Monday, 6 July 2009

LTE activity gathering pace


Wireless internet access is going to be a better, richer experience than fixed link access Professor Michael Walker, group R&D director at Vodafone told Wireless 2.0 conference in Bristol, organised by Silicon South-West.

“People think wireless can’t compete with fixed link, but it can”, said Walker, pointing out that the 100Mbit/s of FTTH is the same as the theoretical maximum throughput of LTE.

“LTE capacity on 20MHz is an order of magnitude higher than HSPA,” said Walker. He said that, “in the first real field trials,” average downlink speeds of 15Mbit/s, with 4.5 spectral efficiency, were achieved. “Wimax takes three times more spectrum”, he said.

“We decided with LTE that we would make sure the technology works before we buy spectrum,” said Walker.

To that end, Vodafone has been working with China Mobile and Verizon to make sure LTE has compatible standards.

Walker regards talk of a killer app as silly for LTE as it was for 3G. “LTE is just about access,” he said.

He predicted the gradual relative demise of the person-to-person phone calls, referencing data that showed 11 times more wireless traffic is being generated by community chatting than by person-to-person calls.

Ericsson, one of the world’s leading suppliers of mobile phones and related network solutions, has warned that it could be 2012 before the first true next generation Mobile Broadband networks gain a good foothold in the UK. The deployment of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology (aka - 4G), which could deliver download speeds of 150 to 1000Mbps, is being hampered by problems with releasing the needed 900Mhz spectrum.

Presently both O2 and Vodafone own some of the older 2G (900MHz) spectrum, which Ofcom is seeking to have redistributed to rival operators ( Orange , T-Mobile and Three (3) ). This could then be converted for use by 3G/4G voice and Mobile Broadband technologies, such as HSPA and LTE .
Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), although providing WiMAX solutions for Taiwan operators, plans to launch commercialized LTE (Long Term Evolution) solutions in 2010, Mike Wang, NSN's general manager for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

NSN has already received LTE solution orders from Japan-based NTT DoCoMo, which is expected to start offering LTE-based services in 2010, Wang stated.

In addition, NSN has also landed orders for the installment of LTE trial networks for T-Mobile and Singapore-based service provider Mobile One, he added.

LTE-enabled chipsets are expected to hit the market starting in the second half of 2009, followed by LTE USB modems and network cards in 2010 and other LTE CPE such as handsets, PDAs, tablet PCs in 2012, Wang predicted.

Japan's DoCoMo is reported to be planning an investment of ¥ 343 billion (US$3.4 billion) for the investment, while KDDI and Softbank Mobile have budgeted ¥ 515 billion and ¥207.3 billion, respectively. According to the Nikkei newspaper, among the four, LTE services are forecast to attract around 36 million subscribers, with DoCoMo projecting 17.74 million LTE customers.
The total investment will top ¥1 trillion (US$10 billion)

DoCoMo, KDDI and Softbank Mobile expect roughly 30% of their existing customers to switch to 3.9G services. DoCoMo is also reported to be expecting to upgrade or deploy some 20,000 LTE enabled base stations by 2014. The network should cover 50% of the population and commercial services will start in 2010.

LTE provides downlink peak rates of at least 100Mbit/s, 50 Mbit/s in the uplink and RAN round-trip times of less than 10ms. Fujitsu recently announced that, in collaboration with NTT DoCoMo, they had successfully completed field testing for LTE, using 4x4 MIMO technology, which resulted in data transmission speeds in the range of 120 Mbps (using 10 MHz bandwidth) in Sapporo's urban environment.

NTT DOCOMO has selected Alcatel-Lucent' Ethernet transmission solution to provide the backhaul network of its Long Term Evolution (LTE) service. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Alcatel-Lucent said its packet optical gear will provide NTT DOCOMO with cost-effective and flexible Ethernet-based aggregation and transport from the base stations to the core network. Specifically, the Alcatel-Lucent solution, based on the 1850 Transport Service Switch (TSS) and its universal switching technology, will provide multipoint Ethernet connections between cell sites supported by strong operations, administration and maintenance capabilities, as well as carrier-class protection and network management.

China Mobile Ltd., recognizing that future growth of its 3G services is not yet certain, is looking to secure its future with a nearly parallel development of Long Term Evolution (LTE) capabilities, according to its annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently.

High on the list of limitations TD-SCDMA imposes are the availability, functionality, and price of terminals, and the support for international roaming. The latter particularly impacts China Mobile's high-end and business customers.

China Mobile remains committed to TD-SCDMA, but at the same time it's going all out to develop converged time division duplex (TDD) and frequency division duplex (FDD) products for LTE, the proto-4G wireless technology set to be deployed by mobile operators worldwide.
Developing a simultaneous LTE strategy will enable China Mobile to limit the time it is dependent on TD-SCDMA, and also help it counter the constraints it's currently experiencing as a result of the TD-SCDMA sector's limited ecosystem.

The Chinese vendors have labored too long under the market perception that they deliver low cost equipment, but can't do cutting edge. To fight this image and enhance their position among tier one carriers, Huawei and ZTE are throwing everything - including their huge credit lines for vendor financing - at gaining early LTE trials, which puts them in the spotlight even if commercial roll-outs are often two years or more away. The latest points go to ZTE, which has won field trial contracts with Telefónica in Spain and CSL in Hong Kong.

This comes shortly after Huawei highlighted its LTE deal with Netcom of Norway, and the Chinese duo are, early market estimates indicate, coming close to Ericsson in terms of their penetration of stage one LTE trials - and ahead of Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens.

Telefónica confirmed reports by Light Reading that ZTE's trial will take place in the third quarter. While success at the Spanish firm may not translate into meaningful revenue any time soon (and Ericsson has already conducted LTE trials with Telefónica too), it will still be a major boost for the vendor. It has not been as successful in getting tier one western carrier deals as its compatriot - although its overall wireless equipment market share grew at a similar rate to that of Huawei in the past 12 months, its base is far more concentrated on the lower margin developing markets.

By contrast with Telefónica, CSL is already a major customer for ZTE and one of the first commercial users of its software defined base station platform, which it is currently rolling out in an IP-based HSPA+ network across Hong Kong. In a recent interview with Telecoms.com, Tarek Robbiati, CEO of the Telstra subsidiary, said: "Further consolidation will come in the next three to five years. In the end there will be only three [infrastructure vendors] left, and two of them will be Chinese. The European vendors are just too slow."

With LTE firmly at the top of the hype curve in 2009, WiMAX is somewhat overshadowed in the headlines, but did make a strong impression at last week's CommunicAsia show in Singapore, highlighting how the technology has gained a higher profile in Asia than in Europe - because of the importance of the Taiwanese ODMs and vendors like Samsung, as well as a large number of deployments in countries like Japan, Vietnam, Korea and Taiwan.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Create your own LTE tests in 15 minutes with Anritsu’s RTD

Today we take an exclusive look in this blog inside Anritsu’s Rapid Test Designer (a.k.a. RTD) tool. RTD is a very powerful tool that can be used to design LTE tests for R&D purpose. RTD works in conjunction with Anritsu’s MD8430A. MD8430A has not very long back won the CTIA Emerging technology award.

For WCDMA/HSPA testing, Anritsu offered Protocol Test System (PTS) for R&D purpose. For LTE the basic tool is the RTD. The advantage of RTD as opposed to earlier generation PTS is that RTD is GUI based development environment that can speed up development and very little knowledge of test script development environment like TTCN-2 and TTCN-3 is required.
The RTD is a software tool that sits on top of a control PC. It controls the Signalling Tester (hardware) MD8430A. The diagram above shows the setup and connections of different components. The hardware (MD8430A) simulates Layer 1 (PHY), MAC, RLC and PDCP. The software (RTD) is used to simulate RRC and NAS.

When the tool starts up you are offered typical options as in case of any software. Once you have clicked on new test and provided it with a name, you are up and creating your own scenario.

The simple procedures already have a name defined but you can start giving meaningful names to complex procedures. Each name signifies the action it will be performing. For example Cell Configuration will be used initially to configure the parameters of the cell.

Clicking on the Cell Configuration will provide you with the possible options that can be used to configure the cells like the SFN Offsets, etc. All the channels that are necessary for a cell can be configured here.

Here is my attempt to randomly create something :)

And try sending some message like RRC Connection release. Didn’t quite work because it’s not in the right sequence but just shows the ease with which things can be done.


This is run time result of one of the test cases.

It may take few hours to get the hang of RTD, but once you understand how it works, you can start creating your own tests and scenarios at full speed. There are also example procedures available to get you started ;)

"The MD8430A is being used by LTE chipset manufacturers to ensure the quality of their products, speed time to market, and reduce design and production test costs." - Wade Hulon, Vice President and General Manager of Anritsu Company, Americas Sales Region.

You can learn more about MD8430A and RTD by following the links below:

Note: All the information mentioned in this post is my personal view and does not represent Anritsu's official views. Also if you manage to take few more minutes to create your own test then please do not blame me ;)

Thursday, 2 July 2009

R&S bidding for LTE leadership

Free online LTE Tutorial is available at IEEE Communications Society Website, courtesy of Rohde & Schwarz. You can view the tutorial here.

Not long back, I saw R&S demo of CMW-500 with the LG UE at the LTE World Summit. R&S has also verified ETSI 3GPP LTE TTCN-3 test cases with Qasara and has shown successful interoperability testing between Qasara’s Virtual UE and Rohde & Schwarz's 3GPP LTE Virtual Tester.

There is also a LTE TDD Technology Overview available to download from their website here.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

3G Americas releases White Paper on MIMO (Smart Antennas)



3G Americas, a wireless industry trade association representing the GSM family of technologies including LTE, announced that it has published an educational report titled, MIMO Transmission Schemes for LTE and HSPA Networks as a tool to increase awareness of smart antenna systems – also known as multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology – and help guide their deployments in HSPA and LTE networks within 3GPP’s specifications and technology standards. The 3GPP evolution continues to be the leader in standardizing the most advanced forms of multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) antennas.

Smart antenna, or MIMO, technology is commonly defined as, the use of two or more unique radio signals, in the same radio channel, where each signal carries different digital information, or two or more radio signals that use beam forming, receive combining and spatial multiplexing (SM). Relative to a traditional 1x1 antenna system, a 2x2 MIMO system is expected to deliver significant cell throughput gain.

The MIMO Transmission Schemes for LTE and HSPA Networks report provides an overview and detailed information of the current and emerging MIMO techniques that significantly increase the performance of HSPA and LTE networks.

“Smart antenna technology has arrived and will be a vital part of mobile broadband communications,” stated Pantelis Monogioudis, Ph.D, of Alcatel-Lucent LTE-Advanced Technology Strategy. “It is an exciting time for smart antenna technology as 3GPP has provided the leading technical standards for MIMO that the industry will utilize to improve the capabilities of mobile broadband.”

MIMO was first standardized in 3GPP Release 6 (Rel-6), and was further developed in Rel-7 with spatial multiplexing for HSPA+ using Double Transmit Adaptive Array (D-TxAA). As the report highlights, the use of multiple antennas at both transmitter and receiver allows:

  • Substantial increase in peak data rate
  • Significantly higher spectrum efficiency, especially in low-interference environments
  • Increased system capacity (number of users)

Based on simulation results presented in the report, it was shown that the relatively simple MIMO transmission scheme based on 2x2 closed-loop SM, at low user equipment (UE) speeds, can increase by 20 percent the downlink (DL) sector spectral efficiency relative to a single antenna transmission, as well as increase the cell edge efficiency by approximately 35 percent. More advanced antenna configurations can provide benefits that are significant for users that are receiving a strong signal as well as cell edge users.

The 3GPP Rel-8 LTE specifications, completed in March 2009, included the most advanced forms of MIMO of any standard in the industry, and now, 3GPP is studying even more advanced MIMO enhancements for inclusion in 3GPP Rel-9 and Rel-10 for LTE-Advanced.

The white paper, MIMO Transmission Schemes for LTE and HSPA Networks, was written by members of 3G Americas, and is available for free download on the
3G Americas website here.

800 or 2600MHz: Frequency Impact on Fixed Deployments


From a presentation by Richard Keith, Director of Global Strategy, Broadband Access Solutions Home & Networks Mobility, Motorola at LTE World Summit

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Monday, 29 June 2009

Complex LTE IPR System


Markus Münkler, Vodafone Group R&D spoke about IPR Regime for LTE @ LTE World Summit, Berlin

Progress since 2005
•ETSI has improved visibility of standards essential IPR across its membership
•NGMN Ltd has produced indications of the total royalty burden of candidate technologies LTE & WiMAX
•Placed IPR royalty rates in the middle of the next generation mobile economy debate
•Raised the IPR discussions to the attention of the EU and other regulatory bodies
•Built a legally sound platform of trusted collaboration among technology stakeholders

Interim conclusion
•IPR transparency has improved among engaged industry stakeholders
•However, new challenges have emerged from outside the technologydevelopers
•Therefore, IPR royalties remain a stumbling block on mobile technology developments

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Firefly for British Kids



A new mobile designed for kids, the Firefly phone, is set to launch in Britain later this year, but the four year-old target audience already has adults in uproar.

The Firefly phone, a tiny handset for toddlers which packs just five buttons including “Mum” and “Dad” keys, and extensive parental controls, has been a hit in Ireland, and it set to go on sale in the UK later this year.

But the phone has caused concern amongst parental groups, with Aine Lynch, chief executive of the National Parents Council going so far as to question “where parental responsibility is going”.
“Why would kids need to be contacted by mobile phone? Why are they not in the care of their parents, teachers or supervisors?”, she said.


Indeed. Still it could be amusing to see nursery lessons interrupted by the Nokia ringtone, and we’ve seen tweens rocking iPhones before so perhaps a controlled environment is better than nothing at all. And certainly more appropriate than the Penis phone. We’ll let you know if the Firefly phone leads to the downfall of civilization or not.


Surprisingly this phone was announced couple of years back, I cant see why its taking so long.

The French have already said no to such phones but we Britishers are much more tolerant (in all aspects ;) so you may find children using them soon.

Tim Dowling from the Guardian argues against it:

There can be no earthly reason why a child of four would need a mobile phone, but there must be dozens of reasons why it shouldn't have a Firefly. Here are just a few:
  • It is not possible to conduct a fruitful phone conversation with a four year old, as you will know if you have ever tried.
  • Four-year-olds rarely, if ever, have information to impart of such significance that it cannot wait until they are five.
  • A Firefly costs £60. Without a sim card.
  • Your child should always be in the company of a responsible adult who has a phone you didn't have to pay for.
  • A four-year-old with its own phone will spend all day attempting to contact Pocoyo.
  • Four-year-olds never hang up.
  • 52% of children between the ages of five and nine already own a mobile. Chances are you will have to buy the child a phone next year anyway, and they won't want a pink toy that doesn't do YouTube.
  • If you don't know where your four-year-old is, there's no point in ringing him. He doesn't know where he is either.
  • For much less money you can get tiny T-shirts with your phone number and the word REWARD printed on them.
  • Four-year-olds are enough trouble as it is. The last thing we want to do is give them is the means to organise.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Femto Forum Awards 2009: Winners and Losers

The Femto Forum, Femtocells award for 2009 were announced at a dinner on Wednesday,24th of June. Here are the names of the finalists and the winners:


1. Femtocell or femtocell network element design and technology innovation
• Bewan Systems - Femtocell residential gateway
• ip.access Ltd - nano3G
• Motorola Inc - Digital picture frame
Winner: ip.access Ltd - nano3G Enterprise Solution.

The nano3G represents an evolution of the femtocell into the enterprise environment. Not only does it support the 3GPP's new femtocell standard, it also represents a step up in coverage and capacity.

2. Femtocell service (commercial, prototype or demo)
• ip.access Ltd - Facebook virtual fridge notes
• Softbank Mobile Corp - IMS-based Femto trial
• Ubiquisys Ltd - Podcast sync
Winner: ip.access Ltd - Facebook virtual fridge notes.

The service implements a "classic" application use case - where the subscriber receives a reminder message when arriving at home - but with an innovative extension that enables the message to be composed and sent using Facebook.

3. Progress in commercial deployment (vendor or ecosystem)
• NEC Corporation - Commercial contracts and live trials
• Softbank Mobile Corp - Metro area trial
• Starent Networks/Airwalk Communications/Cellcom/Mavenir Systems - Multi-vendor femtocell solution
Winner: NEC Corporation

This recognizes NEC's strong traction in the market with several commercial contracts in place and several live trials underway with operators around the world.

4. Significant progress or commercial launch by a large carrier
• Softbank Mobile Corp - Launch
• Sprint Nextel Corp - Launch
• Vodafone Group Services Ltd - Trial
Winner: Sprint Nextel Corp.

This recognizes this commercial launch, which was the world's first commercial deployment of femtocells.

5. Significant progress or commercial launch by a small carrier
• Cellcom - Launch
• Chungwa Telecom Co Ltd - Launch
Winner: Cellcom.

For Cellcom’s deployment of the world's first IMS-based CDMA femtocell network for consumers and enterprises.

6. Contribution to femtocell standards (individual or company)
• Alcatel Lucent - General contribution to femtocell standards
• Nokia Siemens Networks - General contribution to 3GPP femtocell standard
• Taka Yoshizawa - Contribution to femtocell management standardisation
Winner: Taka Yoshizawa, Thomson

For his pivotal role in defining the femtocell management specifications by working through the Femto Forum, the Broadband Forum and the 3GPP.

7. Enabling technology (components, subsystems, modules etc.)
• Epitiro - Femtocell test suite
• Kineto Wireless Inc - Femtocell gateway controller
• picoChip Designs Ltd - Optimized system-on-chip solution
Winner: picoChip Designs Ltd -picoXcell™ PC302 SoC.

This optimized system-on-chip, which supports the 3GPP's new femtocell standard, embodies five years of femtocell experience, comprehensive interoperability testing and numerous real-world deployments.

8. Social vision - use of femtocells for social / economic / environmental development
• Alcatel Lucent - Consumer research into femtocell usage patterns
• Sagem Communications - Ecodesign
• Softbank Mobile Corp - Niimi project
Winner: Softbank Mobile Corp - Niimi project.

The project illustrates how femtocells can be cost-effectively deployed to deliver services in rural environments where existing coverage is limited.

9. Award for individual contributions to Femto Forum activities
• Chris Cox of ip.access - For coordinating the FemtoZone at Mobile World Congress
• Chris Fenton of Telefonica-O2 - For achieving architectural consensus in the Network & Interoperability working group
• Taka Yoshizawa of Thomson - For leading the Management subgroup to completion of TR-196
• Aya Mukaikubo of Softbank Mobile - For wide-ranging contributions to the Marketing & Promotion and Regulatory Working Groups as well as the Services Special Interest Group
• Dave Nowicki of Airvana - For leading the business case modeling work to an outstanding conclusion
• Alan Law of Vodafone & Chris Smart of picoChip – For coordinating the interference management white paper.
Winner: Chris Fenton of Telefónica-O2

For achieving architectural consensus as chair of the Femto Forum Network & Interoperability Working Group.

“The judges were extremely impressed by the high quality and number of award submissions which reflect the health and innovation of the femtocell industry,” said Simon Saunders, Chairman of the Femto Forum. “The femtocell industry is rapidly evolving as major advances are made in the technology, standards, services and applications - these awards recognise and reward this progress. Our congratulations to the winners and to all those who participated.”

The awards were open to the whole industry and were judged independently of the Femto Forum by a panel of distinguished analysts, journalists and industry experts, chaired by Professor William Webb, Head of R&D at Ofcom.

The judging panel comprised:
• Chairman of the judging panel: Prof. William Webb - Head of R&D - Ofcom
• Dean Bubley - Director - Disruptive Analysis
• Michelle Donegan - European Editor - Unstrung
• Caroline Gabriel - Head of Research - Rethink Wireless
• Peter Jarich - Research Director - Current Analysis
• Aditya Kaul - Senior Analyst, Mobile Networks - ABI Research
• Phil Marshall - Senior Research Fellow, Technology Research - Yankee Group
• Mike Roberts – Principal Analyst, Informa Telecoms & Media
• Sam Samra - Senior Director, Technical Programs - CDMA Development Group
• Adrian Scrase - Vice-President - 3GPP

The Future of Mobile Content, TV & Entertainment

Interesting presentation