Communications workers unite Banksy320As many as 13 simultaneous sessions. Many of the world's best engineers are coming to the IEEE International Conference on Communications, from the most advanced academics to the slickest salesmen. Hundreds of presentations, far more than anyone can absorb. Alcatel, Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Samsung & ZTE will each explain why they and they  alone have the right path to 5G. Of course, none of them can even provide an agreed definition of what 5G is or are even close to delivering relevant equipment. (Marketing is like that.) In particular, experts like NTT are saying one much discussed "5G' technology - high GHz millimeter waves -  is unlikely before 2022-2023. http://5gwnews.com/90-r/211-2022-or-later-for-high-ghz-5g This will be a conference where I can learn just how far along each technology is in 2015.

Lajos Hanzo's "A Stroll with Shannon to Next-Generation Plaza: Large-Scale MIMOs, Single versus Multiple RF Chains and All That..." promises to be particularly interesting. Filming Stanford Professor Andrea Goldsmith, I asked "What are the most interesting problems in communications? What would you include if you were creating a list after Hilbert's?" Her first answer was "Extending the notion of a limit from Shannon's single wire to today's multiple channels."

She's been working on that problem and I'd also like to hear what Hanzo has found. Virtually guaranteed Marconi Award for anyone making substantial progress on this. 

LTE-U/LAA is the biggest immediate issue in Internet policy. Taking half or more of the Wi-Fi/unlicensed spectrum and letting the phone companies use it for LTE has many implications. Friday, Professor Goldsmith has helped organize an all-day event on the subject. (Blurb below) The most visible supporter of LTE-U/LAA is Qualcomm, whose Executive Chairman Paul Jacobs is speaking. If I get the opportunity, I'll ask him two questions. The first would be for his recommendations on field testing LTE-U to make sure the interference problems are solved. (All tests so far have been in the lab.) The second will be what would he recommend as "rules of the road" for unlicensed spectrum that will work well both for LTE-U and the coming enhancements to Wi-Fi to reduce contention and increase coordination. Both John Cioffi and Marty Cooper have identified contention and coordination as crucial to the future of Wi-Fi. 

Say hello to the round fellow with a beard and the irrepressible Jennie Bourne at the event. If you making an important, original presentation please write me in advance and I'll try to promote it.

The key issue right now is LTE-U. The full day session is important.

Friday, 12 June 2015 • 09:00 – 18:00 WS-18: LTE in Unlicensed Bands: Potentials and Challenges Organizer: Andrea Goldsmith (Stanford University; Accelera, Inc., USA) The exponential growth of mobile data traffic and the scarcity and costliness of licensed spectrum are driving mobile network operators to consider offloading at least part of their traffic onto the unlicensed spectrum. Most recently, the 3GPP is considering extending the use of LTE into the unlicensed spectrum as a seamless approach to enable traffic offload. This new approach is dubbed LTE Unlicensed (LTE-U). Compared to Wi-Fi, LTE-U offers MNOs a way to offload traffic onto the unlicensed spectrum with a technology that seamlessly integrates into their existing LTE evolved packet core (EPC). Furthermore, LTE-U promises higher throughout and spectral efficiency than Wi-Fi. However, LTE-U introduces new coexistence challenges for other technologies in the same unlicensed bands particularly for legacy Wi-Fi. The goal of this workshop is to bring together academics, researchers, and practitioners to discuss the opportunities, challenges and potential solutions for operation of LTE in the unlicensed bands.

http://icc2015.ieee-icc.org/sites/icc2015.ieee-icc.org/files/u39/ICC2015_AP_5.8.15.pdf

 

dave askOn Oct 1, Verizon turned on the first $20B 5G mmWave network. It will soon offer a gigabit or close to 30M homes. Thousands of sites are live in Korea; AT&T is going live with mobile, even lacking phones. The hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while reducing capex. Deutsche Telekom and Orange/France Telecom also confirm they won't raise capex.

Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 4X to 7X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Carrier Aggregation, 256 QAM, and other tools double and triple that. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year.

Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less.  I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

Believe it or not, 80% of 5G (mid-band) for several years will be slower than good 4G, which is more developed.

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5G Why Verizon thinks differently and what to do about it is a new report I wrote for STL Partners and their clients.

STL Partners, a British consulting outfit I respect, commissioned me to ask why. That report is now out. If you're a client, download it here. If not, and corporate priced research is interesting to you, ask me to introduce you to one of the principals.

It was fascinating work because the answers aren't obvious. Lowell McAdam's company is spending $20B to cover 30M+ homes in the first stage. The progress in low & mid-band, both "4G" and "5G," has been remarkable. In most territories, millimeter wave will not be necessary to meet expected demand.

McAdam sees a little further. mmWave has 3-4X the capacity of low and mid-band. He sees an enormous marketing advantage: unlimited services, even less congestion, reputation as the best network. Verizon testing found mmWave rate/reach was twice what had been estimated. All prior cost estimates need revision.

My take: even if mmWave doesn't fit in your current budget, telcos should expand trials and training to be ready as things change. The new cost estimates may be low enough to change your mind.