Pages

Future of Wireless International Conference

Saturday, 23 April 2016

5G & Accident Free Driving


ETSI recently held a workshop titled "5G: From Myth to Reality". There were some interesting presentations and discussions, hopefully I will get a chance to write a bit more about it.

One interesting presentation was how 5G will make accident free driving a reality. While the current approach is to use the 802.11p standards that uses the license exempt 5.9GHz band, there is a possibility of enhancements based on 5G


As the final 2 slides say, What could be the use cases for 5G in vehicles? The answer suggested:

  • Map update for highly automatic driving - Instantly update the map of vehicle's surrounding. The challenge of this use case is that the vehicle is currently in the tile that needs to be updated, hence a very quick update is required. 
  • Precise Positioning high speed, no GPS, support for vehicles without high precision location tracking like cars 
  • Audio / Video Streaming (Entertainment) 
  • Online Gaming - side jobs 
  • Sensor- and State Map Sharing (Sensor Raw Data) - Transmit raw sensor data such that others can use their own classifiers to infer decisions
  • Camera and Radar sharing to improve visibility, including See-Through Share sensor information to augment ego vehicle's view. Allows for better visibility in presence of obstructing vehicles, heavy rain / fog, etc. 
  • Short-Term Sensor sharing for crash mitigation - Mitigate crash between multiple vehicle by last-minute traffic exchange 
  • Traffic forwarding using cars as relays Extend coverage or improve efficiency by using the car as a relay 
  • Teleoperated Driving "Let car be controlled by off-site driver / car operator e.g. car sharing, taxi operator, …“ 
  • Augemented Reality, e.g. Daytime-Visibility at night)

Here is the complete presentation, let me know what you think:



Sunday, 17 April 2016

NTT Docomo's 5G Treasure Trove


NTT Docomo's recent technical journal has quite a few interesting 5G articles. While it is well known that 5G will be present in Japan in some or the other shape by 2020, for the summer Olympics, NTT Docomo started studying technologies for 5G in 2010. Some of these have probably ended in 4.5G, a.k.a. LTE-Advanced Pro.

While there are some interesting applications and services envisioned for 5G, I still think some of these can be met with LTE-A and some of them may not work with the initial versions of 5G

As far as 5G timetable is concerned, I recently posted a blog post on this topic here. Initial versions of 5G will have either little or no millimetre wave (mmWave) bands. This is because most of these would be finalised in 2019 after WRC-19 has concluded. It may be a touch challenge to move all the existing incumbents out of these bands or agree of a proper sharing mechanism.

'5G+' or '5G phase 3' will make extensive use of these higher frequency bands extensively in addition to the low and mid frequency bands. For anyone not familiar with different 5G phases, please see this earlier post here.

Enhanced LTE (or eLTE) is probably the same as LTE-Advanced Pro. Docomo believes that the initial 5G deployment would include new RAT but existing 4G core network which would be enhanced later for 5G+. Some of this new RAT technologies are discussed as well.

Core Network evolution is another interesting area. We looked at a possible architecture evolution here. To quote from the magazine:

The vision for future networks is shown in Figure 3. A future network will incorporate multiple radio technologies including LTE/LTE-Advanced, 5G New Radio Access Technology (RAT), and Wi-Fi, and be able to use them according to the characteristics of each service.

Utilizing virtualization technologies, network slices optimized for service requirements such as high efficiency or low delay can be created. Common physical devices such as general-purpose servers and Software Defined Network (SDN) transport switches will be used, and these networks will be provided to service providers. Network slices can be used either on a one service per network basis to increase network independence for originality or security, or with multiple services on one slice to increase statistical multiplexing gain and provide services more economically.

The specific functional architecture and the network topology for each network slice are issues to be studied in the future, but in the case of a network slice accommodating low latency services, for example, GateWay (GW) functions would need to be relatively close to radio access, service processing would be close to terminals, and routing control capable of finding the shortest route between terminals would be necessary to reduce latency. On the other hand, a network slice providing low volume communications to large numbers of terminals, such as with smart meters, would need functionality able to transmit that sort of data efficiently, and such terminals are fixed, so the mobility function can be omitted. In this way, by providing network slices optimized according to the requirements of each service, requirements can be satisfied while still reducing operating costs.

The magazine is embedded below and available to download from here:





See Also:

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Some interesting April Fools' Day 2016 Technology Jokes

When I posted April Fools' jokes on the blog last couple of years (see 2014 & 2015) , they seem to be very popular so I thought its worth posting them this year too. If I missed any interesting ones, please add in comments.


The one I really liked best is the Samsung Internet of Trousers (IoT) featuring:

Wi-Fly: Gone are the days of unnoticed, unzipped trouser zippers upon exiting the restroom. Should your fly remain open for more than three minutes, the ZipARTIK module will send a series of notifications to your smartphone to save you from further embarrassment.

Get Up! Alert: Using pressure sensors, Samsung’s intelligent trousers detect prolonged periods of inactivity and send notifications to ‘get up off of that thing’ at least once an hour. Should you remain seated for more than three hours, devices embedded in each of the rear pockets send mild electrical shocks to provide extra motivation.

Keep-Your-Pants-On Mode: Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away with the moment. The Samsung Bio-Processor in your pants checks your bio-data including your heart rate and perspiration level. If these indicators get too high, Samsung’s trousers will send you subtle notifications as a reminder of the importance of keeping your cool.

Fridge Lock: If the tension around your waist gets too high, the embedded ARTIK chip module will send signals to your refrigerator to prevent you from overeating. The fridge door lock can then only be deactivated with consent from a designated person such as your mother or significant other.



Microsoft has an MS-DOS mobile in mind for this day. I wont be surprised if a real product like this does become popular with older generation. I personally wouldn't mind an MS-DOS app on my mobile. Here is a video:




It would have been strange if we didnt have a Robot for a joke. Domino's have introduced the Domimaker. Here's how it works:




T-Mobile USA is not shy pulling punches on its rivals with the Binge On data plan where it lets people view certain video channels without using up their data. Here is the video and more details on mashable.



Samsung ExoKinetic helps your phone self-charge

Google had quite a few pranks as always. I will ignore 'mic drop' which backfired and caused them headache.

Google Express has a new delivery mechanism, just for the April Fool's day. (There has to be one drone idea)





Google Cardboard Plastic is an interesting one too. Here is the video:


Finally, its the Google Fiber Teleportation.



Other interesting ones:



Thursday, 31 March 2016

Smartphones: It came, It saw, It conquered


Smartphones have replaced so many of our gadgets. The picture above is a witness to how all the gadgets have now been replaced by smartphones. To some extent hardware requirements have been transferred to software requirements (Apps). But the smartphones does a lot more than just hardware to software translation.

Most youngsters no longer have bookshelves or the encyclopedia collections. eBooks and Wikipedia have replaced them. We no longer need sticky notes and physical calendars, there are Apps for them.

Back in 2014, Benedict Evans posted his "Mobile is Eating the world" presentation. His presentation has received over 700K views. I know its not as much as Justin Bieber's songs views but its still a lot in the tech world. He has recently updated his presentation (embedded below) and its now called "Mobile ate the world".

Quite rightly, the job is not done yet. There is still long way to go. The fact that this tweet has over 600 retweets is a witness to this fact. Here are some of the slides that I really liked (and links reltaed to them - opens in a new window).
While we can see how Smartphones are getting ever more popular and how other gadgets that its replacing is suffering, I know people who own a smartphone for everything except voice call and have a feature phone for voice calls. Other people (including myself) rely on OTT for calls as its guaranteed better quality most of the time (at least indoors).

Smartphones have already replaced a lot of gadgets and other day to day necessities but the fact is that it can do a lot more. Payments is one such thing. The fact that I still carry a physical wallet means that the environment around me hasn't transformed enough for it to be made redundant. If I look in my wallet, I have some cash, a credit and debit card, driving license, some store loyalty cards and my business cards. There is no reason why all of these cannot be digital and/or virtual.
A Connected Car is a Smartphone on/with wheels.


A connected drone can be considered as smartphone that flies.
The Smartphones today are more than just hardware/software. They are a complete ecosystem. We can argue if only 2 options for OSs is good or bad. From developers point of view, two is just about right.
Another very important point to remember that smartphones enable different platforms.

While we may just have messaging apps that are acting as platforms, there is a potential for a lot more.

Here is the presentation, worth reflecting on each slide:



If you haven't heard Benedict Evans speak, you can refer to a recent video by him on this topic:



Related posts on the web:



Tuesday, 29 March 2016

5G Study Item (SI) for RAN Working Groups Approved


This is from a Linkedin post by Eiko Seidel.

Earlier this month (7-10 March 2016), 3GPP TSG RAN Plenary RAN Meeting #71 took place in Göteborg, Sweden. The first 5G study item for the working groups is was approved. It involves RAN1, RAN2, RAN3 and RAN4. For details please have a look at RP-160671

The study aims to develop an next generation radio access technology to meet a broad range of use cases including enhanced mobile broadband, massive MTC, critical MTC, and additional requirements defined during the RAN requirements study. 

The new RAT will consider frequency ranges up to 100 GHz. 

Detailed objectives of the study item is a single technical framework addressing all usage scenarios, requirements and deployment scenarios including Enhanced mobile broadband, Massive machine-type-communications and Ultra reliable and low latency communications. 

The new RAT shall be inherently forward compatible. It is assumed that the normative specification would occur in two phases: Phase I (to be completed in June 2018) and Phase II (to be completed in December 2019). 

The fundamental physical layer signal waveform will be based on OFDM, with potential support of non-orthogonal waveform and multiple access. Basic frame structure(s) and Channel coding scheme(s) will be developed. 

Architecture work is going to be interesting, with a study of different options of splitting the architecture into a “central unit” and a “distributed unit”, with potential interface in between, including transport, configuration and other required functional interactions between these nodes. Furthermore RAN-CN interface and functional split needs to be studied, the realization of Network Slicing, QoS support etc.


The proposed timeline for 5G was also presented in a presentation as follows:



Friday, 25 March 2016

State of LTE & Connectivity


There are some reports that have been recently published on connectivity and connection numbers. This post intends to provide this info.

Facebook released "State of connectivity 2015" report. As can be seen in the picture above, at the end of 2015, estimates showed that 3.2 billion people were online. This increase (up from 3 billion in 2014) is partly attributed to more affordable data and rising global incomes in 2014. Over the past 10 years, connectivity increased by approximately 200 to 300 million people per year.

While this is positive news in terms of growth, it also means that globally, 4.1 billion people were still not internet users in 2015.

The four key barriers to internet access include:

Availability: Proximity of the necessary infrastructure required for access.
Affordability: The cost of access relative to income.
Relevance: A reason for access, such as primary language content.
Readiness: The capacity to access, including skills, awareness and cultural acceptance.

The PDF version of report is available here.


The number of LTE users crossed 1 Billion, end of 2015 according to a report by GSA. OpenSignal has a summary blog post on this here.



Finally, Open Signal has published Global State of LTE Market report that provides coverage, speeds and a lot more information.

South Korea and Singapore have set themselves apart from the main body of global operators, providing both superior coverage and speed. The biggest standouts were South Korea’s Olleh and Singapore’s Singtel. Olleh excelled in coverage, but also provided one of the fastest connections speeds in our report, 34 Mbps. Meanwhile Singtel hit the 40 Mbps mark in speed while still maintaining a coverage rating of 86%. There are other notable country clusters in the upper right-hand quadrant as well, for instance operators from the Netherlands, Canada and Hungary.

Meanwhile, other countries have staked positions for themselves in specific regions of the plot. U.S. and Kuwaiti operators are tightly clustered in the lower right, meaning they offer excellent coverage but poor 4G speeds. Japan and Taiwan congregate in the middle far right with their exceptional coverage but only average speeds. Most of New Zealand and Romania’s operators hover at the center top of the chart, indicating impressive bandwidth but a general lack of availability.

Its makes interesting reading, PDF available here.

*** Added Later: 25/03/16:12.15 ***

A good breakdown of LTE subscriptions by countries by Ovum:



Saturday, 12 March 2016

The role of satellites in 5G world

While many of us have been focussing purely on wireless and mobile / 5G, the coverage and capacity provided by satellites is increasing and is set to dramatically transform connectivity in hard to reach places, not only in land but also in air and sea.

In one of my roles, I get to see some of these developments happening in the satellite world. Here are some of the recent things that I have learned.

In a recent presentation by Intelsat (embedded below), they showed how we will have a truly high throughput global coverage with the help of GEO and LEO satellites. Depending on the applications, they can take advantage of either or both. Ubiquitously connected cars, planes, trains, ships and other vehicles will soon be a reality. See their presentation below:



Intelsat is not the only operator innovating and coming up with some amazing solutions.

Viasat is another operator who will be launching one of the highest capacity HTS (High Throughput Satellite). See their presentation here and here.


Eutelsat on the other hand is trying something that has not been done before. Their Quantum class satellites will be creating and modifying the beams dynamically to provide coverage whenever and wherever needed. See their presentation here.

These are just a few examples, there are many other operators I have not mentioned here. Most of them have some sort of ambitious plan which will be there before 2020.

So what role will these satellites play in the 5G world? We will look at this question in the Satellite Applications & Services Conference in October but I am interested in hearing your thoughts. 

Monday, 29 February 2016

The Internet of Me: It’s all about my screens - Bob Schukai


I had the pleasure of attending the IET Turing lecture last week and listening to Robert Schukai. He gave a brilliant talk on how Smartphones are changing the way we do things. Its a very interesting talk but its nearly 87 minutes long. Slides are not available but the video is embedded below.


Sunday, 21 February 2016

Possible 5G Network Architecture Evolution


Came across this interesting Network Architecture evolution Roadmap by Netmanias. Its embedded below and available to download from the Netmanias website.



Sunday, 7 February 2016

The Art of Disguising Cellular Antennas

When I did a blog post 'Disguising Small Cells in Rural areas' last year, many people were surprised to see these things. So here is another post showing how the antennas looks like and how they have to be disguised to blend in with the environment.


The above pictures shows fake date trees (with dates) near Koutoubia mosque, Marrakech, designed to blend in with the surroundings. In fact I have been told that these fake date trees are common in the Middle East and North African countries.


The above picture is from Dubai, showing similar palm tree. Source unknown.


The above picture, courtesy of Andy Sutton on Twitter shows a cell site near Blandford Forum. I hope you can spot the fake tree on top right.


Another one, courtesy of Andy Sutton on Twitter shows a cell site between motorway M56, J10 & 11 in Cheshire. Single operator but could be shared, single frequency band, x-pole with 3 cell sectors. Only two of the possible 3 cell sectors connected here. Pointing up and down motorway hence 4 feeders.







Another one courtesy of Andy Sutton on Twitter. Its been disguised to not look out of place unless someone is observing very carefully.
All three are fake trees and each is a separate cellular installation. The location is Lancashire, off the A6 between Slyne and Bolton-le-Sands. They are all different operators, left to right, O2, T-Mobile, Orange - although two will become one as part of EE of course.


Modern Art and Cellular Antenna, courtesy of Andy Sutton on Twitter.

What will happen when we transition to 5G, where we will have a lot more antennas because of MIMO (massive or not). China Mobile is researching into Smart Tiles, which are antennas that can be hidden inside Chinese characters. See the following for example:

With more antennas becoming commonplace in the urban environment, operators and vendors will have to keep up coming with innovative ways to disguise the antennas and hope no one notices.

See Also: