Sunday 1 August 2010

The Tester's Prayer

The Tester's Prayer

Oh Lord, give us our daily bugs;
and the wisdom to find the solution or pass the blame.

Oh Lord, help us find the problems before the developers;
for if they fix the problems there may be none for us left to find.

Oh Lord, make sure that developers dont fix their problems properly;
for it gives us time to sit and relax.

Oh Lord, grant us the patience when same problem comes again and again;
for some things are better left unfixed for us to find.

Oh Lord, grant us serenity when all things work fine;
and the belief that things will soon fall in line.

Thanks to everyone who contributed and helped refine this over the years :)

Saturday 31 July 2010

NTT DoCoMo announces 'Crossy'

NTT DoCoMo unveiled the brand name and logo of its forthcoming LTE next-generation mobile service for the Japanese market, which is scheduled to launch in December. The brand name is written Xi™ and read “crossy.” The logo is shown below.

The “X” denotes both “connection” and “infinite possibility,” and the “i” both “individual user” and “innovation.” The logo, which resembles the infinity symbol, aligns the letters in a single stream to embody the bonds that organically link people, goods and information, and lead to new innovation.

DOCOMO’s Xi LTE service will offer downlinks of up to 75 Mbps, approximately 10 times faster than the company’s current FOMA™ 3G service. Initially, Xi will be available in the Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka areas, but coverage eventually will be expanded to other major cities and then additional areas of the nation. Xi users will be seamlessly handed over to the FOMA network whenever they leave a Xi service area.

Xi handsets, billing plans and other details will be announced later.

Meanwhile the world got its fourth commercial LTE network this week, and its first outside the Nordic region - in the unlikely telecoms hotspot of Uzbekistan.

The Uzbek launch came from Russian giant MTS, and shows how some emerging global telecoms players plan to leapfrog rivals by deploying LTE or WiMAX in markets where 3G is under-developed, and then harness that experience for their mainstream territories. MTS follows TeliaSonera's three LTE commercial switch-ons (in Sweden and Norway plus a soft launch in Finland).

MTS calls its new network "the first fully operational 4G network in the CIS and Central Asia" and is it initially available in the central zone of capital Tashkent, boasting theoretical peak speeds of up to 100Mbps using dongles. The network runs in the 2.5-2.7GHz band and the equipment comes from Huawei.

Thursday 29 July 2010

Benefits Of Self-Organising Networks

I have blogged about SON's on different occasions. Recently I came across SOCRATES project that aims at the development of self-organisation methods to enhance the operations of wireless access networks, by integrating network planning, configuration and optimisation into a single, mostly automated process requiring minimal manual intervention.

Future communication networks will exhibit a significant degree of self-organisation. The principal objective of introducing self-organisation, comprising self-optimisation, self-configuration and self-healing, is to effectuate substantial operational expenditure (OPEX) reductions by diminishing human involvement in network operational tasks, while optimising network efficiency and service quality.

Regarding the technological scope, SOCRATES primarily concentrates on wireless access networks, as the wireless segment generally forms the bottleneck in end-to-end communications, both in terms of operational complexity and network costs. As a consequence, the largest gains from self-organisation can be anticipated here. We select the 3GPP LTE (3rd Generation Partnership Project, Long Term Evolution) radio interface as the central radio technology in our studies. The reason for this choice is that 3GPP LTE is the natural, highly promising and widely supported evolution of the world’s most popular cellular networking technologies (GSM/EDGE, UMTS/HSPA).

The SOCRATES project is supported by the European Union under the 7th Framework Program, and will run from January 1, 2008 until December 31, 2010.

You can view and download all the presentations from the SOCRATES Project here.

Wednesday 28 July 2010

MSF LTE Interoperability White Paper, Jun 2010

This white paper provides a summary of the MultiService Forum’s (MSF) Global LTE Interoperability event which took place from March 15-30, 2010.

The LTE Interoperability Event is designed to test standards compliance of Evolved Packet Core network scenarios of interest to major Service Providers, and to gauge vendor support for this technology. Building on the success of previous Global MSF Interoperability (GMI) events, the LTE Interoperability event provided the first global “real network” multi-vendor trial of the Evolved Packet Core infrastructure.

Incorporating the Evolved Packet Core defined within the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Release 8 (R8) standards, the MSF architecture introduced new access tiles to support LTE access and non-3GPP (specifically eHRPD) access to EPC. The IMS core network provided the application layer for which services may be deployed, and the binding of Quality of Service utilizing the Policy and Charging Control (PCC) for the bearer.

The event demonstrated that most of the defined LTE/EPC interfaces were mature and interoperable; however limited backwards compatibility between different implementations of 3GPP Release 8 specifications did create some issues. The fact that 3GPP does not require backward compatibility is a known limitation, but it is important to understand that this is limiting interoperability with commercially available equipment. Service providers will need to factor this into vendor selection.

Highlights of the event included:-
  • Sessions were successfully established via LTE access to EPC, with creation of default and dedicated bearers with appropriate Quality of Service applied.
  • An end-to-end IMS Voice over LTE session was also successfully demonstrated,
  • Access to the EPC via a simulated eHRPD access was successfully tested.
  • Handover between LTE and eHRPD,
  • Roaming was successfully tested.
Though the essential standards are reasonably mature, the implementation of early versions of the standards within several of the available implementations of network nodes highlights the problems that can arise due to non-backwards compatibility between 3GPP releases. It is also clear that early implementations have focused initially on development of LTE access to EPC and that support for legacy access (2G/3G) to EPC is somewhat behind. Events such as the MSF LTE Interoperability event highlight these issues and prove the validity of the MSF approach to achieving multi-vendor interoperability.

This paper is available to download from here.

Tuesday 27 July 2010

'Single-Vendor LTE' from Alcatel-Lucent

Alcatel-Lucent is positioning itself as the only single-vendor solution that service providers need to deploy Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, including everything from the radio access network and mobile backhaul to routing, base stations, and applications enablement.

The infrastructure giant is taking this message on the road with a 53-foot LTE trailer equipped with 84 TVs to demo what next-generation networks can do, besides just make things really, really fast.

In fact, one theme in all of Alcatel-Lucent’s demos isn't the speed, but the need for one throat to choke when deploying LTE, whether an operator is evolving from a 2G or 3G network or starting from scratch -- the route AlcaLu hopes they will take.

The other strong theme is the applications LTE will enable, both for businesses and consumers, and AlcaLu's strong position with the developer community. The Alcatel-Lucent trailer not only demos multiple applications, many of which are video-based, but shows how they can run simultaneously on LTE.

One significant challenge will be Alcatel-Lucent's ability to blend those two themes.

Read the complete article at Light Reading here.

Meanwhile, Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg has been complaining that there are components shortage industry-wide. "We share the same suppliers with consumer electronics makers and others," said Vestberg. "There is a fierce competition for those components."

Vestberg said he believes the components pipeline will open up soon, although other networks providers don't look for much of a supply improvement for several months.

Ericsson has been digesting the Nortel acquisition, which solidified its position as the leading LTE infrastructure provider. It also gained an important beachhead in South Korea with its acquisition of Nortel LG, now Ericsson LG.

"Over the past years, we have gone through major changes with cost reductions and strengthened portfolio and market presence while maintaining our technology leadership," said Vestberg. "The cost reduction program initiated in the first quarter 2009 has been completed, reaching its target. Going forward, cost and capital efficiency will remain top of our agenda."

Read the complete article at Information Week here.

Monday 26 July 2010

Qualcomm probably given up on Mobile TV idea

Bad news for Mobile TV proponents and supporters.

Qualcomm apparently is in talks to sell off its struggling MediaFLO digital mobile TV business, executives said in a conference call on Wednesday.

The announcement came during the conference call accompanying Qualcomm's third-quarter earnings. Qualcomm reported net income of $767 million, up 4 percent from a year ago, on revenue of $2.71 billion, which decreased 2 percent over the same period a year ago.

During the call, Qualcomm chief executive Paul Jacobs announced the new direction for its MediaFLO business, a subsidiary of Qualcomm. MediaFLO brands its digital mobile television service as FLO TV. Qualcomm had saddled the business with a three-year, nonrefundable prepaid service agreement, which apparently hasn't helped MediaFLO's prospects.

"With respect to our FLO TV business, we're engaged in discussions with a number of partners regarding the future direction of the business," Jacobs said, according to a transcript by Seeking Alpha. "We are considering a number of alternatives and we will update you as appropriate."

This news comes at a time when Mobile TV business as a whole is not doing very well. Couple of weeks back I blogged about Mobile TV in China which has not been as successful as initially thought.

Qualcomm was one of the early proponents on another technology called MBMS. Couple of years back they decided to back MediaFLO and not focus much on MBMS. They bought the 700MHz spectrum in the US and launched nationwide TV network. This is also used by other carriers to deliver broadcasts to their devices.

In fact just a few months back they were pushing their standalone FLO TV device. Anyway, it seems they have probably given up on Mobile TV idea like a lot of others who dont see much return for the investment in Mobile TV. The average person is happy and content just to be able to watch Youtube on their mobile.

The following is from Rethink Wireless:

One option might be to shutter MediaFLO itself and sell on the licenses and tower assets - 700MHz is seen as beachfront spectrum in the US, and both Verizon and AT&T will build their initial LTE networks there. Jacobs made clear, in an interview with GigaOM, that he would rather keep MediaFLO as a content system. He said: "We want to see FLO continue so it's not like we'd want to sell the spectrum, but there are certainly people who would buy it for the spectrum. The spectrum is extremely valuable."

Qualcomm always intended to sell MediaFLO eventually - its usual route when it invests in spectrum and builds networks. The same pattern will be seen in India, where it will work with local partners to create a TD-LTE system in the 2.3GHz spectrum it recently acquired and then will sell the business on once established. However, it would have hoped to make more return on its investment in FLO before exiting. "We put FLO TV operations into our strategic investments for financial reporting because we always intended to get out of the operator business. …. It's not operating the way we want it to - it's not necessarily our core business, so we're looking at our options," Jacobs said in the same interview.

Saturday 24 July 2010


For my son's birthday, we got him a iPod; my daughter got an iPhone for hers. I was extremely delighted to receive an iPad for my birthday. Thinking along the same lines, for my wife's birthday, I got her an iRon. Thats when the fight started...

Friday 23 July 2010

Shunning mobiles in favour of Landlines

I guess its time to clean the cobwebs off the landlines. I was reading David Chambers analysis on Homezone tarrifs and it reminded me of the time when I would get big bundle of voice minutes to call using my mobile from home. In those days the voice quality seemed better, signal strength indicator was high and there were hardly any dropped calls.

Nowadays, the signal strength seems to have gone worse whether I am in the office or at home, the voice on the calls keeps breaking, there are too many dropped calls.

To give you an idea of what's going wrong; My phone kept stationary at the table has 4 bars strength of 3G/HSPA, it suddenly becomes 1 bar after 2-3 minutes then hands me over to what the phone says GPRS then the phone says EDGE. If the phone says EDGE then my calls drop within 2 minutes. If my phone says GPRS then I am worried that if it hands over to 3G then my call will drop. If the phone says 3G then unless there are 3 bars, the voice breaks.

Last week I used my landline phone after maybe a year or so and that reminded me how good the voice quality is. In theory the voice quality using mobile phone should be as good as the landline but in practice that may not be true. Of course the wideband AMR can offer much better HD voice but I need reliable voice more than HD voice.

So for the time being, I am going to be sticking with the landlines as far as possible due to reliable and clear communications and wait for the mobiles/networks to catch up.