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Saturday, 27 September 2014

Elevation Beamforming / Full-Dimension MIMO


Four major Release-13 projects have been approved now that Release-12 is coming to a conclusion. One of them is Full dimension MIMO. From the 3GPP website:

Leveraging the work on 3D channel modeling completed in Release 12, 3GPP RAN will now study the necessary changes to enable elevation beamforming and high-order MIMO systems. Beamforming and MIMO have been identified as key technologies to address the future capacity demand. But so far 3GPP specified support for these features mostly considers one-dimensional antenna arrays that exploit the azimuth dimension. So, to further improve LTE spectral efficiency it is quite natural to now study two-dimensional antenna arrays that can also exploit the vertical dimension.
Also, while the standard currently supports MIMO systems with up to 8 antenna ports, the new study will look into high-order MIMO systems with up to 64 antenna ports at the eNB, to become more relevant with the use of higher frequencies in the future.
Details of the Study Item can be found in RP-141644.
There was also an interesting post by Eiko Seidel in the 5G standards group:

The idea is to introduce carrier and UE specific tilt/beam forming with variable beam widths. Improved link budget and reduced intra- and inter-cell interference might translate into higher data rates or increased coverage at cell edge. This might go hand in hand with an extensive use of spatial multiplexing that might require enhancements to today’s MU-MIMO schemes. Furthermore in active antenna array systems (AAS) the power amplifiers become part of the antenna further improving the link budget due to the missing feeder loss. Besides a potentially simplified installation the use of many low power elements might also reduce the overall power consumption. 

At higher frequencies the antenna elements can miniaturized and their number can be increased. In LTE this might be limited to 16, 32 or 64 elements while for 5G with higher frequency bands this might allow for “massive MIMO”. 

WG: Primary RAN1 (RP-141644) 
started 06/2014 (RAN#64), completion date 06/2015 (RAN#68)
work item might follow the study with target 12/2015 (RAN#70) 

Supporting companies
Samsung/NSN, all major vendors and operators 

Based on RAN1 Rel.12 Study Item on 3D channel model (TR36.873) 

Objectives 
Phase 1: antenna configurations and evaluation scenarios Rel.12 performance evaluation with 3D channel model 

Phase 2: study and simulate FD-MIMO enhancement identify and evaluate techniques, analyze specification impact performance evaluation for 16, 32, 64 antenna elements enhancements for SU-/MU-MIMO (incl. higher dimension MU-MIMO) (keep the maximum number of layer per UE unchanged to 8)


An old presentation from Samsung is embedded below that will provide more insight into this technology:



Related post:

Sunday, 21 September 2014

NFV and 5G compatibility issues

There was an interesting discussion on Twitter that has been storified by Keith Dyer. Lets start by having a quick look at the C-RAN architecture that features in the discussion.


There are couple of excellent C-RAN presentations for anyone interested. This one by EE (with 9K+ views) and this from Orange (with 19K+ views).

Anyway, here is the story:


For anyone interested in exploring the discussion further, The Mobile Network has a more detailed comments here.

There are also an interesting article worth reading:

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Update on Public Safety and Mission Critical communications

Its been a while since I wrote about Public Safety and Mission Critical communications, so here is a quick summary.


Iain Sharp have a good overview of whats happening in the standards in the LTE World Summit back in June. Embedded below is his complete presentation.



There is another slightly older presentation that I also thought was worthwhile adding here.

There is a lot of discussion centred around the use of commercial networks for mission critical communications, mainly die to cost. While this may make sense to an extent, there should be procedures put in place to give priority to public safety in case of emergency.



We are planning to run a one day training in Jan 2015 on public safety. If this is of interest to you then please get in touch with me for more details.

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After the post someone brought these links to my attention so I am adding them below:

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

LTE Device-to-device (D2D) Use Cases

Device-to-device is a popular topic. I wrote a post, back in March on LTE-Radar (another name) which has already had 10K+ views. Another post in Jan, last year has had over 13K views. In the LTE World Summit, Thomas Henze from Deutsche Telekom AG presented some use cases of 'proximity services via LTE device broadcast'


While there are some interesting use cases in his presentation (embedded below), I am not sure that they will necessarily achieve success overnight. While it would be great to have a standardised solution for applications that rely on proximity services, the apps have already come up with their own solutions in the meantime.

Image iTunes

The dating app Tinder, for example, finds a date near where you are. It relies on GPS and I agree that some people would say that GPS consumes more power but its already available today.



Another example is "Nearby Friends" from Facebook that allows to find your friends if they are nearby, perfect for a day when you have nothing better to do.

With an App, I can be sure that my location is being shared only for one App. With a standardised solution, all my Apps have info about location that I may not necessarily want. There are pros and cons, not sure which will win here.

Anyway, the complete presentation is embedded below:



For anyone interested in going a bit more in detail about D2D, please check this excellent article by Dr. Alastair Bryon, titled "Opportunities and threats from LTE Device-to-Device (D2D) communication"

Do let me know what you think about the use cases.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Wireless Charging: A must-have technology with maturing standards


Wireless charging has been in news recently with the discovery that Apple has found a brilliant way to wireless charge iPhones, iPads and iWatches. While we continue to wait for the details of that one, I thought its worth providing a bit of round up from the LTE World Summit not so long back. A summary of market by IHS is embedded as follows:



Qi (pronounced Chee), probably the most well known standard, not just because its already available in devices like Google Nexus 5 phone and Nexus 7 tablet  but also because its 1.2 standard allows devices to be charged from some distance away. They had an excellent presentation outlining their progress and technology as follows:





Finally, any discussion on Wireless Charging wont be complete without the mention of other big player, Alliance For Wireless Power (A4WP). The above shows a comparison between different standards and the presentation from A4WP is as follows:




Finally, if you haven't seen our concept of futuristic 'Smart Batteries' (crossed 10K+ views) then check it out here.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

New LTE-A UE Category 9 and 10 in Rel-11

Its been a while since we saw any new UE categories coming but then I noticed some new categories came earlier this year for Release-11. The latest 3TPP TS 36.306 have these new Category 9 and Category 10 as follows.
For those who are aware of the categories of the UE's being used in practice may be aware that the most common ones have been 'Category 3' with 100Mbps max in DL and 50Mbps max in UL. The new 'Cat. 4' devices are becoming more common as more manufacturers start bringing these devices to the market. They support 150Mbps max in DL and 50Mbps max in UL. Neither of them supports Carrier Aggregation.

Having said that, a lot of Cat. 4 devices that we may use in testing actually supports carrier aggregation. The next most popular devices soon to be hitting the market is Cat. 6 UE's with 300Mbps max in DL and 50Mbps max in UL. Category 6 UE's support 2 x 20MHz CA in downlink hence you can say that they can combine 2 x Cat. 4 UE's in DL but they do not support CA in uplink hence the UL part remains the same as Cat. 4 device.

Cat. 9 and 10 are interesting case as Car. 8 was already defined earlier to meet IMT-A requirement as shown below.


To meet IMT-A requirements of peak data rates of 1Gbps in UL and DL, LTE-A had to define category 8 with 5 band CA and 8x8 MIMO to be able to provide 3Gbps max in DL and 1.5Gbps max in UL. No one sees this device becoming a reality in the short term.

The new categories will have to be defined from Cat. 9 onwards.

Cat. 9 allows 3 x Cat. 4 device CA in the downlink to have the maximum possible downlink data rates of 450Mbps but there is no CA in the uplink. As a result, the UL is still 50Mbps max. Cat. 10 allows carrier aggregation in the uplink for upto 2 bands which would result in 100Mbps max in UL.

The LG space website gives a better representation of the same information above which is shown below:



A UE category 9 transmits Rel 11 category 9 + Rel 10 category 6 + Rel 8 category 4

With Release-12 due to be finalised later in the year, we may see new UE categories being defined further.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Multi-Frequency Band Indicator (MFBI)

I am sure we all know that LTE bands have been growing, every few months. All the 32 bands for FDD have now been defined. The 33rd band is where TDD bands start. What if we now want to have more FDD bands? Well, we will have to wait to fix that problem.

Picture Source: LG Space

Anyway, as can be seen in the above picture, some of the frequency bands overlap with each other. Now you may have a UE thats camped onto one frequency that is overlapping in different bands. Wouldn't it be useful to let the UE know that you are camped in more than one band and you can change it to another frequency which may be a different band but you were already on it in the first place (it may sound confusing).

Here is a much simpler table from the specs that show that when a UE is camped on band 5, it may also be camped on bands 18, 19 and 26. Remember the complete bands may not be overlapping but may only be partially overlapping.

An example could be Sprint that used Band 38 TDD (BW 50MHz) for its legacy devices but is now able to use Band 41 (BW 194MHz) as well. The legacy devices may not work on Band 41 but the new devices can use much wider band 41. So the transmission would still say Band 38 but the new devices can be informed of Band 41 using the System Information Block Type 1. AT&T has a similar problem with Band 12 and 17.

Even though this was implemented in Release-8, it came as a part of Late Non-critical extensions. Its a release independent feature but not all UE's and Network have implemented it. The UE indicates the support for MFBI using the FGI (Feature Group Indicator) bits. 

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Observed Time Difference Of Arrival (OTDOA) Positioning in LTE

Its been a while I wrote anything on Positioning. The network architecture for the positioning entities can be seen from my old blog post here
Qualcomm has recently released a whitepaper on the OTDOA (Observed Time Difference Of Arrival) positioning. Its quite a detailed paper with lots of technical insights.

There is also signalling and example of how reference signals are used for OTDOA calculation. Have a look at the whitepaper for detail, embedded below.



Sunday, 20 July 2014

LA-LTE and LAA


Recently came across a presentation by Ericsson where they used the term LA-LTE. I asked a few colleagues if they knew or could guess what it means and they all drew blank. I have been blogging about Unlicensed LTE (a.k.a. LTE-U) on the Small Cells blog here. This is a re-branding of LTE-U

LA-LTE stands for 'Licensed Access' LTE. In fact the term that has now been adopted in a recent 3GPP workshop (details below) is Licensed Assisted Access (LAA).

Couple of months back I blogged in detail about LTE-U here. Since then, 3GPP held a workshop where some of the things I mentioned got officially discussed. In case you want to know more, details here. I have to mention that the operator community is quite split on whether this is a better approach or aggregating Wi-Fi with cellular a better approach.

The Wi-Fi community on the other hand is unhappy with this approach. If cellular operators start using their spectrum than it means less spectrum for them to use. I wrote a post on the usage of Dynamic Spectrum Access (DSA) Techniques that would be used in such cases to make sure that Wi-Fi and cellular usage does not happen at the same time, leading to interference.

Here is a presentation from the LTE-U workshop on Use cases and scenarios, not very detailed though.



Finally, the summary presentation of the workshop. As it says on the final slide "The current SI proposal focuses on carrier aggregation operations and uses the acronym LAA (Licensed Assisted Access)", you would be seeing more of LAA.


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Case Study: LTE for real time news gathering by Sky News

Back in May, I had the pleasure of listening to a talk by Richard Pattison from Sky News where he talked about how they have managed to start replacing their Satellite trucks (which are extremely expensive to own and run) with the new solutions using LTE.

One of the advantage of LTE over 3G/HSPA+ is that the uplink is as good as the downlink which wasn't really the case in earlier generations. What this means is that you can use your phone to do a live video call and use that for broadcasting of real time information. The Sky News Tech team has some interesting tweets on this.




An example of the video quality could be seen from this clip here:

The Dejero App is an interesting one that can allow bonding of Cellular + WiFi and provide a combined data rate.


I was having a discussion yesterday on Twitter because we term this bonded cellular and WiFi as 4.5G. There are many proprietary solutions available for using them together but the standardised one is coming in standards soon.

Sky news have managed to set up new standards by having 12 feeds simultaneously broadcasting  (all based on Iphones and Ipads) during the European elections.



All this has been possible due to an amazing 4G network by EE and being able to negotiate a 500GB (0.5TB) data package.


Anyway, you can read the complete paper below: