Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Nortel bets on LTE as prediction rises to 32 million by 2013

In a bid to gain head start in the development of technology conforming to LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology standards across the globe, Nortel has withdrawn funds from its in-house research & development for WiMax and diverted the funds to development of LTE-based solutions. The R&D activities for WiMax will be handled by Nortel’s Joint Venture for WiMax with Israel-based Alvarion.

The Globe and Mail newspaper has an interesting analysis of Nortel's revenue model and how moving to LTE may help in long term.

Analysts praised the move, in part because some of North America's largest phone companies are leaning toward LTE.

Richard Lowe, president of Nortel's carrier networks division, says the company is the only one in the industry conducting live trials of LTE.

The first LTE products are expected to be ready for sale in 2010, and the market is estimated to be worth $400-million in the first year and $1.6-billion in 2011.

Even if Nortel is first to get LTE to market, the technology is unlikely to match CDMA for profitability. Mr. Notter describes Nortel's CDMA business as a "gravy train," thanks to what has effectively been a duopoly between Nortel and French telecom giant Alcatel-Lucent.

One reason the transition to LTE will hurt Nortel is because the company will be competing against more vendors, including Telefon AB LM Ericsson of Sweden, Finnish-German joint venture Nokia-Siemens Networks and China's Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Mr. Notter said.

Nortel's own financial forecasts indicate the juicy 24-per-cent operating margin in wireless will slide to between 13 per cent and 16 per cent by 2011 as annual growth falls 3 per cent on a compounded annual basis.

Nortel vows to offset these declines by offering new software and services to customers on networks capable of handling greater amounts of data in new and faster ways.

One such service is unified communications, which Nortel chief technology officer John Roese defines broadly as multimedia features that allow people to interact and collaborate from any device and any location.

In terms of intelligent network services, 61 per cent of companies said they were interested in buying unified communications, which they considered to include integrated voice, e-mail, instant messaging, Web and video-conferencing functions.

In another news, Long Term Evolution (LTE), the 4G technology of choice for many major wireless carriers, won’t be commercially launched until at least 2010, but could see upwards of 32 million subscribers by 2013, according to a new study by ABI Research.

Asia-Pacific countries will account for much of LTE’s early growth, according to ABI, given that China Mobile, and Japan’s NTT Docomo and KDDI are expected to make use of the technology.

“ABI Research anticipates about 12 million Asia-Pacific LTE network subscribers in 2013,” said senior ABI analyst, Nadine Manjaro. “The remainder will be split about 60-40% between Western Europe and North America,” where Vodafone and Verizon Wireless (respectively) have announced plans to adopt LTE.

Meanwhile in Korea, KTF announced that its working on LTE with Samsung and ETRI. LG has also been working on LTE from the start.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Nokia, Google, Apple to battle the Mobile Ad market

The mobile ad market is suddenly going to become very hot with the launch of "Nokia Advertising Alliance".

In a press release we have been informed of the launch of the Nokia Advertising Alliance, which will simplify mobile advertising for brand advertisers. The program brings together leading mobile marketing solutions, including couponing, location-based targeting, image recognition, and other emerging technologies, to offer advertisers a simple way to increase consumer engagement. Now brands can work with Nokia to combine the reach of mobile advertising on the Nokia Media Network with the latest mobile technologies for more effective campaigns.

"The Advertising Alliance brings together the most innovative technologies in the market, and brings trust to brands who want to use them," said Scott Heron, Director of Digital Services at Wunderman.

Members of the Alliance are integrated with the Nokia Media Network allowing brands to plan, execute and measure mobile advertising campaigns through a single Nokia interface. A range of companies have been initially certified as Members of the Alliance, including i-movo, Mobile Acuity, Mobiqa, and uLocate, with many additional members in testing. Leading brands from the automotive to entertainment industries have built campaigns using the Nokia Advertising Alliance.

We are all aware of Google's ambition to dominate the mobile ad space. Google maps of my E61 already are able to tell me my location without the need of GPS. In fact they tell me the accuracy of my location as well. Some of us are already seeing the local ads appear on Google maps. In an interview last month, Eric Schmidt (Google CEO) said that soon we will be able to find property in an area when we switch on Google maps and maybe in 5 years time Google may become the largest Estate agent.

By the way, is Nokia trying to do the same with Nokia maps?

Google definitely likes to do things its own way. What is the possibility of it joining the Nokia alliance? What are the chances of the Nokia alliance wanting Google? Also we should probably not leave Apple with its iPhone out of the equation.

Apparently iPhone has some amazing discovery mechanism (sorry not used iPhone yet personally) which helps application creators push and advertise their applications to users and this helps increase the sales. Combine this with large touch screen and high quality video capability. This can create a deadly cocktail for advertisement if used properly. Apple is another player that wants to do things its own way. Wouldnt this create a three way battle?

And yes, we should for the time being forget the likes of Microsoft, Yahoo, etc.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

3GPP Selects Femtocell Architecture

Picked this up from Dean Bubley's post on his blog.
The Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) has adopted an official architecture for 3G femtocell home base stations.

The 3GPP wants to have the new standard done by the end of this year, which appears to be an aggressive time schedule given the fact that vendors had various approaches to building a femtocell base station. The agreed upon architecture follows an access network-based approach, leveraging existing standards, called IU-cs and Iu-ps interfaces, into the core service network. The result is a new interface called Iu-h.

The architecture defines two new network elements, the femtocell and the femtocell gateway. Between these elements is the new Iu-h interface. This solution was backed by Alcatel-Lucent, Kineto Wireless, Motorola and NEC.

All of the femtocell vendors must go back and change their access point and network gateway equipment to comply with the new standard interface.

All femtocell vendors will have to make changes to their access points. Alcatel-Lucent, Motorola, NEC, and those that already use Kineto's GAN approach, such as Ubiquisys, will have the least work to do.
Kineto Wireless, Inc., announced its full support for the 3GPP agreement reached last week on the Home NodeB (HNB) architecture for femtocell-to-core network connectivity. Recognizing that a standard is needed for the mass-market success of femtocells, Kineto took a lead role in developing consensus among the contributing companies. Having an agreed architecture marks a major milestone towards the completion of a global 3G femtocell standard.
The agreed 3GPP HNB architecture follows an access network-based approach, leveraging the existing Iu-cs and Iu-ps interfaces into the core service network. The architecture defines two new network elements, the HNB (a.k.a. Femtocell) and the HNB Gateway (a.k.a. Femto Gateway). Between these elements is the new Iu-h interface.
  • Home NodeB (HNB) – Connected to an existing residential broadband service, an HNB provides radio coverage for standard 3G handsets within a home. HNBs incorporate the capabilities of a standard NodeB as well as the radio resource management functions of a standard Radio Network Controller (RNC).
  • HNB Gateway (HNB-GW): Installed within an operator’s network, the HNB Gateway aggregates traffic from a large number of HNBs back into an existing core service network through the standard Iu-cs and Iu-ps interfaces.
  • Iu-h Interface: Residing between an HNB and an HNB-GW, the Iu-h interface includes a new HNB application protocol (HNBAP) for enabling highly-scalable, ad-hoc HNB deployment. The interface also introduces an efficient, scalable method for transporting Iu control signaling over the Internet.

With an agreement on an underlying femtocell architecture, 3GPP has now transitioned to the phase of developing detailed specifications. This work is targeted for completion by the end of 2008.

More Info:

Discovery Protocols for FMC devices

Today’s mobile computers include additional features such as Java, Bluetooth, Smart Covers, WAP 2.0, and JavaScript enabled Web pages and with embedded SOAP, 3GPP with SIP, and other technologies that make it possible to provide sophisticated, distributed applications. These new applications need Discovery tools to learn about the nearby networks or network-accessible resources available to them.

In future when FMC is common and PnP devices will be commonly available, when a user brings a new device home, the device will be able to automatically integrate itself into the home network. Discovery protocols are the mechanisms that make this possible.

Discovery protocols are network protocols used to discover services, devices, or other networked resources. The ability to discover networked resources at runtime makes it possible to dynamically configure distributed systems.

Over the past 20 years, dozens of discovery protocols have been developed. Despite many years of practical experience with discovery protocols, it remains an active area of research for many organizations investigating topics related to scalability or security or context awareness.
Usually, a discovery protocol allows a service to be discovered on the basis of its type, its Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), and other properties—not just its name. For example, DNS (Distributed Name Service) is a name service. It resolves domain names to Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. For example, SLP (Service Location Protocol) clients can ask for services that match certain constraints, and servers respond with the names of services that match those constraints.

In general, there are four basic mechanisms that discovery protocols use for “discovery.”
1. Advertisement
2. Inquiry
3. Directories
4. Description

The wide range of protocols, representation languages, and query languages has resulted in very little, if any, interoperability between the various discovery protocols. As a consequence, most commercially available systems implement multiple discovery protocols.

Supporting multiple protocols has major drawbacks. Many mobile devices are memory constrained or have inadequate user interface capabilities. This limitation makes it very undesirable to use multiple protocols when, at least theoretically, a single protocol would be sufficient. Users of laptops or desktops are not usually concerned with the cost or power consumption of the network they are connected to. Mobile phone users may be concerned inefficient protocols designed for Local Area Networks (LANs)—both the financial cost of using the cellular network and the drain on their batteries of using any network.

It is common for discovery protocols to come as an integrated part of a distributed middleware toolkit. In addition to discovery, distributed middleware toolkits provide for remote invocation and events. For example, SSDP (Simple Service Discovery Protocol) is part of UPnP (Universal Plug and Play); a suite of distributedcomputing technologies that includes SSDP, SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), and GENA (Generalized Event Notification Architecture). Likewise, Jini is a distributed middleware toolkit that provides its own services discovery protocol.

Distributed middleware toolkits make it possible to create smart controllers that (1) use discovery protocols to integrate themselves with the home devices, (2) are aware of the device state and display information from the device to the user, (3) receive responses from control messages, (4) can authenticate themselves as authorized for the device, and (5) coordinate the actions of many devices.

For more information see:

Monday, 2 June 2008

LTE v/s WiMax

In my last blog “LTE Latest News and Status” I wrote how LTE is developing as a technology how some companies are choosing LTE over WiMax.
But we still have a long way to go before it is clear that which technology will be the winner in the race of 4G.
Every now and then the trends are occurring in which one technology being preferred than the other.
But some of the recent developments have once again suggested that WiMax as a technology can’t be taken as lightly and is providing seriously competition for LTE.

WiMax already has a first-mover advantage over LTE. It is possible that WiMax could prove to be the winner in the 4G race against LTE (Long Term Evolution) simply because the technology is here, first.
Teresa Kellett, director of global development for telco Sprint Nextel, said during a panel discussion at WiMax Forum Asia 2008 that WiMax's first-mover advantage over LTE may help the former become a more widely-adopted technology eventually.

LTE is touted as the successor to the existing UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) 3G technology, capable of supporting significantly faster data rates.
Comparing the two competing technologies to another pair of competing standards--GSM and CDMA--she said GSM is the dominant cellular technology globally because it was first to market. CDMA, on which Sprint Nextel operates, has a stronger footprint in the United States.

"The head start a technology has is the key differentiator," said Kellett.
Another panellist, Scott Wickware, vice president of carrier networks for Nortel, said the exchange of knowledge is also beneficial to current players in the market in helping them in areas such as establishing business plans.
"This is the first time I'm seeing so much cooperation in the industry, so it's good to be a first mover," said Wickware.

Recent trends in the industry are showing that when some big gun like Nokia, Ericsson are choosing LTE then WiMax as a technology also has something to relish when it sees that Intel is in their camp.

But together with the competion between the two technolgies, both the camps also realise that to survive and instead of killing each other they might be complementary to each other and move towards the convergence.

Garth Collier, managing director, of Intel's WiMax division for Asia-Pacific and Japan, said he is "seeing for the first time a convergence in the cellular industry".
Collier raised the point of WiMax and 3G being complementary and the possibility of co-existence.

While the market waits for LTE, WiMax will serve as a "data overlay" for 3G, meant for delivering data where 3G's speeds are inadequate, while the cellular network continues to handle voice well, he said.

The emergence of dual mode or dual band devices is most likely to happen in the "early days" as the industry in developed markets embraces 4G technology, he said. Raising the example of Korea, he noted the availability of models which combine both HSDPA (high-speed downlink packet access) and WiBro functionality.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia, Wickware said he expects WiMax to find its place as a more cost-effective and quicker way for providers to turn on broadband in rural areas without having to lay physical copper or fibre infrastructure to homes.

This concept is not just contained to emerging markets. "Even in developed countries, there are pockets where coverage is not good, where the operators have not had a business case to provide standard broadband," said Wickware.

Furthermore, the ecosystem is growing, he said. "When you consider that companies such as Intel are very much backing WiMax, it is not a stretch to imagine many of the PCs or consumer electronics devices will drive the deployment of WiMax in developed urban areas, too," said Wickware.

LTE camp sees this competition and trying very hard to complete 3GPP specifications for LTE (36 series comprise of LTE specifications).In the recent RAN meeting in Kansas, USA (May 5 – 9 2008) it was concluded that most LTE specifications are about 95% ready (RRC about 80%).

So LTE is not keeping itself far behind and only time will tell who will score the goal in this extra time or the match might go to penalties.

IMS to succeed by serving LTE

IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystems) has been around for some time, and many infrastructure vendors have invested heavily in developing IMS capabilities, solutions and products. But market acceptance has been slower than expected. Now, with the 4G standards LTE (Long Term Evolution) and WiMAX taking shape, the IMS platform has been given a new role and a niche that will carry it a considerable distance into the future.

That is because some elements of IMS such as the Home Subscriber Server (HSS) and the Policy and Charging Rule Function (PCRF) are also key components in the LTE core architecture. Similar elements are also defined in WiMAX. These elements are required to enable the end-to-end QoS and dynamic charging capabilities required for the next generation of mobile data services.

“IMS, which enables the rapid creation and deployment of new services and applications, was rather slow to take off because operators weren’t quite sure how they were going to use it,” says ABI Research senior analyst Nadine Manjaro. “They struggled to find a business case for it. Now, the FCC in the United States has declared that winners of 700MHz spectrum must meet open application and device criteria. Verizon won most of that band in the recent auction, and will use it for LTE. Verizon launched its Open Development Initiative (ODI) based on IMS architecture called ‘Advance to IMS’ in March 2008. This interface for applications and devices will enable the openness that the FCC requires.”

Many operators and vendors are now moving to an open applications architecture: Sprint has mentioned it in reference to its application strategy and uses IMS as the base architecture for its High Performance Push to Talk (HPPTT) network scheduled to launch in June 2008. Nokia mentioned open devices and applications as a key initiative in its migration strategy. IMS will help to ease the transition to open development, and will be a fundamental part of future LTE and WiMAX networks.

More on this available available in this paper here.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Worlds Worst War

The annual D&AD award winners have been announced with a ‘Yellow Pencil’ going to an interesting campaign by Tokyo-based agency Hakuhodo for snack food client Tohato.

The World’s Worst War used two new spicy snack flavors as opposing forces and engaged players to invite friends, thereby increasing their own personal rank, to join forces of either the Habanero Evil Army or the dreaded Satan Jorquia… Yikes. Better to watch the video!

The simplest way to understand this is the self explanatory youtube video:

Tomi has interesting post on this here.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

E-MBMS out of Rel-8, CBS in

E-MBMS is out of Release 8 and CBS (Cell Broadcast Service) is back in LTE. CBS as far as I am aware is not used much anywhere except Japan. CBS has been added specifically as now there is requirement for EWTS (Earthquake and Tsunami Warning System) .

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Clever move from LTE camp regarding IPR costs

Finally, probably because of threat from WiMAX, LTE vendors have announced a mutual commitment to a framework for establishing predictable and more transparent maximum aggregate costs for licensing intellectual property rights (IPR) that relate to 3GPP Long Term Evolution and Service Architecture Evolution standards (LTE/SAE). The companies invite all interested parties to join this initiative which is intended to stimulate early adoption of mobile broadband technology across the communications and consumer electronic industries.

Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, NEC, NextWave Wireless, Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks and Sony Ericsson are the initial signatories

The framework is based on the prevalent industry principle of fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing terms for essential patents. This means that the companies agree, subject to reciprocity, to reasonable, maximum aggregate royalty rates based on the value added by the technology in the end product and to flexible licensing arrangements according to the licensors’ proportional share of all standard essential IPR for the relevant product category.

Femtocell Training

I am in process of preparing Femtocell training as couple of companies have already inquired. I am thinking of the following topics:

  What is a Femtocell
  Why do we need Femtocell
  One-phone, Blue-Phone and BT Fusion
  Different types of femto's including Femto++ and super-femtocell (PicoCell)
State of Market

  Key Players
  Whats going on
Femtocell Network Architecture

  UMA based architecture
  Iub over IP
  Iu over IP
  SIP/IMS based architecture
Security, etc.
Advanced Technical issues

   Auto Discovery
   Auto Provisioning
   Cognitive Radio Approach
   Open and Close femtocell
   RF Interference
Femtozone Services
Environment and Health effects

Can anyone suggest anything else?