slicing Demo' at ITU-T Focus Group IMT-2020 Workshop and Demo Day on 7 December 2016. Its a great presentation, I wish a video of this was available as well. Anyway, the presentation is embedded below and the PPT can be downloaded from here.
The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has established a new Industry Specification Group (ISG) on Zero touch network and Service Management (ZSM) that is working to produce a set of technical specifications on fully automated network and service management with, ideally, zero human intervention. ZSM is targeted for 5G, particularly in network slice deployment. NTT Technical review article on this is available here.
Finally, here is a presentation by Sridhar Bhaskaran of Cellular Insights blog on this topic. Unfortunately, not available for download.
I heard David Barker, CTO of Quintel at Cambridge Wireless event titled "Radio technology for 5G – making it work" talking about the antennas consideration for 5G. There are quite a few important areas in this presentation for consideration. The presentation is embedded below:
A recent Cambridge Wireless event 'Radio technology for 5G – making it work' was an excellent event where all speakers delivered an interesting and insightful presentation. These presentations are all available to view and download for everyone for a limited time here.
I blogged about the base station antennas last week but there are other couple of presentations that stood out for me.
The first was an excellent presentation from Sylvia Lu from u-Blox, also my fellow CW Board Member. Her talk covered variety of topics including IoT, IIoT, LTE-V2X and Cellular positioning, including 5G NR Positioning Trend. The presentation is embedded below and available to download from Slideshare
The other presentation on 5G NR was one from Yinan Qi of Samsung R&D. His presentation looked at variety of topics, mainly Layer 1 including Massive MIMO, Beamforming, Beam Management, Bandwidth Part, Reference Signals, Phase noise, etc. His presentation is embedded below and can be downloaded from SlideShare.
Where is the market?
The challenges involved (Asset tracking as an example case study)
LPWAN trackers: a game changer
Next generation LPWAN trackers
The Road Ahead:
Webinar: MULTI-TECHNOLOGY IOT GEOLOCATION
The future of IoT geolocation is multi-technology
I was part of Cambridge Wireless CWTEC 2018 organising committee where our event 'The inevitable automation of Next Generation Networks' covered variety of topics with AI, 5G, devices, network planning, etc. The presentations are available freely for a limited period here.
One of the thought provoking presentations was by Yue Wang from Samsung R&D. The presentation is embedded below and can be downloaded from Slideshare.End-to-end #AI in telecoms will involve a mix of capabilities on devices, local RAN, core & NFV - @Samsung at #CWTEC— Dean Bubley (@disruptivedean) September 27, 2018
On-device AI can do all sorts of cool stuff eg on power-mgmt pic.twitter.com/SV26fLNnG3
This presentation also brought out some interesting thoughts and discussions:
I guess all these enhancements will start slowly and there will be lots of learning in the first few years before we have a stable, mutually beneficial solution.
Wi-Fi Alliance has announced that the next generation WiFi technology, 802.11ax, will be known as Wi-Fi 6. This is to probably make it simpler, similar to mobile technology generations. Everyone knows 3G and 4G but how many people know UMTS or LTE. Similarly they are hoping that people will be aware of Wi-Fi 4, 5 & 6. They haven't bothered to name anything below Wi-Fi 4.
Looking at this picture from R&S above, you can see that according to Wi-Fi Alliance naming convention:
Wi-Fi 1: 802.11a (1999)
Wi-Fi 2: 802.11b (1999)
Wi-Fi 3: 802.11g (2003)
Wi-Fi 4: 802.11n (2009)
Wi-Fi 5: 802.11ac (2014)
Wi-Fi 6: 802.11ax (2019)
Anyway, I am not going in any technical details in this post but look for the really good links on this topic below.
To learn more about the naming of next-gen Wi-Fi, check this link.
I recently heard Iris Barcia, COO of Keima speak after nearly 6 years at Cambridge Wireless CWTEC 2018. The last time I heard her, it was part of CW Small Cells SIG, where I used to be a SIG (special interest group) champion. Over the last 6 years, the network planning needs have changed from planning for coverage to planning for capacity from the beginning. This particular point started a little debate that I will cover in another post, but you can sneak a peek here 😉.
Embedded below is the video and presentation. The slides can be downloaded from SlideShare.
ICYMI, we created an updated video on 5G Network Architecture options. The videos and slides are embedded below.
This updated presentation/video looks at 5G Network Architecture options that have been proposed by 3GPP for deployment of 5G. It covers the Standalone (SA) and Non-Standalone (NSA) architecture. In the NSA architecture, EN-DC (E-UTRA-NR Dual Connectivity), NGEN-DC (NG-RAN E-UTRA-NR Dual Connectivity) and NE-DC (NR-E-UTRA Dual Connectivity) has been looked at. Finally, migration strategies proposed by vendors and operators (MNOs / SPs) have been discussed.
Nokia has also released a whitepaper on this topic that I only became aware of after my slides / video were done. More details in the tweet below.
Nokia has released a whitepaper on 5G Network Deployment Options, 'Understanding the strange language of NSA vs SA and options 3, 2, 7 and 4'. Available here: https://t.co/FJEIbEuAFO - ICYMI, we also made a new tutorial on this topic: https://t.co/5QOll1Sui7pic.twitter.com/tHjbuEfW3l— 3G4G (@3g4gUK) October 5, 2018
Today I read about HTC's Exodus 1, new Blockchain smartphone that only people with crypto-currency can buy. SCMP described in very simple terms what this phone is for:
Both HTC’s Exodus and Sirin’s Finney smartphones feature a built-in digital wallet application that will enable users to securely store and use cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin and ethereum, in daily transactions.
Those smartphones are designed to replace the special memory sticks, which employ complex usernames and passwords to access, that cryptocurrency investors use to store their digital money. These investors typically store most of their cryptocurrencies in such hardware, which are kept offline as a means of security.
“There are things that a phone manufacturer can do with a chip that nobody else can,” said Chen. “We want to be safer than the existing hardware wallets … HTC has a track record of making trusted hardware.”
The company’s Exodus smartphone, for example, can serve as a “node”, which can connect to certain blockchain networks to enable trading of tokens between users. It will also be able to act as a so-called mining rig for users to earn new tokens tied to the Exodus blockchain.
“At some point, we’ll do our own utility token,” said Chen, adding that there was no timetable for such a token release.
HTC’s foray into blockchain, the distributed ledger technology behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, represents a strategy to keep the company relevant in smartphones, which is a market dominated by Samsung Electronics and Apple, followed by Huawei Technologies, Xiaomi and other major Chinese brands.
Anyway, the blockchain smartphone reminds me of the joke above (via marketoonist). The second technology mentioned in this joke is AI or Artificial Intelligence.
I heard HP Enterprise talk about AI recently and this picture above is a nice simple way to show how Deep Learning (DL), Artificial Neural Networks (ANN), Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are related.
I see AI and blockchain often referred to together. This does not necessarily mean that they are related. iDate allowed me to share a recent presentation (embedded below) that refers to AI & blockchain as Yin and Yang. Anyway, I am happy to learn more so if you have any thoughts please feel free to share.
One of the presentations on 'Physical layer structure, numerology and frame structure, NR spectrum utilization mechanism 3GPP 5G NR submission towards IMT-2020' by Havish Koorapaty, Ericsson is a good introductory material on 5G New Radio (NR) Physical Layer. It is embedded below (thanks to Eiko Seidel for sharing) and the PDF can be downloaded from slideshare or 3G4G website here.
Back in summer I wrote about how Telefonica and Parallel Wireless(*) are on a mission to connect 100 Million Unconnected and then followed it by a blog post with information from Patrick Lopez, VP Networks Innovation @ Telefonica about how Telefonica is using Big Data, Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Connect the Unconnected.
In the Facebook TIP Summit last month, Roger Greene, Rural Access Lead, Connectivity Ecosystem Programs, Facebook talked to Juan Campillo, Internet Para Todos Lead, Telefónica & Omar Tupayachi, Founder & CEO, Mayutel about how they are connecting the unconnected. The discussion embedded below, starts with a very nice video about how connectivity is making a difference in Peru. In fact that video inspired me to do this post 😊.
Mayutel was described as Peru's first rural operator. It was founded in 2015 and works in over 150 areas. It has 25 employees.
During the discussion some interesting points were discussed like planning, the reason its important is that if you dont do proper planning and analytics, you can use small cells instead of macros and vice versa. Also, some solutions are worth trying in the field as its only when deployed, it can be tested in real-world scenarios.
Connectivity is very important for the rural people in Peru, like every other country. Approximately 4 million Peruvians have only got access to 2G technology. It would help if they have access to have 3G & 4G too. It not only helps connect the people on the move to their loved ones back home, it also helps small businesses who reply on messaging group communications to solve their issues and ask for help & advice.
There were some good lessons and learning but in the end for this to scale more operators need to become part of the Telecom Infra Project and make this successfully happen.
Here is another video from Parallel Wireless on their deployments in Peru.
All videos from TIP Summit 2018 are available here.
*Full Disclosure: I work for Parallel Wireless as a Senior Director in Strategic Marketing. This blog is maintained in my personal capacity and expresses my own views, not the views of my employer or anyone else. Anyone who knows me well would know this.
3GPP held a workshop on 5G NR submission towards IMT-2020 last week. You can access all the agenda, documents, etc. on the 3GPP website here. You can also get a combined version of all presentations from the 3G4G website here. I also wrote a slightly detailed article on this workshop on 3G4G website here.
The following is nice overview of the 5G Radio Interface protocol as defined by 3GPP in NR Rel.15 by Sudeep Palat, Intel. The document was submitted to the 3GPP workshop on ITU submission in Brussels on Oct 24, 2018.
The presentation discusses NR radio interface architecture and protocols for control and user plane; covering RRC, SDAP, PDCP, RLC and MAC, focussing on differences and performance benefits compared to LTE. RRC states and state transitions with reduced transition delays are also discussed.
Here is a video we did a few weeks back to clear the misconceptions about 5G. The list above summarizes the topics covered.
The video is nearly 29 minutes long. If you prefer a shorter version or are bored of hearing me 😜 then a summary version (just over 3 minutes) is in 3G4G tweet below.
Based on the comments received, here is our shorter version of "5G: Top 10 Misconceptions" video #UK5G#HWMBBFhttps://t.co/7lxE3ekDPM— 3G4G (@3g4gUK) November 21, 2018
The slides can be downloaded from our Slideshare channel as always.
As always, we love your feedback, even when you strongly disagree.
Other interesting recent posts on 5G:
Similar information was provided by Navindran Naidoo, Executive, Network Planning & Design, MTN Group in TIP Summit 2017 and Babak Fouladi, Technology and Information System (Group CTIO) , MTN Group in TIP Summit 2018. In fact Babak had a slide that showed 3G devices would make up 61% of total devices in 2025 in Africa. Rob Shuter, Group President and CEO, MTN Group said at AfricaCom 2018 that Africa lags 7 years behind the Western countries in mobile technologies. Though this may not be universally true, its nevertheless a fact in many areas of the Continent as can be seen from the stats.
In my blog post "2G / 3G Switch Off: A Tale of Two Worlds", I said operators in many developing countries that maybe forced to switch off a technology would rather switch 3G off as they have a big base of 2G users and 3G devices can always fall back on 2G.
So what are the main reasons so many users are still on 2G devices or feature phones? Here are some that I can think off the top of my head:
While all feature phones that were available until couple of years ago were 2G phones, things have been changing recently. In an earlier tweet I mentioned that Reliance Jio has become a world leader in feature phones:
In just 10 months, Reliance Jio’s become the world leader in feature phones https://t.co/bNP0X5qiO2 via @qzindia#4G#FeaturePhonespic.twitter.com/SBkmWo4m0X— Zahid Ghadialy (@zahidtg) May 31, 2018
I also wrote about Jio phone 2 launch, which is still selling very well. So what is common between Jio phones and Nokia 8110 4G, a.k.a. Banana phone
KaiOS originates from the Firefox OS open-source project which started in 2011 and has continued independently from Mozilla since 2016. Today, KaiOS is a web-based operating system that enables a new category of lite phones and other IoT devices that require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience through leading apps and services. KaiOS is a US-based company with additional offices in France, Germany, Taiwan, India, Brazil, Hong Kong, and mainland China. You can find a list of KaiOS powered devices here. In fact you can see the specifications of all the initial devices using KaiOS here.
Here is a video that explains why we need KaiOS:
There are couple of really good blog posts by Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS:
There is so much information in both these articles that I will have to copy and paste the entire articles to do them justice. Instead, I want to embed the presentation that Sebastien delivered at AfricaCom below:
I like the term 'smart feature phone' to distinguish between the smartphones and old dumb feature phones.
Finally, it should be mentioned that some phone manufacturers are using older version of Android to create a feature phone. One such phone is "Reinvent iMi" that is being billed as 'Slimmest Smart 3G Feature Phone' in India. It uses Android 4.1. See details here. Would love to find out more about its battery life in practice.The slimmest #3G feature phone has been launched in India (via @DeccanChronicle)https://t.co/524yEKXaUw— Parallel Wireless (@Parallel_tw) November 29, 2018
My only small concern is about security of old Android OS. As Android is extensively used, new vulnerabilities keep getting discovered all the time. Google patches them in newer versions of the software or sometimes releases a separate patch. All updates to the Android OS stops after 3 years. This means that older versions of Android can be hacked quite easily. See here for example.
Anyway, feature phones or 'smart feature phones' are here to stay. Better on 4G than on 2G.