Monday, 23 May 2022

5G Reality Check - Data Rates

One of the common questions that we encounter is why are 5G speeds so low as we were promised 5G downlink speeds of 20 Gbps. Most people do not understand how the 5G speeds are calculated and what do they depend on. In many cases, the network won’t be capable of delivering higher speeds due to some or the other limitation. 

In a new presentation, I try to explain the theoretical speeds and compare them with real world 5G data rates and even try to map it to why these speeds are what they are. Hopefully people won't mind me adding some humour as I go along.

Video and Slides embedded below

Embedded below is the Twitter thread on Speedtests 😂

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Monday, 16 May 2022

Lawful Intelligence and Interception in 5G World with Data and OTT Apps

Not long ago we looked at the 'Impact of 5G on Lawful Interception and Law Enforcement' by SS8. David Anstiss, Senior Solutions Architect at SS8 Networks gave another interesting talk on Evolving Location and Encryption Needs of LEAs in a 5G world at Telecoms Europe Telco to Techco virtual event in March.

In this talk, David provided an insight in​to how 5G is impacting lawful interception and the challenges Law Enforcement Agencies face as they work with Communication Service Providers to gather intelligence and safeguard society. While there is an overlap with the previous talk, in this video David looked at a real world example with WhatsApp. The talk also covered:

  • Real-world problems with 5GC encryption
  • 5G location capabilities and the impact on law enforcement investigations
  • Optimal solutions for both CSPs and LEAs

The video of the talk is embedded below:

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Monday, 9 May 2022

Transitioning from eCall to NG-eCall and the Legacy Problem

eCall (an abbreviation of "emergency call") is an initiative by the European Union, intended to bring rapid assistance to motorists involved in a collision anywhere within the European Union. The aim is for all new cars to incorporate a system that automatically contacts the emergency services in the event of a serious accident, sending location and sensor information. eCall was made mandatory in all new cars sold within the European Union as of April 2018.

In UK, the National Highways have a fantastic summary of the eCall feature here. The following video explains how this feature works:

Last year, ETSI hosted the Next Generation (NG) eCall webinar and Plugtests. The presentations from the event are available here. The presentations from GSMA, Qualcomm and Iskratel have a fantastic summary of many of the issues and challenges  with eCall and transitioning to NG eCall.

From the Qualcomm presentation:

The eCall standardisation began in 2004 when 2G networks were prevalent and 3G was being deployed. The chosen solution was in-band modem and Circuit Switched (CS) 112 call. The in-band modem was optimised for GSM (2G) and UMTS (3G) as the standard completed in 2008.

eCall for 4G (NG eCall) standardisation was started in 2013 and completed in 2017. As there is no CS domain in 4G/5G, IMS emergency calling will replace circuit switched emergency call. Next generation (NG) eCall provides an extension to IMS emergency calls and support for 5G (NR) has since been added.

The picture above from GSMA presentation highlights the magnitude of the problem if NG eCall deployment is delayed. GSMA is keen for the mobile operators to switch off their 2G/3G networks and only keep 4G/5G. There are problems with this approach as many users and services may be left without connectivity. Fortunately the European operators and countries are leaving at least one previous generation of technology operational for the foreseeable future.

GSMA's presentation recommends the following:

  • New technology neutral eCall Regulation (type approval and related acts) to be amended, adopted by European Commission and enter into force by end 2022 the latest.
  • OEMs to start installing NG eCall /remotely programable/exchangeable modules by end 2022; by end 2024 all new vehicles sold in the market should be NG eCall only
  • New vehicle categories to start with NG eCall only by 2024
  • MNOs have initiated to phase out 2G/3G between 2020 and 2025 , whereas the optimal transition path of their choice beyond this date will depend on market and technology specifics, and may require alignment with NRAs.
  • By 2022 , the industry will develop solutions for the transition period that need to be implemented country by country, which will also assess the amount of needed public funding to be economically feasible.
  • Retrofitting to be acknowledged, completed and formalised as a process by end 2024; standards should already be available in 2022.
  • Aftermarket eCall solution to be completed (including testing) and formalised by end 2024; standards should already be available in 2022.
  • The European Commission to make available public funding to support OEMs and alternative solutions to legacy networks starting from 2022 , under the RRF/ recovery package (or other relevant instruments)
  • Legacy networks availability until 2030 at the latest. By then deployment of all alternative solutions simultaneously would have ensured that the remaining legacy fleet will continue to have access to emergency services through NG eCall.

EENA, the European Emergency Number Association, is a non-governmental organisation whose mission is to contribute to improving people’s safety & security. One of the sessions at the EENA 2021 Conference was on eCall. The video from that is embedded below and all information including agenda and presentations are available here.

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Wednesday, 4 May 2022

ATIS Webinar on '5G Standards Development Update in 3GPP Release 17 and 18'

Our blog post on ATIS Release-16 webinar has been one of the popular posts so it's no brainer that people will surely find this Release 17/18 update useful as well. 

The moderator for this webinar was Iain Sharp, Principal Technologist at ATIS. The following were the speakers and the topics they spoke on:

  • Services: Greg Schumacher, Global Standards, T-Mobile USA
  • Systems Architecture and Core Networks: Puneet Jain, Principal Engineer and Director of Technical Standards at Intel Corporation, and 3GPP SA2 Chairman
  • Radio Access Network: Wanshi Chen, Senior Director,Technology at Qualcomm, and 3GPP RAN Chairman

Here is a summary of the webinar:

In Release 17, 3GPP delivered important updates to 5G specifications to broaden their range of commercial applications and improve the efficiency of networks. 3GPP is now starting standardization of Release 18. This webinar provides an up-to-date view of the completed 3GPP Release 17 work with a particular focus on how the work is expanding capabilities of 5G and enhancing the technical performance of the mobile system.

The webinar will cover:

  • The status of 3GPP's work and the organization's roadmap for the future
  • The main themes the delivered Release 17 features in 3GPP specifications
  • How enhancements to 5G are helping the 5G market proposition (e.g., through new service opportunities, or enhanced efficiency of 5G networks)

The webinar will give a technical overview of 3GPP's Release 17 content and its benefits to 5G networks. It is suitable for people in technical roles and technical executives who want to understand the current state of 5G standardization.

The video is embedded below and the slides are available here:

Glad to see that 3GPP Rel-19 work has already started as can be seen in the roadmap below.

(click to enlarge)

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