Steven J. Crowley, P.E.
Archive for the ‘3GPP’ Category
4G Americas, a wireless industry trade association representing the 3GPP family of technologies, has released a report looking at broadband devices and applications, and their impact on HSPA and LTE networks. There’s quite a bit of interesting information; here I highlight the discussion on mobile broadband offload and mobile data growth.
This summarizes a selection from 173 applications for the Experimental Radio Service received by the FCC during August and September 2011. These are related to long-range low-frequency radar, amateur radio, shortwave data, wireless microphones, single-sideband, mine detection, millimeter-wave communications, signal intelligence, automotive radar, satellite feeder links, meteor-burst communications, aircraft telemetry, white space systems, border security radar, 3G and 4G applications, RFID, wind turbine testing, unmanned aerial vehicles, spacecraft telemetry and control, aircraft passenger broadband, and autonomous aircraft landing systems. The descriptions are sorted by the lowest frequency found in the application.
The following is my response to a query on LTE versus wired, and the user experience. It capsulizes my current thinking, which evolves.
To your point, I don’t see LTE being competitive with wired in terms of speed or reliability today or in the future. You take the hit there for the convenience of mobile or portable operation. There’s a notion that if we just add enough base stations and repurpose enough spectrum to LTE, we can replicate the home wired experience in the mobile environment, but I don’t think that’s practical. The throughput from an LTE sector is divided among all users in the sector. If everyone wants to watch the Super Bowl at once on LTE, forget it (unless the LTE broadcasting standard is implemented, which let’s everyone watch the same channel like today’s TV (cough)). On FIOS or cable, the Super Bowl is no problem.
Recent contributions to the mobile broadband spectrum debate are reports from NAB and CTIA. I envisioned a “dueling reports” piece, but they mostly complement each other. Below I walk through the main points, adding some of my own views.
Most cellular operators are beginning the transition from 3G technologies to 4G LTE. That will mainly be for high-speed data and not voice, support for which will come years later. Communications engineer Jim Murphy describes some of the networking issues that make voice impractical on LTE on day one. To his comments I’d add that the preferred LTE voice solution is VoIP on the IP Multimedia System (IMS) framework, which has had slow adoption in the mobile community.
Jim’s example is from the 3GPP family of technologies, of which LTE is part. Most 3GPP2 operators, such as Verizon Wireless, are also planning a migration to LTE. They migrate from a different family of technologies, those specified in 3GPP2 and which include cdma2000 developed largely by Qualcomm. In Verizon’s transition, high-speed data on cdma2000 networks, now provided by EV-DO, will migrate to LTE. Voice will stay on cdma2000 1x for several years. That’s not a problem, because that technology keeps improving. The latest version, called cdma2000 1x Advanced, has achieved a 50x increase in voice capacity over the predecessor IS-95 system launched in 1993.
Both 3GPP and 3GPP2 3G voice feature a soft-handover (make-before-break) scheme that allows for, essentially, a circuit-switched connection. Yes, you’ll be able to run Skype and other VoIP services on 4G LTE data networks, if you want. In terms of the total user experience, however, most will prefer the seamlessness of standards-based integrated voice capability.
VoIP is the future. For 4G voice, though, it’s just great in theory at this time.
This summarizes a selection of applications for the Experimental Radio Service received by the FCC during June 2010. These are related to aircraft systems, WiMAX, sports telecast support, public safety communications, tactical cellular service, medical telemetry, satellite, antennas, radar, white-space devices, weapons telemetry, spacecraft communications, and broadcasting.
- AAI/Textron Systems Corporation filed an application (with supporting exhibits) for experimental license. The company wants to test its Shadow 200, Aerosonde, Orbiter and other unmanned aircraft systems. This is related to work for the United States Marine Corp. Operation is to be on 310-390 MHz, 902-928 MHz, 1090 MHz, 1350-1390 MHz, 1700-1859 MHz, and 4400-4999 MHz. Transmitting equipment is manufactured by Microhard Systems Corporation, Free Wave Technologies, Advanced Microwave Products, Global Microwave Systems, and Microair Avionics.
FCC staff has asked for several items of information before approving the application. The FAA operates in the frequency bands 328.6-335.4 MHz, 1090 MHz, and 1215-1390 MHz; FCC staff asks for coordination of these bands with the FAA Regional Office. In addition, the frequency bands 225-328.6 MHz and 335.4-399.9 MHz are used for military purposes, and the applicant was asked to coordinate with NTIA’s Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC).
- AAI/Textron Systems Corporation also filed an application (with supporting exhibits) for special temporary authority to operate on 420-450 MHz and 2000-2400 MHz for a government project apparently involving the Orbiter miniature unmanned aircraft system. There is not much information about the proposed operation, and FCC staff has asked for more details.
In correspondence to the applicant, FCC staff notes that the “Aerospace & Flight Test Radio Coordinating Council (AFTRCC) oversees the frequency bands; 1435-1525 MHz, 2310-2320 MHz, and 2345-2390 MHz. These frequency bands need to be removed or need to be prior coordinated.”
- Sportvision filed an application (with supporting exhibits) for special temporary authority for testing of an automobile race track wireless data system that is to provide data communications between vehicles in a race track and one or more fixed base stations installed along a track. Operation is to be on 2395-2400 MHz.
One application seen for this system is video image enhancement for television broadcasting of automobile racing events. The would allow television viewers to see, displayed on screen, the real-time location of cars during a racing event.
The vehicles would be equipped with GPS receivers and other sensors that generate a data packet every 200 milliseconds. The wireless system would collect those packets and deliver them to a control station in real time. “The radio itself is a direct sequence spread spectrum unit, using production radios for 2.4 GHz. The system may ultimately be deployed on an unlicensed basis in the 2.4 GHz band or elsewhere, but the high noise levels in that band in the test locations (commercial automobile race tracks) are unsuitable for development and testing of the product.”
“An Intersil baseband processor performs the Direct Sequence modulation and demodulation. It is part of a five-chipset developed for the 802.11b standard. It uses 1/4th of the standard 802.11 speed resulting in a narrow occupied RF bandwidth.”
The frequency band requested is allocated on a primary basis to the Amateur Radio Service, and coordination is to be performed with the ARRL. This application was granted on June 4.
On May 24 3GPP presented a seminar in Moscow, Evolving Networks to LTE – 3GPP Perspective. There were technical presentations and a panel with the main Russian operators.
The 3GPP Core Network migration path for HSPA+ and LTE was presented by Hannu Hietalahti, TSG CT chairman. The presentation reviewed the 3GPP CoreNetwork, Optimization for IP traffic, the LTE voice solution, and LTE deployment.
An update on the evolution of the GERAN family of standards (GSM, GPRS, EDGE) was presented by Andrew Howell, TSG GERAN Chairman. He concludes that the GSM radio interface has evolved over the past few years and will continue to evolve to bring additional features and improvements. The ongoing work within TSG GERAN continues to increase the suitability of GSM/GERAN: for standalone networks, for networks used in conjunction with other radio access technologies (UMTS, LTE…) to provide global coverage whilst allowing excellent service continuity, and as a future proof platform providing a smooth migration path towards other 3GPP based systems (UMTS, LTE).
A progress report on LTE Radio Access Networks was presented by Takehiro Nakamura, 3GPP TSG-RAN Chairman. The presentation reviewed 3GPP standardization activities, LTE Release 8, LTE Release 9, and LTE-Release 10 and beyond (LTE-Advanced).
Services evolution and the impact of IMS was reviewed by Stephen Hayes, Chair 3GPP-SA. He dispelled some myths about LTE and IMS, looked at multimedia telephony services, and looked at fixed mobile convergence.
A regulatory update on flexible use of spectrum and digital dividend was presented by Igor Minaev, ETSI Technical Officer, ETSI Standardization Projects. The digital dividend is a part of radio spectrum that is freed up as a result of more efficient spectrum use through the switchover from analogue to digital terrestrial TV.
The Impact of Femtocells on Next Generation LTE Mobile Networks was presented by Andy Germano, Vice Chairman of the Femto Forum. For LTE services, femtocells are said to have a key role in speeding launch and deployment, enabling services that encourage adoption, and delivers superior performance where needed.
The Mobile Broadband for the Americas Workshop was held in Rio de Janeiro on April 26, sponsored by 3GPP and 3G Americas. Presentations may be downloaded.
A marketplace update provided facts about the Latin American market. At the end of 2009, Latin America had 509 million wireless users. Average ARPU is US $14. Data as a percentage of service revenues in Q3 2009 is 17% compared to 28% in the US. In December 2009, GSM-UMTS-HSPA had a 91% market share, up from 88% in December 2008.
A 3GPP Technology Standards Roadmap provided an overview of 3GPP and key 3GPP issues. It is a good snapshot of where 3GPP stands today.
Operators Vivo, Claro, and NTT DOCOMO presented their strategies for mobile broadband. The Vivo presentation is more market-oriented and is written in Portuguese. The Vivo and NTT DOCOMO presentations include more technical content. Vivo seems concerned about the backhaul-capacity issue.
Ericsson Brazil discussed HSPA evolution in terms of bit rate, latency, MIMO, and multicarrier; related RAN backhaul improvements were also addressed.
Deployment of mobile broadband was addressed. Nokia Siemens Networks discussed migrating from HSPA to HSPA+ and LTE, and noted it has 11 commercial LTE deals, six of which have been announced. Huawei discussed some of its products.
A presentation on spectrum policy by 3G Americas identified some Latin America issues. There is no spectrum for advanced mobile broadband services. Governments are promoting new entrants by using spectrum caps. There are high taxes for wireless services and equipment. Likely bands for 4G will be 2.5 GHz, 1.7/2.1 GHz and 700 MHz.
An analysis by 3G Americas shows that spectrum aggregation limits impose serious costs on existing providers, which are paid by consumers. In markets with constrained providers, consumers may pay twice as much for LTE if spectrum is limited to only 2×5 MHz as compared to 2×10 MHz, and four times as much as compared to 2×20 MHz.
This summarizes a selection of applications for the Experimental Radio Service received by the FCC during March 31 – April 15, 2010. These are related to WiMAX, unmanned aerial vehicles, radar, cellular networking, rural broadband, ultra-wideband, satellite, software defined radio, white space, adaptive networks, and amplitude companded side band.
- Clearwire filed an application for special temporary authority (with supporting exhibits) to test WiMAX equipment at various locations in California on 2502-2568 MHz. The purpose of the test is to validate the ability of equipment to operate satisfactorily in the presence of collocated equipment licensed to Sprint in the 800 and 1900 MHz bands.
- DataSoft Corporation filed an application (with supporting exhibit) for experimental license. The company says it is developing a Software Defined Radio platform featuring a configurable 400 MHz to 4000 MHz transceiver intended for markets requiring an adaptable, programmable, or cognitive radio such as TV white space, smart grid, and home networking. The experimental license is to support testing of the transceiver in a TV white space application. Due to lack of available white-space client devices, the applicant proposes using re-banded Wi-Fi equipment in the experiment. Operation is to be in Scottsdale, Arizona on 500-540 MHz.
- BAE Systems filed an application (with supporting exhibit) for experimental license to test a wireless link for use by the US Army between a soldier’s night weapon sight and night vision goggles. The wireless link will utilize WiMedia MB-OFDM Ultra-wideband technology. Operation is to be on 3.168-4.752 GHz.
- Honeywell filed an application (with supporting exhibits) for experimental license to test integration of a direct digital radio link into small unmanned aerial vehicles. This is in support of two US Army programs and one US Navy program. The radio is manufactured by AeroVironment, Inc. Both command and control, as well as video downlink, utilize the same radio. Frequency bands requested are 1711.5-1721.5 MHz and 1755-1848 MHz. Operation will be in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
- Texas Tech University Wind Science and Engineering Research Center filed an application (with supporting exhibit) for special temporary authority to operate a Ka-band mobile radar systems in support of tornado research. Operation is to be at 34.86 GHz.
- Kestrel Signal Processing filed an application for special temporary authority to allow “testing of a novel cellular network technology that is compatible with standard GSM cellular handsets.” The operation will be on the grounds of, and overlap in time with, the Burning Man event held near Gerlach, Nevada Aug. 30 – Sept. 6, 2010. Operation will be on 869-894 MHz and 1930-1945 MHz.
- CenturyTel Broadband Wireless filed an application for special temporary authority to assess the performance of equipment manufactured by IPWireless (but not yet FCC type accepted) for providing 700 MHz rural broadband service. Operation is to be at Monroe, Louisiana on 736-746 MHz.
- Inmarsat Hawaii filed an application (with supporting exhibit) for special temporary authority to initiate a program of experimentation designed to facilitate the introduction of a new Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) user terminal type. The testing would attempt to gain knowledge with respect to link quality and to validate Inmarsat’s theoretical approach. Testing also would evaluate the interaction of the new terminal type with Inmarsat’s ground infrastructure. Inmarsat proposes to test the terminal type in the 1626.5- 1660.5 MHz transmit band and 1525.0-1559.0 MHz receive band.
- Cobham Defense Electronic Systems filed an application (with supporting exhibit) for experimental license to operate in Lowell, Massachusetts on various frequencies between 902 and 5925 MHz. Apparently, this is to be experimentation in support of the DARPA program Wireless Network after Next (WNaN). As the exhibit explains, the WNaN “program goal is to develop and demonstrate technologies and system concepts enabling densely deployed networks in which distributed and adaptive network operations compensate for limitations of the physical layer of the low-cost wireless nodes that comprise these networks. WNaN networks will manage node configurations and the topology of the network to reduce the demands on the physical and link layers of the nodes. The technology created by the WNaN effort will provide reliable and highly- available battlefield communications at low system cost.”
- Radio Design Group filed an application (with supporting exhibit) for experimental license to test a wireless intercom system that will utilize an Amplitude Companded Side Band (ACSB) RF platform. The applicant expects this to provide a stable and robust signal that is efficient in terms of transmission bandwidth and power. The applicant also expects this system to allow for an occupied bandwidth of 15 kHz per audio path including guard band. The system will be tested on 174-216 MHz and 470-512 MHz in the vicinity of Grants Pass, Oregon.
3G Americas publishes status report on 3GPP specification development: HSPA+, LTE/SAE, and LTE-Advanced
3G Americas, a group promoting the deployment of the GSM family of technologies, yesterday released its annual report on 3GPP specifications and the 3G/4G wireless market. The report reviews the history of 3GPP specification development since 1995, and places current work in context.
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Sisvel announces it is working with 20 companies to try to form a patent pool for 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE) and System Architecture Evolution (SAE). It invites other companies to participate. Urgent Communications has a take on this from a public safety perspective, and notes MPEG LA and Via Licensing are also trying to form patent pools. VIA Licensing may soon announce the status of its progress.