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Thursday, 21 June 2018

WiFi 802.11ax and 5G convergence - an inevitable stride of NSA mode 5G.



Despite of continuous improvement in data services with high data rates and more spectrum utilization the networks are not free from the congestion. The tremendous growth of video traffic and smart devices has resulted in heavy pressure on data networks resources. As a result of this continuous thrust for data capacity, 3GPP has come up in its recent releases with idea of incorporating more spectrum bands including unlicensed and shared spectrum.
WiFi has been of interest since the early days and being there in the radar of 3GPP since release 8 but has been incorporated in the propensity of RAN in release 13 and onward. LTE-U, LAA and LWA are some of the 3GPP networking features focusing on unlicensed spectrum.
WiFi is a mature technology in itself has been in continuous growth and pace with the next generation networks. IEEE 802.11 standards has been evolving and have improved much from the days of 802.11n to 802.11ac & 802.11ad (in 60GHz) and recent one, taken to be efficient for highly dense environment, 802.11ax.
802.11ax, also called High-Efficiency Wireless (HEW), looking beyond the raw link speeds of 802.11ac. It implements several mechanisms to serve more users consistent and reliable data throughput in highly dense wireless environments. High-Efficiency Wireless includes the following key features:
·         Backwards compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac.
·         Increase 4X the average throughput per user in high-density scenarios, such as train stations, airports and stadiums. -Data rates and channel widths similar to 802.11ac, with the exception of new Modulation and Coding Sets (MCS 10 and 11) with 1024-QAM.
·         Specified for downlink and uplink multi-user operation by means of MU-MIMO and Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) technology.
·         Larger OFDM FFT sizes (4x larger), narrower subcarrier spacing (4X closer), and longer symbol time (4X) for improved robustness and performance in multipath fading environments and outdoors.
·         Improved traffic flow and channel access.
·         Better power management for longer battery life.
In fact 802.11ax going to be a distributed data rates for fare distribution of overall capacity to each user's, making an efficient system with larger spectrum band.
In next generation telecom networks era, LTE was the first technology to step in, being the complete data centric networks and has started an era of data dependent information and communication systems. DATA has become now days a utility for the end users to run its day to day business. LTE started with 10X faster than its early days technologies, to now a days 100X faster in form of Gigabit LTE.
WiFi With its new avatar 802.11ax becomes a good partner with LTE for a better convergence and provide a combination of licensed and unlicensed for a larger capacity to end users.
This also opens the gate for Wifi entry to 5G system as an associative data network with LTE as a control plane. So it's not going to be only NR with LTE but WiFi too, much in NSA mode of 5G.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

NSA mode 5G will move towards 5G convergence with incorporation of WiFi.



In next generation telecom networks era, LTE is the first technology to step in, and in its advance form recognized with 4G tag. 4G, being the complete data centric networks and has started an era of data dependent information and communication systems. DATA has become now days a utility for the end users to run its day to day business. LTE started with 10X faster than its early days technologies, to now a days 100X faster in form of Gigabit LTE.

Despite of continuous improvement in data services with high data rates and more spectrum utilization the networks are not escapable from the congestion. The tremendous growth of video traffic and smart devices has resulted in heavy pressure on data networks resources. As a result of this continuous thrust for data capacity 3GPP has come up in its recent releases with idea of incorporating more spectrum bands including unlicensed and shared spectrum.

WiFi has been of interest since the early days and being there in the radar of 3GPP since release 8 but has been incorporated in the propensity of RAN in release 13 onwards. LTE-U, LAA and LWA are some of the 3GPP networking features focusing on unlicensed spectrum.

WiFi is a mature technology in itself has been in continuous growth and pace with the next generation networks. IEEE 802.11 standards has been evolving and have improved much from the days of 802.11n to 802.11ac & 802.11ad (in 60GHz) and recent one, taken to be efficient for highly dense environment, 802.11ax.

802.11ax, also called High-Efficiency Wireless (HEW), looking beyond the raw link speeds of 802.11ac. It implements several mechanisms to serve more users consistent and reliable data throughput in highly dense wireless environments. High-Efficiency Wireless includes the following key features:

·         Backwards compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac.

·         Increase 4X the average throughput per user in high-density scenarios, such as train stations, airports and stadiums. -Data rates and channel widths similar to 802.11ac, with the exception of new Modulation and Coding Sets (MCS 10 and 11) with 1024-QAM.

·         Specified for downlink and uplink multi-user operation by means of MU-MIMO and Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) technology.

·         Larger OFDM FFT sizes (4x larger), narrower subcarrier spacing (4X closer), and longer symbol time (4X) for improved robustness and performance in multipath fading environments and outdoors.

·         Improved traffic flow and channel access.

·         Better power management for longer battery life.

In fact 802.11ax going to be a distributed data rates for fare distribution of overall capacity to each user's, making an efficient system with larger spectrum band.

With above facts, 802.11ax becomes a good partner with LTE for a better convergence and provide a combination of licensed and unlicensed for a larger capacity to end users.

This also opens the gate for Wifi entry to 5G system as an associative data network with LTE as a control plane. So it's not going to be only NR with LTE but WiFi too, much in NSA mode of 5G.


Friday, 15 June 2018

3GPP completed SA mode 5G specifications for release 15. How the industry will incorporate SA and NSA?


As 3GPP announced a new milestone on 5G release 15 standardization, that is completion of Stand Alone mode specification of 5G operation. The big question arises, would there be a split in 5G deployments in near future (i.e. with the availability of equipment's and mobile terminals)? because there is no obstruction possible on NSA mode rather NSA is going to have a major coverage, in fact for large coverage areas NSA would be there and probably SA would cover smaller coverage areas through small cells.

SA mode is about no LTE for control plane but both plane would be on NR only. So SA will put LTE on spare, really? That is feasible only for smallcell deployment cases as the operators are not going to make LTE spare due to heavy investment. Rather that is the upbring of 5G in real sense. We have already witnessed gigabit LTE deployments and vested interest of operator on it through LAA and LWA due to LTE based carrier aggregation CA or multi RAT convergence.

That trends is leading towards the solid root for NSA mode, SA mode would be filling the gap and caveats but not overshadowing it anywhere. The Fixed broadband uses case of 5G NR so far has been for millimeter waves but sub 6 Ghz NR has yet to come for mobile use cases ( as we all are waiting for mobile terminals use cases). 

LTE is far established and well coordinated for network spread and coverage enhancements, 5G NR has yet to come for that level of maturity and that's gonna take long time. Still LTE and 5G both seems to be moving parallel as there seems to be no obstruction for LTE as well. Technology has matured and taken its much advance form in LTE adv pro. In fact LTE adv pro is well taken to accomplish much of 5G use cases, whether it be massiv IOT, V2X or URLLC use cases like for robotics or healthcare.

Therefore 5G is not about 5G NR only,  There is much more wider outlook for 5G, like Network Slicing, Application defined etc, etc. 5G is a big hash, technology under which create a comprehensive system, not a isolated sliver.



Thursday, 14 June 2018

XCOM - A 5G start up from Qualcomm EX.



Former Qualcomm Chairman, Paul Jacobs recently launched a wireless startup called XCOM. The company plans on focusing on advancing wireless technology, specifically in the 5G sector. Along with Jacobs, two former Qualcomm executives, Derek Aberle and Matthew Grob have also joined the company.

While a solid business model still hasn’t been laid out, Aberle confirmed in an interview with CNBC that the company will try to tackle important 5G problems, especially around latency and reliability. The company is also expected to license its proprietary 5G technology or provide software solutions to other companies that can be used in their semi-conductors. The three executives also plan on expanding the company’s workforce in coming months.

catch news here 

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Gigabit LTE- A stepping stone for 5G readiness.



As we said earlier that Gigabit LTE is going to be a stepping stone for 5G readiness of the networks. What could be a better example than the recent news from Russia where MTS upgraded its network with LAA capabilities using Ericsson equipment’s and test the gigabit LTE speed on commercial deployments with commercial UEs.

LAA is an important technology in the LTE network evolution to 5G, providing access to new unlicensed frequencies. With this milestone, MTS has surpassed its previous 700Mbps speed record, enabling the service provider to take the next step in turning its mobile infrastructure into gigabit-capable.

The deployment took place in a large trade center on May 17 following a series of tests conducted on a live MTS network using a commercial smartphone. The gigabit-per-second speeds were achieved using Ericsson Radio System software, including 256-QAM and 4CC Carrier Aggregation of 10 streams with 4x4 MIMO on a 20MHz licensed carrier coupled with 3x20MHz LAA.

In addition, a range of Ericsson Radio System products including the LAA-powered Radio 2205, Baseband 5216, and B3 1800MHz band configured Radio 2212 were used in the rollout.  Mobile devices powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Gigabit LTE modems with LAA support, including Snapdragon 835 and 845 Mobile Platforms.

While talking the Gigabit LTE, the first picture emerges about a gigabit speed on each UE terminals, or at least a speed of gigabit per second peek rates.  Although, as in above case, operators are able to achieve it with the technology called ‘Carrier Aggregation’, in specific form called LAA, and MIMO with optimized coding and modulation schemes.

But it also shows the whole scenario to be highly optimized to achieve such data rates, which in practicality not always feasible, so what is the big buzz about gigabit LTE, with this Question in mind we approached our Experts (Mr Oscar Bexell) and discussed at large and some significant take away we gleaned are like this…

Gigabit LTE is again a marketing buzz, with the objective of achieving gigabit per second speed on LTE networks using more spectrum Carrier aggregation and MIMO techniques. So far the speed is tested have reached somewhat near to gigabits in highly optimized conditions like 264QAM etc.

Gigabit LTE is not about the peak data rates but more significantly the capacity enhancement of network, as three aggregated carriers perform better than if you run each carrier by itself.

With commercial availability, there will be UE terminals available in the market and their support will be driven by terminal sales figures and user experience. If Apple and Google believe CA and MIMO will make their users happier and buy more phones they will go for it. Same with LAA and new CBRS radios.

But things to be noted also that none really needs more than a few Mbps on a phone. Upper layers in the application stack aren't even designed for handling those peaks. Buffer sizes, screens etc. don't cope with 1Gbps. So the speed is of not much focus here for an end user (plus, your normal data cap would be used in half a minute).

Future networks will be built from inside buildings. The WAN to such a building is very seldom more than 1Gbps.  It's very often far less. So again, peak rates won't be the driver. Short latency, QoS, ability for a phone to seamlessly move between various radio network layers (for 100% mobility), private networks with access to local content which could require Gbps speeds, higher order antenna systems etc. are all features we will see in those 4G/5G networks.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

5G realization so far, after incessant debate and discussions





AT SCWS, small cell world summit, Qualcomm announced industry first 5G NR small cell solution. The FSM100xx 10nm 5G Solution Supports both sub-6GHz and mmWave Spectrum Bands and is Optimized for Small Cell and Remote Radio Head Deployments.

The news from qualcomm give us a watchpoint, to rethink on 5G realization so far. 


The sequential term 5G has comes through to address the ITU-T IMT2020 recommendation for the next gen communication system to cater the need of upcoming applications, the improvements over ITU-T advance recommendation for 4G. Mostly these recommendations caters, spectrum efficiency, high data rates, low latency, High subscriber density, power efficiency, flexibility, fast deployment etc
.
But industry is not limited to these and have taken a larger perspective, 5G is being seen to enable smart cities, connect vehicles, automate industry,  create and analyze bigdata for better efficiency, use more spectrum,  provide ultimate flexibility,  adaptable to applications, quickly deployable, cater IOT/IOE, must survive with massive devices connectivity,  apply to high density populations etc. etc.

That has turned 5G to go beyond cellular, and entice a never ending brain storm to talk about it, and discuss on it, about the possible architecture and respective use cases. People have also putting their specific doubts about ‘what to be’ and ‘what not to be’ kind of discussions. Some are taking selective approaches to put the thing on ground and materialize the talks in discussions.  Industry analyst ABI Research is forecasting that mobile broadband operators will generate $247 billion in 5G revenues in 2025. 

3GPP officially stamped on NSA mode NR standardization, Industry has taken some major steps towards 5G by the end of 2017. Those are like, Verizon start providing home broadband using 5G fixed wireless networks, an effort of replacing fiber, Massive MIMO touches the ground – VERIZON,  ERICSSON and Qualcomm Technologies claim that they have completed the first ever FDD MIMO fully compatible customer service. Recently South Korea mobile carrier KT installed 5G network in PyeongChang, for the event Olympic 2018. SK Telecom has plan for 2019 and it created task force of 200 experts to move on 5G (a much appreciated move). AT&T also has put its plan to bring 5G by end of 2018, hand set devices are also gearing up for early devices in market, by 2018 and T-mobile has eagle eye on this market to disclose its 5G plan.

Among much expectations and prediction 5G is still a not well defined term, instead a hash tag to index through some conceptual use case or applicability of technological advancements. 5G is not only about a new radio with large spectrum, but much more from network system point of view, like convergence, slicing, orchestration, automation etc. 


The rationale behind the expectation and prediction are like most of the 5G will depend on technology like NFV or VNF and SDN and MEC. These technologies conceptually and systematically are well superior and captivated but far away from the maturity of their applicability, and therefore it generate a need of cohesive ecosystem emergence. So far there is no significant efforts from the industry, rather some opensource compilation like ONAP, ECOMP etc emerged but they are just bundles not the solutions. 

TM Forum has not been so obsessed about providing or propounding a standardized approach from operation & management, interoperability and integration point of view.

Various industry alliances are still not on the track they are struggling to position them self through the 5G tag.


Also 5G is about many big pictures, conceptually and technically feasible but there is far reaching efforts are required to weave out the fabric for realization.


Although, there would be much pace to adopt 5G in this year- 2018 and coming one, but true 5G will take due time to emerge due to much required deliberation and maturity of technical advances. The real start could be anticipated from 2020 which will be settling to maturity by 2025.



Monday, 4 June 2018

The QoS (quality of service) should change to AoS (applicability of service)

As 5G is more about 'application defined network'. The QoS (quality of service) should change to AoS (applicability of service). QoS is the network constrains whereas AoS is network demand. New policy architecture is demanding here. This is a paradigm shift from ‘bottom-up’ approach to ‘top-down’ approach. This is about to bring more flexibility, better control and far reaching service assurance, for required Quality of Experience QoE and service delivery.


Such kind of Policy architecture could be aligned with 3GPP efforts of verticalization through Standards for north bound APIs. A Northbound API is an interface between an Application Server (either in a mobile operator's network or external to it - operated by a third party) and the 3GPP system via specified Functions in a mobile operator's network.



Saturday, 2 June 2018

IOT: Much ado about nothing - So Far.

IOT means Internet of Things, in literary term it's like expansion of connectivity to things not only to humans assistance for remote connectivity, that is only 'Internet'.
There are radios already available for Low range and low power connectivity and also devices and sensors. IOT is for what then - to rejuvenate this industry by creating a buzz in disruptive environment. Definitely not, but it could not be denied that such industry has taken or created much ado around IOT, which is actually not IOT but a kind of Automation only.
Although good to specify some has come with categorization like Industrial IOT or IIOT.There are technology like BLE, LORA, ZiGBEE, Sigfox, LPWAN, already there and have a significant ecosystem too, and so could be said for devices with sensors - enhanced with LTE backhaul connectivity and miniaturization.
IOT is widely used to create the buzz around, though the term IOT is essentially about global connectivity, much like internet. Its essentially about connectivity of devices, with zero human interaction, to far reaching data centers. This is possible only with the networks of capacity and capability to connect this massive devices hives. Hives with different kind of requirements like throughput, signaling, and so on.
3GPP has come up with standards on it like LTE-M, NB-IOT and also GSM specific technological tweaks to cater such issues. But there is no big picture across the industry around IOT as a holistic system.
IOT is relevant with Big data and analytics, and could help and also be squared up with AI and machine learning.
Meanwhile the GSMA has stated that NB-IoT and LTE-M will both be essential components of 5G in connecting IoT and has urged mobile operators to offer services and products, not just connectivity, if they want to capture some of the $1.1 trillion market opportunity available by 2025.