Recently, I attended a huge fair with 10.000 people crammed into a 16.000 m2 hall that had indoor LTE coverage from 3 network operators and little Wifi for public use. From a mobile network point of view it doesn’t get much ‘worse’ than this so I spent some time to have a look how one of the networks was coping with such a huge number of people and their devices.
Sometimes I wonder if the good times with LTE are about to be over!? In the past 12 months I increasingly get into situations in which an LTE network is available with good signal quality but is heavily overloaded and at the point of becoming unusable.
A bit off topic perhaps but never mind: I was recently pointed to the website of ‘2000 Hertz’, a podcast on sound and music. Not really my domain but they recently had an episode on the sounds on Voyager 1 and 2’s golden records. I of course knew about the records and that Carl Sagen was one of the masterminds behind them but had little further background. This podcast episode magically mixes the sounds and stories behind the records and is an absolutely must hear for space enthusiasts. Enjoy!
So here we are in the fall of 2019. 5G networks have started around the globe and pretty much all of them use high-band spectrum at 3.5 GHz (band n78). US operators are experimenting with 2.5 GHz and mmWave spectrum in combination with an LTE anchor cell. The anchor cell is usually either at 1.8 GHz (band 3) or 2.6 GHz (band 7) and perhaps in some cases also on the 800 MHz low-band (band 20). That is all nice and well but 5G on 3.5 GHz won’t cut it when it comes to nationwide coverage. For that, 5G also needs to use the mid- and low-bands. But how do we get there?
Already back in 2009 (!), I wrote a blog post on LTE’s TTI-bundling feature. It was supposed to be used to improve cell edge scenarios when a device’s uplink power would not be sufficient anymore. In particular it was seen to improve VoLTE speech quality. Quite a bit of thinking ahead because we were far away from VoLTE in practice back then. Over the years I haven’t seen TTI Bundling in the wild until recently.
When I was recently in the US, I had the opportunity to drive a Toyota RAV4 that came equipped with semi-autonomous driving features. A welcome opportunity to experience first hand over a few hours in dense metropolitan areas and overland routes the current state of driver assistance technology.
For months I am trying to get through an amazing book ‘The Dream Machine’, a biography of computing pioneer J. C. R. Licklider. The ‘problem’ with the book is that it is so packed with interesting stories about computing and networking from the 1950s to the 1980s, that there is hardly a page at which I don’t deviate to get some more background information. I am about halfway through and again got stuck when I started some background research on the early days of the Arpanet. This is when I stumbled over an incredibly interesting video I thought I should mention here.
It’s been only seven years between first LTE smartphones becoming available and today, as 5G slowly takes-off. So I was musing a bit if the move from 4G LTE to 5G NR is similar to what we had in 2012 when the world slowly moved from 3G UMTS to 4G LTE.
Over the years, USB had been upgraded and upgraded and upgraded and it’s easy to loose sight of how fast in theory and in practice a particular version of the USB standard could be. So here’s a quick cheat sheet with the theoretical maximum speed of different USB versions:
5G in practice, finally! This summer has seen a number of 5G NR network launches, all of them using the ‘Non-Standalone (NSA)’ option 3 configuration. In Europe and Asia, network operators have started deploying the new radio network in the 3.5 GHz band, also referred to as band n78. In the US, different bands are used and some operators are even experimenting with mmWave bands. So while 5G for the moment is just a ‘bolt-on’ to 4G, ‘handover’ scenarios between cell sites are handled a bit differently from how it is done today in pure LTE networks today. Let’s have a closer look!