Currently viewing the tag: "LTE Advanced"

Dishint Been a while… I’ve been collaborating and innovating but I thought I would register my approval of a Dish + Sprint + Clear tie up. Firstly let me say I don’t think Softbank would be willing to let the opportunity slip away so low ($25.5B US) but I like the idea of an all wireless triple play. Yes, after a decade of talking about ‘Triple Play” it could finally happen. 

Some reasons that I like the idea of this combination:

  • Pricing for TV and mobile telephony in the US is high and not falling due to relative mon/du opolies of dominant incumbents
  • Dish and Sprint have both looked to use spectrum in alternative ways- seems like they could finally put something new out when together.
  • Sprint’s extreme risk averse culture sure could use a shake up, overall, it is really is slow to make decisions.
  • A triple play offer that’s true- not a reseller play, could offer some interesting future technology through integration
  • Both subscriber bases could grow marginally
  • Synergistic (did I just say that?) spectrum for LTE Advanced!
  • Saves a combined company CAPEX by not having Dish rush to build a nationwide LTE network (good for subs, but takes a very long time, so small likelihood of success)

They both also have ‘oddball’ spectrum, 2.6/2.3GHz [TDD]/800MHz [FDD] @ Sprint plus the 2200MHZ [FDD] @ Dish and could be merged into a very fast LTE-Advanced spectrum with some changes @ 3GPP…Heck even Verizon doesn’t have that much spectrum that close together to put up initially, although they have lower bands which have better RF propagation characteristics than the 2.2GHz.

Interestingly, Dish has set top boxes in homes and Sprint has femtocells deployed, so there is CPE in millions of homes. A combined devices makes a lot of sense but has been difficult to pull off between competitive issues etc…

Here is Dish’s site about the merger

Overall I think this could be a win for the US subscribers!

we win

 

Reuters Story:

Dish tries to trump SoftBank with $25.5 billion Sprint offer

From the Dish site:

Offer Letter

On behalf of DISH Network Corporation (“DISH”), I am submitting this proposal for a merger between DISH and Sprint Nextel Corporation (“Sprint”). Our proposal provides Sprint shareholders with a superior alternative to the pending Sprint/SoftBank transaction. It provides a superior cash proposal and affords your shareholders the opportunity to participate in a combined DISH/Sprint, which will benefit from substantial synergies and a significantly-enhanced strategic position.

cell density increasing So here we are again, another insanely busy week of reviews, document development, product development etc… I did manage to sneak some time to check out these presentations on small cells. If you are new to small cells or not fully engaged 100% of the time with this area, I think these 2 presentations together are quite good. My friend Zahid Ghadialy posted the first one from Airspan presented to the Small Cell SIG titled “Non-Line-of-Sight Wireless Backhaul for LTE Picocell/Metrocell Deployments.”  

The story opens with a description of the small cell concepts and features that pertain to LTE. The plot thickens with deployment and backhaul requirements with a surprise ending. I do think the backhaul + small cell approach is a pretty good one.

Check it out.

Next I am pulling out an older one from Qualcomm (December 2012.) This presentation is titled “1000x: Higher Efficiency.”  It gives a great overview of the types of things driving small cell interest and Qualcomm’s view on how to use them. 

I will add these to the small cell section.
This is a very interesting area of the market and I believe it will be the primary focus of network expansion/deployments within 3 years.

Real quick, AT&T execs are supposedly working to launch LTE Advanced next year!  I first saw this on TechSpot. Their Article is here:

AT&T executives confirm 4G LTE Advanced rollout will start next year

I think this is very plausible considering the standards will be in place at that time and they have this other spectrum that gives them some lower700MHz frequency space for one of the key features, Carrier Aggregation. Right now that spectrum is unpaired and unused and they paid billions for it so it makes sense to me.

  Oh yeah, 

 

Qualcomm is sampling their LTE-Advanced MODEM chipset the Qualcomm Gobi MDM9625/9225, now too. Hmmm...

 

 

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving if you are US based, else hope everyone enjoyed having the US off. Happy ThanksgivingI have a number of big, urgent and interesting projects going on that each have NDA type of agreements and so between the time and the mouth shutting agreements, it is severely putting a damper on my ability to bring attention to events going on in our world. This too shall pass and I will sputter out some tidbits here and there for the next few months.

Interesting things catching my eye with respect to (wrt) the wireless world include:

eSRVCC is an improvement to the SRVCC where instead of having the home network be the voice anchor, the visited network anchors aspects of the voice calls. This will streamline network-network communications and reduce latency, thus improving end user experience.
Here are before and after network diagrams.
I think the debate about LTE vs FTTH pricing is an interesting one. The intuitive answer is there is a competitive advantage to wireless however in the US there is a major premium on wireless data pricing. This is a very interesting thing that I’m hoping globalization can help. If there were true price competition (assuming identical services) then I bet the pace of change would be astonishing. Can’t wait to see how this goes in Japan.
The FCC is debating allowing DISH use the PCS band adjacent to the G block (H block) for LTE and this is, in and of itself is mildly interesting. But more interesting is the impact it could have on DISH’s plans to use their adjacent spectrum for LTE. Remember DISH came up with 20×2 MHz channels with the acquisitions of DBSD and TerreStar earlier. The FCC is open to DISH’s use but they are looking to add adding power restrictions in the UE TX band…to me limiting DISH’s opportunity, for example to deploy TD-LTE. I’m not sure why the filtering requirements cannot be sharpened on both sides of the spectrum but they never seem to do this. (Band 12 and Channel 51) 
The transformation of the mobile ecosystem is under our noses. See this chart.

Finish and Irish auctions of 800MHz are interesting just to help ecosystem for infrastructure add low bands…hopefully that ends up adding 700MHz capability to everything too.

Have a good one…Oh two more interesting tidbits…

Network Planning for LTE-Advanced

2012 LTE NA: What is a “Thinking Network”?

 So when I saw the article in the MIT Technology Review yesterday, I knew there would be some hype around it. Fast forward about 24 hours and the hysteria machine has really started up, see for yourself in Engadget and Fierce Wireless posts.

Their hysteria is that LTE networks are easy to jam, using easily procured equipment, the number thrown out was $650. See this quote: 

According to the research group’s director, Jeff Reed, a single malicious operative with a hot briefcase and a bit of know-how could take down “miles of LTE signals.” If the attacker splashed out on an amplifier, they could cut off reception for thousands of people across a whole city or region.

Addendum: This paper was created as a submission to NTIA regarding Public Safety LTE. It is here.

Well that’s easy to take out of context. Any electromagnetic transmission is easy to block/jam when you think about it. So this type of hype brings out a huge irritation with me, and that’s the blogosphere’s copy/paste system to fill their site and help generate page views. If a LASER is Light Amplified by Stimulated Emissons of Radiation, then HypASER blasts are due to Hype Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Ridiculousness

Let’s all get wound up about LTE jamming because hundreds of bloggers will copy and paste the MIT article in various ways to generate some hype for you.

OK, I’ll stop nagging…but the blogosphere is not helpful here.

I’ll explain my logic.

 

 

Applicability

It’s not far fetched to imagine hackers or terrorists or criminals whatever actually doing this. The parts required are mostly off the shelf and the knowledge is easily obtainable. This same approach as described for LTE works the same way with GSM, although CDMA/WCDMA is a bit more resistant but not immune. Creating noise in the RF domain, particularly in the channel of interest happens all the time. For example, an anti N order passive modulation (PIM) war, caused by shoddy work, bad cables, antennae or RF equipment, rusty bolts etc… is being fought now because operators realize the generated noise reduces throughput and thus reducing data capacity and therefore limiting revenue. 

For LTE networks though, the laws of Physics still prevail (in our universe) and a bad person with a jammer will be likely using low power, or having low effective gain (hard to carry around a 9′ antenna all the time), if they are low to the ground (where maximum effect could be achieved.) Again not impossible at low power/gain so you could say the sphere of influence is going to be very narrow if they target the eNB TX band. If they target the eNB RX band they may have more success but it’s effectiveness is wholly dependent on the location of the UE’s trying to communicate to the eNB. THIS IS NOT THOUSANDS UNLESS IN A WELL DEFINED/CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT/VENUE LIKE STADIUM POSSIBLY AND IS VERY LIMITED IN SCOPE.

Worst Case

Let’s go further and say that the perpetrators have now worked out how to maximize their gain to compete with the nearly 1KW ERP from the base stations. Got to find a favorable (high) location and have lots of gain, so huge antenna or high power or both. What spectrum are they broadcasting in? 

700MHz rogue transmitters may affect larger areas due to propagation characteristics than say 2100MHz. Either way, there is redundancy in most of the mobile world as networks are generally overlaid on a technology basis, so a failed 4G connection moves back to 3G. 

Countermeasures

So I thought it would be fun to review the many existing countermeasures that could be useful in defeating the perps. Firstly there is physical redundancy. Multiple networks, multiple LTE carriers, multiple sites more MIMO (antennae.) More spectrum to cover increases the perp’s setup complexity. They would need to deny 3G networks too. In most cases mobiles could search and find another network to serve them. More sites include wifi and small cells. Small cells alone could be a very very effective countermeasure. They don’t have to be at the same channel bandwidths, MIMO ranks (ex 4×2, 4×4, 8×8 etc…) or could/should operate in different channels or even utilize TDD modes instead of FDD modes or vice versa. This in an of itself would be very difficult to overcome.

It should also be noted a good defense would be detection. Sudden noise rises are reported in the link prior to all out failure. Beyond that it is wise for operators to have monitoring equipment placed in the link to guard against interference anyway. These external monitors help reduce site visits and so on for common unintentional interference could be the canary in the coal mine for intentional interferers. SON could also help. SON controllers would detect changes in noise and traffic levels, if a suitable outage threshold can be defined, then once the threshold is met, SON could automagically change tilts/increase gains/power in neighboring sectors or sites to help mitigate for the subscribers. 

Not out of the question but a little more resource intensive would be doing things like manual intervention. Examples include turning the cells in affected area off, alternative bandwidths/growing multiple channels or switching modes to TDD mode so as to be able to manually locate the noise sources. A more passive but effective countermeasure would be to implement LTE Roaming such that mobiles always have an alternative.

Let’s not forget that Release 10+ specifications (LTE Advanced) include a feature called Carrier Aggregation that allows operators to operate a virtual large channel over multiple smaller ones. This by very definition is more robust to interference than less bandwidth. Your milage will vary of course but it’s helpful.

Interference cancellation techniques are going to become widespread on UE and eNB to dramatically improve performance and this approach could help a lot.

If the perps are capable of ultra wide band, ultra high gain interference then they are probably more like nation-states and you have a much bigger problem on your hands than just the wireless communication interruption…although those small cells are probably still carrying traffic close by…

Thinking through this for Public Safety, heck this story could be created by a large operator trying to prevent Public Safety from operating their own LTE networks but I digress…the standards could be improved to allow for improved control channel redundancy/resiliency beyond a doubt. 

I guess I refute the numbers but not the principles of the original article. It’s going to take a lot more than $650 to effectively take out thousands of LTE users. LTE networks are probably more susceptible to IP hacks than RF hacks. However the blogospheric focus is on the (hot) air portion. Hopefully the hysteria will die down soon. Ugh…

 Did you see this? 

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

 

What a bunch a hooey!!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

Have a good day.

 
 
 

Full Press Release from PRNewswire…

 

I generally try to stay away from simply repeating what’s on every news page, blog etc on the planet at the moment. What I will instead make some commentary about is the position these guys are in and why LTE Advanced. Maybe it’s more like stream of consciousness but there’s only so many hours in a day….

It all started many moons ago at Nextel, following the Sprint acquisition, the fusion occurred after throwing in some explosive ingredients like Morgan O’brien, and Barry West a supporting cast like the Sprint management team, in a small space and well, the fusion reactions begin with the decision to deploy WiMAX 802.16 (TDD)

 with all of the weird 2.5 spectrum, under the banner of Xohm…. (Yes, I waaay oversimplify but you get the general gist.)  Of course we have the whole Craig McCaw angle with the ClearWire startup and their management team including John Saw etc… that started down a similar path starting with their original Motorola Canopy system, switching to WiMAX with their Sprint joint activities, and ending in their merger with Xohm 

to form Clear.At this point you have a startup company with oodles of spectrum at 2.5GHz, a fair number of launched markets with 802.16 (TDD), and so far lots of debt and not millions and millions of subscribers. Clear’s decision to deploy LTE Advanced in TDD mode sort of is harmonious with their existing 802.16 networks as they share similar bandwidths and requirements to use multiple antennae. Sprint even did some legwork for them with a full out RFP to select 3 OEMs that could provide CDMA/WiMAX and LTE in the same base station. This cleared the path technically for Clear to theoretically upgrade their existing (newer) base stations to support LTE as an additional carrier.

This buys them a more certain future with respect to devices of course as the world seems to be moving towards LTE and away from WiMAX.

 

Now competitively this was a very logical move since their wholesale partner, Sprint, as I mentioned, is also on the path for upgradable base stations to provide LTE on their own plus they have some funding for the upgrade since they did a wholesale (two way) deal with the satellite LTE provider Lightsquared.

 

Clear has announced they plan to deploy 120MBps service so this means roughly 20MHz with 4×4 MIMO will be allocated to the task. (Wow, Add that to their existing WiMAX carriers and that is some serious backhaul required at each site…if each sector supported 20Mbps of WiMAX and 120Mbps of LTE, then 360Mbps per site ideally…) There are few operators capable of 20MHz allocations in a single band so they do have a competitive edge in this area if they can figure out the backhaul.

Source: Clear

Full PR after the break…

Read Full Article →


Design Art Networks has released a 40nm SoC that is very respectable in terms of specifications.  It is Release 10 (LTE Advanced) ready and only consumes 8W at full power, supporting up to  80MHz aggregate spectrum, and 16TX + 16RX paths (= 4 sectors of 4×4 MIMO). If the price is right, beware the onslaught of highly capable, low profile, base stations!


In its full glory following break.


Links: Design Art Networks, Business Wire

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I have always admired the fact that the South Korean Government spends a significant amount of money on ‘strategic’ technology development. For IT/Wireless and other advanced technology, they have an agency named Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI.) ETRI is working on a five year plan to develop LTE Advanced and note the 3GPP standard Release 10 is supposed to be available in April of this year. ETRI has invested $60M with 500 people researching and developing, obtaining a solid 24 patents plus another 500 applications and so on, around LTE Advanced. Recently they demonstrated LTE Advanced on the streets, delivering 3D video to a moving vehicle at rates up to 600mbps. Within this demonstration, they also showed off the use of the forthcoming Multimedia Broadcast and Multicast Service (MBMS) described within the 3GPP LTE related standardization efforts. MBMS of course makes delivering similar content more efficient over the LTE channel using multicast techniques and some changes in the subcarrier spacing. Also note, there is a ‘requirement’ to deploy LTE Advanced in South Korea in 2014, so this is a step towards that goal.

Another interesting result of this strategy is that it looks like ETRI and Korean vendors will be a major player at the IPR table (Along with Qualcomm, Interdigital etc..)

Links: Telecoms Korea, ETRI

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Saw this announcement by Nokia Siemens and T-Mobile USA and, well, muhahahahahaha…Seriously, I don’t really understand what the thinking is. It looks like we can safely eliminate T-Mobile from the ‘going to carry the iPhone’ rumors. Isn’t it strange that NSN is building LightSquared (satellite LTE service) and they seem to work hard to isolate T-Mobile from using that until Release 11 of the standards (like 2013) ? On the other hand NSN can probably reuse their Flexi Basestation’s LTE MODEM, create a custom package, and then create a special 32 Power Amp (8 carriers X 4 TX paths) card per sector for T-Mobile USA. Also, it looks like T-Mobile is in the market to acquire the additional 20-30MHz in each market to make this happen too.I struggle to imagine the 3x632Mbps=2.016Gbps per site of backhaul to get ready for too, although that’s a common issue with all data deployments. Christmas is *just* around the corner in Espoo, Finland!!! More details after the break…


Source: Nokia Siemens

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