Showing posts with label 4G. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 4G. Show all posts

Monday, 4 October 2021

Are there 50 Billion IoT Devices yet?

Detailed post below but if you are after a quick summary, it's in the picture above.

Couple of weeks back someone quoted that there were 50 billion devices last year (2020). After challenging them on the number, they came back to me to say that there were over 13 billion based on GSMA report. While the headline numbers are correct, there are some finer details we need to look at.

It all started back in 2010 when the then CEO of Ericsson announced that there will be 50 Billion IoT Devices by 2020. You could read all about it here and see the presentation here. While it doesn't explicitly say, it was expected that the majority of these will be based on cellular technologies. I also heard the number 500 Billion by 2030, back in 2013.

So the question is how many IoT devices are there today and how many of these are based on mobile cellular technologies?

The headline number provided by the GSMA Mobile Economy report, published just in time for MWC 2021, is 13.1 billion in 2020. It does not provide any further details on what kind of connectivity these devices use. I had to use my special search skills to find the details here.

As you can see, only 1.9 billion of these are based on cellular connections, of which 0.2 billion are based on licensed Low Power Wide Area (licensed LPWA, a.k.a. LTE-M and NB-IoT) connections. 

Ericsson Mobility Report, June 2021, has a much more detailed breakdown regarding the numbers as can be seen in the slide above. As of the end of 2020, there were 12.4 billion IoT devices, of which 10.7 billion were based on Short-range IoT. Short-range IoT is defined as a segment that largely consists of devices connected by unlicensed radio technologies, with a typical range of up to 100 meters, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Zigbee.

Wide-area IoT, which consists of segment made up of devices using cellular connections or unlicensed low-power technologies like Sigfox and LoRa had 1.7 billion devices. So, the 1.6 billion cellular IoT devices also includes LPWAN technologies like LTE-M and NB-IoT.

I also reached out to IoT experts at analyst firm Analysys Mason. As you can see in the Tweet above, Tom Rebbeck, Partner at Analysys Mason, mentioned 1.6 billion cellular (excluding NB-IoT + LTE-M) and 220 million LPWA (which includes NB-IoT, LTE-M, as well as LoRa, Sigfox etc.) IoT connections.

I also noticed this interesting chart in the tweet above which shows the growth of IoT from Dec 2010 until June 2021. Matt Hatton, Founding Partner of Transforma Insights, kindly clarified that the number as 1.55 billion including NB-IoT and LTE-M.

As you can see, the number of cellular IoT connections are nowhere near 50 billion. Even if we include all kinds of IoT connectivity, according to the most optimistic estimate by Ericsson, there will be just over 26 billion connections by 2026.

Just before concluding, it is worth highlighting that according to all these cellular IoT estimates, over 1 billion of these connections are in China. GSMA's 'The Mobile Economy China 2021' puts the number as 1.34 billion as of 2020, growing to 2.29 billion by 2025. Details on page 9 here.

Hopefully, when someone wants to talk about Internet of Thing numbers in the future, they will do a bit more research or just quote the numbers from this post here.

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Monday, 27 September 2021

Maritime Communication (MARCOM) Services over 3GPP system


Maritime Communication Services over 3GPP System is one of the topics listed in the 3GPP Release-16 summary that I summarised here.

Maritime domain, one of 5G vertical domains in 3GPP, started to be considered since 2016 to enable 3GPP systems to play the role of mobile communication platform necessary for the digitalization and mobilization of the maritime domain that bring about the Fourth Industrial Revolution of the maritime businesses as well as maritime safety.

Compared to other vertical domains, the maritime domain has the radio communication environment that 3GPP hasn’t considered in detail, which means that maritime related issues and features were not in the scope of 3GPP standardization and some of existing 3GPP enabling technologies or solutions are not able to fully support the optimized performances required by the maritime domain in a way that has been guaranteed for on-land communication. In addition, on-board mobile users in a vessel would like to experience the same rich mobile communication services as they enjoy on land.

Furthermore, it is of the view that the capacity and rate for data transmission based on legacy maritime radio communication technologies are indeed not enough for e-Navigation described in IMO Strategy Implementation Plan (SIP) or Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS), which the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a United Nations specialized agency, have been working to provide to ship.

Considering that the maritime domain is one of 5G vertical domains that 3GPP take into account in order for 5G to be able to provide enhanced mobile broadband services or massive machine-type communication services etc. everywhere anytime in the world, it is desirable to study use cases and requirements for maritime communication services over 3GPP system so that 3GPP system can be a good candidate of innovative tools to help address the information gap between users on land and users at sea as well as the maritime safety and vessel traffic management etc. that IMO intends to achieve especially in 5G era.

3GPP TR 22.819, Feasibility Study on Maritime Communication Services over 3GPP system concluded in 2018 and a report is available here. The scope of the document says:

The present document aims to support the maritime communication services between users ashore and at sea or between vessels at sea over 3GPP system that are targeted to improve maritime safety, protect the maritime environment and promote the efficiency of shipping by reducing maritime casualty caused by human error, in particular, involving small ships and fishing vessels. In addition, the outcome of the technical report is expected to narrow the information gap between mobile users on land and shipboard users on vessels at sea by making it possible to provide the mobile broadband services.

The document describes use cases and potential requirements for services between shore-based users such as authorities and shipboard users in the maritime radio communication environment over 3GPP system. In addition, it deals with use cases to support Mission Critical Services between authorities on land and authorities at sea (e.g. maritime police) as well as use cases to support the interworking between 3GPP system and the existing/future maritime radio communication system for the seamless service of voice communication and data communication between users ashore and at sea or between vessels at sea.

Analysis is also made on which legacy services and requirements from the existing 3GPP system need to be included and which potential requirements need additional work for new functions to support maritime communication services over 3GPP system.

The first 3GPP Technical Specification (TS) 22.119 covering service requirements (Stage 1) is specified for the support of maritime communication (MARCOM) over 3GPP systems.

The maritime domain, one of the 5G vertical domains in 3GPP, is moving forward with the digitalisation and mobilisation of commercial as well as safety fields. Legacy 3GPP-based technologies and solutions can be beneficial to the digitalisation and mobilisation of the maritime domain though some of the legacy 3GPP enabling technologies and solutions may not be able to fully support the performances required by the maritime domain. The maritime radio environment was not originally considered by 3GPP when the technical specifications and solutions were standardised for LTE and 5G. 

However, most of the legacy mobile services and IoT services based on capabilities of EPS and 5GS specified in 3GPP specifications are applicable to maritime usage for the support of mobile broadband services, and for the support of IoT services or machine-type communication services in a vessel at sea. 

In addition, there are service scenarios and requirements specified in 3GPP specifications based on requirements of other related vertical domains (e.g. public safety domain, automotive domain, factory automation domain, and satellite industrial domain). Some requirements derived by service scenarios from these related vertical domains are applicable to the maritime domain. Thus, it is beneficial to use 3GPP enabling technologies developed to satisfy those requirements for the maritime domain in terms of the economy of scale.

For example, satellite access is one of the 3GPP radio access networks supported over the 5G system, so it is possible to provide seamless maritime mobile services by integrating multiple access technologies including satellite access depending on the service scenarios. In addition, Vertical LAN that can replace Ethernet-based access are applicable to indoor maritime mobile services inside a vessel.

Mission Critical (MC) Services specified in 3GPP specifications are applicable to commercial and maritime safety fields. Some similarities exist between the public safety domain and the maritime domain in terms of service scenarios that are essentially the same. For example, in some situations, mobile communication services are supported in spite of disconnected networks, i.e. off-network mode, or under isolated conditions. 

However, the maritime domain also has specific situations that do not happen in other vertical domains or in the legacy ICT industrial domain. New 3GPP enabling technologies dedicated to the maritime domain can be used to address such specific situations based on requirements derived from maritime use cases. Other vertical domains may benefit from such new 3GPP enabling technologies that consider maritime domain scenarios and may need more robust technologies or solutions than those that currently exist for those vertical domains.

The following specifications are relevant for MARCOM:

  • 3GPP TS 22.119, Maritime communication services over 3GPP system
  • 3GPP TS 22.179, Mission Critical Push to Talk (MCPTT); Stage 1
  • 3GPP TS 22.280, Mission Critical (MC) services common requirements
  • 3GPP TS 22.281, Mission Critical (MC) video
  • 3GPP TS 22.282, Mission Critical (MC) data

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Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS)


I have been meaning to write on this topic for a very long time. The discussion started back in 2016 when the limitations of GSM-R were obvious and it was recognised that a successor will be needed sooner or later. The International Railway Union (UIC) published a user requirement specification in their paper “Future Railway Mobile Communication System - FRMCS”. This is available on 3GPP server as liaison statement S1-161250.

As 3GPP notes in their article, this was the trigger for them to go ahead and start the studies. Then in Release 16, 3GPP TS 22.289 "Mobile communication system for railways" outlined the requirements for railway communication, beyond the 3GPP Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) Phase 1 specs. Details are available on this post here.

Source Tweet

The latest version of 3GPP TR 22.889, Study on Future Railway Mobile Communication System; Stage 1 is from Release 17. The introduction to the document clarifies:

The railway community is considering a successor communication system to GSM-R, as the forecasted obsolescence of the 2G-based GSM-R technology is envisaged around 2030, with first FRMCS trial implementations expected to start around 2020. 

The Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) Functional Working Group (FWG) of the International Union of Railways (UIC) have investigated and summarised their requirements for the next generation railway communication system in the Future Railway Mobile Communication User Requirements Specification (FRMCS URS). The present document is based on this input given by the UIC/ETSI TC-RT 

Study on FRMCS Evolution (FS_eFRMCS), available as SP-201038 clarifies:

The UIC FRMCS programme was recently releasing stable version 5.0.0 of the User Requirement Specification, version 2.0.0 of the Functional Use Cases and a new specification item, version 1.0.0 of the Telecom On-Board System - Functional Requirements Specification, as a further step in the evolution of the FRMCS specifications. The UIC FRMCS Programme is developing all the technical conditions for the 5G FRMCS, with the main objective to make available a “FRMCS First Edition” ecosystem available for procurement by Q1 2025.

The UIC FRMCS 3GPP Task Force has been identifying and analyzing impact of this newly released set of FRMCS specifications on existing use cases and requirements collected in TR 22.889. The UIC FRMCS 3GPP Task Force analysis has concluded that refining existing use cases, defining new use cases such as merging railway emergency communications and real-time translation of conversation, and deriving potential new requirements, will be necessary to align FRMCS and 3GPP specifications. The potential impact on normative work is estimated to be limited and much less compared to the study work.

As approved in SA1#90-e (S1-202245), TR 22.889 has now been re-named to TR 22.989 from Rel-18 onwards (latest version is TR 22.989 v18.0.0) to make it visible to the Rail community to be able to follow the 3GPP normative work in line with their needs. It is of most importance for the Rail community that specifications from different organisations (i.e. UIC, 3GPP and ETSI) are all aligned.

Due to the expected 3GPP work overload in Release 18 (SA1 and downstream groups), it is proposed to reduce the scope of the present Rel-18 study to evolution of critical applications related use cases only already identified by UIC – what is really essential for the railways as part of the “FRMCS First Edition” and the migration phase from GSM-R to FRMCS. 

Study of non-essential use cases (e.g. evolution of performance and business use cases) shall be postponed to Rel-19.

This plan is from 2019 so quite likely that it is already outdated. It does provide an idea on different steps and trial plans. Some of this was also covered in the 5G RAN Release 18 for Industry Verticals Webinar detailed here.

Finally, as this image from Arthur D. Little highlights, there is a lot of other interest in addition to FRMCS for 5G in railway. Report here.

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Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Different Types of RAN Architectures - Distributed, Centralized & Cloud


I come across a question relating to the different type of RAN architectures once per month on an average. Even though we have covered the topic as part of some or the other tutorial, we decided to do a dedicated tutorial on this.

The video and slides are embedded below

As always, feedback and comments welcome.

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Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Open RAN Terminology and Players


When we made our little Open RAN explainer, couple of years back, we never imagined this day when so many people in the industry will be talking about Open RAN. I have lost track of the virtual events taking place and Open RAN whitepapers that have been made available just in the last month.

One of the whitepapers just released was from NTT Docomo, just in time for MWC 2021. You can see the link in the Tweet

Even after so much information being available, many people still have basic questions about Open RAN and O-RAN. I helped make an Open RAN explainer series and blogged about it here. Just last week, I blogged about the O-RAN explainer series that I am currently working on, here.

There were some other topics that I couldn't cover elsewhere so made some short videos on them for the 3G4G YouTube channel. The first video/presentation explains Open RAN terminology that different people, companies and organizations use. It starts with open interfaces and then looks at radio hardware disaggregation and compute disaggregation. Moving from 2G/3G/4G to 5G, it also explains the Open RAN approach to a decomposed architecture with RAN functional splits.

If you look at the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) OpenRAN group or O-RAN Alliance, the organizations driving the Open RAN vision and mission, you will notice many new small RAN players are joining one or both of them. In addition, you hear about other Open RAN consortiums that again include small innovative vendors that may not be very well known. 

The second video is an opinion piece looking at what is driving these companies to invest in Open RAN and what can they expect as return in future.

As always, all 3G4G videos' slides are available on our SlideShare channel.

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Thursday, 24 June 2021

O-RAN Introduction for Beginners


Having been writing about Open RAN for a while, I thought it was important to make simple beginners tutorials for O-RAN. As my full time job* is with a company that is heavily involved in Open RAN and O-RAN, I had an insiders view for doing this project. 

I am making a series of videos for Parallel Wireless to help the industry become familiar with the technology and terminology. The playlist is embedded below:

Four of these are ready and more will be added as and when I get some time. Here is a summary of the videos available. Some of them also have a corresponding blog that I am linking below.

  1. Introduction to O-RAN Philosophy: This explains the basics of O-RAN and how O-RAN is transforming the mobile networks industry towards open, intelligent, virtualized and fully interoperable RAN.
  2. Introduction to O-RAN Timeline and Releases: This part looks at important timelines from the O-RAN Alliance, understand the O-RAN Software Community (OSC) and the role it plays in O-RAN, and finally, looks at the O-RAN Open-Source Software releases.
  3. Introduction to O-RAN Architecture: This part looks at how the basic OpenRAN architecture is evolving into the O-RAN Alliance based Intelligent, Virtualized and Fully Interoperable RAN. It starts with a high-level ORAN architecture and then delves into details of Service Management and Orchestration (SMO), Non-Real-Time (Non-RT) RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC), Near-RT RIC and O-Cloud.
  4. O-RAN Technical Steering Committee (TSC) & Workgroups: This part looks at O-RAN Technical Steering Committee (TSC) & Workgroups (WGs). The O-RAN TSC decides or gives guidance on O-RAN technical topics and approves O-RAN specifications prior to the Board approval and publication. The TSC consists of Member representatives and the technical workgroup co-chairs, representing both Members and Contributors. Within the TSC, there are 10 work groups, 4 focus groups, Open-Source Community and Minimum Viable Plan Committee. These have all been discussed within the video.
  5. O-RAN Workgroup1: Task Groups and Deliverables: This part looks at O-RAN Workgroup#1 (WG1), its task groups and sub-task groups and finally the deliverables produced by WG1.

I am hoping that I will be able to do a few more parts and add a lot more information to the basics so a handy resource is available for anyone interested. Feel free to add links, suggestions, etc. in the comments below. 

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*Full Disclosure: I work for Parallel Wireless as a Senior Director, Technology & Innovation Strategy. 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.

Monday, 29 March 2021

5G RAN Functional Splits

I have been meaning to write a post on RAN functional splits and even make a video. Recently I came across multiple of these things so I am taking a shortcut by posting them here. 

The first is this basic introductory video from Parallel Wireless where they explain why you need RAN splits providing examples of various functional splits for 4G and 5G mobile networks. It is embedded below:

The next one is slightly detailed video from the book "5G Radio Access Network Architecture: The Dark Side of 5G" by Sasha Sirotkin (Editor). I wrote a review of the book here and Sasha kindly made a video for our channel which is embedded below:

Finally, RCR Wireless published an article looking at the 5G functional splits in detail, by Ankur Sharma, Associate Vice President, Product Management and Strategy, Radisys. The article 'Exploring functional splits in 5G RAN: Tradeoffs and use cases' is available here.

Feel free to suggest other videos, articles, etc. in comments.

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Monday, 15 February 2021

Open RAN Explanation, Videos, White papers and Other Resources


Couple of years back, just before MWC 2019, we made what I would like to think of as the first proper explanation of Open RAN. I posted it on this blog here and the video has been viewed nearly 45,000 times. At that time, the concept of Open RAN was still quite new and in my day job with Parallel Wireless*, I was spending quite some time explaining what it really means.

Anyway, I think it made the concept of Open RAN so easy to understand that I have seen tens, if not hundreds, of people copy it, but only a few kind people give credit. 

With the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and O-RAN driving the ecosystem further, I along with my Parallel Wireless colleagues, created a series of videos to explain the concept a bit more in detail. As expected, the introductory videos have been extremely popular while the others have been reasonably popular as well. The concept from these videos have been copied even far and wider than the original one. 

Embedded below is the playlist of all the videos (6 currently but 1 more in works):

In addition to these, I maintain a list of Open RAN whitepapers (publicly available without registration), some good articles, etc. on the 3G4G website here. I try and update the site on a regular basis so feel free to put any resources in the comments of this post and I will add them on the site during the next update.

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*Full Disclosure: I work for Parallel Wireless as a Senior Director, Technology & Innovation Strategy. 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. 

Friday, 15 January 2021

UE Radio Capability Signaling Optimization (RACS) in Rel. 16

The data volume of UE Radio Capability Information defined in 3GPP 38.306 is already high and will further increase starting with Rel. 16 due to additional supported bands and other features.

Due to this 3GPP has standardized in Release 16 what is called UE Radio Capability Signaling Optimization (RACS) for both, E-UTRAN/EPS and NG RAN/NGC networks. 

Release 16 RACS does not apply to NB-IoT.

The first key element of this feature set is the introduction of a new UE Radio Capability ID that is structured as defined in 3GPP 23.003 and shown in figure 1 below:

UE Radio Capability ID
Figure 1: UE Radio Capability ID according to 3GPP 23.003

The components of this new ID are:

  •    TF - Type Field (TF): identifies the type of UE radio capability ID.
            Type = 0 -> manufacturer-assigned UE radio capability ID
            Type = 1 -> network-assigned UE radio capability ID

  •  The Version ID configured by the UE Capability Management Function (UCMF) that is part of the EPS/5GC. The Version ID value makes it possible to detect whether a UE Radio Capability ID is current or outdated.

·      The Radio Configuration Identifier (RCI) identifies the UE radio configuration.

The PLMN-assigned UE Radio Capability ID is assigned to the UE using the Non-Access Stratum UE Configuration Update Command or Registration Accept message (figure 2).

Figure 2: PLMN-assigned UE Radio Capability Update according to 3GPP 23.743

The new UCMF (UE radio Capability Management Function) stores All UE Radio Capability ID mappings in a PLMN and is responsible for assigning every PLMN-assigned UE Radio Capability ID.

Due to introduction of the UMCM in the core networks the new Nucmf service-based interface is defined for the 5GC and new S17 reference point is defined for the EPS as shown in figure 3.

Figure 3: Network Architecture with UCMF according to 3GPP 21.916

Each UE Radio Capability ID stored in the UCMF can be associated to one or both UE radio capabilities formats specified in 3GPP TS 36.331 [LTE RRC] and 3GPP TS 38.331 [NR RRC]. The AMF must only be able ot handle the NR RRC format while the MME uses the LTE RRC format. Which format is required by the UCMF is configurable.

If at any time the AMF/MME has neither a valid UE Radio Capability ID nor any stored UE radio capabilities for the UE, the AMF/MME may trigger the RAN to provide the UE Radio Capability information and subsequently request the UCMF to allocate a UE Radio Capability ID.

In NG RAN the UE Capability Request can be requested by the AMF as a flag in any NGAP Downlink NAS Transport message or by sending a NGAP UE Radio Capability Check Request (for checking compatibility of IMS voice capabilities). This triggers a NR RRC UE Capability Transfer procedure and subsequently NGAP UE Radio Capability Info Indication or NGAP UE Radio Capability Check Response (for IMS voice support parameters).

Using the NGAP UE Capability ID Mapping procedure the NG RAN node is able to request the most recent UE Capability ID mapping information from the core network functions AMF/UCMF. The same functionality is implemented in S1AP for signaling between eNB and MME/UCMF.

If the volume of the LTE/NR RRC UE Capability to be sent by the UE is larger than the maximum supported size of a PDCP SDU (specified in 3GPP 38.323) then the UE Capability Info can be transported in LTE/NR RRC using a chain of UL Dedicated Message Segment messages.

Figure 4: RRC UL Dedicated Segment Message transporting UE Radio Capability Information according to 3GPP 36.331 and 38.331

Each of these message will have a dedicated segment number and the last one has the rrc-MessageSegmentType =  “lastSegment”, which triggers reassembly of the orignal UE Capabability information in the receiving entity.

Monday, 23 November 2020

Radio Design Webinar: Optimising Your 700 MHz Deployments

 


Radio Design, the award-winning market leader in the provision of wireless infrastructure sharing solutions and RF filter systems, hosted a webinar last week focused on the deployment of the 700 MHz frequency band. This new 700 MHz spectrum is in great demand across the world, mainly due to its long anticipated use as low band 5G spectrum. The webinar explores the potential of this band, as well as how to prepare for potential challenges when deploying.

For people who are familiar with our trainings, we divide the spectrum into three layers, the coverage layer, the capacity layer and the high-throughput layer. 700 MHz is the most popular coverage layer spectrum worldwide.

The slide above from the webinar talks of the recent Austrian 5G Spectrum auction that we blogged about. See tweet below for details

In the webinar, slides and video embedded below, Radio Design’s founder – Eric Hawthorn – kicks things off by analysing the benefits of deploying the 700 MHz band in the real world, before passing over to Global Engineering Director – Steve Shaw – who explores some of the technical problems which can arise, as well as some of the solutions. Last but not least, COO and co-owner of Keima – Iris Barcia – provides her insight into the benefits of deploying the 700 MHz band.

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Tuesday, 17 November 2020

5G Non IP Data Delivery and Lightweight M2M (LwM2M) over NIDD

Earlier this year, MediaTek had announced that its MT2625 NB-IoT chip has been validated for LwM2M over NIDD on SoftBank Corp.’s cellular network across Japan. This achievement marks the first global commercial readiness of LwM2M over NIDD; a secure, ultra-efficient IoT communications technique that is being adopted by operators worldwide. The benefits of LwM2M over NIDD include security improvements, cost-efficient scalability and reduced power consumption.

LwM2M over NIDD is a combination of the communication technology "NIDD (Non-IP Data Delivery)" that does not use an IP address in LTE communication NB-IoT for IoT and the device management protocol "LwM2M (Lightweight M2M)" advocated by the Open Mobile Alliance. It's been a while since I wrote about Open Mobile Alliance on this blog. OMA SpecWorks is the successor brand to the Open Mobile Alliance. You can read all about it here.


OMA SpecWorks’ LightweightM2M is a device management protocol designed for sensor networks and the demands of a machine-to-machine (M2M) environment. With LwM2M, OMA  SpecWorks has responded to demand in the market for a common standard for managing lightweight and low power devices on a variety of networks necessary to realize the potential of IoT. The LwM2M protocol, designed for remote management of M2M devices and related service enablement, features a modern architectural design based on REST, defines an extensible resource and data model and builds on an efficient secure data transfer standard called the Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP). LwM2M has been specified by a group of industry experts at the OMA SpecWorks Device Management Working Group and is based on protocol and security standards from the IETF.

You can get all the LwM2M resources here and the basic specs of 'Lightweight M2M 1.1: Managing Non-IP Devices in Cellular IoT Networks' here.
The 5G Americas whitepaper 'Wireless Technology Evolution Towards 5G: 3GPP Release 13 to Release 15 and Beyond' details how Current Architecture for 3GPP Systems for IOT Service Provision and Connectivity to External Application Servers. It also talks about Rel-13 Cellular IoT EPS Optimizations which provide improved support of small data transfer over control plane and user plane. Control Plane CIoT EPS Optimization transports user data (measurements, ID, status, etc.) via MME by encapsulating user data in NAS PDUs and reduces the total number of control plane messages when handling a short data transaction. Control Plane CIoT EPS optimization, designed for small infrequent data packets, can also be used for larger data bursts depending in UE Radio capability.

User data transported using the Control Plane CIoT EPS Optimization, has special characteristics, as different mobility anchor and termination nodes.

Therefore, the Preferred Network Behavior signaling must include information on:
  • Whether Control Plane CIoT EPS optimization is supported
  • Whether User Plane CIoT EPS optimization is supported
  • Whether Control Plane CIoT EPS optimization is preferred or whether User Plane CIoT EPS optimization is preferred
These optimizations have enabled:
  • Non-IP Data Delivery (NIDD) for both: mobile originated and mobile terminated communications, by using SCEF (Service Capability Exposure Function) or SGi tunneling. However, it has to be taken into account that Non-IP PDUs may be lost and its sequence is not guaranteed
  • For IP data, the UE and MME may perform header compression based on Robust Header Compression (ROHC) framework
  • NB-IoT UE can attach but not activate any PDN connection
  • High latency communication handled by the buffering of downlink data (in the Serving GW or the MME)
  • SMS transfer
  • EPS Attach, TA Update and EPS Detach procedures for NB-IoT only UEs, with SMS service request
  • Procedures for connection suspend and resume are added
  • Support for transfer of user plane data without the need for using the Service Request procedure to establish Access Stratum context in the serving eNodeB and UE
When selecting an MME for a UE that is using the NB-IoT RAT, and/or for a UE that signals support for CIoT EPS Optimizations in RRC signaling, the eNodeB’s MME selection algorithm shall select an MME taking into account its Release 13 NAS signaling protocol.

Mpirical has a nice short video explaining 5G Non IP Data Delivery. It is embedded below.

IoT has not taken off as expected and prophesised for years. While the OMASpecWorks is doing some fantastic work by defining simplified approach for IoT deployment, its current member list doesn't have enough operators to drive the uptake required for its spec adoption. They would argue that it doesn't matter how many members there are as the NIDD approach is completely optional and over-the-top. Let's wait and see how it progresses.

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Thursday, 3 September 2020

Two Types of SMS in 5G


GSMA recently published updated "5G Implementation Guidelines: SA Option 2". It explains the two types of SMS in 5G, the same way there were 2 types of SMS in LTE.

Within 5GC, SMS Function (SMSF) supports SMS over NAS (SMSoNAS) defined in 3GPP TS 23.501. Besides, SMSoIP can also be considered as IMS based SMS solution under 5G network. SMSoIP can be deployed simultaneously with voice service over IMS to provide both voice and short message service. It is recommended to use SMSoNAS solution if voice services over IMS is not supported or for a 5G data card/Machine Type Communications (MTC)/Non-IMS device without voice service. The network architecture of SMSoIP and SMSoNAS is shown in Figure.
Mpirical explains it in the video as embedded below:


You may also find "5G SMS is Very Real and Here to Stay" by William Dudley useful. It covers a lot of technical details and signalling. It's available here.

Related  posts:

Monday, 27 July 2020

Key Technology Aspects of 5G Security by Rohde & Schwarz


The 3G4G page contains a lot of useful papers and links to security here but we have also looked at evolution of security from 4G to 5G here. Rohde & Schwarz has a short 8-minute video in which wireless technology manager, Reiner Stuhlfauth, explains the key technology aspects ensuring 5G security. The video is embedded below.



Related Links:

Saturday, 4 July 2020

An Introduction to Vehicle to Everything (V2X) and Cellular V2X (C-V2X)


We made an introductory tutorial explaining vehicle to everything. There are 2 different favours of V2X as shown in this tweet below


One is based on IEEE 802.11p (802.11bd in future). It is known by different names, DSRC, ITS-G5, etc. The other is the cellular V2X or C-V2X. It started as basic D2D but has evolved over the time. The slides and video are embedded below but this topic will need revisiting with more details.







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Monday, 22 June 2020

Carrier Aggregation (CA) and Dual Connectivity (DC)


This topic keeps coming up every few months with either someone asking me for clarifications or someone asking us to make a video. While I don't think I will mange to get round to making a video sometime soon, there are some excellent resources available that should help a new starter. Here they are in an order I think works best



The first resource that I think also works best is this webinar / training from Award Solutions. It covers this topic well and the image at the top of the post is a god summary for someone who already understands the technology.


It may also help to understand that in the 5G NSA can have 4G carrier aggregation as well as 5G carrier aggregation in addition to dual connectivity.


If you saw the video earlier, you noticed that DC actually came as part of LTE in Release-12. We covered it in our Telecom Infrastructure blog here. NTT Docomo Technical journal had a detailed article on 'Carrier Aggregation Enhancement and Dual Connectivity Promising Higher Throughput and Capacity' that covered DC in a lot more technical detail, albeit from LTE point of view only. The article is available here. A WWRF whitepaper from the same era can also provide more details on LTE Small Cell Enhancement by Dual Connectivity. An archived copy of the paper is available here.

Another fantastic resource is this presentation by Rapeepat Ratasuk and Amitava Ghosh from Mobile Radio Research Lab, Nokia Bell Labs. The presentation is available here and details the MCG (Master Cell Group) Split Bearer and SCG (Secondary Cell Group) Split Bearer, etc. This article from Ericsson also provides more detail on this topic while ShareTechNote takes it one level even deeper with technical details and signalling here and here.

So hopefully this is a good detailed starting point on this topic, until we manage to make a simple video someday.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Virve 2.0 - Finland's 4G/5G Public Safety Network

State Security Networks Group Finland (Erillisverkot) safeguards the Finnish society by offering authorities and critical operators engaged in critical infrastructure and services secure and reliable ICT services. Much like in the civilian world, communication between authorities includes transferring images and video material to an increasing degree, which results in ever-growing data transfer volumes and, subsequently, new kinds of demands for all communication networks. 


Virve is a means of ensuring communication and cooperation between authorities and other partners across organisational borders into the future. It also entails the introduction of a higher service standard, as the transfer to broadband, estimated to take place in 2022, will make it possible to transfer video material, images and data. This will mean that it will be possible to send video material in a reliable and secure way in the case of accidents, for example. The radio network Virve, based on Tetra technology, will reach the end of its lifecycle by the end of the 2020s. The current Virve network will be used simultaneously with the new Virve 2.0 network until, at least, 2025.


Erillisverkot will acquire the broadband Virve 2.0 radio access network as a service from Elisa and the core systems from Ericsson. Separate networks will ensure the continuity of critical communications and operational capability of public safety in all situations in the future.

I would assume this would be MOCN, similar to the UK deployment of ESN networks as shown here.

Virve 2.0 subcribers will use Elisa’s public radio network, which the operator is expanding to become Finland’s largest data and voice network.

About 80 million messages pass through the Virve system every week. Elisa is committed to increasing the coverage, capacity and verification of its mobile network to meet the requirements of Virve 2.0.

The new online services will provide support for critical communication between public authorities and other parties.

The addition of image, video, and other wireless broadband services alongside existing Virve services will enable a better and more up-to-date view of the day-to-day operations of authorities and other actors.

The IoT enables automatic monitoring of rescue personnel and mobile use of surveillance cameras and drones.

The Virve 2.0 radio network service will be in use from 2021 and will include the 4G and 5G technologies and the internet of things. The contract is for ten years.

Finally, a recent advert of Elisa explaining 5G to outside world



Further Study:
  • Erillisverkot: Obstacles for MCX Broadband and how to overcome them [PDF]
  • Erillisverkot: Virve Broadband Plans for the Future - Critical Communications Europe 2019 [PDF]
  • 5G-XCast Whitepaper: Rapidly Deployable Network System for Critical Communications in Remote Locations [PDF]
  • Erillisverkot: White paper - Virve 2.0 RFI Summary of responses [PDF]
  • Erillisverkot: Factsheet - What is Virve 2.0? [PDF]

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