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LTE_NorthAmerica_2013 It’s that time of year. The point at which we are going to be inundated with LTE Americas 2013 press releases. We will check out the show and look for the good stuff, but we will need to be secured in a big inflatable raft to negotiate the sea of press released…LTE-NA-Who-you-will-meet-1024x505 First, I’ll pick on Seven Networks.They have a good info graphic that makes it all worthwhile. Enjoy…

whats-the-Imapct-of-a-signaling-stormr9

seven_networks_logo
LTE North America 2013

SAN CARLOS, Calif.–()–SEVEN® Networks, a provider of innovative software products for mobile traffic management and optimization, has announced its participation in the LTE North America 2013 conference being held November 20-22 at the Westin Galleria in Dallas.

“Managing the Impact of ‘Chatty’ Apps and Devices Upon 4G Networks.”

SEVEN Networks’ participation will be centered on Signaling Focus Day, Wednesday November 20, where attendees will experience in-depth, interactive learning sessions covering signaling traffic issues and solutions for mobile network congestion.

Ross Bott, President and CEO of SEVEN Networks, will join a 3:50 pm panel discussion, titled “Managing the Impact of ‘Chatty’ Apps and Devices Upon 4G Networks.” The panelists will address the root causes of unnecessary mobile signaling and approaches to relieving the resulting network congestion.

“SEVEN Networks has developed a large body of knowledge about the behavior of mobile apps and data traffic in the course of developing our Open Channel product line,” said CEO Bott. “Signaling Focus Day at LTE North America is the perfect venue for us to contribute to the discussion on the signaling problem.”

SEVEN Networks Open Channel Signaling Optimization software helps carriers address the issue of excessive background signaling by managing the exchange of control information and content between mobile devices and the network. The results include: enhanced network efficiency, reduced demand for radio signaling resources, decreased bandwidth utilization, improved device battery life, greater customer satisfaction, and lower operator costs.

Open Channel Signaling Optimization and other Open Channel software products are available now from SEVEN Networks.

 

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…

 

overload Was looking through Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (see below) and was thinking about a few pieces of it and the impacts to LTE and SON networking. I appreciate the time Cisco takes to put this together, I would not manage to find the time to give away a good report. Yes, it ties to their core business strongly but it’s a great service for people like me to make sure we’re not drinking from the Kool-Aid.

Now as far as the report is concerned I will point out there are 2 revisions by Cisco that are noteworthy, firstly their model had Mobile laptops as a big driver to data and there is now a slowdown in mobile laptop and data forecast during this period. Secondly the Machine 2 Machine (M2M) estimates are revised to show fewer connections based on analyst forecasts. I’m not sure I believe the 2nd one as much as I accept the first one fully. Note these are relative to last year’s report…

I have a takeaway for LTE mobile operators out there you will want to pay attention to. READ THE REPORT FIRST!

Data points from their report:

The Mobile Network Through 2017

Mobile data traffic will reach the following milestones within the next five years.

● Monthly global mobile data traffic will surpass 10 exabytes in 2017.

● The number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population in 2013.

● The average mobile connection speed will surpass 1 Mbps in 2014.

● Due to increased usage on smartphones, handsets will exceed 50 percent of mobile data traffic in 2013.

● Monthly mobile tablet traffic will surpass 1 exabyte per month in 2017.

● Tablets will exceed 10 percent of global mobile data traffic in 2015.

mobile video growth chartGlobal mobile data traffic will increase 13-fold between 2012 and 2017. Mobile data traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 66 percent from 2012 to 2017, reaching 11.2 exabytes per month by 2017.

By the end of 2013, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth, and by 2017 there will be nearly 1.4 mobile devices per capita. There will be over 10 billion mobile-connected devices in 2017, including machine-to-machine (M2M) modules—exceeding the world’s population at that time (7.6 billion).

In 2017, 4G will be 10 percent of connections, but 45 percent of total traffic. In 2017, a 4G connection will generate 8 times more traffic on average than a non-4G connection. (This seems outrageous to me and doesn’t work smoothly with the bullet above regarding M2M connections BTW…)

The average smartphone will generate 2.7 GB of traffic per month in 2017, an 8-fold increase over the 2012 average of 342 MB per month. Aggregate smartphone traffic in 2017 will be 19 times greater than it is today, with a CAGR of 81 percent. (This seems pessimistic in one sense but the average is the key, my oldest child, a first world inhabitant, already generates 4GB of monthly traffic without constant access to the device!!…in 2017 I would expect that to be like 55GB/mo.why? college kid and movies…)

By 2017, almost 21 exabytes of mobile data traffic will be offloaded to the fixed network by means of Wi-Fi devices and femtocells each month. Without Wi-Fi and femtocell offload, total mobile data traffic would grow at a CAGR of 74 percent between 2012 and 2017 (16-fold growth), instead of the projected CAGR of 66 percent (13-fold growth).

After you have made your way through this report, you are probably thinking of exceptions. OK, first grain of salt is that it’s an annual assessment of forecasts therefore will change from year to year. Lastly, there are no disruptions modeled here…(the next Netflix, iPhone etc…) hard to model that but our experience is that a disruptive company will vastly change something within the 2013-2017 timeframe. I would just add a special note to their forecasts and reflect it as a sudden blip on the charts.

The simple key take away from this report for those involved with LTE networks is… the faster the network, the more it enables growth. Ok wait, you and I knew that, as we have witnessed years of growth from EVDO/HSPA overlays and carrier growth. There is more to it. 

As a mobile network manager/operator/designer do you want to grow your network in terms of connections and throughput?

If you don’t then you have probably got the business model wrong for this next phase.

The current punitive pricing schemes that we have from operators like Verizon, ATT, Sprint etc… are not the type of pricing schemes that benefit the user that wants to ramp up and is biding his time, nor are do they have the network operator benefit from increases of connections or traffic.

Since a faster network will be needed in the future to enable growth, more network efficiency to help the economics is a necessity and new network operator business models will be the piece that makes it work.

If not, a disruptive force is heading your way and will make it work.

 

 Now the Blogosphere is incessantly echoing this story … I first noticed in GigaOM, their story is really Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) extremist journalism (how’s that?) Their story is linked below.

Voice Calls Over 4G LTE Networks Are Battery Killers

The key quote is:

The results of those tests should give carriers and consumers pause. The average power consumption for a 10-minute CDMA circuit-switched call was 680 milliwatts (mW), while the average consumption for a VoLTE call of the same duration was 1,358 mW. That’s double the power drain. Spirent estimated that on a full charge, its test smartphone could support 502.6 minutes of talk time using CDMA only, but the same charge would deliver just 251.8 minutes of talk time using VoIP on the 4G network.

So as a quick refresher, VoLTE (Voice over LTE) calls are similar to the 3G/2G counterparts with VoCODING and so on, but are carried like VoIP, over LTE packets back to the network, where instead of a circuit switch there is an IMS for calls etc etc…

Some related info from before…

Mobile Wireless HD Voice Today and VoLTE in the Future

 Firstly measuring battery consumption is a brute force thing to do here but it does expose the maturity of VoLTE clients at the moment, so I will give them that. The FUD part of it is that the client on the device they tested is really not like anything on a 2G/3G voice phone today. Most of the grunt work of a 2G/3G call takes place in hardware on the phone, with the phone’s UI being the only significant software piece. Voice calling has been optimized in hardware over the years to consume very little power as there is no need for memory, CPU etc… 

On the other hand, the current crop of VoLTE clients are running the whole VoLTE protocol ‘stack’ (SIP + more) in software plus running the VoCODING at this point in software. The bottom line is today’s VoLTE clients are CPU hogs that do use CPU, memory, UI, etc…but are very UN-OPTIMIZED. Let’s give the developers a year or two to optimize the solution and come back and measure. In the end, there will be no difference in power consumption on average.

Let’s stop getting hysterical!

 Having spent more than a decade working at an Asian conglomerate, I can appreciate the occasional feelings of corporate loneliness and therefore the need to put out some PRs to get some of the love back. So in this week’s episode, Huawei’s propensity to enable corporate or state espionage in communication networks is being debated publicly (it is an election year in the US) and their response is SingleSON. This SON server can surveil and monitor ALL of your networks, including InterRAT and heterogeneous networks. OK, it sounds a little fishy but let me explain.

So Huawei is advocating a single SON control point for multiple deployed networks. This is really a reasonable approach that allows such things as InterRAT network improvement, traffic steering and ultimately less OPEX via manual intervention.  There’s nothing earth shattering here  so I probably don’t need to go into great detail. They have plenty of good materials handy.

There is this groovy video that explains…

From their site” Automatic control of multi-mode and multi-layer networking has become key to enhanced O&M efficiency. Through self-configuration, self-optimization, and self-maintenance, SingleSON smoothly adapts to single-mode, multi-mode or multi-layer networking, which benefits not only efficiency but also OPEX.”

SingleSON white paper here.

So the timing is a little off but the functionality is good if you are worried about integrating LTE and legacy networks. The SingleSON control point manages via Operational Support System (OSS) interfaces to InterRAT, legacy and Heterogeneous networks and integrates them with a single game plan. From my point of view, I would be tilting towards sunsetting the existing legacy networks and may hesitate to invest in them but each company has it’s bits to bear. Good stuff…

Links: Huawei

 

 It’s time for yet another 3GPP oriented conference in Barcelona, Spain. This time the LTE World Summit is gathering to pitch discuss signaling in LTE networks. A good topic since there is plenty of room for improvement and optimization of some of the clunkier signaling. The US operators have had issues with one protocol, Diameter in particular (remember, it’s the successor to the older RADIUS), and have even withstood some outages due to issues with handling of this protocol. 

I love innovation and there are a couple of companies that are getting my attention. An example is Diametriq and their competitors such as Traffix Systems and Tekelec in the Diameter space. BTW, check out Tekelec’s cool Diameter iOS/Android reference app. 

Side note, 3GPP recognizes the shortcoming of Diameter and is working on a Diameter 2.0….

Another side note, iBasis seems the least innovative, like hey we have a voice roaming clearinghouse and we want to be included in the future so here’s a PR with no thought to improving the market out…uh, whatever.

Zahid at 3G4Gblog has some first hand looks at the presentations, go check it out.

 

Links: 3G4Gblog, Diametriq, LTE World Summit, Traffix, TekeleciBasis

 

May 22nd – LTE World Summit Focus Day / Master Classes

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

LTE World Summit Focus Day – Handling the surge in signaling traffic

  • What is Diameter Signaling and how will it inevitably affect your network?
  • When is the right time to deploy Diameter signaling solutions?
  • Analysing the marriage between IMS and LTE
  • Roaming in the LTE World – the role of Diameter signaling
  • Effectively handling the increased data with load balancing
  • Smart phone growth implications
  • Tracking and preparing a network for the oncoming surge in signaling traffic

May 23rd – LTE World Summit Day 1

Conference Keynotes

Track 1 – Executive Summit – Re-thinking business models

  • Alternative business models – partnership opportunities
  • Toll-free mobile broadband
  • Infrastructure sharing
  • Wholesale perspectives
  • Multi-play offerings
  • Handling an LTE auction
  • MVNO LTE opportunities
  • Green LTE

Track 2 – Small cell / Picocell / Femtocell / Hetnets

  • Breaking down the fundamental challenge of increased data consumption
  • Numbers and types of cells required
  • When will there be wide adoption?
  • Alignment and cooperation with fiber metro network
  • Flexible backhaul and transition solutions

Track Sponsor

InterDigital

Track 3 – Handling the mobile data explosion

  • Resource planning – moving capacity around the network to handle surges in data
  • SON – providing the optimum user experience
  • Policy Control
  • OSS / BSS
  • Optimisation
  • FMC – Requirements of a fiber network to handle the increasing data traffic
  • Backhaul

Track Sponsors

Samsung

Track 4 – Voice over LTE Networks

  • VoLTE updates from leading operators
  • Circuit switch fallback
  • The role and importance of IMS
  • Voice enabled devices – what does the future hold?
  • Service delivery requirements, design considerations and the network architecture
  • Monetising an intelligent core network

Track Sponsors

Accenture

Track 5 – OTT and applications; working with developers and 3rd parties

  • OTT players – their plans to deliver over LTE networks
  • OTT – how are they driving revenues for operators?
  • Video and premium content on LTE networks
  • Partnering with 3rd parties
  • App stores
  • Is there a killer app for LTE?
  • RCS

Track 6 – Mobile Backhaul; WiFi Offload

  • Mobile network integrated WiFi
  • The Impact of LTE Small Cells and Backhaul Scalability
  • How a fiber-multiplay operator can benefit from incorporating LTE into their offerings
  • Mobile Data Explosion – The Backhaul Perspective
  • Reducing churn with a public Wi-Fi plan
  • Backhaul Optimisation considerations over LTE networks
  • Designing and deploying a Sync-E backhaul solution
  • How LTE can help increase operator flexibility and improve the bottom line

May 24th – LTE World Summit Day 2

Conference Keynotes

Track Sponsor

Track 7 – Executive Summit

  • Pricing and tariff considerations
  • Real-world speeds and feedback from commercial LTE deployments
  • How do you increase ARPU over LTE networks?
  • LTE as the DSL replacement strategy
  • Field test updates and results
  • Leading operator strategies towards the future of 2G / 3G networks

Track 8 – Spectrum Management & Regulation; Roaming

Track Sponsor

  • Regulatory responsibilities
  • Spectrum re-farming
  • Interference cancellation – maximising spectrum efficiency
  • Do you really need to roam on an LTE network?
  • Roaming trial updates
  • Device manufacturer & chipset viewpoints
  • What is the spectrum of choice and how to reduce fragmentation

Track Sponsor

InterDigital

Track 9 –Handling the mobile data explosion

  • Resource planning – moving capacity around the network to handle surges in data
  • SON – providing the optimum user experience
  • Policy Control
  • OSS / BSS
  • Optimisation
  • FMC – Requirements of a fiber network to handle the increasing data traffic
  • Backhaul

Track Sponsor

Track 10 – TD LTE; LTE-Advanced

  • Switching from WiMAX to TD LTE
  • TDD vs FDD
  • Device considerations – dongle and handset’s differing requirements
  • Commercial TD networks in place
  • Time frames and expectations of LTE-Advanced
  • The first movers – what is on the horizon?

Track Sponsor

Track 11 – Devices / Smartphone Developments

  • Device announcements and developments
  • Device manufacturer views and plans – band fragmentation
  • Voice on LTE handsets
  • The continuing dongle opportunity – developments and pricing strategies
  • NFC

For view the full agenda, please downoad the conference brochure by clicking here

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’ve been playing around with The New iPad since Friday now, and the thing that’s most annoying at the moment is not the device at all. It’s Verizon. I’ve been of course testing LTE speeds and comparing to my Verizon 3G speeds and I must say, the latest iPad has a good receiver performance for a user device. I can burst at peak rates on Verizon’s network when I’m in good SNR conditions. I get lots of peaks with available high order modulations over the air, ready to travel but unfortunately the buffers are mostly empty when returning from the network. There is also some pauses in transmission but not due to link faults or retransmissions. Expectedly, the performance has been worst in public places like airports and close to business districts but the air performance is really not bad at all, it’s really really good according to my tools. Simplistically, this chart sums up what I (we all) expect from our LTE connection:

It’s not that different on ATT, only slightly more annoying.

This all points to one of two culprits.

  1. The Scheduler
  2. The Backhaul

I highly doubt it’s the scheduler because I’ve surely been on both vendor’s eNBs by now, and like I said, ATT and VZW have similar over the air performance. There is one smoking gun though. The latency. The packet latency is really pretty high on both networks! In SNRs of 30, I regularly get 50-65ms one way trips. Working backwards, I suspect that these guys are taking the packets on an odyssey from site, transport with various aggregators and ultimately to a distant EPC. I complained about the fact the iPad didn’t allow FaceTime on the LTE network… Perhaps that’s because of the fact that (A) the latency is crazy high and (B) the backhaul seems to be inadequate already.

Just note, same device tests 50% less latency on 3G networks than LTE. To me I suspect there is a ton of aggregation in the backhaul then that probably gets concentrated in to a few EPCs nationwide that don’t have your packet’s best path at heart. In the DFW airport area, best results I get for latency on LTE was communicating to servers in Level 3 facilities at the Dallas Internet POP, and they were still about 50ms> than 3G. Anyway, VZW take note, this is not cool but I am realistic and realize than I’m an early adopter.

BTW, NGMN has some great guidelines on requirements for optimized backhaul:

NGMN_Optimised_Backhaul_Requirements

Download (PDF, 1.5MB)

And provisioning backhaul:

NGMN_Whitepaper_Guideline_for_LTE_Backhaul_Traffic_Estimation

Download (PDF, 3.55MB)


I’ll stop complaining here. Have fun!

 I am amazed and just about stunned speechless that The New iPad, as Apple calls it, has 2 models still. Yeah yeah, the rumor blogs got the guesswork or leaks correct so the iPad not a big shock, however I thought for sure that Apple would like to minimize SKUs and maximize profits with a single model. The only thing that could possibly need to be different is the RF chain component and that’s questionable. Qualcomm MSM96XX baseband processing wouldn’t be the issue since it does everything commonly required for 3G and 4G. Seriously, if there HAS to be 2 models, and they are truly different then the consumer lost this round and ATT and VZW may need to face the wrath of the people. Who wouldn’t want the ability to switch providers with a single device? Who wants device lock in? We were willing to tolerate it because we mentally ‘grandfathered’ the bad behavior as vestiges from ye olde days of technology. 

I may be biting the hand that feeds me but this is getting out of control. Surely the FCC will step up. VZW’s Band 13  (Upper 700MHz) was sort of understandable although very opportunistic. Stupid Band 17 (F2+F3 of lower 700MHz) was ATT’s way of trying to lock the world out, especially those tons of small companies that purchased Band 12 (F1, F2 and F3 of lower 700MHz) spectrum. FCC if you are unwilling to take action then consider this, the precedent has been set such that these operators are jeopardizing/limiting compatibility with future public safety/first responder and governmental use of LTE too (Upper 700MHz). That means more costly devices for you and me to buy them. That probably means government will be forced to pay ATT/VZW for shared commercial infrastructure for profit instead of more secure, more optimized and lower cost self owned infrastructure. 

Apple’s specs:

Wi-Fi

  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth 4.0 technology

Carriers

Wi-Fi + 4G for AT&T

  • LTE (700, 2100 MHz)2; UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • Data only3

Wi-Fi + 4G for Verizon

  • LTE (700 MHz)2; CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz); UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • Data only3

So at the end of the day, the cool New iPad will be world phone capable on 3G (Either one) but carrier specific on 4G. Stupid, unfair and begs a fix.

I wonder if you can truly use The New iPad in 3G only mode on both Verizon and ATT without issues? There’s no HW/RF chain issues nor baseband, nor even SIM holder (LTE has a SIM/UICC requirement.)

Back to LTE, we may get a second chance from better RF chain components but it will be interesting to see if those see the light of day. BTW it’s not unfathomable to build the right RF front end to serve both bands right now.

BTW, what happened to the Sprint version?

Get the pitchforks and torches!

A quick rant. It bugs me that the current crop of LTE smart phones, even those demonstrated at Mobile World Congress this week,  just aren’t compelling enough yet. These devices have nice screens and all are striving for that thin, simplistic framed, glossy look that’s oh so desirable, however although the web experience is blazing fast when in LTE coverage areas, it’s boring after about 24 hours. After that 24 hours you start thinking about how many times you need to see an outlet for some electrons too. Now for tablets, LTE is awesome. All I do is browse the rich web at blazing speeds in my hotel room since the wifi is all choked up. On the other hand, the Smart phones are 1-2 generations away from being the replacement for the status quo. Firstly, need some technology improvements to help the battery life and cost, mainly though we need the operators to deploy is more compelling applications (I don’t mean phone apps) such as VoLTE. When I only need 1 radio (most of the time), so I get great battery life and smaller form factors and I get good or better voice and a good data experience, that is what I consider compelling. After this happens we get to the really cool stuff since the operators can reclaim 3G spectrum for 4G and etc…

From what I can tell, the device vendors are the hold up. The IMS/core is nearly ready, the standards are not finished but work arounds are possible (emergency services etc…) yet there are no devices that I have seen with an IMS client that also functions in circuit switched mode. How difficult can that be? BTW, the alternative and more sinister ending is the OEMs don’t want to finish the spec because they are milling the 3G network operators for as much as they can… either way…Grrr.

I guess I am just cruising down Gartner’s HypeCycle, perhaps in the Trough of Disillusionment, therefore I should be on to the Slope of Enlightenment next, Yes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the other hand check out the model of the American customer, I guess I am where I am supposed to be. Customer Complaints….

 

Links: Gartner, voici.com

VoLTE

VoLTE

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Public Safety

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