Thursday, 12 April 2018

#CWHeritage Talk: The history of synchronisation in digital cellular networks


CW (a.k.a. Cambridge Wireless) held a very interesting event titled 'Time for Telecoms' at the Science Museum in London. I managed to record this one talk by Prof. Andy Sutton, who has also kindly shared slides and some other papers that he mentions in his presentation. You can also see the tweets from the event on Twitter.

The video playlist and the presentation is embedded below.




The papers referred to in the presentation/video available as follows:

Monday, 9 April 2018

Digital Africa: Building the Internet Ecosystem


Got an opportunity recently to hear about the connectivity progress, challenges and issues in Africa. Agree that Africa is a very large continent with many different countries in different stages of development but it was nevertheless interesting to look at a high level picture on the progress of connectivity in the continent. The presentation by iDate Digiworld is embedded below.



Slides available from techUK website here.

Related Post:

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Some interesting April Fools' Day 2018 Technology Jokes

This year April Fools' Day wasn't as fun as the last one. Couple of reasons being that it was on a Sunday and it coincided with Easter Sunday. Here are some of the jokes that I found interesting.

Sprint's Magic Ball:

It was good to see that the US mobile operator joined the party this year. Their magicball (based on their highly successful Magic Box) advert was really good. Here is the video:



Good to see that they managed to squeeze in references to 5G and small cells

Official site: http://newsroom.sprint.com/sprint-magic-ball.htm


T-Mobile Sidekicks Re-booted:


T-Mobile USA has consistently come up with the best tech pranks. Last year they had the OneSie with Human HotSpot and BingeOnUp the year before. This year the re-booted sidekicks was the joke of the day. The video is embedded below. As the description says, T-Mobile’s Sidekick gets a remake! Inspired by the past but stepping boldly into the future, it has revolutionary AI, headphones that double as chargers, personalized GPS guidance by John Legere, and more!



Official site: https://www.t-mobile.com/offers/sidekicks


The Chegg Osmosis Pillow:


"A top-secret team of Chegg engineers from Zurich spent two years developing a new patent-pending revolutionary proprietary method of making memory foam using special blends of matcha and lavender. Thanks to their discoveries, Chegg’s memory foam actually improves your memory. Got a final exam tomorrow? Sleep on it. Got a lab report due? Sleep on it. Need to outline your entire thesis? Sleep on it."

Official Website: https://www.chegg.com/play/memory-foam-pillow/


Pindrop TonguePrinting:


"Tongueprinting technology analyzes thousands of tiny bumps called papillae, as well as factors such as shape, size, and temperature to accurately identify yourself by licking your phone. This technology will be the mouthpiece of Pindrop’s latest authentication and anti-fraud solutions." Video:


Official website: https://www.pindrop.com/resources/video/video/tongueprinting/


Roku Happy Streaming Socks: "Do messy snack hands keep you from using your Roku remote? Meet the new Roku Happy Streaming Socks with built-in motion sensors, plus toe-toasting and anti-loss technology."


Official Website: https://blog.roku.com/roku-happy-streaming-socks


The other jokes were, well, not very funny but here are some worth mentioning...

Virgin Voyages Wa-Fi: "Here at Virgin Voyages we are excited to be bringing underwater WiFi, or as we call it “Wa-Fi” service, to all Virgin Voyages ships." Website: https://www.virginvoyages.com/wa-fi.html

Logitech BS Detection Software: "Today, I’m proud to announce that we are taking video calls to a whole new level with the introduction of Logitech Business Speak (BS) Detection software. Logitech BS Detection revolutionizes our meeting capabilities with built-in artificial intelligence (AI) that flags the…well…BS in business communications. "

Website: https://blog.logitech.com/2018/03/30/logitech-revolutionizes-business-communication-with-the-introduction-of-business-speak-detection-software/

Josh Ultra by Josh.Aihttps://www.cepro.com/article/josh.ai_josh_ultra_premium_voice_control

Jabra Sneakershttps://www.jabra.com/jabra-sneakers


Genetic Select by Lexus: Introducing Genetic Select by Lexus in partnership with 23andMe. The world’s first service that uses human genetics to match you with the car of your genes. http://www.lexus.com/geneticselect/

Google Maps is adding a Where’s Waldo? mini-game for the next week: Link.

Google Japan's Gboardhttps://japan.googleblog.com/2018/04/tegaki.html

Google Cloud Hummus API - Find your Hummus!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_5X6N6DHyk

Tech21 Flexichoc casehttps://twitter.com/Tech21Official/status/979392283106824192

Audi Downsizing Assistanthttps://twitter.com/AudiOfficial/status/979991696657203201

Lego VacuSorthttps://twitter.com/LEGO_Group/status/980369210789507072

Did I miss any good ones?


Related Posts:

Sunday, 25 March 2018

5G Security Updates - March 2018


Its been a while since I wrote about 5G security in this fast changing 5G world. If you are new to 3GPP security, you may want to start with my tutorial here.

3GPP SA3 Chairman, Anand R. Prasad recently mentioned in his LinkedIn post:

5G security specification finalized! Paving path for new business & worry less connected technology use.

3GPP SA3 delegates worked long hours diligently to conclude the specification for 5G security standard during 26 Feb.-2 Mar. Several obstacles were overcome by focussed effort of individuals & companies from around the globe. Thanks and congrats to everyone!

All together 1000s of hours of work with millions of miles of travel were spent in 1 week to get the work done. This took 8 meetings (kicked off Feb. 2017) numerous on-line meetings and conference calls.

Excited to declare that this tremendous effort led to timely completion of 5G security specification (TS 33.501) providing secure services to everyone and everything!

The latest version of specs is on 3GPP website here.

ITU also held a workshop on 5G Security in Geneva, Switzerland on 19 March 2018 (link). There were quite a few interesting presentations. Below are some slides that caught my attention.

The picture in the tweet above from China Mobile summarises the major 5G security issues very well. 5G security is going to be far more challenging than previous generations.

The presentation by Haiguang Wang, Huawei contained a lot of good technical information. The picture at the top is from that presentation and highlights the difference between 4G & 5G Security Architecture.


New entities have been introduced to make 5G more open.


EPS-AKA vs 5G-AKA (AKA = Authentication and Key Agreement) for trusted nodes


EAP-AKA' for untrusted nodes.


Slice security is an important topic that multiple speakers touched upon and I think it would continue to be discussed for a foreseeable future.

Dr. Stan Wing S. Wong from King’s College London has some good slides on 5G security issues arising out of Multi-Tenancy and Multi-Network Slicing.

Peter Schneider from Nokia-Bell Labs had good slides on 5G Security Overview for Programmable Cloud-Based Mobile Networks

Sander Kievit from TNO, a regular participant of working group SA3 of 3GPP on behalf of the Dutch operator KPN presented a view from 3GPP SA3 on the Security work item progress (slides). The slide above highlights the changes in 5G key hierarchy.

The ITU 5G Security Workshop Outcomes is available here.

ETSI Security Week 2018 will be held 11-15 June 2018. 5G security/privacy is one of the topics.

There is also 5GPPP Workshop on 5G Networks Security (5G-NS 2018), being held in Hamburg, Germany on August 27-30, 2018.

In the meantime, please feel free to add your comments & suggestions below.


Related Posts & Further Reading:

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Small Cells, Macrocells, Backhaul, Infrastructure and other connectivity solutions from #MWC18


Well, it was officially 3G4G's first Mobile World Congress so I took time to go through the different booths, demos, etc. and compile a small presentation

The presentation (embedded below and can be downloaded from Slideshare) covers the following companies:

Acceleran
Action Technologies
Airspan
Altiostar
Azcom
BaiCells
BravoCom
CBNL
CCS
Ceragon
Comba Telecom
Commscope
Fingu
Gemtek
IP.Access
JMA Wireless
Kleos
MitraStar
NuRAN
Parallel Wireless
Polaris Networks
Qualcomm
Qucell
Raycap
Ruckus
SOLiD
SpiderCloud
Vodafone
Zinwave



Do let me know if you found it useful


Related Posts:



Tuesday, 13 March 2018

LoRa is quietly marching on...


During the mobile world congress, I was pleasantly surprised to see how LoRa ecosystem keeps getting larger. There was also an upbeat mood within the LoRa vendor community as it keeps winning one battle after another. Here is my short take on the technology with an unbiased lens.


To start with, lets look at this short report by Tom Rebbeck from Analysys Mason. The PDF can be downloaded after registering from here.

As can be seen, all major IoT technologies (LoRa, NB-IoT, Sigfox & LTE-M) gained ground in 2017. Most of the LoRa and all of Sigfox networks are actually not deployed by the mobile operators. From the article:

These points lead to a final observation about network deployments – many operators are launching multiple technologies. Of the 26 operators with publicly-announced interest in LTE-M networks, 20 also have plans for other networks;
• 14 will combine it with NB-IoT
• four will offer LTE-M and LoRa and
• two, Softbank and Swisscom, are working with LoRa, LTE-M and NB-IoT.

We are not aware of operators also owning Sigfox networks, though some, such as Telefónica, are selling connectivity provided by a Sigfox network operator.

The incremental cost of upgrading from NB-IoT or LTE-M to both technologies is relatively small. Most estimates put the additional cost at less than an additional 20% – and sometimes considerably less. For many operators, the question will be which technology to prioritise, and when to launch, rather than which to choose.

The reasons for launching multiple networks appear to be tactical as much as strategic. Some operators firmly believe that the different technologies will match different use cases – for example, LoRa may be better suited to stationary, low bandwidth devices like smart meters, while LTE-M, could meet the needs of devices that need mobility, higher bandwidth and support for voice, for example a personal health monitor with an emergency call button.

But, a fundamental motive for offering multiple networks is to hedge investments. While they may not admit it publicly, operators do not know which technology will gain the most traction. They do not want to lose significant, lucrative contracts because they have backed the wrong technology. Deploying both LTE-M and NB-IoT – or LoRa – adds little cost and yet provides a hedge against this risk. For operators launching LoRa, there has been the added benefit of being early to market and gaining experience of what developers want and need from LPWA networks. This experience should help them when other technologies are deployed at scale.

The following is from MWC 2018 summary by ABI Research:

LPWA network technologies continue to gather momentum with adoption from a growing ecosystem of communications service providers (CSPs), original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and IoT solution providers. LPWA networks are central to the connectivity offerings from telcos with support for NB-IoT, LTE-M, LoRaWAN, and SIGFOX. Telefonica highlighted SIGFOX as an important network technology along with NB-IoT and Cat M in its IoT connectivity platform. Similarly, Orange and SK Telecom emphasized on their continued support for LoRaWAN along with Cat M in France and South Korea. On the other hand, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom, while aggressively pursuing deployment of NB-IoT networks, currently have mostly large scale POCs on their networks. 

...
Smart meters — Utilities are demanding that meter OEMs and technology solution providers deliver product design life of at least 15 years for battery operated smart water and gas meters. LPWA technologies, such as NB-IoT, LoRaWAN, SIGFOX and wireless M-bus, that are optimized for very low-power consumption and available at low cost are clearly emerging as the most favored LPWA solutions.

The following picture is from Ovum post MWC-2018 Webinar:

Here is a short video from MWC by yours truly looking at LoRa Gateways


There are also few announcements / news from LoRa world just to highlight how the ecosystem is thriving:


Source: SenRa

So someone recently asked me is LoRa is the new WiMax? The answer is obviously a big NO. Just look at the LoRa alliance members in the picture above. Its a whole ecosystem with different players having different interests, working on a different part of the ecosystem.

NB-IoT & LTE-M will gain ground in the coming years but there will always be a place for other LPWA technologies like LoRa.

Finally, here is a slide deck (embedded below) that I really like. The picture above very nicely illustrates that LoRaWAN and Cellular complement each other well. Maybe that is the reason that Orange is a big supporter of LoRa.



So for operators who are just starting their IoT journey or smaller operators who are unsure of the IoT potential, may want to start their journey with LoRa to play around and understand the business cases, etc. In the meantime LTE-M and NB-IoT ecosystem will mature with prices coming down further and battery time improving. That may be the right time to decide on the way forward.


Further Reading:

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Quick summary of Mobile World Congress 2018 (#MWC18)


This year at MWC, I took the time out to go and see as many companies as I can. My main focus was looking at connectivity solutions, infrastructure, devices, gadgets and anything else cool. I have to say that I wasn't too impressed. I found some of the things later on Twitter or YouTube but as it happens, one cannot see everything.

I will be writing a blog on Small Cells, Infrastructure, etc. later on but here are some cool videos that I have found. As its a playlist, if I find any more, it will be added to the same playlist below.



The big vendors did not open up their stands for everyone (even I couldn't get in 😉) but the good news is that most of their demos is available online. Below are the name of the companies that had official MWC 2018 websites. Will add more when I find them.

Operators

Network Equipment Vendors

Handset Manufacturers

Chipset Manufacturers

Did I miss anyone? Feel free to suggest links in comments.


MWC Summary from other Analysts:


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Artificial Intelligence - Beyond SON for Autonomous Networks


What is the next step in evolution of SON? Artificial Intelligence obviously. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) techniques in the network supervisory system could help solve some of the problems of future network deployment and operation. ETSI has therefore set up a new 'Industry Specification Group' on 'Experiential Networked Intelligence' (ISG ENI) to develop standards for a Network Supervisory assistant system.


The ISG ENI focuses on improving the operator experience, adding closed-loop artificial intelligence mechanisms based on context-aware, metadata-driven policies to more quickly recognize and incorporate new and changed knowledge, and hence, make actionable decisions. ENI will specify a set of use cases, and the generic technology independent architecture, for a network supervisory assistant system based on the ‘observe-orient-decide-act’ control loop model. This model can assist decision-making systems, such as network control and management systems, to adjust services and resources offered based on changes in user needs, environmental conditions and business goals.


The introduction of technologies such as Software-Defined Networking (SDN), Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) and network slicing means that networks are becoming more flexible and powerful. These technologies transfer much of the complexity in a network from hardware to software, from the network itself to its management and operation. ENI will make the deployment of SDN and NFV more intelligent and efficient and will assist the management and orchestration of the network.


We expect to complete the first phase of ENI work in 2019. It will include a description of use cases and requirements and terminology, including a definition of features, capabilities and policies, which we will publish in a series of informative best practice documents (Group Reports (GRs)).
This will of course require co-operation from many different industry bodies including GSMA, ITU-T, MEF, IETF, etc.

Will see how this goes.

Further reading:



Friday, 9 February 2018

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

QUIC - Possibly in 5G, 3GPP Release-16


Over the last year or so, I have heard quite a few discussions and read many articles around why QUIC is so good and why we will replace TCP with QUIC (Quick UDP Internet Connection). One such article talking about QUIC benefits says:

QUIC was initially developed by Google as an alternative transport protocol to shorten the time it takes to set up a connection. Google wanted to take benefits of the work done with SPDY, another protocol developed by Google that became the basis for the HTTP/2 standard, into a transport protocol with faster connection setup time and built-in security. HTTP/2 over TCP multiplexes and pipelines requests over one connection but a single packet loss and retransmission packet causes Head-of-Line Blocking (HOLB) for the resources that were being downloaded in parallel. QUIC overcomes the shortcomings of multiplexed streams by removing HOLB. QUIC was created with HTTP/2 as the primary application protocol and optimizes HTTP/2 semantics.


What makes QUIC interesting is that it is built on top of UDP rather than TCP. As such, the time to get a secure connection running is shorter using QUIC because packet loss in a particular stream does not affect the other streams on the connection. This results in successfully retrieving multiple objects in parallel, even when some packets are lost on a different stream. Since QUIC is implemented in the userspace compared to TCP, which is implemented in the kernel, QUIC allows developers the flexibility of improving congestion control over time, since it can be optimized and better replaced compared to kernel upgrades (for example, apps and browsers update more often than OS updates).

Georg Mayer mentioned about QUIC in a recent discussion with Telecom TV. His interview is embedded below. Jump to 5:25 for QUIC part only

Georg Mayer, 3GPP CT work on 5G from 3GPPlive on Vimeo.

Below are some good references about QUIC in case you want to study further.