Rappaport test rangeTed Rappaport of NYU, the world's foremost mmWave researcher, disagrees with my guess that mmWave 5G will be modest until 2021-2023. My opinion is backed up by opinions from several carriers and an estimate from Ovum that fewer than 1% of lines will be millimeter wave in 2021. Ted's opinion is shared by Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, who will deploy in Boston and probably San Francisco as soon as Verizon can get the equipment. That should be late 2017 or early 2018. Nokia and Ericsson have hundreds of engineers working on 5G mmWave.

 I will be delighted to be proven wrong and see more rapid progress. Since my comment, Rappaport and team have published a seminal paper, Millimeter Wave Wireless Communications: New Results for Rural Connectivity (Abstract below.) They were able to detect a 73 GHz signal 11 kilometers away from their transmitter, a carefully aligned antenna 110 meters above average terrain. (Pictured.) They used 1 watt of transmitter power, levels similar to today's mobile phones.

Ted believes, "to a first approximation, the range won't be different in clear weather for mmwave versus today's cellular as long as the physical size of antennas are the same at both frequencies." On a clear day, with line of sight, it's clearly possible to measure millimeter waves far beyond the 100-300 meters most urban deployments expect. I had a chance to discuss Ted's paper with NTT engineers, who were impressed.

Ted is a world-class engineer; I'm a tech reporter who sounds smart because I listen to people like Ted. I'm obviously not qualified to judge which excellent engineers have this one right. Here's Ted's note:

 Many people continue to propagate the incorrect myth that mmwave is severely limited in distance. This is not accurate. The fact is that the distances at mmwave will only be limited by rain and fog, not by the nature of mmwave. This is because the "lossiness" of mmwave, compared to lower frequencies, only occurs in the first meter of propagating distance, but this "higher loss" is cancelled out by keeping the antennas the same physical size at all frequencies.

While building penetration is tougher with mmwave, that is actually an advantage for interference protection, and the use of multiple steerable antenna arrays at the base station will enable larger distances than a couple of hundred meters in system deployments. Coverage distances are not fundamentally different at mmwave than at any other frequency when proper antennas are used (e.g. When bass stations use larger gain antennas to make up for the increased path loss in the first meter).
And the demand for consumer capacity will make 5 G come sooner by a couple of years than what Dave is thinking, I believe.

ABSTRACT Millimeter Wave Wireless Communications: New Results for Rural Connectivity [Editor's note: most of the article is about the model, not the testing.]

This paper shows the remarkable distances that can be achieved using millimeter wave communications, and presents a new rural macrocell (RMa) path loss model for millimeter wave frequencies, based on measurements at 73 GHz in rural Virginia. Path loss models are needed to es- timate signal coverage and interference for wireless network design, yet little is known about rural propagation at millime- ter waves. This work identifies problems with the RMa model used by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) TR 38.900 Release 14, and offers a close-in (CI) reference distance model that has improved accuracy, fewer parameters, and better stability as compared with the existing 3GPP RMa path loss model. The measurements and models presented here are the first to validate rural millimeter wave path loss models. 


Often interesting

Latest issue

 Gig LTE & Massive MIMO ushering in the Age of Wireless Abundance

Wireless Abundance is here: What the new tech means http://bit.ly/Wirelessabundance
Sprint & T-Mobile Charge to be 1st in U.S. to Gig LTE bit.ly/STMOgig  AT&T bit.ly/ATTGIG2016
Kitahara of Softbank “I am crazy about Massive MIMO” http://bit.ly/MMIMOCrazy
20 Gig mmWave, Massive MIMO & Gig LTE at the Huawei MBBF http://bit.ly/Huawei20
LTE gets to the gigabit explained for non-engineers http://bit.ly/GigLteexplained
Massive MIMO explained. http://bit.ly/WHMassiveMIMO
2017's Big Gigabit story: Qualcomm 835 is ready http://bit.ly/BigGigLTE
Doubling speed with 4x4 MIMO & 256 QAM at T-Mobile http://bit.ly/2k1gEOQ
Netgear Nighthawk M1, Telstra do "gigabit class" LTE http://bit.ly/2k1s5Gq
Spectrum price down by half http://bit.ly/Spectrumhalfoff
Dish and the telcos see big asset cut http://bit.ly/auctionlosers
Shorts on 3GPP,  NYU research, Ralph de la Vega, 5G new radio

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5GW News

dave right5G? 4G? Whatever the name, wireless is going to a gigabit, soon.  I've reported broadband since 1999 and now is the time for gigabit wireless. Catch a mistake or have news? Email me please. Dave Burstein


Stories worth writing

Starry may match Verizon 5G at half the cost
OFCOM in UK: Share all spectrum, even licensed
OFCOM's Boccardi: 26 GHz worldwide: U.S. goes 28 
Verizon 5G fixed tests will be only 100's of homes
Massive MIMO FD at China Uni, Tele, Huawei, ZTE





Verizon and AT&T burying price increases in fees. 

Huawei's Richard Yu intends to pass both Apple & Samsung in smartphones in five years. 

The 3,000,000,000 transistor Qualcomm 835 is a revolution. Gig LTE, incredible cameras, better VR & AR, & ... State of the art CPU, DSL, GPU, ISP tightly integrated

1,000 T-Mobile small cells 2016, 6,000 more coming. Tech Life

New $84 Reliance Lyf Wind 7S has a 5" screen, a quad-core Snapdragon, an 8 megapixel camera, and some extras. Not state of the art, perhaps, but completely usable at a modest price. 

Orange/FT 4G covers 97% of Poland, 96% of Moldova, but only 84% in France, Q3 2016. They have 113.5 mobile customers in Africa compared to 25.5M in Europe.


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