Currently viewing the tag: "small cells"

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

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

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

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

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

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

Operators still resist!

Operators resistant to shared small cell networks

cloud_web

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

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

VZW Rule The Air Logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

White Paper about network sharing..

84kb cropped version The Small Cell Americas Conference and Small Cell Forum events are taking place this week in Dallas, Texas. This makes me think back in time….smallcellsamerica I first started discussing small cells as a product in 2002, at Samsung, and 11 years later we have progressed very little in the way technology normally goes. From what I can say, there have been 3 major hurdles that have not helped here. 

1. Big iron OEMs make lots of $ from macro cells. They have not seen a business plan that makes sense to them, you know where they introduce a product that essentially cannibalizes their existing revenue stream and converts $40K units into $400 units.

2. The operators are not exactly sure what to do here. Firstly, they have a business model that is pretty tight. They price a flashy new user device at an attractive price (normally break even or lossy), then subsidize this purchase with the anticipated 2 year service revenue. Notice there was no cell in the spreadsheet that was for small cell in that revenue plan. I’ve witnessed arguments between company executives over whom would actually ‘pay’ for the device, example, is it a marketing expense or is it an operations expense? Let’s call this one chicken and egg.

The egg: chickenegg1

They ask themselves, what will the consumer think of us, or another way, does sending a consumer a small cell signal to the public that our coverage is poor (even if it really is, and forget that it’s cheaper to operate a good network than a poor one)?

Here is an example of the back of napkin numbers that US wireless guys go through in this argument….

Per New subscriber: (So operators outside of the US have a similar calculation, but with smaller numbers- US customers are just gouged that way and, no, Called Party Pays is not the difference.)

  1. New device cost: -$899
  2. Customer Paid: $200
  3. Lifetime Service Revenue: (ARPU X 24) ($109.67x 24 = $2632.08)
  4. Small Cell Cost: -$599
  5. Total Adjusted Revenue: $2033.08

Then they say something like, “Now you can plainly see we can’t afford this device at this price” and you are supposed to agree.

Naturally, the chicken would be:

…a small cell to ensure this coverage is perfect at that spot. Don’t forget, the OEM’s are not exactly cheering on the operator’s executives to figure this one out either. Count on these OEMs to throw anything that is really smoky on this campfire pow wow.

3. Exactly what is the business plan for the small cell manufacturer? Before chipsets came to the rescue, they needed to spend many millions on R&D to create a small cell, all very hard to justify at really low unit prices without large commitments in volume. Compounding the problem here: operators not promising small cell unit volume based on challenges above. This situation marginally improved when Qualcomm, Ubiquisys, MindSpeed+picochip, TI etc came with that piece but there are still large investments to make to bring one to market. R77_Small_Cells_T1

So, making a low cost device is not without market promise of volume. Unfortunately, there have been very limited distributions of small cells from operators and the numbers aren’t there.  I won’t talk about the other costs (based on complexity) of integrating the SIP based femto core into the networks- that’s a fiasco story for another day.

There are other hurdles but they are minor in comparison. Anyway, for all the promise of small cells, the only definitive thing that’s happened is WiFi is everywhere. You know, THAT, Wifi, that the carriers haven’t been able to monetize… It’s getting depressing- ugh, I’ll stop here…but as you know the story continues…We can finish this chat later….

Oh yeah- here’s a cool presentation from today’s conference….


From www.qualcomm.com/chipsets/femtocell

The unprecedented growth in mobile data consumption, driven by smart phones and other data intensive devices, highlights the need for improved coverage and increased data throughput for subscribers. More than 70% of mobile voice and data traffic is generated indoors (Informa 2008). Unfortunately, macro base stations are located outdoors. Providing coverage from the “outside in” can result in a poor end user experience. In a macro network, user experience can be affected by several factors:

  • Cell size
  • Users distance from the cell tower
  • Backhaul
  • Number of users
  • Traffic levels

Femtocells allow operators to target capex where it is needed by bringing the network access point closer to the mobile user. This enables a higher data connection and an improved user experience. Qualcomm’s femtocell platform helps mobile operators stay competitive and respond to emerging technologies, while increasing coverage and the overall mobile network capacity with greater spectrum reuse for the operator. The Qualcomm platform will provide a flexible, fully integrated System on Chip (SoC) that allows equipment manufacturers and operators to deliver a best-in-class solution with the highest levels of integration and performance.

Increased interference is a concern when operators consider dense femtocell deployments to improve performance. Qualcomm has completed extensive performance analysis, simulations and field tests and developed innovative techniques to address the issue of interference management. These techniques and algorithms will ensure that the femtocell platform delivers a reliable user experience as a mobile phone moves from femtocell to macrocell.

Qualcomm is an active member of the Femto Forum and a key contributor to the Femto Forum white paper, Interference Management in UMTS Femtocells. As a result of research associated with this paper as well as extensive simulation and analysis done independently, Qualcomm has determined four key areas to successful interference management.

 

 

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.

 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…

 

Last Friday, in the US, the 10th of August, Sprint announced it had awarded Samsung and Alcatel Lucent contracts to provide small cells. Currently, Airwalk provides enterprise class small cells and Airvana their residential (femto) small cells for CDMA 1x/EVDO. This recent announcement seems centered around LTE, Samsung’s part to play focused on indoor small cells (they provided the first 400K CDMA femtocells) and ALU most likely a LightRadio win, thus outdoor focused with WiFi potential too. Further, it’s most likely that Samsung’s small cell will again be alone (head start of 9-15 months) in it’s ability to interwork CDMA and LTE as they roll their own chipsets whereas the other vendors are part of Qualcomm’s ecosystem. 

This is a first ‘major’ announcement, and NOW we can expect full wide scale deployment of small cells….See, there we go, ip.access just announced a few hours ago they also have 5 customers.

This could be the first chess move towards Sprint moving towards VoLTE too…

Full PR below…

That took forever…

 

 

See the cool concept small cell from ip.access? They focus on WCDMA/HSPA and LTE where as the Samsung focus is more CDMA and LTE, and ALU just LTE and WiFi for now…

 

 

Alcatel Lucent’s Cool Light Radio:


Links: alcatelucent.com, youtube.com, Samsung, ip.access

ip.access Press Release

14th August 2012

ip.access on target for Small Cell LTE Roll-out

First units already shipped to customers

Cambridge, Aug 14th 2012: ip.access today confirmed that it had already shipped an LTE-only version of its new E-100 dual mode access point to five customers for laboratory and field trials. This is an important staging point in the process of moving towards full commercial deployments and represents the company’s first LTE product shipments.

Announcing the shipments, ip.access CEO Simon Brown said: “Customer interest has been strong in the E-100 and we have invested in accelerating the programme in order to meet that demand.

“Indeed, our commitment to increased R&D into understanding and delivering on all the end-to-end requirements of the developing small cell network layer – from access points to network gateways and management systems – is now paying dividends; gaining recognition and support from network operators, system integrators, our partners and the industry in general.”

The E-100 is a small cell Access Point targeted for use in enterprises and public indoor environments. The device will provide simultaneous 4G and 3G mobile phone signals with data speeds of up to 150 Mbps and 42 Mbps respectively and will also be able to support WiFi as an optional module.

ip.access founder and CTO Nick Johnson said: “Small cells will have a vital role to play in delivering LTE’s promise of high-speed data for the mass-market and the E-100 will allow operators to quickly deploy that capacity exactly where it is needed.”
The E-100 will be integrated into ip.access’ nanoConverge end-to-end small cell solution architecture, allowing operators to deploy the E-100 alongside the company’s existing 3G small cells using the same gateways and network management system.

Last month, judges at the Small Cells Forum industry awards gave ip.access a special award for its Network Orchestration System small cell layer next generation management tool and its nanoConverge combined 3G/LTE network gateway.

 

Samsung Press Release

August 10, 2012 in Mobile

SAMSUNG Network Infrastructure to Complement Sprint Network Vision with LTE Small Cell Deployment Program Award

Samsung will leverage its strong business alliance with Sprint, and expertise in 3G and 4G infrastructure and managed services to improve coverage and speed for Sprint customers

DALLAS and KANSAS CITY – August 9, 2012 – Samsung Telecommunications America (Samsung Mobile), the No. 1 mobile phone provider in the United States and a leading provider of 3G and 4G network infrastructure, has been chosen to help develop Small Cell Network Infrastructure for Sprint’s (NYSE: S) Network Vision Program. Sprint’s Network Vision is a multi-year initiative to enhance Sprint customers’ network experience, including improvements in coverage, quality and speed by deploying multi-mode base stations capable of supporting various spectrum bands.

Sprint and Samsung engineers collaborated to develop products to significantly expand the coverage and capacity of the Sprint network utilizing Samsung’s small cells. For these small cell rollouts, Sprint plans to deploy a heterogeneous network, or HetNet, that targets high traffic indoor areas and hundreds of high capacity public venues such as stadiums, conference centers, office complexes, hotels, and airports.

“Our ongoing work with Sprint’s Network Vision demonstrates Samsung’s commitment to developing custom solutions with our leading carrier customers. This new award will allow Sprint to meet increasing demand for coverage and capacity while consolidating multiple legacy networks and spectrum bands in a single platform,” said Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Mobile. “The deployment of our small cell technology will enhance Sprint’s network and demonstrates the strength of Samsung’s infrastructure offering.”

Samsung initially became involved in the Network Vision program in December 2010. The two companies also collaborate closely to deliver Sprint’s 56 million customers nationwide 4G LTETM devices including the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Samsung Galaxy S III® wireless handsets.

“Network Vision is all about improving the network experience for our customers,” said Bob Azzi, senior vice president of network operations for Sprint. “We are excited to expand our relationship with Samsung with their inclusion in the small cell program and provide customers with the cutting edge network they need to keep up with the cutting edge phones Sprint offers.”

With more than 30 years of telecommunications experience, Samsung is the only telecommunications infrastructure vendor providing end-to-end solutions for all major network technologies from chipsets and infrastructure, to mobile devices.

Samsung, Galaxy, and Galaxy S are all trademarks of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. All other company names, product names and marks are the property of their respective owners and may be trademarks or registered trademarks.

About Sprint Nextel 
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 56 million customers at the end of the second quarter of 2012 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers in customer satisfaction and most improved, across all 47 industries, during the last four years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.

About Samsung Telecommunications America

Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC, a Dallas-based subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., researches, develops and markets wireless handsets, wireless infrastructure and other telecommunications products throughout North America. For more information, please visit www.samsung.com.

About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

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.

ALU Press Release

Sprint to leverage Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio to bring high-capacity 4G LTE mobile broadband coverage and speeds to busy public locations

lightRadio Metro Cells to be deployed on Sprint’s network to deliver extra capacity and better quality connections in locations such as stadiums and campusesOverland Park, Kan. and Paris – August 6, 2012 – Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) and U.S. service provider Sprint (NYSE: S) are today announcing an agreement to deploy Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio™ Metro Cells to augment coverage in high-traffic areas. Metro cells are mini base stations that can easily be deployed indoors or outdoors on lamp posts or street signs, inside shopping malls or stadiums to provide enhanced capacity. They can also fill gaps in coverage – created by buildings – in densely populated urban locations. Sprint’s initial deployment will focus on indoor applications, including entertainment venues, transportation hubs and business campuses. By deploying metro cells, Sprint expects to deliver a better broadband experience to more of its subscribers in these high-traffic areas and will help reduce costs in the process.The growing adoption of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices has resulted in an increased demand for Internet access, video and other mobile data services. At sporting events, popular shopping venues and other social and business occasions, large numbers of people are accessing social networking sites, sharing videos, playing Internet games and making voice and video calls, putting stress on mobile service providers’ cellular networks. This can lead to dropped calls, slower data connections and reduce the subscriber’s mobile broadband experience.To address this fast-growing demand for data, Sprint is building an all-new network, an initiative known as Network Vision. This new network will include the deployment of a new, improved 3G network and 4G LTE. Small cell technology complements the Network Vision plan by providing a lower cost infrastructure to expand coverage and capacity in targeted high usage areas. “Sprint is a leader in innovation, and as such, we want our customers to enjoy the latest high-bandwidth services and applications,” said Bob Azzi, Sprint senior vice president-Network. “With Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio Metro Cells we will be able to increase our coverage and capacity where it’s needed.”Robert Vrij, president of Alcatel-Lucent’s Americas Region and head of Global Strategic Alliances, said enhancing mobile broadband coverage in busy public areas is a top priority for many service providers. “As a leader in small cell technology, Alcatel-Lucent is in an ideal position to address this challenge,” he said. “By selecting our lightRadio Metro Cells, Sprint can offer its customers the quality of mobile broadband experience they expect, keeping them connected wherever they are.”Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio technology supports the full range of wireless technologies, including 2G, 3G and 4G LTE, and Wi-Fi. This provides mobile operators with the capability to grow their network capacity to meet exploding demand for data services with higher speeds and in a smaller physical space. lightRadio also addresses many other operator challenges, including reducing power consumption for a greener footprint and providing a deployment solution that helps operators bridge the digital divide for people without Internet access.Alcatel-Lucent will provide Sprint with the lightRadio™-based Metro Cell portfolio of products which are capable of supporting outdoor, urban hotspot, rural and indoor applications.

To date, Alcatel-Lucent has 39 commercial small cell deployment agreements and more than 20 ongoing trials.

About Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 56 million customers at the end of the second quarter of 2012 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers in customer satisfaction and most improved, across all 47 industries, during the last four years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at external linkwww.sprint.com or external linkwww.facebook.com/sprint and external linkwww.twitter.com/sprint.

Sprint Nextel Media Contact:

Kelly Schlageter

703-592-8809
[email protected]

About Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU)The long-trusted partner of service providers, enterprises and governments around the world, Alcatel-Lucent is a leading innovator in the field of networking and communications technology, products and services. The company is home to Bell Labs, one of the world’s foremost research centers, responsible for breakthroughs that have shaped the networking and communications industry. Alcatel-Lucent was named one of MIT Technology Review’s 2012 Top 50 list of the “World’s Most Innovative Companies” for breakthroughs such as lightRadio™, which cuts power consumption and operating costs on wireless networks while delivering lightning fast Internet access. Through such innovations, Alcatel-Lucent is making communications more sustainable, more affordable and more accessible as we pursue our mission – Realizing the Potential of a Connected World.With operations in more than 130 countries and one of the most experienced global services organizations in the industry, Alcatel-Lucent is a local partner with global reach. The Company achieved revenues of Euro 15.3 billion in 2011 and is incorporated in France and headquartered in Paris.For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent on: http://www.alcatel-lucent.com, read the latest posts on the Alcatel-Lucent blog: http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/blog and follow the Company on Twitter: external linkhttp://twitter.com/Alcatel_Lucent.Contact the Alcatel-Lucent Press Office:[email protected]

 So Aeroflex announces their TM500 product and I just want to slavishly point out how cool I think it is. Firstly it’s one of the few ways to test 4×4 MIMO capabilities of LTE. It supports 20MHz of bandwidth and up to 300Mbps DL and 75Mbps UL of throughput. They just announced a new feature, interference cancellation (eICIC)- woohoo! Seriously though, the TM500 is a really good way to validate the performance of lets say, integrating small cells and macrocells, or trying out 4×4 MIMO, or eNB scheduling optimizations etc… This is a great tool.

Infrastructure Test System TM500 HSPA Test Mobile Data Sheet (158 kB)

Links: Aeroflex.com

Interesting deck of slides on small cells popped up this morning, titled ” The Chemistry of Small Cells.”  Have a look.

I like the call to action regarding a single vendor..

Good stuff.

Download (PDF, 714KB)

  Movik’s product announcement caught my eye, its a real time OSS type of network surveillance system targeted towards handover traffic. This solution is an interesting niche. There is going to be a significant amount of traffic ‘in flight’ moving between 3G, 4G LTE, WiFi etc… I can see this will be very useful for small cell deployments too. Check it out, full PR below…

Link: Movik

 

REACHT(TM) Intp Your Network

Movik’s unique intelligent Radio Access Network (RAN) solution is based on its REACHTM (Report, Export, Act, Control, HetNet) architecture.   Movik’s REACH architecture provides a comprehensive end-to-end intelligent RAN deployment lifecycle that provides flow-based, content aware RAN awareness in real-time across multiple Radio Access Technologies (multi RAT).  REACH delivers a progressive solution designed specifically to address operator needs today and as networks scale rapidly for tomorrow’s mobile broadband demand as outlined below:

REACH Network Diagram

REACH

The company’s innovative solutions enable operators to improve the subscriber experience by intelligently correlating and acting in real-time, on all traffic in the RAN. Movik leverages network and content awareness to quickly and easily scale content distribution, establish policies and procedures based on real-time network conditions, and implement traffic management techniques that make the most efficient use of the existing network infrastructure.

REACH diagram

Movik’s REACH architecture is the industry’s first solution that intelligently delivers real-time RAN awareness to the mobile network.  Exposing real-time intelligence from the RAN – the part of the network that impacts efficiency and QoE the most – enables operators to better plan, manage, and control their most valuable network asset.  With Movik’s REACH architecture, each individual element of the access network, down to the sector and device, become independently visible and controllable, allowing operators to take precise actions and policies on a per-sector, per-condition, per-content, and per-subscriber basis.

Movik Launches Industry’s First 3G/4G/LTE Correlation Solution

Tue, 05/22/2012 – 09:15

REACH™ Architecture Enables Deep Unified View into Operational Efficiencies of a Multi RAT Overlay Network

Westford, Mass. — May 22, 2012 — Movik Networks, the Intelligent RAN company, today announced the immediate availability of the industry’s first 3G/4G/LTE real-time correlation solution for intelligent RAN traffic management, Movik’s LTE Correlation and Multi RAT (Radio Access Technology) platform. Movik’s innovative solution allows operators to correlate in real-time not only what is going on in each individual network, whether 3G or 4G, but also correlate in real-time the mobility between the networks and the effects of usage as subscribers transition between networks.  Operators no longer have to think of their networks as separate verticals; with Movik’s LTE Correlation and Multi RAT solution, they now have a single, unified view into the overall operational efficiency of all their networks.

Wireless operators have seen explosive growth in data traffic as a result of higher speed wireless data networks, mobile video and social media and ever increasing USB devices, smartphones and tablets.  With demand for wireless data outpacing the mobile broadband infrastructure available, operators are investing in new, emerging RAT such as LTE and HSPA+. These newer access technologies have to work with existing technologies and to address this issue; operators are running layered, multi-generational, multi technology Radio Access Networks.

Movik’s LTE Correlation and Multi RAT platform, based on Movik’s REACH™ (Report, Export, Act, Control, HetNet) architecture, enables operators to resolve these problems and gain deep, unified insight into the operational efficiencies of their multi RAT overlay network.   Operators can now trigger multi RAT traffic flow management and policies in real-time enabling subscribers to be optimally connected, anytime, anywhere.

“Our surveys show that sophisticated real-time management of traffic in the RAN, at the subscriber level, is becoming an increasingly high priority for network operators,” said Graham Finnie, chief analyst at Heavy Reading. “As operators begin the transition from 3G to 4G, they will also need to be able to apply these management techniques dynamically to subscribers moving between these networks, as seamlessly as possible.”

“Movik is pleased to announce the commercial availability of its LTE and Multi RAT platform that supports both 3G and 4G networks simultaneously,” said John St. Amand, CEO, Movik. “Operators now have for the first time, a deep, correlated view of the real-time RAN that enables them to understand exactly what is going on by device, sector, or network. They can finally see what the subscriber QoE is as they transition between 3G and 4G, and understand network behavior, whether it’s dropped calls, data sessions, or capacity degradation during those transitions as a result of various application or content usage.  Movik’s LTE Correlation and Multi RAT platform provides the kind of granular visibility that allows operators to manage both their CAPEX and QoE much more thoughtfully for both their 3G and 4G networks simultaneously.”

Trials of Movik’s LTE Correlation and Multi RAT platform are underway in North America and APAC.

To register for Movik’s LTE Correlation and Multi RAT Solution Brief, please visit:
http://www.movik.com/3g4glte-correlation-intelligent-ran-traffic-management-solution-brief

 

Executive Briefings

To arrange a press or analyst briefing, please contact Jacey Godfrey at [email protected].

For more information about Movik please visit www.movik.com or

 

About Movik Networks

Movik Networks’ innovative solutions enable operators to improve their subscribers’ experience by intelligently correlating and acting in real-time, on all traffic from the RAN. The company’s technology based on its REACH™ (Report, Export, Act, Control, HetNet) architecture, leverages network and content awareness to quickly and easily scale content distribution, establish policies and procedures based on real-time network conditions, and implement traffic management techniques that make the most efficient use of the existing network infrastructure. To learn more about Movik, please visit: www.movik.com.

Media Contact:
Jacey Godfrey
Director, Corporate Marketing
[email protected]

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

I noticed that several Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are announcing their new 1GBps WiFi products. See, while WiFi 802.11n and LTE are both at their 4G commercially, the IEEE standards development for the next G for WiFi has been underway for some time. These new product announcements are based on a 5G WiFi, IEEE 802.11ac. Funny thing is many of the new features are in Release 9 or 10 of the current 3GPP LTE standards so I think it’s safe to assume there is some cross pollinating of the standards from this point forward. Wiki had a good summary for the 5G WiFi features:

New technologies

  • Wider channel bandwidths
    • 80 MHz and 160 MHz channel bandwidths (vs. 40 MHz maximum in 802.11n)
      • 80 MHz mandatory for stations (STAs), 160 MHz optional
  • More MIMO spatial streams
    • Support for up to 8 spatial streams (vs. 4 in 802.11n)
  • Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO)
    • Multiple STAs, each with one or more antennas, transmit or receive independent data streams simultaneously
      • “Space Division Multiple Access” (SDMA): streams not separated by frequency, but instead resolved spatially, analogous to 11n-style MIMO
    • Downlink MU-MIMO (one transmitting device, multiple receiving devices) included as an optional mode
  • Modulation
    • 256-QAM, rate 3/4 and 5/6, added as optional modes (vs. 64-QAM, rate 5/6 maximum in 802.11n)
  • Other elements/features
    • Single sounding and feedback format for beamforming (vs. multiple in 802.11n)
    • MAC modifications (mostly to support above changes)
    • Coexistence mechanisms for 20/40/80/160 MHz channels, 11ac and 11a/n devices
Sound familiar? MU-MIMO and 8 stream support should for sure. See the table below for 802.11ac PHY rate scenarios.
Scenario Typical Client
Form Factor
PHY Link Rate Aggregate
Capacity
1-antenna AP, 1-antenna STA, 80MHz Handheld 433 Mbit/s 433 Mbit/s
2-antenna AP, 2-antenna STA, 80MHz Tablet, Laptop 867 Mbit/s 867 Mbit/s
1-antenna AP, 1-antenna STA, 160MHz Handheld 867 Mbit/s 867 Mbit/s
2-antenna AP, 2-antenna STA, 160MHz Tablet, Laptop 1.73 Gbit/s 1.73 Gbit/s
4-antenna AP, 4 1-antenna STAs, 160MHz
(MU-MIMO)
Handheld 867 Mbit/s to each STA 3.47 Gbit/s
8-antenna AP, 160MHz (MU-MIMO)
— 1 4-antenna STA
— 1 2-antenna STA
— 2 1-antenna STAs
Digital TV, Set-top Box,
Tablet, Laptop, PC, Handheld
3.47 Gbit/s to 4-antenna STA
1.73 Gbit/s to 2-antenna STA
867 Mbit/s to each 1-antenna STA
6.93 Gbit/s
8-antenna AP, 4 2-antenna STAs, 160MHz
(MU-MIMO)
Digital TV, Tablet, Laptop, PC 1.73 Gbit/s to each STA 6.93 Gbit/s
Probably the thing 3GPP will use next is the new 256-QAM modulation in 802.11ac. This would be very useful for small cells, heck just make the standards the same and be done with it. :)
Pretty interesting Netgear page is here.

NETGEAR INTRODUCES INDUSTRY’S FIRST 802.11AC WIFI ROUTER

NETGEAR Announces the R6300 Dual Band Gigabit WiFi Router based on Broadcom’s 802.11ac router platform delivering Internet Speeds Up To Three Times Faster than 802.11n

 

SAN JOSE, Calif. — April 26, 2012 — NETGEAR®, Inc. (NASDAQGM: NTGR), a global networking company that delivers innovative products to consumers, businesses and service providers, today announced the availability of the NETGEAR R6300 WiFi Router; the first 802.11ac dual band gigabit WiFi router enabling 5th generation WiFi (5G WiFi) at gigabit speeds. The router is also backwards compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n which provides optimum interoperability with legacy WiFi devices.

The NETGEAR R6300 WiFi Router, powered by Broadcom’s 5G WiFi IEEE 802.11ac chips, is up to three times faster than today’s 802.11n routers. With an elegant new design that fits perfectly in consumers’ living spaces, the router increases the coverage area for HD streaming in the home. The NETGEAR R6300 WiFi Router has speeds of up to 1300 Mbps on 5GHz and 450 Mbps on 2.4GHz enabling consumers to download web content from any device in the home in a fraction of the time it would take on a similar 802.11n device.

The upcoming 802.11ac wireless standard is the world’s fastest WiFi, providing gigabit WiFi speeds allowing for web content to download faster, and large video or music files to synch more quickly. The increased speed of 802.11ac technology is ideal for mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, by providing three times the performance for a similar amount of battery consumption of devices utilizing the current 802.11n WiFi standard.

  • Other advanced features of the NETGEAR R6300 WiFi Router include:
  • NETGEAR Genie®: This free app for PCs, Macs, iOS and Android smartphones and tablets enables home users to control, monitor, repair, and manage their home networks easily through a simple, elegant dashboard. NETGEAR customers can download the utility at http://www.netgear.com/genie or from the Google Play or App Store.
  • NETGEAR MyMediaTM: The NETGEAR Genie mobile app feature provides the ability to find photos, video or music files anywhere on the network and play them on a DLNA media player.
  • AirPrint TM Support: The NETGEAR Genie app enables users to print on any USB or networked printer directly from an iPad or iPhone.
  • Guest network access: The NETGEAR Genie app makes setting up a guest network simple. Guests and visitors can go online through the router without the need for secure login information. The guest network also prevents users from seeing and accessing a household’s computers, printers, storage devices and other home network devices.
  • ReadySHARE® Printer: Makes it easy to turn any existing USB printer into a fully functional networked printer that is fully compatible with Macs and PCs.
  • Media Server-DLNA: The R6300 Router is DLNA ready and can stream to any DLNA compatible device in your house, including the latest Smart TVs, Blu-ray players, media players, game consoles, handheld devices, tablets and more.
  • NETGEAR Live Parental Controls: Centralized, flexible, and reliable parental control solution for all the devices on the network, including Macs, Windows PCs, smartphones and tablets, for a safe online environment for children and teenagers. No subscription is required.
  • Automatic WiFi Security: Comes with wireless security turned on out-of-the-box, complete with a pre-configured network name and password, protecting home WiFi networks by default.
  • Easy Installation: No CD required so users can set it up with smartphones, tablets, ultrabooks, and even MacBook Air.
  • 2 USB ports: To simultaneously support USB storage and USB printer on the router.

“802.11ac is the next-generation of WiFi connectivity and is set to revolutionize the way we consume content wirelessly by delivering Internet speeds up to three times faster than consumers are used to experiencing,” said David Henry, vice president of product management, retail products at NETGEAR. “NETGEAR’s leadership in the industry, and collaboration with Broadcom to introduce the first 802.11ac router, will future proof your network by ensuring your home is capable of supporting new faster 802.11ac devices as they begin to roll out this year.”

Pricing and Availability
The NETGEAR R6300 WiFi Router will be available in May starting at $199.99.

More Information
Learn more about the NETGEAR R6300 WiFi Router at www.netgear.com/R6300 and more about 802.11ac/5G WiFi, the next generation in WiFi at www.netgear.com/80211ac and www.5GWiFi.org.

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