Monday, 29 April 2019

Evolution of Security from 4G to 5G


Dr. Anand Prasad, who is well known in the industry, not just as CISO of Rakuten Mobile Networks but also as the Chairman of 3GPP SA3, the mobile communications security and privacy group, recently delivered a talk on '4G to 5G Evolution: In-Depth Security Perspective'.


The video of the talk is embedded below and the slides are available here.



An article on similar topic by Anand Prasad, et al. is also available on 3GPP website here.


Related posts and articles:

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Wi-Fi 6 (a.k.a. 802.11ax) and other Wi-Fi enhancements

Last year I wrote about how Wi-Fi is getting new names. 802.11ax for example, the latest and greatest of the Wi-Fi standards is known as Wi-Fi 6. There were many announcements at MWC 2019 about WiFi 6, some of which I have captured here.

I came across a nice simple explanatory video explaining Wi-Fi 6 for non-technical people. Its embedded below.


The video is actually sponsored by Cisco and you can read more about Wi-Fi 6 and comparison of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G on their pages.

At MWC19, Cisco was showing Passpoint autoconnectivity on Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+ or Note 9 device. According to their blog:

Together, we’re working to provide a better bridge between mobile and Wi-Fi networks. At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona we’ll show the first step in that journey. Anyone using a Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+ or Note 9 device (and those lucky enough to have an early Galaxy S10) over the Cisco-powered guest wireless network will be able to seamlessly and securely connect – without any manual authentication. No portal, no typing in passwords, no picking SSIDs, no credit cards — just secure automatic connectivity.  How?  By using credentials already on your phone, like your operator SIM card.  Even if your operator doesn’t currently support Passpoint autoconnectivity, your Samsung smartphone will!  As a Samsung user, you already have an account for backups and device specific applications. This credential can also be used for a secure and seamless onboarding experience, supporting connectivity to enterprise, public and SP access networks.

It's worth mentioning here that the WPA2 authentication algorithm is being upgraded to WPA3 and we will see broad adoption this year, in conjunction with 802.11ax. See the tweet for details

Broadcom announced their new BCM43752, Dual-Band 802.11ax Wi-Fi/Bluetooth 5 Combo Chip. Motley Fool explains why this is interesting news:

The chip specialist is rounding out its Wi-Fi 6 portfolio to address lower price points.

When Samsung announced its Galaxy S10-series of premium smartphones, wireless chipmaker Broadcom announced, in tandem, that its latest BCM4375 Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity combination chip is powering those new flagship smartphones. That chip was the company's first to support the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard, which promises significant performance improvements over previous-generation Wi-Fi technology.

The BCM4375 is a high-end part aimed at premium smartphones, meaning that it's designed for maximum performance, but its cost structure (as well as final selling price) is designed for pricier devices that can handle relatively pricey chips.

Broadcom explains that the BCM43752 "significantly reduces smartphone bill of materials by integrating [radio frequency] components such as power amplifiers (PAs) and low-noise amplifiers (LNAs) into the device."

The idea here is simple: Since these components are integrated in the chip that smartphone makers are buying from Broadcom, those smartphone makers won't need to buy those components separately.

In the press release, Broadcom quoted Phil Solis, research director at the market research company IDC, as saying that this chip "reduced costs by going down to single core, 2X2 MIMO for Wi-Fi, integrating the PAs and LNAs, and offering flexible packaging options while keeping the same functionality as their flagship combo chip." 

Broadcom explains that this chip is targeted at "the broader smartphone market where high performance and total solution cost are equally important design decisions."

In addition to these, Intel showed a demo of Wi-Fi 6 at 6GHz. Most people are aware that Wi-Fi uses 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz & 60 GHz band. According to Wi-Fi Now:

So why is that important? Simply because 6 GHz Wi-Fi is likely the biggest opportunity in Wi-Fi in a generation – and because Intel’s demo shows that Wi-Fi chipset vendors are ready to pounce on it. The demonstration was a part of Intel’s elaborate Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) demonstration set at MWC.

“When this enhancement [meaning 6 GHz spectrum] to Wi-Fi 6 rolls out in the next couple of years, it has the potential to more than double the Wi-Fi spectrum with up to 4x more 160 MHz channel deployment options,” said Doron Tal, Intel’s General Manager Wireless Infrastructure Group, in his blog here. Doron Tal emphasises that the prospect of including 6 GHz bands in Wi-Fi for the time being realistically only applies to the US market.

Intel also says that a growing number of currently available PCs already support 160 MHz channels, making them capable of operating at gigabit Wi-Fi speeds. This means that consumers will get ‘a pleasant surprise’ in terms of speed if they invest in a Wi-Fi 6 home router already now, Intel says.

It may however take a while before US regulator FCC finally rules on allowing Wi-Fi to operate in the 6 GHz bands. Right now the FCC is reviewing dozens of response submissions following the issuing of the NPRM for unlicensed 6 GHz operation – and they will likely have their hands full for months while answering a litany of questions as to prospective new 6 GHz spectrum rules.

Also an important part of the 6 GHz story is the fact that the IEEE only weeks ago decided that – as far as the 802.11 standards are concerned – only Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) will be specified to operate in the 6 GHz band. That means 6 GHz will be pristine legacy-free territory for Wi-Fi 6 devices.

That brings us to the Wi-Fi evolution that will be coming after 802.11ax. IEEE 802.11 Extremely High Throughput (EHT) Study Group was formed late last year that will be working on defining the new 802.11be (Wi-Fi 7?) standards. See tweet below:

The interesting thing to note here is that the Wi-Fi spectrum will become flexible to operate from 1 GHz to 7.125 GHz. Of course the rules will be different in different parts of the world. It will also have to avoid interference with other existing technologies like cellular, etc.

According to Fierce Wireless, Huawei has completed a global deployment of its enterprise-class Wi-Fi 6 products under the new AirEngine brand. Speaking at the company’s Global Analyst Summit, Huawei said its Wi-Fi 6 products have been deployed on a large scale in five major regions worldwide.

Back at MWC, Huawei was showing off their Wi-Fi 6 enabled CPEs. See tweet below:

Huawei has many different enterprise networking products that are already supporting Wi-Fi 6 today. You can see the details along with whitepapers and application notes here. In addition, the Top 10 Wi-Fi 6 misconceptions are worth a read, available here.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Slides and Videos from the 1st 6G Wireless Summit - March 2019


The first 6G wireless summit was held in Levi ski resort, in beautiful Lapland. According to the report by University of Oulu, 287 participants from 28 different countries spanning all inhabited continents took part. According to the report:

At the Summit, the participants’ were asked to project themselves into the world in 2030, potentially very different from today. As professor Matti Latva-aho, the director of 6G Flagship at the University of Oulu, and the driving force behind the vision of global 6G, puts it: ”The vision for 2030 is that our society is data-driven, enabled by near-instant, unlimited connectivity. We will be facing a growing and ageing population, demands for increased productivity and the need to connect the billions who are not currently connected. We challenged all of the conference attendants, pressing them to consider this future world beyond 5G and the most essential aspects of 6G research -- a decade in advance.”

Peter Vetter, Head of the Access Research at Nokia Bell Labs and a Bell Labs Fellow, took on Latva-aho’s vision for the future. Vetter says that in the future, the network needs to be thought of as a platform that creates network instances for specific environments. Specialized uses can be easily imagined including hospitals, elderly care, traffic and power plants. At the heart of it all is enhancing the human condition, Vetter says. “6G is still ten years and longer out, and I think that this is a consensus among the 6G Summit participants. However, it is time to start the research right now, because it takes 10-20 years before a new innovation sees a commercial launch,” Vetter says.

For wireless revolution to happen, there needs to be a revolutionary communication technology, a revolutionary application of that technology and a whole ecosystem for continued innovation, says Dr. Wen Tong, Head of Wireless Research and Head of Communications Technologies Laboratories at Huawei. “Wireless as a field has plenty of room for innovation. We need a young generation of researchers and an environment that will sustain continued innovation. This is very important, as without the young generation of research leaders the sustainability of the ecosystem will become problematic,” Dr. Tong explains.

Takehiro Nakamura, SVP and General Manager of the 5G Laboratories in NTT DoCoMo brought up the requirements for many future use cases, such as low latency, reliability, massive connectivity etc. and made a point that most of these will be met with 5G. “Then, there will be new combinations of extreme requirements for specific use cases. We need to provide extreme high reliability for a guaranteed quality of service for industry, peak data rates of over 100 Gbps, gigabyte-rate coverage everywhere, and to have everything run at extreme low energy consumption and cost,” Nakamura says. As Nakamura sees it, the future will have high-quality, real-time VR and AR. Massive IoT for anything and anywhere, like satellites in space. Broadband for flying mobility, which will need high coverage and high reliability.

Qi Bi, President of China Telecom Technology Innovation Center and CTO of China Telecom Research Institute thinks that 6G could be a turning point and a real revolution from 5G also in other terms besides technological. Even if we don’t yet know what 6G will be, it is going to be based on past generations and some traits will be there, Dr. Bi says. As far as gauging 6G research today, Dr. Bi says that the Summit was a great event for percolating a lot of ideas.

Some of the hot topics in 5G and in 6G are machine learning and artificial intelligence. Head of Ericsson Research Magnus Frodigh is a big believer in the coming 5G evolution. As networks are Ericsson’s strong point, Frodigh says it will be very interesting to see what distributed AI is going to bring to the game.

You can read the complete report here.

All the slides that were shared, can be downloaded from here.

Finally, embedded below are the videos that have been made available.


Related posts:

Friday, 12 April 2019

Slides from Parallel Wireless Webinar: 5G at #MWC19

I hosted a webinar for Parallel Wireless* yesterday about all the stuff related to 5G at Mobile World Congress 2019. The slides are embedded below and can be downloaded from BrightTalk here. You can also listen to the webinar there.




Related posts:



*Full Disclosure: I work for Parallel Wireless as a Senior Director in Strategic Marketing. This blog is maintained in my personal capacity and expresses my own views, not the views of my employer or anyone else. Anyone who knows me well would know this.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Distributed Massive MIMO using Ericsson Radio Stripes


One of the interesting things that caught my attention in MWC 2019 was the Ericsson Radio Stripes.

Emil Björnson explains it nicely in his blog as to how this works.

Distributed MIMO deployments combine the best of two worlds: The beamforming gain and spatial interference suppression capability of conventional Massive MIMO with co-located arrays, and the bigger chance of being physically close to a service antenna that small cells offer. Coherent transmission and reception from a distributed MIMO array is not a new concept but has been given many names over the years, including Distributed Antenna System and Network MIMO. Most recently, in the beyond-5G era, it has been called ubiquitous Cell-free Massive MIMO communications and been refined based on insights and methodology developed through the research into conventional Massive MIMO.

One of the showstoppers for distributed MIMO has always been the high cost of deploying a large number of distributed antennas. Since the antennas need to be phase-synchronized and have access to the same data, a lot of high-capacity cables need to be deployed, particularly if a star topology is used. 
...

For those who cannot attend MWC, further conceptual details can be found in a recent overview paper on Cell-free Massive MIMO. An even more detailed description of radio stripes can be found in Ericsson’s patent application from 2017.


The paper explains the Radio stripe system design and also lists the advantages of such a system:

The radio stripe system facilitates a flexible and cheap cell-free Massive MIMO deployment. Cheapness comes from many aspects: (i) deployment does not require highly qualified personnel. Theoretically, a radio stripe needs only one (plug and play) connection either to the front-haul network or directly to the CPU; (ii) a conventional distributed massive MIMO deployment requires a star topology, i.e., a separate cable between each APs and a CPU, which may be economically infeasible. Conversely, radio stripe installation complexity is unaffected by the number of antenna elements, thanks to its compute-and-forward architecture. Hence, cabling becomes much cheaper; (iii) maintenance costs are cut down as a radio stripe system offers increased robustness and resilience: highly distributed functionality offer limited overall impact on the network when few stripes being defected; (iv) low heat-dissipation makes cooling systems simpler and cheaper. While cellular APs are bulky, radio stripes enable invisible installation in existing construction elements as exemplified in Fig. below. Moreover, a radio stripe deployment may integrate for example temperature sensors, microphones/speakers, or vibration sensors, and provide additional features such as fire alarms, burglar alarms, earthquake warning, indoor positioning, and climate monitoring and control.


According to the Ericsson post:

One of the inventors and researchers behind the concept, Jan Hederén, Strategist at Ericsson 4G5G Development, says: 

"Although a large-scale installation of distributed MIMO can provide excellent performance, it can also become an impractical and costly "spaghetti-monster" of cables in case dedicated cables are used to connect the antenna elements.

To be easy to deploy, we need to connect and integrate the antenna elements inside a single cable. We call this solution the "radio stripe" which is an easy way to create a large scale distributed, serial, and integrated antenna system." Says, also inventors and researcher behind the concept."

This visionary concept is an extension of how to build and enhance the capability of current networks. The Radio Stripe systems offers, so to say, new colors and flavors in how we increase the performance of mobile networks.

The Radio Stripe vision is focused on improvements to the reach and quality of radio connectivity in the access part of the mobile network. It shares all other resources (transport, baseband, management, core) with current mobile solutions.

I am looking forward to reading a lot more about this kind of approach in the future and probably some deployment videos too.

Related post:



xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo



I am running a webinar this week looking at 5G @ MWC 2019 on behalf of Parallel Wireless (#PWTechTrain) . Along with antennas, I plan to talk about lot more things. Register 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:

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Drones at Mobile World Congress 2019 and my upcoming webinar on 5G at #MWC19


Mobile World Congress featured many different drones for many different purposes and applications. While I wouldn't claim to have seen all or even most of them, I managed to go to the GSMA seminar 'The Internet of the Skies – Connecting Drones'. Key topics of the seminar included:

  • The support of safe BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line Of Sight) and autonomous operation of unmanned aircraft (UA)
  • The use of mobile connectivity to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of UA, by enabling BVLOS operation, supporting real-time data transmissions from on-board cameras and sensors
  • Mobile connectivity requirements for registration and identification, flight planning and approval, the transmission of meteorological information, geo-fencing, geo-caging and tracking

The best thing is that the presentations are available for anyone interested. Link at the bottom of this post. I have embedded some videos from the seminar in the playlist as well.


During the seminar, Telefônica talked about their fire fighting Antifire drones which are helping detect, survey and combat fires before, during and after a fire breaks out.


Turkcell talked about their Dronecell. The 5G connected drone can be used for many different purposes from inspection, photos and videos to providing temporary coverage in case of disasters. One of the interesting use cases was also surveillance (see video). They are also working with a local drone company, see here. For Dronecell they are testing with different vendors like Huawei, Airspan, etc. and also have their own hardware (see pic above).


The Latvian mobile operator Mans LMT talked about how Drones in combination with Sensors and AI can provide endless opportunities. In addition drones can also be used for delivering goods and rescue missions. Finally, LMT with Lufthansa Systems are working on a mobile, connected UTM platform for drone solutions and traffic management (see video below).



In addition enjoyed a virtual ride in Ooredoo’s 5G-enabled Aerial Taxi. Also happened to bump into Robert Joyce who used to work for Telefonica O2 UK and used to be very active in O2's small cells rollout during 2012 London Olympics. See here, here & here.

Huawei showed SkySite: A Drone with 5G base station & '5G Book' RRU. I blogged about it here.

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) had a drone flight simulator. I didn't see it but tweet below


There were 10 Catalonian companies showing smart drones. Tweet below



Finally, Samsung Electronics, Cisco and Orange unveiled "A Drone carrying a very low latency, high-quality video system is piloted from the Orange booth at the Fira de Barcelona. The drone, which is located outdoors at an Orange datacenter, carries a 5G router (CPE) that is used to transfer commands to the drone and transmit a high-quality video feed with low latency. At the Orange booth, the pilot can be seen controlling the drone by using a 5G tablet. Aeromedia, a leading drone operator, collaborated in this demo." Sadly, I didn't manage to find this and couldn't see any videos either.


Here is a video playlist of Drones from MWC.






I am also running a webinar next week looking at 5G @ MWC 2019 on behalf of Parallel Wireless (#PWTechTrain) . Along with drones, I plan to talk about lot more things. Register here.


Presentations from "MWC19 Barcelona Seminar: The Internet of the Skies – Connecting Drones" available here.

GSMA IoT contains good amount of information on drones. Link.


Related Posts:

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Mobile Network Infrastructure Sharing in Japan over Electric Power Infrastructure

On the 3G4G Small Cells Blog, I have written about the Autralian operator Telstra trialing small cells on Tasmania’s power poles to fix mobile black spots. This looks like a similar initiative in Japan but at a much larger scale.

KDDI have an announcement in Japanese here but Rakuten has one in English:

TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power COmpany) Power Grid, Incorporated, KDDI CORPORATION, SoftBank Corp. and Rakuten Mobile Network, Inc. announced that the four companies have reached an agreement to collaborate on trials of base station site and equipment sharing utilizing TEPCO PG’s utility poles and other electric power infrastructure, ahead of the introduction of 5th generation mobile communications systems (5G) in Japan. The trials are due to be begin in the first half of FY2019.

5G utilizes high frequency bands in order to enable higher speeds and greater capacity. As a result, the number of base stations required for 5G is expected to be larger than for 4G. The growing number of base stations not only creates difficulties in securing installation locations, but also calls for consideration on the impact too many antennas and other equipment might have on the landscape.

TEPCO PG has been working together with KDDI to explore the shared utilization of utility poles and other electric power infrastructure and base station equipment between mobile network operators, and as preparations are now complete, the companies are set to begin the trials using actual equipment.

The trials, which SoftBank and Rakuten Mobile Network are also set to join, aim to verify the feasibility of location and equipment sharing between mobile network operators. Specifically, the trials will evaluate the equipment, layout, workability, serviceability and the level of radio interference resulting from sharing the antenna for base station installations on utility poles. There are also plans to expand the number of companies participating in the trials to include other organizations planning to utilize 5G in the future.

Sharing utility poles among a number of mobile network operators makes it possible to flexibly build out base stations in urban areas and rapidly launch services in rural areas. It is also expected to address the issue of securing locations for base stations and lowers the impact of base station equipment on the landscape.

Through the trials, TEPCO PG, KDDI, SoftBank and Rakuten Mobile Network aim to reduce the infrastructure construction costs and contribute to the smooth nationwide introduction of 5G.

The picture on the top is from KDDI press release, translated using Google Translate.


Related Posts: