When Wideband Was 50 kbit/s

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.

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Is Moving From 4G to 5G the Same As It Was From 3G to 4G?

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.

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5G n78 Handovers

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!

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Some Thoughts On The Advent of Word Processing

I can still remember that as a teenager in the 1980s I used a typewriter for school and to document things. This was the time before I got my first home computer and printer after which I don’t think I used the typewriter much if at all anymore and did all of my ‘word processing’ on my C64 and attached needle printer. I can hardly imagine how it must have been before that time when people wrote books and other long documents without this truly revolutionizing functionality.

But when did this all start? After all, when I started to use word processing on a home computer, it was already a mass market application. So I started to investigate a bit.

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3GPP Specification Bloat

When I’m looking into the specs to get some details on basic LTE features, I tend to look at ‘old’ 3GPP specification documents as more often than not, things are much easier to find there than in the latest and greatest versions of the same document. Here’s an interesting example: 3GPP 36.133 on LTE Radio Resource Management. In 3GPP Release 8, which is one version after the initial Rel. 7 LTE specification and published in 2013, the document has 339 pages. The current Release 15 version published in July 2019 has 3602 pages. Woah!

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Wifi Protected Management Frames – In The Wild!

Image: PMF bit set in beacon frameOnce upon a time, a hotel chain thought it would be a good idea to sabotage Wifi hotspots of their customers. The FCC didn’t like it at all and stepped in and the practice fortunately ceased. But others may still think this is a good idea and could actually get away with it unless access points and mobile devices would start implementing Protected Management Frames (PMF). This was all back in 2015 and 2016 but since then I haven’t seen access points that actually implement the protection in the wild. But now my Fritzbox 7590 Wifi access point at home supports the feature so I had a look how clients behave with and without PMF activated.

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One Third Of All Internet Traffic In Austria Is Now Over Cellular

Recently, Tefficient had an interesting post on Twitter in which they stated that in Austria, mobile network traffic is now 53% of the fixed line traffic in the country. An incredible number, could it really be true? And if so, how does that compare to mobile network traffic in other countries? To find out, I had a look at Austria’s telecom regulator report for 2018 and compared the values to those from Germany’s telecom regulator report.

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Some Thoughts on the Vintage Computing Festival Berlin 2019

VCFB 2019Earlier in October I spent a weekend in Berlin again to be part of the Vintage Computing Festival Berlin. This year, I did not bring along an exhibit or give a talk but rather decided to help a bit with organizing the event. A most gratifying experience and of course there was enough time to talk to a lot of people and learn new things. Here are some impressions.

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Gogo vs. Panasonic on Planes

When I recently flew from Frankfurt to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific, I flew on two different planes with two different Internet providers. On the outbound leg, I was on a Boeing 777 that was equipped with a system operated by Gogo wireless, well known for providing  in-flight Internet access for many airlines in the US. On the return trip I was on an Airbus A350 and Internet access there was provided with a Panasonic system. The experiences could not have been more different.

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