When I was recently asked what the power consumption of a typical cell site is I had general idea but decided to find out some more details and to set things into perspective. According to sources here and here, a typical 3 sector base station site with several LTE carriers on air draws anywhere between 2.5 to 10 kW of power. The main difference stems from whether the site is actively or passively cooled and how many carriers are used at the base station site. The higher number would also include sites with new 5G radios and activate antennas. So is this a lot or not?
I really like 3GPP and standards. It’s a great thing and it has brought us devices that can communicate anywhere around the globe where a network is available. Unfortunately standardization of important features doesn’t work all the time. Take the ‘In Case of Emergency’ (ICE) functionality I wrote about 10 years ago as a prime example of industry failure to implement. In essence, 3GPP specified at the time, how emergency contact information should be stored in a mobile device, and in extension, the SIM card and they standardized how the retrieve the information. At the time I was a strong supporter of ICE as a recent personal experience has shown me the value of this.
I think one of the biggest breakthroughs in wireless connectivity was, when looking at it from a smartphone point of view, when Android pioneered tethering, i.e. the possibility to share a cellular connection with other devices over Wifi. However, one thing that didn’t happen over the years was that a smartphone can be connected to a Wifi hotspot as a client, e.g. at a hotel, and then share this connection over Wifi with other devices instead of the cellular connection. By accident I found out that one of my devices is now actually able to do just that!
Two years ago I tested Collabora’s Libreoffice Online for the first time. While it looked promising, a number of important features I required were still missing such as spell checking, style modification, selection of modified text and style handling of foot notes. Recently I came back to see what progress they have made and came away quite impressed!
For some time I’ve been seriously considering to come up with some sort of filter that would just hide news articles with ‘5G’ in the title. The vast majority just talk about myths not founded in this reality or were just pure marketing hype for some esoteric function. It seems I am not the only one who’s getting tired of it. Fierce Wireless recently had an interesting post on the ‘4 myths that will hinder 5G growth‘. Have a look on their site for details, I totally agree with their points. Also interesting in their post are two links to first speed test reports.
Ever since 2014, I’ve been using a custom ROM on my Android based devices as I value my privacy and and because I only consider myself owning a device if I have root rights on the OS. Back then, I used CyanogenMod, which, after a bit of a crisis with the commercial company behind it, morphed into LineageOS. And now it seems LineageOS in turn is in some sort of crisis as they have purged a significant part of their supported devices from their rooster, including very recent device models.
Back in 2016 I noted on this site that one German network operator had by that time deployed 50 MHz worth of LTE in the center of Cologne where I live. I was impressed! Others have also not been idle since then and when I was in Paris recently, I noticed that Orange also has an impressive array of channels on air which can be used simultaneously by devices.
We are getting closer to Apollo 11s launch 50 years ago and my level of excitement is rising. In case you have missed it, I’ve had a post last month about my favorite books on the topic and since then I’ve discovered two additional incredible sources, so here’s a follow-up post on this.
tl;dr: Over the past weeks, I’ve put together a Firefox add-on for SSL certificate pinning so I would notice if ever a man-in-the-middle would use forged certificates to spy on me when I interact with my home servers, banking websites, and so on. I feel a lot safer now again! You can find it here and the source code here.
Once upon a time…
It’s early days in 5G deployment and while Vodafone, as far as I know, has not yet launched their 5G network in the UK they have already published a coverage map so one can get an impression of where 5G will be available once they open up their network.