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SoftBank And Future Connected Consumer Electronics in 5G

Elena Neira
September05/ 2016

ARM and SoftBank boards ratified in recent days last July 18th announcement that SoftBank planned to acquire – via cash acquisition – British chip designer ARM Holdings. Now it’s all in the hands of Softbank’s wireless business as well as in the global ambitions and strategic aim of its owner and CEO Masayoshi Son. What happens next is at the core of where IoT, consumer electronics and mobile. And with the purchase of ARM SoftBank is aiming at world of connected consumer electronics in 5G.


Why SoftBank Months Months and Money To Plan ARM’s Takeover:     We reported in July the details of why SoftBank’s CEO Masayoshi Son sold important holdings in China’s Alibaba, Japan’s GungHo, and Finnish’s Supercell to buy ARM Holdings (ARM), and our first and most important conclusion was that for SoftBank a semiconductor IP block company is as strategic as internet, mobile, e-commerce and game companies for the SoftBank Group.


Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 4.47.31 PM
Timeline of SoftBank – ARM Holdings Deal From Announcement to Boards Approval (Source: SoftBank)


Where Is Consumer Electronics Heading?   This is one of the largest technology deals of 2016 affecting mobile as well as consumer electronics markets, and ultimately signaling that many of Today’s and future consumer electronics will be Internet devices, and will be wirelessly connected. This trend is already visible in the chart below:


Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 5.16.29 PM
Global Internet Device Forecast (Source: Market Realist, Gartner, IDC, Strategy Analytics. Machina and BI)



Resources: SoftBank Completes Acquisition of ARM

5G Magazine Aug2016: Drones, Holograms, Connecting The Next 1 Billion & More

Elena Neira
September01/ 2016


5G Magazine Issue no. 2 – August 2016 is ready! The major developments in the 5G ecosystem this month include emerging mission-critical 5G use cases, holograms, new messaging apps with peer-t0-peer capabilities, connecting the next 1 billion mobile users, and much more.

Read it here: 5GM 2016-08 IssueNo2

5G Magazine Highlights   5G Magazine is the #1 read for technologists, investors, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, event organizers, corporate executives, academics, engineers and researchers, government officials, international organizations, PR/press and mobile enthusiasts. It is an independent monthly publication, and this is a pre-rollout, market trial issue of the periodical.

The 5G Magazine Twitter account was recently proclaimed as one of the ‘The 7 Best Telecom Influencers On Twitter’ by MobileTelco.  Find out what you are missing at @ElenaNeira

The publication is edited, designed, produced, and distributed by a team of word class experts. For more information or inquiries please visit ElenaNeira.com or send email to contact@elenaneira.com.

Advertising on 5G Magazine   5G Magazine is the single largest source of news that is focused on the 5G Innovation, Tech, and Entrepreneurial ecosystem. We have a number of different options to reach a highly educated and affluent audience of tech influencers at scale.  If you are interested in discussing further, please contact us at contact@elenaneira.com and we can walk you through the various options, and how to make it work for you.

Want to Be a 5G Magazine Contributor?   Are you interested in writing for the largest and fastest growing publication focused on the 5G industry, innovations, startup and technology ecosystem? Please reach out to us at contact@elenaneira.com to discuss.


Like what you’ve been seeing from 5G Magazine?   You can help us spread the word. Please forward the 5G Magazine and let your friends know about it. Subscription options will soon be available.

Did you Know?   Our reader pools July 2016 results indicate that 40% of our readers will buy an iPhone as their next smartphone . Samsung and Xiaomi, with 20% came second in the pool results.

World’s Cheapest Smartphone Meets Fastest Growing Market

Elena Neira
August31/ 2016

Last month’s news that a smartphone with a $4 promotional price tag ($6-7 after) was about to be released in India created country-wide expectation, and made news around the World. At the time of this writing, the $4 smartphone – the Freedom 215- has not been realized as originally planned but lessons learned are worth noting specially for those looking at connecting the next unconnected 1 billion mobile subscribers, perhaps with cost-effective 5G technology. For now, this is what we saw happening when the world’s cheapest smartphone met the fastest growing mobile market: On the market side, it proved the huge appetite for low-cost mobile devices in developing economies; on the business side, it proved that if you lower the price of a smartphone from $600 (approximately the price of the iPhone in India) to $6, you can get overnight a 75 million order. There is no device maker in the world that could fulfill that order. Even the giants (Apple, Samsung, Huawei,…) would take months, could be close to a year to complete the order.


The Smartphone Freedom 251 (Image Source: Times of India)

The Technology Behind Freedom 251:   The technology specifications of the phone correspond to an entry-level smartphone with 4-inch 960×540 screen, 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, 1 GB of memory, 8GB of spendable storage, an 8-magapixel rear camera and 3.2 megapixel front camera, with Android 5.1 OS, with a dual-SIM. Experts say that the cheapest smartphone with these kind of specifications would cost Rs2,500 to make. From the onset, the price of the phone was set at an order of magnitude of its cost. How could this possibly be feasible and/or sustainable?


The Business Model Supporting Low-Cost Smartphones:   Ringing Bells, maker of Freedom 251,  claimed that the low-cost phone was maintained by the economies of scale, pre-loaded apps, online marketing and e-commerce innovation. As plans were unfolding Freedom 251 maker Ringing Bells management provided additional details which included request for Indian Government subsidies and saying that “In order to digitally empower every Indian, if I can get government support under the Digital India program, I can ensure timely delivery of ‘Freedom 251’ phone to all citizens at the same price.” In addition, Ringing Bells management also confirmed plans to make available at least 100 new apps online to the owners and charge them 1-3Rs per application to generate revenue. It was also reported that the phone’s bill of materials was Rs1,250-1,400.


Freedom 251 Is Made In India, and Components from China and India:   Ringing Bells said that 60% of the components of the phone are made in India and the rest was imported from Taiwan and China. Assembly and logistics were done 100% in India out of the same location that manufactures the company’s TVs. A 200 distributor network was committed to deliver the phones across India.


In India f you lower the price of a smartphone from $600 to $6, you get a 75 million order overnight:   Reportedly Ringing Bells got an order of 75 million units online, and it was committed to deliver 5,000 on day 1. After several launch date delays, the phone was released July 8, 2016. The company claimed that 5000 units available would be allocated on lucky draw basis. At the time of writing this article, it is not clear how many have been available to customers who pre-order, and how many have been sold through the 200 available distribution channels.


Will 5G Be Up to “Connecting The Next Billion” Challenge?    Freedom 251 show that there is a real “unconnected” market, and serving it could require new cost-effective technologies and innovative business models. If 5G is up to this challenge, it could change India’s mobile market where coverage is not available, and where even current low-end smartphones are our to reach specially in rural areas.



Resources: Freedom 251 Wiki Page


Drones, Cloud For 5G Mission-Critical Apps.

Elena Neira
August31/ 2016

China Mobile and Ericsson combine drone and cloud technologies technologies to trial 5G low-latency, distributed network supporting mission-critical use cases. The trial is a demonstration of 5G-enabled drones flying over China Mobile’s cellular network, and using them to do handoffs between cell sites. It is important to notice that the handoffs are being performed between cell sites that are simultaneously used by mobile phone users, i.e. cellular infrastructure is enhanced with drone infrastructure to meet enterprise mission-critical application requirements.


China National Key 5G Project and The Role of China Mobile:   China Mobile Communications Corporation (CMCC) is one of the world’s largest telecommunications service providers. The size of its network, its subscriber base and its market capitalization make it the largest mobile operator worldwide. At the end of July 2016 CMCC had over 838 million mobile subscribers, operated more than 2 million base stations and covered over 99% of China’s population as they look to expand their global footprint in APAC, Europe and the US. Their primary business is mobile services and the company has been creating a vision to manage rapid traffic growth, new service deployments and innovation.

Ericsson says that it has been collaborating with China Mobile in the China National Key 5G projects since the beginning of 2016, focusing on user-centric 5G network architecture evolution. China Mobile’s vision for network evolution to 5G is summarized in their recently issued  “More than Connected” 2020 strategy  white paper. One of their aims is to optimize latency for mission-critical use cases, by dynamically deploying part of a network through distributed cloud close to the radio edge. The drone trial is therefore an important step toward 5G networks in which part of a network can be distributed and dynamically deployed at the cellular edge in order to reduce end-to-end latency, and to serve a range of 5G use cases at the same time.


China Mobile 2020 Technology Vision (Source: Global TD-LTE Initiative)
China Mobile 2020 Technology Vision – 5G Network Architecture (Source: Global TD-LTE Initiative)


Distributed Computing, Cloud Take Centerstage:   One of the stated goals is to optimize latency for mission critical use cases, using an aerial 5G-enabled drone to distribute part of the network to the cellular edge. According to Ericsson, “The drone trial is therefore an important step toward 5G networks in which part of a network can be distributed and dynamically deployed at the cellular edge in order to reduce end-to-end latency, and to serve a range of 5G use cases at the same time.”

Basestations and Drones Working Together:   5G will require up to 20 Gbps data throughput, 1 millisecond or lower latency, support for 500 km/hour device mobility and device tracking within 1 meter. We see in this trial a clear proposal to use cloud capabilities and distributing computing at the cellular edge (Mobile Edge/Fog Computing) to achieve these requirements using drone platforms.  At the time of this writing, we are not aware of details regarding how Ericsson and China Mobile are architecting the integration between ground basestations and drones to provide computing resources, storage capacity and connectivity as a traditional radio network infrastructure would. Additionally, we see this trial as a landmark example of enabling 5G services to enterprises. Governments, enterprises or other organizations have access to 5G capabilities that can be tailored to their applications and services for enhanced user experience such as the one covered in this trial for mission-critical applications.


Resources: 5G Use Case by China Mobile and Ericsson, Mobile Edge Computing

Towards Cloud Ready Networks

Elena Neira
August22/ 2016

Everywhere you look in the 5G ecosystem – mobile networks, content delivery, smart home, 3D video, augmented reality, self-driving cars, IoT, BigData, radio and backbone connectivity – you see and hear about cloud, software and programability as the most important transformational forces in networking. In this introductory article – part of our cloud series – we introduce the rational behind these transformational forces and how they are taking shape in research and industry under the names of Software Defined Networks (SDN), and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), and to help with this introduction we are selecting three must-see reference tutorials that survey the field and include the latest developments.

Software, Cloud and Programmable Networks:  Realizing open, programmable network connectivity is most commonly refereed as SDN and NFV. Both are changing network computing platforms and network architectures including traditional data plane, control plane, and transport/routing functions. Traditionally, owners and operators of networks commission, write, buy or configure software to manage their networks largely via on-premissess software and hardware delivery; they also configure and program the network via the control plane and equipment management interfaces. SDN and NFV are changing this on-premisses delivery model; also changing is the assumption that programing is done via the control plane, and it is now including data plane programmability which until recently was left out due to performance considerations. Let’s look at three references that explain how all these developments are taking shape and its latest developments.

A Compass for SDN, an Introduction to Interfaces, Attributes & Use Cases [1]:   This first reference covers scope, high level architecture, APIs, and a list of critical features such as programmability and modularity of SDN and NFV. It also includes a list of use cases where this technology might be applied, among others, cloud orchestration, load balancing, routing & forwarding, network management, and application awareness.


The endless road


Hypervisors to Virtualize The Network[2]:   A critical component for virtualizing networks is a hypervisor that abstracts the underlying physical network into multiple logically isolated virtual SDNs, each with its own controller. This second reference explains SDN hypervisors and classifies them according to their architecture into centralized and distributed hypervisors. This reference also includes an alternative classification of the hypervisors according to their execution platforms into hypervisors running exclusively on general-purpose compute platforms, or on a combination of general-purpose compute platforms with general- or special-purpose network elements. Beyond the classification, there is also a definition and comparison of network attribute abstraction and isolation features in existing SDN hypervisors, and an outline to develop a performance evaluation framework.


Open Network Programability[3]:    Emerging recently are a multitude of “open” projects aimed at concrete proposals and projects that are practical implementations of of SDN, NFV  and network virtualization. Packet Pushers created a comprehensive reference list organizing and updating them regularly. The list includes, for each project a short description, resources, tools, and website references. Within this list, OpenFlow and P4 deserve special mention as two major efforts driving innovation towards the emerging 5G ecosystem.




[1] SDN Interfaces, Attributes and Use Cases Survey

[2] Network Virtualization Hypervisor Survey

[3] Open Networking Projects Survey

Mobile Messaging Apps Disrupt 5G

Elena Neira
August16/ 2016

Will mobile messaging apps with peer-to-peer capabilities forever distrust the world mobile communications?  Peer-to-Peer (P2P) messaging apps gained worldwide attention for the first time in 2014 when it was reported that Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement was relying on  a mobile messaging app, to communicate without using cellular or Internet service. The news went viral and reportedly the mobile messaging app – FireChat – was downloaded 100,000 times in just one day. Since then P2P messaging apps have become more popular, and more feature-rich. For example, FireChat added earlier this year support for alerts, a first alerting service to leverage peer-to-peer mobile mesh networking enabling organizations to reach people on their smartphone, even when cellular networks and Internet access are unavailable. There is no question that these apps will continue adding capabilities with the potential to disrupt future 5G services and communications that count on your smartphone being also your network.

Peer-to-Peer Messaging in Smartphones and How OpenGarden’s App Does It:   P2P messaging apps use a unique combination of communication technologies available in smartphone platforms, in radio technologies, and in networking to create peer-to-peer (P2P) connections between devices to transfer messages (text, pictures, etc.) In the case of OpenGarden’s FireChat, these messages are transferred to nearby phones via mainly Bluetooth, until they reached the desired user(s). Messages can only move to other phones which have the application installed and are within range (a few hundred feet.) At the time of the Hong Kong protest, the application was in version 2.0 supporting multi-hop WiFi mesh networking and channel bonding. In the case of Apple’s iOS,  devices support this application via their Multipeer Connectivity Framework without requiring any special customizations.

P2P in Large Venues and Event and Crowded Cities and Dense Population Areas

No Internet, No Cellular, No Problem, There is Off-Grid Communications:   The novelty of these apps is that any two users can connect and communicate not only without an Internet connection even if they are far beyond WiFi and Bluetooth range from each other, i.e. they connected via a chain of P2P users between one user and a far-away Internet connection. These technologies might someday be used to tie together thousands of devices and make possible to be online without the need of a traditional network, or a network operator. They could also facilitate emergency or disaster communications in the absence of Cellular towers and/or network connectivity. Yet from FireChat’s style of communications to full mesh networking communications, it is a long way to go. For now, if you like do-it-yourself approaches, you could build your own off-grid like mesh network that operates on the 2.4Ghz range (with a HAM license) like HSMM-MESH does.


The Public Payphones of The 5G Era Debut in NYC

Elena Neira
August15/ 2016


New York City is getting a smart city uplift. A consortium that includes industry experts such as Alphabet’s Google and Sidewalk Labs, and Qualcomm is introducing LinkNYC, a project to transform old public phone booths into broadband access points and data hubs for everyone to use. Its technology roadmap sees sensors, interactive capabilities being added to support future 5G services.


7.5K Data & Connectivity Hubs Part of  Smart City Infrastructure Services:  LinkNYC is a partnership between the City of New York and CityBridge, a consortium that includes among others leading internet and mobile communications players such as Google and Qualcomm. The project creates a network to cover  New York City (NYC) with free WiFi and internet service access points. The hubs are old pay phones which are getting a technology uplift to bring them into the 21rst century. According to Wikipedia, LinkNYC intends to be the largest and fastest public wifi network in the world, with an estimated 7,500 kiosks installed throughout the New York City metropolitan area. LinkNYC is also emerging as a model service for the future city smart whose digital infrastructure with next-generation communication technologies, connected cars, smart grids and such.


Phone Booths Migrate to 5G Data and WiFi Hubs in Smart Cities like NYC


LinkNYC Operational and Business Models:   The LinkNYC both are nine-and-a-half feet tall curbed monoliths installed all around New York. The booths started to rollout at the beginning of 2016 and the project is in beta phase with a few hundred booths presently operational. The City Government does not pay for the system; installation, ownership, and operations is done by the above mentioned private consortium, CityBridge, which is also responsible for building the new optic backhaul infrastructure under the streets. CityBridge’s business plan to bring $500 million in ad revenue for the city over the next 12 years with no cost the the city.


A Technology Roadmap to take LinkNYC from Today’s WiFi/Data Access Points into 5G :   The current capabilities include WiFi and Internet connectivity, phone charging, and the digital OOH advertising network which provides brands with a rich, context-aware platform to reach New Yorkers and visitors. The evolution of these services is currently under consideration, also under consideration are hardware and software upgrade roadmaps. Additional hardware might include sensors to measure environmental data such as pollution levels and noise congestion. The city is working with Argonne National Labs to discuss how to put sensors in the kiosks and how to measure information such as congestion, noise pollution, etc. Other ideas for future services include video calls and even outfitting the booths with polling capabilities.



Resources: LinkNYC Wikipedia Page, Curbed, Intersection.


Intelligent Clouds, Alibaba Says is Building One

Elena Neira
August13/ 2016

Alibaba  is “transforming cloud computing into public architecture” and doing that by incorporating new Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities into the cloud computing engine of Aliyun. AI as a Service is taking shape with a comprehensive suite of solutions in video, image and speech recognition technologies through its new AI program.





At this week’s cloud computing conference in Beijing, Alibaba made several appearances and announcements. The most important one was the release of new Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions to serve many industries and create a national artificial intelligence infrastructure for the following industries and use cases:

  • Video Recognition of Basketball Movement: Combining the analysis of videos from sporting events with deep learning services, athletes’ performance can be profiled to determine their behavior, which provides valuable data analysis for the sports industry
  • Image Processing: Identifying and describing images accurately through image and caption processing to allow machines to “read” images instantaneously
  • Smart Customer Hotline: This speech recognition technology automatically records voice messages of customer service representatives into text format and structures the content and key messages to allow for monitoring of customer service quality, analysis of consumer sentiment and risk control
  • Real-time Broadcast Transliteration: Real-time transcription of audio of live broadcasts into subtitles, which can monitor and edit content during live shows
  • Customized Recommendation: Built on the basis of big data analytics, providing customized service and support based on users’ purchasing behavior and interests
  • Warning of Industrial Malfunctions: Collecting log data and operations of industrial facilities and sending out warnings of potential system breakdowns through a combination of an intelligent algorithm and the advice of experts
  • Monitoring Malicious Behaviors in e-Commerce: Automatically identify and detect malicious behaviors of sellers and buyers during transactions
  • Forecast of Public Trends: Through a range of big data technologies including semantic and sentiment analysis and machine learning, by analyzing public data online, and communication paths of media and images, trends can be identified such as brand image, hot topics and awareness of public policies
  • Financial Risk Control: Accurately assessing the credibility of loan borrowers by analyzing interrelationships between people with algorithms
  • Prediction of Heart Disease: Accurately predicting heart disease with a set of machine learning processes including data pre-processing, feature engineering and prediction
  • Real-time Traffic Prediction: Providing traffic predictions from five minutes to one hour in advance with accuracy of up to 92 percent, which can support transportation departments’ efforts to ease traffic congestion and provide users with traffic recommendations.


The AI solutions signals a new direction in cloud that goes beyond current IaaS, SaaS and PaaS. It is chartering into the new territory of AI as a Service (AIaaS) offerings.

@elenaneira BETA

Resources: Alibaba Group AI Products Press Release

Be the First to See the 5G Magazine

Elena Neira
August11/ 2016

Our Vision for The 5G MAGAZINE:   To share the latest insights into the innovators that are shaping markets, industries, engineering, and scientific research in the field of 5G.

You will discover technology, business, news and the latest developments into the future of 5G: A next generation mobile platform with apps, networks, services, cloud, 3-D video, IoT, big data, wired & wireless connectivity, smartphones, drones, virtual worlds,  AR, connected car, e-health, e-commerce, semiconductors and AI.

This is the market trial, beta-testing issue:


Would you let us know what you like, and also what you do not like? Leave comment(s), or write to us at contact@elenaneira.com.

August 2016 Updates:   Really pleased to report on updates and the buzz generated by The 5G Magazine:

Yumpu has decided to share The 5G Magazine in their website. Currently available is an optimized version of the original PDF we released. Here is the link  and always looking forward to the feedback from our community regarding how much value and how much they like this PDF-optimized version.




Docker Containers are Ubiquitous, Their Orchestration Isn’t

Elena Neira
August09/ 2016

In a world where Docker containers are becoming the standard way to “ship” software – similar to real world container standards in the transportation industry – managing these containers in a standardized way with orchestration tools is still not set in stone. The industry does not seem to get its head around which one to pick. Several options exist, and Kubernetes is ahead of the pack with the largest market share; will it win the orchestration tools race?


Container Tools in Use Today:   Today containers are an essential part of application development in cloud computing as a key technology to abstract software applications, i.e. divide applications into distributed objects or containers, and make them portable across public clouds.  Dividing applications in this manner makes easier to place them on different physical and virtual machines which is specially useful in the cloud deployments. Docker is the tool of choice to deploy applications inside software containers.


Kubernets, Swarm Lead Orchestrators (Image Source: TNS)


Container Orchestration Tools: To coordinate and manage containers to be able to scale to large deployments, there is still no clear industry standard way to do it. As we see in TNS survey (figure above) there are are organizations that use home-grown tools, and there are several off-the-shelf tools. In this later category, Kubernetes is the most frequently used orchestration tool with 27% market share among container users. The New Stack also highlights in their survey that 41% of all container users say that their containers are deployed in the cloud.


What Cloud Are You in?    The choice of container orchestration tool is still dependent on the type of cloud deployment and on requirements of related IaaS and SaaS deployments. The jury is still out, with Kubernets as a front runner for now.




Resources: TNS Container Orchestration Survey, Docker WiKi

Google Releases Open Rack V2.0 to OCP

Elena Neira
August09/ 2016

Google is announcing that it is open sourcing their new rack architecture that uses 48V throughout, and are publishing it under the auspices of the Open Compute Project (OCP). Unlike other OCP projects that mostly benefit hyperscale data centers, The Open Rack v2.0 Standard will specify a 48V power architecture with a modular, shallow-depth form factor that enables high-density deployment of OCP racks into data centers with limited space.



Moving from 12V to 48V Solutions: In the blog post announcing the release of the specification, Google says that they developed a 48V ecosystem with payloads utilizing 48V to Point-of-Load technology and has extensively deployed these high-efficiency, high-availability systems since 2010. We have seen significant reduction in losses and increased efficiency compared to 12V solutions. But there are voices saying that server boards have a standard 12 VDC input, going to 48V requires an extra conversion stage, reducing efficiency. Alternatively a new generation of server board must be designed with all new POL (point of load) converters. These modules are coming available but will add cost to the board.


Google’s First Contribution to OCP:   If accepted, these standards will be Google’s first contributions to the OCP community, with the goal of bridging the transition from 12V to 48V architecture with ready-to-use deployment solutions for 48V payloads. The specifications for Open Rack have made their way through the OCP Incubation Committee and have been shared with the community. Later this year, the architecture will be submitted to the OCP Foundation for review and if accepted, will become Google’s first contribution to the project.

The standard will be officially presented next week at the OCP Engineering Workshop at the University of New Hampshire



Resources: Google CloudPlatform Blog

Hologram & 5G Are Both Infants, Will They Grow Together?

Elena Neira
August09/ 2016

Continuing exploring the future of video in the context of mobility and 5G, we are focusing Today in Holograms in light of the news out of South Korea that its No. 2 mobile operator KT Corp.  is seeking leadership in both 5G and the hologram business. And it is waking the talk with ongoing holographic theaters. It is also touting state-of-the-art video services which include a “Hologram Live” Service.


The Business Case for Holograms: KT has been looking at holograms as part of a revenue diversification strategy, and ahead for the planned 5G commercialization in 2020. Back in 2014 KT opened the world’s first hologram performance hall, K-Live, in Seoul. The hall has since attracted more than 250,000 visitors, with 44% being foreign tourists, according to KT. Content wise, their strategy is to use well-known story plays into the holograms, and to raise awareness of the technology. Based on the success so far, the company is  planning to expand the business opening hologram-devoted entertainment theaters nationwide, and expanding overseas.

KT is betting that the hyper-realistic, virtual content industry will be a key revenue source for 5G. “The 5G network infrastructure is essential to transmit high-resolution, high-capacity data in real-time anywhere,” KT said. The company is pushing ahead with a plan to demo 5G and its holographic capabilities at the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Games in 2018, for the first time in the world.

MapleStory Hologram Musical
Maple Story Hologram Musical Is a Hologram Version of the Popular Online Game (Image Source: KT)


2018 Olympics Plan:   KT will be the official network service provider of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and plans to have the services featured at PyeongChang including a handful of other state-of-the-art services such as 360 degree virtual reality. As far as holograms, KT says that it will demonstrate the Hologram Live service. One of the capabilities of this service will allow athletes to conduct interviews straight from the ski slope through holograms.


2016.03.11_KT 5G Olympics_fig1
KT 5G Olympics Timeline (Image Source: KT)


South Korea Government is also helping to ensure that bandwidth demands for Virtual Reality, 3D-Video, IoT and such is readily available. At the end of 2015, it designmenated K-ICT unlicensed frequencies:

  • 262-264 MHz (2 MHz bandwidth);
  • 24-27 GHz (3 GHz bandwidth) in the extremely low band, and 64-66 GHz (2 GHz bandwidth);
  • 122-123 GHz (1 GHz bandwidth); and
  • 244-246 GHz (2 GHz bandwidth).

The 24 GHz bandwidth can work with small output radar and 5G mobile telecommunications repeaters. Ultra-high 60 GHz bandwidth will be chosen for uncompressed high-volume video and high-resolution short-range radar in the 5G era. Jin Sung-bae,  Head of the Frequency Policy Department of the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning says that their expectation is to see “… the birth of future frequency-based industries such as remote medical diagnoses based on visual telecommunication service and security checks.”

On the infrastructure side, and according to a Netmanias Tech Blog article, “KT is aiming to add 35,000 wired communication lines along the communication duct lines (1,391 km long) being placed across the town of the event. It also plans to install over 5,000 WiFi Access Points (APs), support 4G/5G/WiFi access, and deploy a mobile communication network capable of supporting up to active 250,000 devices concurrently.

“The company is also building a cloud-based data center to ensure more efficient and reliable mobile services through more stabilized networks even during traffic spikes with hundreds of thousands of concurrent users. The data center is scheduled to be completed in the first half of the year, and will become fully stabilized after trial operation in the second half of the year.”

For KT, both Holograms and 5G are technologies, in their infancy now, are meant to grow together and be ready for prime-time at the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. This “VR or Nothing” video gives the details


Resources: South Korea Frequencies for IoT and 5G, Netmanias


White Box Switches Near Prime Time

Elena Neira
August08/ 2016

White box switches are, in theory, simple to realize with merchant silicon and SDN. These two ingredients have been available for years, and there are plenty of them. Despite this situation, most in the industry agree that the availability of white box switches has been limited, and limited too has been the use of these white boxes. Will this situation continue or is it about to change?


Traditionally, Switches Are Sold as Integrated HW/SW and Integrated Data/Control Plane Solutions:   Traditional switches come with all the necessary hardware and software integrated and not openly exposed, i.e. closed solutions. If we look at the architecture of a switch, its building blocks look similar to the blocks of a standard server architecture with drivers for the hardware, an operating system, and applications running on top.

Traditional hardware has already started moving away from self-designed chips, and companies are more and more often integrating so-called merchant silicon, which means chipsets provided by third parties like Broadcom, Freescale or Mellanox. These chipset producers also supply drivers and software development kits (SDK) to allow the other components to use their functionality.

Switches Traditionally Sold as Integrated Solutions (Image Source: Indiana University GlobalNOC)


Despite this, all other components (NOS, Command Line Interface (CLI), forwarding and management applications, protocol implementations, etc.) are still vendor specific and not accessible.


Why Do We Need White Box Switching?   White box switching now decouples these software and hardware components and offers many degrees of freedom when integrating these components. Additionally, there is a strong move to supply open source alternative to most of these layers.

Open Source Alternatives for Switches (Image Source: Indiana University GlobalNOC)


From bottom to top, we see:

  • The chipsets, provided by merchant silicon vendors.
  • The Original Design Manufacturers (ODM) adds the chassis, fans, power modules, and provides the baremetal device.

The Open Network Install Environment Bootloader, provided by OCP, is the de facto standard mechanism for installing different NOS on whiteboxes. Some examples include:

  • OpenNetworkLinux: An open source network operating system without any applications included. Allows integration of various components or self-developed software as needed. This project is maintained by OCP.
  • Full commercial NOS solutions that provide all the components of a traditional switch (CLI, protocol implementations, etc.). Vendors who provide this solution also provide support for their software. One functional difference between this and traditional vendor switches is that most NOS solutions open the underlying Linux, so that applications can be easily installed using tools like Chef, Puppet, Salt and Ansible. Examples of full commercial network operating systems are PicOS, OcNOS and Cumulus Linux.
  • Open source solutions. A leading example of this implementation is the OpenSwitch project.


What else is needed to make White Box a reality?   A organization leveraging these a white box switch building blocks needs to have technical know-how in network programming and in Linux environments. Many organizations have been building these skills and preparing for the open source, white box era. Other important aspects have been white box reliability and cost.

Once we see these issues addressed, the adoption of white boxes should become more widespread.


@elenaneira BETA









IoT Is a Network of Things

Elena Neira
August08/ 2016

What happens if we look at IoT as a Network-Of-Things? This is what scientists from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are proposing. Because “there is no formal, analytic or even descriptive set of building blocks that govern the operation, trustworthiness and lifecycle of IoT components” is difficult to assess, monitor, or even resolve cybersecurity, operational and reliability risks that might exist in these systems.


Network-Of_Things (NoT) as the new ‘Science of IoT”   The starting point is to look at IoT systems in a new way that breaks down the tasks it performs into four fundamental “components” of the system:

  1. Sensing;
  2. Computing;
  3. Communications;
  4. Actuation.

To complete the system, we add to these four components and define six “elements” as follows: environment, cost, geographic location, owner, Device_ID, and snapshot, that although are not primitives, are key players in trusting NoTs. These elements play a major role in fostering the degree of trustworthiness5 that a specific NoT can provide.

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 9.34.24 PM
Internet of Things as a Network of Things (Source: US NIST)


Working with NoTs, Open and Closed:   The next step is to apply principles of distributed computing to these components and elements  making them networked and making them share messages about tasks to operate efficiently, timely and securely.

Let’s use an automobile as example, to apply the principles of NoT. An automobile has hundreds of sensors, numerous Central Processing Unit (CPU)s, databases such as maps, wired communication channels throughout the car, and without any wireless access between any ‘thing’ in the car to the outside. This example is a closed NoT. Such a NoT mitigates nearly all wireless security concerns such as remotely controlling a car, however there could still be concerns of malware and counterfeit ‘things’ that could result in reduced safety.  There are also open NoTs where any ‘thing’ interoperates with any ‘thing,’ in any way, and at any time thus from a “trustworthiness” standpoint, is impossible to assure since the NoT is unbounded.

Advantages of Understanding IoT as an NoT:   The key advantage is to prepare use case scenarios employing the primitives of this NoT model to achieve quicker recommendations and guidance concerning a NoT’s potential trustworthiness. For example, authentication can be used in addressing issues such as geo-location and sensor ownership, but authentication may not be relevant if an adversary owns the sensors and can obtain that information based on proximity. Encryption can protect sensor data transmission integrity and confidentiality including cloud-to- cloud communication, but it might render the IoT sensors unusable due to excessive energy requirements. While fault-tolerant techniques can alleviate reliability concerns associated with inexpensive, replaceable, and defective third party ‘things’, they can also be insecure and induce communication overhead and increased attack surfaces. In short, primitives and how they can be composed create a design vocabulary for how to apply existing technologies that support IoT trustworthiness.


Resources: NIST Networks of Things

China Mobile “More Than Connecting” 2020+ Vision

Elena Neira
August07/ 2016

China Mobile, the largest mobile operator in the wold with 834 million subscribers at the end of 1Q 2016, and an over 50% market share in China just released its” Technology Vision 2020+” revealing architecture and key technologies pillars of their strategy. 5G, cloud, IoT, consumer and enterprise services transformations are in focus to maintain market leadership.


More Than Connecting:   In 2020 and beyond, China Mobile targets establishing a high quality, intelligence network to realize the interconnection of all things, creating a first-class infrastructure to provide professional services to realize the connection between traditional industry and information for Internet +, and enabling unlimited innovation. These targets are summarized under the umbrella of ” More Than Connecting.”


The Evolution of Information Industry from Fixed to Wireless: China Mobile is evolving from just providing network capabilities to providing the mobile multimedia services (video services, social media, location services, converged communication etc.) with enhanced user experiences. They see the future development of the information network driven by three main factors:

  • New smart terminals;
  • Ultra wideband mobile internet; and
  • Intelligent applications.


A New Information and Communications Industry to Serve New Expectation from Customers and Enterprises:   What will be the new expectations of the customers towards the information and communication industry in 2020 and beyond? What are the trends of individual and enterprise customers and what will be the key industry innovations? The answers to these questions in terms of technology requirements breaks down into the following requirements,

For consumers:

  • Data speed at least 960Mbps to support transmission of 8K (3D) video;
  • Less than 10 ms end-to-end network latency;
  • Consistent communications experience under harsh environments, such as high-speedmobility, crowded places, etc.; and
  • More than 100 times improvement on energy efficiency savings.

For enterprises:

  • Data storage scales above 1 EB (1024 PB);
  • The response time of data processing node (transaction and query) is less than 1 millisecond;
  • The cost of data processing is less than 1 US cent per GB per month; and
  • The integration of cross-industry data (medical, education, financial).


China Mobile 2020 Technology Vision (Source: Global TD-LTE Initiative)
The Application/Terminal/Network Architecture of China Mobile 2020+ Technology Vision (Source: Global TD-LTE Initiative)

Most importantly the 2020+ Vision defines the overarching architecture needs (see figure above) with a new network architecture that supports digital services for everything connected.



Resources: Global TD-LTE Initiative, CMCC