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Latest news and information on 3G, 4G, 5G wireless and technologies in general.



Last Build Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2017 01:09:14 +0000

 



5G Patents Progress

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 09:23:00 +0000

More than 23,500 patents have been declared essential to the GSM & 3G as shown in the picture above. I am assuming this includes 4G as well. Anyway, its been a while I looked into this subject. The last time I was looking, 4G patent pools were beginning to form.For LTE, indeed there is no one-stop shop for licensing. The only company that has tried is VIA Licensing, with their patent pool, but they don’t have licenses for the big players like Ericsson, Qualcomm, Huawei, ZTE, Samsung, etc. The same will probably apply for 5G.This old picture and article from Telecom TV (link) is an interesting read on this topic.This official WIPO list shows ZTE, Huawei, and Qualcomm at the top of the list for international patent filers worldwide in 2016 [PDF].Back in 2015, NGMN alliance was also looking for creation of some kind of patent pool but it probably didn't go anywhere (link)(Can't recall the source for this one) In March, Ericsson announced plans to license 5G for $5 per device and possibly as low as $2.50 in emerging markets. In November, Qualcomm announced plans to license 5G IP at the same rates established by the NDRC for 4G/LTE phones sold into China: 2.275% for single mode essential patents / 4.0% for the entire portfolio or 3.25% for multimode essential patents / 5.0% for the entire portfolio. All rates are based on the wholesale price of the phone.Qualcomm also announced that the previously undisclosed $500 price cap will apply to all phones. Qualcomm also announce a rate of less than $5 for 5G for automotive applications and $0.50 for NB-IoT based IoT applications.Ericsson has filed patent application for its end-to- end 5G technology. Ericsson has incorporated its numerous 5G and related inventions into a complete architecture for the 5G network standard. The patent application filed by the leading telecom vendor combines the work of 130 Ericsson inventors.Dr. Stefan Parkvall, Principal Researcher at Ericsson, said, “The patent application contains Ericsson’s complementary suite of 5G inventions.” Stefan added, “It contains everything you need to build a complete 5G network. From devices, the overall network architecture, the nodes in the network, methods and algorithms, but also shows how to connect all this together into one fully functioning network. The inventions in this application will have a huge impact on industry and society: they will provide low latency with high performance and capacity.This will enable new use cases like the Internet of Things, connected factories and self-driving cars.” Ericsson is involved with leading mobile operators across the world for 5G and Pre-5G research and trials. The patent application is likely to further strengthen its position in the 5G race.More details on E/// 5G patents on their official website here.Mobile world live has some good details on Qualcomm 5G NR royalty terms.Smartphone vendors will have to pay as much as $16.25 per device to use Qualcomm’s 5G New Radio (NR) technology under new royalty guidelines released by the company.Qualcomm said it will implement a royalty rate of 2.275 per cent of the selling price for single-mode 5G handsets and a higher rate of 3.25 per cent for multi-mode smartphones with 3G, 4G and 5G capabilities.So for a $200 multi-mode device, for instance, Qualcomm noted a vendor would have to pay $6.50 in royalties per device. Royalties are capped at a $500 device value, meaning the maximum amount a smartphone vendor would have to pay would be $16.25 per handset.The company added it will also offer access to its portfolio of both cellular standard essential patents and non-essential patents at a rate of 4 per cent of the selling price for single-mode devices and 5 per cent for multi-mode devices.Qualcomm’s rates are notably higher than those announced by Ericsson in March. The Swedish company said it would charge a flat royalty fee of $5 per 5G NR multimode handset, but noted its fee could go as low as $2.50 per device for handsets with low average selling prices.The official Qualcomm 5G royalty terms [PDF] are[...]



Connectivity on Planes

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 08:05:00 +0000


I recently made a video explaining how connectivity works on planes and how its about to change. The slides are embedded below and they contain the video. If you prefer, direct link to video is this.

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="445" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="//www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/key/ugiRFIWJw8BxPK" style="border-width: 1px; border: 1px solid #ccc; margin-bottom: 5px; max-width: 100%;" width="645">

Related posts:

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Summary of 3GPP Release-14 Work Items

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 19:57:00 +0000

With all focus on 5G (Release-15), looks like Rel-14 has been feeling a bit neglected. There are some important updates though as it lays foundation for other services.3GPP used to maintain Release Descriptions here for all different releases but have stopped doing that since 2014. For Release-14, a new document "3GPP TR 21.914: Release 14 Description; Summary of Rel-14 Work Items" is now available here.An executive summary from the document:Release 14 focusses on the following items:Improving the Mission Critical aspects, in particular with the introduction of Video and Data servicesIntroducing the Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) aspects, in particular the Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2)Improving the Cellular Internet of Things (CIoT) aspects, with 2G, 3G and 4G support of Machine-Type of Communications (MTC)Improving the radio interface, in particular by enhancing the aspects related to coordination with WLAN and unlicensed spectrumA set of uncorrelated improvements, e.g. on Voice over LTE (VoLTE), IMS, Location reporting. The continuation of this document provides an exhaustive view of all the items specified by 3GPP in Release 14.I have blogged about the Mission Critical Communications here. 3GPP has also done a webinar on this topic which can be viewed here. I like this slide below that summarizes features in different releases.Then there are quite a few new features and enhancements for V2X. I have blogged about sidelink and its proposed extensions here.From the document:The Work Item on “Architecture enhancements for LTE support of V2X services (V2XARC)”, driven by SA WG2, specifies the V2X architectures, functional entities involved for V2X communication, interfaces, provisioned parameters and procedures in TS 23.285.Figure above depicts an overall architecture for V2X communication. V2X Control Function is the logical function defined for network related actions required for V2X and performs authorization and provisioning of necessary parameters for V2X communication to the UE via V3 interface.A UE can send V2X messages over PC5 interface by using network scheduled operation mode (i.e. centralized scheduling) and UE autonomous resources selection mode (i.e. distributed scheduling) when the UE is "served by E-UTRAN" while a UE can send V2X messages over PC5 interface only by using UE autonomous resources selection mode when the UE is "not served by E-UTRAN". Both IP based and non-IP based V2X messages over PC5 are supported. For IP based V2X messages over PC5, only IPv6 is used. PPPP (ProSe Per-Packet Priority) reflecting priority and latency for V2X message is applied to schedule the transmission of V2X message over PC5.A UE can send V2X messages over LTE-Uu interface destined to a locally relevant V2X Application Server, and the V2X Application Server delivers the V2X messages to the UE(s) in a target area using unicast delivery and/or MBMS (Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Service) delivery. Both IP based and non-IP based V2X messages are supported for V2X communication over LTE-Uu. In order to transmit non-IP based V2X messages over LTE-Uu, the UE encapsulates the V2X messages in IP packets. For latency improvements for MBMS, localized MBMS can be considered for localized routing of V2X messages destined to UEs.For V2X communication over LTE-Uu interface, the V2X messages can be delivered via Non-GBR bearer (i.e. an IP transmission path with no reserved bitrate resources) as well as GBR bearer (i.e. an IP transmission path with reserved (guaranteed) bitrate resources). In order to meet the latency requirement for V2X message delivery, the following standardized QCI (QoS Class Identifier) values defined in TS 23.203 can be used:QCI 3 (GBR bearer) and QCI 79 (Non-GBR bearer) can be used for the unicast delivery of V2X messages.QCI 75 (GBR bearer) is only used for the delivery of V2X messages over MBMS bearers.  There are updates to cellular IoT (CIot) which I have blogged about here.There are some other interesting topic that are enhance[...]



SMS is 25 years old today

Sun, 03 Dec 2017 22:07:00 +0000

SMS is 25 years old. The first SMS, "Merry Christmas" was sent on 3rd December 1992 from PC to the Orbitel 901 handset (picture above), which was only able to receive SMS but not send it. Sky news has an interview with Neil Papworth - the man who sent the very first one back in 1992 here.

While SMS use has been declining over some time, thanks to messaging apps on smartphones like WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook messenger, etc., it is still thought to be used for sending 20 billion messages per day.

While I dont have the latest figures, according to analyst Benedict Evans, WhatsApp and WeChat combined are now at over 100bn messages per day.



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A quick starter on 4G voice (for beginners)

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 12:29:00 +0000


I recently did a 4G voice presentation for beginners after realizing that even though so many years have passed after VoLTE was launched, people are still unsure how it works or how its different from CS Fallback.

There are many other posts that discuss these topics in detail on this blog (follow the label) or on 3G4G website. Anyway, here is the video:

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6lepgDf1VIk" width="560">

The slides are available on 3G4G Slideshare account here. More similar training videos are available here.
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NB-IoT based smart bicycle lock

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 19:47:00 +0000

Huawei (see here and here) has partnered with China Telecom and Bike sharing company called Ofo.ofo developed an IoT smart lock based on NB-IoT technology that lowers power consumption, enables wide coverage, and slashes system resource delays at low cost. NB-IoT lets ofo ensure it has bikes located at key locations when commuter demand is highest. Meanwhile, bikes can be unlocked in less than a second. Both improvements have greatly boosted user satisfaction.ofo and its partners added key technologies to ofo’s own platform. These included the commercial network provided by China Telecom, and Huawei’s intelligent chip-based NB-IoT solution. When launching its NB-IoT solution earlier this year, ofo founder and CEO Dai Wei said that the cooperation between ofo, Huawei, and China Telecom is a “mutually beneficial joint force of three global leading enterprises.”At the core is Huawei’s IoT solution, which includes smart chips, networking, and an IoT platform. The solution provides strong coverage in poor-signal areas and a network capacity that’s more than one hundred times stronger than standard terminals. The payment process has dropped from 25 seconds to less than 5, while battery life has been lengthened from 1 or 2 months to more than 2 years, saving costs and reducing the need for frequent maintenance.ofo’s cooperation with Huawei on NB-IoT smart locks bodes well for improving the industry as whole. Huawei’s technology optimizes lifecycle management for locks, while the sensors on the locks collect information such as equipment status, user data, and operating data. They connect the front- and back-end industrial chains to achieve intelligent business management, enable the bikes to be located in hot spots, facilitate rapid maintenance, and boost marketing and value-added services.This video gives an idea of how this works: allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/O-yCzVgD9Vs" width="560"> As per Mobile World Live:Ofo co-founder Xue Ding said during a presentation the high power efficiency and huge capacity of NB-IoT make the technology ideal to deliver its smart locks, which are really the brains of its operations.The company offers what is termed station free pushbike hire, meaning bikes can be collected and deposited from any legal parking spot. Users can locate bikes using their smartphone, and unlock it by scanning a barcode.However, the process can be interrupted by mobile network congestion or if signals are weak – for example in remote areas: “Using NB-IoT, users will not be stuck because of inadequate capacity,” Xue said....Xiang Huangmei, a VP at China Telecom’s Beijing branch, said the low power consumption of the NB-IoT chip in the lock means the battery will last eight years to ten years, so it will never need to be replaced during the standard lifecycle of an Ofo bike.The NB-IoT network, deployed on the 800MHz band, offers good indoor and outdoor coverage, the VP said citing car parks as an example. One base station can support 100,000 devices over an area of 2.5 square-km.Finally, to know which operator is supporting which IoT technology, see the IoT tracker here.[...]



Smartphone Batteries Round-up: Technology, Charging & Recycling

Sun, 10 Sep 2017 15:19:00 +0000

Back in 2013, I spoke about Smart Batteries. Still waiting for someone to deliver on that. In the meantime I noticed that you can use an Android phone to charge another phone, via cable though. See the pic below:You are probably all aware of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 catching fires. In case you are interested in knowing the reasons, Guardian has a good summary here. You can also see the pic below that summarises the issue.Lithium-ion batteries have always been criticized for its abilities to catch fire (see here and here) but researchers have been working on ways to reduce the risk of fire. There are some promising developments.The electrochemical masterminds at Stanford University have created a lithium-ion battery with built-in flame suppression. When the battery reaches a critical temperature (160 degrees Celsius in this case), an integrated flame retardant is released, extinguishing any flames within 0.4 seconds. Importantly, the addition of an integrated flame retardant doesn't reduce the performance of the battery.Researchers at the University of Maryland and the US Army Research Laboratory have developed a safe lithium-ion battery that uses a water-salt solution as its electrolyte. Lithium-ion batteries used in smartphones and other devices are typically non-aqueous, as they can reach higher energy levels. Aqueous lithium-ion batteries are safer as the water-based electrolytes are inflammable compared to the highly flammable organic solvents used in their non-aqueous counterparts. The scientists have created a special gel, which keeps water from reacting with graphite or lithium metal and setting off a dangerous chain reaction.Bloomberg has a good report as to why we’re going to need more Lithium.Starting about two years ago, fears of a lithium shortage almost tripled prices for the metal, to more than $20,000 a ton, in just 10 months. The cause was a spike in the market for electric vehicles, which were suddenly competing with laptops and smartphones for lithium ion batteries. Demand for the metal won’t slacken anytime soon—on the contrary, electric car production is expected to increase more than thirtyfold by 2030, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.Even if the price of lithium soars 300 percent, battery pack costs would rise only by about 2 percent.University of Washington researchers recently demonstrated the world's first battery-free cellphone, created with funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and a Google Faculty Research Award for mobile research.The battery-free technology harvests energy from the signal received from the cellular base station (for reception) and the voice of the user (for transmission) using a technique called backscattering. Backscattering for battery-free operation is best known for its use in radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, typically utilized for applications such as locating products in a warehouse and keeping track of high-value equipment. An RFID base station (called a reader) "pings" the tag with an RF pulse, which allows the tag to harvest microwatts of energy from it—enough to return a backscattered RF signal modulated with the identity of the item. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KeofXxD8P3A" width="560">Unfortunately, harvesting generates very little energy; so little, that you really need a new standard. For instance, Wi-Fi signals transmit continuously, but harvesting that energy constantly will only enable transmissions of about 10 feet today. Range will be the big challenge for making this technology successful.So we wont be seeing them anytime soon unfortunately.Recycling of materials is always a concern, especially now that the use of Lithium-ion is increasing. Financial Times (FT) recently did a good summary of all the companies trying to recycle Lithium, Cobalt, etc.Mr Kochhar estimates over 11m tonnes of spent [...]



Debugging Problem: Same Phones With Different Signal Levels?

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 13:51:00 +0000

I have discussed this problem in past, based on questions asked on various fora (example). Here is a video I made some weeks back. Will be interested to know what other reasons people can come up with 😊.

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_jLtVNbQBtQ" width="560">

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