From the monthly archives: "April 2012"

I noticed that several Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are announcing their new 1GBps WiFi products. See, while WiFi 802.11n and LTE are both at their 4G commercially, the IEEE standards development for the next G for WiFi has been underway for some time. These new product announcements are based on a 5G WiFi, IEEE 802.11ac. Funny thing is many of the new features are in Release 9 or 10 of the current 3GPP LTE standards so I think it’s safe to assume there is some cross pollinating of the standards from this point forward. Wiki had a good summary for the 5G WiFi features:

New technologies

  • Wider channel bandwidths
    • 80 MHz and 160 MHz channel bandwidths (vs. 40 MHz maximum in 802.11n)
      • 80 MHz mandatory for stations (STAs), 160 MHz optional
  • More MIMO spatial streams
    • Support for up to 8 spatial streams (vs. 4 in 802.11n)
  • Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO)
    • Multiple STAs, each with one or more antennas, transmit or receive independent data streams simultaneously
      • “Space Division Multiple Access” (SDMA): streams not separated by frequency, but instead resolved spatially, analogous to 11n-style MIMO
    • Downlink MU-MIMO (one transmitting device, multiple receiving devices) included as an optional mode
  • Modulation
    • 256-QAM, rate 3/4 and 5/6, added as optional modes (vs. 64-QAM, rate 5/6 maximum in 802.11n)
  • Other elements/features
    • Single sounding and feedback format for beamforming (vs. multiple in 802.11n)
    • MAC modifications (mostly to support above changes)
    • Coexistence mechanisms for 20/40/80/160 MHz channels, 11ac and 11a/n devices
Sound familiar? MU-MIMO and 8 stream support should for sure. See the table below for 802.11ac PHY rate scenarios.
Scenario Typical Client
Form Factor
PHY Link Rate Aggregate
Capacity
1-antenna AP, 1-antenna STA, 80MHz Handheld 433 Mbit/s 433 Mbit/s
2-antenna AP, 2-antenna STA, 80MHz Tablet, Laptop 867 Mbit/s 867 Mbit/s
1-antenna AP, 1-antenna STA, 160MHz Handheld 867 Mbit/s 867 Mbit/s
2-antenna AP, 2-antenna STA, 160MHz Tablet, Laptop 1.73 Gbit/s 1.73 Gbit/s
4-antenna AP, 4 1-antenna STAs, 160MHz
(MU-MIMO)
Handheld 867 Mbit/s to each STA 3.47 Gbit/s
8-antenna AP, 160MHz (MU-MIMO)
— 1 4-antenna STA
— 1 2-antenna STA
— 2 1-antenna STAs
Digital TV, Set-top Box,
Tablet, Laptop, PC, Handheld
3.47 Gbit/s to 4-antenna STA
1.73 Gbit/s to 2-antenna STA
867 Mbit/s to each 1-antenna STA
6.93 Gbit/s
8-antenna AP, 4 2-antenna STAs, 160MHz
(MU-MIMO)
Digital TV, Tablet, Laptop, PC 1.73 Gbit/s to each STA 6.93 Gbit/s
Probably the thing 3GPP will use next is the new 256-QAM modulation in 802.11ac. This would be very useful for small cells, heck just make the standards the same and be done with it. :)
Pretty interesting Netgear page is here.

NETGEAR INTRODUCES INDUSTRY’S FIRST 802.11AC WIFI ROUTER

NETGEAR Announces the R6300 Dual Band Gigabit WiFi Router based on Broadcom’s 802.11ac router platform delivering Internet Speeds Up To Three Times Faster than 802.11n

 

SAN JOSE, Calif. — April 26, 2012 — NETGEAR®, Inc. (NASDAQGM: NTGR), a global networking company that delivers innovative products to consumers, businesses and service providers, today announced the availability of the NETGEAR R6300 WiFi Router; the first 802.11ac dual band gigabit WiFi router enabling 5th generation WiFi (5G WiFi) at gigabit speeds. The router is also backwards compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n which provides optimum interoperability with legacy WiFi devices.

The NETGEAR R6300 WiFi Router, powered by Broadcom’s 5G WiFi IEEE 802.11ac chips, is up to three times faster than today’s 802.11n routers. With an elegant new design that fits perfectly in consumers’ living spaces, the router increases the coverage area for HD streaming in the home. The NETGEAR R6300 WiFi Router has speeds of up to 1300 Mbps on 5GHz and 450 Mbps on 2.4GHz enabling consumers to download web content from any device in the home in a fraction of the time it would take on a similar 802.11n device.

The upcoming 802.11ac wireless standard is the world’s fastest WiFi, providing gigabit WiFi speeds allowing for web content to download faster, and large video or music files to synch more quickly. The increased speed of 802.11ac technology is ideal for mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, by providing three times the performance for a similar amount of battery consumption of devices utilizing the current 802.11n WiFi standard.

  • Other advanced features of the NETGEAR R6300 WiFi Router include:
  • NETGEAR Genie®: This free app for PCs, Macs, iOS and Android smartphones and tablets enables home users to control, monitor, repair, and manage their home networks easily through a simple, elegant dashboard. NETGEAR customers can download the utility at http://www.netgear.com/genie or from the Google Play or App Store.
  • NETGEAR MyMediaTM: The NETGEAR Genie mobile app feature provides the ability to find photos, video or music files anywhere on the network and play them on a DLNA media player.
  • AirPrint TM Support: The NETGEAR Genie app enables users to print on any USB or networked printer directly from an iPad or iPhone.
  • Guest network access: The NETGEAR Genie app makes setting up a guest network simple. Guests and visitors can go online through the router without the need for secure login information. The guest network also prevents users from seeing and accessing a household’s computers, printers, storage devices and other home network devices.
  • ReadySHARE® Printer: Makes it easy to turn any existing USB printer into a fully functional networked printer that is fully compatible with Macs and PCs.
  • Media Server-DLNA: The R6300 Router is DLNA ready and can stream to any DLNA compatible device in your house, including the latest Smart TVs, Blu-ray players, media players, game consoles, handheld devices, tablets and more.
  • NETGEAR Live Parental Controls: Centralized, flexible, and reliable parental control solution for all the devices on the network, including Macs, Windows PCs, smartphones and tablets, for a safe online environment for children and teenagers. No subscription is required.
  • Automatic WiFi Security: Comes with wireless security turned on out-of-the-box, complete with a pre-configured network name and password, protecting home WiFi networks by default.
  • Easy Installation: No CD required so users can set it up with smartphones, tablets, ultrabooks, and even MacBook Air.
  • 2 USB ports: To simultaneously support USB storage and USB printer on the router.

“802.11ac is the next-generation of WiFi connectivity and is set to revolutionize the way we consume content wirelessly by delivering Internet speeds up to three times faster than consumers are used to experiencing,” said David Henry, vice president of product management, retail products at NETGEAR. “NETGEAR’s leadership in the industry, and collaboration with Broadcom to introduce the first 802.11ac router, will future proof your network by ensuring your home is capable of supporting new faster 802.11ac devices as they begin to roll out this year.”

Pricing and Availability
The NETGEAR R6300 WiFi Router will be available in May starting at $199.99.

More Information
Learn more about the NETGEAR R6300 WiFi Router at www.netgear.com/R6300 and more about 802.11ac/5G WiFi, the next generation in WiFi at www.netgear.com/80211ac and www.5GWiFi.org.

 I continue to  be toiling down here in the LTE kitchen and will be done soon. So CNET has a simple LTE info graphic that is more or less the flip side of the technology oriented info graphics from yesterday. Have fun.

Whew, been busy in the LTE kitchens so I’ve not had a lot of time to reflect. I should be done with my busiest part of my project by the end of the week, till then check these out. I always have my eyes open for a good info graphic. Here are two that I’m not saying are great, just interesting. See what you think…

Thing 1 courtesy of wirelessintelligence.com

Thing 2 …Courtesy of Syniverse….

I admit, I love the chutzpah of Verizon at times. They are offering, for the FCC’s benefit, to sell their Lower 700MHz A/B spectrum in exchange for having their purchase of AWS (2100MHz TX) spectrum from the cable companies (SpectrumCo) approved. They own 24 A block and 54 B block licenses that they purchased at auction for around $4B.These are 6MHz TX and RX (FDD) pairs so with one you could deploy up to 5MHz and with 2 up to 10MHz LTE channels.

and  The flip side of this is they are selling their 12MHz presumably in the $4B range in exchange for 20MHz at $3.6B and simultaneously acknowledging that they have no intention to support their competitors struggles with getting devices for lower 700MHz. Don’t forget about the challenges such as Channel 51 interference for Channel A and some to Channel B spectrum holders that the FCC has not really helped resolve that’s why devices have been nearly nonexistent so far.

If I were ATT I would lobby the FCC to be able to purchase it at the auction prices paid by VZW. By doing so ATT could match it up with their C block holdings and potentially have more lower 700MHz spectrum for current Release 8/9 LTE than VZW, as they are owners of C block, 15MHz channel worthy 700MHz is nothing to sneeze at. 

ATT has also purchased the unpaired lower 700MHz spectrum from Qualcomm so there is a potential of around 20MHz for lower 700MHz for LTE Advanced (Release 10) if they can purchase the spectrum. Funny to me how ATT just gave away their AWS spectrum as a penalty for the failed TMobile USA bid. 

Another thing that strikes me as odd is the fact it will take in the neighborhood of 4X more cell sites for VZW to have equivalent coverage density between 2100MHz and 700MHz. They will be hard pressed to consider AWS outside of urban and hotspot in the suburban areas due to the discrepancy, on the other hand they already have Upper 700MHz C block so this could be a good fit for their LTE – Advanced plans in the long term and mid term a supplement for overloaded urban sites like airports. 

Super regionals like MetroPCS, USCellular and CSpire should be very interested in VZW’s spectrum too. They could get lucky if the FCC doesn’t take back the 700MHz spectrum and forces ATT to deal with VZW, which a deal would be doubtful. Then VZW will be sitting on all the spectrum they promised to sell with no real existing operators willing to pay what they paid…ok except for 1 guy, Philip Falcone at LightSquared/Harbinger Capital

…but other than that, the spectrum could get discounted and that would be good for the super regionals.

Stay thirsty my friends….

Full PR below:

Verizon Wireless to Conduct Spectrum License Sale

BASKING RIDGE, N.J., April 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Verizon Wireless today announced plans to conduct an open sale process for all of its 700 MHz A and B spectrum licenses in order to rationalize its spectrum holdings.  The licenses cover dozens of major cities across the country, as well as a number of smaller and rural markets.

Verizon Wireless obtained the 700 MHz A and B licenses, as well as nationwide 700 MHz upper C licenses (with the exception of Alaska which has since been acquired), in FCC Auction 73 in 2008.  Verizon Wireless is deploying its 4G LTE network, which currently covers more than 200 million people, on its nationwide 700 MHz upper C spectrum.  If Verizon Wireless is successful in acquiring additional AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) spectrum licenses, it will use AWS spectrum in conjunction with its 700 MHz upper C band spectrum to deploy additional LTE capacity.

Accordingly, the sale of the A and B licenses is contingent on the close of Verizon Wireless’ pending purchases of AWS licenses from SpectrumCo (an entity jointly owned by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks), Cox and Leap Wireless. These transactions are at varying stages of review by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) and are expected to close by mid-summer.

The company is announcing the sale plans now and will begin the process of soliciting interest from potential buyers to ensure the process can move forward quickly once the AWS license transfers have been completed.

“Since wireless operators, large and small, have expressed concern about the availability of high-quality spectrum, we believe our 700 MHz licenses will be attractive to a wide range of buyers,” said Molly Feldman, vice president of Business Development for Verizon Wireless.  “Moreover, provided our acquisition of AWS spectrum is approved, our open sale process will ensure these A and B spectrum licenses are quickly and fairly made available for the benefit of other carriers and their customers.”

Stephens Inc., a nationally recognized, independent financial services firm based in Little Rock, Arkansas, has been engaged to manage the offering process.  Interested parties may contact Stephens Inc. at [email protected] or 501-377-8134. Stephens Inc. will later release information about efforts to reach out to potential bidders, including minority-owned and female-owned businesses, to participate in the process.  All sales will be subject to applicable regulatory approvals.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s largest 4G LTE network and largest, most reliable 3G network. The company serves nearly 108 million total wireless connections, including 92.2 million retail customers.  Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with nearly 82,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD).  For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.

 

 

 

 

SOURCE Verizon Wireless

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RELATED LINKS
http://www.verizonwireless.com

 

 I woke up this morning to catch a flight, and it hit me, whoa, I’m getting old. I mean this is the future I dreamt about as a boy. Let’s run down some of today’s topics to prove a point. 

 WASHINGTON — The space shuttle Discovery, NASA’s fleet leader and the world’s most flown spacecraft, lifted off for the last time on Tuesday to be delivered to the Smithsonian for itspermanent display.

Seriously, I remember the first launch very clearly, I went late to school that morning to watch it. It was an amazing technology and beyond the 2 tragic accidents, the program was very successful. The robot Canadarm, first woman in space, first African-American in space, first untethered spacewalk,solar satellite repair, putting the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit, first 3 person spacewalk, fixing and refurbing the Hubble Telescope in space, supporting the International Space Station etc… what a ride….I can’t believe it’s over! We have something better??  Yeah, commercial spacecraft.

 

Thirty-five years ago, on April 16 and 17, 1977, more than twelve thousand proto-geeks flooded into San Francisco’s Civic Auditorium. The West Coast Computer Faire, brimmed with excitement over a new, futuristic gizmo known as the “personal computer.” The Apple II.

Read more: http://techland.time.com/2012/04/16/apple-ii-forever-a-35th-anniversary-tribute-to-apples-first-iconic-product/#ixzz1sJBwqEAh

The Apple II was launched 35 years ago!!! I had one! OMG I am old! Now this is the status quo…

Lastly, there was a concert the other day…Per the WSJ: 

The biggest buzz at Sunday’s Coachella music festival in California wasn’t for a hot new DJ or indie-rock band. It was for Tupac Shakur, the rapper who died more than 15 years ago and “performed” Sunday night alongside Snoop Dogg and producer Dr. Dre.

Internet video of the Sunday evening show became an instant sensation on Monday morning. That response is helping push the possibility of a virtual Tupac tour in coming months.

The rapper’s ghostly image was created by Digital Domain Media Group Inc.,DDMG +13.98% the visual-effects house responsible for making the virtual versions of Brad Pitt that populated 2008’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” The movie won the Oscar for visual effects.

 Let’s say it again, there was a concert by a dead rapper named Tupac, using a hologram instead of video screens…3D….hologram….lasers….Wha? What the heck? This is what I think of when I think of hologram…remember Star Wars???

 Seriously? Tupac’s hologram concert? 

I guess Verizon’s LTE mobile server is not a big deal in perspective…

Updated by my LTE iPad… whoa.

 

 Don’t believe the marketing!! Some large OEM’s don’t have basic SON and LTE features! It’s crazy how they are moving forward, in many cases growing marketshare and not covering the basics. The reason the OEMs with smaller shares are marketing features is suddenly in focus for me. There are networks being deployed really without true SON support. There is another level of network maturity to get through to see meaningful market performance. In the US, RootMetrics reports are showing ~13Mbps on the best carriers for D/L. My prediction is that 2 years from now, average speeds will be in the mid 20’sMbps although the channel loading will be much greater. The primary reason will be better SON utilization (more fully optimized minute by minute) and secondarily better schedulers etc… this is before more spectrum or Release 10 enters the picture. OK, I’ll stop ranting…

The irony is the smaller vendors (based on LTE marketshare) have these features and more now, while the larger ones already are 6-24 months away!!! It’s amazing!!

Updated: I had some lunch and time to reflect. It’s not purely the OEMs fault. There are major operators here in the US that are not deploying RET on their sites! There are operators that are willing to gobble up spectrum and throw it on the pile instead of optimizing and operating the LTE networks lean and mean. One of them has had the presence of mind to deploy TD-LTE which is more efficient than FDD for low/sporadic use but that’s it so far. These guys aren’t demanding more from their OEMs. After trailing, most are comfortable placing orders with their existing 3G vendors instead of shaking it up a bit.

Ideally, the major OEMs should change their approach, instead of trying to be everything by making everything, try new business models. How about offering the normally encompassing services portfolio supplemented with multiple radio OEM products so they can offer best of breed, more like a Master Services Integrator (MSI). I would definitely like to see that diversity.

Grrr!!

SON

 RootMetrics has been publishing network performance results. The latest one shows the discrepancies in LTE/WiMax/EVDO in the Las Vegas Market. It’s an interesting read but take this all with a large grain of salt as I have noticed that there are lots of reasons for the performance skews for ATT, MetroPCS, Sprint and VZW. Not saying their data is invalid but I do know of lots of issues behind their numbers that I’m probably not at liberty to discuss so draw your own conclusions… Full Las Vegas Report is here…

 All of their reports are here.

From the Las Vega$ report:

We’re back for more!

This report marks our second visit to the Las Vegas market, having also tested the area in November of 2011. We found some notable changes that might impact your mobile service decisions.

  • By far, the most significant change was AT&T’s LTE network upgrade and the dramatic impact it had on their data speeds: AT&T’s average download speed increased from 3.3 Mbps to 16.2 Mbps, while their average upload speed increased from 1.2 Mbps to 5.4 Mbps.
  • Though not nearly as dramatic as AT&T’s improvement, T-Mobile and Verizon each recorded faster average download speeds this visit compared to what we found in November.
  •  The speeds recorded by Cricket and Sprint showed small variation from what we found during our previous visit. MetroPCS was slower this time than what we found during our previous visit.

    Data performance

    RootScore Award winner: AT&T and Verizon

 

 I think Symena most often partnered with Mentum’s Planet and Forsk’s Atoll so I can see why Aircom would choose to make this buy. The tool that I am very fond of is Symena’s Capesso and I am worried that my planning tool vendor will find other priorities than resolving any issues or doing more integration with Capesso. So I can’t help feeling this is the end of the road since I don’t plan to use Aircom’s tools anytime soon. Oh well, great for LTE while it lasted..

For me, Capesso saved LOTS of time over manual planning and was superior to the Automated Cell Planning (ACP) tools embedded in the RF planning tools as it was more flexible and more intelligent in the configurations it came up with.

About Capesso from their site…

Capesso™ delivers results and performance.  Symena’s customers chose Capesso™ for the best results more quickly than any other planning method.

Capesso™ combines data about the radio network with planning objectives like coverage, capacity and quality to automatically find the best network design based on that information.  Capesso™ delivers better plans!

Capesso™ is complementary to your existing planning and propagation software.  It builds on your investment in that software by automating the multiple network processes.  Capesso™ is tightly integrated with all leading commercial radio network planning tools including Forsk’s ATOLLMentum Planet and CellPlanner.

Capesso™ delivers great value across the full spectrum of cellular radio standards and their high performance extensions including LTE, WCDMA, CDMA, GSM and WiMAX.

Full PR

AIRCOM International to acquire Symena to further enhance its LTE radio network capabilities

Thursday, 2012-04-12

 

Leatherhead UK, Vienna Austria, 12 April 2012 – AIRCOM International, the leading independent network planning and optimisation solutions provider, today announces that it is to acquire Symena, the world leader in optimisation and Automatic Cell Planning (ACP) tools.  The deal will further strengthen AIRCOM’s LTE radio capability by integrating Symena’s high performance, best-in-class multi-technology ACP solutions with its market leading planning and OSS tools, enhancing its existing SON capabilities.

Symena develops market-leading software that automates cell planning, network deployment and ongoing operations.  Founded in 2002, Symena was the first company to offer a commercial ACP solution for LTE.  It has also been developing specific SON solutions since 2009 and has enjoyed significant market traction with leading international operators, network equipment providers, systems integrators and drive test tool vendors.

As a spin-off from Vienna University of Technology, Symena offers 2G and 3G network capabilities as well as in-depth technical expertise on optimisation algorithms.  AIRCOM will leverage this knowledge, expertise and technology and integrate it with its already comprehensive and market-proven network planning tools and consultancy.  The combination of innovative optimisation methodologies from Symena, with the vastly scalable OSS capabilities of AIRCOM, creates a unique SON offering for the market.

“Our decision to acquire Symena is a clear demonstration of our commitment to cost effectively deliver optimal service quality across multi-technology and multi-vendor networks,” says Alwyn Welch, CEO, AIRCOM.  “AIRCOM has always advocated and evangelised SON capabilities and the enhancements it will deliver, both to an operator’s customer base and ultimately its bottom line.  By capturing Symena’s proven technology and internationally recognised skillset, we can deliver even further value to our respective customers while offering a powerful business case to new operators and vendors.”

“We are tremendously excited by the wealth of new opportunities that closer collaboration with AIRCOM will deliver to new and existing customers,” says Thomas Neubauer, CEO, Symena.  “Both Symena and AIRCOM share the same vision for SON, and the instrumental role it will play in driving efficient and profitable networks through 2G, 3G and LTE technologies.  We look forward to leveraging AIRCOM’s open, standards-based framework I-VIEW, along with its global footprint to further enhance the value we deliver to new and existing customers.”

Thomas will join the AIRCOM Senior Executive Management Team, further strengthening the international breadth of the team.

 

ABOUT AIRCOM
AIRCOM is an independent provider of network management tools and services.  I-VIEW, our open, standards-based framework, allows mobile network operators to rapidly, efficiently and seamlessly plan, manage, configure and optimise their networks. AIRCOM’s I-VIEW products enable operators to regain visibility and control of their entire network, enabling radical shifts in business dynamics to become more efficient, more agile and more profitable.

The market leader in the provision and deployment of network engineering tools, AIRCOM products are in use across 135+ countries by over half the world’s mobile operators. Every day, the 20 top global operators depend upon AIRCOM’s tools and consultants to improve network coverage and quality for more than 1.1 billion subscribers worldwide. Established for 15 years, we have built our reputation on creating and releasing additional value from within cellular networks.

With offices in 14 countries, we provide local and regional viewpoints and resource, as well as ensuring that our operator customers benefit from our global knowledge. By looking ahead of the market and sharing intelligence, we develop the skills and tools that network operators need to remain competitive, whatever the economic climate.

With over four million hours working on 3G networks alone, our expertise translates into direct and measurable cost savings for mobile operators. From initial consultancy through project implementation, using our staff, training yours, or sourcing expertise for you to take in-house, we are dedicated to maximising the performance of your network, and therefore your business.

www.aircominternational.com

 

ABOUT SYMENA
Symena’s core competence is the development of algorithms to improve the operation of the air interface of cellular radio networks.  Where to put base stations, which equipment to use, and how to adjust radio and network parameters under a variety of traffic conditions and other scenarios are the key questions Symena answers.  Symena’s knowledge and experience are delivered through our high performance software.

Symena’s products are used around the world by leading operators, equipment manufacturers and service providers.  Its most significant customers include Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Telekom Austria, Bouygues Telecom and Vodafone.

Symena is a 2002 spin-off from the Mobile Communications Group of the Vienna University of Technology, Austria using work started in the mid-1990s.  The Mobile Communications Group is a world-renowned centre of excellence in the study of mobile communications.

www.symena.com

Contact for Press

Liv Nixon/Paul Nolan
CCgroup
T: +44 (0) 118 920 7650
E: [email protected]
W: www.ccgrouppr.com

 

HD Voice is starting to get some attention with the recent launches by Orange and Sprint. As the hypeometer’s needle climbs, there will be a lot of attention focused in this area. I just wanted to put a few facts out there to keep it all straight. These operators have actually different technologies behind their HD Voice launches that eventually merge at VoLTE. I saw some silliness about the HD Voice launches in AnandTech and other places so let’s get started…

Technologies

First a brief history of the universe, starting with current voice technologies used with 3G networks.

Narrowband voice coding has been used in digital cellular systems since the beginning. Today’s smartphones typically employ EVRC for CDMA2000/3GPP2 based networks with a fraction of those employing the more advanced EVRC-B algorithm and AMR for UMTS/3GPP networks. EVRC and AMR are CODECs to transform voice into digitized speech using low amounts of bandwidth/throughput with a primary technique being limiting the input frequency ranges.

This chart shows the tradeoffs involved…

The measurement of voice is based on sampling a population of listeners that rate the quality of the spoken sentences after coding and decoding by an algorithm. Listeners are asked to (subjectively) rate the recordings they heard vs a reference standard. The reference standards are like (A) direct recording of voices or (B) Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) at 64Kbps known in standards as G.711. Here is an example of the rating questions:

This is an experiment to determine the perceived quality of speech over the telephone. You will be listening to a number of recorded speech samples, spoken by several different talkers, and you will be rating how good you think they sound.
Use the single headphone on the ear you normally use for the telephone. On each trial a two- sentence sample will be played. After you have listened to the sample, determine the category from the list below which best describes the overall quality of the sample. Press the numeric key on your keyboard corresponding to your rating for how good or bad that particular passage sounded.
Select the category which best describes the sample you just heard for purposes of everyday speech communication.
The OVERALL SPEECH SAMPLE was:
5 – EXCELLENT
4 – GOOD
3 - FAIR
2 – POOR
1 – BAD

EVRC compresses each 20 milliseconds of (300-3200 Hz), 16-bit sampled speech input into output frames of one of three different sizes: full rate of 171 bits (8.55 kbit/s), half rate of 80 bits (4.0 kbit/s), eighth rate of 16 bits (0.8 kbit/s). EVRC has a peak bitrate of 8.5Kbps, a minimum of 0.8Kbps and ‘conversational’ planning rate of 6Kbps. 

3GPP2 EVRC Standards:  3GPP2 C.S0014-D

The AMR (Adaptive Multi-Rate) codec encodes narrowband (200-3400 Hz) signals for each 20 milliseconds of 8000 Hz at variable bit rates ranging from 4.75 to 12.2 kbps with toll quality speech starting at 7.4 kbps. AMR has a peak bitrate of 12.2Kbps, minimum of 4.75Kbps, ‘typical’ conversational rate of 4Kbps.

3GPP AMR Standard: TS 26.071

The goal of these narrowband VOCODERs is to reduce bandwidth during a conversation while delivering acceptable call quality. You will achieve near ideal speech quality but not full lifelike sound in perfect network conditions.

If you are reading this then likely you have first hand experience with the voice coders used in 3G networks. Moving forward …

Qualcomm (the main commercial influence for EVRC) has developed a more advanced (newer) line of CODECs they call 4GV which include EVRC-B and EVRC-WB (wide band.) Alternatively, there is a small consortium of companies that drive patents for AMR including Voice Age, Nokia, Ericsson, and France Telecom, and they have evolved their narrowband AMR with AMR-WB (you guessed it, wide band.) Lastly, there is SiLK, propelled by Skype. 

 

 

 

 

EVRC-WB is based on a split band coding paradigm in which two different coding models are used for the signal by independently sampling the low frequency (LF) (0-4 KHz) and the high frequency (HF) (3.5-7 KHz) bands.

MOS: 3.24( Street Noise, 15 dB SNR  )

EVRC-WB white paper by Qualcomm      EVRC-WB test results from 3Gpp2 testing

3GPP2 EVRC-WB Standard C.S0014-D_v1.0_EVRC

AMR-WB provides improved speech quality due to a wider speech bandwidth of 50–7000 Hz.

  • Configuration A (Config-WB-Code 0): 6.6, 8.85, and 12.65 kbit/s (Mandatory multi-rate configuration)
  • Configuration B (Config-WB-Code 2): 6.6, 8.85, 12.65, and 15.85 kbit/s
  • Configuration C (Config-WB-Code 4): 6.6, 8.85, 12.65, and 23.85 kbit/s
MOS: 3.14 ( Office Noise, 15 dB SNR  )
3GPP AMR-WB Standard TS 26.204
AMR-WB Whitepaper by VoiceAge

Comparison of AMR-WB and EVRC-WB…

SILK negotiates one of four modes during call setup: Narrowband (NB): 8 kHz sampling rate o Mediumband (MB): 8 or 12 kHz sampling rate. Wideband (WB): 8, 12 or 16 kHz sampling rate. Super Wideband (SWB): 8, 12, 16 or 24 kHz sampling rate. The purpose of these modes is to allow the decoder to limit the highest sampling rate used by the encoder.

MOS: 3.22 ( Office Noise, 15 dB SNR   )

Skype: Silk Data sheet and IETF Standard

Nokia paper comparing Silk and AMR-WB. (Note they are a patent holder for AMR-WB and the paper does slant that way.)

HD Voice is a broad term marketed by operators that seems to refer to the voice coding, more specifically the use of the wide band CODERs like AMR-WB and EVRC-WB. Therefore, under typical conditions, the additional bandwidth used will provide a more lifelike sound between the caller/called.

Operator Deployments

Orange in the U.K. began marketing HD Voice in September of 2010. They have a 3GPP based UMTS network thus they are using the AMR-WB vocoder. They have 7 handsets on their website as supporting the AMR-WB vocoder.

Sprint recently announced the launch of HD Voice with their launch of HTC EVO 4G LTE. Apparently they are using Transcoder Free Operation (TrFO) to support this feature. The basics of this are the 2 end points (Caller and Called) must have the EVRC-WB supported to be able to enjoy the additional sound quality. (It also means the network accepts Service Option 73 requests…)

VoLTE

3G phones have the VOCODERs built into the device and they only work with the connected 3G network infrastructure for voice calling. VoLTE uses an IP Multimedia System (IMS) architecture, that essentially is an application that runs over the LTE channel. The devices (UE) have an IMS client that uses Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) signaling to place calls. The IMS is functionally equivalent to their 3G counterparts but slightly more flexible as you can have various architectures such as distributed, localized, centralized etc… Some interesting flexibility exists in the IMS client, as it is possible for the IMS client to have variable VOCODERs and the IMS has a flexible architecture that will allow support for various VOCODERS. This probably means you can upgrade/downgrade to/from HD voice while mobile, and operators will likely support (free/incremental cost) wide band coding when on high rate connections such as WiFi, femotcells etc.. This makes life more interesting. 

On the flip side, the only official VOCODER supported with 3GPP for LTE networks right now is AMR. Some of you need to push SILK and EVRC-B into the 3GPP standards. Mobile calling could be so much more interesting than it is today.

OK, that was a huge wind up for a little paragraph. The point is HD Voice is available on a few operators over 3G today and likely available almost everywhere with VoLTE using mostly wide band VOCODERs that provide higher MOS scores but also use slightly more bandwidth than 3G voice calls. It will be interesting to see how OTT providers like Skype fit in as they can easily integrate into the IMS/3GPP/VoLTE architecture and may have more to offer in some cases.

 

 Did you see this? 

Despite expected long-term success, LTE-A will initially create more confusion in mobile broadband standards, says Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider 

 

What a bunch a hooey!!

 

Heavy Reading is using FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) to pump up their sales of that $1595 or $900 report. Some of the more interesting claims from the press release are:

 

  • The first LTE-A devices won’t debut until 2014, a couple of quarters after the first commercial networks.
  • HSPA+ has the speeds, coverage and features to compete with LTE-A for at least the first few years.

 

Huh? There’s not a commercial network if there is no commerce, and there is no commerce if customers are not buying devices that work with it. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, so maybe they are thinking that the upgrades to the network would be in place and the spectrum exclusive to LTE-A users but there is no need to approach it that way. It’s more likely the vendors would do all spectrum simultaneously as there will be no disruption to the existing users. Either way, there is no LTE – Advanced commercial network without devices, as the network will only be LTE-A capable until that point. It’s just a little but irksome detail, I know….
Secondly, HSPA+ has the coverage and features to compete with LTE-A if you consider a race between a Tesla Roadster and Toyota Prius …a race of ‘equals’ since they are both can use electric motors to move and are small cars. 

 

 

Note, what the chart doesn’t relate is the ~60% on street advantages LTE has over HSPA+ nor the likelihood an operator would deploy more than 5MHz of HSPA+ or even MIMO HSPA+ without LTE Release 8 or 9 now. 

 

Don’t believe the hype. There will be no confusion. As a consumer you will have a choice of something like a 500MBps mobile device or a 30MBps 

device and of course will know the difference at the cash register. The primary difference to the end user will be speed, make no mistake.

 

 

Have a good day.

 
 
 

Full Press Release from PRNewswire…
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