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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Wi-Fi & Packet Core (EPC) Integration

Yesterday I wrote a blog post on whether Wi-Fi is the third RAN in the Metrocells blog. Today I am posting this excellent presentation that details how this Wi-Fi integration with EPC will be done.



Monday, 25 February 2013

LTE-A: Downlink Transmission Mode 9 (TM-9)

When LTE was introduced in Release-8 it had 7 transmission modes that were increased to 8 in Release-9. Earlier, I posted an R&S whitepaper on the different Transmission modes (10K+ views already) that listed transmission modes till TM 8. In Release-10 (LTE-A) 3GPP Introduced a new transmission mode, TM 9. TM9 is designed to help reduce interference between base stations to maximise signal stability and boost performance. The new TM-9 enables the enhancement of network capabilities and performance with minimum addition of overhead. TM9 is designed to combine the advantages of high spectrum efficiency (using higher order MIMO) and cell-edge data rates, coverage and interference management (using beamforming). Flexible and dynamic switching between single-user MIMO (SU-MIMO) and an enhanced version of multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) is also provided.



A new Downlink Control Information (DCI) format - known as format 2C - is used for TM9 data scheduling. Two new reference signals are defined in TM9: Channel State Information Reference Signal (CSI-RS) and Demodulation Reference Signal (DMRS). The first is used from the UE to calculate and report the CSI feedback (CQI/PMI/RI), while the latter is an evolution - providing support for more layers - of the UE specific reference signal that is already used for beamforming in Rel-9, and is used for signal demodulation. TM-9 is particularly smart as it can detect when a mobile device is being used and send a different type of signal that is optimal for a mobile device (variable DM-RS – demodulation reference signals). This maximises the efficient use of the base station and guarantee’s a decent data rate for users.


Early results in SK Telecom press release are positive with a claimed 10-15% increase in data rates in locations where there was known inter-cell interference.

I also looked into couple of books and here is one explanation from An Introduction to LTE by Chris Cox.


To use eight layer spatial multiplexing, the base station starts by configuring the mobile into a new transmission mode, mode 9. This supports both single user and multiple user MIMO, so the base station can quickly switch between the two techniques without the need to change transmission mode.

The base station schedules the mobile using a new DCI format, 2C. In the scheduling command, it specifies the number of layers that it will use for the data transmission, between one and eight. It does not have to specify the precoding matrix, because that is transparent to the mobile. The base station then transmits the PDSCH on antenna ports 7 to 7 + n, where n is the number of layers that the mobile is using. The maximum number of codewords is two, the same as in Release 8.

The mobile still has to feed back a precoding matrix indicator, which signals the discrepancy between the precoding that the base station is transparently providing and the precoding that the mobile would ideally like to use. Instead of using the PMI, however, the mobile feeds back two indices, i1 and i2. Both of these can vary from 0 to 15, which provides more finely-grained feedback than the PMI did and in turn improves the performance of the multiple user MIMO technique. The base station can then use these indices to reconstruct the requested precoding matrix.


Embedded below is an extract from Google books for Lte-Advanced Air Interface Technology By Xincheng Zhang, Xiaojin Zhou


Saturday, 23 February 2013

Google Glasses - take two

Picture source: Guardian

So nearly after a year of my Google Glass post, looks like Google is ready to ship some of these glasses to some competition winners for $1500. Even the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is excited and cant wait to get his hands on it.

There is also this new video showing 'How it Feels' wearing Glass and everytime I go back to youtube, the count increases by 100K. Embedded below:


My two main concerns are that I have to speak loudly to the glass which may not be convenient in public places or in front of others and the other being that when many people will have these devices, my Glass may pickup command from another user.

Sometime back there was a discussion on 'Bone conduction audio'. This will allow the user to hear from the Glass without the need of a headphone or speakers, I guess a similar kind of technology is needed in place of a mic. The Glass can sense that the user who is wearing it is talking instead of someone else. It should also solve the need to speak to speak loudly to the Glass.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Scalable UMTS (S-UMTS) to accelerate GSM Refarming


Looks like a good idea from LTE will possibly be applied to UMTS/HSPA and it will also help accelerate the re-farming of GSM spectrum. A recent presentation from Qualcomm below:



Available to download from here.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Revisiting Coordinated Multi-point (CoMP) Technology

Looks like I re-visit CoMP every Q1 of the year. Couple of years back, I had posted a primer on CoMP here and last year I had a slide on schemes and deployments here. With Release-11 out of the door and  Release-12 getting in full swing in the standards, its time to re-visit this topic in a bit more detail. There are couple of presentations, one completely devoted to this topic and one that has a section on it. Both of them can be downloaded from slideshare.


Thursday, 7 February 2013

The story of Femtocells, Small Cells and Metrocells


Femtocells were introduced many years back as a residential, closed group, small base station. The intention was to provide coverage at home for high speed data (primary) and voice (secondary). It was more for coverage than capacity. In these good old days smart phones were far and few and feature phones were many. WiFi on the phone made it expensive and power hungry so cellular was the way to go.

There were many opportunities for Femtocells to take the centre stage as the concept is technologically sound but the operators have been not very willing to deploy it soon enough. Some operators were more willing to give it a try to fix their own issues, for example Softbank which gave free femtocells, in open access mode, to improve its coverage issues. Femtozone services that promised value addition provided with the Femtocells, never took off. Other promises of exclusive broadcast content using Femtocells for example never materialised due to lack of availability of the handsets and content.




Lot has changed since then. The smartphones and tablets have taken over the market, all of them have inbuilt WiFi that is generally more efficient than the cellular radio, coverage issues have become secondary and capacity issues are a bigger concern. Femtocell players have realised that except for the publicity, there isn't much to gain from the Femtocells. As a result Femtocells were replaced by the term Small cells that represents much more than the old Femtocells. The residential Femtocells have been reduced to being just voice boosters.


The different types of Small cells can be seen in the picture above. Except for the residential, the other types of small cells operate in either the open mode or the hybrid mode. Personally, I differentiate closed Femtocells from the other Small Cells. Metrocell is the upcoming type of Small cell that I believe everyone is focussing on. They operate always in the open mode and have been chosen as the promised one to solve the two major problems of capacity and coverage.

According to the Small Cell Forum introductory whitepaper, Metrocells would see an increased growth in the next few years when the operators start deploying more of them and less of the Macrocells.

So for those of you who don't know, and would like to learn more, an introductory presentation on Metrocells is available here.

If this is an area of interest and you are interested in having and in-depth understanding then we invite you to attend our Metrocells Masterclass which is a one day workshop explaining ins and outs of Metrocell. 

If you are a big organisation and would like us to provide you with a private workshop, please feel free to contact us for details.

We have also started the Metrocells Blog that I will use to post information related to Small Cells and Metrocells in future. Please feel free to take a look at: http://metrocells.blogspot.com/

Saturday, 2 February 2013