Category Archives: LTE/5G

The Critical 5G mmWave Success Levers

Applications of millimeter wave (mmWave) technology in 5G fixed access are subject to a few important levers. To start, it’s important to understand that the cost of fixed access networks is directly proportional to the number of houses passed. This provides the advantage of growing the network selectively on geographic basis. But it also means that economies of… Read More »

5G Market Update: the Risk of the Cascading Technology Trap!

We’re mid-way through 2017. That’s only 8 months from the Pyeongchang winter olympics – supposedly a poster for 5G technology [Link2]. Obviously, true, commercial 5G will not happen in 8 months, but the hype machine will kick into increasingly higher gears. Hence, I thought to put together a few thoughts on the state of the market and highlight what… Read More »

5G mmWave Spectrum: Was Straight Path Worth the Price?

This past week saw Verizon overtaking AT&T in bidding for Straight Path Communications, owner of 28 and 39 GHz ‘5G’ spectrum, closing the contest at $3.1 Billion, more than double AT&T’s initial bid of $1.25 Billion ($1.6 B transaction value). The acquisition is framed within the context of spectrum for 5G services. What makes this an interesting case… Read More »

Is 550 million 5G subscribers in 2022 Too Many?

Will there be 550 million 5G subscribers in 2022 as Ericsson forecasts in its latest mobility report? I highly doubt it – here’s why. LTE is a very successful technology that commercially began to roll out in the US, Japan and Korea in 2010 timeframe. Today, it includes over 520 live networks and over 1.3 billion subscribers (1.7 b per Ericsson’s… Read More »


Reading some of the literature about LTE-U (and LAA) leads you to believe that its deployment is a foregone conclusion: operators love it; vendors support it, and products will be available within months. But operators lack the sales channel into the enterprise where LTE-U is envisioned to be deployed and provide most value. While LTE-U may find its… Read More »

LTE Flavors in Unlicensed Spectrum

Guest post by Faris Alfarhan* The unprecedented increase in demand for high-speed broadband requires a bundle of solutions to satisfy the demanded capacity. Unlicensed spectrum is increasingly considered by cellular operators, internet service providers, and businesses as part of solution set. Unlicensed spectrum cannot match the quality of licensed spectrum, as the interference profile is much more stochastic.… Read More »

Can Device-to-Device Communications Extend into the Home and SME?

DSL and LTE bonding is a technology that have been hovering under the radar, not receiving the attention it deserves. A few operators have been experimenting with it, and some deployed it. Vodafone targets the solution at the enterprise sector, while Deutsch Telekom sees it as complementary service in rural areas. DSL/LTE bonding combines a DSL modem with… Read More »

Further Enhanced ICIC (FeICIC)

Guest 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… Read More »

Carrier Aggregation and the Road to Cognitive Radio and Superwide Spectrum

Often, the least hyped technologies are the most effective, get the widest adoption, and have the greatest impact. Carrier aggregation is one such technology that I don’t think it received its fair share of attention. LTE did bring a number of new features that were not available in 3G, such as MIMO. But MIMO was already deployed in… Read More »

An Evaluation of LTE Frequency Selective Scheduling

Guest post by Faris Alfarhan* Channel dependent scheduling is commonly used in cellular systems. In LTE, orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) in the downlink and single carrier frequency division multiple access (SC-FDMA) in the uplink allow scheduling to be performed orthogonally in both the frequency and time domains. Instead of exploiting the frequency diversity of the channel, frequency-selective… Read More »

On LTE-Advanced and Carrier Aggregation

News of LTE-Advanced is making headlines. SK Telecom aggregated two 10 MHz carriers in 800 and 1800 MHz to achieve 150 Mbps downlink throughput with a version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 handset built upon Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 SoC. Verizon announced that its LTE network is nearly complete and suggested carrier aggregation (CA) is the next step. AT&T… Read More »

Cloud RAN vs. Picocells: The Need for Integrative Approach in Next Generation Network Design.

When it comes to deciding on deploying small cell base stations, one is faced with a few options. One option is based on cloud RAN architecture with remote radio heads connected through optical fiber to a central base station housing the baseband processing. A second option is that of a compact base station which includes both the radio… Read More »

Should Small Cells Be Deployed In Their Own Spectrum Band?

Small cells raise a number of practical implementation questions which are yet to be resolved. One such question is whether small cells should operate in the same frequency band as the macrocell layer (co-channel deployment), or on a different frequency band. The question has profound implications to operators, vendors, and to regulators alike. To clarify, recall that in… Read More »

Unleashing the Power of HetNets: Interference Management Techniques for LTE-Advanced Networks

In my earlier blog post, The Hype & Reality of Small Cells Performance, I provided a qualitative review of small cell performance and discussed interference scenarios that limit performance. Perhaps the most defining problem of small cell deployments is the large transmit power imbalance between the macrocell and the small cell (~20-30 dB) which increases the potential of… Read More »

The Hype and Reality of Small Cells Performance

Heterogeneous networks (HetNets) consist of large (macro) cells with high transmit power (typically 5 W – 40 W) and small cells with low transmit power (typically 100 mW – 2 W). The small cells are distributed beneath the large cells and can run on the same frequency as the large cell (co-channel), or on a different frequency. As… Read More »