Mayor's Counsel Maya Wiley throws a monkey wrench at 3GPP, IEEE, and FCC. 7500 free gigabit Wi-Fi kiosks are sprouting around New York City. The city expects they will allow many unconnected New Yorkers to go online, despite the high prices of Verizon and the cable guys.
Why buy an expensive wireless plan if you can connect via WiFi in home, office, and most of the city? Playing defense, Verizon has mounted a multi-million dollar campaign to divert much of the WiFi spectrum to the four big wireless carriers. The carriers could easily absorb half the Wi-Fi bandwidth using the wide 40 MHz channels. Counsel Wiley writes:
"New York City is committed to ensuring digital inclusion of all our residents, no matter their zip code or income. … Therefore, the city has embarked on an aggressive effort to achieve universal broadband for all New Yorker. … WiFi is a central part of this effort and any technological interference with our ability to deliver free and affordable wireless access to our residents is of grave concern.
"Even a modest loss of coverage for a WiFi hotspot, when multiplied and magnified over the scale of New York City, could affect millions of users daily and decrease the value of hundreds of millions of dollars of public and private investment. WiFi is the most available and affordable wireless broadband technology. Clearly, any threat to Wi-Fi is a threat to the very fabric of the city."
Verizon is proving to all of us that 5G millimeter wave can effectively replace landlines in many places. The technology works. However, CEO Lowell McAdam is clear the financial case is still to be proven. Rupert Wood of Analysys Mason is an always interesting analyst. He's speaking at the excellent TNO Ultrabroadband Conference June 27.
In particular, can the cost be brought down enough to make money with a 5G millimeter wave network for fixed wireless? The range today is short, which means you'll need many, many cells with a massive backhaul network. One estimate I've heard is that the U.K. would need a million or so. Building that is so expensive should you go all the way home with the fiber?
Rupert's tentative conclusion: the new 5G entrant would need to "buy/build something like the network you’re wanting to displace." He looks at the question of capital efficiency. (More of his comments below.)
A major overbuild is certainly possible; Verizon is spending $300M on fiber in Boston, where they want to turn off their copper.
Some claims to be proven but respected telcos think they have something. Engineers at five major phone companies think Cohere's OTFS modulation may significantly improve performance in MIMO systems, including most of 5G. At 3GPP, AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica and Telstra co-authored 3GPPP proposals with Cohere and urged 3GPP to study it closely. R1-162929.zipR1-162930.zipR1-162931.zip These were expressions of interest, not full endorsements. Only Telstra discussed field testing.
EE Times, yet again, has by far the best reporting. Rick Merritt heard from China Mobile's expert, Chih-Lin I, “We co-signed with Cohere because we need to bring in new blood and have new flexible thinking. For me, the most interesting part is their high mobility for hitting the goal of service at 500 km/hour, which we want for our high speed railways
April 13, some of the best engineers in the world will come to New York and plant cable's flag at the heart of the wireless world. After the event, no one should doubt that cable be a player. Featured speaker Ted Rappaport leads perhaps the world's best wireless research center at NYU. Rahim Tafazolli at Surrey and Gerhard Fettweis at TU Dresden have groups that are contenders for that title. CableLabs is organizing the event and sending their best.
I call Ted, "The Prince of 28 GHz." Ted's group convinced the industry that 28 GHz mobile can work by taking a test rig around Manhattan and Brooklyn for thousands of tests. He's a dynamic speaker and a reason 5G high frequencies lead the discussion. Possibly the toughest question in future wireless is whether millimeter wave or many antenna MIMO will dominate. Both will be the right choice some places. High demand and concentrated customers call for the capacity of millimeter. The greater reach and probable lower cost of many antennas (MU MIMO) in lower frequencies are more likely in less dense regions.
Top analysts Jonathan Chapin and Paul de Sa will discuss ways cable could become the best wireless networks in the United States. Day One, they can have over 10,000,000 cell sites simply with the WiFi in home gateways.
IEEE is webcasting for free the year's best event April 21-22. Starting Wednesday April 13, New York will be the center of the wireless world. First, we have the CableLabs INFORMED event on the 13th. http://5gwnews.com/index.php/90-r/423-u-s-cable-the-wireless-future-is-us Two of the world's most respected wireless researchers - Gerhard Fettweis at TU Dresden and Ted Rappaport of NYU - highlight the event, along with top people from the FCC, CableLabs and most of the companies in the industry. It's the coming out day for cable as a major player in wireless, including 5G and bottom up networks. No video available, unfortunately, so I'll do my best to cover the news.
Thursday April 21, we move to NYU for the Brooklyn 5G Summit. Fettweis is joining again, along with Andrea Goldsmith of Stanford and CTOs from Alcatel. NTT, and many more. Both Thursday and Friday will be streamed by IEEE.
The telco problem is how to sell all the capacity coming online. Cisco's Visual Network Index offers the best data anywhere on current mobile trends as well as respected future forecasts. You can spend hours on the report. Skip quickly over the discussion at the top, which emphasizes select data points suggesting growth. Jump into the charts and tables. Here're some of the first things I noticed.
Growth in the U.S. is down to 50%/year and predicted to fall below 40%. Traffic soared as people first acquired smartphones, over 100% for a couple of years. 75% of the devices in the U.S. today are smart. "Average smartphone usage grew 43 percent in 2015. The average amount of traffic per smartphone in 2015 was 929 MB per month, up from 648 MB per month in 2014." The smartphone conversion still has a way to go, perhaps to 95% in a few years. The new users will continue to raise the growth rate, but much less than in the past. On the other hand, only 12% of the devices in the Middle East and Africa are "smart." $50-$100 smartphones are already changing that rapidly. Cisco expects the percentage to rise to over 50% by 2020, driving traffic growth rates much higher. Africans are buying so many smartphones there will be more Africans on the web than Americans around 2018. Detailed table below
The economic impact of wireless growth will approach insignificance in the developed world.
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