Thursday, 5 September 2019

Opinion: What is "Real 5G" or "True 5G"


I made another opinion piece couple of weeks back. While it was shared already as part of some channels, here is it on the blog with serves as a permanent link. Video and slides below.





As always, I welcome your opinions, comments & suggestions below.


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Thursday, 29 August 2019

LTE / 5G Broadcast Evolution


It's been a while since I last wrote about eMBMS. A report by GSA last month identified:
- 41 operators known to have been investing in eMBMS
- 5 operators have now deployed eMBMS or launched some sort of commercial service using eMBMS
- GSA identified 69 chipsets supporting eMBMS, and at least 59 devices that support eMBMS


BBC R&D are testing the use of 4G/5G broadcast technology to deliver live radio services to members of the public as part of 5G RuralFirst - one of 6 projects funded under the UK Government’s 5G Phase 1 testbeds and trials programme (link).

A press release by Samsung Electronics back in May announced that it has signed an expansion contract with KT Corporation (KT) to provide public safety (PS-LTE) network solutions based on 3GPP standard Release 13 for 10 major metropolitan regions in South Korea including Seoul by 2020. One of the features of PS-LTE that the PR listed was LTE Broadcast (eMBMS): A feature which allows real time feeds to hundreds of devices simultaneously. It enables thousands of devices to be connected at once to transfer video, images and voice simultaneously using multicast technology

Dr. Belkacem Mouhouche – Samsung Electronics Chief Standards Engineer  and Technical Manager of 5G projects: 5G-Xcast and 5G-Tours Presented an excellent overview on this topic at IEEE 5G Summit Istanbul, June 2019. His presentation is embedded below.



5G-Xcast is a 5GPPP Phase II project focused on Broadcast and Multicast Communication Enablers For the Fifth Generation of Wireless Systems.

They have a YouTube channel here and this video below is an introduction to project and the problems it looks to address.




Further Reading:

Related posts:

Friday, 23 August 2019

The Politics of Standalone vs Non-Standalone 5G & 4G Speeds


A short video (and slides) discussing the operator dilemma of standalone (SA) vs non-standalone (NSA) 5G deployment, frequency refarming and why 4G speeds will start reducing once SA 5G starts to be deployed.

Video




Slides



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Tuesday, 13 August 2019

New 3GPP Release-17 Study Item on NR-Lite

3GPP TSG RAN#84 was held from June 3 – 6, 2019 at Newport Beach, California. Along with a lot of other interesting topics for discussion, one of the new ones for Release-17 was called NR-Lite (not 5G-lite). Here are some of the things that was being discussed for the Study item.
In RP-190831, Nokia proposed:
  • NR-Lite should address new use cases with IoT-type of requirements that cannot be met by eMTC and NB-IoT:
    • Higher data rate & reliability and lower latency than eMTC & NB-IoT
    • Lower cost/complexity and longer battery life than NR eMBB
    • Wider coverage than URLLC
  • Requirements and use cases –
    • Data rates up to 100 Mbps to support e.g. live video feed, visual production control, process automation
    • Latency of around [10-30] ms to support e.g. remote drone operation, cooperative farm machinery, time-critical sensing and feedback, remote vehicle operation
    • Module cost comparable to LTE
    • Coverage enhancement of [10-15]dB compared to URLLC
    • Battery life [2-4X] longer than eMBB
  • Enable single network to serve all uses in industrial environment
    • URLLC, MBB & positioning

The spider chart on the right shows the requirements for different categories of devices like NB-IoT, eMTC (LTE-M), NR-LITE, URLLC and eMBB.
The understanding in the industry is that over the next 5 years, a lot of 4G spectrum, in addition to 2G/3G spectrum, would have been re-farmed for 5G. By introducing NR-Lite, there would be no requirement to maintain multiple RATs. Also, NR-Lite can take advantage of 5G system architecture and features such as slicing, flow-based QoS, etc.
Qualcomm's views in RP-190844 were very similar to those of Nokia's. In their presentation, the existing 5G devices are billed as 'Premium 5G UEs' while NR-Lite devices are described as 'Low tier 5G UEs'. This category is sub-divided into Industrial sensors/video monitoring, Low-end wearables and Relaxed IoT.

The presentation provides more details on PDCCH Design, Co-existence of premium and Low Tier UEs, Peak Power and Battery Life Optimizations, Contention-Based UL for Small Data Transmission, Relaying for Wearable and Mesh for Relaxed IoT
Ericsson's presentation described NR-Lite for Industrial Sensors and Wearables in RP-191047. RP-191048 was submitted as New SID (Study Item Description) on NR-Lite for Industrial Sensors and Wearables. The SID provides the following details:

The usage scenarios that have been identified for 5G are enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), massive machine-type communication (mMTC), and time critical machine-type communication (cMTC). In particular, mMTC and cMTC are associated with novel IoT use cases that are targeted in vertical industries. 

In the 3GPP study on “self-evaluation towards IMT-2020 submission” it was confirmed that NB IoT and LTE M fulfill the IMT-2020 requirements for mMTC and can be certified as 5G technologies. For cMTC support, URLLC was introduced in Release 15 for both LTE and NR, and NR URLLC is further enhanced in Release 16 within the enhanced URLLC (eURLLC) and Industrial IoT work items.

One important objective of 5G is to enable connected industries. 5G connectivity can serve as catalyst for next wave of industrial transformation and digitalization, which improve flexibility, enhance productivity and efficiency, and improve operational safety. The transformed, digitalized, and connected industry is often referred to as Industry 4.0. Industrial sensors and actuators are prevalently used in many industries, already today. Vast varieties of sensors and actuators are also used in automotive, transport, power grid, logistics, and manufacturing industries. They are deployed for analytics, diagnostics, monitoring, asset tracking, process control, regulatory control, supervisory control, safety control, etc. It is desirable to connect these sensors and actuators to 5G networks. 

The massive industrial wireless sensor network (IWSN) use cases and requirements described in TR 22.804, TS 22.104 and TS 22.261 do include not only cMTC services with very high requirements, but also relatively low-end services with the requirement of small device form factors, and/or being completely wireless with a battery life of several years. 

The most low-end services could already be met by NB-IoT and LTE-M but there are, excluding URLLC, more high-end services that would be challenging. In summary, many industrial sensor requirements fall in-between the well-defined performance objectives which have driven the design of eMBB, URLLC, and mMTC. Thus, many of the industrial sensors have connectivity requirements that are not yet best served by the existing 3GPP NR technology components. Some of the aforementioned requirements of IWSN use cases are also applicable to other wide-area use cases, such as wearables. For example, smart watches or heath-monitoring wearables require small device form factors and wireless operation with weeks, months, or years of battery life, while not requiring the most demanding latency or data rates. 

IWSN and wearable use cases therefore can motivate the introduction of an NR-based solution. Moreover, there are other reasons why it is motivated to introduce a native NR solution for this use case: 
  • It is desired to have a unified NR based solution.
  • An NR solution could provide better coexistence with NR URLLC, e.g., allowing TDD configurations with better URLLC performance than LTE.
  • An NR solution could provide more efficient coexistence with NR URLLC since the same numerology (e.g., SCS) can be adopted for the mMTC part and the URLLC part.
  • An NR solution addresses all IMT-2020 5G frequency bands, including higher bands and TDD bands (in FR1 and FR2).
The intention with this study item is to study a UE feature and parameter list with lower end capabilities, relative to Release 15 eMBB or URLLC NR, and identify the requirements which shall be fulfilled. E.g., requirements on UE battery life, latency, reliability, connection density, data rate, UE complexity and form factor, etc.  If not available, new potential NR features for meeting these requirements should further be studied.

There were other description of the SID from Samsung, ZTE, etc. but I am not detailing them here. The main idea is to provide an insight for people who may be curious about this feature.


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Monday, 5 August 2019

An Introduction to Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN)


I made a short introductory tutorial explaining what is meant by Non-Terrestrial Networks. There is is lot of work on this that is planned for Release-17. Slides and video below.






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Friday, 2 August 2019

3GPP Minimization of Drive Test (MDT) Signaling at a Glance

There are growing numbers of UEs that are capable of reporting 3GPP-defined measurements for the purpose of minimization of drive test as defined in 3GPP TS 37.320. Although only a subset of the capable devices have this feature enabled it is worth to have a closer look at the signaling procedures and measurements.

3GPP MDT data can be gathered in two different modes: immediate and logged.

immediate mode – as illustrated in figure 1 - provides measurements for RAN and UE. The UE measurements are derived from RRC measurement reports. The RAN adds the power headroom reported on the MAC layer, and the Received Interference Power (RIP) measured on the physical radio interface layer at the cell`s antenna as well as, reports for the data volume, IP throughput, user plane packet delay, and packet loss measured by the eNodeB.
Figure 1: Immediate 3GPP MDT Measurements*

logged mode – an example is shown in Figure 2 - the UE stores information related to accessibility problems in IDLE mode, failures during RRC establishment, and handover random access as well as radio link failures including connection loss. The MDT events log is sent to the network when it is requested. After connection loss, the MDT logged mode report is sent after the next successful radio connection establishment.

Figure 2: Logged 3GPP MDT Measurements*

The RRC measurement samples and Radio Link Failure (RLF) reports also contain detailed location information for example, on GPS/GNSS coordinates, although the 3GPP Release 9 Technical Report TR 36.805 stated: “The extensive use of positioning component of the UE shall be avoided since it would significantly increase the UE power consumption.”

Although, the encoding of logged mode reports and immediate UE measurements are defined in 3GPP TS 36.331 (RRC), the message formatting of the immediate RAN measurement events follow different proprietary specifications of the network element manufacturers (NEMs).

It is also up to the NEMs which of the M2... M7 immediate reports are implemented and how often such measurements will be generated during an ongoing connection. 

* all parameter values shown in the figures have been chosen randomly for illustrative purpose and do not reflect the situation of a real call or network 

Monday, 22 July 2019

6G: Above 100 GHz and Terahertz (THz) Frequencies

A new research paper  "Wireless Communications and Applications Above 100 GHz: Opportunities and Challenges for 6G and Beyond" by T. S. Rappaport et al. is available on IEEE website here.

With 5G, we are still solving the challenges of millimeter waves (mmWaves) so it is surprising for most people to hear that there is a research going on beyond 100 GHz and in THz frequencies. Quoting from the abstract of the paper:

The paper describes many of the technical challenges and opportunities for wireless communication and sensing applications above 100 GHz, and presents a number of promising discoveries, novel approaches, and recent results that will aid in the development and implementation of the sixth generation (6G) of wireless networks, and beyond. It also shows recent regulatory and standard body rulings that are anticipating wireless products and services above 100 GHz and illustrates the viability of wireless cognition, hyper-accurate position location, sensing, and imaging. The paper also presents approaches and results that show how long distance mobile communications will be supported to above 800 GHz since the antenna gains are able to overcome air-induced attenuation, and present methods that reduce the computational complexity and simplify the signal processing used in adaptive antenna arrays, by exploiting the Special Theory of Relativity to create a cone of silence in over-sampled antenna arrays that improve performance for digital phased array antennas. Also, new results that give insights into power efcient beam steering algorithms, and new propagation and partition loss models above 100 GHz are given, and promising imaging, array processing, and position location results are presented. The implementation of spatial consistency at THz frequencies, an important component of channel modeling that considers minute changes and correlations over space, is also discussed. This paper offers the first in-depth look at the vast applications of THz wireless products and applications and provides approaches for how to reduce power and increase performance across several problem domains, giving early evidence that THz techniques are compelling and available for future wireless communications.


At Brooklyn 5G Summit 2019, NYU Wireless founder and director, Dr. Ted Rappaport, presented a keynote on his vision beyond 5G, looking at both electronics and photonics, considering applications over 100GHz, channel models, and said that he expects brain-comparative data rate transmission wirelessly over the air in future networks. The keynote is embedded as video above.

Another keynote by Gerhard Fettweis from TU Dresden, talks about terahertz starting off with a look back at the history of mobile network generations up to 5G and looking ahead to 6G. Anticipating the tactile internet revolution to come, he considers the technicalities such as spectrum, channels, efficiency and adaptability needed to achieve the expected level of computing. That keynote can be viewed here.

Related Posts and articles:

Thursday, 18 July 2019

5G SpeedTests and Theoretical Max Speeds Calculations


Right now, Speed Tests are being described as 5G killer apps.



A good point by Benedict Evans



Everyone is excited and want to see how fast 5G networks can go. If you use Twitter, you will notice loads and loads of speed tests being done on 5G. An example can be seen above.


I recently heard Phil Sheppard, Director of Strategy & Architecture, '3 UK' speak about their 5G launch that is coming up soon. Phil clearly mentioned that because they have a lot more spectrum (see Operator Watch blog post here and here) in Capacity Layer, their 5G network would be faster than the other UK operators. He also provided rough real world Peak Speeds for Three and other operators as can be seen above. Of course the real world speeds greatly depend on what else is going on in the network and in the cell so this is just a guideline rather than actual advertised speeds.


I have explained multiple times that all 5G networks being rolled out today are Non-Stand Alone (NSA) 5G networks. If you don't know what SA and NSA 5G networks are, check this out. As you can see, the 5G NSA networks are actually 4G Carrier Aggregated Networks + 5G Carrier Aggregated Networks. Not all 4G spectrum will be usable in 5G networks but let's assume it is.

To calculate the theoretical maximum speed of 5G NSA networks, we can calculate the theoretical maximum 4G Network speeds + theoretical maximum 5G Network speeds.

I have looked at theoretical calculation of max LTE Carrier Aggregated Speeds here. Won't do calculation here but assuming 3CA for any network is quite possible.

I also looked at theoretical calculation of 5G FDD New Radio here but then found a website that helps with 5G NR calculation here.

If we calculate just the 5G part, looking at the picture from Three, we can see that they list BT/EE & O2 speeds as 0.61 Gbps or 610 Mbps, just for the 5G part.

Looking at the calculation, if we Input Theoretical max values in this equation:

Calculating just for DL

J - number of aggregated component carriers,
maximum number (3GPP 38.802): 16
input value: 1

v(j)Layers - maximum number of MIMO layers ,
3GPP 38.802: maximum 8 in DL, maximum 4 in UL
input value: 8

Q(j)m modulation order (3GPP 38.804)
For UL and DL Q(j)m is same (QPSK-2, 16QAM-4, 64QAM-6, 256QAM-8)
input value: 8 (256QAM)

f(j) Scaling factor (3GPP 38.306)
input value: 1

FR(j) Frequency Range 3GPP 38.104:
FR1 (450 MHz – 6000 MHz) и FR2 (24250 MHz – 52600 MHz)
input value: FR1

µ(j) -value of carrier configuration (3GPP 38.211)
For DL and UL µ(j) is same (µ(0)=15kHz, µ(1)=30kHz, µ(2)=60kHz, µ(3)=120kHz)
input value: 0 (15kHz)

BW(j)- band Bandwidth, MHz (3GPP 38.104),
should be selected with Frequency Range and µ(i) configuration:
input value: BW:40MHz FR1 µ:15kHz:

Enter a PRB value (if other)
default: 0

Rmax (if you don't know what is it, don't change)
Value depends on the type of coding from 3GPP 38.212
(For LDPC code maximum number is 948/1024 = 0.92578125)
default: 0.92578125

*** Only for TDD ***
Part of the Slots allocated for DL in TDD mode,
where 1 = 100% of Slots (3GPP 38.213, taking into account Flexible slots).
Calculated as: the number of time Slots for DL divided by 14
default value: 0.857142

Part of the Slots allocated for UL in TDD mode,
where 1 = 100% of Slots (3GPP 38.213, taking into account Flexible slots).
Calculated as: 1 minus number of Slots for DL
default value: 0.14285800000000004

Calculated 5G NR Throughput, Mbps: 1584


As you may have noticed, BTE/EE has 40 MHz spectrum while Vodafone in UK have 50 MHz of spectrum.

Changing
BW(j)- band Bandwidth, MHz (3GPP 38.104),
should be selected with Frequency Range and µ(i) configuration:
input value: BW:50MHz FR1 µ:15kHz:

Calculated 5G NR Throughput, Mbps: 1982

Now Three UK has 100 MHz, immediately available for use. So changing

µ(j) -value of carrier configuration (3GPP 38.211)
For DL and UL µ(j) is same (µ(0)=15kHz, µ(1)=30kHz, µ(2)=60kHz, µ(3)=120kHz)
input value: 1 (30kHz)

BW(j)- band Bandwidth, MHz (3GPP 38.104),
should be selected with Frequency Range and µ(i) configuration:
BW:100MHz FR1 µ:30kHz:


Calculated 5G NR Throughput, Mbps: 4006

In theory, a lot of speed is possible with the 100 MHz bandwidth that Three will be able to use. We will have to wait and see who can do a theoretical max SpeedTest. In the meantime remember that a 1Gbps speed test will use over 1 GB of data.



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Friday, 12 July 2019

5G and Electromagnetic energy (EME)


Every time a new generation of mobile technology is being rolled out, there are scare stories about the radiation, cancer, etc. I last wrote a post on this topic back in 2011 and also in 2009. The main thing that has changed since is that 5G is being rolled out today as 4G was being rolled out then.

The Australian operator Telstra recently completed extensive testing of their 5G network infrastructure in real-world settings using commercially available 5G devices, and their data confirms two things. Firstly, the 5G technology produces electromagnetic energy (EME) levels at around 1000 times below the safety limits in many cases. Secondly, all the testing has found 5G EME levels to be similar to 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi. You can read the details and complete report here.

Last month I went to a seminar titled 'Update on Current Knowledge of RF Safety', organised by CW Radio Technology Group and National Register of RF Workers. Richard Hargrave from BT explained the challenge with compliance when a 5G carrier is added.

The implications as he said are:
  • Some sites in urban areas become increasingly difficult to provide required capacity while maintaining compliance using standard designs
  • Significant time and cost can be associated with works necessary to ensure compliance – new planning permissions, physical structures, new site acquisition etc
  • As 5G is deployed further, particularly as additional spectrum is auctioned in 700MHz and 3.6-3.8GHz bands these problems will be exacerbated

His presentation is available here. Another presentation from Moray Rumney, asking some tough question on 5G safety is available here. Simon Rockman has written a summary of this seminar on Forbes, here.

I heard the Swiss operator Sunrise mentioning in a presentation at 5G World 2019 that the EMF limit in Switzerland is 10 times stricter than the rest of the world. This implies that 5G in Switzerland is extremely safe. The slide from the presentation can be seen in the pic above.

We also have couple of related videos on this topic, maybe of interest:

Further Reading: