Showing posts with label 5G. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 5G. Show all posts

Friday 5 April 2024

A Different Approach for Mobile Network Densification

I am fascinated by and have previously written blog posts about transparent antennas. Back in 2019 NTT Docomo announced that they have been working with glass manufacturer AGC to create a new transparent antenna that can work with a base station to become an antenna. Then in 2021, NTT Docomo and AGC announced that they have developed a prototype technology that efficiently guides 28-GHz 5G radio signals received from outdoors to specific locations indoors using a film-like metasurface lens that attaches to window surfaces. Transparent antennas/lens are one of the pillars of Docomo’s 6G vision as can be seen here.

Every year at Mobile World Congress I look for a wow product/demo. While there were some that impressed me, the suite of products from Wave by AGC (WAVEANTENNA, WAVETHRU and WAVETRAP) blew me away. Let’s look at each of them briefly:

WAVEANTENNA is the transparent glass antenna which is generally installed indoors, on a window or a glass pane. It can be used to receive signals from outdoors (as in case of FWA) or can be used to broadcast signal outdoors (for densification based on inside-out coverage). In the newer buildings that has thermal insulation films on the glass, the radio signals are highly attenuated in either direction, so this solution could work well in that scenario in conjunction with WAVETHRU.

The WAVETHRU process applies a unique laser pattern to the glazing with 30 ┬Ám laser engraved lines that are nearly invisible to the naked eye. Treatment is so gentle, it does not affect the physical properties of the glazing, which remain the same. This radio-friendly laser treatment improves the indoor radio signal by around 25 dB, to achieve almost the same level of performance as the street signal. Just 20% to 30% of the window and floors 0 to 4 need to be treated to improve the indoor signal on all frequency ranges under 6GHz.

In case of coverage densification by providing inside-out radio signals, WAVETRAP can be used for EM wave shielding by stopping back-lobes within the building. 

This video from WAVE by AGC explains the whole densification solution:

 

Now the question is, why was I impressed with this solution? Regular readers of this and the Telecoms Infrastructure Blog will have noticed the various solutions I have been writing about for mobile network densification in downtown areas and historic cities with listed buildings where limited space for infrastructure deployment presents several challenges. 

In brief, we can categorise these challenges as follows:

  • Physical Space Constraints like lack of space or strict regulations as in case of listed buildings and heritage sites. 
  • Aesthetics and Visual Impact could be an important consideration in certain historic city centres. Deploying large antennae or towers can clash with the architectural character and heritage of the area and may require concealing antennae within existing structures like chimneys, bus shelters, phone boxes & lampposts, or using disguised designs like fake trees to minimize visual impact.
  • Technical Challenges can arise in dense urban environments due to interference from neighbouring cells, unreliable backhaul connectivity, interruptions in the power supply due to siphoning, etc.
  • Community Engagement and Perception is another important area to consider. There is no shortage of NIMBY (Not in my back yard) activists that may oppose new infrastructure due to health concerns, aesthetics, or fear of property devaluation. Engaging with the community, providing accurate information about EMF exposure, and addressing misconceptions are crucial.
  • Regulatory and Permitting Hurdles that may arise due to many cities and councils imposing zoning and permits requirements. Obtaining permits for infrastructure deployment involves navigating local regulations, zoning laws, and historic preservation boards. There may also be height restrictions that may hinder optimal antenna placement.
  • Finally, Cost and ROI are important consideration factors as all of the above increases the costs as well as the time required. Customized designs, site acquisition, and compliance with regulations are one of the major factors that not only increase costs but also delays infrastructure rollouts. Operators often weigh the benefits of improved coverage and capacity against all the expenses and headaches of infrastructure deployment and then decide on what to deploy and where.

A solution like WAVEANTENNA in conjunction with WAVETHRU and WAVETRAP can significantly reduce the hurdles and improve coverage significantly. 

While I have talked about the solution in general, it can also be applied indoors to Wi-Fi, in addition to 4G/5G. This may be useful in case of Enterprise Networks where appearance is of importance and probably not of much use in case of warehouses or Industrial/Factory Networks. 

Do let me know what you think.

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Friday 22 March 2024

Research Challenges for the Advancement of Vehicular Networking

It's been a while since we covered V2X as a topic on this blog. If you are not well versed with CAVs and V2X, we recommend you to watch our tutorials on the 3G4G page here.

The networking channel hosted a seminar on 'Vehicular networking' last month. Quoting from the webinar preview:

Looking back at the last decade, one can observe enormous progress in the domain of vehicular networking. Many ongoing activities focus on the design of cooperative perception, distributed computing, and novel safety solutions. Many projects have been initiated to validate the theoretic work in field tests and protocols are being standardized. We are now entering an era that might change the game in road traffic management. Many car makers already supply their recent brands with cellular and Wi-Fi modems, also adding C-V2X and ITS-G5 technologies. We now intend to shift the focus from basic networking principles to open challenges in cooperative computing support and even on how to integrate so-called vulnerable road users into the picture. Edge computing is currently becoming one of the core building blocks of cellular networks, including 5G, and it is necessary to study how to integrate ICT components of moving systems. The panellists will discuss from an industrial perspective the main research challenges for the advancement of vehicular networking and the novelties that we can expect to see coming in the short term. Panellists with extensive experience in Internet measurements, networks related to sustainable development goals, and highly-localized earth observation networks will discuss these topics and participate in a Q&A session with the audience.

The presentations were not shared but the video of the panel discussion is as follows:

The following speakers presented the following talks:

  • Vehicular Networking? by Onur Altintas, Toyota North America R&D (0:04:55)
  • Collaborative Perception Sharing for Connected Autonomous Vehicles by Fan Bai, General Motors Global R&D (0:15:00)
  • The future of vehicular networking by Frank Hofmann, Robert Bosch GmbH (0:23:25)
  • The future of vehicular networks and path to 6G by Dr.-Ing. Volker Ziegler, Nokia (0:35:15)
  • Panel Discussion with all speakers and  (0:44:30)

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Friday 9 February 2024

Resilient Timing for Critical National Infrastructure

Critical infrastructure requires precise timing to operate. This reliance makes the infrastructure vulnerable to disruptions in timing that can be either intentional or unintentional. Intentional disruptions can be caused by GNSS jamming or spoofing or network attacks.. Unintentional disruptions are usually caused by equipment failures or acts of nature.

Back in April 2022, Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) hosted a webinar on this topic, a precursor to the Annual Workshop on Synchronization and Timing Systems (WSTS). The webinar featured top industry experts delivering insight into the latest techniques for adding resilience and robustness to timing infrastructure. It covered the most critical topics in timing resilience, including:

  • Redundancy
  • Holdover
  • Management
  • Monitoring
  • Alternative reference time sources

Examples address networks used for critical industry applications such as:

  • Power grids
  • Telecommunications
  • Finance systems
  • Broadcast/media

The video of the webinar as follows:

Experts participating in the webinar and their presentations are as follows:

Please feel free to share other useful resources on this topic in comments.

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Wednesday 24 January 2024

UE Assistance Information in LTE and 5G

I have been asked about the UE Assistance Information (UAI) RRC message a few times before. Generally I have always pointed people back to the LTE/5G specifications but here is a concise video that the telecoms technology training company Mpirical have shared recently:

If you want to dig further into details then please see the RRC specifications: 36.331 for LTE and 38.331 for 5G. 

Over the years I have added quite a few short tutorials from Mpirical on this blog, do check them out below.

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Friday 8 December 2023

6G Global - Videos & Presentations from Mobile Korea 2023

5G Forum, South Korea organises Mobile Korea conference every year. Mobile Korea 2023 had two conferences within it, '6G Global', looking at 'Beyond Connectivity and New Possibilities', and '5G Vertical Summit', looking at 'Leading to Sustainable Society with 5G'.

I often complain about how organisations working in 6G often lack social networks skills, in this case, even the website is not very user friendly and doesn't contain a lot of details. Full marks for uploading the videos on YouTube though.

Anyway, here are the videos and presentations that were shared from the summit:

  • Opening + Keynote Session - Moderator : LEE, HyeonWoo, DanKook University
    • Standardization and Technical Trend for 6G, SungHyun CHOI, Samsung Research (video, presentation)
  • Session 1 : 6G Global Trend - Moderator : JaeHoon CHUNG, LG Electronics Inc.
    • Thoughts on standardization and Industry priorities to ensure timely market readiness for 6G, Sari NIELSEN, Nokia (video, presentation)
    • On the convergence route for 6G, Wen TONG, Huawei (video, presentation)
    • The Path from 5G to 6G: Vision and Technology, Edward G. TIEDMANN, Qualcomm Technologies  (video, presentation)
    • Shaping 6G – Technology and Services, Bo HAGERMAN, Ericsson (video, presentation)
  • Government Session
    • Keynote : Korea's 6G R&D Promotion Strategy, KyeongRae CHO, Ministry of Science and ICT (video, presentation)
  • Session 2 : 6G Global Collaboration - Moderator : Juho LEE, Samsung Electronics
  • 6G R&D and promotion in Japan, Kotaro KUWAZU, B5GPC (video, presentation)
    • Technology evolution toward beyond 5G and 6G, Charlie ZHANG, Samsung Research (video, presentation)
    • AI-Native RAN and Air Interface : Promises and Challenges, Balaji Raghothaman, Keysight (video, presentation)
    • Enabling 6G Research through Rapid Prototyping and Test LEE, SeYong, (NI) (video, presentation)
    • Global Collaborative R&D Activities for Advanced Radio Technologies, JaeHoon CHUNG, LG Electronics (video, presentation)
    • International research collaboration – key to a sustainable 6G road, Thomas HAUSTEIN, Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (video, presentation)
    • 6G as Cellular Network 2.0: A Networked Computing Perspective, KyungHan LEE, Seoul National University (video, presentation)
    • Towards a Sustainable 6G, Marcos KATZ, University of Oulu (video, presentation)
  • Pannel Discussion : Roles of Public Domain in 6G R&D - Moderator : HyeonWoo LEE, DanKook University
  • Session 3 : 6G Global Mega Project - Moderator: YoungJo KO, ETRI
    • Sub-THz band wireless transmission and access technology for 6G Tbps data rate, JuYong LEE, KAIST (video, presentation)
    • The post Shannon Era: Towards Semantic, Goal-Oriented and Reconfigurable Intelligent Environments aided 6G communications, Emilio CALVANESE STRINATI, CEA Leti (video, presentation)
    • Demonstration of 1.4 Tbits wireless transmission using OAM multiplexing technology in the sub-THz band, DooHwan LEE, NTT Corporation (video, presentation)
    • Latest 6G research progress in China, Zhiqin WANG, CAICT (video, presentation)

If there are no links in video/presentation than it hasn't been shared.

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Wednesday 29 November 2023

AI/ML and Other ICT Industry Trends in the coming decades

At the Brooklyn 6G Summit (B6GS) 2023, top tier economist Dr. Jeff Shen from BlackRock, presented a talk from the industry perspective of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and investment. Jeff Shen, PhD, Managing Director, is Co-CIO and Co-Head of Systematic Active Equity (SAE) at BlackRock. He is a member of the BlackRock Global Operating Committee, BlackRock Systematic (BSYS) Management Committee and the BlackRock Asian Middle Eastern & Allies Network (AMP) Executive Committee.

In his talk he covered the history of how and where AI has been traditionally used and how the thinking around AI has changed over the last few decades. He then presented his view on if AI is just a fad or it's more than that. To illustrate the fact, he provided an example of how Generative AI market is expected to grow from $40 Billion in 2022 to $1.3 Trillion in 2032. 

There are many challenges that AI faces that one should be aware of; namely regulation, cyber threats and ethical concerns. In the US, AI touches the entire economy, from legal to healthcare. In their quarterly reporting, firms are now discussing AI and the larger tech companies are not afraid to grow inorganically in order to get more exposure to the trend. 

You can watch the whole of his talk embedded below, courtesy of IEEE Tv.

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Wednesday 8 November 2023

Presentations from ETSI Security Conference 2023

It's been a while since I wrote about the ETSI Security Conference, which was known as ETSI Security week once upon a time. This year, ETSI’s annual flagship event on Cyber Security took place face-to-face from 16 to 19 October 2023, in ETSI, Sophia Antipolis, France and gathered more than 200 people. 

The event this year focused on Security Research and Global Security Standards in action The event also considered wider aspects such as Attracting the next generation of Cyber Security standardization professionals and supporting SMEs.

The following topics were covered

  • Day 1:
    • Session 1: Global Cyber Security
    • Session 2: Global Cyber Security
    • Session 3: Regulation State of the Nation
    • Session 4: Regulation, Data Protection and Privacy, Technical Aspects
  • Day 2:
    • Session 1: Zero Trust, Supply Chain & Open Source
    • Session 2: IoT & Certification
    • Session 3: Zero Trust, Supply Chain & Open Source
    • Session 4: Quantum Safe Cryptography Session
  • Day 3:
    • Session 1: Experiences of Attracting Next Generation of Engineers and Investing in Future
    • Session 2: IoT and Certification Session
    • Session 3: IoT & Mobile Certification
    • Session 4: 5G in the Wild - Part 1
  • Day 4:
    • Session 1: 5G in the Wild - Part 2
    • Session 2: 6G Futures
    • Session 3: Augmented Reality and AI

You can see the detailed agenda here. The presentations from the conference are available here.

The CyberSecurity Magazine interviewed Helen L. And Jane Wright discussing diversity and careers in Cybersecurity. Helen, from the National Cyber Security Centre, has worked in Security for over 20 years and is a mentor at the CyberFirst programme. CyberFirst intends to inspire and encourage students from all backgrounds to consider a career in cybersecurity. Jane Wright is a Cyber Security Engineer at QinetiQ and has been participating in the CyberFirst. The interview, along with a video, is available here.

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Wednesday 25 October 2023

Mobile Network Architecture: How did we get here & where should we go?

Lorenzo Casaccia, Vice President of Technical Standards, IP Qualcomm Europe, Inc. has been with Qualcomm since 2000. During that time he's had a variety of roles related to wireless communication, including research and system design, regulatory aspects, product management, and technical standardization. He currently leads a team of engineers across three continents driving Qualcomm’s activities in 3GPP, the standards body designing technologies for 4G and 5G.

Couple of his well known articles on Qualcomm OnQ Blog on 'Counting 3GPP contributions' and 'ETSI SEP database manipulations' are available here and here respectively.

At the recent NIST/IEEE Future Networks 6G Core Networks Workshop he was able to bring in his experience to deliver a fantastic talk looking at how the mobile network architecture has diverged from the Data Networks (Internet) architecture and how this has limited innovation in the mobile networks.

He concludes by providing a solution on how to fix this network architecture in 6G by limiting any new services going in the control plane as well as ensuring over the time all services move to the user plane. The control plane will then stop being 'G' specific which will benefit the network innovation in the long term. 

There is no provision to embed the video so please look at the top of the page here. Lorenzo's talk starts at 03:03:50. The Q&A session for the panel starts at 03:53:20 for anyone interested.

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Wednesday 4 October 2023

Presentations from 2nd IEEE Open RAN Summit

The second IEEE SA (Standards Association) Open RAN summit, hosted by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, took place on 9-10 Aug 2023. It covered the topics related to the standardization of Open RAN including O-RAN Alliance, 3GPP, IEEE, various deployment scenarios, testing and integration, Open RAN security, RAN slicing, and RAN optimization among others. 

The videos of the presentations can be viewed on the summit page here or though the video playlist here.

The talk from Dr. Chih-Lin I, O-RAN Alliance TSC Co-Chair and CMCC Chief Scientist, Wireless Technologies on 'AI/ML impact, from 5.5G to 6G' is embedded below:

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Wednesday 13 September 2023

Private Networks Introductory Series

Private Networks has been a hot topic for a while now. We made a technical introductory video which has over 13K views while its slides have over 25K views. The Private Networks blog that officially started in April is now getting over 2K views a month. 

In addition, there are quite a few questions and enquiries that I receive on them on a regular basis. With this background, it makes sense to add these Introductory video series by Firecell in a post. Their 'Private Networks Tutorial Series' playlist, aiming to demystify private networks, is embedded below:

The playlist has five videos at the moment, hopefully they will add more:

  • Introduction to different kinds of mobile networks: public, private and hybrid networks
  • Different Names for Private Networks
  • Drivers and Enablers of Private Networks
  • Mobile Cellular vs Wi-Fi Private Networks
  • Architecture of Mobile Private Networks

I also like this post on different names for private networks.

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Thursday 3 August 2023

Tutorial: A Quick Introduction to 3GPP

We recently made a beginners tutorial explaining the need for The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), its working, structure and provides useful pointers to explore further. The video and slides are embedded below.

You can download the slides from here.

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Wednesday 12 July 2023

Small Data Transmission (SDT) in LTE and 5G NR

One of the features that was introduced part of 5G NR 3GPP Release 17 is known as Small Data Transmission (SDT). When small amount of data, in case of an IoT device, needs to be sent, there is no need to establish data radio bearers. The information can be sent as part of signalling message. A similar approach is available in case of 4G LTE. 

Quoting from Ofinno whitepaper 'Small Data Transmission: PHY/MAC', 

The SDT in the 3GPP simply refers to data transmission in an inactive state. Specifically, the SDT is a transmission for a short data burst in a connectionless state where a device does not need to establish and teardown connections when small amounts of data need to be sent.

In the 3GPP standards, the inactive state had not supported data transmission until Release 15. The 3GPP standards basically allowed the data transmission when ciphering and integrity protection are achieved during the connection establishment procedure. Therefore, the data transmission can occur after the successful completion of the establishment procedure between the device and network.

The problem arises as a device stays in the connected state for a short period of time and subsequently releases the connection once the small size data is sent. Generally, the device needs to perform multiple transmissions and receptions of control signals to initiate and maintain the connection with a network. As a payload size of the data is relatively smaller compared with the amounts of the control signals, making a connection for the small data transmission becomes more of a concern for both the network and the device due to the control signaling overhead.

The 3GPP has developed the SDT procedure to enable data transmission in the inactive state over the existing LTE and NR standards. The device initiates the SDT procedure by transmitting an RRC request message (e.g., SDT request message) and data in parallel instead of transmitting the data after the RRC request message processed by a network. Additional transmission and/or reception are optional. The device performs this SDT procedure without transition to the connected state (i.e., without making a connection to the network).

The SDT enables for the network to accept data transmission without signaling intensive bearer establishment and authentication procedure required for the RRC connection establishment or resume procedure. For example, in the SDT procedure, the device needs only one immediate transmission of a transport block (TB) that contains data and RRC request message. Furthermore, the device does not need to perform procedures (e.g., radio link monitoring) defined in the connected state since the RRC state is kept as the inactive state. This results in improving the battery life of the device by avoiding control signaling unnecessary for transmission of small size data.

The principle of the SDT is very simple. The network configures radio resources beforehand for the data transmission in the inactive state. For example, if the conditions to use the configured radio resources satisfy, the device transmits data and the RRC request message together via the configured radio resources. In the 3GPP standards, there are two types of the SDT depending on the ways to configure the radio resources: (1) SDT using a random access (RA) and (2) SDT using preconfigured radio resources. 

Figure 2 (top) illustrates different types of the SDT referred in 3GPP LTE and NR standards. The SDT using the random access in LTE and NR standards is referred to as an EDT (early data transmission) and RA-SDT (Random Access based SDT), respectively. For both the EDT and the RA-SDT, the device performs data transmission using shared radio resources of the random access procedure. Thus, the contention with other devices can occur over the access to the shared radio resources. The shared radio resources for the SDT are broadcast by system information and are configured as isolated from the one for a nonSDT RA procedure, i.e., the legacy RA procedure. On the other hands, the CG-SDT uses the preconfigured radio resources dedicated to the device. The SDT using the preconfigured radio resource is referred to as transmission via PUR (Preconfigured Uplink Resource) in the LTE standards. The NR standards refers the SDT using the preconfigured radio resource as CG-SDT (Configured Grant based SDT). The network configures the configuration parameters of the preconfigured radio resources when transiting the device in the connected state to the inactive state. For example, an RRC release message transmitted from the network for a connection release contains the configuration parameters of PUR or CG-SDT. No contention is expected for the SDT using the preconfigured radio resource since the configuration parameters are dedicated to the device. 

You can continue reading the details in whitepaper here. Ofinno has another whitepaper on this topic, 'Small Data Transmission (SDT): Protocol Aspects' here.

3GPP also recently published an article on this topic here. Quoting from the article:

With SDT it is possible for the device to send small amounts of data while remaining in the inactive state. Note that this idea resembles the early GSM systems where SMS messages where sent via the control signalling; that is, transferring small amounts of data while the mobile did not have a (voice) connection.

SDT is a procedure which allows data and/or signalling transmission while the device remains in inactive state without transitioning to connected state. SDT is enabled on a radio bearer basis and is initiated by the UE only if less than a configured amount of UL data awaits transmission across all radio bearers for which SDT is enabled. Otherwise the normal data transmission scheme is used.

With SDT the data is transmitted quickly on the allocated resource. The IoT device initiates the SDT procedure by transmitting an RRC request message and payload data in parallel, instead of the usual procedure where the data is transmitted after the RRC request message is processed by a network.

It is not only the speed and the reduced size of the transmitted data which make SDT such a suitable process for IoT devices. Since the device stays in the inactive state, it does not have to perform many tasks associated with the active state. This further improves the battery life of the IoT device. Additional transmission and/or reception are optional.

There are two ways of performing SDT:

  1. via random access (RA-SDT)
  2. via preconfigured radio resources (CG-SDT)

Random Access SDT

With RA-SDT, the IoT device does not have a dedicated radio resource, and it is possible that the random access message clashes with similar RA-SDT random access messages from other IoT devices. The device gets to know the radio resources for the RA procedure from system information messages, in a similar way to non RA-SDT devices. However, the RA radio resources for SDT and non SDT devices are kept separate; that is, these device types do not interfere with each other in random access

The RA-SDT procedure can be a two-step or a four-step random access procedure. In two-step procedure the payload data is already sent with the initial random access message, whereas in four-step procedure the device first performs contention resolution with the random access request - random access response message pair, and then sends the UL payload with RRC Resume Request. The procedure may continue with further uplink and downlink small data transmissions, and then it is terminated with an RRC Release from the network.

Below are the signalling diagrams for both two-step and four-step RA-SDT procedures. Note that in both cases the UE stays in the RRC inactive state during the whole process.

Configured Grant SDT

For CG-SDT, the radio resources are allocated periodically based on the estimation of the UE’s traffic requirements. This uplink scheduling method is called Configured Grant (CG). With CG-SDT there will be no message clashes with other IoT devices since the radio resources are dedicated for each device. The resource allocation is signalled to the IoT device by the network when the device leaves the connected state.

If the amount of data in the UE's tx buffer is larger than a defined limit, then the data transmission is done using the normal non-SDT procedure.

For SDT process, the device selects the CG-SDT as the SDT type if the resources for the CG-SDT are configured on the selected uplink carrier. If the resources for the CG-SDT are unavailable or invalid, the RA-SDT or the non-SDT RA procedure will be chosen if those are configured. If no SDT type configuration is available then a normal non-SDT data transmission is performed.

With IoT devices proliferating, it makes sense to optimise data transfer and anything else that will reduce the power consumption and let the battery in the devices last for much longer.

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Wednesday 31 May 2023

New 5G NTN Spectrum Bands in FR1 and FR2

Release-17 includes two new FR1 bands for NTN; n255 (a.k.a. NTN 1.6GHz) and n256 (a.k.a. NTN 2GHz). The picture is from a slide in Rohde & Schwarz presentation available here. Quoting from an article by Reiner Stuhlfauth, Technology Manager Wireless, Rohde & Schwarz:

Currently, several frequency ranges are being discussed within 3GPP for NTN. Some are in the FR1 legacy spectrum, and some beyond 10 GHz and FR2. The current FR1 bands discussed for NTN are:

  • The S-band frequencies from 1980 to 2010 MHz in uplink (UL) direction and from 2170 to 2200 MHz in downlink (DL) direction (Band n256).
  • The L-band frequencies from 1525 to 1559 MHz DL together with 1626.5 to 1660.5 MHz for the UL (Band n255).1

These frequency ranges have lower path attenuation, and they’re already used in legacy communications. Thus, components are available now, but the bands are very crowded, and the usable bandwidth is restricted. Current maximum bandwidth is 20 MHz with up to 40-MHz overall bandwidth envisaged in the future [TR 38.811].

As far as long-term NTN spectrum use is concerned, 3GPP is discussing NR-NTN above 10 GHz. The Ka-band is the highest-priority band with uplinks between 17.7 and 20.2 GHz and downlinks between 27.5 and 30 GHz, based on ITU information regarding satellite communications frequency use.2 Among current FR2 challenges, one is that some of the discussed bands fall into the spectrum gap between FR1 and FR2 and that NTN frequencies will use FDD duplex mode due to the long roundtrip time.

Worth highlighting again that the bands above, including n510, n511 and n512 are all FDD bands due to the long round trip times.

The latest issue of 3GPP highlight magazine has an article on NTN as well. Quoting from the article:

The NTN standard completed as part of 3GPP Release 17 defines key enhancements to support satellite networks for two types of radio protocols/interfaces:

  • 5G NR radio interface family also known as NR-NTN
  • 4G NB-IoT & eMTC radio interfaces family known as IoT-NTN

These critical enhancements including adaptation for satellite latency and doppler effects have been carefully defined to support a wide range of satellite network deployment scenarios and orbits (i.e., LEO, MEO and GEO), terminal types (handheld, IoT, vehicle mounted), frequency bands, beam types (Earth fixed/Earth moving) and sizes. The NTN standard also addresses mobility procedures across both terrestrial and non-terrestrial network components. Release 17 further includes Radio Frequency and Radio Resource Management specifications for terminals and satellite access nodes operating in two FR1 frequency ranges allocated to Mobile Satellite Services (i.e., n255 and n256).

You can read it here.

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Wednesday 3 May 2023

Qualcomm Webinar on 'Realizing mission-critical industrial automation with 5G'

Private 5G networks have immense potential to transform industries by improving flexibility within the shop floor of the industries. Industrial 5G networks hold the promise to transform mission-critical industrial automation by using the built-in 5G features of higher bandwidth, lower latency, greater reliability, and improved security.

Some of the ways in which Industrial 5G (I5G) networks will help transform mission-critical industrial networks using automation include:

  • Enhanced Communication: I5G networks will offer faster and more reliable communication between machines, sensors, and other devices. This will lead to better synchronization, increased efficiency, and reduced downtime in industrial processes.
  • High-Quality Video: I5G networks will provide high-quality video streaming, enabling real-time monitoring of industrial processes. This will be particularly useful in applications such as remote inspections, quality control, and process optimization.
  • Edge Computing: I5G networks will support edge computing, that will enable processing of data close to where it is generated. This will help to keep latency to a minimum thereby improve response times and making it possible to perform critical tasks in real-time.
  • Improved Security: I5G networks will provide improved security features along with network slicing, which will enable the creation of secure virtual networks for specific applications or users. This will in-turn help to protect against cyberattacks and ensure the integrity of data.
  • Reduced Downtime: I5G networks will help to reduce downtime by providing real-time monitoring and predictive maintenance capabilities. This will allow identification of potential problems before they cause downtime thereby enabling proactive maintenance and repairs.

Overall, I5G networks have the potential and the capability to significantly improve mission-critical industrial automation by providing faster, more reliable, and secure communication, enabling real-time monitoring and control, and reducing downtime through predictive maintenance capabilities.

In addition, Private/Industrial 5G will help with Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) by providing a highly reliable and low-latency wireless communication network that can support real-time industrial control and automation applications. TSN is a set of IEEE standards that enable time-critical data to be transmitted over Ethernet networks with very low latency and high reliability.

I5G networks provide a wireless alternative to wired Ethernet networks for TSN applications, which can be advantageous in environments where deploying Ethernet cabling is difficult or costly. With I5G, TSN traffic can be prioritized and transmitted over the network with low latency and high reliability, which is critical for industrial automation and control applications that require precise timing and synchronization.

Moreover, I5G networks can be deployed with network slicing capabilities, allowing for the creation of multiple virtual networks with different performance characteristics tailored to specific applications or user groups. This means that TSN traffic can be isolated and prioritized over other types of traffic, ensuring that critical data is always transmitted with the highest priority and reliability.

Last year, Qualcomm hosted a webinar on 'Realizing mission-critical industrial automation with 5G'. The webinar is embedded below:

Here is the summary of what the webinar includes:

Manufacturers seeking better operational efficiencies, with reduced downtime and higher yield, are at the leading edge of the Industry 4.0 transformation. With mobile system components and reliable wireless connectivity between them, flexible manufacturing systems can be reconfigured quickly for new tasks, to troubleshoot issues, or in response to shifts in supply and demand. 

5G connectivity enables flexibility in demanding industrial environments with key capabilities such as ultra-reliable wireless connectivity, wireless Ethernet, time-sensitive networking (TSN), and positioning. There is a long history of R&D collaboration between Bosch Rexroth and Qualcomm Technologies for the effective application of these 5G capabilities to industrial automation use cases. At the Robert Bosch Elektronik GmbH factory in Salzgitter, Germany, this collaboration has reached new heights by demonstrating time-synchronized control of an industrial robot, and remote positioning of an automated guided vehicle (AGV) over a live, ultra-reliable 5G private network.

Watch the session to learn how:

  • Qualcomm Technologies and Bosch Rexroth are collaborating to accelerate the Industry 4.0 transformation
  • 5G technologies deliver key capabilities for mission-critical industrial automation
  • Distributed control solutions can work effectively across 5G TSN networks
  • A single 5G technology platform solves connectivity and positioning needs for flexible manufacturing

The video is also available on Qualcomm site here and the slides are here.

A shorter video looking behind the tech to see how Qualcomm and Bosch are partnering to enable mission-critical industrial automation over a 5G private network is as follows:

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Friday 10 March 2023

How many Cell Sites and Base Stations Worldwide?

I wrote a blog post on this topic nearly three years back on the Operator Watch Blog here. That post is very handy as every few months someone or other asks me about this number. Here is a slightly updated number, though I am not confident on its accuracy. 

Gabriel Brown, analyst at Heavy Reading shares this chart above in the annual online Open RAN Digital Symposium. Based on the chart above, there are 7 million physical sites and 10 million logical sites. As there are many sites hosting infrastructure from multiple operators, the number of logical sites are more than the number of physical sites.

Again, most of the sites have distributed RAN (D-RAN) so there may be one or more base stations (baseband unit or BBU) and each base station can serve one or more radios. See links at the bottom for tutorials on these topics.

China Tower had nearly 2.1 million telecom towers installed with 3.36m tower tenants at end of 2022. An MIIT minister said that China's operators will deploy 600k 5G base stations in 2023, taking total to 2.9m.

The number of 5G radios in India just crossed 100,000 according to latest data released by the Department of Telecommunications. A base station generally manages multiple radios so not sure how many base stations would be there for 5G and even for older Gs.

In South Korea, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT and the mobile communication industry, as of December 2021, had 460,000 5G wireless stations of which, base stations accounted for 94% of the total, or 430,000 units, while repeaters only accounted for 30,000 units, or 6%.

Light Reading reported in September 2022 that there are nearly 419,000 cell sites across the US, according to the newest figures from CTIA. 

China and USA are roughly the same size so you can see how China is ensuring their mobile networks provide the best QoE. It should also be noted that the population of China is over four times that of the USA. On the other hand, India and China have the same population but India is one third the size of China roughly.

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Friday 3 February 2023

ATIS Webinar on "3GPP Release 18 Overview: A World of 5G-Advanced"

Yesterday, ATIS, one of the seven 3GPP Organizational Partner (OP), delivered on online webinar on 3GPP Release 18 Overview: The World of 5G-Advanced. A summary of the webinar according to ATIS as follows:

As the first release of 5G-Advanced, Release 18 has been progressing well despite the challenges in fully resuming 3GPP face-to-face meetings in 2022.

In this webinar, ATIS provides a high-level summary of 3GPP Release 18: the confirmed Rel-18 timeline, status for the ongoing study and work items, and the newly converted work items from the completed study items. We also give a brief introduction of the preparation for Release 19 aiming for approval of the package of projects in December 2023.

Distinguished speakers included:

  • Wanshi Chen (Qualcomm, Chair of 3GPP RAN Plenary) will provide a view on radio interface and RAN system aspects.
  • Puneet Jain (Intel, Chair of 3GPP System Architecture Group – SA2) will look at whole system capabilities and network aspects.
  • Moderator: Iain Sharp, Principal Technologist, ATIS

The recording of the webinar is embedded below and slides available here.

Just a reminder, 5G covers Release 15, 16 and 17. 5G-Advanced is Release-18 onwards. Ideally, 18, 18 and 20. 6G should start with Release 21. Based on the current industry adoption of 5G, there is no reason to push the next generation on the operators before it's mature and everyone is ready to take it onboard.

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