Parallel Wireless is Hiring

Showing posts with label Samsung. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Samsung. Show all posts

Friday, 12 May 2017

5G – Beyond the Hype

Dan Warren, former GSMA Technology Director who created VoLTE and coined the term 'Phablet' has been busy with his new role as Head of 5G Research at Samsung R&D in UK. In a presentation delivered couple of days back at Wi-Fi Global Congress he set out a realistic vision of 5G really means.

A brief summary of the presentation in his own words below, followed by the actual presentation:
"I started with a comment I have made before – I really hate the term 5G.  It doesn’t allow us to have a proper discussion about the multiplicity of technologies that have been throw under the common umbrella of the term, and hence blurs the rationale for one why each technology is important in its own right.  What I have tried to do in these slides is talk more about the technology, then look at the 5G requirements, and consider how each technology helps or hinders the drive to meet those requirements, and then to consider what that enables in practical terms.

The session was titled ‘5G – beyond the hype’ so in the first three slides I cut straight to the technology that is being brought in to 5G.  Building from the Air Interface enhancements, then the changes in topology in the RAN and then looking at the ‘softwarisation’ on the Core Network.  This last group of technologies sets up the friction in the network between the desire to change the CapEx model of network build by placing functions in a Cloud (both C-RAN and an NFV-based Core, as well as the virtualisation of transport network functions) and the need to push functions to the network edge by employing MEC to reduce latency.  You end up with every function existing everywhere, data breaking out of the network at many different points and some really hard management issues.

On slide 5 I then look at how these technologies line up to meeting 5G requirements.  It becomes clear that the RAN innovations are all about performance enhancement, but the core changes are about enabling new business models from flexibility in topology and network slicing.  There is also a hidden part of the equation that I call out, which is that while technology enables the central five requirements to be met, they also require massive investment by the Operator.  For example you won’t reach 100% coverage if you don’t build a network that has total coverage, so you need to put base stations in all the places that they don’t exist today.

On the next slide I look at how network slicing will be sold.  There are three ways in which a network might be sliced – by SLA or topology, by enterprise customer and by MVNO.  The SLA or topology option is key to allowing the co-existence of MEC and Cloud based CN.  The enterprise or sector based option is important for operators to address large vertical industry players, but each enterprise may want a range of SLA’s for different applications and devices, so you end up with an enterprise slice being made up of sub-slices of differing SLA and topology.  Then, an MVNO may take a slice of the network, but will have it’s own enterprise customers that will take a sub-slice of the MVNO slice, which may in turn be made of sub-sub-slices of differing SLAs.  Somewhere all of this has be stitched back together, so my suggestion is that ‘Network Splicing’ will be as important as network slicing.

Slide illustrates all of this again and notes that there will also be other networks that have been sliced as well, be that 2G, 3G, 4G, WiFi, fixed, LPWA or anything else.  There is also going to be an overarching orchestration requirement both within a network and in the Enterprise customer (or more likely in System Integrator networks who take on the ‘Splicing’ role).  The red flags are showing that Orchestration is both really difficult and expensive, but the challenge for the MNO will also exist in the RAN.  The RRC will be a pinch point that has to sort out all of these device sitting in disparate network topologies with varying demands on the sliced RAN.

Then, in the next four slides I look at the business model around this.  Operators will need to deal with the realities of B2B or B2B2C business models, where they are the first B. The first ‘B’s price is the second ‘B’s cost, so the operator should expect considerable pressure on what it charges, and to be held contractually accountable for the performance of the network.  If 5G is going to claim 100% coverage, 5 9’s reliability, 50Mbps everywhere and be sold to enterprise customers on that basis, it is going to have to deliver it else there will be penalties to pay.  On the flip side to this, if all operators do meet the 5G targets, then they will become very much the same so the only true differentiation option will be on price.  With the focus on large scale B2B contracts, this has all the hallmarks of a race downwards and commoditisation of connectivity, which will also lead to disintermediation of operators from the value chain on applications.

So to conclude I pondered on what the real 5G justification is.  Maybe operators shouldn’t be promising everything, since there will be healthy competition on speed, coverage and reliability while those remain as differentiators.  Equally, it could just be that operators will fight out the consumer market share on 5G, but then that doesn’t offer any real uplift in market size, certainly not in mature developed world markets.  The one thing that is sure is that there is a lot of money to be spent getting there."

Let me know what do you think?

Sunday, 11 September 2016

How much spectrum would 5G need?

The above picture is a summary of the spectrum that was agreed to be studied for IMT-2020 (5G). You can read more about that here. I have often seen discussions around how much spectrum would be needed by each operator in total. While its a complex question, we cannot be sure unless 5G is defined completely. There have been some discussions about the requirements which I am listing below. More informed readers please feel free to add your views as comments.

Real Wireless has done some demand analysis on how much spectrum is required for 5G. A report by them for European Commission is due to be published sometime soon. As can be seen in the slide above, one of the use cases is about multi gigabit motorway. If the operators deploy 5G the way they have deployed 4G then 56 GHz of spectrum would be required. If they move to a 100% shared approach where all operators act as MVNO and there is another entity that deploys all infrastcture, including spectrum then the spectrum requirement will go down to 14 GHz.

This is in addition to all the other spectrum for 2G, 3G & 4G that the operator already holds. I have embedded the presentation below and it can be downloaded from here:

The UK Spectrum Policy Forum (UKSPF) recently held a workshop on Frequency bands for 5G, the presentations for which are available to download on the link I provided.

Its going to be a huge challenge to estimate what applications will require how much amount of spectrum and what would be the priority as compared to other applications. mmMagic is one such group looking at spectrum requirements, use cases, new concepts, etc. They have estimated that around 3.1GHz would be required by each operator for 99% reliability. This seems more reasonable. It would be interesting to see how much would operators be willing to spend for such a quantity of spectrum.

Related posts:

Sunday, 29 May 2016

5G & 802.11ax

Samsung is one of the 5G pioneers who has been active in this area for quite a while, working in different technology areas but also making results and details available for others to appreciate and get an idea on what 5G is all about. 

I published a post back in 2014 from their trials going on then. Since then they have been improving on these results. They recently also published the 5G vision paper which is available here and here.

In the recent 5G Huddle, Raj Gawera from Samsung gave an excellent presentation (below) on the topic of "The future connected world". 

What we really liked is how closely 5G and 802.11ax can be considered aligned, not only in terms of requirements but also the roadmap.

Anyway, here is the presentation embedded below. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Some interesting April Fools' Day 2016 Technology Jokes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Samsung ExoKinetic helps your phone self-charge

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

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

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

Finally, its the Google Fiber Teleportation.

Other interesting ones:

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Challenges in the future 'Network of Networks'

Came across this paper from Dec. 2000 recently. Its interesting to see that even back then researchers were thinking about multiple networks that a user can have access to via handovers. Researchers nowadays think about how to access as many networks as possible simultaneously. I call is Multi-stream aggregation (MSA), some others call it Multi-RAT Carrier Aggregation (MCA) and so on.

If we look at the different access technologies, each has its own evolution in the coming years. Some of these are:

  • Fixed/Terrestrial broadband: (A)DSL, Cable, Fiber
  • Mobile Broadband: 3G, 4G and soon 5G
  • Wireless Broadband: WiFi
  • Laser communications
  • LiFi or LED based communications
  • High frequency sound based communications 
Then there could be a combination of multiple technologies working simultaneously. For example:
And the handover has to be seamless between different access technologies. For example:

There has been an interest in moving on to higher frequencies. These bands can be used for access as well as backhaul. The same applies for most of the access technologies listed above which can work as a backhaul to enable other access technologies.

While planned networks would be commonplace, other topologies like mesh network will gain ground too. Device to device and direct communications will help create ad-hoc networks.

While the current networks are mostly stationary, mobile networks will also become common. Opportunity Driven Multiple Access (ODMA) or Multihop Cellular Networks (MCN) would help devices use other devices to reach their destination. Non-standardised proprietary solutions (for example Firechat) will become common too. Security, Privacy and Trust will play an important role here.

Satellite networks, the truly global connectivity providers will play an important role too. While backhauling the small cells on planes, trains and ships will be an important part of satellite networks, they may be used for access too. Oneweb plans to launch 900 micro satellites to provide high speed global connectivity. While communications at such high frequencies mean that small form factor devices like mobile cant receive the signals easily, connected cars could use the satellite connectivity very well.

Samsung has an idea to provide connectivity through 4,600 satellites to be able to transmit 200GB monthly to 5 Billion people worldwide. While this is very ambitious, its not the only innovative and challenging idea. I am sure we all now about the Google loon. Facebook on the other hand wants to use a solar powered drone (UAV) to offer free internet access services to users who cannot get online.

As I mentioned, security and privacy will be a big challenge for devices being able to connect to multiple access networks and other devices. An often overlooked challenge is the timing and sync between different networks. In an ideal world all these networks would be phase and time synchronised to each other so as not to cause interference but in reality this will be a challenging task, especially with ad-hoc and moing networks.

I will be giving a keynote at the ITSF 2015 in November at Edinburgh. This is a different type of conference that looks at Time and Synchronisation aspects in Telecoms. While I will be providing a generic overview on where the technologies are moving (continuing from my presentation in Phase ready conference), I am looking forward to hearing about these challenges and their solutions in this conference.

Andy Sutton (Principal Network Architect) and Martin Kingston (Principal Designer) with EE have shared some of their thought on this topic which is as follows and available to download here.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Using 8T8R Antennas for TD-LTE

People often ask at various conferences if TD-LTE is a fad or is it something that will continue to exist along with the FDD networks. TDD networks were a bit tricky to implement in the past due to the necessity for the whole network to be time synchronised to make sure there is no interference. Also, if there was another TDD network in an adjacent band, it would have to be time synchronised with the first network too. In the areas bordering another country where they might have had their own TDD network in this band, it would have to be time synchronised too. This complexity meant that most networks were happy to live with FDD networks.

In 5G networks, at higher frequencies it would also make much more sense to use TDD to estimate the channel accurately. This is because the same channel would be used in downlink and uplink so the downlink channel can be estimated accurately based on the uplink channel condition. Due to small transmit time intervals (TTI's), these channel condition estimation would be quite good. Another advantage of this is that the beam could be formed and directed exactly at the user and it would appear as a null to other users.

This is where 8T8R or 8 Transmit and 8 Receive antennas in the base station can help. The more the antennas, the better and narrower the beam they can create. This can help send more energy to users at the cell edge and hence provide better and more reliable coverage there.  

SONWav Operator Solution

How do these antennas look like? 8T8R needs 8x Antennas at the Base Station Cell, and this is typically delivered using four X-Polar columns about half wavelength apart. I found the above picture on antenna specialist Quintel's page here, where the four column example is shown right. At spectrum bands such as 2.3GHz, 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz where TD-LTE networks are currently deployed, the antenna width is still practical. Quintel’s webpage also indicates how their technology allows 8T8R to be effectively emulated using only two X-Polar columns thus promising Slimline antenna solutions at lower frequency bands. China Mobile and Huawei have claimed to be the first ones to deploy these four X-Pol column 8T8R antennas. Sprint, USA is another network that has been actively deploying these 8T8R antennas.

There are couple of interesting tweets that show their kit below:

In fact Sprint has very ambitious plans. The following is from a report in Fierce Wireless:

Sprint's deployment of 8T8R (eight-branch transmit and eight-branch receive) radios in its 2.5 GHz TDD LTE spectrum is resulting in increased data throughput as well as coverage according to a new report from Signals Research. "Thanks to TM8 [transmission mode 8] and 8T8R, we observed meaningful increases in coverage and spectral efficiency, not to mention overall device throughput," Signals said in its executive summary of the report.

The firm said it extensively tested Sprint's network in the Chicago market using Band 41 (2.5 GHz) and Band 25 (1.9 GHz) in April using Accuver's drive test tools and two Galaxy Note Edge smartphones. Signals tested TM8 vs. non-TM8 performance, Band 41 and Band 25 coverage and performance as well as 8T8R receive vs. 2T2R coverage/performance and stand-alone carrier aggregation.

Sprint has been deploying 8T8R radios in its 2.5 GHz footprint, which the company has said will allow its cell sites to send multiple data streams, achieve better signal strength and increase data throughput and coverage without requiring more bandwidth.

The company also has said it will use carrier aggregation technology to combine TD-LTE and FDD-LTE transmission across all of its spectrum bands. In its fourth quarter 2014 earnings call with investors in February, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said implementing carrier aggregation across all Sprint spectrum bands means Sprint eventually will be able to deploy 1900 MHz FDD-LTE for uplink and 2.5 GHz TD-LTE for downlink, and ultimately improve the coverage of 2.5 GHz LTE to levels that its 1900 MHz spectrum currently achieves. Carrier aggregation, which is the most well-known and widely used technique of the LTE Advanced standard, bonds together disparate bands of spectrum to create wider channels and produce more capacity and faster speeds.

Alcatel-Lucent has a good article in their TECHzine, an extract from that below:

Field tests on base stations equipped with beamforming and 8T8R technologies confirm the sustainability of the solution. Operators can make the most of transmission (Tx) and receiving (Rx) diversity by adding in Tx and Rx paths at the eNodeB level, and beamforming delivers a direct impact on uplink and downlink performance at the cell edge.

By using 8 receiver paths instead of 2, cell range is increased by a factor of 1.5 – and this difference is emphasized by the fact that the number of sites needed is reduced by nearly 50 per cent. Furthermore, using the beamforming approach in transmission mode generates a specific beam per user which improves the quality of the signal received by the end-user’s device, or user equipment (UE). In fact, steering the radiated energy in a specific direction can reduce interference and improves the radio link, helping enable a better throughput. The orientation of the beam is decided by shifting the phases of the Tx paths based on signal feedback from the UE. This approach can deliver double the cell edge downlink throughput and can increase global average throughput by 65 per cent.

These types of deployments are made possible by using innovative radio heads and antenna solutions.  In traditional deployments, it would require the installation of multiple remote radio heads (RRH) and multiple antennas at the site to reach the same level of performance. The use of an 8T8R RRH and a smart antenna array, comprising 4 cross-polar antennas in a radome, means an 8T8R sector deployment can be done within the same footprint as traditional systems.

Anyone interested in seeing pictures of different 8T8R antennas like the one above, see here. While this page shows Samsung's antennas, you can navigate to equipment from other vendors.

Finally, if you can provide any additional info or feel there is something incorrect, please feel free to let me know via comments below.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

LTE-Hetnet (LTE-H) a.k.a. LTE Wi-Fi Link Aggregation (LWA)

We have talked about the unlicensed LTE (LTE-U), re-branded as LTE-LAA many times on this blog and the 3G4G Small Cells blog. In fact some analysts have decided to call the current Rel-12 non-standardised Rel-12 version as LTE-U and the standardised version that would be available as part of Release-13 as LTE-LAA.

There is a lot of unease in the WiFi camp because LTE-LAA may hog the 5GHz spectrum that is available as license-exempt for use of Wi-Fi and other similar (future) technologies. Even though LAA may be more efficient as claimed by some vendors, it would reduce the usage for WiFi users in that particular spectrum.

As a result, some vendors have recently proposed LTE/WiFi Link Aggregation as a new feature in Release-13. Alcatel-Lucent, Ruckus Wireless and Qualcomm have all been promoting this. In fact Qualcomm has a pre-MWC teaser video on Youtube. The demo video is embedded as follows:

The Korean operator KT was also involved in demoing this in MWC along with Samsung and Qualcomm. They have termed this feature as LTE-Hetnet or LTE-H.

The Korean analyst firm Netmanias have more detailed technical info on this topic.

Link aggregation by LTE-H demonstrated at MWC 2015 (Source: Netmanias)

As can be seen the data is split/combined in PDCP layer. While this example above shows the practical implementation using C-RAN with Remote Radio Head (RRH) and BaseBand Unit (BBU) being used, the picture at the top shows LTE Anchor in eNodeB. There would be a need for an ideal backhaul to keep latency in the eNodeB to minimum when combining cellular and WiFi data.

Comparison of link level Carrier Aggregation technologies (Source: Netmanias)

The above table shows comparison between the 3 main techniques for increasing data rates through aggregation; CA, LTE-U/LAA and LTE-H/LWA. While CA has been part of 3GPP Release-10 and is available in more of less all new LTE devices, LTE-U and LTE-H is new and would need modifications in the network as well as in the devices. LTE-H would in the end provide similar benefits to LTE-U but is a safer option from devices and spectrum point of view and would be a more agreeable solution by everyone, including the WiFi community.

A final word; last year we wrote a whitepaper laying out our vision of what 4.5G is. I think we put it simply that in 4.5G, you can use WiFi and LTE at the same time. I think LTE-H fulfills that vision much better than other proposals.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Some interesting April Fools' Day 2015 Technology Jokes

Here is a quick roundup of some interesting tech #AprilFools day jokes from the web. Click on the links to learn more

Samsung Galaxy Blade Edge - Chef's edition

Selfie Shoes by Miz Mooz - Shoefie - You can try it in chrome browser, it was working

Smartbox by Inbox: the mailbox of tomorrow, today - by Google

HTC Re-Sok - the "world's first truly smart sock"

Bing's Palm Search technology

Introducing #MotoSelfieStick - By Motorola

Twitter’s Twelfie Stick

Domino’s Domi-No-Driver Service

Iltasanomat news on April 1st 2015 (source not available): Finnish Police is having their own air forces with 250 seagulls with TETRA radio and camera

And finally, these old style pranks still work :-)

If you like them, you will enjoy the last year ones too. Here.

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) 

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:

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Some interesting April Fools' Day 2014 Technology Jokes

Its very interesting to see all the companies proposing very interesting concepts on the 1st of April. I was told that not everyone knows what April Fools day means so here is the link to Wikipedia.

Samsung Fly-Fi: Samsung has come up with some interesting ideas, the first being Wi-Fi for everyone powered by Pigeons. They have a website here with Video.

Power of Pigeons

Looks like since we have Pigeons everywhere, so they are always used in one way or the other. The best prank ever in my opinion was the PigeonRank by Google, back in 2002. I spent a few hours that day trying to figure out how they were actually doing it.

Smart Wear was always going to be the big thing. Quite a few smart wearables this year.

Bonobos has done a good job with with TechStyle. See video below:

Samsung has a glove called Samsung Fingers here. The best thing I liked was 'Talk to the Hand'

Samsung Fingers_Talk to the hand

HTC came up with similar concept called Gluuv

Toshiba's DiGiT is as interesting. See the video:

Virgin Mobile, Canada has come up with SmartKicks. See here.

Roku Watch is not too bad:

Virgin America even convinced Sir Richard Branson to appear in the April Fools ad along with Tony Faddell, the CEO of Nest. Funny Youtube video here.

Sony Power Food was just okay, video here.

Toshiba Spehere is a funny Gaming concept, see here.

Nokia reviewed its most popular phone 3310 with modern day features here. Coloured screen with 41Megapixel camera.

Google wants to Emojify the web here.

Google Japan has a magic hand here.

Selfiebot by Orbotix is a cool concept, here.

Twitter Helmet didnt make me laugh though. See here.

Is there some others that I missed? Please feel free to add it in the comments.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

A quick case study on Smartwatches

My presentation from the Cambridge Wireless Connected devices SIG event "On Trend – High Fashion meets High Technology" held today, is embedded below. One of my favourite ads that highlights our fascination with the smart watches has been shown very well in a advert by Samsung mobile USA as follows:

I believe there is an opportunity and a market for the smart wear and smartwatches. There is a need for just the right kind of products to capitalise on the demand.

Monday, 3 February 2014

5G and the ‘Millimeter-Wave' Radios

There were quite a few interesting talks in the Cambridge Wireless Radio Technology SIG event last week. The ones that caught my attention and I want to highlight here are as follows.

The mobile operator EE and 5GIC centre explained the challenges faced during the Practical deployments. Of particular interest was the considerations during deployments. The outdoor environments can change in no time with things like foliage, signage or even during certain festivals. This can impact the radio path and may knock out certain small cells or backhaul. The presentation is available to view and download here.

Another interesting presentation was from Bluwireless on the 60GHz for backhaul. The slide that was really shocking was the impact of regulation in the US and the EU. This regulation difference means that a backhaul link could be expensive and impractical in certain scenarios in the EU while similar deployments in the US would be considerably cheaper. This presentation is available here.

Finally, the presentation from Samsung highlighted their vision and showed the test results of their mmWave prototype. The presentation is embedded below and is available here.

Finally, our 5G presentation summarising our opinion and what 5G may contain is available here. Dont forget to see the interesting discussion in the comments area.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Dumbphones, Featurephones, Smartphones, Superphones...

Looks like there is still a lot of confusion in the different types of phones around so here is my take. Please feel free to correct me and I will update accordingly.

Dumb phones: The dumb phones were the original mobile phones whose intention was to allow voice and SMS initially and then later on some kind of data transfer using WAP.

Pic source: iPhaze

A typical dumbphone is as shown above. Dumb phones are no longer available but they can still be used if they are in the working order. Dumbphones were always pre-3G. It wouldnt make sense to have a 3G dumbphone but it is very much possible to have a 2G Featurephone/Smartphone.

Feature Phones: These came next. They allowed more stuff than the basic phones.

Pic source: Gadgetsteria

Featurephones (above) can do much more stuff, for example they may have camera to take photos, they may allow facebook to share the photos, they can have Skype to call, they can even have WiFi for access. Different people have different way of describing the difference between them and smartphones. Some distinguish Featurephones by suggesting that they have a closed operating system (OS) but this may not be necessarily true. Some others suggest that featurephones do not have touch screens while smartphones do, again this may no longer be considered true. There are featurephones available with basic touch functionality. I think an agreeable way to consider a phone a feature phone, in today's terms, can be based on a combination of processor speeds (less than 400MHz), screen size (less than 2inches), presence of physical buttons and pricepoint (less than $50).

Contrary to popular belief, featurephones are still popular and are going strong. See the chart below for example.
Pic source: Seeking Alpha

There is a good article that explains why Feature phone is 'Still the undisputed King' here to interested readers. The main reason according to me is that the reception is much better on Featurephones rather than Smartphones and they consume less battery power in general as compared to the smartphones.

Smartphones: Wikipedia suggests that the term smartphone was used as early as 1997 but what may have been considered as smartphone then is more like a featurephone of today. As per my knowledge, the first true modern smartphone were the Nokia communicators. If you look at the specs now, they may be classified as low end featurephones but they were the foundation for the smartphones.

Picture Source: Droid techy news

The first true modern smartphone that change the mobiles forever is undisputedly the original iPhone. On reflecting back, people had no idea what a phone could do until the arrival of the iPhone. This was soon followed by the iPhone clones and now we have many different ecosystems like Android, Bada, Windows mobile, Blackberry OS, etc. that gives its own flavour to the smartphones.

Superphones: The marketing industry is always thinking of using new terms to sell the products and while there has been terms like smarter-phones, super-smartphones, intelligent phones, etc. being thrown about, I think the industry has now converged on to use Superphones for the next generation devices. Some of the readers may be aware that 'Superphone' is used in Dr. Who series.

Again, there is no defined standards but looks like the superphone should have Quad core and its screen size should be more than 4.1inch. Samsung Galaxy S3 would qualify to be a superphone but its not referred to as one.

Phablets, Tabphones and Phonetabs: So what do you call a hybrid (or a cross between) Tablet and Smartphone? The answer could be any of the terms Phablets, Tabphones or Phonetabs. Again, there is no standard term but people have decided to use whichever term they feel like. Phablet is the most commonly used term.

Pic Source: CNet

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is a good example of Phablet. One of the suggestions is that to qualify for Phablet, the screen size should be between 5 inches and 7 inches. Some of the users who have braved to buy one of the phablets, swear by it and in most cases vow to never go back to just a phone.

Picture Source: FT

FT has an interesting article that suggests the shipment of phablets could be around 200 million by 2015. It should be noted that according to me, WiFi only devices should not be considered as phablets as the phone part is missing. They are just mini-tablets. In case of 7 inch devices capable of phone and tablet functionality, it is a bit of a fuzzy area in cases where the user does not use the SIM card, thereby making the phone part unusable. For simplicity we can consider a device as phablet as long as the mobile functionality is embedded.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Future mobile technology with Graphene

Some days back I attended an interesting talk where the speaker showed how Graphene will revolutionise the future mobile devices. Here is what Graphene is:

Another version:

A concept phone video from Samsung

And a Nokia demo from the last MWC that uses Graphene as a sensor and also opens the possibility of using other gestures except for touch

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

UK: Spectrum, Operators, Vendors and LTE

So LTE (or '4G') is about to be launched in the UK as announced yesterday. Its going to be branded as 4GEE.

Here is a summary of the Spectrum in the UK that will be used for LTE and would be auctioned by Ofcom.

Here is the current allocation of Spectrum in the UK

The above pics are from a presentation by Ofcom in LTE World Summit 2012 in Barcelona, available here.

The last table is from an Ofcom document here. Its very interesting read. For example I didnt know that The L-band was the first major part of Ofcom spectrum awards programme relevant to mobile services. It consists of 40MHz between 1452MHz and 1492MHz. The auction took place in May 2008, in which Qualcomm won the entirety of the available spectrum.

Here is the summary of the operators working on LTE:

Everything Everywhere (EE = Orange + T-Mobile) - They are calling their '4G' service as EE, covering up to 70% of the UK by the end of 2013. Network kit provided by Huawei.

Three - Samsung will provide the Radio Access Network, and the core infrastructure, for Three's LTE (4G) network. That includes the base stations, and radio core. 3 UK has agreed to purchase 2 x 15 MHz of 1800 MHz spectrum from Everything everywhere, and plans commercial launch of LTE service in 2013.

Telefonica (O2) trial network - Equipment supplied by Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) for both the Radio and Core network elements. Backhaul for the 4G trial network has been provided using Microwave Radio Equipment from Cambridge Broadband Networks Limited, NEC and Nokia Siemens Networks.

Updated 13/09/12 - 11:25

UK Broadband rolled out the first commercial TD-LTE network in London back in February (available to customers since May 2012). The equipment is provided by Huawei. They have 40MHz in Band 42 (3.5GHz) and 84MHz in band 43 (3.6GHz).

Vodafone - No news.

Anything else I missed?

Monday, 13 August 2012

A Twitter discussion on eMBMS

@zahidtg: Samsung has demoed eMBMS using Anritsu RTD system -  - But is any operator interested?

Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung has successfully demonstrated the clear delivery of television broadcast signals over an LTE 4G wireless network.
Samsung is using evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS) technology and has tapped test & measurement specialist Anritsu's Rapid Test Designer (RTD) and MD8430A to simulate the LTE network environment used for the demonstration. 
eMBMS technology allows carriers to adjust coverage and capacity as needed, allowing for more efficient use of network resources in order to better handle the heavy traffic load that broadcast video would present. 
Samsung is actively looking to add more content to the value proposition for its phones. It has deployed its own Hub strategy for its Galaxy line of smartphones, which includes a Music Hub, Movies Hub and Games Hub, all of which give the handset-maker a new incremental revenue stream. A TV Hub that could support live TV content in addition to on-demand episode downloads could add a compelling new wrinkle in that pseudo-walled garden approach. 
Samsung is also instrumental in bringing mobile TV to market via the Dyle initiative for mobile DTV—a service that offers live broadcast feeds from local TV affiliates over separate, dedicated broadcast spectrum. No. 5 U.S. wireless carrier MetroPCS just went live with Dyle service and a Samsung mobile DTV-compatible smartphone.

@KimKLarsen: Depends on whether an operator believes in the broadcast over mobile model. Mobile User trends seems not in favor at least in WEU.

@zahidtg: I agree and thats why I dont think broadcast will work in the short term. Would be different is Apple were to create biz model:)

@KimKLarsen: though the question is whether they (Apple/Google) really need eMBMS for executing such a business model ... I guess not really?!

@KimKLarsen: I have a couple of beautiful white papers on satellite (w & wo terrestrial component) eMBMS using S-band together w Apple or Google

@zahidtg: True. My point is that they are the ones who can create a new biz model on it, operators cant be bothered. Too much hassle.

@KimKLarsen: too much hassle, too little new revenue, risky ROI, insufficient scale, etc.. an Apple or alike might overcome due to shear scale!

@KimKLarsen: though w a satellite (w. city based terrestrial component) based eMBMS system you cover large landmass & pop & get the Scale!

@Qualcomm_Tech: I think the best initial use case for #eMBMS is to selectivley use it as venue casting at stadiums/exhibitons etc.

@kitkilgour: "ClipCasting" has been the main eMBMS use case - stadia, or catching up on your 1min news at stations

@Qualcomm_Tech: True, Any content destined to venue users, incl. live/real-time can leverage eMBMS- huge capacity increase

@KimKLarsen: I agree! Might be interesting! But can this really justify eMBMS as a service for mass adaption?

@KimKLarsen: when will eMBMS be supported in Gobi? & when can we expect this to be standard in all LTE terminal devices?

@kitkilgour: It's networks as well as devices. MBMS has always been hampered by needing to reach the cell edge ...

@kitkilgour: ... with limited / no power control whilst minimising interference to others

@KimKLarsen: great feedback! Thanks! Do you see a need for denser networks to deliver a uniform MBMS service than for standard data services?

@KimKLarsen: one of the challenges we have had in nominal terrestrial MBMS designs have been link budget requirements! Any good sources?

@Qualcomm_Tech: challenge’s been having enough penetration of multicast devices. Venue cast solves that problem #1000x

@KimKLarsen: Sounds like Venue Cast is The Main Driver for eMBMS adoptation? (hmmm?) What's the Revenue Source? #42x

@KimKLarsen: I don't understand how Venue Cast can Drive MC Device Uptake? The other way around more reasonable! #42x

@Qualcomm_Tech: Target specific groups, eg season ticket holders & offer attractive device/content/plan bundles #1000x


@zahidtg = Zahid Ghadialy
@KimKLarsen = Dr. Kim Larsen
@Qualcomm_Tech = Qualcomm_Tech
@kitkilgour = Kit Kilgour

In other news, Huawei Launches eMBMS Innovation Center to Develop LTE Solutions:

Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, today announced the launch of an enhanced Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS) innovation center in Shenzhen in order to develop end-to-end eMBMS solutions and LTE applications. 
eMBMS is a 3GPP R9 standard for mobile video that enables a higher transfer capacity over typical MBMS technologies. Huawei's eMBMS innovation center will focus on on-demand video services and broadcast information based on eMBMS. This will enrich LTE applications and accelerate the development of the eMBMS industry chain, which includes chipsets, devices, and network equipment.
In addition to developing solutions, the innovation center will also serve as an experience center for operators. Video, mobile TV, and advertisements will be showcased via mobile smart devices employing Huawei's eMBMS solution. Global operators from Europe, Asia, the South Pacific and other regions have already visited the center to experience its LTE demonstrations.
Huawei has been committed to the growing mobile video market since 2006. According to the Global mobile Supplier Association's (GSA) “Mobile Broadband Status Report”, over four billion people watch videos on YouTube every day. This large-scale usage is leading to increased revenue. According to a report from Global Industry Analysts, revenue from the mobile video market will reach USD30 billion by 2017. Huawei's eMBMS research team works closely with operators, chipset and device manufactures and other partners to further the development of the industry for the benefit of all end users.
Huawei's LTE division has been committed to providing the best commercially performing network, the best end user experience through devices and innovative services, as well as end-to-end convergent solutions for helping operators with their business success. Huawei's eMBMS innovation center will push the development of mobile video well into the future.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Monday, 31 October 2011

Phones with Flexible Screens in 2012

From PC World:

Samsung Electronics said Friday that it is aiming to launch mobile phones with flexible displays next year, with tablets and other portable devices to have these displays soon after.
The company said it was aiming to follow on the success of its Galaxy S II smartphone, which has now sold 10 million units in five months.
The comments came as the company discussed its earnings for the three-month period through September. Samsung said its overall profit fell 23 percent from a year ago to 3.44 trillion Korean won (US$3.1 billion), dragged down by its chip and display operations, but operating profit at its mobile unit more than doubled in the period.
"The flexible display, we are looking to introduce sometime in 2012, hopefully the earlier part," said spokesman Robert Yi during an earnings call. "The application probably will start from the handset side."
Yi said tablets and other mobile devices with flexible displays would follow.
Samsung has shown flexible OLED (organic light emitting diode) displays inside rigid cases that kept the screens curved. The technology has material within each pixel that generates light, making it perhaps more suitable for flexible screens than LCDs, which would require both a flexible screen and a backlight.

This is a Video from CES 2011 in January:

I like this concept of bendy phones. The following Nokia video shows how this could really be useful.

Toshiba shows something similar at SID 2010.

News via WebProNews.