Ed serves as Senior Analyst for Mobile Access Infrastructure in the Current Analysis Service Provider Infrastructure Group. He focuses on tracking, analyzing and reporting on developments impacting mobile infrastructure and mobile networking: 2G and 3G RAN and packet core along with, LTE, metro-scale Wi-Fi and WiMAX.
The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) has launched a ‘Software-Defined Radio Access Network’ project aimed at developing open-source RAN solutions using an ‘app store’ model for network optimization features.
This effort will be helped by the open RAN (ORAN) and virtual RAN (vRAN) movements now gaining steam, but it will also confront some of the same hurdles facing open RAN – including opposition from incumbent major vendors.
• Dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) can improve the coverage and capacity of 4G/5G networks by allowing both technologies to efficiently share the same finite, licensed spectrum.
• Spectrum-sharing goes beyond 4G/5G, including 2G and 3G and potentially Internet of Things technologies, increasing its value and diversity.
As the 5G era dawns, a technology known as DSS has become a hot topic. DSS allows operators to use the same spectrum bands simultaneously for different radio access technologies. Specifically, the industry’s 3GPP standards enable using 4G and 5G in the same spectrum. It’s “dynamic” in that the network is continually re-evaluating user activity and reallocating spectrum to 4G and 5G traffic as needed – sometimes as often as every millisecond. Continue reading “Dynamic Spectrum Sharing: It’s Not Just for 4G and 5G”→
Enterprise RAN vendors CommScope and Dali each won damages in countervailing patent infringement cases last week, but an injunction against two Dali products may be of interest to the broader industry.
That injunction is suspended pending appeal. It may be rendered moot by expiring patents, and its impact may be mild even if upheld. Still, additional suits could foster lingering uncertainty in this space.
A legal battle over patent infringement between enterprise RAN vendors CommScope and Dali Wireless came closer to resolution last week, but a key aspect – an injunction that would prevent Dali from selling two primary products – remains uncertain. A Dallas judge upheld a jury verdict rendered last year that awarded damages to both companies in a patent infringement suit and related countersuit. CommScope was ordered to pay almost $9.5 million, plus additional interest, and Dali was ordered to pay about $6 million, plus interest. Continue reading “After the Dali Wireless-CommScope Court Fight, Legal Uncertainties Linger in the Enterprise RAN”→
• Nokia has been excluded from the latest wave of 5G RAN rollouts by major Chinese mobile operators
• Though Nokia has strategies to overcome this obstacle, the underlying trends of geographic polarization don’t bode well for the industry.
Reporting its Q1 2020 earnings today, Nokia acknowledged that it has essentially been shut out of the Chinese 5G RAN market – the largest such market in the world.
This news didn’t come as a shock to anyone who had seen recent reports that – despite a fresh deal to supply China Unicom with a 5G core platform – Nokia was not named as a supplier in the latest wave of 5G RAN contracts awarded by China’s three major mobile operators. As usual, these procurements went mostly to China’s two major equipment vendors, with Huawei earning the lion’s share, and ZTE’s much smaller share still towering over that awarded to Sweden-based Ericsson. Continue reading “Nokia Left Out of China’s 5G RAN – Another Sign of Growing Polarity in the Global Ecosystem”→
The COVID-19 pandemic could accelerate investment in wireless solutions for the digital, ‘big data’ transformation of enterprise verticals sometimes called ‘Industry 4.0.’
Changes made in response to both social distancing and recession-induced workforce reductions could last long after the threat of the virus subsides.
The COVID-19 global pandemic is already expected to transform society in fundamental and irrevocable ways that we can’t yet fully predict. One effect of this transformation may be to accelerate initiatives to deploy cellular network technologies, such as LTE and 5G, to fundamentally reorder industrial operations across a range of enterprise verticals. This trend is already underway, as enterprises investigate the benefits of wireless networks that provide more reliability, and lower latency, than WiFi. However, the sudden and severe disruption that COVID-19 has wrought could force near-term changes among enterprises that lead to lasting practices. For example: Continue reading “COVID-19 Could Accelerate Wireless Industry 4.0”→
• The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to increase demand for fixed wireless access (FWA) solutions to fill gaps in fiber broadband networks.
• 5G FWA has a mixed reputation but is improving; meanwhile, LTE-based FWA may be useful for serving some immediate needs
The COVID-19 global pandemic has resulted in a sudden and widespread explosion in telecommuting, as countless employees who can work from home now do. In many cases, these new telecommuters are using live videoconferencing tools that are sharing home-broadband bandwidth with children who have been sent home from school. The result is a sharp increase in home broadband needs. Where residences have access to fiber, these capacity needs may not be hard to meet. But fiber doesn’t reach every residence; any number of obstacles – including geographical or regulatory ones, or even sheer distance – might get in the way. Thus, demand is likely to increase deeply for fixed-wireless access solutions to fill in the gaps in fiber broadband networks. Continue reading “COVID-19 Could Spur Demand for Fixed Wireless Access – Both 4G and 5G”→
The UK government has proposed limits in how much Huawei 5G RAN gear mobile operators deploy.
Exactly how operators will implement those limits is unclear, raising several questions.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the UK’s technical authority on cybersecurity, made big headlines this week by issuing recommendations for UK operators regarding how to honor national security concerns in selecting 5G network suppliers. But, beyond the headlines – primarily regarded as a win for Huawei, since the NCSC allowed a role for Huawei in UK 5G networks despite pressure from the U.S. – the NCSC’s actions raise plenty of questions about how UK operators will source, plan, and deploy their 5G radio access networks (RANs). Continue reading “New 5G Network Recommendations Complicate UK Operators’ Rollout Plans”→
Small cells were originally defined as miniature, low-power mobile base stations.
That definition is getting murkier as the product category evolves to address changing market needs.
Small cells have always been a bit hard to define. In the simplest terms, they are miniature, low-power mobile base stations. That definition was complicated somewhat by the arrival of low-power radio units that connect to the same baseband units found in standard (macrocell) base stations. These products were called small cells as well – whether deployed outdoors or in enterprises (examples of the latter include Ericsson’s Radio Dot System and Huawei’s LampSite). And the complications didn’t stop there. Continue reading “The Definition of ‘Small Cell’ Keeps Getting Blurrier”→
Both 4G and 5G will co-evolve in mobile operator networks for years.
Even standalone 5G will coexist alongside 4G/5G networks, as operators further monetize 4G investments.
For some time now, the telecom industry has been heralding the dawn of the 5G era, the time when operators are deploying 5G networks and launching 5G services. But, it would be more accurate to say we’re at the dawn of the 4G/5G era, as this is what operators are actually deploying. Both technologies will co-evolve in operator networks for years. And as operators ramp up 5G network investment, they can’t neglect LTE. Continue reading “We’re Not Entering the 5G Era; This Is the Age of 4G/5G”→
ZTE has completed a 5G New Radio (NR) field test with China Mobile in the Chinese province of Guangdong.
This tests demonstrates ZTE’s readiness to supply large-scale 5G rollouts and take advantage of the unique opportunities posed by standalone 5G in particular.
Network equipment vendors have been promoting their progress in 5G for years. So, when a vendor announces the completion of yet another 5G field test in early 2019 – many months past widespread industry pronouncements that “5G is here!” – it’s easy to casually disregard. It’s also easy to miss the real significance of this activity. Continue reading “ZTE’s 5G Field Test with China Mobile and Why It Matters”→