Category Archives: Wireless Networks

What Capacity Problem?! A View on the Small Cell Market.

Small cells have existed and been talked about for about a decade now. The technology and market went through different phases tracking 3G, LTE and now 5G technologies. Yet, the deployment of small cells has been timid and numbers fall below expectations. The fundamental thesis behind small cells is that demand for capacity exceeds supply. The market speculated that… Read More »

Midterm Observations on the Telecom Industry.

Three events were held this past week that provided an opportunity to get a midterm pulse of the telecom industry: the MWC-Shanghai, 5G World and WBA Congress. Having attended the last two, I wanted to summarize a few observations: * The vision for 5G is converging; industry is aligning along common themes.  A few leading operators are racing to claim 5G capability… Read More »

Does the Short Road to 4.5G Mean a Long Road to 5G?!

Browse through industry literature or conference proceedings and trade shows, and you’ll be inundated with talk about 5G. On the other hand little is to be found on “4.5G”, or technically speaking, LTE Release 12 and 13 branded as LTE-Advanced Pro [which incidentally I find to be a bad choice of terms that I prefer to use 4.5G even… Read More »

Comparative Look at LPWA Performance.

There are over a dozen LPWA technologies contending to provide connectivity for some of the billions of connected devices as projected by market analysts. How they all compare with each other is a hot topic in the race to markets. We recently published detailed analysis benchmarking these technologies in terms of capacity, range, throughput, power consumption and other… Read More »

Demystifying Cloud RAN Architectures

Imagine a wireless service provider can provide service anywhere there’s Internet connectivity at the click of a button. All they need is a small remote radio connected to the Internet. The baseband modems no longer reside at cell sites, but are hosted in data centers where powerful commercial servers execute all the functions of todays base station baseband… Read More »

C-RAN and the True 5G

While people may debate what 5G will be, there are a few key facts that cannot be changed. These facts will shape what 5G will be. Based on this we expect that new winners will emerge who can capitalize on new trends through innovating new solutions. Therefore, aside from the hype that dominates 5G talk, the key is… Read More »

MNOs Investments in LPWA: Strategic or Tactical Expediency?

Over a year ago, SK Telecom invested in SigFox in a round that raised €100 m from a consortium of investors that included Telefonica and NTT Docomo. This week, SKT announces that it will build a LoRa network at a cost of more than $84 m over two years. In the meantime, SKT is working with Ericsson to evaluate the… Read More »

The State of IoT Connectivity

MWC16 was a great venue to check the pulse of developments in IoT connectivity. We summarized part of our observations which we shared and published (link). It caused many follow ups by colleagues and friends who voiced a wide range of opinions that I thought some further color would be useful. To start, the main challenge in IoT is… Read More »

Is IoT at Risk of Stalling?

The wide-area IoT connectivity battle which has been brewing for a couple of years is heating up. Early last month at CES, Ericsson announced the release of “the first complete cellular low-power wide-area (LPWA) solution” to AT&T. At the same time, the Wi-Fi Alliance branded 802.11ah as Wi-Fi HaLow targeting applications in smart home, connected car, digital healthcare, industrial, retail, agriculture, and… Read More »

Will Operators Deploy Phase 1 5G?

Standardization of 5G is split into two phases. The first phase, which is scheduled for 2H2018, will focus on a subset of use cases and features. The second phase which is scheduled for December 2019, will meet ITU2020 requirements for 5G technology. Phase 1 will also focus on sub 6 GHz bands although carriers in Asia are pushing… Read More »

Which IoT Technologies Will Die Out?

IoT use case are fragmented with different requirements. To match these requirements, a number of IoT connectivity solutions are available including wide-area low-power (LPWA), cellular wireless technologies (EGPRS, UMTS, LTE of different varieties), and short range technologies adapted to cover wide areas through mesh networking (ZigBee, WirelessHART, etc.) or extension of point-to-multipoint technologies (e.g. 802.11ah/HaLow). Each of these… Read More »

5G: Revolution or Evolution?

Is 5G an evolution or a revolution? In an earlier article I said 5G is an evolutionary stage. Many disagreed: 5G is a revolutionary technology. But this is all a matter of perspective.  The evolution vs. revolution debate has largely focused on the air interface, or the ‘subscriber interface’: everyone wants to have fast wide-bandwidth connectivity. Naturally, it is the… Read More »

Top 3 Drivers of Investments in the LPWA Market.

Hundreds of millions of dollars have poured into the low-power wide-area (LPWA) IoT connectivity market over the past 2 years alone to kick start a fledgeling ecosystem of companies across a wide range of products and services. In the process of due diligence and research in this market that we undertook at  Xona Partners, we find the following key… Read More »

5 Things You Need To Know About 5G.

The 5G picture is getting clearer by the day. While there is still a lot of fuzziness that will take take time to crystallize the broad outline for 5G is now more clear. Below, is a summary of some of our findings on 5G. Needless to say, 5G developments will have significant ramifications especially as the capital expenses… Read More »

Cell Site Talk!

Mobile network operators love to compete on performance (a few forget they need to make money!). Throughput takes most attention as does coverage. Other parameters like latency has been gaining popularity as data consumption increases. Not many MNOs talk about the sites they operate, except in financial statements and annual reports. I wanted to see if the cell site count has… Read More »