Adaptability is power: Battery life and Wi-Fi

Posted on July 10, 2015

Wi-Fi radios come in for a lot of stick in terms of smartphone battery life — not without good reason. If a Wi-Fi radio is on all day it will act as its nature dictates; constantly seeking opportunities to connect, and sucking up the battery as it does so. Sometimes nature needs a little help — and, as always, adaptability is the key.

Why Wait Five Long Years for 2020 Vision?

Posted on June 8, 2015

SK Telecom has identified five areas in which 5G must deliver marked improvements over the current smartphone connectivity experience. But operators need to act now to improve that experience, and Connectivity First represents the opportunity to introduce some of the ideas behind 5G today.

Can Carriers Adopt Agile Practices?

Posted on June 16, 2014

Recently I attended the Telecommunications Industry Association Network of the Future Conference in Dallas. The conference was well attended and featured a combination of informative keynotes and a series of lively panel discussions. I participated as a panelist for the 5G Networks track Carrier Aggregation Across Licensed and Unlicensed Spectrum. (I wrote about this in my last blog.) Over the next few months I plan to blog about some of the conference’s themes But for this post, I want to focus on the conference’s front-and-center issue: the adoption and growth of Software Defined Networks (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV). SDN allows network topologies to be defined via software. Think of it as using “digital wires” to interconnect the network. SDN enables the decoupling of the system that makes decisions about where traffic is sent, called the “control plane”, from the underlying systems that forward traffic to the destination, called the “data plane.” The key benefit here is that ease in changing network topology. The first network area to really benefit from SDN is called the vGI-LAN. That’s the IP network between the packet gateway and the public Internet. It’s also the natural starting place for this type of network…

Carrier Aggregation over Unlicensed Spectrum

Posted on June 1, 2014

Recently I’ve been following the proposals to use unlicensed (i.e. Wi-Fi) spectrum to augment cellular capacity. The most prevalent camp proposes using LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation, introduced in 3GPP release 10, where the 5Ghz Wi-Fi bands are used for downlink data, and all other traffic, such as signaling, is ‘anchored’ on licensed spectrum. The 5Ghz unlicensed bands offer close to 500Mhz of bandwidth, and in the U.S., South Korea, and China can be freely used without coordination with radar and safety services. This means that unlicensed LTE, or “uLTEA” as it’s being called, could be rolled out without having to make complex changes to the LTE specification in these countries. Other countries will have to wait for 3GPP release 13, which will handle the ‘listen before transmit’ requirements present outside of the U.S., South Korea, and China. The two main advantages of this approach are: It’s all LTE and fully integrated into the packet core, without any gateways or other complex coordination. QoS is maintained by the licensed spectrum anchor point, so if unlicensed spectrum degrades, traffic and signaling quality can still be maintained. This sounds great, but only really works if both the LTE eNodeB licensed and unlicensed radios are…