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3.8 Gigabit LTE. 3.8 Gigabit? Just a demo, but definitely feasible
Tuesday, 16 September 2014 15:33

Nokia demoMasayoshi Son at Sprint or Korea Telecom in Rwanda could deliver a gigabit in a few years. Nokia used 200 MHz, about 5 times the spectrum advanced carriers are using today, and achieved about 15 times the performance of today's better networks. Nokia has just demonstrated 3.8 gigabits, as you can see in this video. http://bit.ly/Nokia38

   Even more advanced techniques coming out of the labs, especially MU-MIMO and Massive MIMO, will drive the performance even further. Update 9/16 A team at Rice University has designed a chip that is designed for a similar 3.8 gigabit performance but using much less spectrum and 128 antennas. Henry Samueli of Broadcom in a Marconi webinar predicted chips like that in a Marconi webinar. /endupdate

   Re-farming alone should yield about 100 MHz in most countries, even without adding more monopoly spectrum. Good engineers debate whether the performance increase will be 25X, 50X or 100X today's average network, as long as the regulators are neither stupid nor corrupt. 

Since 2011 and 3GPP release 10, every informed wireless engineer has known speeds will pass a gigabit (shared) on many commercial networks.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 September 2014 00:25
Doug Sicker moves from Colorado to Carnegie-Mellon
Saturday, 13 September 2014 20:37

Doug SickerBoulder Colorado remains a top telecom hub. About a dozen engineers/academics play an outsized role in D.C. policy, having earned friendship and respect from the top policymakers. Sicker was the Chief Technologist of both the FCC & NTIA  and is always heard when he goes to D.C. (Doug's picture is from long ago.)

   Carnegie is one of the world's best computer science departments but I was surprised be moved to Pittsburgh. He loves Colorado.  I asked Doug why he moved and his reply is below.  

   The University of Colorado at Boulder is among the very strongest centers for telecom work, with Phil Weiser (close to Obama) and Dale Hatfield (D.C.'s longtime favorite engineer.) David Reed has recently come over from CableLabs to run the Interdisciplinary Telecom Program.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 September 2014 00:25
For the record: Dave to FCC on what to do when competition doesn't work
Monday, 08 September 2014 01:35

Will Wheeler do anything to reverse the high U.S. prices? That would be the logical followup to his speech asserting  “meaningful competition for high-speed wired broadband is lacking and that Americans need more competitive choices for faster and better Internet connections.” http://bit.ly/FCCBlog I'm skeptical and commented on the FCC blog:

Wheeler is going in the right direction but both of you are ducking a crucial question: What's the right policy when competition is weak and there's no practical way to "incent competition." When I go to Wall Street, nearly no one seems willing to invest the $billions if would take to broadly take on the incumbents, no matter what "incentives" you find. Competition is great but when it's not working we need to be realistic. 

   Over the last 7 years, U.S. prices for high-speed broadband have risen to typically 30%-70% higher than Germany, France & England. 

   Time to do more than talk and pray. 


Last Updated on Saturday, 13 September 2014 16:39
The FCC Isn't Corrupt or How Can Comcast Buy Honest Officials?
Friday, 05 September 2014 22:43

14 former FCC/FTC top people pushing the merger. "I never saw even a whiff of corruption in 20 years at the FCC," Dale Hatfield once told me. As I came to know D.C. I reached a similar surprising conclusion: If you offered Chairman Powell a million dollars in unmarked bills, he would throw you out of the office and probably have you arrested. His decisions were often bad policy and precisely what he would have decided if he were corrupt. How did that happen?

    Since then, I've been trying to understand the FCC lobbyists' dilemma, How do you buy an honest man? Elsewhere, payoffs are common. Dayanidhi Maran has just been indicted for collecting a cool $100 million for Indian spectrum licenses when he was Minister. Many in Congress are influenced by "campaign contributions" and money reaches more than the few caught with cash in their icebox.

    Hiring people close to the officials is part of the system. You can't buy Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, I'm sure after knowing her 15 years. But you can employ Alexander Hoehn-Saric, who was Rosenworcel's policy director until a year ago. Besides having good access, someone like Hoehn-Saric knows just what arguments will likely persuade the Commissioner. Charter has Hoehn-Saric on the payroll, Bryce Baschuk in a exceptional Bloomberg article http://bit.ly/YjlSKG found 14 well-paid ex-officials working for Comcast, Time Warner and Charter. 

    FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz stepped down last year after working closely with almost everyone at the FCC. Now he works for Comcast. Charter's Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Christianna Lewis Barnhart, worked for the FCC until this July. Comcast has former FCC Chief of Staff Bryan Tramont, Jordan Goldstein (who worked for Commissioner Copps), Rudy Brioche (Commissioner Adelstein,) and former top staffers Rosemary Harold, Russell Hanser and Adam Krinsky. Time Warner has Matthew Brill (Commissioner Abernathy) and Christina Pauze (Commissioner McDowell.) Charter has Cathy Bohigian (Chairman Martin) and Sam Feder (former FCC general counsel,) The list goes on.

Last Updated on Saturday, 06 September 2014 14:19
To Tap a DSL line, use Tracespan
Tuesday, 16 September 2014 00:20

Tracespan interceptWikileaks isn't all secret. Tracespan makes some of the best DSL test gear, so I shouldn't have been surprised to see them on a list of tappers at Wikileaks. Wikileaks' SpyFiles is making news with details of high-powered hacking tools shipped from the West to governments which abuse dissenters such as Egypt, Qatar & UAE. They identified $65M in FinFisher "weaponed malware;" there's plenty of money being made here. Alcatel, Siemens and the other western communications vendors were heavily represented, some leaked.

   I also found in the Wikileaks files the Israeli company Tracespan. The Wikileaks data on Tracespan was interesting but not secret. I found some of the files at http://www.tracespan.com/ipVDSLPhantom.aspx under "lawful intercept." I'm sure Tracespan cooperates with Israeli intelligence, which like the U.S. CIA or French sécurité extérieure is a "by any means necessary" outfit. (Think Iran-contra.) 

   The U.S./Australia Huawei ban may inspired more by the difficulty for U.S. spies than the danger from Chinese ones. 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 01:53
Huawei's "Ultra-Broadband Forum" in London worth a trip
Saturday, 13 September 2014 01:23

Dozen top speakers Sept 24 & 25. If you're on the Huawei favored customer list, they'll probably fly you to London and might still have some rooms in the Savoy, the $700/night conference hotel. If so, the butler will show you to your suite. 

   The rest of us will have to settle for the webcast, http://ubm.io/WWt6T1 It will only be a fraction of the size of next month's BBWF, but the people speaking are choice. I may try to find a way to go next year.

Last Updated on Saturday, 13 September 2014 02:06
Stankey of AT&T: 5x5 spectrum blocks just aren't right
Sunday, 07 September 2014 10:07

Rwandan coffee picker from Borlaug InstituteYet another conflict between efficiency and competition. At the coming U.S. AWS-3 auction, several of the lots are 5 MHz down and 5 MHz up, in order to let smaller companies bid. Small spectrum allocations are highly inefficient, cost more to build, waste some spectrum to avoid interference and possibly require special handsets to "aggregate" different bands.  The LTE-A that's deploying today is most efficient with 50-100 MHz of contiguous spectrum, not 5 MHz or 10 MHz. Older versions of LTE were designed around 10x10 bands. Competition is great when it works but the "cost of competition" is often very high. It's much cheaper to build one network instead of four or even two. lines.

Last Updated on Saturday, 13 September 2014 17:29
DSL Tsunami over Europe: 40M Promised Vectored Lines
Friday, 05 September 2014 00:29


Europe going DSL, not fiber, except Spain, Scandinavia and perhaps France. When Deutsche Telekom in September 2012 decided to abandon fiber and go with vectored DSL, it inspired the DSL tsunami. Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands are now delivering 50-100 megabit speeds to tens of thousands of paying customers. Alcatel, Huawei, Keymile and Adtran have shipped at least 5,000,000 ports capable of vectoring, although the telcos aren't offering the service to most of those homes. 

   Almost no one believed John & George back in 2003 when they predicted 100 megabit DSL to 500 meters and more. By 2010, vendors including Alcatel, Huawei and ECI had lab test; by 2011, Austria and Belgium telcos had some results from the field. By September 2012, the trend was clear, as you can see from the excerpt below of my DSL Tsunami article. 

     Deutsche Telekom promised their regulator they'd be vectoring by the end of 2013. They are almost a year late and still moving slowly, with only 200K homes eligible. They target 3.5M by the ebd of 2014 and 20M more in 2015 & 2016. Anyone want to bet on this?

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 01:32
Soon come: 145 MHz spectrum, 3 gigabit speeds in Rwanda
Monday, 15 September 2014 05:11

Rwandan ORN workersKorea Telecom/Rwanda Government ORN spectrum could support ~2 gigabits across the country. While the initial rollout is using only 20 MHz, the Nokia equipment being installed can expand quickly to 60 MHz/400 megabits. There's a clear roadmap at least to 100 MHz with higher MIMO, enough to go well above a gigabit.  Nokia demonstrated 3.8 gigabits at the recent Mobile Asia event, using 200 MHz. http://bit.ly/38gigabits

   Joint venture ORN has 145 MHz of prime low band spectrum between 700 MHz and 900 MHz. This is one of the world's first wide allocations of spectrum, the most efficient way to increase capacity in the LTE and 5G era. Large spectrum blocks are the right move for capacity in any country with few wires, including India, Indonesia, and almost all of sub-Saharan Africa. 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 21:38
AT&T & Verizon: We have enough capacity so spectrum isn't a big issue
Saturday, 13 September 2014 01:08

Ralph de la Vega & Lowell McAdam are pros. More spectrum makes adding capacity cheaper but any wireless engineer can tell you the "spectrum crisis" is political bunkum. This week at Goldman Sachs, CEO McAdam of Verizon and President de la Vega of AT&T made clear they can move forward whether or not they get more spectrum. That confirms what the previous Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg and AT&T's John Stankey had said in 2009. Both were comfident they'd do just fine. Five years later, there average customer speed on LTE is about 15 megabits, ten times as high as 2009. 

    Ralph, one of the most respected executives in the business, told investors "We feel really good about where we are. ... we don't have this burning desire for the need of coverage or for other reasons to go aggressively after Wi-Fi. Other operators that may have less coverage or have other needs, may pursue it more aggressively." Both Verizon and AT&T have boxed in the unused capacity of their customers DSL & fiber connections. Turning it on would add ?30%-50% more capacity in territory.

    Lowell, a trained engineer, "We have a lot of AWS spectrum, We have great capacity in place. We’re densifying the network with either small cells or LTE unlicensed. So the network has the capacity.  ... We have the assets in place. I don’t think we need a heckuva lot more. ... It goes a long way beyond just getting the spectrum. ... Always looking for efficiency. The small cell technology being deployed gives us a lot more capacity. ... WiFi is a critical part of the ecosystem managing the network. Using unlicensed spectrum is going to be important for us as we go forward. We intend to deploy LTE-U with the small cell technology, integrate it within the wider macro network, There are many dynamics that are involved in being more efficient. ,,, Even working with content providers to make sure you have the right formats to put less load on the networks."

    "We expect to see capex as a % of revenue to fall. I hope it continues at least at the absolute level," confirms that Verizon is not squeezed.

Last Updated on Saturday, 13 September 2014 16:24
$2,000,000,000.000 of CEOs Coming to Goldman Sachs: The right questions
Sunday, 07 September 2014 01:16

Claure, the football club ownerMcAdam of Verizon, de la Vega of AT&T, Gavin Patterson of BT & dozens more. The most powerful executives in the world are coming to NY for the Goldman Sachs 23rd Annual Communacopia Conference. Brett Feldman is Goldman's new telecom analyst. Brett comes from Deutsche Bank; I've been reading his thoughtful work for several years. He just started Verizon at Buy because he believes their high value customers will stick by them despite others dropping prices.

    Smart executives don't lie to Wall Street, even if they are untruthful to reporters and regulators. Analysts who think you're not truthful can really hurt the stock price. Goldman is always a good show because they skip the boring speeches and go right to the key questions. Most will be webcast and Seeking Alpha should have transcripts quickly. 

Do click through for more:

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 September 2014 11:37
U.S. Wireless Deep Decline After Mergers - Deloitte
Thursday, 04 September 2014 21:37

Deloitte wireless indexGoing from 6 carriers to 4 apparently a huge mistake.  The Deloitte Mobile Communications National Achievement Index, a mix of 15 indicators, plummeted from 2006 to 2009 a dramatic 25-30%, after the Sprint/Nextel and Cingular/AT&T Wireless mergers http://bit.ly/Deldrop. Ad hoc ergo propter hoc, of course, but no other explanation I can imagine would explain such a severe drop. Update Sept 13: Deloitte refuses to answer my questions about the index itself or to supply the data for countries comparable to the U.S. such as Britain or Germany. This is extremely poor bahavior that devalues their work. I considered retracting the story. End update. 

    The latest index is still substantially below 2006 despite a modest recovery starting 2009. Verizon's LTE build started in 2009, now followed by AT&T, but that wasn't enough to make up the ground. Note that the index went down in boom times but rose during the Great Recession. 

Last Updated on Saturday, 13 September 2014 17:00
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