Category Archives: 5G

We Need Less Hype, More 5G reality

By Ernest Worthman

I am a big fan of reality checks. When the first vestiges of 5G started to appear, I put 5G at the center of my radar screen. There was no doubt in my mind that it would be one of the most revolutionary disruptive platform of the first half of the 21st century

Since its inception, there has been a bucketful of diatribe, most of it about how great and awesome and enabling and ubiquitous and…it will be. Frankly, much of what came along with its inception was hype. Some of what people were pushing would never be possible, at least not in this lifetime (maybe once we figure out how to apply quantum physics). However, there is also a lot of 5G that will happen. The trick is to be able to sift through the hype and follow the practical while poo-pooing the pie in the sky.

A year or so ago I started to make some reality checks in my editorial. In the last year, there has been more and more industry subject matter experts beginning to question some of the lofty goals that the 5G Kool-Aid drinkers say 5G will accomplish – and it has ramped up lately.

In the fall issue of Applied Wireless Technology, one of the foremost, if not the foremost SME in RF, Theodore Rappaport has a though leader column that takes a hard, realistic look at some of the lofty expectations around mmWave. I have also penned several AGL eDigest articles referencing industry experts who have taken pragmatic looks at the promise of 5G. Rappaport pointed out how the industry took models from lower frequencies and, without actual field data, assumed they would work at mmWave frequencies (http://digital.aglmediagroup.com/publication/?i=439348&p=&pn=#{“issue_id”:439348,”page”:44}).

Are the walls crumbling? Of course not. But there is concern among some industry experts that the rush to get 5G out the door on time so we can say “see we told you it was going to happen when we said” will result in flawed models and failure to perform.

Today, I received a feed from Vodaphone about a talk that their CTO Johan Wibergh gave at the recent Global Mobile Broadband Forum. This was, perhaps, the strongest caution yet from a respected industry player. Wibergh said, among other things, “We have a tendency to overhype things.”

Another telco executive, Gavin Patterson, British Telecom CEO noted that we still have not built the business case for 5G. There are others, but the facts are, as we get closer to the hyped specific “launch” date, there is some pullback being seen as to what 5G elements will be there and how the platform will evolve. Finally, it seems we are facing the reality.

One of the reasons I believe there was so much hype early on is because telcos (and others, such as content providers) are looking for new territory. Profits have been eroding and some panic is setting in. Before 5G, every little inkling of advancement in 4G was promoted as if it was the golden child. Now, with 5G, they have a shiny new platform to promise the world with – and that they do; the hype has been overwhelming (same with the Internet of Everything/Everyone (IoX).

Now, 5G is not frequency selective. 5G specs can be in any frequency, but stuff below 5 GHz is somewhat strained for spectrum hence all the interest in mmWave. We know the lower frequencies work well for mobile use.

The first deployments of 5G mmWave are expected in fixed applications. That is, pretty much, a no-brainer. We have had deployments in mmWave for years. The only difference between what we have now ,and the same fixed deployments in 5G, is improved specs. The industry should pull that one off without much of a hitch, even with new applications for P2P and PMP.  The money is in enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB). That is the real definer of 5G and will bring the bragging rights that 5G has arrived in full splendor. However, how eMBB will work in mmWave is yet to be fully understood.

But it is good to see grounded, respected people coming out and saying we are walking a tenuous path if we keep promising, setting the stage and then failing to deliver. That is a real concern as we get close to the promised dates.

This is not the industry’s first rodeo. The same scenario that plagued 3G is possible with 5G. But in the end, will it really matter? The user will accept whatever the industry offers. There is even some question as to whether or not the end user will embrace all of this uber 5G technology.

The next year will be interesting. Stay tuned


Ernest Worthman is the Executive Editor of Applied Wireless Technology. His 20-plus years of editorial experience includes being the Editorial Director of Wireless Design and Development and Fiber Optic Technology, the Editor of RF Design, the Technical Editor of Communications Magazine, Cellular Business, Global Communications and a Contributing Technical Editor to Mobile Radio Technology, Satellite Communications, as well as computer-related periodicals such as Windows NT. His technical writing practice client list includes RF Industries, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Agilent Technologies, Advanced Linear Devices, Ceitec, SA, and others. Before becoming exclusive to publishing, he was a computer consultant and regularly taught courses and seminars in applications software, hardware technology, operating systems, and electronics. Ernest’s client list has included Lucent Technologies, Jones Intercable, Qwest, City and County of Denver, TCI, Sandia National Labs, Goldman Sachs, and other businesses.  His credentials include a BS, Electronic Engineering Technology; A.A.S, Electronic Digital Technology. He has held a Colorado Post-Secondary/Adult teaching credential, member of IBM’s Software Developers Assistance Program and Independent Vendor League, a Microsoft Solutions Provider Partner, and a life member of the IEEE. He has been certified as an IBM Certified OS2 consultant and trainer; WordPerfect Corporation Developer/Consultant and Lotus Development Corporation Developer/Consultant. He was also a first-class FCC technician in the early days of radio. Ernest Worthman may be contacted at: eworthman@aglmediagroup.com.

Spectrum Key Ingredient for 5G: Report

By The Editors of AGL

5G Americas has published “Spectrum Landscape for Mobile Services,” a technology whitepaper about the current spectrum environment and the future requirements for mobile services below and above 6 GHz.

“Countries and regions that want to be leaders in the new 5G wireless era will need to provide more licensed spectrum available to the mobile wireless industry. The time is now for the planning and allocation of harmonized spectrum in low, mid and high bands to help progress 5G,” commented Chris Pearson, President, 5G Americas.

The 5G Americas whitepaper analyzes the spectrum for mobile services needed for various use cases. It provides insight into the possible allocation of the spectrum by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for 5G and examines sharing, integration and allocation issues that will pave the way for a connected world. Furthermore, the paper highlights the action required to be taken by regulatory and standards organizations to make specific spectrum bands available for 5G.

The benefits of global harmonization are not limited to situations where all regions have identical spectrum allocations. These benefits can also be derived from “tuning range” solutions, in which adjacent or nearly adjacent bands can be considered harmonized so long as equipment can be reconfigured to operate over multiple bands. In considering spectrum allocations, therefore, 5G Americas suggests that policymakers consider not only frequencies that can be allocated domestically, but also the possibilities provided by such global tuning range solutions. Based on early 5G strategic plans described in the white paper, there are several immediate possibilities for global harmonization, considering the “tuning range” for bands 3.3-4.2 GHz, 24.25-29.5 GHz and 37-43.5 GHz.

Pearson added, “5G will be deployed on existing and future spectrum bands. Thus, there is an immediate need for regulators and government agencies to take actions in making sure that a reasonable amount of licensed spectrum becomes available for 5G deployments.”

More information is available at www.5gamericas.org.

5G Trial for Connected Cars Sends 4K Video at Gigabit Speeds

By The Editors of AGL

In a trial of 5G technologies, NTT DOCOMO, Toyota, Ericsson and Intel achieved data speeds of 1 Gbps for 4K-resolution video with a vehicle traveling at 18 miles per hour. This initial multi-party trial conducted along Tokyo’s Odaiba waterfront on Nov. 2 involved a moving vehicle mounted with an Intel GOTM 5G Automotive Platform terminal and equipped with a compact on-board antenna head designed for connected car trials.

Traveling at a speed of 18 MPH through a 5G trial environment constructed by DOCOMO in the Odaiba area, with multiple Ericsson base stations and Cloud-RAN, the vehicle successfully streamed live 4K video at data speeds of up to 1 Gbps downlink/600 Mbps uplink, demonstrating 5G’s ultra-high speed data rates, extra-low latency and massive connectivity.

Further trials will be conducted in cooperation with Ericsson, Intel and Toyota to test the practicality of services for 5G-connected cars and other applications. This accomplishment marks the first 5G multi-vendor interoperability trial involving a device connected to a base station in an automotive environment.

DOCOMO has been partnering with leading companies in its drive to develop new services based on 5G technologies. Since May, DOCOMO has been operating 5G Trial Sites to let everyday customers view and experience emerging 5G technologies that may be incorporated into new products and services in the future.

The NTT Group and Toyota have also agreed to collaborate in the research and development of an ICT platform for 5G-connected cars.

Going forward, DOCOMO will continue to work with diverse global partners to develop and standardize 5G technologies for advanced services in the field of automobiles and beyond.

More Spectrum to be Allocated for 5G Above 24 GHz

By The Editors of AGL

The FCC will vote on a proceeding next month to make more millimeter wave (mmW) spectrum above 24 GHz available for 5G and IoT. In particular, an additional 1700 megahertz of spectrum would be freed up in the 24.25-24.45 and 24.75-25.25 GHz band (24 GHz band) and the 47.2-48.2 GHz band.

The proceeding brings the total amount of mmW spectrum available for next generation wireless up to 13 gigahertz, when added to the spectrum already made available for flexible wireless use in the 27.5-28.35 GHz (28 GHz), 37-38.6 GHz (37 GHz), 38.6-40 GHz (39 GHz band), and 64-71 GHz bands.

“In recent years, technological advances have increased our ability to harness mmW technology for fixed and mobile wireless communications in high band spectrum, while demand for connected products and services continues to grow,” the FCC said. “This item would take further action to facilitate the development of advanced wireless services and provide greater and more flexible access in spectrum bands above 24 GHz.”

The commission will continue to evaluate additional mmW bands and, in a separate proceeding, it will look at bands above 95 GHz.

 

SmarTone, Ericsson Trial FDD Massive MIMO

By The Editors of AGL

Ericsson and SmarTone, a mobile network operator in Hong Kong, are trialing FDD Massive MIMO technology as part of the operator’s network evolution plan toward 5G.

The trial, involving FDD Massive MIMO on 1800 MHz, represents the first of its kind for operators in Hong Kong. It is proving the capabilities of this key technology ahead of the live deployment in 2018 of AIR 3246, Ericsson’s new radio that can support Massive MIMO over 4G/LTE with Ericsson’s 5G Massive MIMO Plug-In.

Massive MIMO is a key technology that bridges network evolution from 4G to 5G, adding intelligent capacity and boosting user experience, according to Ericsson. Massive MIMO on FDD yields a multi-fold increase of network capacity and increase user throughput by up to five times, boosting performance for end users.

Ericsson has recently launched its first radio, AIR 3246, supporting FDD Massive MIMO for both 4G and 5G. The technology enables operators to boost capacity in their LTE networks.