Posts tagged ‘LTE-A’

The Role of Wi-Fi in Mobile Networks: Interview with du’s Senior Director for Wireless Broadband, Terminals & Performance

Ayman ElNashar

Ayman Elnashar, Senior Director for Wireless Broadband, Terminals & Performance at du

The integrated service provider du has been selected as the Official Smart City Wi-Fi Provider in Dubai and has since been successfully expanding its Wi-Fi network to major landmarks in UAE, such as Dubai Tram [1] and Global Village [2], etc…

Ahead of the LTE MENA conference in Dubai, we spoke with Ayman Elnashar, Senior Director for Wireless Broadband, Terminals & Performance at du. Ayman will be discussing du Wireless Broadband plans in more detail at the show, but I wanted to find out how du subscribers are already getting a better service thanks to this innovation.

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Update: Classy HTC One M8 impresses but eschews VoLTE and LTE-A

HTC unveiled its latest flagship phone at the Olympia in London at an event tonight that in terms of scale was reminiscent of Apple’s best handset launches. The AV presentation was certainly big, bold and brash, though with the best will in the world, HTC’s execs do not have quite the same flair as Apple’s.

IMG_0399

It has less to worry about with the handset itself though – the HTC One M8, is a fine device. HTC clearly has an obsession with metal and its global head of design Scott Croyle boasted that 90 per cent of the handset consisted a a unibody metal construction, up from 70 per cent on last year’s HTC One M7. The finish is certainly polished and refined, and very premium in feel. This makes it slightly ironic that the case that HTC is touting covers all of that up.

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Is Samsung leading the way for LTE handset technology?

The ‘gadgetosphere’*, the fetishist tech blogs and sites obsessed with the minutiae of the latest hardware, have been fairly harsh on the Samsung Galaxy S5. While Apple has previously the one to take flack for failing to reinvent the smartphone wheel, as it used to seem to do so effortlessly, it’s now Samsung that is getting grief.

Its latest flagship phone, the S5, is bigger, fatter, heavier and just too sameier* compared to the Galaxy S4, which itself wasn’t that much of a leap compared to the S3. Oh noes.

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How timing distribution demarcation ensures low cost performance for LTE/LTE-A and small cells

This post is by Ilan Tevet, Head of Service Provider Line of Business, RAD

Ilan Tevet

Ilan Tevet, Head of Service Provider Line of Business, RAD

All LTE networks need an accurate Time Of Day (TOD) reference delivered to eNodeBs and small cells. But the large, expensive and centrally-located 1588 Grandmasters typically used for this purpose do not fit all deployment scenarios or performance requirements.

Moreover, GPS receiver deployment at every cell site also might not fit all use cases, cost considerations or performance requirements.

A GPS receiver can be used to deliver local timing at every cell site with very high accuracy. But while it is impervious to network conditions such as delay and packet delay variation (jitter), it nonetheless poses several challenges to network operators.

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Apple iPhone 5s launch underwhelming, but rounds off global LTE support nicely

colourfulAs the furore settles down over yesterday’s Apple iPhone 5s/iPhone 5c update we can take a quick look at the news and specifically what it means from an LTE perspective.

Two new phones were launched and while are clearly very solid offerings, no wheels were reinvented, and as such, it was a little underwhelming, at least from an iPhone 5 owner’s perspective.

The iPhone 5C is essentially an iPhone 5 in a plastic shell, available in more colours and the 5S is essentially a faster version of the iPhone 5, thanks to a new 64-bit chip capable of taking advantage of the 64-bit iOS7.

The ‘budget’ iPhone angle that analysts were predicting also failed to come true. The 5c is still a £469 phone SIM free – which hardly makes it likely to appeal to developing markets.

The good news though is that both phones though are capable of taking advantage of more LTE bands that any other smartphone in the world right now. There are five models of each to choose from depending on region.

This is essentially as Apple has to make a choice as to which LTE frequencies to support, as with 40 LTE bands currently employed round the world supporting them all at once would mean a battery life of around five minutes.

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Carrier aggregation for LTE-Advanced – revealed

This post is by Ashok Kumar, assistant vice president of technology for LTE Advanced carrier aggregation technology at Aricent.

LTE Advanced as a technology offers many new critical features. These include 8X8 MIMO in the downlink direction and 4×4 MIMO in the uplink direction, co-ordinate multi-point operation (COMP), multi-cluster transmission support in the uplink direction, carrier aggregation (CA), support of relay node, enhanced PDCCH channel, and enhanced ICIC.

In practice, some features of any new upcoming technology always get deployed much ahead of the other features, and in my opinion, carrier aggregation is going to be one such feature of LTE Advanced. The rationale behind this is that the demand for data is increasing fast and the realisation of this feature is cost effective. This is because only software upgrade is required on the network side and new user equipment devices supporting this feature.

Now, some of you may be wondering what exactly carrier aggregation is but simply put, CA is a mechanism to increase channel bandwidth, or in other words, achieve higher data rates than standard LTE, as shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1

Figure 1

LTE as a technology supports up to 20MHz channel bandwidth, but with CA, the same can be enhanced to 100MHz as five such channels (called component carriers), up to 20 MHz each, can be combined.

To achieve this, CA introduces the concepts of Primary cell (PCell) and Secondary cells (SCell). The CA-capable UE selects a PCell, just like a non-CA capable UE, making this feature fully backward compatible. The SCells are allocated to the CA-capable UE by the RRC layer, after due evaluation that these cells can also serve that particular UE. The activation/deactivation of these SCells is controlled by the MAC layer. The SCells may operate on the same frequency band as the PCell, or on a different Band. There are no changes made to the RLC and PDCP layers, except for the support of larger buffer sizes.

There are three new user equipment (UE) categories (6-8), defined in LTE Advanced, which indicate the support of CA by the UE, while previous UE categories, from 2-5, may also support CA. In LTE Release 10 specifications, the UE only has support for two serving cells (1 PCell + 1 SCell ) operating in the same band . Later LTE Releases add the support for more serving cells.

Aricent will be at available to meet at Booth 1 of the LTE Asia conference, taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

Interview: Director, radio access network development, NTT Docomo: “Improvements in backhaul will be essential to meet the increasing requirements of the market in the future.”

Takehiro Nakamura, director of radio access network development for NTT Docomo

Takehiro Nakamura, director of radio access network development for NTT Docomo

Takehiro Nakamura, director of radio access network development for NTT Docomo, Japan is speaking in ‘The Future of LTE’ track on Day Two of the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we learn about how NTT Docomo is taking a lead in the development of LTE, with many of its home-grown technologies forming part of the latest 3GPP LTE standards.

When will you start trialling carrier aggregation and will you introduce it before the rest of LTE-Advanced’s other features?

Docomo has started to develop base stations utilising our own technology — advanced Centralized RAN (C-RAN) architecture for LTE-Advanced. These high-capacity base stations are capable of carrier aggregation and HetNet/eICIC, which will make them ideal for high-traffic areas such as train stations and large commercial facilities. These will be available around 2015.

Will the RAN enhancements that you’re planning for LTE Advanced also need improvements in backhaul?

Optical backhaul has been put to good use in urban and suburban area of Japan already and these will also be used for our high-capacity base stations. However, improvements in backhaul will be essential to meet the increasing requirements of the market in the future.

How are your plans progressing around VoLTE and RCS?

Commercial VoLTE service is under development at NTT Docomo, but no clear deployment plan has yet been decided.

How advanced are your small cells plans and what’s your strategy for integrating them into your network?

Our advanced C-RAN architecture will enable small cells (so-called “add-on cells”) for localised coverage to cooperate with macro cells that provide wider area coverage. This will be achieved with carrier aggregation technology, one of the main LTE-Advanced technologies standardised by the 3GPP. The add-on cells will significantly increase throughput and system capacity, while maintaining mobility performance provided by the macro cell. These add-on cell can be upgraded to improve mobility performance and other aspects, and these improvements are under standardisation for 3GPP Release 12, using the name “Phantom cell” – a concept proposed by Docomo.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

LTE-Advanced – arriving sooner than you think

Renuka Bhalerao, Senior Product Line Manager, Radisys Renuka is a Senior Product Line Manager for Radisys Corporation, with her primary focus on 3G and LTE small cell technologies and Trillium software. Prior to this, Renuka held a position of principal systems architect in a customer-facing role specialising in telecom software and systems. Renuka has 17 years of telecom industry experience with expertise in wireless and VoIP solutions.

Renuka Bhalerao, Senior Product Line Manager, Radisys
Renuka is a Senior Product Line Manager for Radisys Corporation, with her primary focus on 3G and LTE small cell technologies and Trillium software. Prior to this, Renuka held a position of principal systems architect in a customer-facing role specialising in telecom software and systems. Renuka has 17 years of telecom industry experience with expertise in wireless and VoIP solutions.

U.S. operators will lower their spending on LTE networks as initial deployments are completed through 2014, according to a recent report by Technology Business Research. However, while those initial rollouts will solve some immediate network issues, carriers will continue to seek other routes to boost capacity and coverage as the relentless consumption of data continues. Some carriers are already looking to LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) to fulfil these anticipated needs, but its initial deployment will be very different from that of “basic” LTE.

LTE-A, the next upgrade for LTE networks, represents true ‘4G’ – when measured by the original International Telecom Union standards. LTE-A promises to deliver upwards of 1Gbps peak downlink data rates, enhanced cell edge performance, much improved radio interference mitigation and spectrum re-use. The advantages of LTE-A will ensure the technology gains rapid market traction in the U.S. and Europe. However, there are differences between LTE-A and LTE; and especially in their deployment. LTE is being deployed by operators as a complete network upgrade, but LTE-A will be rolled-out by operators incrementally on a feature-by-feature basis. Initially, operators will look to leverage the features of LTE-A that gift them the greatest tactical, and operational, advantages in the market.

Small cells are playing a role in global 3G and LTE deployments and will underpin the key features of LTE-A as well. This is because small cells take the pressure off the macro network by providing traffic offload, coverage and capacity gains. However, mitigating for radio interference in these deployments has always been an issue for operators. It is a challenge that operators are very focused on solving. As operators deploy small cells in the same spectrum as macro cells, the result is the newer small and the older macro cells suffering from radio interference – damaging the overall throughput and capacity of the wireless network. But LTE-A comprises a key radio interference management feature called Enhanced Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (eICIC). eICIC acts to improve the coordination between the network cells and to reduce radio inference and this results in improved network throughput. Case in point, operators in Asia, where LTE arrived in the market much earlier, experienced these interference problems in their roll-outs of LTE. They have turned to commercial LTE-A deployments to mitigate for radio interference in close proximity deployments of small cells in the network.

As well as radio interference mitigation via eICIC, another feature in LTE-A which acts to boost network throughput is carrier aggregation. This feature enables an operator to conduct contiguous and non-contiguous spectrum allocations. This basically means a carrier can ensure their existing spectrum is efficiently aligned to deliver higher network throughput. Increased throughput has usually required more spectrum – which is scarce and extremely costly for the operator – but carrier aggregation removes this requirement for more spectrum to drive higher throughput by leveraging the non-contiguous chunks of available spectrum. Another feature within LTE-A that operators are keen to leverage to improve spectral efficiency is Multiple Input and Multiple-Output (MIMO). A form of smart antenna technology, MIMO involves the use of multiple antennas at both the transmitter and receiver to improve spectral performance.

Combined with efficiencies in radio interference mitigation and spectrum performance, LTE-A also enables an operator to leverage the benefits of Self Optimising Networks (SON). A much discussed feature of LTE-A, SON enables operator’s network to auto-configure network nodes. This allows the network to automatically configure, monitor, and optimise, newly installed network cells and for faulty cells to be repaired.

The features of LTE-A enable an operator to boost network performance and process traffic in a more cost effective way – just as LTE does. However, operators are leveraging their experience of LTE network deployments and making more affordable and efficient incremental deployments of LTE-A delivering gains one-by-one as they are needed.

To hear first-hand more about what steps telecoms companies are making in LTE Advanced, be sure to book your place at the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

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