Posts by: "Bijan Nowroozi"

Samsungs-5G-technologyMore frequently, I see media comments about 5G or hear questions about 5G wireless technology. I mostly ignore it ,but as there’s steady increases in the amount of daily hype around it, I’m wondering why?

This year was a big year for 4G and many geographies are in some phase of either enjoying it, dealing with the choices of multiple carriers that provide it, or about to get it deployed.

4G LTE initial deployments have been initially, largely, 20MHz of spectrum per operator for a typical speed of 13-35MBps to end users. It is a bell curve, as there are 5Mhz geographies and multi-carrier deployments too but most users seem to be served in suburban and urban areas from 20MHz channels.

Following initial launch , some of the largest carriers have gotten busy deploying VoLTE (Voice over LTE), and some have been extending spectrum with additional bands to boost speeds/deal with capacity issues. Just recently, a major operator had an open discussion about reducing 3G spectrum and reforming to 4G, which is a major milestone in the adoption of 4G LTE.

On the other hand, some major consumer wrinkles still exist such as seamless global roaming, basic 4G LTE global/universal availability (especially indoors or rural environments), advanced feature roll outs such as multi-carrier, broadcast multicast, VoLTE everywhere and so on. The good news is there is some progress evolving…

Verizon Wireless and AT&T Move Toward Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Interoperability; Working With Other Providers to Expand Interoperability Across the Industry

So the 4G LTE networks are turning up and our carrier friends have even started adding multiple carriers/spectrums to extend the capacity.

Now begin 5G hype.5g-internet

SO, just looking through the internet you will get a sense that 5G is more 4G LTE. At this point that’s dead on, as there’s no standard written yet for 5G. Furthermore, there’s not really compelling business case to push it forward at the moment. But back to the technology for a moment. Each generation, or G, of wireless brought a fundamental improvement that was dramatically/disruptively different than before. 2G enhanced usability but more importantly dramatically improved capacity. 3G the same, plus integrated mobile wireless broadband. 4G’s story is around efficiency and capability. Cheaper to deliver to end user, faster for the end user etc… Currently 5G seems to be more of the 4G, like better SON, bigger channels. Many point to the speed milestone of achieving 1Gbps over the air, but at what efficiency? Haven’t really seen a disruptive or game changing technology that could be leveraged into a disruptive business plan yet, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. If all we are talking about is gigabit wireless, then there’s WiFi already and more levels of MiMO and more spectrum we can apply to 4G to brag that we got there without any G changes… If we are talking about 100Gbit for everyone, then on the other hand, some breakthroughs that I think are 5G are:

Full duplex communication (Using the same channel to talk bi-directionally simultaneously). Currently wireless is half duplex in channel, either employing a Time Division Duplex (TDD) approach to share the air or a separate path for a channel to and from the user.

Lighter, Cheaper Radio Wave Device Could Transform Telecommunications

UUUULLLLTTTTRRRRRAAA wideband. I mean, let’s go to 1GHz or greater channels. I think this could be the basis of a peer to peer wireless system that could undo and disrupt the carriers. Optical counts. I don’t want to buy a WiFi router from home because my Samsung OLEDs have transceivers.

Ultra Wide Band Radio

Merger of access and backhaul technology into a single standard- Whatever you use over the edge, should be so efficient, it wouldCWS-100 be stupid to use something different as backhaul etc…regardless of PHY layer access (fiber, microwave/RF etc..) This also begs for meshing and peer to peer which is on everyone’s mind already, but the technology itself needs to be absolutely extensible and scalable from end user through the internet.

Security- Meaningful security features. We don’t really have any.

Cognitive radio- meaning every device sort of negotiates with whatever else is out there and uses whatever is available for the best purpose. No more fixed channel/technology assignments. Who needs youtube when you can just massively directly distribute your bits directly from your security cam, refrigerator etc…? Anyway, who is going to be able to manage the Internet of Everything/IoT (although many want you to pay them to try.) The complexity of EVERYTHING communicating with everything else is beyond human ability to control in a 1:1 fashion. Like the universe. Dark matter filaments->Galaxies etc.. too big of a scale.

CogNet: Next-generation Cognitive radio Networks

5gwifi

WiFi->LTE/5G Merger – There’s really no need for WiFi and LTE. A single standard would be much more efficient for all with no difference between unlicensed and licensed networking technologies. Buy one for home or use the big one on the mountain for a fee. Same devices. Meter turns both ways. You are the carrier too.

 

 

 

This ATTVZW_throughputs_testis great stuff but there’s still reality to deal with. Today’s 4G LTE networks are by far not very mature.. The whole business case of 4G LTE is to reduce the cost per bit for mobility users dramatically. Without doing much, just overlaying LTE over 3G will reduce your over the air costs theoretically. The carriers should be dramatically be saving money with the migration of users onto 4G LTE from 2G/3G but somehow that mega shift is not very loud on the balance sheets. The primary reason for this is the raw state of deployment. The average efficiency is somewhere around 20% of the potential, over the air, and that’s money just circling the drain.

I’m still waiting/looking forward, as a consumer, to leveraging Broadcast Multicast Services for some more interesting services like better local media for things like traffic/audio/video that can be done far better than just Youtube etc… VoLTE with its HD Voice everywhere, CoMP for better throughputs with existing sites etc…

Before we begin the 5G hype cycle in earnest, 4G LTE has many levers to pull. There are many more efficiency enhancing measures in future/upcoming revisions of the the networking standards and there’s a whole new way of operating as I mentioned previously that dramatically shifts that cost/bit line down that the operators have not scratched the surface on yet. Let’s not defer the work we need to do today to the undefined 5G hype just yet. This baby was just born.

PS: Let’s move the needle from <20% efficiency to >50% efficiency (very achievable, just ask me) and let’s unleash amazing transformations of this business.

Speed-by-Country-700x373

sw-awesome-medA long long time ago, in a galaxy… in 2003 at Samsung, we were trying to sell our small cell vision to carriers, and carried demos all over the country.  Everybody agreed it was pretty awesome but the adoption for deployment was just not very good at all.

Later, I worked with a couple of other fellows to create a shared small cell architecture and that idea seemed best carried forward in a startup after all of the big carriers declined. The problem it addressed was the CAPEX/start up costs of getting into small cells since the carriers only looked at them as financial pain, an admission smallcells_forum_bannertheir macro sites/DAS/RF coverage wasn’t good enough- not as opportunities.

We had a plan to have a lead customer who was testing the waters with small cells share networks (not RAN) facilitating the next customer to just deploy small cells (RAN) and not have to do mega integrations into their own networks. The technology allowed us to have every appearance of full integration and in fact fully integrate at a features/requirements level with the carrier workflows. The key difference is the management and core costs were negligible. We called it OneRAN.

Technology wise, we had RAN device lead vendor, had a plan to create interoperability for multiple RAN device vendors to participate, standards based, low effort integration into existing macro networks that could take days vs months, awesome tools and visibility into customer performance, knowledge to operate efficiently etc… I had written up about 10 patents that would lock it down, and told myself, if this thing starts to happen, and we get significant investment (it takes $ to defend patents), I’m going to file them.AT&T microcell small cell

So, in the end, we failed to gain enough traction from investors to liberate the underused assets in our plans. You could look at it as our timer ran out on our window to personally commit the time to move it forward but the reality was the investors were very hesitant to jump into a new business model that was operations based. Maybe we moved too early.

Today there are a few others in that same space..quick search brings up: Spider Cloud Wireless, Arqiva, OpenRAN, TowerStream, Cloudberry, NetComm Wireless, NewCore Wireless, Clear Sky Technologies, etc etc…

Operators still resist!

Operators resistant to shared small cell networks

cloud_web

Looking through all of these offers, it’s clear to me we would still be ahead but that’s irrelevant. One key part of the operating idea, is still very relevant and aggravating…

Carriers can’t afford to make a gazillion investments in on site wireless equipment, nor can they operate it directly, sustainably. So carriers: instead of investing a gazillion dollars in a DAS deployment (dedicated fiber, nickel and dime expenses), just open your networks with requirements. Allow 3rd parties to deploy wireless access that complies, and as a win-win (quick response time, no outages etc…) buy back the bits from the on site operator- allow the meter to turn the other way like electrical utilities.

VZW Rule The Air Logo

So for example, I have a small/medium sized office with poor coverage. The carriers are uninterested in investing in a repeater due to limited traffic, the site owner is very against spending any kind of money like this for same reasons, and the outdoor environment is tightly controlled so there is no good macro reach. Very much like solar,  I should be able to purchase a small cell and set it to sharing. My account should get credits for MOUs (based on instantaneous rate like electricity.) The backend is a 3rd party provider that connects all carrier networks to my RAN solution and acts as a management point, acting like an ISP or VPN provider in some aspects. I can pay the back end some reasonable fee, like $15/mo. to manage my equipment for me or I can go it alone and hope that everything is good enough to serve the MOUs (especially mine) without anything more than the built in SON features. I’m ok if they have tiers allowing me to pay more for higher traffic more management, as long as it also scales back down to the SOHO type of user.223438_259841

As a benefit: wireless networks could be made very responsive and resilient and the meter could turn really fast with Local IP Access (LiPA) (presentation) /Selected IP Traffic Offload (SiPTO) implementations. This basically means local data plane (content) doesn’t have to flow back to the core, but can hop off and go directly to Google, Youtube etc… right from my ISP. My ISP is already responsible for my QoS of my backhaul connection. If I don’t have an ISP, the carrier can offer this backhaul solution wirelessly (Yes, there IS an economically efficient model to do this in many places.)LIPA

Ideally is  a ‘spot’ market with a neutral clearinghouse where the price responds with local demand and capacity. This gives the carrier some control back in the deployment targeting. This is all technologically simple, and assures that OTT solutions or bypass solutions like WiFi keep carriers relevant to the marketplace. The existing Small Cell Forum could step up here. The carrier revenue could grow because bits are being consumed in more places, the 3rd parties are motivated to grab marketshare, and the consumer gets more options for wireless bits. This could be a good business for cable or DSL providers. At peak efficiency, the cost per bit at the carrier should be a fraction of sending it from a macro site and at the same time, the user experiences more or less superior too.

Without taking this approach, I think the Internet of Things (everything) will need to go peer to peer at a minimum and bypass the mobile wireless broadband networks in the long run. Without this, eventually, the mobile operators would end up as the dinosaurs did, probably without the museum space.dinosaur_2474599bWithout this, my mobile coverage is terrible at the office and I’m frustrated and willing to hop carriers or find WiFi solutions to bypass the mobile operator. Let’s consolidate devices, services etc… It’s time!

PS: Don’t buy the counter arguments of hand off issues, emergency services (e911) issues and so on. It’s simply not true. These problems are easily addressable. I have some patents written up if they need help. :)

PPS: Also, think about all the new opportunities that this architecture opens up!

White Paper about network sharing..

Edit: The attacker is NOT North Korea, geez, media needs to be sensible.

Again Sony is in the news about a serious hack to their networks. At this time details have not been made public but essentially is likely to be a very typical exploit The hackers took employee data including salary, pwc-sonybenefits amongst other things. Basically everything. Many of these items are popping up on websites  just like your stolen car radio and pawn shops etc…

Here’s the thing, after looking into networks and doing audits for specific groups I can say with certainty that pretty much all corporate networks are porous.  Like a kitchen sponge. 2839513075_34425c65ed_oThey are designed to suck everything in but keep very little out, and worse still is the fact that hackers are aware of that. It’s only getting worse in that (A) you are becoming more aware of it (B) it’s becoming more of a big player’s game. I advocate a different approach to networking for these corporate systems.

Wireless is a big problem in this context and has to be addressed with more sophistication. I have been providing some guidance to enterprises and carriers about this issue but the molasses speed at which this sort of change happens (based on management FUD) is a real problem, a hinderance to getting closer to the solution, because as you clean up specific networks, the interconnected ramifications eventually help everyone.

There’s no company or single product or solution that makes this go away. Although some of it is very ‘sexy.’ inter_attackThe OEMs would like you to believe this but it’s simply not true. Everybody needs to take responsibility and begin making the changes it will take to put this attack space back into it’s acceptable percentages (like loss at a retail store) vs the currently escalating situation in which every practically network you touch is stealing from you through your day to day interactions, on behalf of some bad actors.

Reach out to us if you need some more guidance…we have been designing radically different architectures to address the situation.

See post from one of my favs- Krebs on Security….

Sony Breach May Have Exposed Employee Healthcare, Salary Data

(Teaser)

The recent hacker break-in at Sony Pictures Entertainment appears to have involved the theft of far more than unreleased motion pictures: According to multiple sources, the intruders also stole more than 25 gigabytes of sensitive data on tens of thousands of Sony employees, including Social Security numbers, medical and salary information. What’s more, it’s beginning to look like the attackers may have destroyed data on an unknown number of internal Sony systems.

Screen shot from an internal audit report allegedly stolen from Sony.

Several files being traded on torrent networks seen by this author include a global Sony employee list, a Microsoft Excel file that includes the name, location, employee ID, network username, base salary and date of birth for more than 6,800 individuals.

(Full post)

Sony Breach May Have Exposed Employee Healthcare, Salary Data

(Business Insider)

The Sony Hack May Be Unprecedented, But The US Is Still Routinely Getting Hammered By Hackers

(LinkedIn->Scott Schober President/CEO/Cyber Security Expert Berkeley Varitronics Systems & Host at 2 Minute)

Sony Pictures Shut Down by Hack Attack

I’ve been really busy building things and talking to people but one announcement made me cheer. Parallel Wireless is combining several elements such as HetNet, backhaul, LTE, SON and some Software Defined Networking (SDN) concepts into a product. rtr4bjo9

 

 

(No, this image has nothing to do with that.)

 

They are introducing what they call, a Converged Wireless System (CWS but not to be confused with College World Series), that integrates the backhaul and the access products as others have done, (ex: Athena Wireless) but with more integration into other environments like the P25 radios used by first responders, WiFi, etc… I think it’s an interesting package. Good for them for thinking beyond just the access and working on the integration of the HetNet into the macro network through their controllers.

Parallel Wireless has a tough road ahead as they try to compete in a crowded market (of mostly vaporware!) but I fully applaud the thinking and energy!

Overview Video:

Related announcement by customer EE (UK.)

GROUNDBREAKING NEW EE MICRO NETWORK SET TO BENEFIT RURAL COMMUNITIES

02 December 2014

 

  • EE set to connect more than 1,500 communities by the end of 2017
  • World-first technology successfully trialled in Cumbria village of Sebergham, with all 129 households and small businesses receiving data and voice connectivity from only three ‘meshed’ small antennas
  • New EE micro network changes the economics of mobile coverage by removing the requirement to build large masts and install sub-ground cables

From the Parallel Wireless material:

  • Urban HetNet optimization for VoLTE
  • Rural and suburban network extension, urban infill, urban capacity enhancement
  • Land Mobile LTE (LMLTE)
  • “Bring Your Own Coverage” with in-vehicle instant deployables
  • Hosting the 3G or P25 IP network backbones
  • Greenfield macro with On-Tower Macrocell eliminating the eNodeB in the cabinet

Converged Wireless System (CWS) is a high capacity 3GPP compliant carrier-grade multi-RAT eNodeB that leverages the latest silicon to deliver more capabilities from commodity components. Coming in different form factors including outdoor and in-vehicle, CWS delivers instant, reliable and cost-effective coverage anywhere and features:

  • 4G/LTE and Wi-Fi
  • Built-in flexible backhaul: Fiber, Ethernet, LTE Backhaul, multi-radio mesh SDN backhaul enabled by LAC

CWS leverages open APIs on LAC. The nodes are self-configured and self-managed via LAC and can be deployed easily. LAC enabled orchestration provides hands free maintenance of CWS base stations along with the following benefits:

  • SON-based interference mitigation for access and backhaul
  • SON-controlled dynamic RF power adjustment
  • Software-defined radio (SDR) capabilities that enable future proof for additional bands or band reconfigurations
  • Integrated resilient synchronization

diagram-1B

Parallel Wireless is reimagining the RAN and building solutions that will enable and accelerate the long term transition from today’s 4G LTE to tomorrow’s 5G cellular networks.

In the span of a past decade we’ve gone from a majority of voice-only 2G networks to widespread data-first LTE networks. In the decade to come, expectations are for wireless networks to rival the capacity and speed we experience on wired networks today. In the same way that the architecture for voice-only 2G networks was inappropriate for data-first networks, the architecture of today’s LTE rollout will face serious challenges cost-effectively achieving the capacity and coverage aspirations for 5G.

The only known way to realize the vision for 5G networks is densification. We need more radios covering more bands in more places. This means the average carrier will have multiple bands of LTE spectrum. This means we will have more radios than ever before from multiple vendors. This means we will have a true unified HetNet versus independent 3G/LTE networks or separate macro, femto, and metro cell networks.

All of this points to the need of more intelligent coordination and orchestration in the RAN. We are well on our way to this future with our introduction of the LTE Access Controller  and Converged Wireless System. Our roadmap and vision will introduce more capabilities and continue to incrementally evolve the network. We look forward to sharing more as we fully realize this vision.

Let’s talk about some recent headlines for a minute. Recently, the company ESD America has been publishing a list of rogue network cells, in the US, discovered with their $3500 secure phone.

Phone Firewall Identifies Rogue Cell Towers Trying to Intercept Your Calls (wired.com)

Fake cell phone ‘towers’ may be spying on Americans’ calls, texts (rt.com)

I have been off and on about getting too involved in the hype around this since it was an NDA type of thing, so then ESD America published this information and that was enough to get me thinking about the WHOLE issue.

Firstly, in review, surely we are aware that people have great interest in either taking short cuts, like in the cases of industrial espionage. There’s the governmental type of monitoring for the ‘greater good.’  We have those that want to just take what’s yours, like hacker gangs that break and enter online and sell data like credit card information for resale. There’s the ever intriguing quasi-governmental groups that have been hacking into other country’s online resources, for example like those behind the intrusions in infrastructure and then we have, surprisingly, those more sophisticated credit card breeches at POS terminals.

That last one is pretty amazing to me, that another government actively explores these avenues. No bullets. I digress.

china-cell-phone-trackingI’m not going to go down all the paths and rabbit holes of internet hacking. What’s even more intriguing to me is the wireless attack space that have been starting to really ramp now.

There’s a lot of motivations, as I mentioned above, for parties to want to get involved here. What I cannot  fully understand is why wireless?

My reasoning is like so:

We communicate wirelessly, say by voice over 3G (not IP) then most of the popular flavors such as WCDMA/CDMA etc.. encrypt the voice and send it to the core. From the core, if it’s a mobile to mobile call then it goes out again. Ok, within that path there are many many other interception points that take less energy. Why try to intercept a wireless call in air, decrypt it and then do something with it?

The time savings is negligible as compared to a wire tap at the core so it can’t be to be faster to react to X. Another problem is logistics…According to physics the (EM wave theory) signal strength degrades as a function of distance so one has to be physically close in proximity, either directly or by proxy. (Example of by proxy could be a remote receiver.) One scenario for the greater good would be to use the proximity to take action, for example a bad guy says a magic phrase and then can be apprehended, there’s indeed some sort of benefit, but it’s marginal at best. They could still have a wiretap and just another proximity entity to do the action.

So it doesn’t make sense for a time standpoint, and the attackers are willing to be physically in proximity, then maybe we can assume the parties don’t have any way to make wiretaps and the greater value is not the actual content of the communications they are intercepting but the context in which they receive it. So as a thought example, you go to a big box store and the store has receivers that intercepts the calls, if they decode signaling then they could potentially put your picture/video location and your ‘identity’ gained through the phone snoop to make a record. The value to the location owner is obvious, contact and marketing. This is not something that a wiretap will necessarily be very good at.

Minority reportOk, I didn’t have to stretch hard to come up with that example because after I wrote it I thought of the movie Minority Report. OK.

To intercept wireless signals, your wireless signals, there’s different levels of tools.

  • The tools used in the ESD America’s report are actually mobile basestations based on a small transmitter/receiver setup that actually communicates with wireless devices. It spoofs a cell tower from the point of view of the client. These are most costly but only on par with the expense of a couple of laptops.
  • The network tester level tools are ever smaller and more mobile, these tools allow decoding on the fly, in proximity. Coming down in price.
  • Wireless peers can always be turned into interception tools, such as smartphones or USB dongles and embedded wireless. Cheap! Everywhere! More Coming!

Very much like at the same point of the explosion of internet hacking, today there are so many sophisticated wireless tools readily available. That’s a problem that needs to be dealt with.

Yes, this (transmitting) is all illegal if the spectrum owner does not allow this use of their spectrum but today, networks are not set up to detect these very low power transmitters rapidly. Receiving (only) is not illegal in the US, in some cases.

10659288_932889433391685_1543206543130653177_n-2

On the right you can see a small Software Defined Radio (SDR) set up with a laptop and antenna, and of course, you can assume that it’s so easy a caveman can do it.

Here is a photo of a GSM Interceptor/IMSI Catcher/Phony Cell Tower. 
Photo credit: gsminterceptor.com

So to ESD America’s credit, they are taking some action here, however self serving, to make folks aware that there are choices to just being spoofed. It’s not spoof proof, just water spoof resistant.

10687013_934196723260956_2644844689621560838_n

The image shown from their device shows that their software raises user awareness that encryption is not in effect etc and they have a ‘firewall’ with some KPIs to enhance awareness of the general security.

These are good things and I hope expect Apple and then Google to incorporate aspects of this into their future software for the rest of us.

Note, reason I said, “…then Google” is not a reference to copying etc, it’s because their whole purpose is to gain information and market to you, protecting your identity and information is a conflict with that purpose therefore it takes them more time to meet both standards. Nothing bad on Google, it’s just a company like Daimler-Benz whom produces fine automobiles that (will) achieve the same results for the same purposes.

 

From the ESD America data, let’s have a quick look at the map they published.

interceptor-towers

It’s not hard to spot the trends from a networking point of view. Pretending I don’t see any trend, then let’s see, that map looks like it covers most of the ‘NFL’ cities (professional football in US.) We could make guesses based on Google searches as to the overlap to certain venues, stores etc and eventually come up with some sort of high overlap. I’ll let you have that fun.

Instead, the point (finally!) is we should be hardening our networks to such non-sanctioned surveillance possibilities.o-THE-MATRIX-AND-HINDUISM-facebook From an consumer’s point of view, this will be a long time cat/mouse game, however, by raising the bar high enough only that well defined actors can engage in the game, we have weeded out the common criminal and the next level allows us to take the Matrix’s approach at that point to future monitoring and our wireless identity. The Matrix approach? You can choose the red pill or the blue pill, ignorance or knowledge.

(from Wiki…”the choice between embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality (red pill) and the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue pill)”

From a network operator’s point of view, precautions should be taken as to not be the one that loses the public trust by inaction, nor do you want to erode further into being just the ‘dumb pipe’ by having this Over The Top activity going at your expense.

Let me know if you are ready to take the red pill.

Red_and_blue_pill

Ever see the movie Groundhog Day starring the comedian Bill Murray? If you haven’t seen that movie the basic idea is that the main character wakes up every day at the same exact time to the same exact day….

Groundhog-Day-Posters Here’s the deal….

It’s Groundhog Day for LTE!

All of the carriers are doing the same old things, such as playing favorites with vendors instead of truly evaluating what’s good and needed, or performing design, optimization and operations the same way they have done since they were handed the script in 2G times.

It’s unsustainable.

Crazy amounts of wasted time and money are flowing into and around these networks and that is artificially keeping pricing high to the end consumer in a round about way. It’s weird because the operators themselves realize they need to trim up but they are sticking to the same ole same ole. It’s really close to the definition of insanity.

I get frustrated running into the same problems over and over again, as if last year’s lessons don’t apply today, and it doesn’t matter who’s name is on the door, same issues.

 

Let’s stop designing networks for noon users and spending emergency dollars for night users. It’s backwards. Let’s stop locking into a single vendor as if that’s a good idea anymore. It’s not. Dedicate yourselves to IOT testing and force the vendors to step up. The time you are losing waiting for the ‘preferred roadmap to materialize is far more than the time you delay testing a new vendor.

 

 

Jackie Chan WTF face

Saw this article on marketing-interactive.com related to global LTE speeds. Just thinking aloud, I can hypothesize that US carriers are likely to be a bit behind based on a few reasons. Primarily, in dense urbanized/established areas there’s more likely to be high bandwidth backhaul like fiber etc…whereas in the relatively new and spread out areas (rural) then there’s the Laws of Physics, spreading a signal out un NYC or Madrid is more difficult, it’s more confined (smaller cell radius = higher rates) than say the signals coming out of the boomer sites around the farmlands around Decatur, Texas and lastly there’s the finances. For whatever reason, some carriers don’t have to worry about balancing the books. All things being equal, you generally expect and see equivalent performance, therefore NYC’s per cell performance should be on par with London’s. 

Seems logical to me, except this report shows there are some anomalies (lumps) in the results! I think Australia meets 2/3rds of the USA’s criteria but manages to get very good performance with these constraints and on the other end Globe and Orange look like outliers. I have a good idea of what’s going on but I can only share that in private. Enjoy the article.

A new survey from British firm OpenSignal Inc. is putting the blazing LTE (Long Term Evolution) internet speed claims of Globe Telecom and Smart Communications to the test.

After crowd sourcing mobile coverage maps from 6 million users, OpenSignal in its February 2014 report “State of the LTE” revealed that the Philippines experienced LTE download speeds of 5.3 Mbps (megabits per second) on average, the slowest among the 16 countries surveyed.

Speed by CountryThe island nation was just next to the US with 5.3 Mbps at the bottom end of the poll. Also called as 4G, the technology boasts peak data speeds up to 42Mbps.

Globe and Smart were cited to have one of the poorest coverage and slowest LTE connection in the survey, with Globe noted to be “the worst performing network.”Slowest GIn terms of download speed, Smart is the fifth slowest network among 38 telcos surveyed with 4.42 Mbps. Globe was at seventh place with 6.46 Mbps.

But speed is only one indicator of LTE quality. Coverage is as important and on that measure the Philippines is the lowest among the 16 countries surveyed, with an average user having LTE access only 38% of the time.

Coverage is defined as the proportion of time a user has access to LTE, which OpenSignal gives a more accurate look on real-world use. Globe had the poorest score on this factor (below), with users having LTE access only 38% of the time. Smart fared slightly better with 46%

Time on LTE G

As of press time, Globe and Smart has not released a statement in reaction to latest OpenSignal report.

Australia boasts the fastest average LTE speed at 24.5 Mbps. Claro Brazil clocked the the fastest LTE network at 27.8 Mbps but is held back by “extremely limited” coverage at 42%.

South Korea users had access to LTE 91% of the time, which is the highest in the coverage poll. The best performing individual network is Tele 2 Sweden, whose users have LTE access 93% of the time and enjoy 17.6 Mbps speeds on average.

mwcbarcelona Firstly let me say that I’ve been developing products and building business and a greater pace than ever before. Unfortunately I have not made time to discuss LTE or SON that much, so I will try a bit harder. That being said, Mobile World Congress this year was just as a big boondoggle as it ever was. Spain is undoubtedly a fantastic place to hold such an event and the ONLY challenge that Barcelona had was facilitating the mass exodus of show attendees to their happy hour spots, hotels, get aways etc.. nightly. 

At the show, I was reminded that software is king. The number of software companies seems to be exponentially growing in this market, even to the point that Software Defined Radio (SDR) is (finally) seeing it’s day in the sun as a real alternative to ASIC based solutions. One of the solutions that caught my eye was from Octasic. Nothing earth shattering but the whole approach seems to be more well grounded than previous SDR attempts. Their reference boards for small cells were fairly well thought out and their head room to grow into the future solutions I threw at them seemed to be adequate.  In the past, heat / power consumption and cost tilted towards ASICs but that field seems to be leveling a bit. octasic-sdr4000 

One thing I was really trying to become more informed on was the PCell by Artemis. Unfortunately the closest I came to information about that development, that I can report, is that PureWave, supplier of components for the PCell is not saying anything yet. The only thing I can really say about pwave1 Artemis’ PCell is that these are more similar to the ALU LightRadio than Small Cells, generally speaking. If you are generally unfamiliar, in a nutshell, the PCell is supposed to allow full spectrum re-use per subscriber, vastly increasing capacity utilizing interference techniques. 

Download (SVG, Unknown)

The other tidbits that made an impression on me was Samsung S5, although widely advertised, seemed to be a little off in the distance, somewhat like Apple, as compared to Samsung’s normal immediate introductions. Their booth certainly advertised the S5 but you were not walking out and heading to a store to get one. Galaxy-S5-video-1

Huawei is running out of European new business. It’s amazing to me how dominant they are in Europe! Granted they are highly featured and low priced, but wow, what total domination of a market! 

There were lots of interesting companies at MWC, but on balance, there was nothing announced or revealed that changes everything.

Spain and Barcelona’s hospitality is great and if you have a chance to visit, take it!

Happy New Year 2014There’s so much going on in the industry now. Firstly we have the New Year. Happy New Year. I will continue my analysis from before, however things got interesting when the data showed something about specific vendor performance.

Last year LTE became mainstream for most technology reporters and we saw lots of drivel published. News wise, I think the key events from 2013 were : (1) the availability of LTE globally, (2) the start of roaming with AT&T’s announcement (with Rogers in Canada), (3) the Rockstar group Apple, BlackBerry, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Sony- formed around Nortel’s LTE IPRs. (4) AT&T’s change of position on lower 700MHz spectrum (Specifically 3GPP Band 12) (5) Verizon’s  Carrier Aggregation (CA) and VoLTE trials.fig3_649x342 Most everything else was what I would call typical business activity.

CES2014

 There’s the CES show in Las Vegas, NV. going on now. So far there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of innovation, save for some of Intel’s little toys like a tiny computer the size of a golf ball and a ‘bowl’ that supports wireless charging. Most announcements are for smaller, thinner devices with more pixels,  wearable fitness trackers. There is a cool FLIR camera jacket for an iPhone but that’s not really what I would consider as innovative.  

I will keep my eyes open and we will take a look at whatever interesting pops up. Stay tuned!

 

Groovy Pic from VentureBeat at CES 2014.

Groovy Pic from VentureBeat at CES 2014.

PrintRecently Verizon made some waves by announcing their intention to deploy LTE Release 10, specifically the Carrier Aggregation (CA) feature. Naturally I have lots to say on this topic so I thought I would forget what I wanted to say and just hypothesize and prove if true or not. So today is the hypothesis.

Verizon’s over the air (OTA) efficiency is very low with their existing 700MHz deployed channel, and this will not significantly improve without any changes. Therefore, my hypothesis is that when they flip the switch nationwide (depends on device/UE availability of course)  that only people living in deep fades will realize a significant gain… and furthermore, AT&T’s OTA speeds won’t seem that far behind with their 10MHz vs Verizon’s 20MHz. That’s pretty bold but I have my reasons. I will close today with a very typical observation… a clue, from Verizon’s network. Screenshot_2013-12-12-17-44-24 Thanks to my handy WINd tool- I can make these measurements 24×7 with no hands ma…:)

I’ll try to be wrong or right tomorrow!

 

VoLTE

VoLTE

Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is the next big thing. In fact, in 24 months, virtually all LTE enabled smart phones will support it. Curious?
Small Cells

Small Cells

Small Cells, previously known as 'femto' or 'pico' cells are possibly a savior to network operators. They offer capacity and coverage to the end user and are inexpensive for the network operator. Why aren't they everywhere?
Public Safety

Public Safety

LTE is and ideal technology for Public Safety use. See Why.