Thursday 28 December 2023

Top 5 Posts For 2023

With 2023 coming to an end, as per the tradition, here are the top 5 most viewed posts from 2023. These posts were not necessarily posted this year, so I have added the month and year each of them were posted.

Finally, a bonus post that just missed out and is also from this year:

If you have a favourite post from this blog, let us know in the comments below.

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Saturday 16 December 2023

Testing Vodafone UK's Open RAN Deployment Performance

It's been a while since Vodafone selected their UK Open RAN partners. The good news is that according to the press release from Samsung as well as Vodafone UK the rollout has already started. According to the press release, the following partners are involved:

  • Samsung: 4G and 5G radio, including 64T64R Massive MIMO, as well as the software platform.
  • Intel: General Purpose Processor (GPP), acceleration hardware and network interface cards.
  • Keysight: Drive test services using Keysight Nemo Solutions to assure the OpenRAN end-to-end live network performance. Pre-deployment OpenRAN functional and interoperability testing using Keysight Open RAN Architect (KORA) solutions.
  • Dell Technologies: Dell PowerEdge servers designed for cloud-based OpenRAN workloads.
  • Capgemini: Testing partner in Vodafone labs.
  • Wind River: Cloud network platforms (also known as abstraction layer software).

Dr. Peter Clarke, who is an actual medical doctor rather than a PhD, and also a mobile network infrastructure hobbyist, has been featured across our blogs on a regular basis. Recently he took a trip to the coastal town of Torquay, Devon, to see for himself how these Samsung Open RAN networks were performing. Quoting from his LinkedIn post

Vodafone UK's Samsung Networks based Open RAN 5G delivers capability and performance to the coastal town of Torquay, Devon, providing a compelling window into the future of radio access architecture. 

The Vodafone spectrum deployed is impressive, illustrating the capability of the Samsung Radios and serving the town well: 90MHz n78 with Massive MIMO on Samsung Active Antenna Units and quad 4G band through Commscope passives.

Throughputs with EN-DC utilising 50MHz n78 carrier were consistently around 500mbps, which for an umbrella site serving a town was pleasing. Field testing video below, in comments, please watch for on the scene testing.

Here is a video from his testing:

I am looking forward to the official results that will hopefully be shared around MWC 2024.

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Wednesday 22 November 2023

Huawei's RuralLink Solution Proposes to 'Connect the Unconnected'

It's been five years since we first wrote about Huawei's rural network solution. RuralStar was all rage back in 2018 and then the updated RuralStar 3.0 in 2020. Since then, Huawei has been working on updated architecture of RuralLink.

At MWC 2023, RuralLink won GSMA's 'Best Mobile Innovation for Emerging Markets' GLOMO Award. The press release at the RuralLink launch at the Global Mobile Broadband Forum 2022 (MBBF2022) provided some insights into the solution. The following is from the press release

Huawei's RuralLink solution uses unique innovative technologies to solve the difficulties associated with communications. In the areas where fiber is difficult and costly to deploy, thanks to unique microwave fronthaul capabilities, RuralLink uses microwave to replace optical fibers to extend RRUs far away, which reduces network construction costs. By co-using BBU with existing macro site, RuralLink does not require a BBU to be deployed, which helps reduce site power consumption. By allowing a site to operate with just four to five solar panels, RuralLink is also easily adaptable to the areas that lack stable mains supplies. The solution features a simplified design that enables all devices to be mounted on to a pole, and its site deployment does not require fencing or concrete construction. As such, site construction is so easy in fact that it be completed in just three days. RuralLink supports 2G to 5G services, laying the foundation for network experience upgrade.

RuralLink has already been deployed by China Unicom Inner Mongolia in rural areas. This operator has seen significant improvement in the proportion of areas with good coverage and notable increase in area traffic and average user-perceived speeds. While fulfilling the communication needs of the local people, the RuralLink site deployment also lays a solid foundation for the development of local e-commerce, tourism, and smart agriculture.

A recent press release highlighted that RuralLink is being used to boost rural network coverage and promote digital inclusion in Brazil.

Huawei supported Brazil’s leading telecommunications operator, to successfully complete the commercial use of the RuralLink solution. This solution utilizes a “1 RRU + 1 antenna” to form three LTE sectors, simplifying site deployment with the aim of improving wireless network coverage in rural areas and providing broader internet access.

RuralLink utilizes innovative three-sector shaping technology, requiring only one antenna and one RRU to form three sectors. Compared to traditional three-sector macro site solutions, this solution reduces 60% of devices on the tower, 50% of power consumption, and 50% of supporting devices, resulting in a 60% cost saving from end to end. Additionally, the simplified architecture enables faster TTM (time to market) and allows one person to complete site deployment and activation in one day, achieving good signal coverage within a range of 3.5 km.

The following video explains the RuralLink solution and deployment scenario:

I am looking forward to seeing an updated solution at MWC 2024.

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Tuesday 10 October 2023

Data Centers At Meta: Heterogeneous Integration Driven By AI/ML And Network Applications

Last year, tech giants including Intel, Meta, Arm, Google Cloud, AMD, Qualcomm, TSMC and ASE formed the Chiplet consortium. A news article in Fierce Electronics said:

Several giant tech companies have joined hands to promote an open standard for chip components called chiplets and how they are crammed together in system-on-chip (SoC) designs deemed critical to a variety of future handheld and high-performance computers that power AI applications and much more.

The open standard, called Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express (UCIe), has been developed by Intel and clearly benefits Intel’s integrated device manufacturer (IDM) strategy as it builds new chip fabs in Arizona and Ohio and elsewhere outside the U.S.  Intel has been a prominent voice in the push to expand chip manufacturing outside of Taiwan and the rest of Asia where it is heavily focused today.

Intel has donated its UCIe standard to founding members in a new consortium that includes Intel along with Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., AMD, Arm, Google Cloud, Meta, Microsoft, Samsung and Qualcomm. The founders have already ratified UCIe 1.0 which covers the die-to-die physical layer, die-to-die protocols and software stacks which leverage the existing PCI Express (PCIe) and Compute Express Link (CXL) industry standards.

Ravi Agarwal, a technical sourcing manager at the Facebook/Meta Infrastructure group is responsible for driving advanced packaging architectures and foundry for both networking and AI/ML compute applications to meet Facebook’s future workloads. He is driving Chiplet Business Workstream in Open Domain-Specific Architecture (ODSA) Sub-Project within the Open Compute Project (OCP), working with ecosystem partners to enable a Chiplet marketplace. 

In a talk delivered for the IEEE Electronics Packaging Society (EPS) SFBA, he focused on heterogeneous integration for Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and network applications at Meta Infrastructure, and discussed implications for packaging and system-level considerations. In the talk he also shared some of the advanced packaging (chiplet) initiatives in which Meta is participating to develop an open ecosystem.

The talk is embedded below:

While the slides of this talk is not available, you can see slides of another talk he delivered here.

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Thursday 21 September 2023

Vodafone's 5G+ Street Lights in Cologne, Germany

Last year Vodafone Germany announced that they have collaborated with the City of Cologne, RheinEnergie AG and 5g Synergiewerk to bring into operation the first 5G+ street lights in Germany. The first 5G+ street lights in Europe are located in the heart of Cologne city centre in the immediate vicinity of the lively squares at Heumarkt and Domplatte. 

The press release said (Google translated in English from German): 

Vodafone has equipped the two street lights with its own mobile communications technology - this includes the antennas, the active technology and the cable guides. The technology for the 5G network is housed in the lantern base (podium) of the nine meter high lanterns, the antennas are mounted six meters above the ground. The connection to the landline network is via fiber optic lines. RheinEnergie supplies the electricity for the street lights of the future. The antennas have a range of up to 400 meters and offer a speed of up to one gigabit in the 3.5 GHz band of the 5G+ network.

The so-called small cells are small radio cells that supplement the actual base stations of the mobile phone networks. They cannot replace a cell phone location on a roof or mast, but they provide additional capacity or increase the range in smaller areas within the cell phone cell. They are used primarily where there are a particularly large number of people in a small space. Small cells will play a particularly important role in the future for the 5G+ real-time network: in networked mobility offerings, for mobile augmented reality applications or for the social networks of tomorrow.

As part of its 'Gigabit Masterplan Cologne 2025', the city of Cologne is aiming for a comprehensive gigabit network with fiber optics in the ground and 5G in the air by 2025. The city of Cologne's goal is to facilitate network expansion in the cathedral city. Therefore, antenna locations of the city of Cologne and the Cologne public utilities as well as fiber optics and electricity are bundled and rented to the network operators or respective radio tower companies. The commissioning of the innovative street lights is part of the strategy for the comprehensive rollout of 5G+ throughout Cologne. Vodafone and its infrastructure subsidiary Vantage Towers are responsible for thisUse antenna locations in combination with fiber optic and power connections from the city and RheinEnergie. Vodafone is the first user of this 'Cologne model' of combined infrastructure provision. In principle, this model is open to all network operators.

A more detailed video is available in the post here.

In a post that no longer exists, LIGMAN Evolve provided their involvement:

LIGMAN Evolve worked closely with partners 5G Synergiewerk and Stadtsysteme to deliver a bespoke solution for the deployment of the 5G+ network which would blend in with the existing street lighting infrastructure.

The LIGMAN Evolve solution has provided Vodafone with the ability to conceal and thermally manage the radios within the base section of the pole. This podium section also incorporates the power and fibre connections.

The poles incorporate hatches with bracket arms designed for the passive antennas. These provide the ability to accurately align the antennas to the required sector to maximise coverage in the streets.

The Extended podium has been designed with separate compartments for the MNO’s and the local electricity company – ESB. Both have a locked enclosure and neither has access to the others enclosure.

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Monday 21 August 2023

'Story of the Edge' by Akamai

People share some useful stuff on social networks that I bookmark to visit and write later. This was shared by John Francis Nolan nine months back or so. I have just managed to watch it and definitely worth a share here.

Prof. Ramesh K. Sitaraman is currently a Distinguished University Professor and the Associate Dean for Educational Programs and Teaching in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  He is best known for pioneering content delivery networks (CDNs) and edge computing services that currently deliver much of the world’s web, videos, edge applications, and online services. As a principal architect, he helped create the Akamai network, the world’s first major content delivery network (CDN) and edge computing service. He retains a part-time role as Akamai’s Chief Consulting Scientist. 

Late last year he delivered a talk 'Living on the Edge for a Quarter Century: An Akamai Retrospective' on The Networking Channel. The following is the abstract of the talk:

As Akamai and the creation of the “edge” turn 25, we look back at the key role that the edge has played in the evolution of internet services. The story of the edge starts in the late 1990s when servers were deployed worldwide to provide content delivery services for web pages and videos. The quest to move dynamic content and application logic closer to users created the first edge computing services a few years later. The growth of the edge that now spans thousands of locations has dramatically increased the scope and importance of services that critically rely on it. This has created new challenges in operating the edge at scale and securing it from sophisticated attacks. Further, as the carbon footprint of the edge grows rapidly, reimagining a sustainable “zero-carbon” edge that is powered by renewable energy poses a key direction for future research.

His talk is embedded below and the PDF copy of his presentation is available here.

You can view the author's publication page here.

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Thursday 20 July 2023

T-Mobile USA's Disaster Response Satellite Vehicles, Drones and COWs

The United States of America (USA) is a huge country. With such a vast area it is no surprise that it experiences a relatively high number of natural hazards and disasters. It is prone to hurricanes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, tornadoes in the central region known as Tornado Alley, earthquakes along the West Coast, wildfires in dry areas, and floods in various regions.

It is for this reason that all US operators have to be prepared for any emergency at a very short notice. In earlier posts we looked at AT&T’s Flying COWs (Cell on Wings) and Verizon's Disaster Response COW, THOR. In this post we will look at T-Mobile's COWs.

In a recent news article, T-Mobile detailed their disaster preparedness. Quoting from the article:

Since 2021, T-Mobile has made strategic investments to increase its network hardening footprint by more than 30%, placing fixed backup generators at even more towers, cell sites, network switches, data centers and other critical sites nationwide. These investments also enable the Un-carrier’s emergency response teams to leverage the network in innovative ways. For example, technicians and engineers who monitor weather in the field can remotely adjust sites in real-time to concentrate the signal in impacted areas, providing first responders with more bandwidth for data-intensive activities such as orchestrating rescues. This saves critical time and has minimal impact on customers due to T-Mobile’s network resiliency.

T-Mobile is increasing its inventory of heavy-duty network disaster response vehicles—Satellite Cell-On-Wheels (SatCOWs) and Satellite Cell-On-Light-Trucks (SatCOLTs)—by over 50%. And this year, the Un-carrier is also rolling out new Class Super C RV Command Centers for on-site operations management and new heavy-duty community support trucks that provide device charging, charging supplies and Wi-Fi for anyone who needs it.

The Un-carrier’s fleet already includes Network Emergency Operation Centers, Rough Terrain Dual Mast COLTs (which provide coverage for up to two miles, two-way radio communications, Wi-Fi and emergency lighting), Jeep COLTs, network and community Command Centers, Wi-Fi charging trailers, tow response vehicles and more.

The emergency response team also stages agile solutions like COWs, VSATs (small satellite terminals) and microwave/long-range microwave kits to quickly restore service in impacted areas.

The Un-carrier is looking ahead and innovating on the next wave of natural disaster prevention and response technology. Through an award-winning partnership, Pano AI leverages T-Mobile’s 5G network, ultra-high-definition cameras and a proprietary AI platform to scan and locate early-stage wildfires. With this technology, utility companies, fire authorities, forestry companies and private landowners can detect and respond to wildfires in rural areas faster than ever before.

Earlier this month, T-Mobile and Valmont announced the longest ever beyond visual line of site (BVLOS) drone flight for infrastructure inspection—77 miles—enabled by T-Mobile’s 5G network. During the flight, Valmont demonstrated the capability of a 5G-enabled technology to preemptively monitor infrastructure such as power lines, railroads and bridges in Texas with greater accuracy, helping to prevent malfunctions and infrastructure-related emergencies.

When disasters strike, T-Mobile deploys cutting-edge 5G Search and Rescue (SAR) drones and tethered drones to aid in disaster response efforts. SAR drones can fly up to 75 miles per mission to provide coverage and use infrared and thermal imaging to locate people, especially in unfavorable conditions. And with a 55-pound payload capacity, they can also deliver lifesaving supplies. Connected to power and backhaul resources, tethered drones can fly up to 400 feet to provide nearly continuously coverage to surrounding areas.

You can read the complete article here which contains a lot of pictures of their disaster response vehicles.

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Tuesday 27 June 2023

Ericsson's Massive MIMO Handbook(s)

Sometime last year, Ericsson published a detailed Massive MIMO Handbook, which contains two documents:

  • Massive MIMO Handbook
  • Massive MIMO Handbook – Technology Primer

The main purpose of the Massive MIMO Handbook is to provide a guide for how to use Massive MIMO to meet the performance requirements in a 5G mobile networks. It should also provide a guide for how to choose suitable products in typical network deployment scenarios. The handbook shall also briefly explain key aspects of how Massive MIMO works and how the different technology components affect network performance in field.

This handbook primarily targets the Massive MIMO stakeholders in the communications service providers´ organizations. It can also be used by internal Ericsson organizations.

The document focuses on Massive MIMO solutions, including as a means for meeting the performance requirements in the network. Focus is on products operating with time division duplex (TDD) on mid-band spectrum, typically 3.5-3.7 GHz. Conventional radio solutions are also included as an alternative where Massive MIMO is not needed or not cost efficient. Furthermore, emphasis is on the radio solution, i.e. the radio parts and the antenna parts. To keep the document focused and limited in volume, the baseband solution, site solution other than radio parts and the antenna (e.g. power, enclosure, cooling, etc.), transport solutions (backhaul and fronthaul) are not included. High-band (mm Wave) and FDD are not included in this version. The service in focus is mobile broadband (MBB) as this is the dominating service in all mobile networks.

The purpose of Massive MIMO Handbook – Technology Primer is to provide a deeper understanding to how Massive MIMO works, why it works and what performance is achievable in a real network deployment. Many related topics that provide additional insights to the background of Massive MIMO, e.g. antennas and wave propagation, the implications of Massive MIMO, e.g. architecture and implementation and radio requirements are also covered.

The different chapters of the Technology Primer can be read selectively and standalone to deepen knowledge where the reader chooses. The chapters are however organized in a way that they best are read in succession. For example, the chapters: antennas and wave propagation, antenna arrays, multi-antenna technologies, 3GPP solutions, network performance and Massive MIMO features will be better understood if read in a sequence. If readers has a reasonably good understanding of an area from start, they do not need to read everything in these chapters, and rather selectively read what is important to them.

PDF can be downloaded from here.

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Monday 12 June 2023

Du's Solar Sites in UAE

du mobile telecommunication services, the second largest UAE MNO was launched in February 2007 under Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), a public joint stock company incorporated in Dubai through Ministerial Resolution No. 479 of 2005 issued on 28 December 2005. As of 2021, du has 6.7 million (39%) of UAE mobile subscribers and 236,000 fixed line subscribers.

In their latest sustainability report, du said:

78 sites that run completely on solar panels, helping us save 360 tCO2 during the year

  • Diesel savings of approximately 1.4 million litres/year (a total carbon footprint reduction of 3,714 tCO2/year)
  • Additional 100 solar sites planned for installation in 2023

Surprisingly it is difficult to find how these sites look like. The picture above is from a LinkedIn post by Ibrahim Gedeon. The only other place I have seen these is in this Tweet:

It would be interesting to learn more. If you have more info or know where to find it, please feel free to add the info in the comments below.

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Tuesday 16 May 2023

Deutsche Telekom 5G Small Cells in Phone Boxes

Vodafone and BT/EE in UK have been deploying small cells in phone boxes for years, now the German operator Deutsche Telekom is going the same way as it starts dismantling the last remaining 12,000 public telephones of the 160,000 that used to exist. 

The Museum for Communication in Frankfurt (link) has models of the German Phone Boxes. The following is an extract from DT's blog post, translated in English by Google Translate:

The well-known "yellow telephone boxes" have not been there since 2018. There are currently around 12,000 public telephones from Telekom. The steles or so-called basic telephones are often located at train stations, airports or on exhibition grounds. They are not economical, they are outdated and consume large amounts of energy. On average, it is between 500 and 1,250 kilowatt hours per year - depending on the equipment at the location. By switching off the unused technology dinosaurs, between six and 15 million kilowatt hours can be saved annually. This corresponds to the power consumption of several thousand apartments. The supply of spare parts for the old ISDN technology is also being discontinued by the manufacturers and is becoming increasingly difficult. Despite all the good memories, it's about time, even with this look, 

Telekom will gradually phase out the service by early 2023. From November 21, 2022, coin payment will be gradually deactivated nationwide for the remaining 12,000 telephones. From the end of January, the payment function using telephone cards and thus the entire telecommunications service at the telephone pillars or booths will also be discontinued.

The dismantling of the steles will then begin, which is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2025. In consultation with the communities, Telekom continues to use around a quarter of the sites to improve local mobile communications without a public telephony function. It is converting the locations with so-called small cells. These are small antennas that amplify cellular signals and thus further improve cellular communications. 

Since the Telecommunications Act was amended at the end of 2021, there is no longer any obligation to operate public telephones. Due to the low usage, the public telephones no longer contribute to the basic service of the population. Even for emergency calls, the public telephones are no longer relevant. Here, too, the mobile phone takes over and supports, for example, by transmitting the exact location information.

This video below shows how some of these phone boxes will have Ericsson's small cells. There are two different approaches. Some of them will be D-RAN and some of them will be C-RAN, where C is Centralised in this case. Switch on the subtitles for English translation.

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Saturday 22 April 2023

Omdia's Global Telecoms Capex Trends – 2022

Our industry goes through a lot of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A). Information Handling Services (IHS) built its Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT) in large part through the acquisition of Infonetics Research for an undisclosed sum in 2014. Then in 2016, IHS merged with London-based Markit to create IHS Markit. Then in 2019, IHS Markit swapped its TMT group with Informa's Agribusiness Intelligence group and $30 million in cash. 

At the start of 2020, Omdia was formed by unifying the depth and breadth of expertise from Informa Tech’s legacy research brands: Ovum, IHS Markit Technology, Tractica and Heavy Reading.

Omdia recently published the 2022 full-year update of its Global Telecoms Capex Tracker, a detailed database of telecom operator capital expenditure (capex) from 1Q19 to 4Q22. This Analyst Opinion covers the major recent developments in telecoms capex and highlights some interesting points from the tracker.

In the tracker, Omdia splits capex estimates into various categories and subcategories that broadly map to our technology market research coverage. For the full year of 2022, the first level of breakdown is into civil infrastructure (9%), access network (37%), transport (14%), core (4%), cloud infrastructure (9%), IT and software (13%), devices and customer premises equipment (CPE) (6%), and other (10%).

You can find the details here. The author, Adam Mackenzie, has shared a high-resolution picture and some more details on his LinkedIn post here. The comments are worth reading as well.

For people who are interested in similar topics, check out the links below 👇.

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Tuesday 14 March 2023

KDDI's Underground 5G Base Stations

Some five years back I talked about NTT Docomo's underground LTE base stations, now it's KDDI's turn for an underground 5G base station. Last week the Japanese operator KDDI announced to the world that they are testing an underground base station in a handhole (just big enough for the hand to go in as opposed to manhole where a person can go in). 

The press release (translated by Google from Japanese) said:

In December 2022, KDDI became the first domestic telecommunications carrier to begin operation of an embedded 5G base station (hereafter referred to as this base station) in Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (on the premises of the KDDI Otemachi Building).

In the future, we aim to accelerate the expansion of areas that require consideration of scenery, such as Bikan districts, by utilizing this base station


Conventional tower-mounted base stations and building roof-mounted base stations have exposed base station antennas, which can affect the scenery. It was. As one solution to this problem, the introduction of buried base stations, in which the base station equipment is installed underground (below the ground surface), is expected. In July 2021, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications' new system of radio wave protection guidelines for embedded base stations came into effect.

About this base station

Since 2018, KDDI has been considering the start of commercial operation of embedded base stations. In December 2022, we succeeded in emitting radio waves from this base station, and verified radio wave propagation characteristics until February 2023, confirming that a communication area with a radius of about 50m can be secured.

By storing the devices necessary for radio wave radiation, such as wireless devices and antennas, in a housing buried underground (below the ground surface), it is possible to install the device in consideration of the landscape. In addition, by radiating radio waves upward, it will be an area along the ground.

It adopts a highly waterproof metal housing and is designed to withstand water intrusion. Also, since the antenna is underground, it is less susceptible to strong winds.

KDDI will continue to develop new concept base stations that are not bound by existing base station installation forms, and will continue to expand service areas, improve quality, and create an environment that is easier for customers to use.

Nice to see mobile enthusiasts already testing the base station out. We will have to wait to see how the PoC goes and if we will see more of these deployed commercially. 

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Friday 10 February 2023

Evolution of AT&T’s Flying COW (Cell on Wings)

I first got introduced to COWs (Cell on Wheels) when AT&T talked about them back in 2014. Since then I have written about AT&T's Flying COWs (Cell on Wings as opposed to Wheels) and also the Flying COW - Helicopter. All of the Flying COWs were transmitting 4G/LTE.

In an announcement last June, AT&T announced that their Flying COW was able to transmit 5G. Surprisingly they haven't shared any videos publicly, unlike the 4G ones. Their announcement said:

The AT&T drone team picked this remote location for the ground-breaking launch of its Flying COW® (Cell on Wings), because of that: it’s remote. No trees. No houses. No humans. Only wide-open spaces and the occasional four-legged cow.

“We had intermittent, weak LTE signal at the flight location before we launched the 5G Flying COW®,” said Ethan Hunt, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Principal Program Manager, AT&T. “We flew the drone up to about 300 feet, turned on the signal and it began transmitting strong 5G coverage to approximately 10 square miles.”

That means, customers with a capable 5G phone in the area could have gone from no service to super-fast wireless connections in seconds. In the future, this could help first responders in a search and rescue mission.

“Drones may use 5G for command and control or to stream video, but the AT&T 5G Flying COW® is the only drone that provides a 5G network,” Ethan said.

A COW serves as a cell site on a drone, and AT&T has been using this technology to beam LTE coverage to customers during big events and disasters for years. Other companies may use 5G signals to communicate with drones, but the 5G Flying COW® could be a game changer.

“Our focus within the drone world is connectivity. All of our drone solutions have that focus,” said Art Pregler, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Program Director, AT&T. “5G brings a lot of new capability to the table. We can connect a lot larger number of devices with 5G. When we put that up, we can share with a larger population.”

That, in turn, can lead to a more seamless experience, better network performance and an overall better experience.

 “It’s enabling a lot more solutions, including human-to-machine interface that are now capable that wasn’t previously possible,” said Art.

Complete story here.

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Friday 27 January 2023

Seoul Metro Wi-Fi Backhauled by Samsung's 5G mmWave Network Solution

In our earlier posts we talked about how Wi-Fi 6 is being promoted by South Korea's ministry and also how mmWave has not been very successful in Korea. Having said that, earlier last year, Samsung Electronics announced that it has signed contracts with all three South Korean operators to supply its 5G mmWave network solutions and boost connectivity for passengers on the Seoul subway system:

Over 3.6 million passengers use the Seoul subway daily across over 300 stations. With a population of 9.6 million, Seoul is one of the world’s most densely populated cities, with its subway serving as one of the major means of public transportation for the busy metropolitan area. The subway system is expansive, resembling a spider web network that connects Seoul and the surrounding areas, carrying over 30 percent of the city’s population.

While the Seoul subway system has already been providing stable 5G (3.5GHz), 4G and Wi-Fi services, mobile data demands in subways continue to rise exponentially as Korea’s monthly average 5G data consumption reaches approximately 25GB per person.

Later this year, Samsung’s 5G mmWave solutions will enable the subway’s Wi-Fi services to meet increasing data demands by leveraging mmWave’s wide bandwidth, extensive capacity and massive throughput. Subway passengers will be able to enjoy bandwidth-intensive applications such as high-speed, superior-quality streaming for live sports games, movies, mobile games and video communications. These will be delivered at Wi-Fi speeds up to ten times faster on average than currently provided.

In addition to transforming the daily mobile experience for subway users, Samsung’s advanced 5G mmWave solutions will drive a diversified range of use cases and business opportunities for new entrepreneurs, app development startups and consumers. Utilizing mmWave bandwidth can not only bring to life next-generation services such as the metaverse, cloud gaming and Extended Reality (XR) remote learning, but it can also be expanded beyond transportation to industries like retail, medicine, media and entertainment.

A key component of the Seoul subway commercial deployment is Samsung’s mmWave 5G radio solution, Compact Macro, which brings together a baseband unit, radio and antenna in a single form factor. Optimized for mmWave 5G, it uses in-house modems, radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs) and digital analog front end (DAFE) ASICs.

Complete press release here. Embedded below is a short promo video on this

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Thursday 12 January 2023

KDDI Plans to Improve Rural Connectivity in Japan using SpaceX's Starlink

Back in December 2022, KDDI announced that the first mobile tower in Japan to use Starlink has started commercial operation in Hatsushima, a remote island in Sagami Bay. The press release said:

Starting with this location, KDDI will expand its coverage to 1,200 remote towers in order to pursue its vision to bring an urban mobile experience to its rural customers.

Developed by SpaceX, Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency satellite broadband internet around the world. With satellites positioned in low-Earth orbit at an altitude of 550 km, over 65 times closer than conventional geostationary satellites, Starlink achieves significantly lower latency and higher transmission speeds for its end users. Using Starlink to backhaul service from these remote stations complements KDDI's urban towers that utilize fiber for backhaul.

KDDI has been conducting technical demonstrations of Starlink including for use in mobile backhaul since 2021. In order to ensure sufficient quality for cellular service with voice and data, Starlink has met the company's network technical guidelines in latency, jitters and uplink/downlink bandwidths. KDDI has completed its evaluation of Starlink and confirmed the conformance in customer experience that could be comparable to that of optical fiber.

KDDI will also offer Starlink Business to enterprise and civil government customers this year. With Japan having more than 16,000 mountains and 6,000 islands, with Starlink KDDI is now able to bring a new dimension of connectivity to Japanese society.

The video of the launch ceremony is embedded below:

In addition to the image from KDDI press release, additional images from Twitter here and here.

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