Tag Archives: LTE

Learning 5G in the Real World

Are you trying to find out more about 5G in the real world? It’s so new, and yet there aren’t many books out there about 5G systems, just theory. After all, it will follow many principles of current networks. We’re all trying to get a better grasp on 5G systems. So why not get a little help. Some of the most popular blogs on my site are about 5G. So, I put together this helpful book for you! Learning 5G in the Real World is now available.

As you know, 5G demo systems are rolling out and being tested. It appears that 5G is already a reality and that the systems will start rolling out before the 2020 time frame we all expected. Why not learn what you can now? You deserve to know what’s going on in the industry and how that change will affect what you do. The deployment of 5G systems will involve more densification.

You can be a part of the 5G evolution.

It’s time you get introduced to 5G and the smart technology that you have heard about. You need to get answers. You need to start somewhere, so start here.

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There is much to learn, so here is your outline of what is in this book. This is just a taste.

  • What is 5G?
  • Will 5G replace LTE?
  • What Applications will 5G have?
  • Why the need for 5G Low Latency?
  • Why Narrow Bandwidth systems in 5G?
  • 5G Network Slicing
  • 4G and 5G Spectrum and Technologies
  • TDD and FDD Formats
  • Fiber connections
  • Microwave Connections
  • What is LTE UE backhaul?
  • LTE MIMO Deployment Notes
  • The 4G and 5G HetNet
  • What will 5G networks look like?
  • What is the 5G System Plan?
  • How does MIMO work?
  • Deploying 5G Small Cells
  • What are SDN and NFV?
  • What about Wi-Fi?
  • Fixed Wireless is a Focal Point of 5G
  • Spectrum for 5G FWA
  • Private LTE Networks
  • What is the CBRS?

You want to learn more about 5G, and how it will be deployed, what it is, and how they will reach high speeds, low latency, and how the low-speed networks will all play together through network slicing, this is a good place to start.

If you want to learn more, then take action today. Here are your options to get this today. It is easy to get and very reasonably priced. The rest is up to you!

Get your copies today at:

You’re eager to learn more! You want to get a head start and see how you can fit into this new technology evolution! Here is a good start. We can all get a little bit better through learning something new.

Be smart and pay attention!

See Ya!

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CBRS and the Shift in Spectrum Ownership

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I have been speaking about how the spectrum of 5G will shift into the hands of the small business once again. Well, now there are more people on board with this theory. It seems that CBRS is making it all happen and IWCE had CBRS as one of its focal points. (Even though I could not make it this year, they talked about it!)

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Quick update, the US CBRS is the 3.5GHz band, which runs from 3550 to 3700 MHz band. CBRS stands for Citizens Broadband Radio Service (in remembrance of the CB, Citizens Band). It is a licensed spectrum, but it is split up into 2 areas. There is Military radar, and Earth stations that use this spectrum that are grandfathered in and have priority access. That will not change. There will be Authorized Shared Access, (ASA). Currently in the US only, but Europe is looking to follow suit with Licensed Shared Access, (LSA).

5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixelsHere it is “The 5G Deployment Plan” available in PDF, Kindle, and Paperback!

ASA includes:

  • Incumbent access including the federal government and satellite providers.
  • Priority access licenses (PAL) which are 7 10MHz licenses to be awarded to the highest bidders. PALs will be protected from the GAA users. PAL will include commercial users like carriers, rural operators, are a 3-year license with only 1 renewal term allowed at this time, and will be in the 3500 to 3650 portion of the spectrum. One licensee can hold only 4 PAL licenses.
  • General access user, (GAA) which is “Licensed by rule” which requires the rules to be followed. This will be dedicated in the 3650 to 3750 MHz portion of the band.
  • A PAL may gain additional GAA spectrum.
  • Companies that currently have this spectrum licenses will be able to keep their licenses; this was used for WiMAX in the past, now it will be LTE focused.
  • Licensing will be done by the Spectrum Allocation System, (SAS), which is a group that can charge for these services, currently being led by Google and Federated Wireless.
  • Hardware vendors include SpiderCloud, Ruckus, Nokia, Ericsson, Samsung, ip.access, and Acceleron.

I have been continuously explaining how CBRS will become a major player if the vendors pick up on it. Well, Google seems very interested. My friend Tom Ulrich put together the following report that covers how Google is excited to work with this spectrum and how it is the new beachfront property. How it will open new doors for all of us to deploy over the next 5 years or so.

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IWCE had entire workshops on it where all the big OEMs were there to promote the spectrum. They see great opportunity for growth here. One such workshop was “Building an Ecosystem for the CBRS Band that had all the big players there. Nokia, Ericsson, Ruckus, Google, WISPA, Airspan, Federated Wireless,  Comsearch, Telrad, and Cambium Networks were all presenting something about what they could do to contribute. They all see great potential in this. If you are a system integrator or do network implementation, then hopefully you see the potential as well.

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I was reading a report by ABI Research that mentions several articles pointing to Verizon Wireless plans to use CBRS to replace middle price DAS systems, the articles in RCR and Fierce Wireless using CBRS as the neutral host solution. Then it shows how Nokia added the CBRS to its Airscale product and the Ruckus OpenG product to follow suit. Not to be outdone but Acceleron also has a CBRS product. Just to be fair, Spidercloud was one of the first to have a CBRS product. It spears that Spidercloud is already reaching out the  DAS vendors and Verizon to bridge the gap for smaller DAS systems. We shall see more of SAS, (Small Cell Antenna Systems) popping up to replace the smaller DAS systems.

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Could CBRS solve the DAS middleware problem? Could CBRS products fill the void where no one wants to invest in those 100,000 to 500,000 square feet venues where it is too small for a carrier but too large for a small cell? Is this the savior we are looking for? I hope so! A clean way to hand off and a lightly licensed spectrum where we would not all be trampling on each other in the Wi-Fi space. I see a solution that could solve so many issues, financial and technical.

While this will mostly be an indoor solution, something where we could replace some DAS system with a common platform licensed spectrum that all the carriers and non-carriers could share to reach the dense population, it will be used for enterprise and outdoor coverage as a critical part of the 5G network slice. I am looking forward to seeing what small businesses can do with this spectrum to serve the people.

If you want a quick overview, here are 2 links that can help:

I focus mostly on the enterprise play here, but the reality is that we can use this spectrum for more than just indoor solutions. I see the spectrum to be used for new solutions like backhaul in the tough area or as a fixed wireless solution for placed where we need limited spectrum over short distances. I also see the carriers using this as a common small cell solution that can handoff from the licensed LTE spectrum we see today to be used to fill small holes without the very expensive LTE spectrum that they FCC auctioned off for a very high price. I see cost-effective small cells in public area where the more expensive solutions from, the bigger OEMs are not practical. Price matters, but the high cost of backhaul is one of the limitations that hold back deployment, along with permitting costs. All of this are restricting small cell deployment today causing the FCC to push legislation to streamline coverage. Everyone wants great coverage and high bandwidth, no one wants to see an ugly tower in their back yard.

I see CBRS filling the public venues with an alternative to smaller DAS systems by dropping in a CBRS small cell with multiple bands to provide a lightly licensed signal where the carriers would roam onto this device. Clean signal without the threat of another access point going up on the same band(s).

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CBRS will allow small business and Enterprise to have their lightly licensed spectrum, something that the FCC has kept from small business for quite some time. I get it, they make billions on the auctions, but it has not helped small business broadband. They feel the ISM band was enough for them to build on. I feel differently. Now I see opportunity in CBRS, centimeter wave and millimeter wave spectrums. Let’s deploy and bring broadband and narrowband to the masses! Broadband for internet access and narrowband for IOT access. It’s exciting to see the industry have more opportunity again!

Tom’s Report:

Tom did put together some notes from IWCE. Here is Tom’s report from IWCE, Is CBRS ending “Beachfront Spectrum”?

I had the pleasure to attend IWCE this week and was blown away by Dr. Preston Marshall’s {Alphabet/ Google} presentation on CBRS.

If I had to describe his presentation into 3 words it would be:

  • Ecosystem
  • Incentive
  • Innovation

Is the Ecosystem of Spectrum Landscape changing?  Will CBRS end the need for Beachfront Spectrum?

It is first important to look closely at the “Current reality” of Wireless Spectrum: How does the current Spectrum landscape preclude innovation?

Licensed Spectrum is Expensive – Past Auctions cost the WSP’s Billions to own the right to this FCC Licensed Spectrum and only come available once every ~3-5 years.  They also really limit the number of participant and winners.  Do you have a Billion dollars to purchase spectrum for your “Garage idea of the Century?

Newly Licensed Spectrum roll outs are meticulously planned and take forever to plan/ execute.  They often force the WSP’s to commit to the next technology type before knowing how successfully adopted it will be.  Even after the Spectrum purchase, Look at how many Billions of Dollars were committed in development/ deployment in WiMAX for Intel, Google, & Sprint before changing to an LTE-based solution.  Look at how difficult turning off old technology types {Analog, iDEN, GSM, UMTS, & CDMA} have become.

Spectrum is Slow to deploy and can take 6-8+ years to clear spectrum, raise funding, and establish a product rollout.  Look at failed Spectrum rollouts like Lightsquared, Next-Wave, etc.  Some companies like Dish have even had the forward though of saving spectrum, waiting for the next technology shift, or WSP Spectrum shortage to capitalize on their dormant Wireless portfolio.

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In today’s unlicensed wireless ecosystem it encourages OEM’s to make cheap, lousy radios that do not perform very well with interference present.  802.11 Wireless AP’s are often a cheap commodity that needs to be upgraded or replaced every 3-5 years.   How much innovation can we drive with a $40 access point?  This often drives the race to the bottom on who can create the least cost AP.

How does CBRS set-up to change the Spectrum Landscape and Drive Innovation?

Dr. Marshall stated, “CBRS will make spectrum buying an economic decision.”  It incentivizes stakeholders to maximize their ability to deflect interference and operate with radios that can perform in a noisier shared spectrum environment.

Dr. Marshall detailed his 4 step plan to rolling out CBRS

  1. Regulatory – Helped get FCC approval, help develop standards within the Wireless Innovation Forum, and CBRS Alliance. Established FCC Part 96.
  2. Coexist – Creating an ecosystem environment for Multiple Technologies and Stakeholders
  3. Recruit – Recruit top talent and buy-in from Wireless industry
  4. Prove – Further innovate standards, product, Solutions, and Applications.

CBRS creates a Wireless Ecosystem that now will encourage innovation and allows for fast, less expensive rollouts.  Why not put a solution in the Marketplace and let the market decide how well it is adopted before committing to extensive field trials and Millions of dollars?

Dr. Marshall detailed that this Spectrum Landscape is sustainable to support additional shared spectrum bands, and may hold some of the keys on Business models, and landscape of 5G.

Special thanks to Tom for sending this back to us.

Now, my opinion. We have seen the players be OEMs and carriers and other integrators in this space. Who has been conspicuously absent has been the cable companies. Here is space where they can shine, grow, and spread beyond Wi-Fi without building an ironclad agreement with one carrier. They have the money and the deployment process to make this a phenomenal area of growth. I would like to think that SpiderCloud would be calling the cable companies with proposals and business cases. Just my opinion. It is time for the cable companies to make it happen in wireless deployment.

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

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What is 5G?

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Did you ever wonder, what is 5G anyway? What does that mean to me? If you’re not interested in technology, then it’s just another buzz word, but if you’re reading this, then you asked the question.

Here it is “The 5G Deployment Plan” available now!

The 5G network, as of 2016, is still being defined. What we do know is that it will not be like 2G, 3G, or 4G because it will be more than the format, spectrum, speed, or even the equipment. Let me break it down for you.

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Can we define 5G? Let’s look at the Wikipedia definition of 5G, found here, “5G (5th generation mobile networks or 5th generation wireless systems) denotes the proposed next major phase of mobile telecommunications standards beyond the current 4G/IMT-Advanced standards. 5G planning includes Internet connection speeds faster than current 4G, and other improvements.”  So what does that mean? It’s more than just a network connection or a format. It will include the connection to the internet, the connections to each device, the broad-spectrum of devices used in the network.

Quick history recap:

  • Older formats were defined by what they could do but we really just looked at the wireless format. We looked at 3G as GSM or CDMA. We were looking at 4G as the next generation which was LTE as chosen by the carriers because it is the Long Term Evolution of wireless.
  • Then when going to 4G it was a competition between WCDMA and WiMAX and LTE, LTE clearly won the battle. All the carriers went with LTE. This helped them make the equipment and deployments more of a commodity which saves them money. The evolved packet core made it easier to distribute the radios and split up the core. The all IP system matched what most networks are today making the transfer of data more efficient and clean.
  • So why improve? Because we’re human, that’s what we do, advance. In this case it was the end-user’s insatiable demand for data that has pushed out 3G pretty quick, costing network operators a lot of money in upgrades to get to an all IP LTE system. Thanks to the iPhone, the mobile device changed forever!
  • The big difference? It’s the network! Going to 5G is more than just the wireless format, it’s all about the network and the combination of networks. Back when 4G was coming out there was this concept, the HetNet, that was introduced. The Heterogeneous Network is a concept that came from the computer world where, according to Wikipedia, “using different access technologies. For example, a wireless network which provides a service through a wireless LAN and is able to maintain the service when switching to a cellular network is called a wireless heterogeneous network”.

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The HetNet is the game changer along with new speeds and spectrum and formats. When looking at the system you could have macro sites and small cells, LTE and Wi-Fi and perhaps another format all working together as one big happy network where the end-user has no idea what network they are on. You could be in any spectrum, 600MHz, 700MHz, 1.9GHz, 2.5GHz, 24GHz, 28GHz, 60GHz or another band which could be allocated to 5G. You could even be in the unlicensed spectrum running Wi-Fi or LTE-U or a lightly licensed band like 3.65GHz, the CBRS, here in the states. The end-user may notice the change in speed but not the format or spectrum change. In fact, I would believe the end-user won’t care unless they see a big change is speed, or quality of experience, (QoE). Seriously, do you even think about it unless voice is crappy or the download rate is painfully slow or you lose connection altogether?

So, what is 5G? It’s the combination all the network encompasses. It will be all of the parts put together to make the speeds super-fast. Now, you’re probably wondering how we will get there. Lucky I put together this list for you to see how we will improve speeds.

  • Carrier aggregation – what this is the method used to aggregate carrier, which is explained by 3GPP here. What that means is that carriers used now can be combined in the equipment to look like one big pipe of bandwidth. It is advancing, currently I have seen 3 carriers all put together but it should grow to 6 or 7 in the near future allowing the pipes to be bigger.
  • Carrier aggregation with unlicensed bands – I thought I would throw this in there because it is very different that normal carrier aggregation. I will tell you why! Licensed aggregation is from the same BTS making it easy to aggregate but the unlicensed aggregation like LAA and LWA is combining spectrum from a BTS and some unlicensed access point. That makes it much more complicated and I have to give the OEMs so much credit to do this. In the UE device they can put it together and it seems that Qualcomm figured out how to do it in the device.
  • Massive MIMO – that’s right, the antennas are making a difference. I know, it’s more than the antenna but let’s just point out that it’s a team effort between the radio and the antenna to shove even more bit per second in the same bandwidth. There is a high-level overview here. I am not going to get into the technical details but the beam forming technology and the way that one antenna will have hundreds of antennas in it that can focus on one user, is amazing. I remember that Ruckus has high-tech antenna technology in the Wi-Fi spectrum which really set them apart from their competition. The antennas will push data to new limits in 5G systems.
  • Improvements in LTE – the formats are improving but bandwidth is limited in today’s spectrum so this is reaching its limit. However, we now have LTE-Advanced, which is being released in networks in 2016. This includes much of the services that are listed here. However, if the radios don’t improve then we don’t’ advance or evolve.
  • New spectrum – the spectrum is coming in bigger bandwidths for the carriers to put together. We no longer see carrier use 1MHz carriers, but they are looking for 5, 10, and 20MHz carriers. When the “5G” spectrum in the mmwave, (millimeter wave), is released they will have 20 MHz channels and higher. So imagine a carrier has 100MHz of bandwidth on one carrier and they can dedicate that to a limited number of users and they can aggregate it with 3 other 100MHz wide carriers to provide 400Mhz of bandwidth in the same spectrum. This is what the 24GHz and higher spectrum will accommodate. Would that compete with cable for home internet access? I think so, as a fixed wireless system where we no longer have to run cables or fiber to a house or business. If only the carriers would work out a flat-fee unlimited data plan for users that would rival the cable companies plans without the TV channels.

Scope of Work defined in this tutorial.

Now, I went over the wireless improvements but as you know it’s more about the network which includes the backhaul and core. Did I say backhaul and core? You know it’s more than that!

  • SDN – Software Defined Networking which makes the routing architecture smarter and more efficient. If you want to learn more start here.
  • NFV – Network Function Virtualization used SDN to make the network virtual. That will make the network functions work closer to the user. Learn more here.
  • Cloud Computing – here is where the applications are brought closer to the user, lower latency and improved customer experience to the point where the network sees less congestion. Learn more here. So where is the cloud? It should be in a server near you. They could be anywhere in a data room set up to serve you and they should be able to work anywhere.
  • Fog computing – this is taking the cloud and shoving it as close to the end-user as possible, to the edge. This is where the IOT will be able to make smart decisions in very little time, low latency. I found a good explanation here.
  • Cloud RAN – C-RAN is where the RAN will not have a local BBU, but a virtual BBU. Similar to CRAN which is Centralized RAN which is where the BBU hotel is remote and fiber connected the BBU to each radio head which could be using CPRI or another format. The limitation with this is that the fiber needs to be dedicated fiber for each radio head. I have an article here, but I want you to realize that if you are in the industry then CRAN and C-RAN are very different, ask any OEM or carrier. Cloud RAN is where the BBU function is more virtual whereas Centralized RAN has a direct physical connection to the BBU. Get it?

5G will encompass new applications, new ways to use the Het Net. New DAS 101 Distributed Antenna System: A Basic Guide to In-Building Wireless Infrastructure by [Baasan, Soyola]ways to get the processing power to the edge of the network using the cloud and even fog technologies. I think that we have to change the paradigm of the wireless network. It won’t be long until we have fixed wireless providing internet access to homes to replace the cable modems we need now. Operators will have more than 10Mbps backhaul for wireless cells, small or macro. It won’t be long until they need 1Gbps to 10Gbps to 100Gbps to satisfy the needs of the end-user.

So now we have 5G. This is going to be Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!more than just a new format or a higher speed. It will be a combination of formats with so much more included. We will see 5G specific applications that will shape the network. We will see the networking equipment be a requirement, the cloud, even fog computing will be part of all of this.

Think about what we will see with 5G, artificial intelligence on the network, virtual reality anywhere, and so many new applications that we can’t even think of yet.

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

Related Posts:

LTE will be the Foundation for 5G

What is LTE UE Backhaul?

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LTE will be the Foundation for 5G

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I have been reading a lot about 5G and it seems there is a misconception that 5G will replace LTE. That is far from the truth. If anything LTE will be the foundation of 5G. That is why the carriers went to LTE so it could expand to 5G and beyond. We should look at 5G as the Super HetNet!

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I remember that some of the carriers in the USA and abroad felt like it was just the OEMs pushing new hardware. Now they are not only on board but pushing the OEMs to provide OEM solutions. That is because they suddenly see that the OEMs knew what the customers wanted, whereas the carriers tried to drive the customers to keep what they have to avoid a larger investment. Also, they see the possibility to do more with LTE. That is why I wrote the post about the 5G business plan, to show you what is possible and how 5G money will be made.

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The OEMs are coming out with all kinds of cool names, like 4.5G, 4.5G Pro and 4.9G, Pre5G, 5G Ready, and so on. It all sounds good but they need to prep for the things to come. There is also the article showing you what 5G networks may look like.

Let’s look at it this way, 5G will not only coexist with 4G in the beginning, but 4G will morph into 5G. I’m not talking transformers where it goes back and forth, but more like a caterpillar morphing into a butterfly, (or a moth). So this thing we call LTE becomes the foundation of 5G and more “G”s to come, hence the name LTE, Long Term Evolution. Do you think Darwin would be impressed to see wireless evolve this way? Do you think Darwin would want to call each level of his evolution 1G, 2G, 3G and so on? Would the fish be 1G and the human be 5G? OK, off the point, sorry.

If you have been following 5G you think of amazing bandwidth, but it will be more than that because it is going to have the capability to provide virtual reality to the mobile user. Latency will be much lower. This is all for the mobile user, but what about the fixed wireless user. Can you imagine what they will be able to provide? But, what about the fixed wireless user? If they can have fixed wireless become reliable and high bandwidth then the cable companies will start to shake. We all know that AT&T and Verizon compete with cable, but now they will have a way to connect to the house without cable, wires, fiber, or any physical connection to the home. Wouldn’t it be nice to put a wireless router in your home, maybe by a window, then have Wi-Fi or LTE-U inside your home to connect to everything? WOW! I would love that.

But will 5G replace LTE? Of course not! That is because LTE will be the foundation of the mobile 5G systems. They are improving LTE bandwidth by creative means, like larger swaths of bandwidth. The engineers are getting creative though, they are using carrier aggregation to combine existing carrier’s spectrum. Antennas have amazing improvements using MIMO, massive MIMO. Loading is becoming less of a problem with the insertion of new sites and small cells. Offloading is helping because of Wi-Fi and LTE-U. While bandwidth is our friend as a user, it’s a real pain in the ass to achieve from a carriers perspective because it’s not just the wireless fronthaul, is it? They need to add backhaul, fiber, microwave, copper, whatever it takes to achieve the maximum bandwidth for customers. In voice you could have a smaller backhaul, multiplex the voice and get more and more through a smaller pipe, you could oversubscribe. Data is becoming less forgiving, and it’s a hassle to give people what they want. But it is being done. The channels, set by the FCC, are now able to be put together to look like one big pipe. We will improve LTE bandwidth throughput with all of these technologies. It will be amazing compared to what we see now. And you will be there to see it, how cool is that? I love technology!

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5G will be using more and more of the license-free spectrum in the millimeter wave. But 5G will be more than a wireless protocol. 5G is going to be the network. It is going to include more than a format. It will be upgrading the network backhaul, the devices, the last mile, and using the cloud more than ever. So the carriers originally thought they would save the money by not replacing the wireless RAN but just doing updates and upgrades with a few new sites. Now they have to overhaul the entire backhaul, add so many more sites, and improve their core to the point where it can become virtual and apps can run on the cloud very close if not in the cell site. This may be more of an overhaul than the RAN was from 3G to 4G, but prices have come down so the carriers will be fine.

Think about the HetNet that you use now, the network could include more and more technologies. You may be listening to your headset through Bluetooth, then your device is connected by either Wi-Fi or LTE where that could be connected by microwave or fiber all the way to a core or an Internet connection. While it is many connections, it mostly is an IP connection to the device.

I read an article about how 600MHz could be a 5G deployment. I would imagine by the time 600MHz deploys it will be 5G at the rate things are going. I believe that the reason the FCC is pushing 600MHz will be 5G is because of the timing, it seems to be taking a long time to come out, and the bandwidth. Also, the FCC is hoping to get top dollar for the spectrum. Remember that they look to the auction as an income source, but I see it as a way to push out the small business. If you’re a small business, an entrepreneur in the wireless industry, don’t focus on building a network unless you go lightly licensed or license-free unless you have billions to invest before you build any sites, (Lightsquared tried and is now taken over by Ligaldo Networks), but that is another article. I don’t fault the FCC, I know they are doing the best they can, I am just saying find a better way to give the little guy more than scraps.

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When thinking of 5G, remember that it will be a collage of technologies all tied together. The technology will be varied but to the end user they will get the same result, data. They won’t know that they rely on LTE in one area and Wi-Fi in another (although every time you enter a new Wi-Fi area it asks you to join), or LTE-U or a new 5G format. Customers don’t care, all they want is the end result. All they care about is a great user experience, just like me. We all want the device to work and work reliably. That is what matters.

So to look at what the carriers are paying billions for, go to http://www.auction600mhz.com/?p=140 and you can see that they are bidding on 5×5 MHZ blocks of spectrum. For one, why so small? While 126MHz is a lot of spectrum, the 5MHz paired channels seems relatively small for the future growth. This is to be used for 5G so the carriers will want to offer new and amazing services. I have to thoughts on this. First, they will need larger swaths of bandwidth. However, second thought is that 600MHz carries really well so it may cause more self-interference. OK, I know that they contradict each other, but the one thing that I remember when Wi-Fi was growing is how it would cause problems with self-interference. So you had to limit the bandwidth to provide co-channel collaboration. Even though you had all of this spectrum, throughput would be limited because you had to plan out the channel allocation by site. LTE has solved many issues, but it will be up to the engineers to make sure that the antenna down tilt and BTS power is set properly to avoid problems from the neighboring sites.

If anyone can deploy 600MHz quickly, I say T-Mobile can. I am a big fan of all that they have done in their system upgrades over the past 2 years. The engineers over there have done a great job! If anyone can roll out the 600MHz band quickly, it will be T-Mobile. They will probably have the earliest 5G or pre-5G system out there before anyone else does on a wide scale. It’s really exciting!  If they can keep up with this pace they should be the 5G deployment winner!

I believe that is why the higher spectrum, 28GHz and up, will be ideal for the true massive bandwidth functions like virtual reality. I would imagine that’s why Wheeler of the FCC published his blog post, found here, about using that spectrum. I believe it’s lightly licensed. That means for the microwave links its used for you can just apply for a license on the FCC’s website and it generally is approved quickly. Yes, that spectrum is already in use for PTP microwave hops and has been for several years. All they have to do to make it a 5G option is to make the equipment point to multipoint. I don’t mean to oversimplify it, but it’s already being used for high-speed data communications, it just needs to be refined. It will take a lot of work to get there and I imagine they will want to make it a form of LTE to maintain consistency and help with clean handoffs if it will be used for handsets.

Keep in mind that 5G is not just a technology but the collection of technologies. FCC Commissioner Wheeler said, “5G is not a technology.  It is a revolution.” In his speech at CTIA on Sept 7, 2016, full speech here. I believe what he meant by that is we need to stop looking at the next generations of communications as a form of communication, wireless or wired. Like we looked at 4G as LTE, 3G as GSM and CDMA. Now we need to look at the network, the backhaul, the fiber, the HetNet, the collection of all technologies as a complete generation. It goes beyond wireless to the cloud, to the fog computing, SDN, NFV, as well as all the wireless formats.

Now that you know that, think of LTE as the foundation for 5G on the wireless front. We need to get LTE faster and the latency lower.

So let me know what you think, email wade4wireless@gmail.com when you think of something to say!

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

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IWCE 2016 Review of Choosing the Right Technology

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I was in another session which was great if you work in public safety. It was session N259 – Pick Me, Pick Me! Choosing the Right Technology for Your System which was moderated by Steve Macke, a great moderator. He knew about all of these technologies, mostly because he consulted for people who needed help with almost all of them. Just a really smart guy in all things wireless.

I have to say, I was surrounded by greatness in this session. All of the speakers knew more about the evolution of communications that almost anyone I talked to. These guys certainly have seen it all. They knew about the progression of DMX, TETRA, P25, and all things 2 way all the way up to hardened communication systems to LTE.  When you talk about LTE you understand that is has a long way to go make it reliable enough for public safety. I understand that  but let’s face it, that is the end goal. It may be  5 to 10 years from now, but it is the future as I see it. While 5G is new and exciting, it will be built on and around LTE.

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So with all of that said, we need the PTT, (push to talk) systems as they are now. They are needed in public safety. They are normally in hardened sites. We really need to get LTE to that point. One thing that came up is that LTE is nowhere near the hardened requirements that public safety will need. In fact, the way FirstNet is building it out, it doesn’t look like it will be there for years to come, my opinion of course, but if they have a carrier build it, they will get a carrier class system, which is awesome. But, will it work after a hurricane or a tornado or a bombing? Ask yourself that. Now, let’s move on.

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Doug Chapman of Etherstack, representing PTIG in this session, talked about how P25 systems fit the current mission critical voice communications. Here is a smart guy that really understood what mission critical means and what they need to keep working.

Bill Frederickson of LMR Systems, Selex, representing DMRa, spoke of DMR systems being used as a cost-effective solution for voice communications.

Rodney Grim, National Technical Sales Manager of ICOM America, spoke about the use of NXDN and the service for real-time voice in critical communication. It is a very cost-effective voice solution for mission critical systems that has been around for year and is very reliable. It is commonly used in the USA.

John Monto, Director of Radio Technology Systems for Rockwell Collins/ARINC, spoke about  TETRA systems being used not only worldwide, but here in the states today.

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Dan O’Malley is a Sr Product Manager of Cisco, for the Internet of Things, gave a really interesting talk of a Cisco system that could work in mission critical systems that rely on the IP Network and the PTT system. He had examples of how the system could switch over from one call center to another in a mission critical situation.

Scott Peabody is a senior consultant for ADCOMM Engineering Company, gave a very technical and interesting talk of how 5G will be the critical infrastructure for the future. He demonstrated how the use of Wi-Fi in today’s world can solve some connectivity issues seen in our industry. He had an example of how he could connect a hip using Wi-Fi to provide them with over 100Mbps of data. Pretty cool stuff!

I spoke about using LTE in mission critical systems, well, really I laid out the pros and cons, because LTE isn’t there yet.

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IWCE 2016 Review on Next Generation of Wireless Networks

I got back from IWCE 2016 exhausted. There was so much going on at that show that I can’t begin to tell you everything. So what I will go over is what I was able to attend.

Of course, my sessions were really important! To me anyway. I talked about LTE deployment on Monday with others who talked LTE in the session M201 – Next Generation Wireless Networks: 4G, LTE and Broadband.

Mary Walsh of LBC Consultants and Services moderated the session and did a great job of introducing us all and moderating.

I was on the stage with Wim Brouwer of Nokia who spoke of Wi-Fi and how it could be leveraged to maximize LTE coverage. Wim spoke of how Wi-Fi can be used to extend the connection of your device back into the core. How now Wi-Fi does not have to have a specific SSID to connect to the core, but the device would connect through the Wi-Fi to the core. The way I understood it was that the Wi-Fi was merely a pipe to the internet that could connect to the core.

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Patrik Ringqvist, the VP and CTO of Industry and Society for Ericsson spoke about LTE and the progression into 5G. His presentation spoke of the roadmap of VoLTE being ready for services and 5G will use LTE as the foundation to build the newer 5G network.

Dan O’Malley a senior product manager of Cisco gave his talk on what is broadband. While he gave a strong Cisco position it was very interesting. He was able to show us the LTE options and how the broadband system was not only the RAN, but the applications all the way to the core. It was really quite interesting.

Sami Honkaniemi, the managing director or the Mentura Group, gave a great talk on how hybrid systems of the current PTT and LTE systems can co-exist and work together now. This was showing how for mission critical system the LTE would have to have solutions to bridge the open gap between your data on LTE and your mission critical voice on your PTT system which could be DMX, TETRA, P25, or anything else. It looked really cool!

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Mohan Tammisetti, the CTO and Co-Founder of Virtualcomm, and Gary Monetti, founder and managing director of Monetti and Associates,  talked about how the LTE systems can be expanded by using a small interface and a LTE hotspot for emergency situations.  This small LTE system extender was really a hit and something that people are interested in because you can expand the network in a crisis situation with little effort! (If the FAA would allow it, which by todays rules, they don’t.) Then you could launch a drone with the hotspot and connect back to the mini core with either Wi-Fi or a back channel, and use that for the first responders on site. If only the FAA could clear up the drone rules for business and emergency use.

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Mohan Tammisetti was planning to do a demo later that evening. I would have loved to have seen the demo but I could not make it. They were going to show the connectivity of the LTE through their tiny core and the hotspot. It was a proof of concept.

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I went over the actual LTE Wireless deployment. This was the session that I thought would really highlight what the deployment teams do for LTE. Remember, without the deployment teams, RF Design, installers, tower climbers, optimization teams, site acquisition teams, and all the people that put the system out there, not of the above systems will work. They mean nothing if you keep them in a lab, when they are deployed, that is when they make money!

I was able to absorb quite a bit of information, don’t be afraid to click here to see all of my IWCE 2016 sessions.

I hope that sums it up for you!

Remember, be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

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The FirstNet Fizzle

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What do the deployment teams think of FirstNet? What do you think of FirstNet? Yes, FirstNet. For all of us who were looking forward to building FirstNet, guess what, it is only going to help you if you already work for a carrier, a large carrier, probably AT&T. Yes, the carriers are rule the industry.

The way it looks is AT&T are the front-runners, not because of anything specific, just because they are interested in the offer and they are apparently the perfect fit. Maybe Rivada can get in there, but it will be an uphill battle for them. The only competition I could see is if T-Mobile or Verizon show interest, which they didn’t yet. If they do come out as bidders, great, but the way it looks at this moment in time is that AT&T has a lock on it.

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If you are a contractor for AT&T, things look pretty good for you. I believe that the engineers and installers have a great opportunity to get in on the AT&T growth spurt, in 2017. I don’t see much happening before 2017 because this process of approvals, contracts, and agreements will go slow. When they do ramp up, go baby go! Then in 2018 or 2019 we should see the densification of the FirstNet network for better coverage. It’s a long wait, but worth it.

So this will not be a normal public safety offer, really it won’t look like public safety at all. In fact, I am curious how Motorola will survive moving forward, but that is another story. For this story we need to look at this as just another carrier expansion. This is one that the carriers will continue with business as usual, that is, until something doesn’t work or goes wrong then the finger-pointing will begin. I hope they forego the finger-pointing and decide to just push ahead. It will be a new system built on an existing system that will have glitches. Then the advancements will begin, like push to talk, PTT, and over the top, OTT, services for all of you to start adding to the system.

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FirstNet will add a lot of work but the way I see it, it will be as an expansion to the AT&T system. The one thing that AT&T will need to do is build the markets they may not have, like rural Alaska and Hawaii where there may be little or no coverage. They may also need to improve coverage where FirstNet needs to cover real estate. How will they do this? Partners, they will trade spectrum, specifically the Band 14 of FirstNet, to a smaller local carrier just like they do now. Then they will setup roaming between systems.

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Roaming is relatively simple for carriers now. They just bill in whatever terms the contract states, by minute or by call, whatever. They do it all the time between all the carriers. This is how a basic MVNO agreement works. A company, like Virgin Mobile here in the US, has a billing system tied into a large carrier and then create an agreement billing by the minute, a bulk of minutes, or be billed by subscriber. These are ways that the MVNO can work and probably what Rivada will have to do to be competitive.

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I was hoping that FirstNet would spark the industry, but I was wrong. It will merely help the dominance of the carriers over all the wireless systems in the USA.

I bring this up because public safety was the last stand for small business, the last stand for a regional business to do work outside of the carrier world. Broadcast appears to be changing and winding down. Broadcast was a place where smaller businesses were still prevalent. Well, those days are coming to a close, aren’t they? The 600MHz auction is shutting that door. Now, if you don’t do carrier work or tower modifications, then you had better be getting into pole placement for small cell expansion.

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What a let-down, the FirstNet team took a long time to hand it over to a carrier. I guess it should not surprise me because they do LTE so well, but I thought it would be an opportunity for a new player to come in. With all of their money and backing, I have to root for Rivada just to see what they will do different. I know that the $6B budget that they have looks inviting, but the only realistic way they can get there is to partner with a carrier. It makes perfect sense for the FirstNet team.

So what can you do? Sit back and wait for the deployment, next year, hopefully early in 2017 we will see real work rolling out. I am looking forward to it!

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