Thursday, 25 May 2017

No surprises as Apple turns its attention to 5G millimetre bands

Apple will evaluate millimetre wave (mmWave) technology as part of its planning for future deployments of 5G networks, after being cleared to conduct the tests by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The US regulator granted Apple an experimental mmWave licence, which the vendor requested, Business Insider reported. mmWave technology is designed to enable faster data speeds on mobile networks, and improve the cellular performance on smartphones, and Apple will use the licence to ensure compatability of its iPhone devices with future mobile networks. In its application to the FCC, Apple explained it was seeking to: “assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters and receivers using this spectrum.” “These assessments will provide engineering data relevant to the operation of devices on wireless carriers’ future 5G networks.”

The licence will allow the company to test the technology from two locations in California. The testing process will take no longer than one year, according to Apple. Although 5G standards are yet to be released, operators in the US and beyond are already outlining their paths towards launching the technology, and have begun to conduct trials. AT&T, for example, recently detailed plans to launch 20 networks it said will lay the foundation for 5G during 2017, while rival Verizon agreed a $3.1 billion acquisition of Straight Path Communications, which holds hundreds of mmWave licences in the 39GHz and 28GHz bands – both of which the FCC cleared for use in 5G. Apple’s move is not a surprise, given its products rely heavily on mobile networks to run.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Ericsson expects average monthly data usage to be around 22 GBytes with 5G

Ericsson in its Mobility Report last year forecast average monthly data usage in North America is expected to rise from 5 GB in 2015 to a whopping 22 GB by 2021. And market research firm Analysys Mason added color to that figure earlier this month when it reported entertainment accounted for 57 percent of data usage and nearly a third of all time spent on smartphones. In terms of fixed access, Sandvine found entertainment already represents 70 percent of peak period traffic, and it’s clear mobile isn’t far behind. As technology has shifted from a focus on connectivity to content, mobile carrier revenues have suffered. An analysis from Mobile Experts found that while the monthly expense for basic phone services has plummeted from the late 1950s to today, TV/radio and internet costs have increased exponentially. CHART But according to Mobile Experts, the move to 5G could provide some relief to struggling carriers. The firm indicated 5G is expected to deliver a 10x reduction in cost per bit compared with LTE. Rather than pouring that savings into new use cases, much of it will be directed toward various video services, Mobile Experts said. Why? Because that’s where the money is. “Personally, I don't believe that new 5G applications will drive a lot of revenue. Virtual reality? No, that's short-range wireless, not mobile. Massive IoT? No, we have cheaper solutions for that. Critical IoT? Maybe, but that revenue will grow very slowly,” Mobile Experts Principal Analyst Joe Madden commented. “There’s no growth in the phone business – the phone line is simply a tether that keeps a subscriber connected to an access provider. Prices for data keep coming down, so while there is potential growth in delivery of data, the future profit potential is weak. On the other hand, people that produce quality video programs are all migrating to Netflix and Amazon, and making more money than ever before." Rather than being a race to provide the best access technology, Madden predicted the battles of the future will be fought over control of high-quality entertainment – movies, shows, games, and virtual reality experiences. While wireless operators obviously need to make video delivery more cost-effective, it would also behoove them to develop a strong repertoire of entertainment options, he said

5G connected home

Verizon and Ericsson are planning to demonstrate next generation use cases this week in a 5G-connected home participating in the carrier’s fixed wireless trial deployment.

VR and AR are Pushing Connectivity Limits- What Role will 5G Play?

With the nearby Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a backdrop, Verizon said it will use the home (located in Speedway, Indiana) to show off use cases that utilize the multi-gigabit per second speeds and ultra-low latency of 5G. The showcase will include viewing live sporting events – like the Indianapolis 500 – in 360-degree virtual reality streamed from the track in 4K.

Both Ericsson and Intel, which provided the in-home gateway, are partnering with Verizon on the demonstration. The demo will be broadcast live on Facebook this Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. ET, Verizon said. A pre-recorded test of 5G at the track can also be viewed here. Verizon said the latter video – in which a racecar driver navigates the track using VR vision from a live 5G feed alone – proves 5G technology will go beyond fixed wireless to serve a variety of mobile use cases in smartphones, cars, and other connected devices.

During the racetrack test, Verizon and Ericsson said they achieved speeds of 6.4 Gbps in a car traveling at over 60 miles per hour. Those speeds reportedly came courtesy of Ericsson’s radio, antenna, and processing technology, which include features like beam forming and beam tracking. Asha Keddy, VP and GM of Next Generation Standards for Intel’s Communications and Devices Group, said the tests with Verizon are an important step on the road to 5G.

“5G will bring new experiences and business opportunities like exciting virtual reality in 4K and ultra-fast wireless home broadband. Intel, Verizon, and Ericsson’s work in establishing early trials and testing is essential to deliver on our vision of making all devices smart and connected,” she said.

The demos are the latest news to come out of Verizon’s fixed wireless 5G trials, which are ongoing in 11 cities across the country. Earlier this month, Samsung and Cisco achieved end-to-end interoperability on Verizon’s 5G trial network in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Samsung finally joins the 5GAA

Samsung Electronics is now adding a board position to its 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) membership. Samsung’s representative on the board will be Jaeweon Cho, director of 5G technology strategy within Samsung’s next-generation communications business team. “This is a serious opportunity for Samsung and our industry partners to leverage the work we’re doing in diverse spaces such as mobile networks, home appliances and chipsets and apply it to the growing connected car industry,” he said in a press release. “I’m really excited to explore the potential opportunities here and help the 5GAA Board set its future direction. What the 5GAA and Samsung are working on will be globally transformational.” In addition to joining the 5GAA board, Samsung was elected to serve as vice chair of the 5GAA’s Working Group 4, which is responsible for exploring connected car-related standards and radio spectrum opportunities. RELATED: Samsung pursues connected cars with $8B acquisition of Harman Samsung in March closed its acquisition of Harman, a major player in the connected-car market. More than 30 million cars are equipped with Harman's connected car and audio systems, which include embedded information and entertainment, telematics, safety and security. Samsung expects that the combination of this expertise paired with its own experience in mobile devices, wireless networks and chipset development will serve to empower the 5GAA’s mission to accelerate the commercialization of communications solutions that improve mobility and safety on transportation networks. Samsung joined the 5GAA in January. The 5GAA was established in September with founding members Audi, BMW Group, Daimler, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm. RELATED: 5GAA, NGMN argue for cellular, not DSRC, in NHTSA proposal A white paper (PDF) from 5GAA elaborates on why Cellular-V2X (C-V2X) technology at the radio level is an essential enabler to connected transportation services throughout the world. The 5GAA perspective is that 3GPP-based cellular technology offers superior performance and a more future-proof radio access than IEEE 802.11p and can leverage ETSI-ITS, ISO, SAE and IEEE upper layer standards and tests that have been refined by the automotive industry and others in the ITS community for more than a decade. Samsung Electronics America also was elected to the board of governors for 5G Americas earlier this year. Samsung’s representative on that board is Juha Lappalainen, vice president, technical solutions, networks division at Samsung.