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Sunday, 5 February 2017

An Introduction to IoT: Connectivity & Case Studies


I did an introductory presentation on IoT yesterday at at the University of Northampton, Internet of Things event. Below if my presentation in full. Can be downloaded from slideshare.



xoxoxoxoxoxo Added 18/02/2017 oxoxoxoxoxoxox

Below is video of the presentation above and post presentation interview:

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

5G Network Architecture and Design Update - Jan 2017

Andy Sutton, Principal Network Architect at BT recently talked about the architecture update from the Dec 2016 3GPP meeting. The slides and the video is embedded below.





You can see all the presentations from IET event 'Towards 5G Mobile Technology – Vision to Reality' here.

Eiko Seidel recently also wrote an update from 3GPP 5G Adhoc regarding RAN Internal Functional Split. You can read that report here.

Related posts:

Thursday, 26 January 2017

3GPP Rel-14 IoT Enhancements


A presentation (embedded below) by 3GPP RAN3 Chairman - Philippe Reininger - at the IoT Business & Technologies Congress (November 30, in Singapore). Main topics are eMTC, NB-IOT and EC-GSM-IoT as completed in 3GPP Release 13 and enhanced in Release 14. Thanks to Eiko Seidel for sharing the presentation.


Sunday, 22 January 2017

Augmented / Virtual Reality Requirements for 5G


Ever wondered whether 5G would be good enough for Augmented and Virtual Reality or will we need to wait for 6G? Some researchers are trying to identify the AR / VR requirements, challenges from a mobile network point of view and possible options to solve these challenges. They have recently published a research paper on this topic.

Here is a summary of some of the interesting things I found in this paper:

  • Humans process nearly 5.2 gigabits per second of sound and light.
  • Without moving the head, our eyes can mechanically shift across a field of view of at least 150 degrees horizontally (i.e., 30:000 pixels) and 120 degrees vertically (i.e., 24:000 pixels).
  • The human eye can perceive much faster motion (150 frames per second). For sports, games, science and other high-speed immersive experiences, video rates of 60 or even 120 frames per second are needed to avoid motion blur and disorientation.
  • 5.2 gigabits per second of network throughput (if not more) is needed.
  • At today’s 4K resolution, 30 frames per second and 24 bits per pixel, and using a 300 : 1 compression ratio, yields 300 megabits per second of imagery. That is more than 10x the typical requirement for a high-quality 4K movie experience.
  • 5G network architectures are being designed to move the post-processing at the network edge so that processors at the edge and the client display devices (VR goggles, smart TVs, tablets and phones) carry out advanced image processing to stitch camera feeds into dramatic effects.
  • In order to tackle these grand challenges, the 5G network architecture (radio access network (RAN), Edge and Core) will need to be much smarter than ever before by adaptively and dynamically making use of concepts such as software defined networking (SDN), network function virtualization (NFV) and network slicing, to mention a few facilitating a more flexible allocating resources (resource blocks (RBs), access point, storage, memory, computing, etc.) to meet these demands.
  • Immersive technology will require massive improvements in terms of bandwidth, latency and reliablility. Current remotereality prototype requires 100-to-200Mbps for a one-way immersive experience. While MirrorSys uses a single 8K, estimates about photo-realistic VR will require two 16K x 16K screens (one to each eye).
  • Latency is the other big issue in addition to reliability. With an augmented reality headset, for example, real-life visual and auditory information has to be taken in through the camera and sent to the fog/cloud for processing, with digital information sent back to be precisely overlaid onto the real-world environment, and all this has to happen in less time than it takes for humans to start noticing lag (no more than 13ms). Factoring in the much needed high reliability criteria on top of these bandwidth and delay requirements clearly indicates the need for interactions between several research disciplines.


These key research directions and scientific challenges are summarized in Fig. 3 (above), and discussed in the paper. I advice you to read it here.

Related posts:

Monday, 16 January 2017

Gigabit LTE?


Last year Qualcomm announced the X16 LTE modem that was capable of up to 1Gbps, category 16 in DL and Cat 13 (150 Mbps) in UL. See my last post on UE categories here.


Early January, it announced Snapdragon 835 at CES that looks impressive. Android central says "On the connectivity side of things, there's the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, which enables Category 16 LTE download speeds that go up to one gigabit per second. For uploads, there's a Category 13 modem that lets you upload at 150MB/sec. For Wi-Fi, Qualcomm is offering an integrated 2x2 802.11ac Wave-2 solution along with an 802.11ad multi-gigabit Wi-Fi module that tops out at 4.6Gb/sec. The 835 will consume up to 60% less power while on Wi-Fi."

Technology purists would know that LTE, which is widely referred to as 4G, was in fact pre-4G or as some preferred to call it, 3.9G. New UE categories were introduced in Rel-10 to make LTE into LTE-Advanced with top speeds of 3Gbps. This way, the ITU requirements for a technology to be considered 4G (IMT-Advanced) was satisfied.


LTE-A was already Gigabit capable in theory but in practice we had been seeing peak speeds of up to 600Mbps until recently. With this off my chest, lets look at what announcements are being made. Before that, you may want to revisit what 4.5G or LTE-Advanced Pro is here.

  • Qualcomm, Telstra, Ericsson and NETGEAR Announce World’s First Gigabit Class LTE Mobile Device and Gigabit-Ready Network. Gigabit Class LTE download speeds are achieved through a combination of 3x carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO on two aggregated carriers plus 2x2 MIMO on the third carrier, and 256-QAM higher order modulation. 
  • TIM in Italy is the first in Europe to launch 4.5G up to 500 Mbps in Rome, Palermo and Sanremo
  • Telenet in partnership with ZTE have achieved a download speed of 1.3 Gbps during a demonstration of the ZTE 4.5G new technology. That's four times faster than 4G's maximum download speed. Telenet is the first in Europe to reach this speed in real-life circumstances. 4.5G ZTE technology uses 4x4 MIMO beaming, 3-carrier aggregation, and a QAM 256 modulation.
  • AT&T said, "The continued deployment of our 4G LTE-Advanced network remains essential to laying the foundation for our evolution to 5G. In fact, we expect to begin reaching peak theoretical speeds of up to 1 Gbps at some cell sites in 2017. We will continue to densify our wireless network this year through the deployment of small cells and the use of technologies like carrier aggregation, which increases peak data speeds. We’re currently deploying three-way carrier aggregation in select areas, and plan to introduce four-way carrier aggregation as well as LTE-License Assisted Access (LAA) this year."
  • T-Mobile USA nearly reached a Gigabit and here is what they say, "we reached nearly 1 Gbps (979 Mbps) on our LTE network in our lab thanks to a combination of three carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM (and an un-released handset)."
  • The other US operator Sprint expects to unveil some of its work with 256-QAM and massive MIMO on Sprint’s licensed spectrum that pushes the 1 gbps speed boundary. It’s unclear whether this will include an actual deployment of the technology

So we are going to see a lot of higher speed LTE this year and yes we can call it Gigabit LTE but lets not forget that the criteria for a technology to be real '4G' was that it should be able to do 1Gbps in both DL and UL. Sadly, the UL part is still not going Gigabit anytime soon.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

New LTE UE Categories (Downlink & Uplink) in Release-13

Just noticed that the LTE UE Categories have been updated since I last posted here. Since Release-12 onwards, we now have a possibility of separate Downlink (ue-CategoryDL) and Uplink (ue-CategoryUL) categories.

From the latest RRC specifications, we can see that now there are two new fields that can be present ue-CategoryDL and ue-CategoryUL.

An example defined here is as follows:

Example of RRC signalling for the highest combination
UE-EUTRA-Capability
   ue-Category = 4
      ue-Category-v1020 = 7
         ue-Category-v1170 = 10
            ue-Category-v11a0 = 12
               ue-CategoryDL-r12 = 12
               ue-CategoryUL-r12 = 13
                  ue-CategoryDL-v1260 = 16

From the RRC Specs:

  • The field ue-CategoryDL is set to values m1, 0, 6, 7, 9 to 19 in this version of the specification.
  • The field ue-CategoryUL is set to values m1, 0, 3, 5, 7, 8, 13 or 14 in this version of the specification.

3GPP TS 36.306 section 4 provides much more details on these UE categories and their values. I am adding these pictures from the LG space website.



More info:



Saturday, 10 December 2016

Free Apps for Field Testing

People who follow me on Twitter may have often noticed I put photos when I am doing surveys, field testing, debugging, etc. In the good old days we often had to carry a lot of different kind of specialised test equipment to do basic measurements. Nowadays a lot of these can be done with the help of free apps on Android phones. The best tool that can provide a great amount of info is Qualcomm's QXDM but its really expensive.

Here are a few tools that I use. If you have one that I havent listed below, please add it in comments.


The screen shot shows the main tools along with my favourite, SpeedTest. While I agree that Speedtest is not the most reliable approach to speed of your connection, I think its the most standard one being used.


WiFi Analyzer is another great app that can be used at home and other locations where people complain about not getting good WiFi speeds. I have been at locations where the 2.4GHz is absolutely packed with APs. 5GHz is also getting busier, though there are still a lot of free channels.


G-NetTrack Lite is a great tool to keep track of the cells you have been visiting. In case you are driving this can collect a lot of valuable info. The paid version, G-NetTrack Pro can collect the info in form of a map that can be used for offline viewing with the help of Google Earth.


I use LTE Discovery mainly for finding the band I am currently camped on. It would be great if a tool can give the exact frequency and earfcn but the band is good enough too. I was once in a situation where I could see two different cells but they had the same PCI. Only after using this, I figured out they were on different bands.


Finally, Network Cell Info Lite gives neighbour cells which can often be useful. I am not sure of these are the neighbours from System Info or from Measurement Control messages sent by network or just something like Detected cells that the phone sees around.

Pind and IPConfig are other tools that can come handy sometimes.

Are there any other tools that you like? Please share using comments.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

5G, Hacking & Security


It looks like devices that are not manufactures with security and privacy in mind are going to be the weakest link in future network security problems. I am sure you have probably read about how hacked cameras and routers enabled a Mirai botnet to take out major websites in October. Since then, there has been no shortage of how IoT devices could be hacked. In fact the one I really liked was 'Researchers hack Philips Hue lights via a drone; IoT worm could cause city blackout' 😏.


Enter 5G and the problem could be be made much worse. With high speed data transfer and signalling, these devices can create an instantaneous attack on a very large scale and generating signalling storm that can take a network down in no time.

Giuseppe TARGIA, Nokia presented an excellent summary of some of these issues at the iDate Digiworld Summit 2016. His talk is embedded below:



You can check out many interesting presentations from the iDate Digiworld Summit 2016 on Youtube and Slideshare.

Related posts:


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Facebook's Attempt to Connect the Unconnected

I am sure that by now everyone is aware of Facebook's attempt to connect the people in rural and remote areas. Back in March they published the State of Connectivity report highlighting that there are still over 4 billion people that are unconnected.


The chart above is very interesting and shows that there are still people who use 2G to access Facebook. Personally, I am not sure if these charts take Wi-Fi into account or not.

In my earlier post in the Small Cells blog, I have made a case for using Small Cells as the best solution for rural & remote coverage. There are a variety of options for power including wind turbines, solar power and even the old fashioned diesel/petrol generators. The main challenge is sometimes the backhaul. To solve this issue Facebook has been working on its drones as a means of providing the backhaul connectivity.


Recently Facebook held its first Telco Infra Project (TIP) Summit in California. The intention was to bring the diverse set of members (over 300 as I write this post) in a room, discuss ideas and ongoing projects.


There were quite a few interesting talks (videos available here). I have embedded the slides and the talk by SK Telecom below but before I that I was to highlight the important point  made by AMN.


As can be seen in the picture above, technology is just one of the challenges in providing rural and remote connectivity. There are other challenges that have to be considered too.

Embedded below is the talk provided by Dr. Alex Jinsung Choi,  CTO, SK Telecom and TIP Chairman and the slides follow that.



For more info, see:
Download the TIP slides from here.