Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Cell-free Massive MIMO and Radio Stripes


I wrote about "Distributed Massive MIMO using Ericsson Radio Stripes" after MWC 2019 here. I found it a very interesting concept and it will certainly take a few years before it becomes a reality.

Emil Björnson, Associate Professor at Linköping University have produced couple of videos on this topic. I am embedding both of them below for anyone who may be interested.

"A New Look at Cell-Free Massive MIMO" - based on technical paper from PIMRC 2019 on how to design Cell-free Massive MIMO systems that are both scalable and achieve high performance.



Worth noting the following about this video (based on video comments):
  • There are some minor issues with the sudio
  • Cell-free Massive MIMO is particularly for stadiums, streets, and places with many users or where it is hard to provide sufficient network quality with other methods.
  • This concept is still 4-5 years away from being ready to be practically deployed. It should be ready for later part of 5G, probably 5.5G

"Reinventing the Wireless Network Architecture Towards 6G: Cell-free Massive MIMO and Radio Stripes" looks at the motivation behind Cell-free Massive MIMO and how it can be implemented in 6G using radio stripes.



Worth noting the following on this video (based on video comments):

  • It may be possible that multiple frequency bands can be handled in the same radio stripe. If it is found to be possible then every other antenna  processing unit could manage a different band.
  • In principle, you can make the stripe as long as you need. But you probably need to divide it into segments since the power is supplied from one end of a stripe and it will only reach a limited distance (roughly up to 1 km). There are many implementation ideas and it remains to be seen what works out well in practice.

I am looking forward to see it work as it can solve coverage issues in many tricky scenarios.

Related Posts:

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Introduction to 5G ATSSS - Access Traffic Steering, Switching and Splitting


Last month we made a short tutorial on 5G and Fixed-Mobile Convergence (FMC). One of the features covered in that was ATSSS. It deserved a bit more detail so we made a short tutorial on this feature.

Access Traffic Steering, Switching and Splitting or ATSSS for short is being standardized as part of 3GPP Rel-16 and allows traffic steering across multiple accesses at a finer granularities than a PDU session.  It is an optional feature both on the UE and the 5GC network. ATSSS introduces the notion of Multi Access PDU session, a PDU session for which the data traffic can be served over one or more concurrent accesses (3GPP access, trusted non-3GPP access and untrusted non-3GPP access). The simplest way to visualize it is as shown below:


The presentation and video is embedded below:







Related Posts:

Sunday, 27 October 2019

R&S Webinar on LTE-A Pro and evolution to 5G


Rohde & Schwarz recently uploaded a webinar video on their YouTube channel. I found it really useful. It's embedded below.

Topics covered:

  • LTE-M / NB-IoT
    • feMTC
    • UE Category M2
    • OTDOA based positioning
  • UE Categories
  • Unlicensed Spectrum Overview
  • LTE in Unlicensed Spectrum
    • LWA, LWIP
    • LAA, eLAA
    • Wi-Fi
    • LBT
    • LWA mobility
  • Carrier Aggregation Enhancements
  • Multi-user superposition transmission (MUST)
  • Single cell - point to multipoint transmission (SC-PTM)
    • SC-PTM Channel Structure
    • SC-PTM Channel Flow
  • Massive MIMO
  • V2X Overview
    • eNB scheduling - transmission mode 3
    • Distributed scheduling - transmission mode 4
    • Direct communication
  • LTE Advanced Pro (Release 15)
    • Further NB-IoT Enhancements
    • Even further enhanced MTC - eMTC4 (Rel-15)



Related Posts:

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

From traditional RAN to Open RAN - O-RAN: Goals and Challenges


My Open RAN tutorial has recently gained popularity with recent announcements from Altiostar, Mavenir, Parallel Wireless, Telefonica and Vodafone. With TIP Summit in few weeks time, I am hoping for a lot more curious people to discover that blog post and video.

Olivier Simon, Director, Radio Innovation, Orange spoke about "O-RAN: Goals and Challenges" at Open Networking Summit Europe 2019. In his presentation, he explained how O-RAN will trigger more intelligence and openness in the RAN domain. He talked about which use cases will require this new architecture and why O-RAN is coming at the right time. Major architectural change are necessary in the next years in order to improve E2E latency and benefit from the flexibility of virtualized network functions. O-RAN will provide the right framework in order to perform this transformation in an open manner and keeping at the same time economies of scale thanks to a global adoption.


The presentation also touches on O-RAN Software Community. The O-RAN Alliance recently partnered with the Linux Foundation to establish the O-RAN-Software Community (O-RAN-SC), to provide that open source software application layer to the RAN. O-RAN-SC will foster development of an open source infrastructure platform for running 5G RAN solutions.

The key aspects of ORAN-SC are:
  • New Open Community focused on RAN Software in collaboration with O-RAN Alliance
  • Set up for collaboration across OPNFV, ONAP, Akraino and other Open Source projects

Here is the video of the conference embedded below:



Related Posts:

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Summary of #CWTEC 2019 Conference: 5G, Satellites & Magic MIMO

I was involved in helping organise yet another CW TEC conference this year. The topic was quite interesting and we had some brilliant speakers. Some of the excellent presentations were shared too, links below. Here is a very quick summary of the event, linking also to couple of excellent summaries below.

The topic was a bit unusual and it rhymed very well with the attendees which were from many different backgrounds, from 5G, communications, satellites, electronics, T&M companies, etc. Here is the opening video that will show you the motivations behind this



The day started with a breakfast briefing from Cambridge Consultants that looked at how Massive MIMO is the key to unlocking 5G User Experiences. Presentations available here.


Session 1 was titled "What has Massive MIMO ever done for us?". The narrative for the session was as follows:
Clearly the desire for more and more capacity in cellular networks has driven the industry to find more and more novel techniques. The work done over the years and boosted by Tom Marzetta’s article titled “Noncooperative Cellular Wireless with Unlimited Numbers of Base Station Antennas” has set high expectations for this emergent technology, so much so the term Magic MIMO has been coined. However, how significant is it into today’s early 5G rollout and what can we expect over the coming years? Are there still further enhancements we should expect to see?

There were 3 talks as follows:
  • Sync Architectures for 5G NR by Chris Farrow, Technical Manager, Chronos Technology (slides)
  • Three UK’s RAN transformation: Spectrum, RAN architecture strategy, Why? by Dr Erol Hepsaydir, Head of RAN and Devices Strategy and Architecture, Three UK (slides)
  • Active antenna systems in RAN: performance, challenges and evolution by Anvar Tukmanov, Wireless Research Manager, BT (slides)


Session 2 looked at "Non-Terrestrial & Hybrid Networks". The narrative for the session was as follows:
There are different initiatives underway to make satellite and other non-terrestrial networks as part of 5G. In addition, many different mobile operators have demonstrated compelling use-cases with drones, balloons and other aerostats. Other innovative approaches like European Aviation Network uses a hybrid-network using terrestrial network supported by a satellite connection as a backhaul for in-flight Wi-Fi. In addition to latency, what other challenges are stopping mass adoption of Non-terrestrial and Hybrid networks? What about advanced features like slicing, etc.?

There were 3 talks as follows:

  • Opportunities for blending terrestrial and satellite technologies by Dr Jaime Reed, Director, Consulting, Space, Defence and Intelligence, CGI (slides)
  • Non-terrestrial Networks: Standardization in 5G NR by Dr Yinan Qi, Senior 5G Researcher, Samsung R&D Institute UK (slides)
  • Satellites and 5G: A satellite operator’s perspective by Simon Watts, Principal Consultant, Avanti Communications (slides)


Session 3 looked at "5G: A Catalyst for Network Transformation". The narrative was as follows:
5G has set high expectations in the user as well as operator community. While eMBB can be supported with an upgrade of existing 4G infrastructure, URLLC and mMTC may require massive change in the network architecture. Operators have already started the transformation process with backhaul upgrades, new data centers, distributed core and cloud rollouts, etc. How are networks evolving to accommodate these deep changes? What other changes will be required in the network to support the growth until the next new generation arrives?
This session featured 3 talks as well
  • An Introduction to Open RAN Concept by Zahid Ghadialy, Senior Director, Strategic Marketing, Parallel Wireless UK & EMEA (slides)
  • Powering the successful deployment of 5G infrastructure by David George, Vice President of EMEA and APAC, Sitetracker (slides)
  • The 5G transformation: no sweet without sweat by Antonella Faniuolo, Head of Network Strategy, Planning, Digital & Optimisation, Vodafone (slides)


The final session topic was "Getting ready for Beyond-5G Era". The narrative was as follows:
Many technologies like Full duplex, etc. that were originally intended to be part of 5G were not able to make it into the standards. Along with these, what other revolutionary changes are needed to make Beyond-5G technologies not only fulfil the vision, ambition and use-cases that were originally envisaged for 5G but to take it a step further and make it a game changer.
This session featured 3 talks as well, as follows:
  • Thinking Beyond 5G: Projects and Initiatives by Alan Carlton, Vice President, InterDigital Europe (slides not available)
  • 5G Evolution: Progressive enhancement and new features for new markets by Matthew Baker, Head of Radio Physical Layer and Coexistence Standardization, Nokia (slides)
  • Why 6G’s design goals need far more than just radio & core innovation by Dean Bubley, Analyst & Futurist, Disruptive Analysis (slides not available)
And my personal highlight was that I launched World's first coloured 5G tie


Hopefully you found the presentations shared as useful. Please also read the summaries of CWTEC provided below.


Related Articles:

Monday, 7 October 2019

Exploiting Possible 5G Vulnerabilities


The standards can try their best to ensure that the next generation of protocols is more secure than the previous one but there is always some way in which the protocols can be exploited. This is where researchers play an important role in finding such vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by hackers. Frankly I am quite sure that only a handful of these vulnerabilities are found and hackers always have something that may never be found.

In the recent HITBSecConf or the Hack In The Box Security Conference Altaf Shaik presented "4G to 5G: New Attacks". He along with Ravishankar Borgaonkar has been working to find out issues with security in cellular networks. In fact in the GSMA Mobile Security Hall of Fame, they both appear twice, individually.

From the talk narrative:

5G raises the security bar a level above 4G. Although IMSI exposure is prevented in 5G, we found new vulnerabilities to attack devices and subscribers. In this talk we expose a set of vulnerabilities in the 5G/4G protocols that are found in network operators equipment and also consumer devices such as phones, routers, latest IoT sensors, and even car modems. Our vulnerabilities affect several commercial applications and use cases that are active in 4G networks and are expected to take off in 5G networks. We developed automated tools to exploit the exposed cellular information and share some of our research traces and data sets to the community. We demonstrate a new class of hijacking, bidding down and battery draining attacks using low cost hardware and software tools. We did a rigorous testing worldwide to estimate the number of affected base stations and are surprised by the results. Finally our interactions with various vendors and standard bodies and easy fixes to prevent our attacks are discussed.

Slides and Video is embedded below






Slides and Whitepaper can be downloaded from here.

Further Reading:

Friday, 4 October 2019

CW Seminar: The present, the future & challenges of AR/VR (#CWFDT)


One of my roles is as a SIG champion of the CW (Cambridge Wireless) Future Devices & Technologies Group. We recently organised an event on "The present, the future & challenges of AR/VR". The CW team has kindly even summarised it here. I have also tried to collect all the tweets from the day here.

Why is this important? Most of the posts on this blog is about the mobile technology and I am guessing most of the readers are from that industry too. While we are focussed too much on connectivity, it's the experience that makes the difference for most of the consumers. On the operator watch blog, I wrote recently about South Korea and the operator LG Uplus. Average data usage by 5G users in Korea is as high as 18.3GB, and average 4G users use 9GB in the same period, according to MSIT in May 2019. 5G data is about 2 times than that of 4G. This remarkable traffic growth is driven by UHD and AR/VR contents. According to the operator LG Uplus, new services featuring AR and VR functions are proving popular and already account for 20% of 5G traffic, compared with 5% for 4G.

Coming back to the CW event, some of the presentations were shared and they are available here for a limited time. There were so many learnings for me, it's difficult to remember and add all of them here.

Our newest SIG champ Nadia Aziz covered many different topics (presentation here) including how to quickly start making your own AR/VR apps and how AR apps will be used more and more for social media marketing in future.


Mariano Cigliano, Creative Developer at Unit9 (presentation here) discussed the journey of their company and what they have learned along the way whilst developing their solution to disrupt the design process through integrating immersive technologies.


Aki Jarvinen from Digital Catapult (presentation here) explained about Brown-boxing and Bodystorming. Both very simple techniques but can help get the app designers story straight and save a lot of time, effort and money while creating the app.


James Watson from Immerse (presentation here) talked about VR training. So many possibilities if done correctly and can be more interactive than the online or classroom training's.



Schuyler Simpson, Vice President - Strategic Partnerships & Operations at Playfusion (presentation here) discussed the reality of enhanced reality, diving deep into the challenges about creating an experience that resonates best with audiences. In his own words, "Enhanced Reality blends visual, audio, haptic, and intelligent components to create highly personalized, immersive, and most importantly, valuable experiences for organizations and their audiences."

The most valuable learning of the day was to create an AR/VR app (just in theory), assuming there is no technology limitation. The whole journey consisted of:

  • Brainstorming of the Use Case
  • Key Pain Points
  • Sort the pain points in priority and select top 3 or 5
  • Map customer journey
  • Define persona for which the app is being designed
  • Map their journey
  • Touch points
  • What can be improved on those touch points 
  • Design a VR/AR application for the defined problem 
  • Storyboarding AR/VR use case
  • UX design considerations – spatial, emotional.. 
  • Scribe a prototype 
  • Playback to others.


Thanks to everyone who helped make this whole event possible, from the SIG champs to the CW team and the host & sponsors NTT Data. Special thanks to our newest SIG champ, Nadia Aziz for tirelessly working to make this event a success.

Related Articles:

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

When does your 5G NSA Device Show 5G Icon?


After I wrote about the 5G Icon Display back in February, I received lots of other useful and related materials, mostly from 3GPP standards delegates. Based on this updated information, I created a presentation and video called 'The 5G Icon Story'. Only recently did I realize that I didn't add it to the blog. So here it is.

And for people who are impatient and directly want to jump to the main point, it's UpperLayerIndication in SIB 2 as can be seen above.

The slides and video is embedded below.





Related Posts:



Sunday, 15 September 2019

5G and Fixed-Mobile Convergence (FMC)


We recently made a new video looking at how 5G architecture caters for Trusted and Untrusted Wireless Access as well as Wireline Access. The presentation discusses:
  • Untrusted non-3GPP access networks;
  • Trusted non-3GPP access networks (TNAN);
  • Wireline access networks;
  • Non-5G-Capable over WLAN (N5CW);
  • Access Traffic Steering, Switching and Splitting (ATSSS)

Slides and video embedded below.





Related Posts:

Thursday, 12 September 2019

How the Addition of 5G Radio Resources Increases the Complexity of LTE Signaling Procedures


While everybody is excited about the growing number of 5G deployments and speed test results it is easy to forget that a highly reliable LTE core and radio access network is the prerequisite for 5G non-standalone (NSA) data transmission.

Indeed, the 5G radio resources are just added to the ongoing LTE connection to provide higher bandwidth that enables in turn higher throughput. In other words: the current 5G deployments are designed for and limited to the needs of enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) traffic.

To boost the user experience a 4G and a 5G base station cooperate and bundle there joint resources in one radio connection. The whole scenario is known as E-UTRA-NR Dual Connectivity (EN-DC) and as a matter of fact this dual connectivity increases the complexity of the RAN signaling tremendously.

The figure below shows the two base stations involved in the radio connection. On the left side is the Master eNodeB (MeNB) that controls the entire signaling connection. On the right side sits the en-gNB, also called Secondary gNodeB (SgNB). The inconsistency of acronyms originates from 3GPP specs. 3GPP 37.340 "E-UTRA and NR Multi-connectivity" can be seen as an umbrella document that originally coined "MeNB" and "SgNB". However, when standarizing more details these acronyms have been replaced with Master Node (MN) and Secondary Node (SN) and the latter is named "en-gNB" when used in EN-DC scenarios. (Sure this spec has a lot more terms to offer an is a must-read for every acroynm enthusiast.)

However, these naming conventions defined in 3GPP 37.340 have not made it into the protocol specs, especially not into 3GPP 36.423 "X2 Application Part" that names its message set for enabling EN-DC consequently "SgNB ...." - as also shown in the figure.

By the way the SgNB should also not be imagined as a single network element. On the 5G side often a virtual RAN architecture is already deployed. In such a VRAN a gNB central unit (CU) controls several gNB distributed units (DUs) and multiple remote radio heads (RRHs) including the 5G antennas can be connected to each DU.



5G Radio Resource Addition in EN-DC Mode

Before 5G radio resources can be added to the connection a LTE RRC connection and at least a default bearer for the user plane including its GTP/IP-Tunnel between S-GW and eNB must have been successfully established.

The trigger for adding 5G resources to this call is mostly an inter-RAT measurement event B1 (not shown in the figure). However, also blind addition of a 5G cells have been observed in some cases where the 5G cell coverage is expected to overlap exactly the footprint of the LTE master cell. 

All in all, there can be a 1:1 mappig between 4G and 5G cells when antennas are mounted very close to each other and pointing into the same direction. However, it is also possible that several 5G small cells (especially when using FR2 frequency bands) are deployed to cover the footprint of a 4G macro cell. 

The end-to-end signaling that adds 5G resources to the connection starts with the X2AP SgNB Addition Request message (1). It contains information about the active E-RABs of the connection, UE NR capabilities and often the singal strenght of the 5G cell as measured before is included as well. The message triggers allocation of 5G radio resources in the SgNB.

Similar to a X2 handover procedure the X2AP SgNB Addition Request Acknowledge message (2) is used to transport a NR RRC CG-Config message (3) back to the MeNB where it is "translated" into NR RRC Connection Reconfiguration and NR RRC Radio Bearer Config messages that are sent to the UE enclosed in a LTE RRC Connection Reconfiguration message. In these messages beside the Cell Group ID the 5G PCI and the absolute SSB frequency (a synonym for NR ARFCN) are found. Both, 5G PCI and SSB frequency in combination represent the identity of a 5G cell "visible" for the UE on the physical 5G radio interface. 

To keep the figure more simple I have spared the "translation" process in MeNB and show instead as next step the combined LTE/NR RRC Connection Reconfiguration Complete (4) that is send by the UE back to the MeNB to confim activation of the 5G radio link. 

After this the UE and the SgNB are ready to the 5G resources for radio transmission. However, one important component is still missing: a new GTP/IP-Tunnel for transporting the payload from the core network's serving gateway (S-GW) to the SgNB. 

The gNB downlink transport layer address (gNB DL TLA) and its appropriate GTP Tunnel Endpoint Identifier (TEID) have been already to the MeNB in step (2). Indeed, there are some more TLAs and TEIDs found in this X2AP message, especially for data forwarding across the X2 user plane interface (not shown in figure).

The MeNB forwards the gNB DL TLA/TEID to the MME (6) where it is forwarded to the S-GW using GTP-C signaling in case the two core network elements are connected over S11 reference point. The uplink TLA/TEID on the S-GW side remain the same as assigned before during establishement of the E-RAB (not shown in figure). So the new tunnel is now ready to be used (7) and transmission of payload packet starts immediately. 

In step (8) the MME confirms the successful tunnel establishment to the MeNB.

To total duration of the entire procedure from step (1) to (8) sums up to slightly more than 100 ms under lab conditions and typically around 300 ms in the live network. 

This delay does not have a direct impact on user plane latency in the initial 5G setup phase. However, the subscriber experience might be different when it comes to inter-MeNB handover, because there is no direct handover between 5G neighbor cells. 

Changing the MeNB due to subscriber mobility means: release all 5G resources on the source (M)eNB side, perform intra-LTE handover to the target (M)eNB and add new 5G resources after handover is successfully completed. 

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Opinion: What is "Real 5G" or "True 5G"


I made another opinion piece couple of weeks back. While it was shared already as part of some channels, here is it on the blog with serves as a permanent link. Video and slides below.





As always, I welcome your opinions, comments & suggestions below.


Related Posts:

Thursday, 29 August 2019

LTE / 5G Broadcast Evolution


It's been a while since I last wrote about eMBMS. A report by GSA last month identified:
- 41 operators known to have been investing in eMBMS
- 5 operators have now deployed eMBMS or launched some sort of commercial service using eMBMS
- GSA identified 69 chipsets supporting eMBMS, and at least 59 devices that support eMBMS


BBC R&D are testing the use of 4G/5G broadcast technology to deliver live radio services to members of the public as part of 5G RuralFirst - one of 6 projects funded under the UK Government’s 5G Phase 1 testbeds and trials programme (link).

A press release by Samsung Electronics back in May announced that it has signed an expansion contract with KT Corporation (KT) to provide public safety (PS-LTE) network solutions based on 3GPP standard Release 13 for 10 major metropolitan regions in South Korea including Seoul by 2020. One of the features of PS-LTE that the PR listed was LTE Broadcast (eMBMS): A feature which allows real time feeds to hundreds of devices simultaneously. It enables thousands of devices to be connected at once to transfer video, images and voice simultaneously using multicast technology

Dr. Belkacem Mouhouche – Samsung Electronics Chief Standards Engineer  and Technical Manager of 5G projects: 5G-Xcast and 5G-Tours Presented an excellent overview on this topic at IEEE 5G Summit Istanbul, June 2019. His presentation is embedded below.



5G-Xcast is a 5GPPP Phase II project focused on Broadcast and Multicast Communication Enablers For the Fifth Generation of Wireless Systems.

They have a YouTube channel here and this video below is an introduction to project and the problems it looks to address.




Further Reading:

Related posts:

Friday, 23 August 2019

The Politics of Standalone vs Non-Standalone 5G & 4G Speeds


A short video (and slides) discussing the operator dilemma of standalone (SA) vs non-standalone (NSA) 5G deployment, frequency refarming and why 4G speeds will start reducing once SA 5G starts to be deployed.

Video




Slides



Related Posts:

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

New 3GPP Release-17 Study Item on NR-Lite

3GPP TSG RAN#84 was held from June 3 – 6, 2019 at Newport Beach, California. Along with a lot of other interesting topics for discussion, one of the new ones for Release-17 was called NR-Lite (not 5G-lite). Here are some of the things that was being discussed for the Study item.
In RP-190831, Nokia proposed:
  • NR-Lite should address new use cases with IoT-type of requirements that cannot be met by eMTC and NB-IoT:
    • Higher data rate & reliability and lower latency than eMTC & NB-IoT
    • Lower cost/complexity and longer battery life than NR eMBB
    • Wider coverage than URLLC
  • Requirements and use cases –
    • Data rates up to 100 Mbps to support e.g. live video feed, visual production control, process automation
    • Latency of around [10-30] ms to support e.g. remote drone operation, cooperative farm machinery, time-critical sensing and feedback, remote vehicle operation
    • Module cost comparable to LTE
    • Coverage enhancement of [10-15]dB compared to URLLC
    • Battery life [2-4X] longer than eMBB
  • Enable single network to serve all uses in industrial environment
    • URLLC, MBB & positioning

The spider chart on the right shows the requirements for different categories of devices like NB-IoT, eMTC (LTE-M), NR-LITE, URLLC and eMBB.
The understanding in the industry is that over the next 5 years, a lot of 4G spectrum, in addition to 2G/3G spectrum, would have been re-farmed for 5G. By introducing NR-Lite, there would be no requirement to maintain multiple RATs. Also, NR-Lite can take advantage of 5G system architecture and features such as slicing, flow-based QoS, etc.
Qualcomm's views in RP-190844 were very similar to those of Nokia's. In their presentation, the existing 5G devices are billed as 'Premium 5G UEs' while NR-Lite devices are described as 'Low tier 5G UEs'. This category is sub-divided into Industrial sensors/video monitoring, Low-end wearables and Relaxed IoT.

The presentation provides more details on PDCCH Design, Co-existence of premium and Low Tier UEs, Peak Power and Battery Life Optimizations, Contention-Based UL for Small Data Transmission, Relaying for Wearable and Mesh for Relaxed IoT
Ericsson's presentation described NR-Lite for Industrial Sensors and Wearables in RP-191047. RP-191048 was submitted as New SID (Study Item Description) on NR-Lite for Industrial Sensors and Wearables. The SID provides the following details:

The usage scenarios that have been identified for 5G are enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), massive machine-type communication (mMTC), and time critical machine-type communication (cMTC). In particular, mMTC and cMTC are associated with novel IoT use cases that are targeted in vertical industries. 

In the 3GPP study on “self-evaluation towards IMT-2020 submission” it was confirmed that NB IoT and LTE M fulfill the IMT-2020 requirements for mMTC and can be certified as 5G technologies. For cMTC support, URLLC was introduced in Release 15 for both LTE and NR, and NR URLLC is further enhanced in Release 16 within the enhanced URLLC (eURLLC) and Industrial IoT work items.

One important objective of 5G is to enable connected industries. 5G connectivity can serve as catalyst for next wave of industrial transformation and digitalization, which improve flexibility, enhance productivity and efficiency, and improve operational safety. The transformed, digitalized, and connected industry is often referred to as Industry 4.0. Industrial sensors and actuators are prevalently used in many industries, already today. Vast varieties of sensors and actuators are also used in automotive, transport, power grid, logistics, and manufacturing industries. They are deployed for analytics, diagnostics, monitoring, asset tracking, process control, regulatory control, supervisory control, safety control, etc. It is desirable to connect these sensors and actuators to 5G networks. 

The massive industrial wireless sensor network (IWSN) use cases and requirements described in TR 22.804, TS 22.104 and TS 22.261 do include not only cMTC services with very high requirements, but also relatively low-end services with the requirement of small device form factors, and/or being completely wireless with a battery life of several years. 

The most low-end services could already be met by NB-IoT and LTE-M but there are, excluding URLLC, more high-end services that would be challenging. In summary, many industrial sensor requirements fall in-between the well-defined performance objectives which have driven the design of eMBB, URLLC, and mMTC. Thus, many of the industrial sensors have connectivity requirements that are not yet best served by the existing 3GPP NR technology components. Some of the aforementioned requirements of IWSN use cases are also applicable to other wide-area use cases, such as wearables. For example, smart watches or heath-monitoring wearables require small device form factors and wireless operation with weeks, months, or years of battery life, while not requiring the most demanding latency or data rates. 

IWSN and wearable use cases therefore can motivate the introduction of an NR-based solution. Moreover, there are other reasons why it is motivated to introduce a native NR solution for this use case: 
  • It is desired to have a unified NR based solution.
  • An NR solution could provide better coexistence with NR URLLC, e.g., allowing TDD configurations with better URLLC performance than LTE.
  • An NR solution could provide more efficient coexistence with NR URLLC since the same numerology (e.g., SCS) can be adopted for the mMTC part and the URLLC part.
  • An NR solution addresses all IMT-2020 5G frequency bands, including higher bands and TDD bands (in FR1 and FR2).
The intention with this study item is to study a UE feature and parameter list with lower end capabilities, relative to Release 15 eMBB or URLLC NR, and identify the requirements which shall be fulfilled. E.g., requirements on UE battery life, latency, reliability, connection density, data rate, UE complexity and form factor, etc.  If not available, new potential NR features for meeting these requirements should further be studied.

There were other description of the SID from Samsung, ZTE, etc. but I am not detailing them here. The main idea is to provide an insight for people who may be curious about this feature.


Related Posts:

Monday, 5 August 2019

An Introduction to Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN)


I made a short introductory tutorial explaining what is meant by Non-Terrestrial Networks. There is is lot of work on this that is planned for Release-17. Slides and video below.






Related Posts:

Friday, 2 August 2019

3GPP Minimization of Drive Test (MDT) Signaling at a Glance

There are growing numbers of UEs that are capable of reporting 3GPP-defined measurements for the purpose of minimization of drive test as defined in 3GPP TS 37.320. Although only a subset of the capable devices have this feature enabled it is worth to have a closer look at the signaling procedures and measurements.

3GPP MDT data can be gathered in two different modes: immediate and logged.

immediate mode – as illustrated in figure 1 - provides measurements for RAN and UE. The UE measurements are derived from RRC measurement reports. The RAN adds the power headroom reported on the MAC layer, and the Received Interference Power (RIP) measured on the physical radio interface layer at the cell`s antenna as well as, reports for the data volume, IP throughput, user plane packet delay, and packet loss measured by the eNodeB.
Figure 1: Immediate 3GPP MDT Measurements*

logged mode – an example is shown in Figure 2 - the UE stores information related to accessibility problems in IDLE mode, failures during RRC establishment, and handover random access as well as radio link failures including connection loss. The MDT events log is sent to the network when it is requested. After connection loss, the MDT logged mode report is sent after the next successful radio connection establishment.

Figure 2: Logged 3GPP MDT Measurements*

The RRC measurement samples and Radio Link Failure (RLF) reports also contain detailed location information for example, on GPS/GNSS coordinates, although the 3GPP Release 9 Technical Report TR 36.805 stated: “The extensive use of positioning component of the UE shall be avoided since it would significantly increase the UE power consumption.”

Although, the encoding of logged mode reports and immediate UE measurements are defined in 3GPP TS 36.331 (RRC), the message formatting of the immediate RAN measurement events follow different proprietary specifications of the network element manufacturers (NEMs).

It is also up to the NEMs which of the M2... M7 immediate reports are implemented and how often such measurements will be generated during an ongoing connection. 

* all parameter values shown in the figures have been chosen randomly for illustrative purpose and do not reflect the situation of a real call or network 

Monday, 22 July 2019

6G: Above 100 GHz and Terahertz (THz) Frequencies

A new research paper  "Wireless Communications and Applications Above 100 GHz: Opportunities and Challenges for 6G and Beyond" by T. S. Rappaport et al. is available on IEEE website here.

With 5G, we are still solving the challenges of millimeter waves (mmWaves) so it is surprising for most people to hear that there is a research going on beyond 100 GHz and in THz frequencies. Quoting from the abstract of the paper:

The paper describes many of the technical challenges and opportunities for wireless communication and sensing applications above 100 GHz, and presents a number of promising discoveries, novel approaches, and recent results that will aid in the development and implementation of the sixth generation (6G) of wireless networks, and beyond. It also shows recent regulatory and standard body rulings that are anticipating wireless products and services above 100 GHz and illustrates the viability of wireless cognition, hyper-accurate position location, sensing, and imaging. The paper also presents approaches and results that show how long distance mobile communications will be supported to above 800 GHz since the antenna gains are able to overcome air-induced attenuation, and present methods that reduce the computational complexity and simplify the signal processing used in adaptive antenna arrays, by exploiting the Special Theory of Relativity to create a cone of silence in over-sampled antenna arrays that improve performance for digital phased array antennas. Also, new results that give insights into power efcient beam steering algorithms, and new propagation and partition loss models above 100 GHz are given, and promising imaging, array processing, and position location results are presented. The implementation of spatial consistency at THz frequencies, an important component of channel modeling that considers minute changes and correlations over space, is also discussed. This paper offers the first in-depth look at the vast applications of THz wireless products and applications and provides approaches for how to reduce power and increase performance across several problem domains, giving early evidence that THz techniques are compelling and available for future wireless communications.


At Brooklyn 5G Summit 2019, NYU Wireless founder and director, Dr. Ted Rappaport, presented a keynote on his vision beyond 5G, looking at both electronics and photonics, considering applications over 100GHz, channel models, and said that he expects brain-comparative data rate transmission wirelessly over the air in future networks. The keynote is embedded as video above.

Another keynote by Gerhard Fettweis from TU Dresden, talks about terahertz starting off with a look back at the history of mobile network generations up to 5G and looking ahead to 6G. Anticipating the tactile internet revolution to come, he considers the technicalities such as spectrum, channels, efficiency and adaptability needed to achieve the expected level of computing. That keynote can be viewed here.

Related Posts and articles:

Thursday, 18 July 2019

5G SpeedTests and Theoretical Max Speeds Calculations


Right now, Speed Tests are being described as 5G killer apps.



A good point by Benedict Evans



Everyone is excited and want to see how fast 5G networks can go. If you use Twitter, you will notice loads and loads of speed tests being done on 5G. An example can be seen above.


I recently heard Phil Sheppard, Director of Strategy & Architecture, '3 UK' speak about their 5G launch that is coming up soon. Phil clearly mentioned that because they have a lot more spectrum (see Operator Watch blog post here and here) in Capacity Layer, their 5G network would be faster than the other UK operators. He also provided rough real world Peak Speeds for Three and other operators as can be seen above. Of course the real world speeds greatly depend on what else is going on in the network and in the cell so this is just a guideline rather than actual advertised speeds.


I have explained multiple times that all 5G networks being rolled out today are Non-Stand Alone (NSA) 5G networks. If you don't know what SA and NSA 5G networks are, check this out. As you can see, the 5G NSA networks are actually 4G Carrier Aggregated Networks + 5G Carrier Aggregated Networks. Not all 4G spectrum will be usable in 5G networks but let's assume it is.

To calculate the theoretical maximum speed of 5G NSA networks, we can calculate the theoretical maximum 4G Network speeds + theoretical maximum 5G Network speeds.

I have looked at theoretical calculation of max LTE Carrier Aggregated Speeds here. Won't do calculation here but assuming 3CA for any network is quite possible.

I also looked at theoretical calculation of 5G FDD New Radio here but then found a website that helps with 5G NR calculation here.

If we calculate just the 5G part, looking at the picture from Three, we can see that they list BT/EE & O2 speeds as 0.61 Gbps or 610 Mbps, just for the 5G part.

Looking at the calculation, if we Input Theoretical max values in this equation:

Calculating just for DL

J - number of aggregated component carriers,
maximum number (3GPP 38.802): 16
input value: 1

v(j)Layers - maximum number of MIMO layers ,
3GPP 38.802: maximum 8 in DL, maximum 4 in UL
input value: 8

Q(j)m modulation order (3GPP 38.804)
For UL and DL Q(j)m is same (QPSK-2, 16QAM-4, 64QAM-6, 256QAM-8)
input value: 8 (256QAM)

f(j) Scaling factor (3GPP 38.306)
input value: 1

FR(j) Frequency Range 3GPP 38.104:
FR1 (450 MHz – 6000 MHz) и FR2 (24250 MHz – 52600 MHz)
input value: FR1

µ(j) -value of carrier configuration (3GPP 38.211)
For DL and UL µ(j) is same (µ(0)=15kHz, µ(1)=30kHz, µ(2)=60kHz, µ(3)=120kHz)
input value: 0 (15kHz)

BW(j)- band Bandwidth, MHz (3GPP 38.104),
should be selected with Frequency Range and µ(i) configuration:
input value: BW:40MHz FR1 µ:15kHz:

Enter a PRB value (if other)
default: 0

Rmax (if you don't know what is it, don't change)
Value depends on the type of coding from 3GPP 38.212
(For LDPC code maximum number is 948/1024 = 0.92578125)
default: 0.92578125

*** Only for TDD ***
Part of the Slots allocated for DL in TDD mode,
where 1 = 100% of Slots (3GPP 38.213, taking into account Flexible slots).
Calculated as: the number of time Slots for DL divided by 14
default value: 0.857142

Part of the Slots allocated for UL in TDD mode,
where 1 = 100% of Slots (3GPP 38.213, taking into account Flexible slots).
Calculated as: 1 minus number of Slots for DL
default value: 0.14285800000000004

Calculated 5G NR Throughput, Mbps: 1584


As you may have noticed, BTE/EE has 40 MHz spectrum while Vodafone in UK have 50 MHz of spectrum.

Changing
BW(j)- band Bandwidth, MHz (3GPP 38.104),
should be selected with Frequency Range and µ(i) configuration:
input value: BW:50MHz FR1 µ:15kHz:

Calculated 5G NR Throughput, Mbps: 1982

Now Three UK has 100 MHz, immediately available for use. So changing

µ(j) -value of carrier configuration (3GPP 38.211)
For DL and UL µ(j) is same (µ(0)=15kHz, µ(1)=30kHz, µ(2)=60kHz, µ(3)=120kHz)
input value: 1 (30kHz)

BW(j)- band Bandwidth, MHz (3GPP 38.104),
should be selected with Frequency Range and µ(i) configuration:
BW:100MHz FR1 µ:30kHz:


Calculated 5G NR Throughput, Mbps: 4006

In theory, a lot of speed is possible with the 100 MHz bandwidth that Three will be able to use. We will have to wait and see who can do a theoretical max SpeedTest. In the meantime remember that a 1Gbps speed test will use over 1 GB of data.



Related Posts: