Friday, 29 March 2019

Ultra Reliability: 5x9s (99.999%) in 3GPP Release-15 vs 6x9s (99.9999%) in 3GPP Release-16

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Mobile Network Infrastructure Sharing in Japan over Electric Power Infrastructure

On the 3G4G Small Cells Blog, I have written about the Autralian operator Telstra trialing small cells on Tasmania’s power poles to fix mobile black spots. This looks like a similar initiative in Japan but at a much larger scale.

KDDI have an announcement in Japanese here but Rakuten has one in English:

TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power COmpany) Power Grid, Incorporated, KDDI CORPORATION, SoftBank Corp. and Rakuten Mobile Network, Inc. announced that the four companies have reached an agreement to collaborate on trials of base station site and equipment sharing utilizing TEPCO PG’s utility poles and other electric power infrastructure, ahead of the introduction of 5th generation mobile communications systems (5G) in Japan. The trials are due to be begin in the first half of FY2019.

5G utilizes high frequency bands in order to enable higher speeds and greater capacity. As a result, the number of base stations required for 5G is expected to be larger than for 4G. The growing number of base stations not only creates difficulties in securing installation locations, but also calls for consideration on the impact too many antennas and other equipment might have on the landscape.

TEPCO PG has been working together with KDDI to explore the shared utilization of utility poles and other electric power infrastructure and base station equipment between mobile network operators, and as preparations are now complete, the companies are set to begin the trials using actual equipment.

The trials, which SoftBank and Rakuten Mobile Network are also set to join, aim to verify the feasibility of location and equipment sharing between mobile network operators. Specifically, the trials will evaluate the equipment, layout, workability, serviceability and the level of radio interference resulting from sharing the antenna for base station installations on utility poles. There are also plans to expand the number of companies participating in the trials to include other organizations planning to utilize 5G in the future.

Sharing utility poles among a number of mobile network operators makes it possible to flexibly build out base stations in urban areas and rapidly launch services in rural areas. It is also expected to address the issue of securing locations for base stations and lowers the impact of base station equipment on the landscape.

Through the trials, TEPCO PG, KDDI, SoftBank and Rakuten Mobile Network aim to reduce the infrastructure construction costs and contribute to the smooth nationwide introduction of 5G.

The picture on the top is from KDDI press release, translated using Google Translate.


Related Posts:

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Update from 3GPP on LTE & 5G Mission Critical Communications


Adrian Scrase, CTO of ETSI & Head of MCC, 3GPP presented an update at BAPCO / CCE 2019 on Public Safety LTE and 5G. His presentation is embedded below.

There has been quite a progress in this area since I wrote my last post on Release-14 here.
This is the list of features that are planned for Release-16. There is also an update on Satellite communications but I will look at it separately in another post. Here are the slides:



The presentation can be directly downloaded from 3GPP website here.

Related posts:

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Update on UK's Emergency Services Network (ESN) from #BAPCO2019


I have discussed about the UK's Emergency Services Network (ESN) multiple times but I manged to hear about the progress first hand this week. Bryan Clark, ESN Programme Director, Home Office gave a keynote address at BAPCO on Day 2 and the title of his presentation was "2019: The year vision becomes reality"

British APCO or BAPCO Annual Conference and Exhibition 2019 was going to be a big launchpad for the ESN network. The ESN LinkedIn post said "Representatives from ESN and EE will be on hand to discuss coverage and ESN Assure. See an installation of the ESN Gateway solution within a police car, plus a live demonstration showing how ESN coverage can be extended from a vehicle into a building. We’ll also have a ‘Motorola Zone’ where you can watch demos of Kodiak and the ESN self-service portal – and a large touchscreen demo of the Samsung ESN Galaxy"


Bryan started by cracking a joke about people referring to 'ESN' as 'ES When' programme because it has been delayed multiple times. He said straight in the beginning that he going to talk about what the ESN programme is doing now and what comes next.

He started with this short video, embedded below but detailed info available on this LinkedIn post

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So here is a short summary of the talk:
  • There are roughly 350,000 customers of this service
  • There are 137 separate organizations that will take advantage of this new this new technology. 
  • There are couple of vehicles in the display area (pic on the top and video below) and roughly 50,000 vehicles that need to have a kit
  • Over 100 aircraft need to have an air network access that currently isn't there. 
  • There are nearly 30 direct suppliers to the program and that doesn't include the whole supply chain through each of those suppliers.
  • Looking at the coverage, there is a commitment to providing a signal along half a million (0.5 million) kilometers of roads in England, Scotland & Wales. It extends 12 nautical miles out to sea and 10,000 feet in the air right across England, Scotland & Wales.
  • In London alone there are over 400 kilometres of tunnels that were actually almost finished cabling out.
  • 300 masts are being built as part of the ESN programme to extend services into remote areas.
  • EE has extended their network by adding 700 additional masts. 
  • Thousands of special locations will need to have effective access to ESN network
  • ESN is a large programme so it's hardly surprising that it's very late. It's Bryan's job over the past 10 months to work out how to get it back on track. 
  • People are going through quite a detailed review of where ESN has got to in terms of next steps. 
  • The programme now has a very clear and approved plan to complete the technical element of the work, most of it should be done by late summer next year.
  • One of the first products, Assure, is a way of testing the effectiveness of the network in the field. 
  • A demonstration of Push-To-Talk (PTT) on a 4G network will be demoed within 3 weeks.
  • This is the first generation end-to-end solution
  • Emergency services is critical national infrastructure so any new solution can only replace the legacy once we are absolutely confident that we've got an effective replacement
  • Even though the technical piece is quite challenging, when you compare it to the business change that follows, the technical part looks pretty simple. 
  • To ensure that everything works effectively operationally, plans are in place but more detailed plans are going to follow in the coming three to four months.
  • Individual components are already being tested in the field
  • Programme deployment should start by the end of 2019 in terms of having basically completed laying the core components and a clear plan will be in place for how to test in an operational context. 
  • The ESN programme is not only responsible for the replacement solution but also for operations to date based on the Airwave contract with Motorola currently
  • The number one priority is to provide critical voice communications of sufficient quality that people can rely on in the field and enable them to move away from the TETRA technology that served them so well. So we aren't going anywhere until we've got rock solid critical voice communications. It's our number one priority, simply because people's lives depend on it.
The following are various videos from the ESN demo area. The Gateway device (which is a mobile small cell) is supplied by Parallel Wireless*.



In case you missed BAPCO, Ken Rehbehn, a very well known Industry Analyst who works as a Principal Analyst at Critical Communications Insights and is also Montgomery County Firefighter/EMT, shared his observations and reflections from conference. Very grateful for his interview which is embedded below



Further Reading:




Related posts:

*Full Disclosure: I work for Parallel Wireless as a Senior Director in Strategic Marketing. This blog is maintained in my personal capacity and expresses my own views, not the views of my employer or anyone else. Anyone who knows me well would know this.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

A Primer on Pagers


After Avengers clip about Nick Fury paging Captain Marvel, I was asked by a few people about what, why and how of Pagers. Similar questions were asked when Tron: Legacy was released. It took me a while but finally managed to make a non-technical introduction on Pagers for people with very basic understanding of technology.

Slides



Video


If you used pagers in past, tell me about the good, the bad and the ugly of pagers.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Can Augmented & Mixed Reality be the Killer App 5G needs?


Last October Deutsche Telekom, Niantic and MobiledgeX announced a partnership to create advanced augmented reality experiences over mobile network technologies. I was lucky to find some time to go and play it at Deutsche Telekom booth. The amount of processing needed for this to work at best also meant that the new Samsung Galaxy S10+ were needed but I felt that it also occasionally struggled with the amount of data being transferred.


The pre-MWC press release said:

Deutsche Telekom, Niantic Inc., MobiledgeX and Samsung Showcase World’s First Mobile Edge Mixed Reality Multi-Gamer Experience

At the Deutsche Telekom booth at MWC 2019 (hall 3, booth 3M31) the results of the previously announced collaboration between Deutsche Telekom, Niantic, Inc., and MobiledgeX are on display and you’re invited to play. Niantic’s “Codename: Neon”, the world’s first edge-enhanced Mixed Reality Multiplayer Experience, delivered by ultra-low latency, Deutsche Telekom edge-enabled network, and Samsung Galaxy S10+ with edge computing enablement, will be playable by the public for the first time. 

“The ultra-low latency that Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) enables, allows us to create more immersive, exciting, and entertaining gameplay experiences. At Niantic, we’ve long celebrated adventures on foot with others, and with the advent of 5G networks and devices, people around the world will be able to experience those adventures faster and better,” said Omar Téllez, Vice-President of Strategic Partnerships at Niantic.

The collaboration is enabled using MobiledgeX’s recently announced MobiledgeX Edge-Cloud R1.0 product. Key features include device and platform-independent SDKs, a Distributed Matching Engine (DME) and a fully multi-tenant control plane that supports zero-touch provisioning of edge cloud resources as close as possible to the users. Immediate examples of what this enables include performance boosts for Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality (MR) experiences as well as video and image processing that meets local privacy regulations. 

Samsung has been working together with Deutsche Telekom, MobiledgeX, and Niantic on a natively edge-capable connectivity and authentication in Samsung Galaxy S10+ to interface with MobiledgeX Edge-Cloud R1.0 and dynamically access the edge infrastructure it needs so that augmented reality and mixed reality applications can take advantage of edge unmodified. Samsung will continue such collaborations with industry-leading partners not only to embrace a native device functionality of edge discovery and usage for the mobile devices and consumers, but also to seek a way together to create new business models and revenue opportunities leading into 5G era.

Deutsche Telekom’s ultra-low latency network was able to deliver on the bandwidth demands of “Codename: Neon” because it deployed MobiledgeX’s edge software services, built on dynamically managed decentralized cloudlets. “From our initial partnership agreement in October, we are thrilled to showcase the speed at which we can move from idea to experience, with full end-to-end network integration, delivered on Samsung industry leading edge native devices,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, Senior Vice President Strategy and Technology Innovation at Deutsche Telekom.

From the gaming industry to industrial IoT, and computer vision applications, consumer or enterprise, the experience is a great example of interactive AR experiences coming from companies like Niantic in the near future.  As AR/VR/MR immersive experiences continue to shape our expectations, devices, networks and clouds need to seamlessly and dynamically collaborate.

This video from Deutsche Telekom booth shows how the game actually feels like



Niantic CEO John Hanke delivered a keynote at Mobile World Congress 2019 (embedded below). According to Fortune article, "Why the Developer of the New 'Harry Potter' Mobile Game and 'Pokemon Go' Loves 5G":

Hanke showed a video of a prototype game Niantic has developed codenamed Neon that allows multiple people in the same place at the same time to play an augmented reality game. Players can shoot at each other, duck and dodge, and pick up virtual reality items, with each player’s phone showing them the game’s graphics superimposed on the real world. But the game depends on highly responsive wireless connections for all the phones, connections unavailable on today’s 4G LTE networks.

“We’re really pushing the boundaries of what we can do on today’s networks,” Hanke said. “We need 5G to deliver the kinds of experiences that we are imagining.”

Here is the video, it's very interesting and definitely worth a watch. For those who may not know, Niantic spun out of Google in October 2015 soon after Google's announcement of its restructuring as Alphabet Inc. During the spinout, Niantic announced that Google, Nintendo, and The Pokémon Company would invest up to $30 million in Series-A funding.



So what do you think, can AR / MR be the killer App 5G needs?

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Updated 5G Terminology Presentation (Feb 2019)


I made this video before MWC with the intention to educate the attendees about the various architecture options and 5G terminologies being discussed. As always, happy to get feedback on what can be done better. Slides followed by video below.







Complete list of our training resources are available on 3G4G page here.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Beyond-5G and 6G at #MWC19


MWC is huge and there is absolutely no way that I even managed to cover 1% of the floor, even though I spend half a day, every day looking at the demos and talking to companies. I came across just a couple of companies looking at post 5G research. One was Mehdi Bennis, from University of Oulu and a good friend of this blog and the other one was Interdigital, which has featured heavily on 3G4G blogs too.

From the standards point of view, I am only aware of ITU 'Network 2030' (FG NET-2030) that is looking at how future network architectures, requirements, use cases, and capabilities of the networks will change by 2030 and beyond. I blogged about it here.

It's too early to call anything as 6G because we don't even realise the ways in which 5G will change the world and the limitations that will feed into the requirements of IMT-2030 (just guessing the probable name).

So here is the first video from Mehdi Bennis.






I also caught up with Interdigital and I got a very detailed video on their vision of what comes beyond 5G


Would love to know what else did I miss on 6G and Beyond-5G at MWC 2019.