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Moves in Mobile for July 2016

Elena Neira
July21/ 2016

5G speed records of 9.83 Gbps and 20 Gbps from China and Europe, respectably; the OpenCellular platform to disrupt radio access; a White House backed $400 Million initiative for advanced wireless research; new, innovative, open hardware IoT and wearable chips; and spectrum announcements from US and UK regulators FCC and OFCOM.

These are all major mobile industry moves in the last few days. We are in the middle of the Summer but no one in the mobile industry seems to be taking vacation. Let’s dig into the details, vision and strategies behind them.



1China and Europe report 5G Peak Speed Record of 9.83 and 20 Gbps, Respectably 

Out of the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, there are reports of steady progress towards 5G with a Cellular IoT demo, a 5G NR sub-6GHz trial system, VR live demos during the 2018 Olympics, and a basestation to be used in Shanghai Mobile’s test network that can reach peak speeds of 9.83 Gbps. The record continues to highlight China’s commitment to drive wireless innovation, and to incorporate advancements in the internet and related technologies into business models.

Another 5G speed record, this time report comes from Europe. Vodafone says that working with Huawei they have completed a 5G field trial that demonstrates the capabilities of a system operating at 70 GHz. In those tests they have been able to reach data rates of over 20 Gigabits per second (Gbps.)

Read more here: Vodafone Reports 20Gbps speed in 5G Trial, In China, a 5G Prototype Reaches 9.83 Gbps


2Facebook Announces OpenCellular Addition to TIP

Facebook reports that they have designed and tested an open source and cost-effective, software-defined wireless access platform aimed to improve connectivity in remote areas of the world. This access platform two major components are a general-purpose base-band computing (GBC) and a radio frequency (RF) with integrated analog front-end. Plans are to open-source the platform enabling telecom operators, entrepreneurs, OEMs, and researchers to locally build, deploy, and operate wireless infrastructure.

OpenCellular is being added to the ongoing Telecom Infrastructure Project (TIP) efforts such as Aries, Terragraph, and OpenR which were announced at the F8 Developer Conference together with the 10-year connectivity roadmap.

In a post to his Facebook page, CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that this is part of their connectivity efforts towards the more than 4 billion people that still don’t have basic internet access and to the 10% of the world’s population living outside the range of cellular coverage.

Read more here: OpenCellular is Cost-Effective Open Source Wireless from FaceBook




A US Public-Private Consortium to invest $400M inWireless Research

Private and public institutions are convening a consortium to advanced development of next-generation mobile technologies, some of which promises up to x1000 speed improvements over Today’s technology. The National Science Foundation (NSF) will lead the consortium and the initial topic areas include mmWave (millimeter-wave) in bands about 26 GHz with a target of 100 Gbps in small-cells; Dynamic Spectrum in sub-6 GHz bands including co-existence and protection; Architectures in data networks; Mobility-at-Scale from transport to MAC (Medium Access Control) layers; Wide-area Whitespace demonstrating 1 Gbps to remote location with mesh networking; Network Metrology; and Applications/Services for cyber-security, IoT, robotics, connected health and big data.

Research in these topics will take the bulk of the budget. Close to $80 Million will be allocated to building 4 test sites with the aim to validate the research quickly and accelerate commercial deployments of 5G.

Read more here: $400 Million For Advanced Wireless Research in US




IoT and Wearable Chips for 5G Built on Open Platforms

Open Hardware SoCs for IoT and Wearables based on RISC-V are an alternative to traditional embedded microcontroller SoC development that aims to adopt open, agile methodologies for cost-effective, faster time to market. This month an MIT hosted RISC-V workshop on these new methodology for IP core designs, and within days, startup SiFive announced the first Freedom FOSS SoC platform products. These efforts are worth noting; they redefine traditional silicon business models and reverse the industry’s increasingly high licensing, design and implementation costs and impact commercialization plans for 5G.

Read more here: IoT, Wearable Chips with Open RISC-V Platform




Spectrum Allocations for 5G in US and UK

To support the development of 5G networks, the FCC this month moved forward on high-band spectrum issuing an order – Spectrum Frontiers proceeding –  to open over 10 GHz of high-band spectrum for innovative mobile use. Both licensed and unlicensed allocation are contemplated, and the order addresses spectrum in 28, 37, and 39 GHz bands. In addition, FCC also reported the begging of the process to bring perhaps twice that much spectrum online.

While the FCC focus is for now spectrum below the 71 GHz band, UK regulator Ofcom also moved seek comments on spectrum used with fixed wireless but noted that the European Union plans are to look at spectrum up to the 175 GHz band.

Read more here: Spectrum Allocations for 5G in US and UK



Elena Neira