Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Ultra Self Organising Networks (UltraSON)

While watching the Femtocell Video, I was a bit curious on what exactly UltraSON does, so I decided trying to find more info. Surprisingly the information was hard to come by. I finally managed to find the Qualcomm site that has more details but surprisingly it wasnt east to find. From the website (link at bottom):

Qualcomm femtocell R&D program is focused on developing self organizing network features to address interference and mobility management for femtocell deployment in residential and enterprise environments. Interference and mobility management is a chief concern especially when operators are planning for high levels of perfromace from dense and an unplanned femtocell deployments. Qualcomm has developed UltraSON™, a comprehensive suite of interference and mobility management techniques for femtocell deployments in residential and enterprises.

The techniques that make UltraSON:


More details on UltraSON at : http://www.qualcomm.com/research/femtocells

Interesting promotional Femtocell video by Qualcomm

Friday, 26 August 2011

Two interesting NGMN papers on Backhaul

There are some interesting blog posts on Broadband Traffic Managemenet on Backhaul. Here are few excerpts:

Traditional network management practice says that network element usage level should not exceed 70% of its capacity. If it does - it is time to do something - buy more or manage it better. So, according to a recent Credit Suisse report - it is time to do something for wireless networks, globally. For North America, where current utilization at peak time reaches 80% it is even urgent.

Phil Goldstein (pictured) reports to FierceWireless that - "Wireless networks in the United States are operating at 80 percent of total capacity, the highest of any region in the world, according to a report prepared by investment bank Credit Suisse. The firm argued that wireless carriers likely will need to increase their spending on infrastructure to meet users' growing demands for mobile data .. globally, average peak network utilization rates are at 65 percent, and that peak network utilization levels will reach 70 percent within the next year. .. 23 percent of base stations globally have capacity constraints, or utilization rates of more than 80 to 85 percent in busy hours, up from 20 percent last year .. In the United States, the percentage of base stations with capacity constraints is 38 percent, up from 26 percent in 2010"

And

The Yankee Group provides the following forecast for mobile backhaul:
Average macrocell backhaul requirements were 10 Mbps in 2008 (seven T1s, five E1s). In less than three years, they have more than tripled to 35 Mbps in 2011, and by 2015, Yankee Group predicts they will demand 100 Mbps.
There were 2.4 million macro cell site backhaul connections worldwide in 2010, growing to 3.3 million by [2015?]
Yankee's new research conclude:

"The market for wholesale backhaul services in North America will grow from $2.45 billion in 2010 to $3.9 billion in 2015, with the majority of this growth coming from Ethernet backhaul. Successful backhaul service providers will be those that can demonstrate price/performance and reliability, have software tools in place and can meet the specific needs of the mobile market.

And recently:

A Dell'Oro Group report forecasts that "Mobile Backhaul market revenues are expected to approach $9B by 2015. This updated report tracks two key market segments: Transport, which includes microwave and optical equipment, and Routers and Switches, which includes cell site devices, carrier Ethernet switches, and service provider edge routers .. routers and switches expected to constitute 30% of mobile backhaul market "

Shin Umeda, Vice President of Routers research at Dell’Oro Group said: “Our research has found that operators around the world are concerned with the rate of mobile traffic growth and are transitioning to Internet Protocol (IP) technologies to build a more efficient and scalable backhaul network. Our latest report forecasts the demand for IP-based routers and switches will continue to grow through 2015, almost doubling the market size of the Router and Switches segment in the five-year forecast period”

I have some basic posts on why Backhaul is important, here and here.

NGMN has timely released couple of whitepapers on the Backhaul.

The first one, 'Guidelines for LTE Backhaul Traffic Estimation' document describes how a model is developed to predict traffic levels in transport networks used to backhaul LTE eNodeBs. Backhaul traffic is made up of a number of different components of which user plane data is the largest, comprising around 80-90% of overall traffic, slightly less when IPsec encryption is added. These results reveal that the cell throughput characteristics for data carrying networks are quite different to those of voice carrying networks.

The purpose of second one, 'NGMN Whitepaper LTE Backhauling Deployment Scenarios' is to support operators in their migration from current architectures to new, packet-based backhaul networks. With the introduction of LTE operators need to look at how the backhauling network, the network domain that connects evolved NodeBs (eNBs) to MME and S/P-GW, is capable of adapting to the new requirements, namely the adoption of a packet infrastructure, without disrupting the existing services. This paper introduces some reference architectures, moving from a pure layer 2 topology to a full layer 3 one, discussing some elements to be considered in the design process of a network.

They are both long but interesting read if you like to learn more about Backhaul and the best way in future proofing the network deployments.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

LTE Advanced HetNet Benefits!

Presentation from Qualcomm Webinar, LTE-Advanced Hetnet benefits.


Qualcomm is undisputed leader in the LTE chipsets and have been pushing hard for the next generation LTE-A chipsets. Here is a promotional LTE-Advanced Video on Youtube:

Monday, 22 August 2011

MU-MIMO (and DIDO)

Late last month a guy called Steve Perlman announced of a new technology called DIDO (Distributed-Input-Distributed-Output) that could revolutionise the way wireless transmission works and can help fix the channel capacity problem as described by Shannon's formula. A whitepaper describing this technology is available here.

I havent gone through the paper in any detail nor do I understand this DIDO very well but what many experienced engineers have pointed out is that this is MU-MIMO in disguise. Without going into any controversies, lets look at MU-MIMO as its destined to play an important part in LTE-Advanced (the real '4G').

Also, I have been asked time and again about this Shannon's channel capacity formula. This formula is better known by its name Shannon-Hartley theorem. It states:

C <= B log2 (1 + S/N)
where:
C = channel capacity (bits per second)
B = bandwidth (hertz)
S/N = Signal to Noise ratio (SNR)

In a good channel, SNR will be high. Take for example a case when SNR is 20db then log2 (1 + 100) = 6.6. In an extremely noisy channel SNR will be low which would in turn reduce the channel capacity.

In should be pointed out that the Shannon's formula holds true for all wireless technologies except for when multiuser transmission like MU-MIMO (or DIDO) is used.

Anyway, I gave a simple explanation on MU-MIMO before. Another simple explanation of what an MU-MIMO is as explained in this video below:




The picture below (from NTT) gives a good summary of the different kinds of MIMO technology and their advantages and disadvantages. More details could be read from here.

Click to enlarge

As we can see, MU-MIMO is great but it is complex in implementation.

Click to enlarge

Multiuser MIMO technology makes it possible to raise wireless transmission speed by increasing the number of antennas at the base station, without consuming more frequency bandwidth or increasing modulation multiple-values. It is therefore a promising technology for incorporating broadband wireless transmission that will be seamlessly connected with wired transmission in the micro waveband (currently used for mobile phones and wireless LAN, and well suited to mobile communications use), where frequency resources are in danger of depletion. Since it also allows multiple users to be connected simultaneously, it is seen as a solution to the problem specific to wireless communications, namely, slow or unavailable connections when the number of terminals in the same area increases (see Figure 9 above).

There is a good whitepaper in NTT Docomo technical journal that talks about Precoding and Scheduling techniques for increasing the capacity of MIMO channels. Its available here. There is also a simple explanation of MIMO including MU-MIMO on RadioElectronics here. If you want to do a bit more indepth study of MU-MIMO then there is a very good research paper in the EURASIP Journal that is available here (Click on Full text PDF on right for FREE download).

Finally, there is a 3GPP study item on MIMO Enhancements for LTE-Advanced which is a Release-11 item that will hopefully be completed by next year. That report should give a lot more detail about how practical would it be to implement it as part of LTE-Advanced. The following is the justification of doing this study:

The Rel-8 MIMO and subsequent MIMO enhancements in Rel-10 were designed mostly with homogenous macro deployment in mind. Recently, the need to enhance performance also for non-uniform network deployments (e.g. heterogeneous deployment) has grown. It would therefore be beneficial to study and optimize the MIMO performance for non-uniform deployments where the channel conditions especially for low-power node deployments might typically differ from what is normally encountered in scenarios considered so far.

Downlink MIMO in LTE-Advanced has been enhanced in Release 10 to support 8-layer SU-MIMO transmission and dynamic SU-MU MIMO switching. For the 8-tx antenna case, the CSI feedback to support downlink MIMO has been enhanced with a new dual-codebook structure aimed at improving CSI accuracy at the eNB without increasing the feedback overhead excessively. Precoded reference symbols are provided for data demodulation, allowing arbitrary precoders to be used by the eNB for transmission. In many deployment scenarios, less than 8 tx antennas will be employed. It is important to focus on the eNB antenna configurations of highest priority for network operators.

The enhancement of MIMO performance through improved CSI feedback for high priority scenarios not directly targeted by the feedback enhancements in Release 10, especially the case of 4 tx antennas in a cross-polarised configuration, in both homogeneous and heterogeneous scenarios should be studied.

MU-MIMO operation is considered by many network operators as important to further enhance system capacity. It is therefore worth studying further potential enhancement for MU-MIMO, which includes UE CSI feedback enhancement and control signaling enhancement. Furthermore, open-loop MIMO enhancements were briefly mentioned but not thoroughly investigated in Rel-10.

In addition, the experience from real-life deployments in the field has increased significantly since Rel-8. It would be beneficial to discuss the experience from commercial MIMO deployments, and identify if there are any potential short-comings and possible ways to address those. For example, it can be discussed if robust rank adaptation works properly in practice with current UE procedures that allow a single subframe of data to determine the rank. In addition the impact of calibration error on the performance could be discussed.

This work will allow 3GPP to keep MIMO up to date with latest deployments and experience.


Saturday, 20 August 2011

Lobbying for more Spectrum

The following Video is prepared by Mobile Future which is a coalition in the US of some major companies and have been lobbying for increase in the availability of the Spectrum.


Friday, 19 August 2011

Patent Wars Part 2 - Who is suing whom

Continuing from the earlier post on the Patent Wars, here is a chart on who is suing whom.


Via: ReadWrite Mobile & Reuters

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Patent Wars!

Patent wars has picked up force in the recent few months. Last week the Samsung Galaxy S2 Android phone was banned from the EU due to a suit from Apple but this ban has now been lifted. HTC has sued Apple over patents infringement and is asking for a ban in the US.

Patents are becoming more and more important. In June, Apple and Microsoft (once cut-throat rivals) teamed up with four other companies to pay $4.5 billion for the 6,000 patents held by the bankrupt Nortel Networks. This works out to $750,000 a patent. Google is now in the process of buying Motorola

NY Times report says:

Motorola Mobility in no small part because of its stockpile of 17,000 patents. The patent portfolio, some analysts estimate, could represent more than half of the value of the deal, or more than $400,000 a patent. If so, it was a relative bargain compared to the Apple and Microsoft aquisition of Nortel patents.

In the case of Motorola, Google was under pressure from its big handset partners, including HTC and Samsung, to protect them from patent-infringement suits based on their use of Google’s Android software. And Motorola has an impressive collection of mobile phone patents, a powerful weapon in patent negotiations.

Handset makers and mobile carriers are certainly hoping that Google’s purchase of Motorola will ease tensions in the smartphone market — a patent armistice among rival powers. Verizon on Tuesday welcomed the deal as a move that might well “bring some stability to the ongoing smartphone patent disputes,” John Thorne, senior vice president and deputy general counsel, said in a statement. Verizon Wireless, owned by the Vodafone Group and Verizon Communications, sells both Android-powered phones and iPhones.

In a recent blog post, David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer, wrote that a modern smartphone might be susceptible to as many as 250,000 potential patent claims (see picture below), depending on how broadly those patents and claims were interpreted.

There was some interesting analysis on the Google Motorola deal by one Josh Pritchard in Quora:

Assuming Google would find value in the patent portfolio and not the operating businesses, an acquisition would presumably only make sense if Google had another partner (or partners), like HTC or Samsung, that wanted Motorola Mobility's operating businesses. If they could work out an arrangement with Google getting the patents and a partner (or partners) taking the other assets, then I'll argue that an acquisition could make a lot of sense based on a sum of the parts analysis.

Motorola Mobility has ~$3.2B in cash (~$170M are hiding as "cash deposits" on a separate line in the balance sheet, and are easily overlooked) with another $225M in additional payments from MSI still pending. They have $2.4B in deferred tax assets, though without reasonable expectations for operational profitability, they carry a $2.3B valuation allowance (again, easily overlooked). If the patents portfolio is worth anywhere near what Google [and Intel] bid on the Nortel patents, say $3.5B, then the sum of those parts is well over $11B in potential value. That's before assigning *any* value to the mobile and set-top operating businesses themselves.

But the operating businesses are almost certainly not worthless. They are set to generate ~$14B in revenue this year and the mobile business, with 41% Y/Y growth, is finally set to become profitable in Q4 of this year... if you believe the company's estimates. If a partner of Google's could reasonably expect to consume the operating businesses and then use their scale and/or superior supply chain to quickly bring them to even greater profitability, it's easy to imagine them being willing to pay at least some fraction of this year's revenue for the businesses, separate from the cash and tax assets. A multiple of .25X on this year's sales would be $3.5B. Seems low.

In total, that's in the neighborhood of $15B in value for a company that currently has a market cap under $7B. So, one might conclude that Google and its partner(s) could pay somewhere between those two numbers, providing a significant premium to market while still acquiring the assets below their fair value.

Of course, there are some restrictions on what MMI can do in its first 24 months as an independent entity, per the terms of the Tax Sharing Agreement documented in the 10-12B/A from the separation in January (when MOT became MSI and MMI). Per my understanding of those terms, if MMI takes actions that compromise the tax-free standing of the separation, as an outright acquisition might do, then they would be on the hook for any resulting tax liabilities. However, as the agreement states, "Though valid as between the parties, the Tax Sharing Agreement is not binding on the IRS" -- and, moreover, I believe there is quite a bit of leeway in terms of how an agreement could be structured in order to preserve the tax-free standing of the separation.


Whatever the case, a Twitter joke suggested that is people would want to retain jobs in Motorola, they better dress up as Patents and go to work.

Finally, patent pools is a good idea and can avoid lots of potential lawsuits and counter-suits. One such company very active in promoting a pool is Sisvel. A presentation from them in the LTE World Summit is embedded below.