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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

EDGE evolution to REDHOT


EDGE is more than three times as efficient as GSM/GPRS in handling packet-switched data. Using EDGE, operators can support 3x more subscribers than GPRS, either by increasing the data rate per subscriber to 300 kbps, according to network & device capabilities, or adding voice capacity. EDGE uses the same TDMA frame structure, logic channel and 200 kHz carrier as GSM; existing cell plans remain intact. No change is needed in the core network. Neither new spectrum nor a new operating licence is needed. EDGE is a mature, mainstream global technology which allows operators to compete, to protect investments/assets, and stimulate growth of mobile multimedia services. Upgrading to EDGE is a natural step for operators to offer high performance mobile data services over GSM.

The performance of EDGE has improved steadily since its introduction in the market in 2003, and today offers users the possibility of data speeds up to 250kbps, with a latency of less than 150ms. This is sufficient for any current data service to be attractive to customers. According to GSA’s latest EDGE Fact Sheet (August 19, 2010 and available as a free download from www.gsacom.com) over 80% of GSM/GPRS operators globally have committed to deploying EDGE in their networks. 531 GSM/EDGE networks are in commercial service in 196 countries, and thousands of EDGE-capable user devices are launched.

A key part of the evolution is the opportunity to deploy more than a single RF carrier. Downlink Dual Carrier (DLDC) is the first step in evolving EDGE, doubling data rates to 592 kbps on existing EDGE-capable networks.

Downlink speed quadrupled:
up to 1.2 Mbps per user initially
(the standard enables up to 1.9 Mbps per user)
• Dual Carrier first phase implementation 10 timeslots per user; standard enables up to 16 timeslots per user
• EGPRS-2 DL (REDHOT) level B maximum 118.4 kbps per timeslot

Uplink speed up to 474 kbps per user
(the standard enables up to 947 kbps per user)
• EGPRS-2 UL (HUGE) level B with maximum 118.4 kbps per timeslot
• Peak implementation today 4 timeslots per user (standard enables up to 8 timeslots per user)

The EGPRS-2 feature is expected in the market in 2012.

More information is available in the GSA Report 'EDGE Evolution' released on Aug 23 2010. Available to download from GSACOM here.

Monday, 30 August 2010

100+ LTE Commitments, 22 commercial networks planned for 2010


The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has published an update to its Evolution to LTE report which confirms that 101 firm LTE network deployments are in progress or planned in 41 countries. The number of network commitments is 71% higher than GSA reported in a similar survey six months ago.

This figure includes three LTE systems which have launched commercial service – in Sweden, Norway, and Uzbekistan. GSA anticipates up to 22 LTE networks will be in commercial service by end 2010.

Another 31 operators are engaged in various LTE pilot trials and technology tests (these are referred to as pre-commitment trials). Taken together, it means that 132 operators are now investing in LTE in 56 countries.

The GSA Evolution to LTE report covers both LTE FDD and LTE TDD modes, and provides a summary of the market situation in each country, including operator activities and plans, spectrum requirements and developments, information on the growing eco-system including device and platforms availability, performance and interoperability trials results, key industry trends and forecasts.

LTE networks are now being deployed for commercial service or planned in Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Libya, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, The Philippines, UAE, UK, USA, and Uzbekistan.

Governments around the world are preparing the way to ensure the availability of spectrum to support delivery of next generation mobile broadband services for the mass market, by allocating or preparing for the release of new spectrum such as 2.6 GHz, and in the digital dividend (700 MHz, 800 MHz) bands, or re-farming existing spectrum e.g. 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, etc. or facilitating a combination of new and re-farmed bands. The report notes that several trials licenses have been granted in many countries to allow operators to familiarize with the technology, capabilities and performance aspects. A number of tenders for spectrum licenses have been announced or confirmed in recent weeks for the granting of spectrum suitable for LTE deployments, including in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Poland, and the UK. Several auctions are scheduled for completion in the next few months.

LTE is the next generation mobile broadband technology of choice and the natural evolutionary step for GSM/WCDMA-HSPA operators and also for many leading CDMA operators around the world. A leading WiMAX operator has also recently announced the company has decided to shift to LTE.

While the majority of LTE deployments today are using the FDD mode, the report confirms significant operator interest in the TDD mode. LTE FDD and LTE TDD are complementary technologies and standardized by 3GPP. A number of key technology milestones have been demonstrated in recent weeks which confirm how the LTE TDD system is maturing towards commercialization. The recently concluded BWA spectrum auction in India has paved the way for early and large scale introduction of TDD LTE into the world’s fastest developing market.

Alan Hadden, President, GSA said: “Our latest Evolution to LTE report shows how the pace towards LTE has quickened, which is easy to see from the increasing numbers of operator trials and announcements, and positive actions by several regulatory bodies around the world”.

The GSA Evolution to LTE report (August 26, 2010) is available as a free download to registered site users at http://www.gsacom.com/gsm_3g/info_papers.php4 and is embedded below



Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Phone(y) Detectives!


Too many Apps are being developed that will turn people into ametuer detectives.

A new mobile application called Recognizr can identify a person’s face via your phone camera and deliver not only profile information about that person but also show you their latest status updates.

Swedish computer vision specialists Polar Rose combined forces with interface designers TAT (The Astonishing Tribe) to create the Recognizr as a prototype application for Android phones to show off Polar Rose’s mobile face recognition library. Polar Rose’s software recognizes individuals, while TAT’s interface uses augmented reality to show profile information from sites like Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn and the latest status updates from the recognized person.

Recognizr uses FaceLib, a mobile face recognition library from Polar Rose, which is available for Android and iPhone. FaceLib can recognize faces in photo or video but, in common with other facial recognition products, is more accurate for photos. Recognizr also uses Polar Rose’s server-side solution FaceCloud because you can’t store profiles of all potential matches in the phone — although recognizing people who are already in the phone’s address book can be handled locally on the device.

In a presentation at the Hot Chips conference at Stanford University, David Petrou, a project lead of Google Goggles, described the future of Goggles.

Google Goggles, as Petrou reminded the audience, includes the ability for the mobile Android application to take a picture of the object ad send it back to Google's cloud services. Petrou demonstrated the app with a picture of a beer can with an Android smart phone, which identified the can as a can of Boddington's. A results page showed an icon of the result, with some results from the Web. He also showed a videocassette of the movie Breakin', and Goggles identified it correctly.

The basic design principle of Goggles, Petrou said, was that it has to be universal: queries can't be processed within a single finite context, such as a bottle of wine. Petrou showed off a book that contained an image of a manual transmission linkage: Goggle returned both a link to the book on a shopping site, but also linked to a search on manual transmissions.

Goggles returns a specific result about a third of the time, Petrou said, and the internal CONGAS recognition engine matches images to aa database of about 150,000 landmarks by finding "interest points" within an image. New photos compared to the database can be correctly identified about 50 to 60 percent of the time, with a false positive rate of about one in 10,000, he said.

Goggles' strong suits? Packaged goods, such as movies. But with generic objects, such as an image of a red car, Goggles still struggles.

Goggles can also work with bar codes. A recent addition has been the inclusion of machine translation, which can recognize text and translate it on the fly.

Unfortunately, Goggles has to work as a client application, as Google needs as much of a fine-grained control of the camera as possible, such as the white balance.

Petrou said that Google was considering opening up Goggles to third-party applications, so that a stamp collector could upload an image of a stamp with annotation describing what it is. An open API may also be released, so that a picture could be taken of a foreign currency, and an app could be opened to automatically convert that bill's value into dollars.

Google also plans to fuse the camera with Goggles, so that augmented reality may be the future of visual search, Petrou said. "We'll use it where it's the right user interface," he said.

Goggles does have the capability to recognize faces, although that functionality hasn't been implemented in the app as yet. That might change as more and more people begin uploading data to the Web: if 17 different images of your face appeared on the Web, a picture take of you with Google Goggles would rank "you" in the top ten results about half the time. If there were 50 results, your face would be ranked in the top 5 results abour half the time, he said

Facial Recognition along with Geo-tagging is also available in Picasa web albums. You can already find who is connected to someone in facebook when you search for the people. Once all these information would start working together then you can identify the person where they have been on holidays (based on Geo-tagging of photos) and when they have gone there. Who else in their friends/family had gone with them, etc.

In fact FBI/CIA/MI5 may make their own app to "report potential terrorists" where if you see any suspicious person you can open one of their apps and click the photo of some person and the secret service will quickly check if this person is potentially a problem.

Of course we are not discussing the privacy concerns yet but looks like Scary future to me.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Mobile Payments to be mainstream in 2011

With some much talk (and hype) surrounding NFC and Mobile payments, it looks quite possible that m-payments will enter mainstream in the Western world in the forthcoming year. Though mobile payments have become norm in developing countries like Kenya, Senegal and India, its yet to catch on in UK and the USA.

Here are some interesting facts from MobileBeyond:
  • The mobile transaction market is so huge it offers room for multiple players. Yearly worldwide electronic transactions total $7-$10 TRILLION
  • Competitors are generally local to each country or region leaving plenty of open territory for mobile payment service and technology companies. Companies that win in their markets will be those that understand customer needs.
  • PayPal in the U.S., which has traditionally catered to merchant accounts, most likely will adopt a similar mobile strategy. (Both Obopay and PayPal are service providers–not technology companies like Fundamo in South Africa that provides software solutions for service companies.)
  • “The competition is cash”–not the other players in this market space
  • In five to ten years, mobile payments will achieve high adoption among consumers in developing and developed countries.
  • Brazil, Russia, China and Mexico offer growth opportunities for players that understand these markets
  • According to Portio Research, by 2011 mobile commerce payments are estimated to climb to $86.6 billion
  • Nielsen predicts 27% of all U.S. payments by 2012 will still be cash
To get an idea, there are already multiple m-payments providers in Kenya. Leaving out the gians like Google and Paypal, there are other local providers like M-pesa, Pay-Zunguka, Pesapal and Zynde.

The following are the developments in UK from Computer weekly:

Some forms of mobile payments already exist. Phone applications like PayPal Mobile support person-to-person (P2P) payments. SMS-based transactions are used for car parking tickets and mobile commerce allows online shopping through mobile phone browsers.

Contactless cards are also in circulation for credit cards, transport tickets and are used in some food stores. The industry is looking next at near-field communication (NFC) mobile handsets. NFC allows 'tap-and-go' style payments using mobile phones at in-store terminals by incorporating contactless card technology into handsets. Alternatively, micro-SD cards with NFC-enabled chips can be inserted into mobile phones.

The Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA) has launched a Pay-Buy-Mobile project to enable consumers to pay for goods and services via their mobile phones. "By storing a consumer's credit or debit card within the SIM card and employing NFC technology, the mobile phone can be passed near a contactless Point Of Sale (POS) terminal to complete transactions," said Nav Bains, GSMA's senior director of mobile money.

GSMA has been collaborating with standardisation bodies; the European Payments Council, EMVCo, which manages card specifications and smartcard infrastructure standards body, Global Platform. The consortium is developing the Trusted Service Manager requirements document and a certification process to accelerate the commercialisation of mobile NFC services. But some experts believe NFC is a long way from a mass market roll-out in the UK.

The biggest breakthrough in the mobile payment market have been in developing countries, providing bank services via mobile phones for people who have traditionally not had bank accounts. Visa Europe recently launched Europe's first micro-SD based mobile payment systems in Turkey. But it is unclear when such a system will be introduced in the UK. says Juniper Research senior analyst, Howard Wilcox.

The number of contactless terminals in the UK is approximately 26,500 and the UK Card Association predict 14 million contactless cards will have been issued with contactless functionality by the end of 2010. "We're not expecting to give a launch date any time soon," continues Swain. "Globally, there's a lot of discussion but the UK is one of the only areas where we already have the infrastructure that would accept contactless mobile payments," he adds.
UK-based mobile banking firm, Monitise, has also recently launched a joint venture with Visa in India to accelerate the delivery of mobile financial services such as banking, bill payments, mass transit ticketing and mobile top-up to Indian customers. More than infrastructure, Monitise group strategy director, Richard Johnson, believes banks and mobile network operators need to work together. "Banks are where most people keep their money. It's about mobilising bank accounts rather than creating new accounts with network operators. Tap-and-go really requires collaboration," he says.


Industry expert consortium, Mobey Forum, hopes to bring banks, mobile network operators, acquirers and merchants together to build the relationships needed to progress the mobile payments industry.

Gerhard Romen, Mobey Forum marketing chair and director of mobile financial services at Nokia, believes the NFC trials have proved the consumer demand and, by 2011, all of Nokia's new smartphones will be NFC-enabled. "Once people work together, it'll provide simplicity for the user" he says. "A phone with NFC can do more than just behave like a card - it has a display, keyboard and internet connection - and becomes more interactive," he adds.

Today we have credit, debit and, perhaps, contactless cards. Tomorrow banks and mobile network operators hope to provide a mobile wallet. The next step will be introducing tap-and-go into the mainstream market and, despite slow progress, industry experts are increasingly certain it will happen "soon".

From eWeek:

Google and Apple are both making moves to ensure smooth financial transactions on their mobile platforms.

Last week news bubbled up that Google and PayPal were brokering a deal to let the search engine use the e-commerce service as a payment option for applications purchased through Google's Android Market.

Apple, meanwhile, hired an expert in near field communication (NFC) technology as its new product manager for mobile commerce and has published a number of NFC-related patents in recent months.

Google's e-commerce infrastructure is poor compared with that of Apple. Users may only purchase applications for their Android smartphones from the Android Market in 13 countries.

By way of comparison, consumers may purchase apps from iPhone's App Store in 90 countries all over the world. PayPal would be a welcome addition to Google Checkout and credit cards as payment options in the Android Market.

Gartner has said the market for mobile apps will be $6.2 billion this year, making it an obvious sector for Google and Apple to attack with gusto.

From San Fansisco Chronicle:

Bay Area businesses like Bling Nation and eBay Inc.'s PayPal division are rolling out products that allow people to hand over money to stores, restaurants, coffee shops or friends with the tap of a mobile device. No credit cards, checks or cash are necessary.

Meanwhile, reports suggest that other major companies, including Apple Inc., AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless are planning or negotiating to provide similar services.

"What I see is all these distinct initiatives coming together and merging at some point in the not-too-distant future," said Aaron McPherson, practice director at IDC Financial Insights. "All together, they add up to significant change."

Bling Nation, a Palo Alto startup founded in 2007, is among the furthest along in this emerging field, with more than 1,000 retailers nationwide accepting its payment system. The company provides so-called Bling tags, or small stickers, that affix to the back of a mobile phone and transmit data using a wireless standard known as Near Field Communication.

When users tap the tag on a proprietary reader at participating retailers, it pulls money from their PayPal account. For security, users have to enter a personal identification number for purchases over a certain amount, or when transactions occur at an unusual frequency or location.

Merchants pay for or rent the reader and are charged 1.5 percent of the total of every transaction, which is well below the average transaction rate for accepting credit cards. The additional advantage for merchants is that they can analyze customer data in a more fine-grained manner than is permitted through the credit card system. This allows them, for instance, to target sales offers to regular customers or those who haven't been into the shop in a while.

"They enjoy cheaper fees and analytics that can help them issue coupons and make more money," said co-founder Meyer Malka, adding that the advantages are turning businesses into proselytizers on Bling's behalf.

A little more than a month ago, the company began an aggressive push in partnership with PayPal to expand its footprint in downtown Palo Alto. It included giving away thousands of tags preloaded with $20 in credit to customers. There are now more than 50 retailers in the city accepting the payments.

As I mentioned last week, with heavyweights like Nokia, Apple and Google all coming closer to NFC and M-Payments, it should be a winning formula for the end consumers. We will possibly see more use of m-payments in the developed world. Lets not mention about security just yet.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Femtocells: Not merely for providing 3G without base stations

Interesting presentation from Argela



Argela, one of the leading global telecom solution providers, was an exhibitor, speaker and sponsor of the Femtocell World Summit in London which is billed to be the largest Femtocell focused event in the industry for 2010. In addition, Argela’s Femtocell Committee Advertising Application was shortlisted and recognized by the Femto Forum Awards Panel for its innovative application of the Femtocell technology.

During the event, Argela exhibited its Femtocell and Home Gateway products in addition to demonstrating its Femtocell Advertising Application. Oguz Oktay, VP of Sales, commented, “The Femtocell World Summit provides a venue for key players to discuss the latest developments in the Femtocell industry which is why we decided to be a sponsor of the event. Having our Femtocell Advertising Application shortlisted and recognized for its innovation was a very nice bonus for us. We have received a lot of interest in our Femtocell Advertising Application which provides yet another way for service providers to increase the return on their Femtocell investment.”

Argela’s Director of Technology and Research, Dr. Mustafa Ergen, was a speaker during the three day event and he presented how Femtocells are capable of going beyond just providing 3G services.

To download and view Dr. Ergen’s presentation, “Femtocells: Not Merely for Providing 3G without Base Stations,” please
click here.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

KDDI Vision on FMBC (Fixed Mobile Broadband Convergence)

The following is from KDDI Annual report which is available to download here.


FMC (Fixed and Mobile Convergence) enables a variety of services and contents anywhere, any time, regardless of different communication methods and access means, be it fixed or mobile. KDDI’s next-generation infrastructure concept, “Ultra 3G,” takes this convergence one step further, to FMBC (Fixed Mobile and Broadcast Convergence). This is an area where only KDDI, which has various access lines, can pursue potentials.

The following is an article and half from the same report on FMBC:

Everyone is talking NFC



Its been over couple of years since I blogged about what NFC is. In fact successful trials in London occurred around that time but it seems the operators always had doubts.

Couple of months back, Nokia announced that from 2011, it will roll out NFC in all it phones. Here is an extract from the Register:

Nokia has announced that from next year every Nokia smartphone will have NFC, regardless of fact that the technology lacks a business model or any market demand.

The commitment was made during a speech by Nokia's VP for markets, Anssi Vanjoki to the Moby Forum, as
reported by NFC World. Vanjoki wouldn't be drawn on the company's smartphone plans, but did explain that every smartphone launched by Nokia would have an NFC component supporting the Single Wire Protocol (SWP) and MicroSD security, and probably a Nokia secure module too.

Once NFC is in a handset then one can do some interesting things with remote control of home electronics and Bluetooth pairing-by-tap, but none of that is the killer feature that NFC needs to make it viable.


Of course, the mobile industry isn't used to waiting for customer demand – no one ever requested a camera, or Bluetooth, those were pushed into punters' hands by operators (to sell MMS) and retailers (to sell headsets) respectively. But those were done by the network operators (which explains the popularity of Bluetooth in Europe, where operators own retailers).
Nokia, which has extensive IP in NFC, has spent a fortune trying to convince operators to back the technology, funding extensive trials and backing supportive research, but no matter how hard it tries, NFC just isn't desirable (at least until Apple puts it into an iPhone).


That was till last week. This week the news is out that Apple is testing NFC in iPhones. The following news from CNET:

Apple raised some eyebrows over the weekend when news spread it had hired an expert in mobile payments.

But now there's a report that says the company is already testing a prototype
iPhone with near-field communication (NFC) chips inside, which could pave the way for using future iPhones as a mobile wallet.

TechCrunch heard from an unnamed source that on Tuesday Apple is testing an iPhone with NFC chips it's ordered from NXP Semiconductor. It's not clear what kind of tests, and it could be very preliminary in nature. But coupled with the hire of Benjamin Vigier from mFoundry as mobile payments product manager, it does seem possible that Apple could be planning to open up its premier product to the world of commerce outside of iTunes.

In fact you may be able to do much more than mobile payments if Apple gets its way. You may be able to sync devices by touching each other. You can sync your MAC to iPhone or iPod. Here is a video showing some iPhone RFID demo, courtesy NFC world.

iPhone RFID: object-based media from timo on Vimeo.

In case you want to find difference between RFID and NFC, see here.

There is also an interesting article i read sometime back about when NTT DoCoMo will move to NFC. See here.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Over 100 HSPA+ Network commitments

From Mobile Business Briefing, via Wireless Intelligence:

Over a hundred global operators have now committed to rolling out HSPA+ networks, according to new Wireless Intelligence research. Our study shows that there were 58 live HSPA+ networks in operation at the beginning of August (see graphic) with a further 43 local operators having made commitments to migrate to the technology soon. There have been 19 HSPA+ network launches to date in 2010. The latest number of live networks means that HSPA+ now accounts for around 15-20 percent of the over 300 total HSPA network deployments worldwide. Significant new operators due to launch HSPA+ soon include AT&T in the US (due to launch by year-end with 250 million population coverage); Chunghwa and Far EasTone in Taiwan; Singapore's SingTel; Japan's SoftBank; and Germany's T-Mobile, O2 and E-Plus.

The growth in the number of HSPA+ networks comes just 18 months after Australian market-leader Telstra launched the world's first HSPA+ network in February 2009. The most recent operator to complete its HSPA+ upgrade was Qatar's Qtel, which switched on its new network in its home market this week, offering peak download speeds of 21Mb/s and 5.8Mb/s in the uplink.

The most common version of HSPA+ (64QAM) offers theoretical top speeds of around 21Mb/s though some operator deployments are aiming for HSPA+ speeds up to four times faster using dual-carrier and MIMO technology. Those already to have done so include Qtel's Indosat subsidiary in Indonesia, Etisalat in Egypt and
Japan's EMOBILE, which have all introduced the dual-carrier version this year.

Australia's Telstra has still to complete its
upgrade to 42Mb/s (due in 2H10) despite last year claiming that it had become the first operator in the world to test HSPA+ dual-carrier technology outside of laboratory conditions. Nevertheless, Telstra has been the most high-profile pioneer of HSPA technology to date, launching its HSPA-based 'Next G' network back in October 2006. The network initially offered top speeds of 3.6Mb/s but was subsequently upgraded to 14.4Mb/s and then – following the HSPA+ upgrade in February 2009 – to 21Mb/s. However, as is the case with most of the speeds advertised by operators, real world speeds on the network are significantly lower. A GSMA-backed study by Signals Research Group in December last year found that Next G's HSPA+ network only delivered downlink data rates above 5Mb/s around 50 percent of the time, with peak speeds of around 17Mb/s. It noted that this made HSPA+ broadly comparable with mobile WiMAX.

Complete article here.

Related Links:

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

LTE Evolved Packet System Architecture poster from ALU

Interesting poster from ALU on the Evolved Packet System Architecture. Available to download from Slideshare.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Nokia Siemens Networks demonstrate TD-LTE leadership

Since last few months, NSN have been showing that they are serious about TD-LTE as well. Back in June they made an announcement that they have integrated TD-LTE in their networks so that it can support concurrent use of TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE. They opened a TD-LTE lab in China as well earlier this year.

Motorola is another big player in the TD-LTE arena and I have blogged about them as well. With the purchase of Motorola Networks by NSN, it got additional experience and capability to be the next TD-LTE leader. With this renewed confidence, it ended the joint venture with Huawei which started back in 2005 with TD-SCDMA technology.

The following is press release from NSN couple of days back:

Nokia Siemens Networks has proven its leading role in advancing TD-LTE as it met the complete TD-LTE test specifications defined by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). The successful completion of the trial in the 2.3GHz band at the MIIT lab in Beijing, China, marks an important milestone in the commercialization of TD-LTE. After the test, Nokia Siemens Networks also achieved the world’s first high-definition TD-LTE video call, including handover, with a Samsung TD-LTE device.

The high-definition video call demo showcased interoperability between Nokia Siemens Networks’ LTE infrastructure and Samsung’s TD-LTE USB dongle, and marks a definitive step toward ensuring early availability of a functioning TD-LTE ecosystem for commercial deployments.

“We’ve achieved excellent results from this test and are happy to partner with Nokia Siemens Networks in driving the TD-LTE ecosystem further,” said Mr. Tong Wang, president of Beijing Samsung Telecom R&D Center. “Commercial readiness of devices is a key indicator for the success of a new technology and the current test results show that we are now well prepared for TD-LTE.”

“Meeting TD-LTE test specifications defined by MIIT and achieving the first high-definition video call with handover, are key milestones in our list of achievements, added Paul Pan, head of Network Systems, Greater China Region, Nokia Siemens Networks. “We will continue to collaborate with partners to accelerate our progress toward a comprehensive deployment of TD-LTE.”

Nokia Siemens Networks is at the forefront of TD-LTE development and commercialization, actively working with telecom operators and device manufacturers. The company recently announced the first TD-LTE interoperability data call with a prototype TD-LTE USB dongle from Samsung and the first TD-LTE video call between Shanghai and Taipei.


Ericsson is now going to probably have tough competition from NSN.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Home Energy-Management solution using Femtocells



A recent demonstration from ip.access and AlertMe.com showed how femtocells can be integrated into smart-home energy-management solutions. With femtocell integration, the AlertMe Energy service can automatically detect when the house is empty and power down lights, televisions, and other home appliances. The service also can switch the services back on when the resident returns home.
For the demo, ip.access combined the AlertMe Energy service with its own femtocell technology. The solution works by allowing electrical appliances to switch on and off automatically in response to the presence or absence of mobile phones in the home. This “presence” information, which is routinely gathered by the femtocell, is normally only used to route cell-phone traffic and set tariffs.
In the demonstration, however, the AlertMe integration enables the presence information to be used to set light and power preferences, which are activated automatically when a subscriber arrives at home. Preset electrical outlets also can switch off automatically to save energy a few minutes after the last person has left the house.
The demonstration shows how supplementary service codes on the phone can be personalized through the femtocell when the phone is at home. For example, the phone can be used to remotely switch appliances on and off.
“One automatic trigger could be to switch the kettle on as soon as you arrive home,” says Dr. Andy Tiller, Vice President Marketing at ip.access. “But there is more to this than just tea and convenience. Using a femtocell to personalize supplementary service codes is a new and unique idea. It enables the mobile phone to become a powerful controller for all kinds of applications in the home. And because it’s a network-enabled feature, it works with any handset. There are no applications to install.”
According to AlertMe.com Founder Pilgrim Beart, “The mobile phone is increasingly the remote-control for your life. Most people carry their handset everywhere they go, making it an ideal control device for the AlertMe Energy service.”
The demo also shows how the AlertMe Hub (the central device that receives instructions via the Internet and controls the electrical plugs in the home) can be integrated inside a femtocell access point. It will then rely on the femtocell for power and its Internet connection. In this way, a mobile operator could offer a smart-home energy-management solution as an integrated option to its femtocell subscribers.
You can see the Video of the demo here. (Sorry no embed allowed)

Via: Andy Tiller in 3G in the Home.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Whitepaper: Traffic Management Techniques for Mobile Broadband Networks


The report, Traffic Management Techniques for Mobile Broadband Networks: Living in an Orthogonal World,focuses on 3GPP networks and concerns itself specifically with traffic management, including the handling of traffic flows on 3GPP networks in contrast with other network management techniques that operators may deploy (such as offloading, compression, network optimization and other important mechanisms).

Mobile broadband networks are confronted by a number of challenges. In particular, the physical layer in mobile networks is subject to a unique confluence of unpredictable and unrelated, or “orthogonal,” influences. Moreover, mobile broadband networks have some important differences from their fixed brothers and sisters, which lead to different traffic management requirements. Among the most significant differences for purposes of traffic management is the need for more granular visibility to circumstances on the ground. Optimally, traffic management for mobile broadband networks requires visibility to what is occurring (by device or application) at the cell site level and in a timeframe that enables as far as feasible near-time reactions to resolve issues.

With the consumer in mind, an End-to-End (E2E) view of mobile service is critical for traffic management. For example, a consumer using a mobile phone to look up movie listings and purchase tickets considers the E2E service as the ability to see what movie is playing and execute a transaction to purchase tickets. 3GPP has endeavored to standardize increasingly more robust traffic management (Quality of Service, or QoS) techniques for mobile broadband networks with a consumer’s E2E view of QoS. It must be considered, however, that mobile operators typically do not have full control over E2E provisioning of services that depend on mobile broadband Internet access.

Global standards organizations like 3GPP play an important role in the development of traffic management through provisions for addressing QoS, particularly regarding interworking with non-3GPP access mechanisms. These are important new innovations, and the 3G Americas white paper notes that the efforts of standards development organizations should be intensified.

In addition, the configuration of end-user devices and content and applications not provisioned by the network operator not only impacts the experience of the particular user, but potentially other users in a particular cell as well. Efforts to drive further QoS innovations should be mindful of potentially adverse impacts from these sources and support and foster interoperability of third party applications with existing network platforms.

More innovations are needed throughout the mobile broadband ecosystem, in particular by application developers, in order to realize E2E quality of service. Furthermore, transparency in network management practices is important in fostering innovation, but requires a careful balancing to ensure consumer comprehension while safeguarding network reliability. Organizations with technical expertise such as 3G Americas are prepared to help to illuminate and progress the development of these new technologies.

“3G Americas stands ready to assist interested parties in the ongoing development and understanding of traffic management techniques,” said Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas. “We are mindful that in this hemisphere and elsewhere, the industry has accepted an increasingly active role in addressing questions about service levels and innovation on mobile broadband networks.”

The white paper, Traffic Management Techniques for Mobile Broadband Networks: Living in an Orthogonal World, was written collaboratively by members of 3G Americas and is available for free download on the 3G Americas website at www.3gamericas.org.

AT&T on their LTE Backhaul Architecture


Backhaul is a topic that may be giving some operators nightmare. Picked up this slightly old article from Light reading via WirelessMoves.

AT&T network architect Yiannis Argyropoulos addressed the Backhaul Strategies and Core Convergence for Mobile Operators event in New York City and had the following to say:

The lines between wireless and wireline networks are blurring, as are the boundaries between access and core networks, driven by the need to carry the flood of wireless data traffic more efficiently. AT&T is aggressively deploying fiber to its mobile cell sites and migrating from Sonet to Ethernet, but more changes will be needed. AT&T started its fiber push in 2008, and it will take at least seven years to complete, said Argyropoulos.

For the short term, today's metro Ethernet architecture will support LTE, but longer term, the network architecture needs to have less operational complexity, noted the AT&T man. The carrier is in the process of testing new approaches, based in part on work being done by 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and the Broadband Forum .

AT&T also is looking for coordination of policy control between its wireline and wireless networks, so that the core network services are the same for end-users, regardless of how they connect to the network. It is no longer adequate for quality-of-service to be delivered piecemeal, within different segments of the network, Argyropoulos stated: "There is a lot of work going on right now to harmonize these."

The early 3GPP scheme for QoS on 3G UMTS networks was too complicated to be implemented, but newer LTE QoS plans from the 3GPP, with nine QoS classes and a smaller number of individual class attributes, look more practical.




The growing volume of data traffic is having an impact on other areas of the carrier's operations, too. The widespread use of bandwidth-hungry smartphone devices is creating new traffic patterns that, among other things, eliminate traditional maintenance windows traditionally scheduled in the early hours of weekend mornings, Argyropoulos pointed out.

"Data traffic peaks at the same time as voice, but it has multiple peaks, and it doesn't ever really subside," he said. That, in turn, is putting pressure on wireless network operators and their vendors to do hitless network upgrades and to build more resiliency into their networks.

AT&T is looking to other means of offloading traffic, including routing optimization that will use gateways strategically placed in the network to direct traffic onto the Internet, and not carry it through the metro and core networks first.

"Most of the mobile data traffic is coming from the Internet and going to the Internet."

It will also be important to offload subscriber traffic generated in the home onto a domestic Internet connection, he added.

To get an Idea of the mobile backhaul load, see my earlier post here.

Along with Fiber, Microwave is also an option and you can read more about it in Daily Wireless blog.

Also came across this blod dedicated to mobile backhaul, that is available here.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

'Femtocells' or 'Small cells' ?



Recently, while browsing, I ended up on Wilson Street. I have been noticing it since earlier this year that Alcatel-Lucent have rebranded their Femtocells as Small-cells. I have blogged earlier about Femtocell variations but the term 'small cell' could be used to cover different sizes and capacity of cells.

Here are some interesting things i found from a recent ABI research blog:
  • Indoor residential grade Femtocells have an output power of 10mW-100mW.
  • Enterprise grade or Metro femtocells have an output power of 200-300mW.
  • Rural femtocells (a.k.a. Super Femtocells, Greater Femtocells) 200mW-1W. Some people refer to them as picocells as well.
  • Compact base stations use femtocell silicon efficiencies and multi-core chipset platforms to build a base station on a SoC - but are meant to be higher output power base stations (1W and higher).
    • Compact base stations are scalable platforms, which can fit into picocell, microcell or even macrocell form factors. The emergence of compact base station can be traced to the need for multifrequency, multimode, low power consumption, low-cost, pizza-box type base station platforms that can de deployed within different site classifications especially in metro metrozone overlays.
    • The capacity crunch in networks is likely to drive operators to deploy compact base stations as in-fills initially with compact base stations being a part of future network blueprints. Current microcell or macrocell platforms are too bulky or costly to deploy in clusters and in large numbers. Compact base stations are also meant to take advantage of backhaul relay techniques making it easier to deploy in small clusters.
  • Small cells on the other hand could be the umbrella under which compact base stations (portion of), picocells, microcells, residential, enterprise, rural/metro femtocells exist.
    • We are already seeing vendors like Alcatel Lucent change their marketing message from femtocells to ‘small cells’ covering a wider range of products and deployment types. They have also included features like SON and value-added applications into the small cell base category.
To avoid confusing the end users who are just interested in better coverage and data rates, it would make sense to brand the Femtocell as something approprite (like Vodafone has done for Sure Signal). Small cells do sound good too.

Friday, 6 August 2010

The Indian entrepreneur spirit


In India you can fix and recycle anything and everything. The last time I visited India, I took an old Nokia phone whose screen and buttons were not working. The charger socket was damaged. There was no battery. The cover was damaged and there was nothing right in that. It did have sentimental value for someone who wanted it fixed if possible.

I gave it to someone to get it fixed and then when I saw it again after a week it was all nice and new. I has to pay 1400 Rupees (approx. £20/$30) but it was invaluable for the person who wanted it fixed.

I read a very interesting Blog article by Shekhar Kapur yesterday and I decided to share it with you. Shekhar Kapur is well known actor/director of movies and his well known international movies as director include Elizabeth and Bandit Queen.

You can read the complete blog article here.

Back in UK, I do nowadays see mobile repair shops springing up in different places but I still think they are far behind these Indian repair shops which dont have much equipment and components but can still fix your item miraculously.

I also found another Interesting blog that has some interesting articles on the theme of 'Indian Entrepreneur Spirit'. See here.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Coordinated Multi-Point (CoMP): Unresolved problems

I have blogged about CoMP in quite some detail in the past. Someone recently pointed out an interesting video from Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institut which is embedded below:



CoMP may be not as practical as we may think. One of the things pointed out by Dr. Ariela Zeira, InterDigital's Vice-President of Advanced Air Interfaces in the LTE World Summit was that there exists a gap between the theoretical and the practical gains of CoMP.

She went on to suggest the following as way forward for the Coordinated Multipoint acceptance in future:
  • Address root causes of gaps between academia and current feedback schemes
    • Need for improved Channel State Information (CSI) feedback resolution
    • Need for improved frequency domain precoding granularity
  • Apply CoMP where most needed and/or theoretical gains can be approached
    • Heterogeneous networks
      • Interference problem is more severe than in macro-only deployment
        • Especially for Femto Closed Subscriber Group and Pico Cells employing large cell extension
      • Lower delay spread and low mobility can be expected in Femto and Pico cells and reduce performance loss from feedback impairments
    • Relay Backhaul Channel (RBC)
      • More accurate CSI feedback from stationary relay station is possible enabling advanced non-linear precoding schemes.
      • High rank MIMO transmission will not be effective due to higher probability of Line of Sight (LOS) channel from Macro to Relay
CoMP is still probably the most promising spectral efficiency solution but need to focus on closing the gap between gains predicted by theory and those achievable with current LTE Release 8 Feedback Schemes

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Challenges in Mobile phone 'Ad-Hoc' Networks

Last month I blogged about a Mobile phone based Ad-Hoc network. The following slide, again from Dr. Ariela Zeira, InterDigital's Vice-President of Advanced Air Interfaces shows the possible problems in having an LTE based approach for a Mobile phone 'Ad-Hoc' network.

This kind of technology is probably quite a few years away.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Double whammy for GSM Security

Via PC World:

A researcher at the Def Con security conference in Las Vegas demonstrated that he could impersonate a GSM cell tower and intercept mobile phone calls using only $1500 worth of equipment. The cost-effective solution brings mobile phone snooping to the masses, and raises some concerns for mobile phone security.

How does the GSM snooping work?

Chris Paget was able to patch together an IMSI (International Mobile Identity Subscriber) catcher device for about $1500. The IMSI catcher can be configured to impersonate a tower from a specific carrier. To GSM-based cell phones in the immediate area--the spoofed cell tower appears to be the strongest signal, so the devices connect to it, enabling the fake tower to intercept outbound calls from the cell phone.

What happens to the calls?

Calls are intercepted, but can be routed to the intended recipient so the attacker can listen in on, and/or record the conversation. To the real carrier, the cell phone appears to no longer be connected to the network, so inbound calls go directly to voicemail. Paget did clarify, though, that it's possible for an attacker to impersonate the intercepted device to the wireless network, enabling inbound calls to be intercepted as well.

But, aren't my calls encrypted?

Generally speaking, yes. However, the hacked IMSI catcher can simply turn the encryption off. According to Paget, the GSM standard specifies that users should be warned when encryption is disabled, but that is not the case for most cell phones. Paget explained "Even though the GSM spec requires it, this is a deliberate choice on the cell phone makers."

What wireless provider networks are affected?

Good news for Sprint and Verizon customers--those networks use CDMA technology rather than GSM, so cell phones on the Sprint or Verizon networks would not connect to a spoofed GSM tower. However, AT&T and T-Mobile--as well as most major carriers outside of the United States--rely on GSM.

Does 3G protect me from this hack?

This IMSI catcher hack will not work on 3G, but Paget explained that the 3G network could be knocked offline with a noise generator and an amplifier--equipment that Paget acquired for less than $1000. With the 3G network out of the way, most cell phones will revert to 2G to find a viable signal to connect to.

Another one from CNET:

A researcher released software at the Black Hat conference on Thursday designed to let people test whether their calls on mobile phones can be eavesdropped on.

The public availability of the software - dubbed Airprobe -- means that anyone with the right hardware can snoop on other peoples' calls unless the target telecom provider has deployed a patch that was standardized about two years ago by the GSMA, the trade association representing GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) providers, including AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S.

Most telecom providers have not patched their systems, said cryptography expert Karsten Nohl.

"This talk will be a reminder to this industry to please implement these security measures because now customers can test whether they've patched the system or not," he told CNET in an interview shortly before his presentation. "Now you can listen in on a strangers' phone calls with very little effort."

An earlier incarnation of Airprobe was incomplete so Nohl and others worked to make it usable, he said.

Airprobe offers the ability to record and decode GSM calls. When combined with a set of cryptographic tools called Kraken, which were released last week, "even encrypted calls and text messages can be decoded," he said.

To test phones for interception capability you need: the Airprobe software and a computer; a programmable radio for the computer, which costs about $1,000; access to cryptographic rainbow tables that provide the codes for cracking GSM crypto (another Nohl project); and the Kraken tool for cracking the A5/1 crypto used in GSM, Nohl said.

More information about the tool and the privacy issues is on the Security Research Labs Web site.


Monday, 2 August 2010

Interdigital's 'Fuzzy Cells' technology for cell edge performance improvement


Back in LTE World Summit 2010, I heard from Dr. Ariela Zeira, InterDigital's Vice-President of Advanced Air Interfaces about various things Interdigital have been working on.

One of the technologies that caught my attention was Fuzzy Cells technology to increase the cell edge rates. The following is from their press release for Mobile World Congress:

BARCELONA, Spain, Feb 15, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- InterDigital, Inc. today announced the demonstration of its "Fuzzy Cell" technology that improves cell-edge performance at the 2010 Mobile World Congress. The Fuzzy Cell technology is part of the company's comprehensive suite of "Next Generation Cellular" (NGC) innovations that combine advanced network topologies and spectrally-efficient air interface solutions for LTE-advanced and beyond.

"Many wireless operators and customers are experiencing a substantial degradation of service quality caused by the ever-growing demand for mobile data," said James J. Nolan, Executive Vice President, Research and Development, InterDigital. "We are at the forefront of developing solutions for more efficient wireless networks, a richer multimedia experience, and new mobile broadband capabilities that support operators to capture revenues from the boom in smartphones. The Fuzzy Cell fits nicely within our much broader efforts on spectrum optimization, cross-network connectivity and mobility, and intelligent data delivery techniques."

While cellular networks have become virtually ubiquitous, users continue to experience inconsistent and unpredictable performance when moving around. While this degradation is often the result of network congestion or an obstructed path of the radio waves, it is also inherent to traditional cellular deployments, whereby signals degrade towards the fringe of any given cell due to interference from neighboring cells. It is estimated that typical users experience this situation, known as being in the cell-edge, more than 50% of the time. Advancements in HSPA and LTE primarily increase peak data rates and only offer modest improvements in average performance throughout a cell.

Fuzzy Cells is a novel approach for leveraging existing resources to improve spectral efficiency and cell-edge performance. In a traditional deployment a device connects to one site at a time (even if multiple sub-bands are used at each site) and all sites use the same power levels and sector orientations for all sub-bands. In a Fuzzy Cell deployment, a device may connect to multiple sites at a time through the different sub-bands and continue to realize full system bandwidth. The power levels and sector orientations of the different sub-bands are optimized for best performance. In simpler terms, the device exploits the best combination of base station support regardless of its position, removing traditional limitations of cell or sector boundaries. Importantly, Fuzzy Cell technology can also allow gains indoors as it allows connection to more than one cell/sector at a time as available. The Fuzzy Cell technology provides additional improvement over Fractional Frequency Reuse (FFR) methods that are supported by current specifications.

The following shows the demonstration of Fuzzy cells:



I haven't heard any news recently on this technology but its an interesting concept, not sure if it would be adopted in the near term in the standards.