Currently viewing the tag: "3GPP2"

OK, this is the third update thanks to the upcoming Mobile World Congress (MWC.) Altair made their PR about their updated part last night after this list went public so I have added Altair’s latest processor to the matrix. 
Samsung CMC221

**Updated with GCT Semi, Renesys**

 OK, I’ve been industrious lately.I needed some information to improve a model that used LTE devices. I  was able to use the left overs and put them into a table here and did my part for recycling. Here’s the data, hopefully you can find some use for it.

Anyway, I remember reading lately in various blogs and news outlets that Qualcomm is about to get pressed as far as competition and they had better look out.

You can see from this chart that (A) the competition is already here and (B) they are still ahead. It looks like Qualcomm took the CDMA 1X dilemma and made lemonade.

Probably the best 4G per specifications seems to be Altair and Sequans seem to be slightly ahead of everyone else, attributable to their SDR architecture. They both have interference cancellation techniques which will become required for all future vendors to keep up. Broadcom, Marvell and Renesys are fairly close in published standards and seem to be only 1 generation behind Qualcomm.sqn3120

Another curious thing popped out at me, Apple is nearly alone at the top with a multi-chip solution. The SoCs are winning lots of marketshare. The partial exception is the Samsung Galaxy S3, which requires a 2nd chip for CDMA 1x, but that is rumored to be fixed in the next version. 

One other anomaly, Cavium purchased Wavesat with Odyssey and so far looks to be doing nothing with their $10M USD investment.

UE_categories

 

 

Column guide:

  • 3GPP Release = Supported features from the latest LTE 3GPP Release (Ex; Carrier aggregation support is in Release 10)
  • 3G = 3G on board or off board. 3GPP = HSPA/WCDMA and 3GPP2 = 1XCDMA/EVDO
  • UE Category (See table at left.) A category 4 UE is capable of 150Mbps.

 

Full table after the Next…

 

don_t_cry_Stunning_photographs_of_animals_in_the_womb-s390x320-80891-475 Have been hopping around the various LTE and SON related standards bodies and thought I would take a shot at organizing all of the links into a central location so that I don’t have to save them in my browser anymore.  The bookmarks are so out of control I’m embarrassed so I’m outsourcing. Anyway, I don’t recall a similar list anywhere so that was another justification.

I will continue to refine. Got some ideas about how to make more usable but that will have to wait for a rainy day…

See the menu above labeled Standards Bodies to see what I mean.

 

This was updated with a lot of media at the bottom for your viewing pleasure… 

The other day Anritsu announced that Samsung had demonstrated eMBMS with Anritsu’s Rapid Test Designer (RTD) and MD8430A to simulate the LTE network environment. Soon after, ISO MPEG and ITU-T VCEG announced they have been working towards High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) , a standard that looks like it will be known as h.265 and offers approximately 40% better compression (smaller file sizes or stream bit rates) than MPEG4 which is state of the art today.

 

 

So looking backwards at 3G, Qualcomm introduced Gold Multicast (ignoring Platinum since it was not widely adopted and utilized Out Of Band [OOB] transmissions using OFDM) and this enabled up to 3 of 128Kbps Broadcast media channels in the 1.25MHz channel where as the 3GPP had defined in WCDMA up to 6 128Kbps MBMS channels in 5MHz.

Today, 3GPP Release 9 eMBMS enables 20 256Kbps broadcast channels in 5MHz. The only additions required to the network are an Multicast Control Element (MCE), and of course control over the gateways (PGW/SGW) to distribute media…this could be a dedicated PGW/SGW too.

Network Diagram Showing eMBMS

New Channels for eMBMS in LTE Release 9

eMBMS in LTE allows non-exclusive and overlapping of the 256 Multimedia Broadcast Single Frequency Network (MBSFN) areas. This means broadcast can be localized to a very small area or as large as the entire network. Also note, the deployment may be on existing or dedicated carriers.

The serendipitous part of this is with the h.265 algorithm allowing a 40% overall reduction in bandwidth, there are stronger reasons to deploy LTE. The efficiency gain by reducing the unicasts of information and broadcasting (one to many) is a significant benefit to network operators while the end users can receive new services such as broadcast media/TV services over existing LTE infrastructure. For example, it becomes possible to stream HD 720P content, up to 5 channels worth in 5MHz. This combined capability becomes a viable new way to deliver information. Heck, network operators could silently reduce network loading too by offloading popular content like YouTube or things like push to talk groups or conference calls to eMBMS channels…Interesting!

Links: Anritsu, PR Newswire, h265.net, Rohde & Schwarz

Evolved MBMS – broadcast and multicast in LTE

Rohde & Schwarz LTE webinar on August 25, 2011

Download (PDF, 42KB)

Tektronics Press Release Below:

Samsung Demonstrates Broadcast Services Over LTE Using Anritsu’s Rapid Test Designer (RTD) and MD8430A

RICHARDSON, Texas, Aug. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies, has successfully demonstrated clear reception capabilities of LTE Broadcast services using evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS) technology using Anritsu’s (www.anritsu.com) Rapid Test Designer (RTD) and MD8430A to simulate the LTE network environment.

eMBMS technology allows the LTE network infrastructure to be used for the delivery of broadcast services, such as TV. It enables carriers to adjust coverage and capacity as needed, allowing for more efficient use of network resources. Samsung Electronics and Anritsu (two long-time leaders in new mobile technologies) have collaborated to bring this new technology to market.

Anritsu’s RTD delivers a rich set of test features using its fast and flexible flowcharting user interface. The Samsung engineers were able to create the eMBMS demonstration using RTD’s graphical script design to drive the execution of the test simulation on an Anritsu MD8430A LTE signaling tester.

“Anritsu is delighted that Samsung, the world’s largest cell phone maker, has selected the technology-leading capabilities of the RTD and MD8430A to verify the implementation of eMBMS capability in its devices,” stated Kenji Tanaka, Executive Vice President at Anritsu. “Samsung’s demonstration shows how Anritsu’s RTD helps LTE device makers prove their leading-edge technology in an intensely competitive market where reducing the product launch cycle time is critical to success.”

“We have used Anritsu test equipment from the very beginning of our LTE development programs,” said Inyup Kang, Executive Vice President at Samsung Electronics. “Anritsu’s RTD and MD8430A have made a significant contribution to our leading position in the LTE device market.”

About Samsung Electronics
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies with 2011 consolidated sales of US$143.1 billion. Employing approximately 206,000 people in 197 offices across 72 countries, the company operates two separate organizations to coordinate its nine independent business units: Digital Media & Communications, comprising Visual Display, Mobile Communications, Telecommunication Systems, Digital Appliances, IT Solutions, and Digital Imaging; and Device Solutions, consisting of Memory, System LSI and LED. Recognized for its industry-leading performance across a range of economic, environmental and social criteria, Samsung Electronics was named the world’s most sustainable technology company in the 2011 Dow Jones Sustainability Index. For more information, please visit www.samsung.com.

About Anritsu
Anritsu Company is the United States subsidiary of Anritsu Corporation, a global provider of innovative communications test and measurement solutions for more than 110 years. Anritsu provides solutions for existing and next-generation wired and wireless communication systems and operators. Anritsu products include wireless, optical, microwave/RF, and digital instruments as well as operations support systems for R&D, manufacturing, installation, and maintenance. Anritsu also provides precision microwave/RF components, optical devices, and high-speed electrical devices for communication products and systems. With offices throughout the world, Anritsu sells in over 90 countries with approximately 4,000 employees. To learn more, visit www.anritsu.com.

 

SOURCE Anritsu Company

Back to top

RELATED LINKS
http://www.anritsu.com
PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1jRJA)

eMBMS Demonstration (Japanese)

h.265 Overview

Qualcomm h.265 demonstration/comparison to h.264.

Update: Cisco came out with a post today (23JULY12) titled, “Evolving to LTE- Cisco’s Seamless Migration for CDMA Operators.” Have a look at that resource too. Their primary motivation is the recent purchase of Starent and so have CDMA and LTE gear to offer. From their page: (Seems a little like boilerplate from their HSPA but it’s cool they put it out!)

What You Will Learn

… This paper will outline how mobile operators can prepare their networks to support 4G broadband services that will improve the user experience and yield new revenue opportunities. Specifically, we will discuss how Cisco can assist operators in their move toward Long Term Evolution (LTE), a 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standard that represents a significant advancement in mobile technology.

With industry-leading mobile infrastructure solutions from Cisco, operators can:

  • Gradually transition from 2G/3G to 4G without a comprehensive network upgrade
  • Support 2G/3G and 4G functionality on a single platform
  • Meet LTE requirements for increased data rate capacity, reduced latency, and improved spectral efficiency
  • Provide transparent roaming between High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) network and LTE network
  • Take a phased approach to migrating the HSPA network to LTE by upgrading the core network to Evolved Packet Core (EPC) elements without an overlay Radio Access Network (RAN)

The downloadable page is here..

I hear a lot of confusion around 4G LTE/3G CDMA hand up and hand down, so I wanted to put some various notes I had to bear on helping to keep some of you guys straight on this topic. Now WiFi 802.x is technically an InterRAT type of hand over but I think it would be more clear if I outline that separately.

Here’s the lay of the land. Part A is the device piece and Part B is the network piece.

Overview

Focus here will be the common but difficult transition between LTE and CDMA (3GPP2.) A great number of end users via Verizon, Sprint, US Cellular, MetroPCS, Cspire and others share this pain so we will talk about it.

Next piece is how to fit all the evolutionary pieces together. I think Nokia came up with this handy chart…

 So here is the QCOM and Nokia chart summarized…in matrix form

Key point here is there are tradeoffs for the various configurations, such as use more battery to get more seamless coverage options, or notice the crazy amount of upgrades to the 3GPP2 network and device that is required for this ‘seamless’ experience? It’s not free by a long shot. It’s debatable in my mind as to the benefits of the eHRPD, sSRVCC and eCSFB dual radio service but there are operators moving forward on this plan. 

Here’s the typical UE architecture for a dual radio device BTW…

Now for the network piece. Here’s how it all goes together. Firstly we have the circuit switched domain….

The basics are Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB) operates by enabling paging (1X MT calls), SMS, and registration of the UE by tunneling messages through the LTE domain via interfaces like the S102. Don’t forget the UE basically operates either as a LTE data device, while monitoring pages etc, or is in conversation state on the 1X network while monitoring the LTE domain. The standards groups revisited CSFB and came up with eCSFB to greatly reduce the transition time by getting the 1X traffic channel ready before the transition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how it goes together in the packet domain:

 

High Rate Packet Data handover essentially allows a seamless user experience when the device leaves the LTE coverage area, by enabling a session transfer to the 3G domain. The full transition could take up to 7 seconds! Enhanced HRPD (eHRPD) improves the transition time. So there is an optimized handover with a 5-7 second transition time and optimized handover with <300ms transition. To make this happen, most everything has to be upgraded but it’s all possible now.

 

 

 

 

So there are all of the parts to the story. It’s up to you to decide what you think is the best way. Personally, I think Verizon has been working hard to have LTE everywhere 3G is, therefore reducing or eliminating the need for all of these handover crutches once they deploy VoLTE. Else, there are lots of levers and knobs that can help save the day until the VoLTE roll out.

Presentation about eSRVCC and VoLTE

Download (PDF, 237KB)

 

 

 

Update: Forgot that Artiza Networks has a nice and clean version. Mine looks like a messy room in comparison. :) See bottom.

Just sharing this, it’s something I did before and forgot where I used it. I think I summarized some details, such as the millions of IMS pieces but broke out important functions such as HSGW vs PDSN and IWS etc for clarity. Enjoy…

The Network Mona Lisa

 

This version was created by Artiza Networks…

 

I just wanted to add a link to Qualcomm’s latest HD Voice Video. It has some good description of the voice improvements going into their chipsets. This is probably a strong reason not to jump off their platform but there are other ways to create these same improvements.

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.


OK, OK, sorry I couldn’t resist. Argela comes out with their FENG, Femto Notification Generator that is and I decided it was too good to pass up an opportunity to be punny. (Yes I pundit…kidding, kidding…)  So FENG is a network function designed to integrate into 3GPP WCDMA and 3GPP2 1X CDMA based core networks, but seemingly not LTE yet but this is probably a matter of time, and sniffs message flow over the Iu-h, Iu-CS, and A’ and MAP interfaces (switch and BSC interfaces) and creates notifications based on network events (messages) such as registrations etc… And note, this is targeted to work with small cells…These notifications are sent to their companion product, the Apps-on Femto Application Server which in turn can notify an application developed with their API to intercommunicate. Typical demonstrations that we gave back in 2004 were actions based on a mobile entering a room such as turning the lights on or off when leaving etc etc… To my knowledge, this is the 2nd commercialized product of this type with Mavenir having a similar capability through their mOne product with the exception Mavenir supports LTE networks. 

Either way, it’s only a matter of time before application providers begin taking us down the connected, Minority Report future of tomorrow. I do think this is a good product announcement.

Full PR is below…

Links: Argela, Mavenir

Bottom line is Argela has their FENG’s out…

Argela’s New Femtocell Product Solves the Problem of Network Detections Critical for  
Value-Added Services and Applications on Small Cell Networks

SUNNYVALE, CA, May 16, 2012– Argela, the next-generation telecommunications solutions provider, today announced its newest femtocell product – the Femto Notification Generator, FENG.  Developed specifically for mobile network operators, the Femto Notification Generator is a key component for offering revenue-generating, value-added services through a femtocell network. Providing immediate data, FENG generates the femtocell-related notifications necessary for many femtocell services and location-based applications.
FENG detects these femtocell-related events by sniffing the operator’s network with the following standard interfaces: Iu-h, Iu-CS, A-Interface, and MAP.  Some of the femtocell events which are detected include entries to and exits from the femtocell network in addition to femtocell registrations and deregistrations.  After immediately detecting important femtocell events, Argela’s FENG then notifies Argela’s APPs-on Femto Application Server which in turn, immediately notifies the applications.  Argela’s two products, the FENG Femto Notification Generator and Argela’s APPs-on Femto Application Server, work together as part of a complete femtocell application solution.
“We wanted to develop a solution that is independent from the femtocell and the femtocell gateway so that any mobile operator could offer value-added services and applications even after they have already deployed their femtocell service,” explained Argela’s VP of Sales, Mr. Oguz Oktay. “It is the notifications issued by our FENG product which enables operators to offer the location-based services and applications through their femtocell network.  And, it is the applications which transform femtocells from a telecom device to a channel for revenue-generating services.”
Argela provides next-generation telecommunication solutions and network infrastructure software to telecom operators and offers a range of small cell products and solutions including femtocells powered by their SmartFemto technology.  The Femto Notification Generator is the newest addition to the Small Cell product line and is a key product in Argela’s Femto Application Suite.   As part of this Suite, Argela also offers femtocell applications including: PromoZone, Track-U and the award-winning, ADz-on Advertising Application.
“At Argela, we are continually innovating and developing new products to help operators and service providers optimize their networks,” said Mr. Bulent Kaytaz, Argela’s CEO. “The Femto Notification Generator is our most recent innovation enabling mobile operators to offer value-added femtocell applications.  It was our aim to provide a complete femtocell application solution for mobile operators so that they may increase the ROI of their femtocell deployment through offering value-added services to their subscribers.”
About Argela
Argela is an award-winning, next-generation, telecom solutions provider.  Collaborating with telecom and mobile operators around the world, Argela provides innovative and integrated turn-key solutions for operators to help them generate new revenue, improve customer satisfaction, contain costs, and decrease churn. Argela’s solutions portfolio includes the award-winning Argela iTV, the award-winning advertising platform, Argela ADz-on, Avatar, IN applications, convergence solutions, and an entire product line of SmartFemto and Small Cell Solutions.   As a member of The Small Cell Forum, Argela is actively addressing the key issues of the femtocell and small cell markets which include defining and developing industry standards which are critical for the deployment of femtocells around the world.  For more information, please visit www.argela.com.
Contact:
ARGELA
Melissa Blythe Johnson
Marketing and Sales Manager
[email protected]
+1.408.400.9601

 

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.

 

 Here are some thoughts about the questions I get around SVLTE.

Notice the pic and remember this day? This was Verizon and Apple answering questions about the iPhone 4. The biggest technical tidbit of the day was that the 3G iPhone 4 would not allow a simultaneous voice and data session. Of course this was dictated by the 1X CDMA network architecture, not the phone.

Here is a good graphic sort of illustrating that difference.  


Yes, The same issue exists for LTE and CDMA voice!

See, there is a confusion based matrix of items to enable the use of data during a voice call. There is some technical detail to get into to understand what the problem is.

Some of the blame goes to the phone OS, some the phone HW and some is on the network.

HSPA/WCDMA 3GPP networks like ATT and Tmobile support this feature and so the remainder is inside the mobile device. 3GPP2 based Verizon and Sprint on the other hand don’t have this capability inherently in the network. 

 

UE (Mobile Device) UI Capability/function

The device User Interface (UI) manages the integration of voice and data services for us. As you know, for example, the iPhone visually displays a dial pad for voice calls and has other apps for data like browsers, email, FaceTime/Skype etc… Not so obviously, the multitasking nature of the UI and Operating System  that supports multiple execution threads etc, facilitate and encourage data use such as it is so convenient. The interface makes it easy to switch between these tasks and actually encourage parallel data/voice simultaneous use. So Smartphone = Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) device.

UE (Mobile Device) Hardware (HW)

Beyond the user interface, the device needs to be enabled with the capability to transmit data and voice simultaneously (or apparently so.)

Many USB based devices are data only (much like the old flip phones were primarily voice only) and only have HW to facilitate a data transmission. No voice HW present, but no need either. Result is simple and cheaper device. Smartphones sort of beg dual use, and often have HW to support data transmission and voice encoding/transmission. Now for the caveat (confusing part), of course it’s possible to have a data application for voice like Skype and that would technically eliminate the need for separate HW however the first deployments in the US are only partial data overlays over extensive voice networks, thus most devices base their connectivity on 3G voice and need to have voice compatible HW onboard for those non 4G or 3G data covered areas. Secondly, the quality of voice in voice networks is currently more assured, or higher priority than the existing non assured data services. So in the case of Skype over 4G, your voice packet gets the same priority (currently by default) as my web browsing packet. (With the PCRF this doesn’t have to be true but operators have not really unleashed this tiered type of service over LTE yet.)

So hardware wise, UEs utilize (baseband) processors capable of 3G to in addition to LTE to be capable of communicating with both networks. The first devices had 2 chipsets, 1 for 3G processing and a second for LTE processing. Only recently has there been multi generational (and multi protocol) capable chipsets that are able to process both 4G data and 3G in one chipset. 

To be clear, a device that has a single RF/baseband processing path may only be communicating on one network at a time.

Here is a typical data + voice capable device architecture showing Qualcomm components. 

So if the processing is in place, the next thing in the chain is the Radio Frequency (RF) chips. You can’t physically interface to the network without the capabilities here so it’s essential for the device to be able to interface to the voice and data spectrum bands and modulate/demodulate the signals correctly. This whole subject is so deep, more in a follow up post on this.

 Qualcomm is arguably the market leader in UE components and architecture. The pictures are the previous MSM8960 components which were 2 pieces of silicon for 3G and 4G processing and others for RF. The MSM9600 chipsets that are shipping now are essentially 1 piece of silicon for 3G and 4G processing with a second for the RF interface.

UE Network Communication Protocol

In the US, MetroPCS, Sprint, US Cellular, Verizon are networks that utilize CDMA 1X technology. 1XRTT (IS-95)/CDMA2000 or 3GPP2 based voice is a circuit switched voice protocol, with all the bells and whistles of 1.25MHz channels, RCs, Walsh codes, PNs etc… For high rate data, these networks utilize 1xEVDO (Evolution Data Only) a code and time division protocol and have slots, 1.25MHz channels, DRCs and so on. In summary, CDMA2000 uses 2 separate radio channels with 2 protocols for data and voice communications. ATT, T-Mobile and others have deployed 3GPP based WCDMA networks with 5MHz channels for voice and HSxPA with 5MHz channels for high rate data. 

Just to be doubly confusing, functions and G’s aren’t necessarily the same. There is 3G high rate data and 4G high rate data, and there is 4G voice and 3G voice. 

The communications protocols for voice on 3G on CDMA networks uses Qualcomm’s EVRC (Enhanced Variable Rate Coder) and on WCDMA networks is AMR (Adaptive Multi Rate) coding. The coding converts sound to data bits. Just to stay confusing, 4G voice, under the Voice over LTE (VoLTE) framework uses AMR also, but the rest of the voice protocol is very different than 3G. 

Data story is similar with 3G high rate data on 1X CDMA 3Gpp2 based networks is EVDO (now Rev A is most common) and on WCDMA 3GPP based networks is HSPA (now HSPA+ is becoming the most common.) For 4G we will only focus on LTE which happens to be 3GPP based.

There’s a lot of complexity in communicating the bits back and forth from the network when you compare 3G and 4G and CDMA 1xRTT with WCDMA/HSPA. Due to technical and cost constraints, most devices up to date have been either CDMA 3GPP2 capable or WCDMA 3Gpp capable. As an example, Qualcomm Gobi based devices have support for just about every situation in one component whereas Marvell only supports 3G WCDMA/HSPA and LTE.

A strong desire exists for every device to support every scenario, however the complexity and risks sort of dictated this approach of multiple networks, separate devices. See this seamless mobility chart, key point is you need both protocols, 3G and 4G for now.

 

Wireless mobile networks have had this multilayered architecture to support 3G circuit switched voice and high rate packet data at the same time for a while now. Adding in LTE is another layer of complexity that manifests itself as a battery and size constraint for today’s UE designs (more HW + more communicating layers in the devices), and in fact Steve Jobs specifically mentioned it as a barrier to LTE implementation in the iPhones.

UE Parallelism/simultaneous use

So now we are clear a device that has a single baseband processing path may only be on one network at a time. That was very long windup and I apologize. Back to the problem of the Verizon iPhone vs the ATT iPhone and voice and data simultaneously…

A mobile device that only supports a single network (voice or data) device will have to pause communicating with the data network if a voice call is to be made or received and vice-versa.  

The first generation of 3G/LTE capable devices have 2 physical components, a 3G path processor and a LTE path processor.  Qualcomm, TI, Marvell and others are beginning to ship components to enable the 2nd generation of LTE devices, those with 2 paths and shared silicon (fewer components.) The first devices are hitting the shelves. The benefits will be improvements to battery life and form factor, however neither will be as best they can be yet. Have a look at a slide from Qualcomm presentation comparing various architectures based on heat (energy waste) output. So it takes 2 radios to have a 3G and LTE flow from the device at the same time in order to support true simultaneous data and voice use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next step in device design will either be VoLTE and/or a software defined radio approach that allows more effective conservation of resources but that’s a topic for another day. Back to voice+data.

 

 

OK so the ability to make 3G voice calls and use data at the same time can be broken into smaller pieces.

  • For 3G 1X or 3GPP2 based networks like Sprint, Verizon, MetroPCS etc…, 1X (voice) + EVDO (data) is called SVDO. Some devices support this but most networks do not…As an example, the Verizon iPhone either communicates data or voice at one time.
  • For 3G WCDMA or 3GPP based networks, the voice and data bearers can be controlled from a single control point, (before HSPA it was on the same channel) therefore the voice and data can flow effectively in parallel. I won’t go deeper but this is the end effect although there are some finer points.
  • 4G LTE based networks need to have Simultaneous Voice and LTE (SVLTE) capability on both network and devices to operate in parallel.  It’s a specific function that allows better control of the voice and data over the networks. 

Today’s 3G + LTE networks carry voice over 3G networks as circuit switched voice. In a circuit switched paradigm, voice is carried in a point to point stream and requires real time connection between the two points, much like 2 tin cans with string, or a wired phone. Voice over packet, such as voice over IP networks use a connectionless paradigm, no open line is required. The world is starting to prefer it because this method also allows the use of the time in between the sound pulses to carry other data. Skype is and example of voice over packet (sound is quantized and sent over packets on the internet.) 

So the next iPhone launch with Verizon (3GPP2 based) will require specific upgraded network functionality like enhanced High Rate Packet Data (eHRPD) to be deployed as well as a multitasking OS, and multiple connectivity chipsets to enable simultaneous use whereas ATT (3GPP based) will have an easier time and only require the UE capabilities.

As of right now, the Qualcomm MSM9600 chipsets appear to support the SVLTE functionality and based on their use in The New iPad it appears Apple is headed down this path so it will be up to Verizon and others to deploy the necessary network upgrades.

Hope this helps.

Interesting slides on VoLTE….

Voice over LTE

I have never read this book although I probably should, but it was funny in context of Self Optimizing Networks (SONs) and there you go. Ericsson and Nokia made announcements at this years MWC that were carefully crafted to be as different from each other as possible, yet when digging deeper into what details they provide publicly they are very close. 

Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) went first and announced they are extending their iSON (intelligent Self Optimizing Networks) platform with SON for Core. As 3GPP SON standards go, the use cases they defined are currently mostly applicable to items like Radio Resource Management and so on, mostly applying eNB (radio) side. NSN is touting core optimization, which I guess in the LTE context would be sGW/pGW/MME. There are a few optimizations that you could probably make but note, elements like MME already have load sharing defined…There’s not many details of what gets optimized but I guess they could do things like automate provisioning, power down unused HW during low traffic, implement overhead load reduction strategies during peaks, change IP settings during peak times, maybe do some caching in control and user plane and maybe have per route IP settings. It’s not clear from their announcement. I’m not sure how the PCRF factors into this strategy either. Overall their iSON strategy claims 3G network integration and multivendor control capability too so obviously you have to be a 3GPP network to get this full benefit, so in the US T-Mobile (recently announced LTE plans) and ATT would be able to deploy. Their executive summary on iSON is here.

On the other hand, we have Ericsson that has announced that their approach to raising SON’s is to focus the sale on the SON Optimization Manager. Is it just me or is that circular/redundant logic? Anyway, their approach is to use this platform to control 3G and 4G radio resources. Since Ericsson acquired Nortel, I’m not sure if this platform is 3GPP only or if it extends into 3GPP2 (CDMA) land. Ericsson also mentions HetNets although they don’t say this is a small cell controller or coordinator per se, just a mention which is a bonus point for them. Here is a link to their white paper describing their SON.

In summary the Ericsson approach is about the simplicity of dropping in the SON Manager platform whereas the NSN approach is more about extending their iSON portfolio (NetAct) to the core. Either way these companies are entertaining with their high energy press release and MWC demos with lots of hype but a lack of detail that keeps us guessing. BTW if you were wondering, the iSON and Ericsson SON Optimization platform are not necessarily unique, the smaller vendors (market share) have this much capability and more. Just my $0.02. 

Links: Amazon, Ericsson, NSN

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