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Showing posts with label 4G. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 4G. Show all posts

Monday, 1 December 2014

Bringing Network Function Virtualization (NFV) to LTE

SDN and NFV have gained immense popularity recently. Not only are they considered important for reducing the Capex and Opex but are being touted as an important cog in the 4.5G/5G network. See here for instance.


I introduced NFV to the blog nearly a year back here. ETSI had just published their first specs around then. When I talked about SDN/NFV back in May, these ETSI standards were evolving into a significant reference documents. This is a reason 4G Americas recently published this whitepaper (embedded below), for the operators to start migrating to NFV architecture to reap long term benefits. The following is from the whitepaper:

The strategies and solutions explored in the 4G Americas report on NFV aim to address these issues and others by leveraging IT virtualization technology to consolidate many network equipment types onto industry standard high volume servers, networking and storage. NFV is about separating network functions from proprietary hardware and then consolidating and running those functions as virtualized applications on a commodity server. Broadly speaking, NFV will enable carriers to virtualize network functions and run them as software applications within their networks. NFV focuses on virtualizing network functions such as firewalls, Wide-Area Network (WAN) acceleration, network routers, border controllers (used in Voice over IP (VoIP) networks), Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) and other specialized network applications. NFV is applicable to a wide variety of networking functions in both fixed and mobile networks.
“NFV is making great progress throughout the world as operators work with their vendor partners to address the opportunities of increasing efficiency within their network infrastructure elements,” stated Chris Pearson, President of 4G Americas. “There is a great deal of collaborative innovation and cooperation between wireless carriers, IT vendors, networking companies and wireless infrastructure vendors making NFV for LTE possible.”
Global communication service providers, along with many leading vendors, are participating in the European Telecommunications Standards Institute’s (ETSI) Industry Specification Group for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV ISG) to address challenges such as:
  • An increasing variety of proprietary hardware appliances like routers, firewalls and switches
  • Space and power to accommodate these appliances
  • Capital investment challenges
  • Short lifespan
  • A long procure-design-integrate-deploy lifecycle
  • Increasing complexity and diversity of network traffic
  • Network capacity limitations
Three main benefits of NFV outlined in the 4G Americas paper include:
  • Improved capital efficiency: Provisioning capacity for all functions versus each individual function, providing more granular capacity, exploiting the larger economies of scale associated with Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) hardware, centralizing Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) in data centers where latency requirements allow, and separately and dynamically scaling VNFs residing in the user (or data or forwarding) plane designed for execution in the cloud, control and user-plane functions as needed.
  • Operational efficiencies: Deploying VNFs as software using cloud management techniques which enables scalable automation at the click of an operator’s (or customer’s) mouse or in response to stimulus from network analytics. The ability to automate onboarding, provisioning and in-service activation of new virtualized network functions can yield significant savings. 
  • Service agility, innovation and differentiation: In deploying these new VNFs, time-to-market for new network services can be significantly reduced, increasing the operator’s ability to capture market share and develop market-differentiating services.
In particular, mobile operators can take advantage of NFV as new services are introduced. Evolved Packet Core (EPC), Voice over LTE (VoLTE), IP Multimedia System (IMS) and enhanced messaging services, among others, are examples of opportunities to use virtualized solutions. Some operators started deploying elements of NFV in 2013 with an expectation that many service areas could be mostly virtualized in the next decade.

The whitepaper as follows:


Saturday, 1 November 2014

4G Security and EPC Threats for LTE

This one is from the LTE World Summit 2014. Even though I was not there for this, I think this has some useful information about the 4G/LTE Security. Presentation as follows:


Sunday, 19 October 2014

What is (pre-5G) 4.5G?

Before we look at what 4.5G is, lets look at what is not 4.5G. First and foremost, Carrier Aggregation is not 4.5G. Its the foundation for real 4G. I keep on showing this picture on Twitter


I am sure some people much be really bored by this picture of mine that I keep showing. LTE, rightly referred to as 3.9G or pre-4G by the South Korean and Japanese operators was the foundation of 'Real' 4G, a.k.a. LTE-Advanced. So who has been referring to LTE-A as 4.5G (and even 5G). Here you go:


So lets look at what 4.5G is.
Back in June, we published a whitepaper where we referred to 4.5G as LTE and WiFi working together. When we refer to LTE, it refers to LTE-A as well. The standards in Release-12 allow simultaneous use of LTE(-A) and WiFi with selected streams on WiFi and others on cellular.


Some people dont realise how much spectrum is available as part of 5GHz, hopefully the above picture will give an idea. This is exactly what has tempted the cellular community to come up with LTE-U (a.k.a LA-LTE, LAA)

In a recent event in London called 5G Huddle, Alcatel-Lucent presented their views on what 4.5G would mean. If you look at the slide above, it is quite a detailed view of what this intermediate step before 5G would be. Some tweets related to this discussion from 5G Huddle as follows:

Finally, in a recent GSMA event, Huawei used the term 4.5G to set out their vision and also propose a time-frame as follows:



While in Alcatel-Lucent slide, I could visualise 4.5G as our vision of LTE(-A) + WiFi + some more stuff, I am finding it difficult to visualise all the changes being proposed by Huawei. How are we going to see the peak rate of 10Gbps for example?

I have to mention that I have had companies that have told me that their vision of 5G is M2M and D2D so Huawei is is not very far from reality here.

We should keep in mind that this 4G, 4.5G and 5G are the terms we use to make the end users aware of what new cellular technology could do for them. Most of these people understand simple terms like speeds and latency. We may want to be careful what we tell them as we do not want to make things confusing, complicated and make false promises and not deliver on them. 

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.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Taking 5G from vision to reality

This presentation by Moray Rumney of Agilent (Keysight) in Cambridge Wireless, Future of Wireless International conference takes a different angle at what the targets for different technologies have been and based on that what should be the targets for 5G. In fact he has an opinion on M2M and Public safety as well and tries to combine it with 5G. Unfortunately I wasnt at this presentation but from having heard Moray speak in past, I am sure it was a thought provoking presentation.



All presentations from the Future of Wireless International Conference (FWIC) are available here.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Rise and Rise or '4G' - Update on Release-11 & Release-12 features

A recent GSMA report suggests that China will be a significant player in the field of 4G with upto 900 million 4G users by 2020. This is not surprising as the largest operator, China Mobile wants to desperately move its user base to 4G. For 3G it was stuck with TD-SCDMA or the TDD LCR option. This 3G technology is not as good as its FDD variant, commonly known as UMTS.

This trend of migrating to 4G is not unique to China. A recent report (embedded below) by 4G Americas predicts that by the end of 2018, HSPA/HSPA+ would be the most popular technology whereas LTE would be making an impact with 1.3 Billion connected devices. The main reason for HSPA being so dominant is due to the fact that HSPA devices are mature and are available now. LTE devices, even though available are still slightly expensive. At the same time, operators are taking time having a seamless 4G coverage throughout the region. My guess would be that the number of devices that are 4G ready would be much higher than 1.3 Billion.

It is interesting to see that the number of 'Non-Smartphones' remain constant but at the same time, their share is going down. It would be useful to breakdown the number of Smartphones into 'Phablets' and 'non-Phablets' category.

Anyway, the 4G Americas report from which the information above is extracted contains lots of interesting details about Release-11 and Release-12 HSPA+ and LTE. The only problem I found is that its too long for most people to go through completely.

The whitepaper contains the following information:

3GPP Rel-11 standards for HSPA+ and LTE-Advanced were frozen in December 2012 with the core network protocols stable in December 2012 and Radio Access Network (RAN) protocols stable in March 2013. Key features detailed in the paper for Rel-11 include:
HSPA+:
  • 8-carrier downlink operation (HSDPA)
  • Downlink (DL) 4-branch Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) antennas
  • DL Multi-Flow Transmission
  • Uplink (UL) dual antenna beamforming (both closed and open loop transmit diversity)
  • UL MIMO with 64 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (64-QAM)
  • Several CELL_FACH (Forward Access Channel) state enhancements (for smartphone type traffic) and non-contiguous HSDPA Carrier Aggregation (CA)
LTE-Advanced:
  • Carrier Aggregation (CA)
  • Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services (MBMS) and Self Organizing Networks (SON)
  • Introduction to the Coordinated Multi-Point (CoMP) feature for enabling coordinated scheduling and/or beamforming
  • Enhanced Physical Control Channel (EPDCCH)
  • Further enhanced Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (FeICIC) for devices with interference cancellation
Finally, Rel-11 introduces several network and service related enhancements (most of which apply to both HSPA and LTE):
  • Machine Type Communications (MTC)
  • IP Multimedia Systems (IMS)
  • Wi-Fi integration
  • Home NodeB (HNB) and Home e-NodeB (HeNB)
3GPP started work on Rel-12 in December 2012 and an 18-month timeframe for completion was planned. The work continues into 2014 and areas that are still incomplete are carefully noted in the report.  Work will be ratified by June 2014 with the exception of RAN protocols which will be finalized by September 2014. Key features detailed in the paper for Rel-12 include:
HSPA+:
  • Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS) Heterogeneous Networks (HetNet)
  • Scalable UMTS Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) bandwidth
  • Enhanced Uplink (EUL) enhancements
  • Emergency warning for Universal Terrestrial Radio Access Network (UTRAN)
  • HNB mobility
  • HNB positioning for Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (UTRA)
  • Machine Type Communications (MTC)
  • Dedicated Channel (DCH) enhancements
LTE-Advanced:
  • Active Antenna Systems (AAS)
  • Downlink enhancements for MIMO antenna systems
  • Small cell and femtocell enhancements
  • Machine Type Communication (MTC)
  • Proximity Service (ProSe)
  • User Equipment (UE)
  • Self-Optimizing Networks (SON)
  • Heterogeneous Network (HetNet) mobility
  • Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Services (MBMS)
  • Local Internet Protocol Access/Selected Internet Protocol Traffic Offload (LIPA/SIPTO)
  • Enhanced International Mobile Telecommunications Advanced (eIMTA) and Frequency Division Duplex-Time Division Duplex Carrier Aggregation (FDD-TDD CA)
Work in Rel-12 also included features for network and services enhancements for MTC, public safety and Wi-Fi integration, system capacity and stability, Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC), further network energy savings, multimedia and Policy and Charging Control (PCC) framework.


Monday, 4 November 2013

Key challenges with automatic Wi-Fi / Cellular handover

Recently in a conference I mentioned that the 3GPP standards are working on standards that will allow automatic and seamless handovers between Cellular and Wi-Fi. At the same time operators may want to have a control where they can automatically switch on a users Wi-Fi radio (if switched off) and offload to Wi-Fi whenever possible. It upset quite a few people who were reasoning against the problems this could cause and the issues that need to be solved.

I have been meaning to list the possible issues which could be present in this scenario of automatically handing over between Wi-Fi and cellular, luckily I found that they have been listed very well in the recent 4G Americas whitepaper. The whitepaper is embedded below but here are the issues I had been wanting to discuss:

In particular, many of the challenges facing Wi-Fi/Cellular integration have to do with realizing a complete intelligent network selection solution that allows operators to steer traffic in a manner that maximizes user experience and addresses some of the challenges at the boundaries between RATs (2G, 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi).
Figure 1 (see above) below illustrates four of the key challenges at the Wi-Fi/Cellular boundary.
1) Premature Wi-Fi Selection: As devices with Wi-Fi enabled move into Wi-Fi coverage, they reselect to Wi-Fi without comparative evaluation of existing cellular and incoming Wi-Fi capabilities. This can result in degradation of end user experience due to premature reselection to Wi-Fi. Real time throughput based traffic steering can be used to mitigate this.
2) Unhealthy choices: In a mixed wireless network of LTE, HSPA and Wi-Fi, reselection may occur to a strong Wi-Fi network, which is under heavy load. The resulting ‘unhealthy’ choice results in a degradation of end user experience as performance on the cell edge of a lightly loaded cellular network may be superior to performance close to a heavily loaded Wi-Fi AP. Real time load based traffic steering can be used to mitigate this.
3) Lower capabilities: In some cases, reselection to a strong Wi-Fi AP may result in reduced performance (e.g. if the Wi-Fi AP is served by lower bandwidth in the backhaul than the cellular base station presently serving the device). Evaluation of criteria beyond wireless capabilities prior to access selection can be used to mitigate this.
4) Ping-Pong: This is an example of reduced end user experience due to ping-ponging between Wi-Fi and cellular accesses. This could be a result of premature Wi-Fi selection and mobility in a cellular environment with signal strengths very similar in both access types. Hysteresis concepts used in access selection similar to cellular IRAT, applied between Wi-Fi and cellular accesses can be used to mitigate this.
Here is the paper:



Tuesday, 8 October 2013

SON in LTE Release-11


Very timely of 4G Americas to release a whitepaper on SON, considering that the SON conference just got over last week. This whitepaper contains lots of interesting details and the status from Rel-11 which is the latest complete release available. I will probably look at some features in detail later on as separate posts. The complete paper is embedded below and is available from 4G Americas website here.


Thursday, 5 September 2013

Throughput Comparison for different wireless technologies

Merged various slides from the recent 4G Americas presentation to get a complete picture of data throughput speeds for various technologies.

Friday, 27 April 2012

10 Times Beyond LTE-A (5G maybe?)

Recently when I added a presentation by NSN on whats coming after IMT-Advanced, it was very well received and has already had over 8000 views. There seems to be definitely an appetite for the future networks. Here is another such presentation.


There is also a video of the presentation if you have the patience to sit, watch and learn.



Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Softbank Japan's Ultra Wifi 4G (a.k.a AXGP)


In Japan, they love to re-brand the standard technologies into something more interesting to attract people's attention. In a way they are right as they want to offer a service rather than a technology. Couple of years back NTT Docomo launched its Crossy service, that was offering LTE with upto 75Mbps dl speeds. Yesterday, I read about Softbank launching their 4G service that is based on AXGP format.

I did blog about XGP many years back but AGXP, which stands for Advanced XGP may not be very well related to XGP. According to ZTE Technologies magazine:

In November 2011, Japan’s third largest mobile operator, Softbank, made AXGP commercially available. AXGP is similar to TD-LTE, and has been deployed in Japan in conjunction with ZTE and Huawei. Two thousand base stations were built in the fi rst phase, and there will be up to 10,000 base stations built in the second phase. Ninety-nine percent of the Japanese population will be covered by 2012. So far, the Softbank network is the largest commercial TD-LTE network in the world. Wang Jianzhou, chairman of China Mobile, said, “If in the past the TD-LTE network was just a stratagem on paper, now it has turned into a reality.”

The following are some more details edited from a Japanese website (translation via Chrome):


High-speed data communication service Wireless City Planning of the SOFTBANK Group (Wireless City Planning, WCP) will be scheduled after February 2012, adopted a new communication method AXGP is, in excess of up to 100Mbps downlink high-speed communication is a feature . It was an opportunity to use the test machine prior to the start of service for general users, to report a sense of its use. 


 "AXGP" was developed inherit the "PHS" next generation of Willcom

 "AXGP" high-speed data transmission technology WCP employs a technology that was originally planned to use the 2.5GHz band has been assigned from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Willcom to deploy as "PHS" next generation. Had to expand the limited service area and some intended for users under the name of "WILLCOM CORE XGP" PHS is then the next generation, business is XGP is "Wireless City Planning" of Softbank subsidiary company under the reorganization proceedings of Willcom inheritance. Provide the service as "AXGP" form of communication is an evolved version of XGP in WCP.


 AXGP, in addition to the XGP also hand while inheriting the "micro cell" was characteristic of PHS, PHS has been developed as the next generation, that have become compatible with the method of TD-LTE. Including China and India, that are compatible with the TD-LTE system is expected to expand in many parts of the world, the benefits can be expected that international expansion is expected. 

 Service is initially started up to 76Mbps. The first bullet is the mobile router products

 AXGP is at present, but services have been provided for users in a small part had been using the service test XGP Willcom old, since the February 2012 service "SoftBank 4G for general users as MVNO Softbank Mobile plans to start ". The communication speed up to 110Mbps downstream and 15Mbps and maximum upstream and downstream speeds in excess of 100Mbps for speed has become a feature.


 At the start of service, the mobile router will "101SI" made of (SII) will be released at the same time Seiko Instruments. However, 101SI has become a maximum 76Mbps to 110Mbps falling down is the theoretical value of the service, at the start of the service is not provided in the full spec. Terminal is planned to also provide support AXGP Then, in the year 2012 is also powered smartphone will be compatible with AXGP. In addition, "101SI" to support (42Mbps maximum downlink, 5.7Mbps uplink maximum) "ULTRASPEED" Softbank mobile. 




Ultra-high speed in the area. Hope to plan area at the time of service and rates

 Although a measurement with the outdoor area was limited, with respect to communication speed was very good results with the results fit. Most favorable conditions and even the user does not exist before the start of the service say that already provide services as high-speed data communication, "Xi" of NTT DoCoMo, Inc., or UQ Communications 37.5Mbps, which is the maximum theoretical value of outdoor (Kurosshi~i) It was also a number greater than the maximum 40Mbps "UQ WiMAX" of is very encouraging.


 However, the decisive factor in mobile data communications is not only communication speed, three elements of the communication charge is important and easy-to-use, deployment area, including "ease of connection." In the area at the moment of some are very fast and are limited in the Yamanote Line, but is a matter of course in order before the service, ease of connection of the fact there are many parts of the still unknown. Also, I'd be anxious and services are provided in the fee structure what.


 SoftBank is to introduce a flat-rate voice among their users ahead of any other mobile phone operators so far, campaigns expand the iPhone however any inexpensive flat-rate packet. Further has a track record of just made me started to increase subscribers by the "straight-line with anyone" WILLCOM has also continued to decline in subscribers. Softbank Mobile also be deployed as a MVNO, at the time of release of the service that you want to use the AXGP expect a bold expansion of unique services and Softbank WCP, which is the same group Softbank.


Softbank's website is billing this as 'Ultra Wifi 4G' and will be launched to public this Friday, just in time for MWC12.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Technology Deployment and Adoption Trends

This informative slide shows the number of years it takes after the technology is launched to reach the peak volumes. Though we know this to be true for the 1G and 2G systems, I find it difficult to believe the same would be true for 3G and 4G systems.

If the LTE deployments are going to happen as per the plans then we may see the peak volumes for 3G/HSPA+ around 2016. It would be difficult to predict the same for '4G' systems as we do not know as of know what all would be part of 4G. As you would recall that LTE was supposed to be 3.9G but was too confusing so everyone adopted it as 4G. LTE-A, the real 4G, I guess would still be part of 4G. What else would end up as 4G is hard to predict so we will have to go with the prediction for the time being.