Steven J. Crowley, P.E.
Archive for the ‘Mobile Broadband’ Category
Deloitte recently issued a new report on mobile broadband. It positions the U.S. as number-one and offers tips to keep it there, some more useful than others. There’s not much new for the mobile broadband expert. The collection of various mobile-spectrum policy issues into one document, however, could be useful to some, especially to those new to the field. Early on, Deloitte promises suggestions for improving U.S. spectrum policy; the suggestions, however, turn out to be mostly things we’ve heard before. There are a few problems with the report, discussed below, that readers should keep in mind.
In the first of a series of webinars, Qualcomm today began reporting on the results of its “1000x Data Challenge,” an initiative to meet what it sees as the need, someday, to increase mobile capacity 1000-times. The webinar, conducted by Rasmus Hellberg, Qualcomm’s Senior Director of Technical Marketing, was an overview. He discussed spectrum, small cells, and other techniques to increase capacity. More-detailed webinars on each of these are forthcoming: spectrum initiatives on September 18, small cells and heterogeneous networks on October 18, and more efficient networks, applications, and devices on November 14. Today’s webinar should be posted tomorrow, and a white paper should appear in about a week.
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.
That’s what a D.C. think tank says. I take a look at this contrary view in a piece I did for GigaOM.
This summarizes a selection from 215 applications for the Experimental Radio Service received by the FCC during October, November, and December 2011. These are related to AM broadcasting, FM broadcasting, spread spectrum on HF and VHF, unmanned aerial vehicle control, electronic warfare support, small satellites, white space technology, video production, managed access, TV interference, RFID, and radar. The descriptions are listed in order of the lowest frequency found in the application.
“To generalize, it is often true that studies will be promoted that tend to support the policy inclinations of the Chairman, under whose direction, after all, every draft decision is made.”
“[S]tatistics can lie. But cast as ‘studies’ by commentors, they take on the weight that a decision maker chooses to make of them.”
As a follow-on to its National Broadband Plan, the FCC last year released a Technical Paper intended to validate the Plan’s prediction of a 300 MHz mobile-broadband spectrum deficit by 2014. The Paper describes a spectrum requirements model that totals current spectrum assigned to mobile broadband and applies a multiplier based on expected demand, taking into account expected increased tower density and improvements in air-interface spectrum efficiency. The model’s result is a predicted deficit of 275 MHz in 2014, which rounds to 300 MHz. On the way toward that result, however, the analysis uses just a few of the available data forecasts, ignores offloading of macrocell data to Wi-Fi and femtocells, and assumes the continuation of flat-rate plans for consumers. Some of these oddities I noted in a post at the time. I had hoped the FCC would make the Paper a subject of public comment. That hasn’t happened. So, I’ve looked at the Paper in more detail. I find that when looking at the above factors in a more realistic manner, predicted spectrum requirements go down significantly.
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.
In a recent blog post, CTIA compares some measures of the U.S. wireless industry to those in nine other countries. The purpose is two-fold; to show the U.S. is a leader in number of subscribers, lowest cost per voice minute, and spectrum efficiency, and to argue the need for getting more mobile broadband spectrum in the “pipeline.” These goals are somewhat at odds, and the spectrum-efficiency argument I don’t get, as I’ll explain, but within the constraints of a blog post I think CTIA makes the case that the U.S. is a clear leader in some areas, and that the prospects for more mobile spectrum in the U.S. are fuzzier than they should be today.
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.
This summarizes a selection of applications for the Experimental Radio Service received by the FCC during April and May 2011. These are related to TV white space, electromagnetic compatibility testing, train control, point-to-multipoint communications, satellite communications, radar, unmanned aerial vehicles, GPS, ultra-wideband, mobile satellite service, UMTS, mobile broadband picocells, wireless backhaul, and IEEE 802.11p. The descriptions are sorted by frequency.
A couple of days ago the Mobile Future coalition posted a short video on YouTube advocating the allocation of more spectrum for mobile broadband. As evidence of the need, it says that, compared to feature phones, smartphones use 24 times the spectrum and tablets 120 times the spectrum.