Defining the Innovation Band and Shared Spectrum Access

3.5 GHz Shared Spectrum RulesSpectrum sharing rules for the 3.5 GHz band in the US are beginning to take shape. While there are still some important aspects to define, the broad lines have been drawn for the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). The process of fine-tuning the rules will continue following the April Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) (comments are due July 14th and reply comments by August 1st). The proposed rules will have a three-tiered spectrum sharing scheme in 3550 – 3650 MHz between Incumbent Access, Priority Access License (PAL) and General Authorized Access (GAA) users. Furthermore, there door is open to roll into this band the 3650 – 3700 MHz band which today operates on a non-exclusive licensed basis. Read more of this post

Raising the Stakes in 3.5 GHz: LTE-Advanced Achieves 1 Gbps

1Gbps LTE-AThe 3 GHz frequency bands stands at the upper limit of what is considered today as viable spectrum for mobile communications. But bands 42 (3400 – 3600 MHz) and 43 (3600 – 3800 MHz) are not only the ‘last frontier’, but more importantly, they provide the widest spectrum of any other band (200 MHz). Additionally, the relatively short wavelength is perfect to enable advanced antenna system technologies based on beamforming and massive MIMO techniques. Couple these with the limited range of propagation that limits interference and the 3.5 GHz band becomes an interesting proposition for capacity starved operators. Read more of this post

Small Cells Progress Report – Challenges and Opportunities.

Small cells I have just released a new research report on the progress of small cell deployments in collaboration with ExelixistNet:  “Small Cell Ecosystem: Challenges and Opportunities.” The report examines mobile operators’ plans and deployment strategies of small cells and backhaul solutions along with vendor and technology preferences. The research is based on experience gathered by operators from market trials of small cells and wireless backhaul solutions conducted to evaluate the ecosystem deployment readiness and impact of small cell roll-out on operator financials and network performance. Read more of this post

SON Progress Report: A Lot Still to Be Done!

SONSince the first building blocks of SON were laid down around 2008 by 3GPP and NGMN, uptake in SON deployments has been very selective by a few leading carriers for some use cases. However, universal applicability remains elusive. To say the least, the SON market is struggling – but why, and how that can be turned around is what interests me. Having just attended the SON USA conference, I had made a few observations and like to put some down here. Read more of this post

Further Enhanced ICIC (FeICIC)

FeICIC LTE-AdvancedGuest post by Faris Alfarhan*

In an earlier post, R10-LTE enhanced inter-cell interference coordination (eICIC) techniques for heterogeneous networks were discussed, along with the concept of small cell range expansion. The purpose of cell range expansion is to offload more traffic from macro cells to small cells and hence achieve larger cell splitting gains. By adding a cell selection bias, the service area of small cells increases and more users are offloaded to small cells. The need for heterogeneous networks interference management schemes stems from the fact that users in the small cell range expansion area are vulnerable to stronger interference signals than useful signals from the associated serving small cell. In the previous post, it was explained how time domain partitioning based eICIC schemes – known as Almost Blank Subframes (ABS) – could be used to control the interference on the data channels in the range expansion region. Further, carrier aggregation based techniques – known as Cross Carrier Scheduling – could be used to control interference on the control channels (such as the PDCCH, PCFICH, and PHICH channels). However, R10 eICIC schemes did not address interference control on cell-specific reference signals (CRS), which cannot be blanked in order to ensure backward compatibility with R8 and R9 UEs. In this post, R11 improvements to eICIC schemes are discussed, along with the shortcomings of R10 eICIC schemes. First, the concept of Reduced Power Almost Blank Subframes (RP-ABS) is explained along with its advantages over ABS. I then discuss the R11 techniques of Further enhanced ICIC (FeICIC) to control the interference on CRS resources. Read more of this post

Trends in Wireless Network Densification

Small Cells - Network DensificationOne of the main trends in radio access network (RAN) is the bifurcation of systems that enable network densification. Today, mobile network operators have more options than ever before for the means of providing service to their subscribers. Alongside the evolution of wireless standards to provide higher spectral efficiency, vendors have unleashed a wide variety of radio access nodes. While the macro cell remains the workhorse, small cells, distributed antenna systems (DAS), distributed radio systems (DRS) and Cloud RAN (CRAN) are systems that will see increasingly wider deployment in the future. Given this, what are some of the trends that we see in this space? Read more of this post

Free Space Optics: An Overview of Market and Technology

Free space opticsFree space optical (FSO) technology in commercial applications has been around for a couple of decades now. During this time, significant developments happened to improve the utility and reduce cost. Today’s systems pack more capacity in smaller volume and at lower price while measures to improve reliability are integrated into the solutions to increase the robustness of the link.  Yet, the commercial applications of FSO remain in niche segments without a major breakthrough into mainstream markets such as mobile backhaul. In this article, I like to review the basic elements of the FSO market to shed some light on this segment of backhaul that has lived in the shadow of RF technologies. Read more of this post

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