Verizon and Ericsson reached another milestone in 4G LTE Advanced Technologies that will also serve as a stepping stone to 5G technology by completing their first deployment of FDD (Frequency Division Duplexing) Massive MIMO (Multiple Input – Multiple Output) on Verizon’s wireless network in Irvine, CA.
This deployment will improve both spectral and energy efficiency, increasing network capacity for current devices in the market. Further significant enhancements are expected to come as new devices evolve toward 5G. For customers, the result will be higher and more consistent speeds for using apps and uploading and downloading files.
“While continuing to drive 5G development, the deployment of Massive MIMO offers very tangible benefits for our customers today. As we innovate, we learn and continue to lay the groundwork and set the standards for 5G technology,” said Nicola Palmer, Chief Network Officer of Verizon Wireless. “Our collaboration with Ericsson on this new deployment continues to drive industry-wide innovation and advancements.”
Today’s Massive MIMO deployment involves 16 transceiver radio units driving an array of 96 antenna elements supplied by Ericsson. The deployment is running on a 20 MHz block of AWS spectrum. Four way transmit has been widely deployed throughout the Verizon network and has contributed to significant 4G LTE advancements. In Massive MIMO – the next step of antenna array evolution – the high number of transmitters enables more possible signal paths. It also enables beamforming, which directs the beam from the cell site directly to where the customer is, dramatically cutting down on interference. Reduced interference results in higher and more consistent speeds for customers.
Niklas Heuveldop, Head of Market Area North America at Ericsson, said: “Massive MIMO is a key technology enabler for 5G, but already today, 4G LTE service providers and end users can benefit from the superior capacity and network performance this technology enables. The current trial is an important step in the collaboration we have with Verizon to prepare their network for 5G.”
As part of an Intelligent Edge Network that processes data where it’s generated, this Massive MIMO deployment is another step in technological innovation and leadership. As Verizon begins deploying Massive MIMO in the future throughout the network in places where there are capacity needs, customers with compatible devices will automatically begin taking advantage of this technological advancement.
Ericsson has been selected to provide Massive MIMO and Carrier aggregation technology to help Vodafone UK evolve its 4G network in southern England
In addition, Ericsson has been selected to provide Vodafone UK with 5G Radio technology to prepare for the introduction of 5G in the region
Vodafone UK has selected Ericsson to evolve its 4G networks in London and southern England using technologies such as Massive MIMO and Carrier Aggregation, which will help deliver improved capacity and end-user performance.
Massive MIMO technology utilizes advanced antenna arrays to improve the quality of radio signals and capacity, while Carrier Aggregation combines different cellular frequencies to increase capacity and user data rates.
The scope of the agreement includes technology trials, product validation and commercial deployment, as well as professional services.
Jorge Fernandes, Technology Director, Vodafone UK, says: “We are continually enhancing our network to optimize performance and give our customers the best possible experience. We will continue to expand our 4G network and develop greater capabilities for our customers. We look forward to continuing to work with Ericsson in order to achieve our goals.”
Arun Bansal, Head of Europe and Latin America, Ericsson, says: “We are working with Vodafone UK to evolve its 4G network and test new 5G technologies. Together we will enable ubiquitous connectivity for their users that enable entirely new experiences, as well as monitoring and control of IoT in real time.”
Ericsson and Vodafone have also signed a memorandum of understanding that will cover the following areas of collaboration:
4G evolution, 5G radio non-standalone and standalone;
5G site deployment scenarios;
NR simulations: 3.5 GHz and mmWave;
5G use-cases: business case study and proof of concept;
distributed cloud and network slicing proof of concept: end-to-end latency and cloud- optimized network applications;
Innovation implemented for rescue teams, retail and small companies
The demo shown at the Telefónica MWC2017 stand is LTE Nano for Rescue Teams, where it can be seen an autonomous & portable LTE Network in a small backpack, providing support for completely private communications for a rescue team and all its tools.
This innovation initiative counts amongst its elements the Quortus EdgeCentrix (ECX) Enhanced Packet Core, one of the most efficient software implementations in the market for a virtualized 4G core.
Madrid, Tuesday, March the 1st, 2017.- Telefónica presents today, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, an innovation initiative called LTE Nano that provides all the functionality of an autonomous LTE network in an extremely small scale.
This innovation, an evolution of the former project “LTE in a Box” presented at the MWC2015 that brought all the benefits of private critical LTE communications to the corporate world, will allow to bring the same advantages to new scenarios where small scale, low consumption and portability are paramount. LTE Nano runs on a 40 grams SBC (Single Board Computer), on a Quad Core Cortex™-A53 processor and 2GB of RAM.
For the LTE Nano Project, Telefónica has integrated several components, one of the most essential being the EdgeCentrix virtual Enhanced Packet Core (vEPC) solution from Quortus, one of the most efficient and scalable software implementations of a mobile network functionality, able to run the essential elements of both 4G and 3G networks, including voice and data communications, with minimum HW requirements.
Among the sample scenarios where LTE Nano could be useful, we can mention the following:
LTE Nano for Rescue Teams. An autonomous and portable LTE solution in a backpack, providing critical LTE communications in isolated places with no pre-existing coverage and difficult Access.
LTE Nano for Retail. This solution would allow to provide private and quality guaranteed LTE based communications in retail environments, useful for digital signage, security surveillance solutions, Wireless Access to sales and backend applications from tablets, group comms, etc.
LTE Nano for the Office. Similar to the retail concept, this solution would provide quality assured and interference free LTE communications for small office environments, which could be used for voice communications, surveillance solutions and quality wireless access to the office intranet.
Embedded LTE Networks: the small scale of the LTE Nano implementation will enable the possibility of embedding LTE functionality in devices like a Femtocell, Customer premises equipments, or any other customer’s device with the necessary computing capacity.
All these scenarios include the well-known Quality of Service provided by LTE networks in licensed spectrum which guarantee the absence of interferences and the security of communications, typical characteristics of regulated environments.
The scenario chosen to be showcased at the Telefónica MWC2017 stand will be LTE Nano for Rescue Teams, where an autonomous LTE network in a backpack will be shown, providing portable LTE communications to the members of the rescue team and its search tools.
We will see:
A drone with an LTE enabled camera transmitting video.
Several tablets connected to the LTE backpack watching the video stream coming from the drone.
Voice over 4G (VoLTE) for closed Group communications.
The Video Streaming functionality is hosted on the same LTE Nano hardware, thanks to an ultra-optimized video solution implemented by Accenture Digital and its critical video specialist team, that has been working in making the streaming solution to run in the remaining capacity available at the LTE Nano SCB.
According to Javier Gutiérrez, director of Network Strategy and Development at Telefónica España, “This innovation initiative is in line with our current efforts in bring the benefits of the latest generation of LTE communications to all our customers, enabling services that were not possible before and helping said customers in finding new revenues for their businesses. In this scenario, the combination of the highly efficient virtualized solution from Quortus and the benefits of a licensed LTE spectrum, is helping us in pushing the limits of what we thought possible and bring the reliability, quality, and security of LTE communications to completely new markets. Quortus has proven to be an excellent innovation partner in pursuing these objectives”.
Andy Odgers, Quortus Founder and CEO, commented: “The emergence of initiatives such as Multefire and CBRS illustrate the rising interest in the use of cellular technology in a private context. The rising demand for reliable, secure connectivity exists across a range of enterprises, rural and remote settings and in the public safety arena. LTE Nano takes this to its logical conclusion, providing a completely discrete network which can be rapidly deployed anywhere. Telefónica, thanks to its innovative approach and strong customer orientation, is one of the most advanced operators in developing this kind of scenarios. We are proud to have been selected by Telefónica as a key component of LTE Nano.”
Telefónica is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world by market capitalization and number of customers with a comprehensive offering and quality of connectivity that is delivered over world class fixed, mobile and broadband networks. As a growing company it prides itself on providing a differential experience based both on its corporate values and a public position that defends customer interests.
The company has a significant presence in 21 countries and a customer base of over 349 million accesses around the world. Telefónica has a strong presence in Spain, Europe and Latin America, where the company focuses an important part of its growth strategy.
Telefónica is a 100% listed company, with more than 1.5 million direct shareholders. Its share capital currently comprises 5,037,804,990 ordinary shares traded on the Spanish Stock Market and on those in London, New York, Lima, and Buenos Aires.
Quortus enables flexible, agile mobile communications networks that provide a foundation for innovative services tailored to a diverse range of end customers. Its award winning EdgeCentrix (ECX) virtualized mobile core solutions help increase operator margin and ‘stickiness’. They interwork gracefully with existing mobile networks, with small cell and HetNet architectures and with standard IT infrastructure, to create truly integrated communications platforms. Quortus’ ECX products are highly scalable and can be hosted anywhere – in the cloud, at the network edge, or deeply embedded alongside a cellular radio in a single-chip implementation.
Cradlepoint Secures $89 Million in Series C Funding Led by TCV to Deliver Next Generation Network Solutions for Enterprises Embracing Digital Transformation
Growth-stage Investment to Fuel Cradlepoint’s Continued Growth and Expand Product Initiatives in SDN, 5G Wireless Broadband, and Enterprise IoT
BOISE, Idaho – March 9, 2017 – Cradlepoint, the global leader in cloud-based network solutions for connecting people, places, and things over wired and wireless broadband, today announced it has closed $89 million in Series C funding. The round was led by TCV, a leading provider of capital to growth-stage private and public companies in the technology industry. Cradlepoint will use these funds to drive continued growth and further capitalize on the disruption in the enterprise wide area networking market as the result of Digital Transformation (the digitization of every business process and interaction). This includes expanding product initiatives in Software-Defined Networking (SDN), advanced 4G and 5G wireless connectivity, and enterprise Internet of Things (IoT).
In connection with the financing, Ted Coons, General Partner at TCV, and Doug Gilstrap, Venture Partner at TCV, have joined Cradlepoint’s board of directors.
The Cradlepoint investment continues TCV’s legacy of investing in sector-leading companies, such as Netflix, GoDaddy, ExactTarget, Redback Networks, and Splunk. With over 15,000 customers and 1.5 million units deployed to date worldwide, and having achieved an over 40 percent compound aggregate growth rate (CAGR) for the last three years, Cradlepoint is the leading provider of 4G LTE network solutions for enterprises, governments, and mobile operators. The company’s diverse customer base includes 50 percent of Fortune 100, 75 percent of the world’s top retailers, and 25 of the largest US cities.
“Cradlepoint has established a strong foundation as the leader in cloud-managed 4G LTE network solutions,” said George Mulhern, CEO of Cradlepoint. “The investment by TCV, and their experience in guiding disruptive companies, will allow us to build on this foundation to capitalize on the opportunity in front of us as digital transformation drives WAN transformation. SDN, 4G/5G wireless broadband, mobile networking and IoT technologies will all play a pivotal role in the new connected enterprise, and we are well-positioned to lead the way.”
Digital transformation is accelerating cloud, mobile and IoT adoption — giving rise to the Connected Enterprise, putting greater emphasis on the wide area network (WAN). According to a report by IDC, the burgeoning market for SDN in the WAN (SD-WAN) is projected to reach $12.5 billion by 2020, spurred on by the need for more agile, automated and available networks and a direct result of digital transformation.
“With roots in enterprise-grade 4G LTE, hardware solutions that span branch, vehicle and IoT use cases, integrated with powerful software that enables remote management and network control, Cradlepoint has the technology and momentum to be a major player in the next generation of enterprise WANs,” stated Ted Coons, General Partner at TCV. “A clear technological advantage combined with market leadership and the ability to innovate are key attributes of companies that we choose to partner with, and we are delighted to support the Cradlepoint team as they continue on their growth path.”
“By 2020, the number of people, vehicles, and things connected to the enterprise network will start to dwarf fixed branch sites,” stated Eric Hanselman, chief analyst at 451 Research. “This dramatic shift in the volume and variety of connections will force the enterprise WAN to become more cloud-orchestrated, software-defined, and wirelessly connected and has already started to usher in an entirely new network security model. With this investment by TCV, Cradlepoint now has the potential to become a major player in wide-area networking for the connected enterprise.”
The University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre is home to the pioneers of wireless technology who have been researching the next generation of connectivity since 2012, before 4G even hit the scene. Led by Professor Rahim Tafazolli, the centre is working alongside telecom juggernauts to usher in what has been christened the “Internet of Things”, which will see the network capable of things that were once a distant dream.
The researchers at the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) are working on much more than simply improving the speed of our mobile phones, with ambitions of driverless cars and home appliances all controlled via 5G. Partially funded by the UK government, the centre was the first of its kind and has since been joined by the likes of Japan, Taiwan, Russia and South Korea in the 5G race.
Last year, the 5GIC achieved breakthrough connectivity speeds of just one terabit per second and proclaimed it hopes to demonstrate the remarkable technology to the public by 2018. If (like us) you can’t wait that long, we caught up with Professor Tafazolli himself to discuss all things 5G and what exactly we can expect from the Internet of Things.
Professor Rahim Tafazolli
What is the 5G Innovation Centre?
Tesco Mobile: Can you give us a bit of background about the 5G Innovation Centre – when you started, what the objectives are and what you’re working on in general?
Professor Tafazolli: We started in 2012; there was an invitation for research into infrastructure, not specifically 5G, from the UK government and the higher education funding council of England, who provide funding to higher education in England. When we heard about this funding, I was thinking what we could do with it.
Being involved in mobile communications for 2G, 3G, 4G and the history of the UK in radio communications, I thought that it was timely to have the infrastructure to do research into technologies beyond 4G and 5G. So, we put in a bid and in October 2012, it was successful.
I talked to our industry partners, mainly Vodafone, Telefonica, Fujitsu, Samsung and Sony, who were all supportive. We won the bid and were granted £12m by the UK government; then twice that was committed by our industry partners, so all together about £36m.
What work is the 5GIC doing?
PT: The idea is to work on the step change technology that 5G will use. The advanced research evaluates our technology, mathematical modelling, computer simulation, building the technology, prototyping it and testing it in a wide area. Now, we have raw data and 44 base stations.
TM: So, you have basically a 5G network?
PT: Not really. 5G needs to be standardised first. Lots of people are proposing different technologies. It will go through the standardisation process, then we select the technology and start implementing, testing and optimising it, before eventually bringing it to the market. What we have now is an advanced version of 4G. So, we have the infrastructure in place and gradually over time, we’ll change it to 5G technologies.
Looking at the plans, 2018 is the first quota for when we would like to demonstrate full 5G technology. If we achieve this milestone, we will be the first in the world to show 5G technology in a real environment, not in a lab. Our vision is 5G, that’s not just higher speed, unlike many people think, but a system that provides high capacity with at least 100x more users connected.
TM: When you say 100x more users connected, does that mean in a football arena everybody will be able to connect?
PT: Yes, there is enough capacity for everyone to be connected, even in a high-density environment, like a football stadium. In addition to people, we think that 5G will provide connectivity between devices. Everything will be wireless. It’s not only communication. It will be connecting devices together, homes will become smart homes, cities become smart cities, countries become smart countries and continents become smart continents. So, 5G is not only about speed, it’s about connectivity.
But we want the system to be highly secure because of malware and attacks on the network. When we have every aspect of our life connected, then there is a big risk. So, the system must be reliable, and it must be robust.
5G Relay Base Station
These are the major step changes that we think 5G should bring from previous generation systems. 1G was pure voice, 2G was digital voice, 3G was 50/50 voice and data, 4G was mainly data and higher speed. Every generation has had higher and higher speed. With 5G, we don’t think it’s justifiable to have higher speed only. It must provide connectivity of people and devices, and it must be highly reliable
TM: To get rid of latency?
PT: Low latency translates to higher speed. But (…) our objective is not just to achieve speed; if it was speed, we already have the technology that can do 1000x faster than the highest 4G speed, so we could say we’ve finished the 5G project.
But, that’s not our objective. Our objectives are the ones I’ve mentioned – reliability, robustness, security, and latency. We want to support 100x or 1000x more devices on the network. The system must be energy efficient because with current technologies, the energy we use would also be 100x or 1000x more.
TM: If we had 5G on our phones right now and they were running on the 5G network, would it drain the battery dramatically?
PT: With the current technology, yes. That’s why it requires different technology, which is what we are trying to do.
The 5G race
TM: You mentioned the term “5G race” earlier and working with the industry – do you see this process as collaborative?
PT: Yes, it has to be. No single country or company can dictate the global standard. That’s why we have a huge amount of industry partners from China, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Europe and the UK, of course. We all work together and collectively agree on what should be standardised.
But, our plan is not just to do research and testing. We have a 5G centre set-up, a standard group chaired by O2/Telefonica and our partners look at our research and provide input. We believe Wi-Fi is part of the whole story as well.
TM: Within the European Union and the UK in general, when do you think we will have access to 5G technologies?
PT: The first version of 5G technology should be in the market by 2020. Then, it will evolve to meet other objectives. 2020 is the target.
TM: How will it be rolled out within the EU and the UK? Is it going to be something that is universally accessible, because 4G often tends to be more accessible in city centres?
PT: Yes. It is different, not only from a technological point of view, but from the global acceptance of 5G. For 5G to work, it has to work with 4G. The reason we only have 4G in city centres is because of its capacity. As I said, 5G is not just capacity but also connectivity of devices with a very high data rate. We mean to cover buildings, factories and the commercial environment, so it will have more capacity as well as connectivity between devices.
The accessibility of 5G
TM: Obviously, the mobile industry is going to change. With the current price of data, we mentioned that it might be a premium service, do you think it could be widely accessible?
PT: It has to be because it’s not just going to be high-speed data. The business model of the operators will have to change because they have to provide connectivity to utility networks like gas, electricity meters and connecting cars. Eventually, we’ll have driverless cars and 5G technology should evolve to meet these needs; we can’t just come up with a new technology for driverless cars. However, it’s a long way away, not before 2025.
We want this technology to provide economies of scale, so the world can develop different technologies and applications on top of that. Devices of differing capabilities will all be connected, so it will have an impact on the internet architecture – the wired part of the network must change. So, if it was only capacity and speed then 4G is good, but if you want to connect our highway roads, it must be something smarter. Homes become smarter, hospitals become smarter. We have an ageing population and they cannot keep going to their GP and hospital. Remotely you can control that.
We think of the early 90s when we think about mobile communication and beginning to do these sorts of things. Mobile communication has changed our culture, our life, the way we do business, our private lives; it’s all dramatically changed. Now, 5G will change this; it will be a catalyst for all this change in the economy and society. Not only just communication but critical parts of our infrastructure, the services that a nation requires.
So, what we are doing in the 5G centre is trying to come up with this enabling technology, this fundamental technology that will give you this flexibility, robustness, latency and network architecture to come up with those solutions. In 2030, 15 years from now, the world will be very different and we need to have the technology ready.
The future of mobile phones
TM: Obviously, smartphones are changing a lot and we’re seeing an increasing number of smart wearables as well. It feels like they’re going to become a central part of the Internet of Things. I know you’re not working directly with applications, but do you already see the future of mobile phones changing?
PT: I think they will become more intelligent and do more than just communication. We’re focusing on a couple of areas generated from having transformed data into useful applications. So, we have to come up with the artificial intelligence and model the data. Data coming from a smartphone and data coming from a sensor detecting light should have the format to be able to connect to one another.
It must be a model that they can integrate because each individual piece of data is useful, but not when it’s coming from different machines. We have tested it, so all our students – Grad students and Masters students – can come and use the applications. What I would like to do, but I’m not sure if we can do it, is encourage students to hack it, break it down.
TM: To test how safe the network is?
PT: Yes. Then, we learn where the gaps are and fix them. But, I’m not sure whether we can do that or not. That would be fantastic. I’m sure some smart people could bring the network down if they wanted to. We’d probably allocate part of the network for this purpose. Break it down and then tell us how you did it.
The Evolution of Mobile Phones
Setting the standard for 5G
TM: You mentioned smart cars, smart houses, smart cities, smart continents and obviously, the first smart companies like Apple and Google; do you think we could see these major actors becoming more involved in city planning, into home design?
PT: What most of these companies are developing is based on some sort of Wi-Fi system, some sort of proprietary solution, which is good, because people are thinking in this direction. It is encouraging that the industry is taking it seriously and not just the computer industry. However, to make this work on a global scale we need a minimum standard, so everybody builds everything on top of that and the networks talk to each other. If we carry on developing these things, these proprietary solutions, it will stay small.
That’s why I am strongly supportive of a common standard and many people don’t like standards; they say “big boys control everything”. The problem is not having a standard; the problem is perhaps the standards should be regulated and opened to everybody. Because when we talk about new connectivity, a new type of digital economy, we need different regulations.
TM: So, 5G will become the new standard?
PT: The whole idea of the concept, the vision of how we should look at good and bad connectivity, will be very different to the way we have done it for the last 30 years with 1G to 4G. We’re no longer just working within that framework of higher speed.
Many people still don’t know what 5G is because everybody says 5G is going to do more of the same thing, high speed, and that’s where the confusion comes in. That’s why I always say 5G is a special generation. It will be the first generation with full connectivity and then after, 5G will be a second generation of connectivity, then a third generation of connectivity, which is why we’ll not have 6G.
What Professor Tafazolli has made clear is the development of 5G heralds much more than faster data speeds for smartphones. It beckons the Internet of Things, which will see everything connected in our homes, our cities and our countries.
5G is set to transform society as we know it, connecting everything from cars to hospitals, creating a safer and more energy efficient world. What’s more, we won’t have to wait too long to see the first iteration of the network, as the 5G Innovation Centre hopes to introduce it to the world by 2020.
Nokia NB-IoT system built in Vodafone Open Lab in Dusseldorf using Nokia radio access network and cloud packet core solution
System to be used by device manufacturers and applications developers to expand the IoT ecosystem
Nokia teamed up with IoT technology enabler Telit to use its NB-IoT system to demonstrate transmission of data from residential gas meters over a 4G network at the Vodafone Innovation Day.
Nokia has deployed a fully integrated NB-IoT system at Vodafone’s ‘Open Lab’ in Dusseldorf, Germany using its radio access network and elements from its Cloud Packet Core solution. The system leverages IoT technology from Telit and will be used by device manufacturers and applications developers in trials of innovative products and solutions to expand the IoT ecosystem.
In a trial during Vodafone’s recent Innovation Day event in Dusseldorf, Nokia and Telit used the technology to demonstrate how NB-IoT will meet the connectivity needs of devices. The companies used an Intel chipset integrated in a NB-IoT module, which was embedded in a Shitek technology ultrasonic gas meter. The system connected with a meter to transmit data on gas flow over a 4G Vodafone test network, demonstrating how NB-IoT technology can be used to manage an integrated network comprised of components from multiple vendors.
NB-IoT will optimise 4G networks to meet the dynamic demands of billions of connected devices. It enables wider coverage indoors and outdoors, for example allowing the radio signal to reach further inside buildings such as factories and hospitals to connect sensors and devices and transmit information. Lower power consumption allows device battery life to be prolonged for up to 15 years, optimising the cost of maintaining the myriad devices that will be found within homes and enterprises.
Luke Ibbetson, Head of Research & Development and Technology Strategy for Vodafone Group, and Chair of the GSMA NB-IoT Forum, said:“NB-IoT will be commercially available from early 2017 and, because it has strong support from across the telecoms industry, will be the technology used to connect millions more things to the Internet. We are very pleased to make the Vodafone Open Labs available to companies that want to exchange ideas and to develop and test connected products and services powered by NB-IoT.”
Marco Argenton, Product Marketing Manager, Telit, said:“We have the industry’s broadest portfolio of integrated products, platforms and services to support IoT deployments. With the collaboration in this trial, we demonstrated real and tangible benefits of automation in the residential energy market, the nature of which can be leveraged in many other industries and verticals.”
Roberto Loiola,global customer business team head at Nokia,said: “The low power attributes and reach of NB-IoT make it an ideal technology to connect the Internet of Things. The trial with Telit showed how NB-IoT is perfectly suited to manage a network comprised of devices and sensors from multiple vendors. At Nokia we are constantly innovating to allow our customers to evolve their offer and anticipate the needs of their subscribers and our work with Vodafone at the Open Lab is a prime example of this.”
Nokia Cloud Packet Core: the Cloud Mobility Manager (CMM) supporting the Mobility Management Entity (MME), and the Cloud Mobile Gateway (CMG) supporting the System Architecture Evolution Gateway (SAE-GW) network functions.
Intel XMM7115 NB-IoT chipset
Telit NE910 module
Shitek Technology UGM-01 G4 Ultrasonic Gas meter
Did you know?
NB-IoT is a 3GPP Rel. 13 radio access technology. The enhanced coverage of NB-IoT compared to conventional LTE will allow for the tracking of objects deep within buildings and in rural areas.
NB-IoT will co-exist with operators’ existing networks to benefit from mobile security and privacy features. All major network infrastructure, component and device manufacturers support the standard.
For sparse, isolated communities in the Amazon rainforest, the idea of getting 3G seems unlikely, but researchers have just proved it is possible, with low-cost tech.
Communication really matters to people, whether they live in a megalopolis or the world’s most isolated rural areas.
Yet in the past 15 years the huge increase in access to mobile telephony in developed countries generally hasn’t extended to remote areas inhabited by low-income populations.
These communities have mostly been ignored in terms of technological growth because conventional access and backhaul technologies can’t give operators a good return on their investment.
But now the EuropeanTUCAN3Gproject, led by the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) is aiming to prove that situation can be reversed.
The project is using new wireless technologies for access networks based on 3G femtocell deployments, with the possibility of even moving to 4G, as well as WiLD (wi-fi for long distance), WiMAX, and VSAT satellite comms.
Femtocells are small, low-power cellular base stations, which resemble wireless routers and act as repeaters to boost signals.
“The great advantage of these small cells is that they work with solar energy. They’re easy to install, and their maintenance is quite simple because they can be remotely configured,”Josep Vidal, UPC researcher and director of the project, tells ZDNet.
“Moreover, they’re much cheaper. A classical station might cost up to €40,000 [$45,000] while a small cell is priced at €500.”
Vidal says this cost factor has been key in the economic viability of the project, funded by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union with €1.68m ($1.88m) and developed with the participation of 11 partners, including the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (URJC), the Universidad Católica del Peru, the Peruvian Telecommunications Investment Fund (FITEL) for the provision of universal access, and Telefónica.
“Economic viability is crucial. It should be noted that in a rural area the return on investment is 1,000 times lower than in a city,” Vidal says.
Despite that financial disadvantage, he is convinced the project has met the expectations of operators and consumers.
“We’re satisfied with the results of the project as the demonstration platform was in a very remote area of the Amazon rainforest, with a sparse population,” he says.
“Yet, we solved three main difficulties: the backhaul capacity, the cost of base stations, and a business model adapted to the population. People now can get voice over IP for a $7 to $10 flat rate and pay for downloaded kB.”
Over the past three years, instead of a single platform to connect four existing populations in an area of 400 square kilometers, as initially planned, the project has managed to install two platforms supplying 3G telephony to six villages on the banks of Napo river and Balsapuerto area in north-eastern Peruvian Amazonia.
In each settlement, a couple of small 3G cells enable users to communicate with their relatives, coordinate health services or, for example, negotiate the price for their crops.
The femtocells link to a long-range 802.11n wi-fi network based on the one already used by the Hispano-American Health Link Foundation, with its 19m-high towers spaced 30km and 70km apart. Those signals travel to the operator’s backbone network.
Beyond this technological achievement, Vidal also believes that a crucial point is that they have been able to convince the local government to encourage the development of small mobile rural operators connected to the Telefónica backbone to ensure future connectivity in the region.
Things are moving forward, and now the project has entered its next phase, with which the UPC is no longer linked. The Corporación Andina de Fomento, a development bank with headquarters in Caracas, Venezuela, is investing $800,000 in replicating the experience in another 15 villages of Loreto, Peru’s northernmost region.
According to Vidal, this new deployment will be crucial in fostering development and growth in the communities.
He says finding innovative solutions to connect these regions is an utmost necessity. In Peru, there are still 5,000 local populations without mobile telephony access.
TUCAN3G seems to prove that the development of sustainable and long-term self-sufficient solutions for communities with less than 250 inhabitants is economically viable. Since this system has been in place, users have been making 40 calls per day on average. The experience, Vidal says, is exportable to other rural and isolated areas, including those found in developed countries.
In Spain, there are already some initiatives, such as the Guifi.net telecoms network, that aim to provide quality access at a fair price where operators have failed to do so. It uses the best available technologies and offers internet connection up to 10Gbps.
Yet, according toBenjamí Villoslada, general director of technological development in the Balearic government, in five to10 years, we won’t hold data or process information at home and instead will use the cloud, so we’ll need the low latency provided by fiber and 5G.
In fact, wi-fi will not survive if it doesn’t evolve, he says. Still, for the moment in the Peruvian jungle, 3G networks are playing a vital role in expanding public access to essential communication.
LANCOM IAP-4G: New industrial 4G router interconnects machines, systems and sites via VPN
LANCOM Systems, the leading German manufacturer of networking solutions for business customers and the public sector, is expanding its portfolio of VPN routers with a new model for industrial environments. The LANCOM IAP-4G is a cellular router with an integrated multimode LTE modem for data rates up to 100 Mbps. The device comes with a dust-proof metal housing (IP 50 protection class) and supports an extended operational temperature range (-20 to +50 °C).
The IAP-4G is ideal for mobile data connections, for logistics applications, and for taking connectivity to automated systems, machines and monitoring devices without wired Internet connection. The integrated VPN functionality ensures secure networking between different sites and facilitates the integration of external service providers. The device has an integrated multimode LTE modem and is backwards compatible with UMTS, EDGE and GPRS (3G and 2G). Power is supplied optionally by either a mains adapter or PoE (IEEE 802 3af).
Five IPsec VPN channels with hardware acceleration are integrated into the router upon delivery (25 optional), and the highly secure IPsec VPN connections can be established over any cellular network. The LANCOM IAP-4G provides up to 16 securely isolated IP contexts with separate routing. This allows IP applications to operate between different networks while managing them on a single central router and, at the same time, keeping the different communication channels securely separated from one another. The integrated firewall provides the very latest security features such as stateful packet inspection, intrusion detection and DoS protection.
Like all LANCOM products, this cellular router is equipped with hardware that is dimensioned for the future. Updates to the LANCOM Operating System (LCOS) are available several times per year free of charge. They guarantee a long service life by keeping devices technically up-to-date, so maximizing investment protection.
The LANCOM IAP-4G is available now. The mounting kit LANCOM IAP Mount facilitates the installation of LANCOM IAP devices on top-hat rails or poles in harsh environments. A comprehensive line of 3G/4G antennas completes the portfolio.
LANCOM Systems background:
LANCOM Systems GmbH is the leading German manufacturer of reliable, innovative networking solutions for business customers. LANCOM’s two business units, VPN Network Connectivity and Wireless LAN, offer professional users secure, flexible infrastructure solutions for local-area and multi-site networks. The entire core product range is developed and manufactured in Germany. In addition, LANCOM also provides VPN solutions certified by the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) for the protection of particularly sensitive networks and critical infrastructures (EPCIP) against cyber attacks. LANCOM Systems has its headquarters in Würselen near Aachen, Germany, and other offices are located throughout Europe. Customers include small and medium-sized enterprises, government agencies, institutions, and major corporations from Germany, Europe and increasingly worldwide.
Altice N.V. (Euronext: ATC, ATCB), an international telecom and media group, its subsidiary SFR, the second-largest French global telecommunications operator, and SIGFOX, the world’s leading provider of global communications service for the Internet of Things (IoT), today announced they will integrate SIGFOX connectivity in the group’s service offering in France and internationally. Altice customers and divisions in France and internationally will benefit from SIGFOX Connectivity, which complements the group’s telecom offer.
This strategic partnership launches a collaboration of three players that share the same ambitions: to offer complementary connectivity solutions starting today that democratize the IoT in all sectors of the economy and expand the offer of connected solutions for businesses and consumers.
With its focus on investing in growth, Altice is building an international group based on the convergence of mobile and fixed high-speed networks with media, content and platform services in Western Europe (comprising France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal and Switzerland), the United States, Israel, and the Overseas Territories (currently comprising the French Caribbean, the Indian Ocean regions and the Dominican Republic).
SIGFOX, whose network is deployed in 14 countries and already registers more than 7 million devices, offers an energy-efficient, two-way global communication solution for the millions of sensors waiting to be connected.
“We are convinced that the IoT market is an opportunity to seize now, with a global vision,” said Michel Combes, COO of Altice, Chairman and CEO of SFR. “We are talking about billions of connections. We share the same entrepreneurial vision with SIGFOX and the will to conquer new markets. The availability of the SIGFOX network allows us to bring new Internet of Things solutions to our B2B clients.”
“SIGFOX has always been convinced that the IoT requires a new type of connectivity solution, and that our offer would not compete with services offered by cellular operators,” said Ludovic Le Moan, CEO of SIGFOX. “We are excited and proud to join Altice and its founder Patrick Drahi, to share this vision, and especially to realize the ambition to make the IoT a major activity for the development of both companies.”
In France, where the network already covers 92% of the population, this partnership will allow the customers of SFR, the first operator to launch the fourth generation (4G) of mobile telecom technology in France and an expert in M2M solutions, to benefit from the best of the two offers: high bandwidth and low bandwidth. SFR clients will use SIGFOX connectivity as a complement to existing connectivity solutions, such as 4G or WiFi.
In 2016, SIGFOX plans to cover more than 30 countries with its network. The partnership with Altice will extend in all territories where the group is present, including Portugal with Portugal Telecom, the U.S. and Israel.
The Internet of Things addresses all business sectors and has opened a new space that will help launch many startups. This collaboration will extend this innovation ecosystem and will help develop the supply of connected solutions in multiple sectors, such as industry, agriculture, healthcare, transportation and security.
In France, SIGFOX supports a startup community within the IoT Valley and its accelerator, the Connected Camp, which has around 30 startups today. This community is getting stronger everyday through meetings with developers organized by SIGFOX, and the Makers Tours in France and internationally.
Today, there are more than 100 connected devices compatible with the SIGFOX network and Altice will help grow this portfolio with the help of its industrial clients and the startups supported by SIGFOX.
Realm Pictures is a film production company based in the UK that has created a new genre of live interactive video game events.Their firstwas the Live First Person Shooter which they filmed in their studio grounds using local fixed line connectivity. When they went to filmthe second levelin a disused power station which had no fixed line connectivity available, they realized that they needed a different way to obtain reliable, high bandwidth, low latency Internet connectivity to make it work.
After searching for a solution that could use multiple 3G/4G LTE cellular connections they discovered Peplink SD-WAN technology, and contactedGrapevine Connect– a local Peplink Partner, to help.
Grapevine Connect has now worked on two productions with Realm Pictures – the latest being a series of real life interactive Hitman gamesfor Io Interactive, where multiple 3G/4G LTE connections were bonded at the location and connected over SpeedFusion VPN via a FusionHub virtual appliance in the cloud to the Internet. This not only gave Realm Pictures a high bandwidth, reliable, low latency Internet connection, but also allowed for inbound connections from the Internet to on location set pieces (like a remote controlled machine gun) providing a full interactive experience for the end users.
For Realm Pictures, Peplink SD-WAN enables them to consider bold exciting locations for new levels and future projects, safe in the knowledge that Grapevine Connect and Peplink SD-WAN will enable them to connect to their audience and players successfully – wherever in the world they may be.
“We didn’t have a single problem with the cellular – it was super robust, very impressive! [and] on a shoot like this [that is] utterly utterly vital.”-David Reynolds. Artistic Director, Realm Pictures.