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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

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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.

 Just for consistency, want to point out that US operators ATT and VZW have not fully perfected 3G data, yet, either. I threw together a chart to show the efficiency just for the sake of being informed…

So there you have it. The best 3G typically seen is about 33% efficient and that’s drastically better than 2 years ago and so now they deploy 4G. The whole case of data vs voice is upside down from a business standpoint. We need to get the operators to 40-50% to make end users and operators happy else we get stuck with bandwidth caps and high rates forever…

 

 I try to stay away from UE commentary since there’s so much of my day job that overlaps with this, however it looks like I need to revisit the only device I have commented on for a 4th time. Hopefully this is it. Maybe I should take this as a lesson.

OK here are the previous comments firstly, if you want to catch up to my previous comments. 

No Surprise: New LTE iPad…Shock and Awe: Still 2 Models!! WTF???

Updated, Even More Digging on ‘The New iPad’ Regarding Carrier Lock Down

Follow Up Thinking on ‘The New iPad’ with LTE

In summary, I erroneously assumed Apple would have designed The New iPad with a WTR1605, or equivalent such as the new Fujitsu (see very bottom for specs) RF components. They did not, instead using the RTR8600 (Magellan) and therefore can claim to have spectrum issues to blame on not having a universal iPad that supports all carriers. This was a mistake on my part.

I just want to take this moment to examine why Apple has recently begun issuing refunds to Australian LTE customers on the basis they advertised it to the customers as 4G.

So the logical conclusion is the iPad doesn’t support their spectrum. Telstra has deployed LTE at 1800MHz, which is gaining a lot of worldwide popularity as an LTE band. No, The existing part, RTR8600 DOES have the capability of LTE on this band. So the design issue is not the transceivers it’s the amplifiers (RX and TX.) Here’s iFixit.com‘s picture of the board space for cellular RF and (large)    TechRepublic’s zoom in on the components… (large) 

There’s a TriQuint TQM7M5013 Quad-Band GSM / GPRS / EDGE-Linear Power Amplifier Module…and Skyworks 77460 LIPA  Module for WCDMA / HSPA+ Band IV (1710–1755 MHz)…so the ATT version is in these pictures. This is why Apple has separate versions and why they are having difficulty with Telstra’s 1800MHz LTE with Next G (850 WCDMA) deployment. There’s very limited space plus they’re trying to keep heat dissipation/power consumption down and these constraints together are tough to find parts for.

Regarding Australia, it is possible to cover the bands in the same spaces they have today so I’m only guessing logistics is the issue there. Until then, they will need to back off the 4G claims. 

Here is the confusing amount of possible bands….

I had assumed that there was more space allocated for more silicon so I was wrong about a universal iPad. The way forward for Apple and others is fairly straightforward, to make a universal version, they can:

  1. Create a modular RF section that can be user changed, perhaps embedded with the SIM holder???
  2. Shrink something like battery or use next generation MDM9625/WTR1605  to save some space to allocate for more chips. (Still, doubt you will get all PA/LNA combinations plus you need duplexers etc…)
  3. Go SDR!!! (Software Defined Radio..) Screw this approach, use their existing Cortex type of cores, license some IP from the myriad of A/D and LNA/PA guys out there create a solution that covers all bands.  
#3 is most difficult from a size and power consumption point of view but exactly the type of problem Apple is suited to attack given their resources, desire to create better solutions and end user device pricing. Perhaps one more process shrink of that hardware, like 28um at TMSC or IBM would get them to a ‘close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades so let’s go do it’ ability, I’m not sure. 
Here’s an article on a Wideband Power Amp for SDR that could be a model for the end device.
Lastly, an SDR project would benefit the end users greatly, but I don’t think Samsung or STEricsson would take the initial risk based on their previous performance. On the other hand, for Apple this doesn’t seem risky at all. They are moving something like at least 20M units of mobile devices annually, so developing this module would make sense for the upstream partners that would help make it happen. Apple could organize the effort on a project or tiger team basis with the expectation that the industry will adopt the approach once they have pioneered it. How much of a head start would this give Apple in the marketplace? Guessing about 12months or so at least. Not only that, platforms allows flexibility to really improve RF like through better interference cancellations and so on… Gets me excited to build one just thinking about it.

That’s it folks….

 Oh yeah, Fujitsu transceiver launched the other day and would work here too…

MB86L13A LTE-Optimized Transceiver

 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

 Total coincidence but the other day I was just trying to get in touch with AirWalk when I noticed their management had changed. (it had been a while) So imagine my surprise (not) when I see that Ubee Interactive is purchasing their assets for $45M. AirWalk is a venture funded startup that has got a little traction with Sprint, they have an enterprise femto that supports 1X and EVDO. I remember when Jake Han left us at Samsung to found AirWalk so the arc is complete. The first product line was macro base stations for CDMA, then that quickly changed to micro, then a change to small cells a few years ago. Anyway, Ubee seems to be a better runway for small cells strategy in general as they seem to have lots of funding, some success with their cable modems (complimentary product lines) and a strong Asian connection. Some of the team in Richardson, TX will likely have to move to Denver, Co. That’s an upgrade too!

There is a PCWorld story that is WRONG, mentioning that Airvana is suing Ericsson over femtocell technology. NOT TRUE. The only connection to femtocells is Airvana is suing because they fund their femtocell development (new lilly pad) with software and support fees (old lilly pad) from their EVDO boards installed into (formerly) Nortel CDMA BTS’, and Ericsson decided to reverse engineer their software, developed it, installed it and stopped paying these fees.  That’s it, nothing more than that. Just saying’. 

Links: Airvana, PCWorld

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Mike Thelander, CEO of Signals Research has driven ATT, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile networks with the help of Accuver’s XCAL drive test tools. I know what is being broadcast but I am curious as to how these guys will interpret it. Anyhow, if you subscribe to their service they will tell you how it all went. I think the reports are multi-volume and go for $1495 each. He covers some hypotheses on network maturity and touches on OEM equipment used and throughput so it could be interesting…And I’ll play nice (to SRG) and not tell you (for free) what is wrong and right with these WiMAX, LTE and HSPA+ deployments and encourage you to have a look yourself. :)

Links: Signals Research Group

 Hello femtocells!

So last week was super busy for me and I was meaning to come back to this announcement that I saw from ip.access. As we all know claims of zillions of femtocells, are like the we’re all going to be choking in wireless data claims that went for like a decade before we stopped rolling our eyes at the iPhone…(and then again maybe only from the rear view mirror), but nonetheless, the calls from these market analysts for 10s of millions of femotocells to be deployed by now have not really happened. I’ve tried to help, I have 2 femtocells at my home, a VZW CDMA/EVDO and ATT WCDMA unit but not so common. So back to the point, ip.access has passed the 500K mark, which is not surprising, to me, but they are sort of claiming the largest femtocell deployments in the world. I can tell you that this is not true but I cannot not tell you more than that. Nonetheless, there it is. 500K unit milestone, they expect 1M in 2012.

 Good job ip.access!

 Links: ip.access, marketwatch.com

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VoLTE

VoLTE

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Small Cells

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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?
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