Showing posts with label Cambridge Wireless (CW). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cambridge Wireless (CW). Show all posts

Monday, 9 December 2019

5G Evolution with Matthew Baker, Nokia


I wrote a summary of CW (Cambridge Wireless) TEC conference here a couple of months back. The last session was on "Getting ready for Beyond-5G Era". Matthew Baker, Head of Radio Physical Layer & Co-existence Standardization, Nokia Bell Labs was one of the speakers. His talk provided a summary of 3GPP Rel-15 and then gave a nice and short summary of all the interesting things coming in Rel-16 and being planned for Rel-17. The slides from his presentation is embedded below:



Nokia also created a short video where Matthew talks about these new features. It's embedded below:



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Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Private 4G / 5G Cellular Networks and Bring Your Own Spectrum


With 4G maturing, private cellular networks are finally getting the attention that they deserve and has been promised for quite a while. In a Industry Analyst event, Nokia announced that they are running 120+ private networks including transportation, Energy, Public sector, Smart cities, manufacturing and logistics, etc. (tweet below). The Enterprise Business division is now accounting for 5% of the revenue.
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief at Light Reading, in an opinion on Telecoms.com pointed out:

One of the more immediate revenue stream opportunities right now is wireless private networks, and the good news is that this opportunity doesn’t require 5G. Instead, the potential looks set to be enhanced by the availability of a full set of 5G standards (including the yet-to-be concluded core network specs) and the maturity of associated technology.

In the meantime, 4G/LTE has already been the cellular foundation for an increasingly thriving wireless private networks sector that, according to ABI Research, will be worth $16.3 billion by 2025

Another market sizing prediction, this time by SNS Telecom & IT, pitches annual spending on private 4G and 5G networks at $4.7 billion by the end of 2020 and almost $8 billion by 2023. 

However this plays out, there’s clear anticipation of growing investment. What’s particularly interesting, though, is which organizations might pocket that investment. That’s because enterprises and/or organizations looking to benefit from having a private wireless network have a number of options once they decide to move ahead with a private network – here are three permutations that look most likely to me:
  1. Build and run it themselves – technology vendors get some sales in this instance
  2. Outsource the network planning, construction and possibly even the day-to-day. management of the network to a systems integrator (SI) – the SI and some vendors get the spoils. It’s possible here, of course, that the SI could be a technology vendor.
  3. Outsource to a mobile network operator – the operator and some vendors will get some greenbacks.
For sure there will be other permutations, but it shows how many different parts of the ecosystem have some skin in the game, which is what makes this sector so interesting.

What’s also interesting, of course, is what the enterprises do with their private networks: Does it enhance operations? Help reduce costs? Create new business opportunities? All of the above?

Let’s not forget the role of the regulators in all of this. In the US the private wireless sector has been given a shot in the arm by the availability of CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) shared spectrum in the currently unlicensed 3.5 GHz band: This has given rise to numerous trials and deployments in locations such as sports stadiums, Times Square and even prisons.

In Germany, the regulator has set aside 100MHz of 5G spectrum for private, industrial networks has caused a storm and even led to accusations from the mobile operators that the move ramped up the cost of licenses in the spectrum auction held earlier this year.

In the UK, Ofcom is making spectrum available in four bands:
  • the 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz shared spectrum bands, which are currently used for mobile services;
  • the 3.8-4.2 GHz band, which supports 5G services, and
  • the 26 GHz band, which has also been identified as one of the main bands for 5G in the future.
Slide shared by Mansoor Hanif, CTO, Ofcom at TIP Summit 2019

The process to enable companies and organizations (Ofcom has identified manufacturers, business parks, holiday/theme parks and farms as potential users) in the UK to apply for spectrum will go live before the end of this year, with Ofcom believing that thousands of private networks could be up and running in the coming years.

Dean Bubley from Disruptive Analysis recently spoke about BYOSpectrum – Why private cellular is a game-changer at TAD Summit. The talk is embedded below and is definitely worth listening:



TelecomPaper reported:

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy said that companies can start to apply to use 5G frequencies in the 3.7-3.8 GHz range on industrial campuses. Local frequencies enable firms to build their own private networks, rather than rely on telecommunications providers to build networks. 

The Automotive Industry Association (VDA) and other industry associations including the VCI, VDMA and ZVEI have welcomed the allocation of frequencies for industrial campuses. According to VDA, several dozen companies have already registered their interest in such frequencies with the Federal Network Agency. 

The firms believe that 5G can replace existing networks, including WLAN, provide improved coverage of entire company premises, enable full control over company data and reduce disruption to public mobile networks.

The spectrum licences will be allocated based on the applicant's geographic footprint and use of a certain area. Prices also take account the area covered by the network, as well as the amount of bandwidth used and duration of the licence.

The formula for the prices is very interesting as shown in the tweet below



In Japan, NTT Docomo is working in co-operation with industry partners to help them to create their own private 5G networks. More announcements on this are expected at MWC next year.



Finally, I am running an Introduction to Private 4G /5G Networks Workshop with Dean Bubley on 04 Feb 2020. If this is an area of interest, consider attending it.



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Tuesday, 15 October 2019

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

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

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



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


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

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


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

There were 3 talks as follows:

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


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


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


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


Related Articles:

Friday, 4 October 2019

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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



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

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

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


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

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Friday, 12 July 2019

5G and Electromagnetic energy (EME)


Every time a new generation of mobile technology is being rolled out, there are scare stories about the radiation, cancer, etc. I last wrote a post on this topic back in 2011 and also in 2009. The main thing that has changed since is that 5G is being rolled out today as 4G was being rolled out then.

The Australian operator Telstra recently completed extensive testing of their 5G network infrastructure in real-world settings using commercially available 5G devices, and their data confirms two things. Firstly, the 5G technology produces electromagnetic energy (EME) levels at around 1000 times below the safety limits in many cases. Secondly, all the testing has found 5G EME levels to be similar to 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi. You can read the details and complete report here.

Last month I went to a seminar titled 'Update on Current Knowledge of RF Safety', organised by CW Radio Technology Group and National Register of RF Workers. Richard Hargrave from BT explained the challenge with compliance when a 5G carrier is added.

The implications as he said are:
  • Some sites in urban areas become increasingly difficult to provide required capacity while maintaining compliance using standard designs
  • Significant time and cost can be associated with works necessary to ensure compliance – new planning permissions, physical structures, new site acquisition etc
  • As 5G is deployed further, particularly as additional spectrum is auctioned in 700MHz and 3.6-3.8GHz bands these problems will be exacerbated

His presentation is available here. Another presentation from Moray Rumney, asking some tough question on 5G safety is available here. Simon Rockman has written a summary of this seminar on Forbes, here.

I heard the Swiss operator Sunrise mentioning in a presentation at 5G World 2019 that the EMF limit in Switzerland is 10 times stricter than the rest of the world. This implies that 5G in Switzerland is extremely safe. The slide from the presentation can be seen in the pic above.

We also have couple of related videos on this topic, maybe of interest:

Further Reading:

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Presentations on Macro Cells and Millimetre-wave Technology from recent CW (Cambridge Wireless) events


CW (Cambridge Wireless) held a couple of very interesting events from 2 very popular groups.

The first one was on "5G wide area coverage: macro cells – the why and the how". This event looked at the design and optimisation of the macro cell layer and its role within future heterogeneous networks. You can access the presentations for limited time on CW website here.

The presentations available are:
Related posts that may be of interest:


The second one was on "Commercialising millimetre-wave technology". The event reviewed the commercial opportunities at millimetre-wave frequencies, what bands are available and what licensing is needed. You can access the presentations on CW website for limited time here.

The presentations available are:

We recently made a video to educate people outside our industry about non-mmWave 5G. It's embedded below.


Thursday, 9 May 2019

Examples of 5G Use Cases & Applications


I recently did another 5G training for CW (Cambridge Wireless) & UK5G. One of the sections in that was about Use Cases. A very common questions that people ask is what can 5G do that 4G can't. The answer frankly is sometimes not very straightforward.


While you can get a very high speed and very reasonable latency 4G system, it's not necessarily a commonplace. Similarly 5G is a bit over-hyped. There is a lot of potential in the technology but the theory may not translate into practice. Take for example millimeter wave. There is a large amount of bandwidth that can be available to each operator in this spectrum. The laws of physics however restrict how far mmWave can travel and also the fact that mmWave does not penetrate through glass, walls, etc. Does that mean that an indoor 5G system would be required to complement an outdoor one? Would Wi-Fi be able to complement cellular in-building? There are many unanswered questions at the moment.

There is also the debate around 5G icon displayed on your smartphones. When you see 5G, would it really be 5G or just re-branded 4G? Light Reading has explained this issue nicely here.

So while there are many potential applications & use cases that will benefit from 5G in the long run, the answers are not that easily available today. Anyhow, the collection of videos and slides embedded below will provide you with an insight on how different vendors and operators are looking at potentially using 5G.






The latest version of these slides are available to download from UK5G website here.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Some interesting April Fools' Day 2019 Technology Jokes


This year April Fools' Day wasn't as fun as the last one, even though it was on Monday. Many tech companies that make effort didn't make one this year. In fact Microsoft went even further and banned any public facing April Fools' pranks. Anyway, here are some of the jokes that I found interesting.

Parallel Wireless 7G Vision
This one was important for me as it features me (Yay!) and also enhanced my video editing skills. Grateful to CW (Cambridge Wireless) for being part of it too.

Video is slightly long but funny hopefully



In short, the focus for the next few years will be do design a 7G logo that can explain the vision and connect with people. Did I mention 7GPPPPP?


Google Sssnakes on a map
Google temporarily added a version of the classic game Snakes into its Google Maps app for April Fools’ Day this year.

The company says that the game is rolling out now to iOS and Android users globally today, and that it’ll remain on the app for the rest of the week. It also launched a standalone site to play the game if you don’t have the app.

Jabra Ear bud(dy)


World’s first shared headphone - engineered for shared music moments. The website says:

The headphones come with an ultra-light headband that extends seamlessly to accommodate the perfect fit for every pair of buddies, so you’ll never have to enjoy another music moment alone. The Jabra Earbud(dy)™ comes with a unique Buddy mode that promises a shared music experience that is tailored to suit each person’s preferences. Fans of voice command will be thrilled to know that with just one touch, the Jabra Earbud(dy)™ can connect to dual voice assistant.


T-Mobile Phone BoothE

T-Mobile USA and their CEO John Legere never disappoints. They always come up with something interesting. Here is a video of the prank


From MacRumours:

T-Mobile is again fighting one of the so-called pain points of the wireless industry with the launch of the Phone BoothE, a completely sound-proof and high-tech phone booth that lets T-Mobile customers escape from noisy areas to make their phone calls. Inside the Phone BoothE you can charge your devices, connect to a smart screen called "Magenta Pages" to mirror your smartphone display, and adjust the lighting to take great selfies.

In regards to the name, T-Mobile is taking a shot at AT&T's misleading 5GE label: "The Phone BoothE is an evolution towards the new world of mobility. Like many in the tech and wireless industry today, we decided that by adding an "E" to the name, you would know it's a real technology evolution." 

Although this is an April Fools' Day joke, T-Mobile has actually built the Phone BoothE and deployed them in select locations around New York City, Seattle, and Washington, DC, where anyone will be able to use them. The company on Monday also revealed the T-Mobile Phone BoothE Mobile EditionE, which is more in line with a straightforward April Fools' Day hoax, as it's "literally a magenta cardboard box with a hole in it." 

While the actual site disappeared after April 1, the archived version can be seen here.

X-Ray vision Nokia 9 PureView

The Nokia 9 PureView has plenty of cameras on its back, but did you know that the black sensor isn’t a 3D ToF camera but rather an X-Ray sensor? Can be unlocked with the new Nokia X-Ray app in Play Store


"Digi-U" from Ericsson Digital


Parallel Wireless Adds AMPS (1G) Capabilities to Their Unified ALL G Architecture


From the press release:

Worlds First Fully Virtualized AMPS (vAMPS) to enable Modernization and Cost Savings

Parallel Wireless vAMPS is compatible with: Total Access Communications Systems (TACS) in the U.K.; Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) System in Scandinavia; C450 in Germany; and NTT System in Japan, among others, and will allow global operators to modernize their 1G infrastructure. The 1G vAMPS solution is also software upgradable to vD-AMPS, for operators who wish to follow that path.


Truphone foldable SIM (F-SIM) for Foldable Smartphones

F-SIM – the foldable SIM – designed especially for the new foldable smartphones and tablets demonstrated at this February’s MWC Barcelona, including Huawei’s Mate X and Samsung’s Galaxy Fold.

Widely tipped as the next generation in SIM technology, the foldable SIM works on minute hinges that allow it to fold smaller than any previous SIM form factor. Made specifically for foldable phones and other devices, Truphone’s latest innovation fulfils on its broader brand promise to engineer better connections between things, people and business—anywhere in the world.

The F-SIM comes in ‘steel grey’ and, for only £5 more, ‘hot pink’. Pricing structures vary depending on data, storage, roaming charges and device model.


Google Screen Cleaner in the Files app




Mother of All USB-C Hubs for Apple Macbook - HyperDrive Ultimate Ultimate Hub



Other funny April Fools jokes:

One of the funniest jokes is Qualcomm's HandSolo that was released back in 1998. You may enjoy watching here.

Related posts:

Friday, 14 December 2018

Robots in Telecoms World - A presentation from #CWFDT event on 'Robots: Assistance, Automation, Entertainment'


Another of the CW (Cambridge Wireless) Future Devices & Technologies (#CWFDT) event 'Robots: Assistance, Automation, Entertainment' happened a few weeks back. I had helped arrange the event and as always when a speaker dropped out at the last minute, I prepared a short talk on what role Robots play in the telecoms world. More later.

Robots have been part of human imagination for decades for example they feature heavily in popular culture and we typically have a favourite robot character. My favourite was 'Johnny Sokko And His Flying Robot'. Even though it was made in 1967, I saw it only in 1986.

The anticipated future impact of Robots is widely discussed. Their potential use in military operations may well change the face of future warfare, whilst in civilian life, industrial and domestic, it is speculated how they will both be our assistants and our replacements.

The intention of the event was to reflect on the challenges of lives transformed by new human-robot relationships.

While we had interesting talks and I think we succeeded in achieving what we set out to, not all speakers shared their presentations but you can see the ones available here.

My talk along with the videos is embedded below. If you prefer to hear my talk as it was, it's on YouTube here.



A twitter moment with some of the tweets from the day is embedded below:





Related Post:

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Automated 4G / 5G HetNet Design


I recently heard Iris Barcia, COO of Keima speak after nearly 6 years at Cambridge Wireless CWTEC 2018. The last time I heard her, it was part of CW Small Cells SIG, where I used to be a SIG (special interest group) champion. Over the last 6 years, the network planning needs have changed from planning for coverage to planning for capacity from the beginning. This particular point started a little debate that I will cover in another post, but you can sneak a peek here 😉.

Embedded below is the video and presentation. The slides can be downloaded from SlideShare.





Related posts:

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Benefits and Challenges of Applying Device-Level AI to 5G networks


I was part of Cambridge Wireless CWTEC 2018 organising committee where our event 'The inevitable automation of Next Generation Networks' covered variety of topics with AI, 5G, devices, network planning, etc. The presentations are available freely for a limited period here.

One of the thought provoking presentations was by Yue Wang from Samsung R&D. The presentation is embedded below and can be downloaded from Slideshare.



This presentation also brought out some interesting thoughts and discussions:

  • While the device-level AI and network-level AI would generally work cooperatively, there is a risk that some vendor may play the system to make their devices perform better than the competitors. Something similar to the signaling storm generated by SCRI (see here).
  • If the device-level and network-level AI works constructively, an operator may be able to claim that their network can provide a better battery life for a device. For example iPhone XYZ has 25% better battery life on our network rather than competitors network.
  • If the device-level and network-level AI works destructively for any reason then the network can become unstable and the other users may experience issues. 

I guess all these enhancements will start slowly and there will be lots of learning in the first few years before we have a stable, mutually beneficial solution.

Related Posts:

Monday, 24 September 2018

5G New Radio Standards and other Presentations


A recent Cambridge Wireless event 'Radio technology for 5G – making it work' was an excellent event where all speakers delivered an interesting and insightful presentation. These presentations are all available to view and download for everyone for a limited time here.

I blogged about the base station antennas last week but there are other couple of presentations that stood out for me.


The first was an excellent presentation from Sylvia Lu from u-Blox, also my fellow CW Board Member. Her talk covered variety of topics including IoT, IIoT, LTE-V2X and Cellular positioning, including 5G NR Positioning Trend. The presentation is embedded below and available to download from Slideshare





The other presentation on 5G NR was one from Yinan Qi of Samsung R&D. His presentation looked at variety of topics, mainly Layer 1 including Massive MIMO, Beamforming, Beam Management, Bandwidth Part, Reference Signals, Phase noise, etc. His presentation is embedded below and can be downloaded from SlideShare.




Related Posts:

Friday, 21 September 2018

Base Station Antenna Considerations for 5G

I first mentioned Quintel in this blog three years back for their innovations in 4T8R/8T8R antennas. Since then they have been going strength to strength.


I heard David Barker, CTO of Quintel at Cambridge Wireless event titled "Radio technology for 5G – making it work" talking about the antennas consideration for 5G. There are quite a few important areas in this presentation for consideration. The presentation is embedded below:



Related Posts:

Monday, 13 August 2018

Telefonica: Big Data, Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Connect the Unconnected


Earlier, I wrote a detailed post on how Telefonica was on a mission to connect 100 Million Unconnected with their 'Internet para todos' initiative. This video below is a good advert of what Telefinica is trying to achieve in Latin America


I recently came across a LinkedIn post on how Telefónica uses AI / ML to connect the unconnected by Patrick Lopez, VP Networks Innovation @ Telefonica. It was no brainer that this needs to be shared.



In his post, Patrick mentions the following:

To deliver internet in these environments in a sustainable manner, it is necessary to increase efficiency through systematic cost reduction, investment optimization and targeted deployments.

Systematic optimization necessitates continuous measurement of the financial, operational, technological and organizational data sets.

1. Finding the unconnected


The first challenge the team had to tackle was to understand how many unconnected there are and where. The data set was scarce and incomplete, census was old and population had much mobility. In this case, the team used high definition satellite imagery at the scale of the country and used neural network models, coupled with census data as training. Implementing visual machine learning algorithms, the model literally counted each house and each settlement at the scale of the country. The model was then enriched with crossed reference coverage data from regulatory source, as well as Telefonica proprietary data set consisting of geolocalized data sessions and deployment maps. The result is a model with a visual representation, providing a map of the population dispersion, with superimposed coverage polygons, allowing to count and localize the unconnected populations with good accuracy (95% of the population with less than 3% false positive and less than 240 meters deviation in the location of antennas).


2. Optimizing transport



Transport networks are the most expensive part of deploying connectivity to remote areas. Optimizing transport route has a huge impact on the sustainability of a network. This is why the team selected this task as the next challenge to tackle.

The team started with adding road and infrastructure data to the model form public sources, and used graph generation to cluster population settlements. Graph analysis (shortest path, Steiner tree) yielded population density-optimized transport routes.


3. AI to optimize network operations


To connect very remote zones, optimizing operations and minimizing maintenance and upgrade is key to a sustainable operational model. This line of work is probably the most ambitious for the team. When it can take 3 hours by plane and 4 days by boat to reach some locations, being able to make sure you can detect, or better, predict if / when you need to perform maintenance on your infrastructure. Equally important is how your devise your routes so that you are as efficient as possible. In this case, the team built a neural network trained with historical failure analysis and fed with network metrics to provide a model capable of supervising the network health in an automated manner, with prediction of possible failure and optimized maintenance route.

I think that the type of data driven approach to complex problem solving demonstrated in this project is the key to network operators' sustainability in the future. It is not only a rural problem, it is necessary to increase efficiency and optimize deployment and operations to keep decreasing the costs.


Finally, its worth mentioning again that I am helping CW (Cambridge Wireless) organise their annual CW TEC conference on the topic 'The inevitable automation of Next Generation Networks'. There are some good speakers and we will have similar topics covered from different angles, using some other interesting approaches. The fees are very reasonable so please join if you can.

Related posts: