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Thursday, 17 December 2009

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year 2010


Time for break and see you next year...

WiMAX gaining foothold in Japan

Photo Source


The current state of the mobile network environment such as public wireless LAN and the cellular phone lines and those problems were considered last time. This time, the focus is applied to “Mobility WiMAX” of the new service that solves these problems, and it introduces the difference with an existing mobile network. The 2nd explains the point of the IEEE standard by which the specification of mobile WiMAX has been decided.

Mobile WiMAX that the business service started in July, 2009 is a new mobile network that did “Cousin removing” of public wireless LAN and the cellular phone line. It becomes “Communication method of the world standard using the micro wave (frequency band of 3GHz-30GHz)” with WiMAX if it translates literally by the one that “World Interoperability for Microwave Access” was abbreviated.

It is a word “Communication (Access)” the hope of you attention here. “Line from the telephone office to the terminal” is indicated if it is said, “Access line” in the world on the network. In a word, WiMAX is a method to achieve the same role as the accomplishment of “[Furettsu] light” of ADSL and NTT on a wireless network.

Actually, there is details of having started WiMAX as a network for not the mobile network but fixed wireless telecommunications (FWA: Fixed Wireless Access). FWA is a method to send and receive data to the antenna set up in the rooftop in the communication tower and the building between terminals. FWA up to maximum transmission speed 156Mbps is an opening in Japan in December, 1998.

WiMAX is wireless MAN(Metropolitan Area Network) standard to achieve this FWA. Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) has approved WiMAX as “IEEE 802.16″ in December, 2001.

The bandwidth of 2GHz-11GHz was added back though WiMAX used the bandwidth of improving named 10GHz-66GHz at first. And, the specification named maximum transmission speed 134.4Mbps (occupation bandwidth 28MHz time) or 74.81Mbps (occupation bandwidth 20MHz time) was fixed by the maximum in “IEEE 802.16-2004″ that had been approved in June, 2004 communication distance 48km.

It has corresponded to the handover at 120km per hour.
It reaches up to 4.8km at the speed of 40Mbps or less.

Mobile WiMAX equipped in mobile PC is a wireless network method settled on as derivation standard “IEEE 802.16e” of IEEE 802.16.

Mobility WiMAX is that the maximum difference point of fixation WiMAX of IEEE 802.16 and mobile WiMAX corresponds to the handover (succession) that assumes the movable body of 120km per hour.

In a word, mobile WiMAX is to be able to use it in the train and the car running just like the cellular phone because a surrounding base station communicates one after another in “Hand over” according to the communication situation. There is especially no inconvenience if it thinks the communication distance of the cellular phone is several km though the maximum communication distance of mobile WiMAX is 4.8km and fixation WiMAX 1/10.

It differs according to the occupation bandwidth, and if it is 32Mbps, and it is 20MHz if it is 15Mbps, and 10MHz if the occupation bandwidth is 5MHz, the maximum transmission speed of mobile WiMAX is 75Mbps. In UQ communications that develop mobile WiMAX service domestically, it is sung, “It is 40Mbps or less, and is up-loading, and it is download and 10Mbps or less”. It may be expected that the same degree of the speed as wireless LAN in the office will be obtained as long as the condition is avoided.

Another difference between fixation WiMAX and mobile WiMAX is in the size of the terminal side transmitter-receiver. In fixation WiMAX where long distance/high speed has been achieved by a big transmission output, a considerably big as for terminal side device is needed. On the other hand, the transmitter-receiver of mobile WiMAX is being put in several LSI chips small. An external type is the same degree of the size as USB thumb drive.

Moreover, note PC with built-in controller for mobile WiMAX has been released by each vender since the summer of 2009. The “Let’snote S8/N8″ series of Panasonic especially supports WiMAX by the standard in the consumer model (A corporate model is for subject).

Another strong point is a base station. Wide, mobile WiMAX covers the range where the electric wave reaches and even if the number of base stations is not increased too much, can cover the large range at the cellular phone level. Because it is possible to communicate while it moves by in the train and car, it will be able to be said that it will be a very profitable network for the business user who frequently uses the Web application.

The maintenance of the base station is advanced in domestic various places with steady steps now. I hear that it became possible to use in the government-designated major city and major cities across the country at the end of fiscal year 2009 according to UQ communications.

Note, this is machine translation so ignore the errors.


Wednesday, 16 December 2009

3G Americas Publishes New Report on LTE SON Self-Optimizing / Self-Organizing Networks

I have blogged about SON networks before. Now has published an educational report titled, The Benefits of SON in LTE, to increase understanding of the improvements in network management that have been developed through 3GPP standards – Release 8, Release 9 and beyond.

Self-Optimizing and Self-Organizing Networks, called SON, can significantly improve network management performance, helping operators and their customers. The 3GPP standards organization is standardizing self-optimizing and self-organizing capabilities for LTE. LTE SON will leverage network intelligence, automation and network management features in order to automate the configuration and optimization of wireless networks, thereby increasing efficiency as well as improving network performance and flexibility.

“The time is right for SON as wireless carriers’ networks have increasing mobile broadband demand and a high level of complexity,” said Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas. “The good news is that smartphones, netbooks and emerging classes of mobile devices are driving significant growth of wireless data usage. However, operators will need to continue to significantly improve network management capabilities to efficiently meet the demands of this new mobile broadband world.”

The Benefits of SON in LTE describes the motivation behind SON and provides an overview of key SON features contained in Releases 8 and 9 that will serve as a solution for network operators. Motivations for operators to deploy SON include:

  • Wireless service providers must now support a growing number of higher-bandwidth data applications and services on their networks
  • Operators must drive down the delivery cost per bit
  • Radio access network complexity will increase through additions of small cells such as femtocells, picocells as well as WiFi access points to increase and improve coverage and capacity

These and other trends portend ever-increasing demands upon service providers in the areas of network performance and operations.

Initial solutions are offered in the 3GPP Release 8 specifications, which were completed in March 2009, and include SON features such as automatic inventory, software download, neighbor relations and PCI assignment that would be built over 3GPP network management architecture. LTE SON features begin with 3GPP Release 8 and evolve with the expected LTE network evolution stages. In 3GPP Release 9, other SON features are addressed, such as the optimization of coverage and capacity, mobility, RACH, load balancing and support of SON features in multi-vendor network environments.

Other organizations such as the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) have contributed significantly to the development and standardization of SON at 3GPP.


“Self-optimizing networks are a key part in the future-proofing of network reliability and operational efficiency,” said Dr. Peter Meissner, Operating Officer of the NGMN Alliance. “NGMN established a set of initial requirements and since then has worked with its partners to define the remaining requirements and to drive forward the early adoption in the standardization.”

You can find this whitepaper and many other whitepapers on LTE at the 3G4G Library here.


Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Teliasonera reaches a milestone with first commercial LTE Networks

TeliaSonera has rolled out commercial LTE Networks in Stockholm, Sweden and Oslo, Norway. The Swedish network is supplied by Ericsson and the Norway one by Huawei. At the moment only Samsung Dongles are available for browsing the web.

Read the press release here.

By the way, its a bit shameful that the operator wants to market itself and its using the term 4G for LTE as it probably sounds more sexy :) I blogged couple of years back and it still applies that LTE is 3.9G and IMT-Advanced/LTE-Advanced is 4G.

7Gbit/s can be delivered at 60GHz spectrum

From TechWorld:

The Wireless Gigabit Alliance has completed its specification for a technology to deliver as much as 7Gbit/s over a very high unlicensed frequency band.

The group, backed by wireless heavy hitters including Intel, Broadcom and Atheros Communications, announced the WiGig specification in May and said it would be finished by year's end. Though the standard is now written, it's still undergoing text editing and an intellectual-property review that the WiGig Alliance called routine.

WiGig was designed for very high speeds over a relatively small area, using the 60GHz band. It will have the capacity to deliver high-definition video streams or let users connect laptops to desktop docks and displays, the group has said. It will come to the fast home-networking market behind a few other technologies, including HomePNA, HomePlug, Multimedia over Coax, Ultrawideband and Wireless Home Digital Interface. However, WiGig's strong backing and relationship to Wi-Fi seem likely to give it a major boost.

The WiGig Alliance had said in May the specification would be available to members in the fourth quarter. It is available now to the member companies that helped develop it, but the group hasn't yet created its Adopter membership for companies that will simply use the technology, said Ali Sadri, chairman and president of the group. That will happen in the first quarter of next year, and the specification will be made available to them then. The group will set up a certification system next year and expects consumer products with WiGig to start hitting the market in 2011.

The group originally had said WiGig would have a top speed of about 6G bit/s but has raised that estimate. At that speed, WiGig will have about 10 times the capacity of the fastest Wi-Fi technology today, a form of IEEE 802.11n that offers 600Mbit/s. The 7Gbit/s figure represents the theoretical maximum speed, but the technology is highly efficient, so users should be able to use at least 80 percent of that bandwidth in the real world, Sadri said. On a WiGig LAN, the bandwidth would be shared among all the users on an access point.

Along with the completion of the specification, the WiGig Alliance said it has included a "beam-forming" feature that should allow WiGig networks to work over distances greater than 10 metres. Radios using high frequencies such as 60GHz fundamentally have a harder time transmitting data over long distances without repeaters. WiGig originally was envisaged as an in-room technology, but with the beam-forming feature it could more easily send data and content around a home.

The high 60GHz frequency at which WiGig runs is unlicensed in many parts of the world, including the U.S. The Wi-Fi Alliance is also developing a standard for high-speed wireless LANs at 60GHz, called IEEE 802.11AD, but the Wi-Fi Alliance has said WiGig seems to be complementary to Wi-Fi. Intel, Broadcom and Atheros all plan to integrate WiGig into Wi-Fi chipsets, and it could become part of a "tri-band Wi-Fi" that would let users migrate to WiGig for additional speed where it's available.

The WiGig specification was written so that it could be made an amendment to the 802.11 standards, with backward compatibility, Sadri said.

All WiGig equipment will be able to communicate at the basic level of exchanging IP (Internet Protocol) packets, but the alliance is also developing protocol adaptation layers to optimize the performance of specific applications, said Mark Grodzinsky, marketing chair of the WiGig Alliance. For example, any two WiGig products will be able to stream video to each other, but with a special protocol adaptation layer they might be able to do it with less delay and without compression, he said.

The WiGig Alliance has also announced that Nvidia, Advanced Micro Devices, SK Telecom and TMC, an independent testing and certification lab in China, have joined the group of about 30 companies.

For details see: http://wirelessgigabitalliance.org/


Monday, 14 December 2009

59p iPhone stethoscope is a life saviour





The stethoscope, the 200-year-old accessory without which no doctor is complete, could soon be replaced by the humdrum mobile phone.

A computer scientist who wrote a program that turns an Apple iPhone into a stethoscope has made a major advance in medical technology and created a sensation among heart specialists. The application, called iStethoscope, was developed as a "bit of fun", and has become a runaway success after being downloaded millions of times by users across the world.

Cardiologists say the software has saved lives and brought specialist expertise within reach of patients in remote parts of the world. Heart sounds can be recorded and emailed to doctors anywhere for an expert opinion.

Peter Bentley, a researcher who developed the application in the computer science department at University College, London, said he was amazed by the response.

"The idea began as an experiment," he added. "I had a new, popular science book out last year and I wanted to see if I could tell people about the book using a free iPhone application that did something useful.

"It was intended as a fun toy but to my astonishment it was downloaded by several million people all over the world in the first six months. Then I started receiving emails, phone calls and visits from cardiologists all over the world. They said it worked better than commercially available digital stethoscopes. They were tremendously excited. One flew over from the US just to discuss it with me."

The cause of the doctors' excitement was that the audio quality from the iPhone was far superior to that from digital stethoscopes. Mobile phones are a huge market compared with digital stethoscopes, and economies of scale mean they are made with better hardware.

Responding to requests from specialists, Mr Bentley extended the application to allow heart sounds to be recorded, emailed and analysed. The application costs 59p to download, but cardiologists say it does a better job than equipment costing thousands of times as much.

Glenn Nordehn, a US cardiologist researcher and specialist in digital stechoscopes at the University of Minnesota, said: "This is the best thing to come around in terms of medical equipment for a very long time. [His] closest competitor charges about 3,000 times as much"

Mr Bentley is now working on further iPhone applications, such as an electrocardiogram reader. "This is the way everyone wants to go," he said.

For more info see: http://www.peterjbentley.com/istethoscope.html


3G & LTE: What Lies Ahead for Performance Management?

Long but Interesting presentation (with audio) for Technically minded people.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

SQUARE: From the founder of Twitter





From CNN:

Twitter creator Jack Dorsey Wednesday gave the first public demonstration of his hotly-anticipated latest venture -- a device to allow credit card payments by cell phone -- and revealed it would be given away for free.

Details of "Square" -- a card reader which plugs into the headphone socket of most mobile devices -- have been circulating on the Internet since it was announced earlier this month, but little has been known about how it works or who it was aimed at.

However, Dorsey -- whose microblogging Web site has proved hugely popular but not hugely profitable since launching in March 2006 -- gave no explanation on how he would make money from his new creation, beyond revealing there would be a per-transaction charity donation.

Square, a tiny cube about an inch in length, contains a magnetic strip reader that allows users to swipe and read credit cards, then deduct payment on or offline through a downloaded application that communicates with card issuers in the same way as retailer devices.

Customers then use their finger on the phone's touch-recognition screen to sign their name to the transaction.

Dorsey, Twitter's co-founder and chairman, says the device, scheduled for launch on iPhones and iPods in March 2010, was inspired partly by the "immediacy, approachability and transparency" of Twitter and by the global economic crisis which has exposed a need for a radical rethink of the financial sector.



Thursday, 10 December 2009

VoLGA = 1, other VoLTE = 0


From Unstrung:

Deutsche Telekom Announced First Voice Calls over LTE with VoLGA. Deutsche Telekom announced today the world’s first voice call over LTE with excellent speech quality based on VoLGA (Voice over LTE via Generic Access) technology and two independent test environments.

Calls have been made between a test system, installed at Deutsche Telekom Headquarters in Bonn, Germany which is based on a VoLGA implementation of Kineto Wireless and a second totally independent system from Alcatel-Lucent, installed in their test center in Stuttgart, Germany. Both VoLGA-based Voice over LTE systems support inbound and outbound voice calling and SMS messaging between LTE-enabled devices and standard mobile and fixed telephones.

With this result Deutsche Telekom underlines the innovative leadership in the development of Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN), as it belongs to a series of tests through which the company consequently researches the capabilities of the potential NGMN technologies.

“Voice calling is an essential service for mobile operators. This demonstration is a key milestone towards establishing a future proof eco system and shows a cost efficient way for using voice over LTE”, stated Uwe Janssen, Senior Vice President of Core Networks. “The VoLGA test shows how operators could quickly and easily provide next generation voice services, re-using their existing core networks. At the same time this serves as a first step to prepare networks for the industry-agreed mid- and long-term solution for voice over LTE that will be based on IMS.”

In other related news from Fierce Wireless:

Ericsson has dropped its support for the VoLGA Forum, which promotes Voice over LTE via Generic Access, dealing a blow to the voice-over-LTE approach a little more than a month after the vendor signalled its enthusiasm for a different standard.

Erik Ekudden, Ericsson's vice president of technology and industry, said that when the VoLGA Forum was established earlier this year "we had the impression that VoLGA would become a global solution." However, "there are no signs that it [VoLGA] will be strongly supported" by mobile operators, he said in an interview with Unstrung.

Picture Source: Into Mobile

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Location Based Systems/Services Presentations



Interesting presentations from Cambridge Wireless on LBS:

"How do we Make Location a Desirable User Experience?"

Click on the titles below to view the provocateurs' presentations and the notes from the three group discussions -

Introduction from Colin Smithers of Plextek

Group 1: Technology - Presentation by Adrian Swinburne of Quintaxiom + Faciliator's Notes

Group 2: Context - Presentation by Kurt Lyall of Xgenta + Faciliator's Notes

Group 3: Privacy - Facilitator's Notes


Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Where does mobile go next


Another interesting presentation "Where does mobile go next: lessons from the past, clues to the future" by Professor Joe McGeehan of Toshiba TRL available here.

Monday, 7 December 2009

How to build more powerful mobile web

Interesting presentation from Google here.

ZigBee and Short Range Wireless Overview

Couple of interesting presentations are available on the Cambridge Wireless website for Short range Wireless technologies and ZigBee.

The First one, "ZigBee® Applications in sub-1GHz Frequency Range" is available here.

The Second one, "SHORT RANGE WIRELESS OVERVIEW" is available here.




The above is an interesting chart from the second presentation showing the comparison of different short range wireless technologies.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

MBMS and AMR-WB


Nokia publicly underlined its commitment to broadcast-mobile-TV standard DVB-H with the recent unveiling of the mobile TV edition of the Nokia 5330 and its pretax, presubsidy price tag of €155 (US$230), after some in the industry had questioned its enthusiasm for launching new DVB-H devices. Nokia also quelled any suggestions that it might start supporting the MBMS standard with its future device launches.

The price is a massive drop from the €550 price tag carried by Nokia’s last fully DVB-H-compatible handset, the N96, which launched in 3Q08. So the official line from Nokia is this: “All is well on the good ship DVB-H.”

Read more here.

Meanwhile, In China, China Unicom has launched 3G telecom services in 268 cities across the country, said Li Gang, another deputy general manger for Unicom Group, noting that the WCDMA network supports a 14Mbps download data transmission speed and a 7.2Mbps upload data transmission speed.

Notably, the carrier has adopted the most advanced R6 technology in its core WCDMA network to smooth a WCDMA-to-EPS migration in the future, according to Mr. Zhang.

The China Unicom network is expected to support MBMS and HSPA+64QAM technology in the first phase of a further evolution, shore up a HSPA+MIMO technology in the Phase II evolution, and prompt a LTE technology in the Phase III evolution, said Mr. Zhang, adding that the network will present a 100Mbps download speed and a 50Mbps upload speed after the Phase III evolution.

Read more here.
Back in September, Orange Moldova announced the launch of the world's first mobile telephone service offering high-definition (HD) sound. The service will provide customers with a significantly improved quality of service when making calls. Unlike for other mobile technologies such as multimedia capabilities, this is the first time since the 1990s that mobile voice technologies have been subject to a significant evolution.

This is the second step in Orange’s HD voice strategy, following on from the launch of a high-definition voice service for VoIP calls in 2006. Over 500,000 Livephone devices have already been sold in France and the range will be extended to other Orange countries over the coming months.

The first mobile handset integrating high-definition voice capability that will be launched by Orange Moldova is the Nokia 6720c. This innovative handset integrates the new WB-AMR technology, which is widely expected within the industry to become a new standard for mobile voice communications.

Thanks to the Adaptive Multi Rate-WideBand (AMR-WB) codec, double the frequency spectrum will be given over to voice telephony over traditional voice calling. Orange boasts that the result is "near hi-fi quality" and "FM-radio quality", which seems an odd comparison.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Upto 25 million mobiles in trouble in India


I blogged about the Shanzhai phones earlier and mentioned that since they dont have an IMEI, they can cause problems for the security officials and India was considering banning them.

Now, this has finally happened. Mobile phones without the code were blocked at midnight - operators were asked to bar calls to them "in the wake of increased threat perception from militants".

The absence of this number makes it impossible to trace either the caller or the phone or to access call details.

Indian intelligence agencies say phones without the code have been used in attacks by militant groups.

The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number is a 15-digit code which appears on the operator's network whenever a call is made.

It is estimated that India has more than 25 million phones without codes. Phones with no codes or invalid numbers are mostly cheap, unbranded phones. Millions are manufactured in India or imported, mostly from China.

If you're one amongst the estimated 25 million users with such phones and wish to have the phone in working condition again, (in case yours went offline as well) there is a legal way of doing it. The government has authorized some organizations to legalize your illegal handsets by assigning an approved IMEI number to it. The GII (Genuine IMEI Implant) program involves a short trip to the nearest GII outlet, paying a nominal Rs. 199 fee to have your phone legalized.

In major cities, you can visit The MobileStore outlets to get this done. You might also want to contact your operator if they have arranged for any such facilities. For those interested in The MobileStore program, all you need to do is to call 6000 63 63 to figure out the nearest outlet where your Chinese phone can get a new lease of life

The MobileStore claims to have successfully done over 30,000 IMEI implants in over 60 cities.

Femtocells to grow from 0.2 million units in 2009 to 12 million units in 2014


From Qualcomm's QMag:

Femtocell shipments will grow from 0.2 million units in 2009 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 127 percent to 12 million units worldwide in 2014, according to analyst firm Berg Insight.

In the U.S., 14.8 billion video clips are viewed online every month with an average user viewing time of 356 minutes and a consumption of 680Mbps (ComScore); in the UK, the average monthly consumption per user is 1.3Gbps(ComScore). This online trend is now migrating onto mobile. According to AT&T, data represented 27 percent of revenues in 1Q09 compared to 21 percent in the same period the previous year, with streaming audio and video accounting for 31 percent of network traffic.

In developed markets(Coda Research Consultancy), much of this mobile data explosion is generated by smartphone users, where the average year-on-year growth of mobile data per user is between three and five times.

“We need to drive down the cost per bit in operator networks while also meeting the rocketing demand for mobile broadband services, which is putting too much pressure on HSPA and HSPA+ networks,” said Simon Saunders, chairman of the Femto Forum. “We need a change and that is where femtocells have a major role to play.”

It is a change driven by the operators’ need to meet growing user consumption. Saunders told QMag that 90 percent of mobile data usage is indoors. “Because the data user experience is directly correlated to the quality of that signal, it makes sense to place femtos indoors where signals are weakest and therefore the user experience is poorest,” he said.

Questions are now being raised by mobile operators about whether macro networks will scale to meet the rapid upsurge in mobile data demand. In addition, coverage holes caused by building shadows and building penetration losses are limiting the performance of wireless networks indoors.

“Femtocells bring the network supply closer to the demand for services, and in the process, provide excellent signal conditions and high data throughput,” said Nick Karter, senior director of business development at Qualcomm.

Karter said operators confronted with capacity concerns will require substantial capital expenditures to improve macro network performance to support its heaviest users. However, operators can target their CAPEX in both the enterprise and residential environments by providing their heaviest users with femtocells. This will ease network congestion on the macro network and reduce backhaul capacity needs. In the process, femtocells can deliver indoor throughputs and peak rates well in excess of 1Mbps.

Similarly, Saunders is confident that the return on investment from femtocells will be considerably higher than a macro network upgrade path.

“Operators are starting to realize that the investment required to provide free femtocells to heavy data users is far lower than trying to achieve the same outcome with macro network upgrades,” he said. “Femtos deliver better voice quality and a vastly improved data experience at a cost no other technology can match.”

He claimed that 20 percent of homes in the UK have inadequate coverage for voice and data. In July, Vodafone UK became the latest operator to deal with the existing issue of mobile coverage at home using femtocells when it launched its Vodafone Access Gateway – targeting homes and small office locations. The UK operator positioned the service as delivering “more reliable 3G coverage indoors” and providing improved voice calls and faster data downloads.

Vodafone UK was the first European operator to launch a femto service, following similar announcements from Sprint and Verizon Wireless in the U.S., NTT DoCoMo and Softbank in Japan, and StarHub in Singapore. “These operators are the pioneers, and we will see more femto launches before the end of the year from other big operators,” said Saunders.

The Vodafone Gateway is available on a monthly tariff of £5 or a one-off cost of £160, while Verizon charges US$250 Femtocell shipments will grow from 0.2 million units in 2009 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 127 percent to 12 million units worldwide in 2014, according to analyst firm Berg Insight. (£157) for its Wireless Network Extender device. But as both Karter and Saunders explained, the costs are expected to be incorporated by operators as femto becomes a central component in the fight against churn. “Femtocells are creating a very sticky service for the consumer by providing operators with the ability to create differentiated offerings,” Saunders said.

Not only does femto have the additional attraction of being able to work with all 4 billion mobile devices operating around the world, it can deliver location-, context-, presence-, and user-based information.

Femto could deliver premium, bigger apps to the device when the user returns home and the device switches from the macro network to the femtocell. “When users are out and about they can use basic multimedia services,” Saunders explained. “However, when they arrive home they can use the femto to access far higher bandwidth services and synchronize their handset quickly and at zero cost with all of the media stored on their home network.”


As Saunders notes, femto is still in its evolutionary phase and requires key players such as Qualcomm to build on the standardized products in large volumes by delivering the silicon to femto-friendly vendors.

“We all need to draw on a common base of components,” Saunders said. “So we’ve been looking at femtocell devices and network gateways and started to harmonize design based on standards. This will allow consumers and operators to choose from a wider range of products as well as bring costs down through economies of scale. If it’s cheaper overall to deliver and it provides a better service, then everyone wins.”

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Experiences and Lessons from Early Femtocell Deployment



From IEEE Communications Magazine, September 2009:

There is a continuous pursuit by mobile operators (MOs) to improve indoor coverage in order not only to improve voice quality but also to enable higher data rates in home/office environments. Indoor coverage improvement, in conjunction with inexpensive (voice) offerings, will enable MOs to compete with and take away voice-call-related revenues from fixed network PTTs and/or VoIP operators. Femtocells constitute a promising solution to address all of the above. In this article we present our experience from our extensive study and trials of early (pre-standard) femtocell solutions that were available in the 2007-2008 timeframe.

Our as well as other operators’ involvement and experience with pre-standard femtocell solutions has revealed some of their early drawbacks that restrained them from massive-scale commercial launches. However, the accumulated experience from all these trials as well as the recent standardization activities in 3GPP/3GPP2 will lead to a new generation of standardized femtocell solutions and raise the expectation for commercial market success for
operators and vendors alike. It is envisaged that initially, femtocells will be utilized for coordinated coverage extension purposes (e.g., public areas) and niche markets (high-value customers, enterprise packages), rather than mass market commercial offerings. Upon the advent of standardized 3G-femto solutions, the increase of competition at FAP level (models, volume availability, cost reduction) will contribute to the extensive commercialization of femtocells, which will be further boosted by the introduction of LTE home Node-Bs.

The complete paper is available here in pdf format.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

SuperFemtos, 'greater femtocells' and 'wide area femtocells'

Picture Source: Metro Femto by 3G in the home

I think some companies may now be willing to go to any lengths to market their products. I did report some initial Femtocell Jargon but I stopped keeping track untill recently where I bumped into three of them in the same day.

Ubiquisys, the leading developer of 3G femtocells, announced commercial availability of its wide area femtocell solution, providing a coverage area of up to 12km2 (5 sq. miles) at a fraction of the cost of existing solutions. The new femtocell is ideal for rural areas with poor coverage, such as isolated villages, hamlets or farms. The company recently shared the results of a live demonstration of the solution in the field, at the Femtocell Americas event in San Diego.

The Wide Area Femtocells have a capacity of up to 16 calls and can either be mounted outdoors, or placed indoors with an external antenna, typically attached to the roof of the building. They can be deployed very quickly, because they continuously adapt their radio configuration according to the operator’s policies, working in harmony with the regular mobile network and eliminating the need for a radio planning project.

The solution can be combined with Ubiquisys Grid System technology to cover still larger areas with multiple femtocells, which form a self-organising mesh of coverage and capacity.

Ubiquisys has performed a field demonstration of its wide area femtocells in a rural area near Swindon in the UK. The demonstration showed that for less energy than it takes to power a light bulb, a village area with a 1.5km radius was provided with comprehensive coverage.

The wide area femtocell solution is commercially available today and is being actively deployed.


A Class 3 femtocell reference design, the PC8219E from picoChip claims a world first that brings femtocell technology to campuses, rural areas or 'metrozone' hot-spots. The turnkey solution builds on the company's field-proven robust PC8208 and 8209 PHYs to provide a complete extended-reach HSPA femtocell baseband. The device has already been delivered to customers and deployed by carriers.

The PC8219E's eight user capacity, 2 km range and support for vehicular mobility make it well-suited for low-cost, wide-area open access femtocell deployments in areas where carriers need to cost-effectively enhance coverage and capacity. Although femtocells are often thought of for residential applications, there is a growing recognition that the advantages they deliver, in terms of capital and operating expenditure, can be more broadly applicable.

The PC8219E is a programmable, flexible, easily integrated product that caters for multiple users, has self configuration features and backhauls via the internet. Featuring industry-standard FAPI and FRMI interfaces, as defined by the Femto Forum, the reference design also has fully-compliant security functions. The design includes a network monitoring function that allows the femtocell to reconfigure itself to behave like a handset receive chain, synchronizing with a macro-base station nearby, improving network planning and providing the basis for Self Organizing Network (SON) functions.

This new variety of mobile cells has been termed 'greater femtocells' or 'superfemtos'. Such products are similar to the 3GPP 'Local Area Basestation' or traditional picocells, but add the femtocell's capabilities to use standard backhaul and to self-configure for interference management. The Femto Forum has recently standardized femtocells into Class 1 (typically residential), Class 2 (primarily indoor for enterprise) and Class 3 (for rural, metro and wider area deployment).


Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Wireless Phone chargers coming in time for Christmas


We have talked about WiTricity and Nokia's self-recharging phones but they seem to be a bit far away.


PowerPad, made by the British gadget firm, Gear4, goes on sale next month and is among a new wave of devices sweeping us towards this unplugged utopia. A protective sleeve slips over an iPhone, slotting into its connecter socket. When the encased phone is placed on a mains-connected pad on, say, a desk or bedside table, electricity makes the jump. American outfits PowerMat and WildCharge make similar devices. Meanwhile, the Palm Pre smartphone has its own "Touchstone" charger and Dell's Latitude Z is the first wireless laptop.

"Wireless electricity is something we used to talk about years ago almost as a bit of a joke when we made predictions about the future," says Michael Brook, editor of the gadget magazine, T3. "To a lot of people it sounds insane that you could even do it – like some kind of witchcraft – but we're seeing a lot of interest in the first wireless chargers. It's going to take off in a big way." If not witchcraft, how does it work? Here's the science: Current from the mains is wired into a transmitter coil in the charging mat. This generates an electromagnetic field. A receiver coil in the phone's case takes the power from the magnetic field and converts it back into electricity that charges the device. By separating those coils, induction charging takes the 150-year-old principle used in the transformers found in most electric devices and splits it in half. No more tripping over laptop leads and their power bricks or diving under your desk to plug in your charger – just put your gadget on the mat and induction takes care of the rest.

But wireless induction, which, in a less-sophisticated form has charged electric toothbrush chargers and some medical implants for years, isn't perfect. Advances mean it's now viable for more demanding devices, but in the case of the PowerPad, it requires a case that adds bulk to what is already a hefty handset. Another drawback is the lack of compatibility – a phone with a PowerPad case will not charge on a PowerMat.

A growing group of electronics firms want to sdeal with the problem. The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) includes Gear4 and the mobile phone giants, Nokia, Samsung and RIM, makers of the Blackberry. "These companies think there won't be a mass market for wireless charging unless there is a standard," says Menno Treffers, chairman of the consortium's steering group and a director at Philips.

Learning their lesson from the hopeless incompatibility of wired chargers, supporters of WPC's Qi ("chi") standard will put universal coils in devices that will work without cumbersome cases. They'll also be compatible with any charging mat, whether it's on your desk or recessed in a table at Starbucks. Treffers expects the first Qi-compatible devices to hit shelves next year.

But there remains a major flaw in charging mats – their need for proximity. Separation of even a millimetre renders most mats useless. Take your laptop to your bedroom to watch a DVD and you'll need a second mat or a cable. For a truly wireless scenario, electricity must make a giant leap.

Marin Soljacic is a Croatia-born physics professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 2002, he got annoyed when his wife's mobile phone woke him up with beeping when its battery ran low. "Not only did I have to wake up to plug it in but had to find the charger in the dark," he says. "I thought, power is everywhere – sockets all over the house – yet it isn't close enough." Soljacic was sure there must be a way to bridge the gap. He wanted his wife's phone to charge while it was still in her handbag. Two years ago, after months of equation crunching and computer modelling, Soljacic literally had a light bulb moment when he flicked the switch of a 60-watt lamp. No big deal except that the electricity powering the light was travelling two metres through thin air.

Soljacic and his team at MIT have since formed a company called WiTricity. Last July, its chief executive, Eric Giler, came to Oxford to demonstrate a wireless television. In front of an amazed audience at a technology conference, he powered up a giant plasma screen TV that had no cables. Electricity sprung from a sleek unit on the floor to a receiver mounted on the back of the screen. Last month, Giler travelled to Japan to show off a wirelessly-charged electric car. "Every time I show people they're blown away," Giler says. "When you see it up close it does appear almost magical."

Soljacic's magic takes the split-transformer model that powers charging mats and adds a key ingredient to make electricity fly. It's called resonance, the phenomenon that means a singer who matches the acoustic frequency of a wine glass can shatter it. Soljacic knew that two resonant objects of the same resonant frequency tend to exchange energy efficiently – imagine a tuning fork causing a nearby fork with the same frequency to chime sympathetically. His breakthrough was to work out a way to use resonance in magnetic form to transfer not sound but electricity. He explains: "By coupling the magnetic field that surrounds a resonant coil to another coil resonating at the same frequency, we can make the electricity hop from one to the other."

WiTricity's strongly coupled magnetic resonance means cars, TVs, free-standing lamps, and computers – anything that requires electricity – can be powered or charged from a central source in the ceiling or under the floor. And it's all totally safe. "The fields that we are generating in are about the same as the earth's magnetic field," Giler says. "We live in a magnetic field."

Giler and his team are in talks with big-name electronics manufacturers, including many of those who are putting their names to the Qi standard for charging mats. Giler says proximity charging is "first-generation stuff; by the end of next year you'll start seeing devices with WiTricity components built in". If he is right, homes and offices could soon be fully wireless. "It's a fundamental breakthrough in science and a game changer for the industry," he says. "Cut the cords and the world's going to change."

Interesting Video:




Monday, 23 November 2009

WiMAX Femtocell System Architecture


So what does it take to build a WiMAX Femtocell solution?

WiMAX Femtocell can be visualized as a scaled down version of WiMAX macro-cell solution. In addition to the capabilities of a WiMAX macro-cell, other required features of a WiMAX Femtocell are the following:

Spectrum: WFAP operates over licensed spectrum using standard WiMAX wireless air interface and protocol.

Form factor: WFAP can be standalone (similar to WiFi access points) or integrated with DSL or cable modems.

Transport: WFAP uses transport network of subscribers’ DSL, FTTH or cable-based broadband connection.

User Capacity: Since WFAP is deployed inside a building; a WFAP needs to support at least 5-6 subscribers.

Power Output: With a range of roughly 10 meters, power output should be kept very low, no more than a 2.4 GHz WiFi product.

Deployment Support: Operating in a licensed spectrum a WFAP may face interference from neighboring base stations (femto or macro). Therefore, a WFAP should have the capabilities to automatically adjust to minimize the interference.

Local Breakout: A WFAP should optionally support the capability to route incoming or outgoing traffic directly to the destination through the Internet Service Provider (ISP) network. This approach will bypass the WiMAX service provider network, thus offloading WiMAX service provider network and reducing the cost of service to the subscriber.

Performance: A Femtocell solution should fit as per the WiMAX network architecture defined by the WiMAX forum. The deployment should not limit the number of WFAPs that are able to connect with a designated ASN Gateway unless operator specified. A network deployment should allow different ISPs to connect WFAP with ASN Gateway in the core network.

Hand-over: A Femtocell solution should allow handovers between WFAP and WiMAX macro cells or with other adjacent WFAPs.

Security: A Femtocell solution should use a secure channel of communication (for both control plane and data plane) with ASN Gateways in the core network. The core network must authenticate and authorize a WFAP before it starts offering services to MS/SS in its coverage area. A WFAP may authenticate the ASN Gateway with which it gets connected. A WFAP should keep its air interface disabled unless it is authenticated and authorized to start communication with the ASN Gateway in the core network. A Femtocell may support close subscriber group (CSG) database i.e. a list of subscribers allowed to access the WFAP, and its management.

Accounting: For providing different rate plans to subscribers accessing services through WFAP, a WFAP needs to make sure that it is recognized by the core network.

Location Information: A WFAP should support location identification procedures with the core network. Location information can then be used for emergency services or location based services.

Air Interface: A WFAP should provide at least 10 meters of coverage area in a residential set up without any exclusion zone around it.

Network Synchronization: A WFAP should support mechanism to synchronize with external network to provide services that require strict air interface co-ordination. Some of the services are soft-handovers, support for idle mode paging, and multicast-broadcast (MCBCS) services.

Quality of Service: A WFAP should support marking of incoming/outgoing packets with appropriate DSCP code, as configured by a service provider. This would allow support for defined service level agreements (SLAs) when the service is delivered through a WFAP.

Manageability: A WFAP should implement DSL forum’s defined TR069 protocol to allow an operator to remotely manage a WAFP. It must allow an operator to remotely disable/enable the air interface service.


The WiMAX network architecture for femtocell systems is based on the WiMAX basic network reference model that differentiates the functional and business domains of NAPs from those of the network service providers (NSPs). The NAP is a business entity that provides and manages WiMAX radio access infrastructure, while the NSP is the business entity that manages user subscriptions, and provides IP connectivity and WiMAX services to subscribers according to negotiated service level agreements (SLAs) with one or more NAPs. A NAP is deployed as one or more access service networks (ASNs), which are composed of ASN gateways and BSs, while the NSP includes a home agent, authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA), and other relevant servers and databases.

In a WiMAX network supporting a femtocell, a new business entity called the femto-NSP is introduced, which is responsible for the operation, authentication, and management of WFAPs. The femto-NSP is logically separated from the conventional WiMAX NSPs responsible for MSs’ subscriptions, and it includes femto-AAA and femtocell management/self-organizing network (SON) subsystems.

The femtocell management system is an entity to support operation and maintenance (O&M) features of the WFAP based on TR-069 or DOCSIS standards. Because potentially many femto BSs will be deployed in overlay coverage of macrocell BSs and have to support handover to/from macrocell BSs or neighbor femto BSs, the operating parameters of femto BSs have to be well organized and optimized. Femto BS parameter configuration and network performance, coverage, and capacity optimization can be done in an autonomous fashion by using SON functions. A SON server provides SON functions to measure/analyze performance data, and to fine-tune network attributes in order to achieve optimal performance.

A femto-NAP implements its infrastructure using one or more femto-ASNs; an ASN is defined as a complete set of network functions needed to provide radio access to a WiMAX femtocell subscriber. The reference model for a the femto-ASN is defined based on some changes to the conventional ASN to address specific needs of WFAPs, which typically reside at customer premises, and are operated and managed remotely by a femtocell operator over third party IP broadband connection. The femto-ASN reference model includes a WFAP connected to a femto-GW serving as the ASN-GW, through a new entity called a security gateway (SeGW). The SeGW provides IP Security (IPsec) tunnels for WFAPs, and is responsible for authentication and authorization of the WFAPs. The WFAP is connected to a femto-ASN gateway (femto-ASN GW) and other functional entities in the network through this IPsec tunnel. The management system is connected to WFAP through Rm for remote configuration, and it will also include the SON server function, to be defined in the next releases of the femto architecture.

The femto-ASN GW is an entity that controls WFAPs, and performs bearer plane routing to the CSN and Internet as well as control plane functions similar to ASN-GW providing the link to the connectivity service network (CSN) and other ASNs with mobility and security support in the control plane and IP forwarding. In addition to common functionalities of the ASN-GW, the femto-ASN GW supports femto-specific functionalities such as closed subscriber group (CSG) subscriber admission control, femtocell handover control, WFAP low-duty mode management, and femtocell interference management.


Sunday, 22 November 2009

Focus on TD-LTE by 3G Americas


3G Americas has published an educational white paper titled, "3GPP LTE for TDD Spectrum in the Americas". The report provides a top-level overview on the considerations for deployment of Long Term Evolution (LTE) in Time Division Duplex (TDD) technology spectrum in the Americas and recommends LTE TDD as a mobile broadband solution to utilize valuable TDD spectrum assets in the region.

The white paper explains the technical mechanism in which LTE TDD (also known as TD-LTE) and Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access (TD-SCDMA), a 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) third generation technology deployed in China, are smartly designed with the ability to operate together with great harmonization and efficiency. LTE TDD is a natural migration for TD-SCDMA operators. The technical synergy between LTE TDD and TD-SCDMA operators will thus increase the economies of scale for LTE TDD operators throughout the world.

Although operators are making plans for the deployment of LTE Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) technology, the white paper emphasizes that operators, regulators, license holders and investors must strongly consider the significant opportunities behind deployment of LTE in fragmented TDD spectrum as a mobile broadband solution that can serve the communication needs and demands of the marketplace.

Additionally, the report highlights that asmobile broadband is becoming ubiquitous throughout the Americas and the Internet generation is growing more accustomed to having broadband access everywhere, technology usage is exploding and, thus, is putting a tremendous strain on already well-utilized networks and spectrum. 3GPP LTE for TDD Spectrum in the Americas focuses on the LTE ecosystem and how operators are working to meet this increasing demand for mobile broadband services.

The LTE ecosystem supports both FDD and TDD operation, offering operators flexibility to match their existing networks, spectrum and business objectives for mobile broadband and multimedia services. Fifteen paired (for FDD operation) and eight unpaired (for TDD operation) spectrum bands have already been identified by the 3GPP for LTE. This means an operator can introduce LTE in new spectrum bands.

The white paper, 3GPP LTE for TDD Spectrum in the Americas, was written collaboratively by members of 3G Americas and is available for free download on the 3G Americas website at www.3gamericas.org.

The whitepaper is available here.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Updates from GSMA Asia Mobile Congress 09 - Day 2


Summary of interesting facts from the GSMA Mobile Asia Congress 09, Via Tomi Ahonen's, Communities Dominate Brands:

  • 55% of Japan has migrated past 3G to 3.5G
  • Japanese mobile content industry is worth 14 Billion dollars annually
  • 50% of mobile data in Japan is consumed in the home, the peak time for mobile data consumption is between 9 PM and 10 PM; and smartphone users consume 10 times more data than non-smartphone users.
  • Japan's Softbank will turn off their 2G network already in March of next year, 2010.
  • Allen Lew, Singtel's CEO, said that in Singapore almost 50% of smartphone owners are shifting web surfing activity away from PCs.
  • Jon Fredrik Baksaas, Telenor's President and CEO, spoke about the eco-friendly initiatives they have, such as solar powered cellular network base stations etc, but an interesting tidbit that came out, is that in Europe, Telenor has installed 870,000 household electricity meters that are remote digital meters and operate on the GSM cellular network, in Sweden. As Sweden's population is only about 7 million people that is probably a third of all households.
  • Rajat Mukarji of Idea (one of India's largest mobile operators), told us of the Indian market, where the average price of a voice minute is 1 cent (US). He Mr Mukarji also said that in India mobile is the first screen, not the fourth screen; and mobile is the first internet connectivity opportunity for most people of India.
  • Tony Warren, GM of Regulatory Affairs at Telstra, told that 60% of phones in Australia are 3G already, and over half of mobile data is now non-SMS type of more advanced mobile data. And he said that MMS is experiencing enormous growth, grew 300% in the past year.

You can read the summary of first day here.

Read the complete report here.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

LTE = Windows Vista and HSPA = Windows XP

Moray Rumney in Forum Oxford made us aware that 3GPP has published a link on their homepage to address concerns with aspects of LTE deployment covering:
  • Support for voice
  • Supoort for SMS
  • Readiness of IMS
  • Support for emergency calling
Dean Bubley, a well known analyst provided the following response:

It takes a very narrow view that "maturity" equals "fully specified". It still maintains that "The voice solution for LTE is IMS VoIP and it is fully specified" and that any other solution is merely a "transition".

In other words, it makes LTE sound unsuitable for those operators which are IP-centric but which do not believe in IMS as a suitable control/service solution.

3GPP is trying to use LTE as a lever to force unwilling operators to adopt IMS. This will fail.

SMS-over-SGs has some serious shortcoming as well as costs, but is probably OK as a short term solution.

I am moving to the view that current LTE is the equivalent of Windows Vista, while HSPA = XP

I think a lot of operators will wait until "Windows 7" becomes available, either LTE Advanced or perhaps Rel 10 LTE.

Very interesting. He has put forward a great analogy of Windows OS that reflects concerns of many of us.

You can follow the complete discussions here.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Updates from GSMA Asia Mobile Congress 09 - Day 1

Summary of interesting facts from the GSMA Mobile Asia Congress 09, Via Tomi Ahonen's, Communities Dominate Brands:
  • According to Rob Conway, CEO of the GSM Association, the number of subscribers will grow to 8 Billion (not sure when though).
  • China Unicom, China's second largest mobile operator with 142 million subscribers - bigger than AT&T and Sprint put together.
  • Bharti Telecom of India has over 110 million subscribers
  • According to Manoj Kohli, the CEO of Bharti Telecom, India already 20% of all mobile phone owners have 2 or more subscriptions. He also told us that as India will add 500 million new subscribers by the time frame of 2014-2015. India is currently adding 10 million new mobile subscribers every month. And most revealingly, he said that in India the customers will go from 'no internet' directly to 'mobile internet'.
  • According to Wang Jianzhou the Chairman and CEO of China Mobile, the world's biggest mobile operator with over 500 million subscribers, on the Chinese 3G standard of TD-SCDMA, they already have 3G phones being sold that cost about 1,000 Yuan, or about 130 US dollars. The average China Mobile customer spends 1 minute per day on voice calls, but sends on average 3.6 SMS text messages per day.
  • According to Yamada-san, the President and CEO of Japan's NTT DoCoMo, on NTT DoCoMo's network, today already 42% of their total revenues come from non-voice data services. NTT DoCoMo is so far in its migration of its customer base from 2G to 3G, they will terminate 2G in March of 2011.
  • Yamada-san also told of their new 3G video TV service, they call BeeTV. BeeTV is special in that it is optimized for the small screen, not re-purposed video content from TV and the internet. BeeTV in only six months has achieved 800,000 paying subscribers - who pay 315 Yen per month (about 3 USD).
  • Yamada-San's 20 minute presentation also mentioned that NTT DoCoMo's i-Consierge service (yes, think of it as your personal butler, the phone learns your habits and starts to help you with your life, this is like magic) has 2.3 million paying subscribers one year from launch. Their i-Channel idle screen invention is spreading and they have launched it also with their partner in India, Tata, who offer Cricket game updates via the idle screen using i-Channel.
  • Japan's mobile advertising market in 2008 was worth 900 million dollars.
  • Grameenphone and Huawei won the 'Green Mobile' award for their 'green' network initiatives.

Read the complete blog here.