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AT&T Celebrates 1 million FirstNet Connections with FirstNet One, a 55-foot Aerostat

I recently wrote about 3GPP progress towards 5G drones (UAS/UAV) connectivity here. In addition, there is also Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN) feature that could be used to bring connectivity to hard to reach areas and in case of emergencies and disasters. I wrote about that here.

AT&T on the other hand is celebrating 1 Million Connections and Launch of “FirstNet One” – a Deployable Blimp – for Public Safety. Their press release says:

More than 10,000 public safety agencies and organizations across the country have subscribed and over 1 million FirstNet connections are in service, bringing first responders and those that support them the reliability, capability and accountability they trust to carry out their mission.

Jason Porter, senior vice president, FirstNet Program at AT&T said, “FirstNet is the only wireless communications platform that’s been architected from the ground up just for the public safety community. It’s specifically designed to advance public safety communica…
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5G Drone Cell Towers

I was involved with looking at how Aerostats & Drones can help bring connectivity, especially in hard to reach areas or in case of disaster recovery and other emergencies. I wrote about it in detail here.

Last month, 3GPP did a summary of all things 3GPP is doing in this area.

To address the needs of a new and quickly maturing sector, there has been a lot of activity in the 3GPP Working Groups to ensure that the 5G system will meet the connectivity needs of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) – consisting of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (aka. drones) and UAV controllers under the watchful eye of UAS traffic management.

Release 15 - Enhanced LTE Support for Aerial Vehicles (TR 36.777)

A study to Investigate the ability for aerial vehicles to be served using LTE networks is now published, identifying further performance enhancements for UE-based solutions, Network-based solutions, downlink interference mitigation, uplink interference mitigation, mobility performance and aerial UE Identification…

WBA conducts Industry 4.0 Trials using Wi-Fi 6

Wi-Fi 6, a.k.a. 802.11ax promises a break from issues that have traditionally plagued Wi-Fi access and QoE. The move from OFDM to OFDMA makes it similar to 4G/5G access technology. Along with beamforming / beam steering and MU-MIMO one can confidently say this is similar to 5G-Light (not to be confused with NR-Light). A short video at the bottom explains Wi-Fi 6 in more details.

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), recently announced the successful completion of its phase one trial of Wi-Fi 6 infrastructure and services at the Mettis Aerospace factory in the UK.  The trial was the first of its kind in the world and an important part of the WBA’s Wi-Fi 6 test and development program. According to their press release:

Tests included applications of 4K video streaming, large scale file transfers, messaging and voice/video communications as well as the first stage of IoT sensor and mixed reality testing. Previous implementation tests with Wi-Fi failed to work in Mettis’ challenging fact…

TIP has launched 'Non-Terrestrial Connectivity Solutions' Group

In the recent Telecom Infra Project Summit 2019, there was an announcement about the launch of Non-Terrestrial Connectivity Solutions Group that will explore how Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN) will co-exist with Terrestrial Networks and what is required for it to work just out of the box. This group is being led by Vodafone and Telefónica.


The group will be working on 2 initial use cases:
Connecting the UnconnectedEmergency Relief There are some very aggressive timelines for the project as lab trials are proposed for Q4 2020 and live pilots by Q2 2021.

There are many challenges that need to be overcome as a part of this project to have a solution that is portable and available in a box that could be easily transported and be set-up in a very short time. One of the solutions I was involved in, with UK MNO EE is described here.

Another thing worth remembering, especially as one of the goals of this group is to connect the unconnected, a legacy technology like 2G or 3G would be required …

Internet Para Todos (IPT) Making Progress in Connecting The Unconnected Peruvians

(click on image for larger version)
I have written couple of posts on 'Internet Para Todos' a.k.a. 'Internet For All' on The 3G4G Blog and 3G4G Small Cells Blog. It was good to hear an update on the programme at TIP Summit 2019 in Amsterdam. 

I have embedded the video of the presentation below but here is a quick summary from Justin Springham in Mobile World Live from TIPSummit19:

Internet para Todos (IpT), a wholesale operator owned by Telefonica, Facebook, and Latin American banks IDB Invest and CAF Bank, opened talks to bring a second operator on board, after connecting more than 650 sites and covering 800,000 people (450,000 actual customers) with a 4G rollout in rural Peru.

The initiative, only up and running since May 2019, is regarded as something of a poster child for OpenRAN technology, with vendor Parallel Wireless supplying compatible kit for more than half of those mobile sites (reports suggest Huawei is the other vendor, supplying more traditional equipment).

“…

Will SpaceX's Starlink LEO Satellites Succeed in Connecting the Unconnected?

While there are many initiatives going on to bring connectivity to rural, remote and other areas with little or no connectivity, none of them are as bold and advances as SpaceX's Starlink satellites.

According to SpaceNews last month:

SpaceX has asked the International Telecommunication Union to arrange spectrum for 30,000 additional Starlink satellites. 

SpaceX, which is already planning the world’s largest low-Earth-orbit broadband constellation by far, filed paperwork in recent weeks for up to 30,000 additional Starlink satellites on top of the 12,000 already approved by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC, on SpaceX’s behalf, submitted 20 filings to the ITU for 1,500 satellites apiece in various low Earth orbits, an ITU official confirmed Oct. 15 to SpaceNews. 

SpaceX deployed its first 60 Starlink satellites in May and plans to launch hundreds — potentially over a thousand — more in the year ahead. 

The ITU, a United Nations entity, coordinates spectrum at the int…

Futuristic Glass Antenna by NTT Docomo and AGC

For nearly a year, NTT Docomo has been working with the glass manufacturer AGC to create a new transparent antenna that can work with a base station to become an antenna. We know that as we move towards higher frequency, the penetration of radio waves in building is affected. While this is not obvious in C band, it is very visible in case of mmWaves.

In a recent publication titled "An Unobtrusive Antenna", Osamu Sawaji interviewed NTT Docomo and AGC engineers about this development

To solve these problems, NTT DOCOMO entered into joint development with major glass manufacturer AGC, presenting a new glass antenna in November 2018. The antenna is 85 cm wide, 21.2 cm high and 6.6 mm thick, and on first glance appears to be normal transparent glass. However, the antenna becomes a base station when connected to cables and a wireless transceiver in the ceiling and attached to indoor window glass.

The antenna makes use of the laminated glass manufacturing technique used for the fron…

Road to 6 GHz in Europe - ideal for Wi-Fi and 5G in unlicensed bands

When I last wrote about 802.11ax (a.k.a. Wi-Fi 6), I mentioned that the 5G Frequency Range 1 (FR1) has been updated to 7.125 GHz. This brought it in line with the proposed frequency for next generation Wi-Fi called 802.11be. While in theory this is great, different regions would have to release the frequency above their current 5GHz Wi-Fi frequencies.

I came across this good summary regarding the road to 6 GHz in Europe. I guess once we reach 6GHz, we can go further to 7.125 GHz, in the next 3-5 years.

From the description provided by the author:

In Europe as well as the USA, the 6 GHz band is considered for unlicensed use. This can enable the use of Wi-Fi (WLAN) in the band.

The presentation introduces you to the domain of regulatory and spectrum processes, with a deep dive on the European institutions (CEPT, ECC, ETSI). Furthermore, the incumbents of the 6 GHz band are briefly introduced.

The slides and the video is embedded below.


2019 - Road to 6 GHz in Europe from PhilippEbbecke

Th…

The move to 10G PON from GPON and other PON

A passive optical network (PON) is a fiber-optic telecommunications technology for delivering broadband network access to end-customers. Its architecture implements a point-to-multipoint topology, in which a single optical fiber serves multiple endpoints by using unpowered (passive) fiber optic splitters to divide the fiber bandwidth between multiple access points. Passive optical networks are often referred to as the "last mile" between an Internet service provider (ISP) and its customers.

GPON stands for Gigabit Passive Optical Networks. GPON is a point-to-multi point access mechanism. Its main characteristic is the use of passive splitters in the fibre distribution network, enabling one single feeding fibre from the provider’s central office to serve multiple homes and small businesses.

I first wrote about the GPON standard 12 years back, in 2007. Since then it has evolved and has different flavours.


Source So while we are still using GPON heavily today, there is already a …

Is LiFi (Light-Fidelity) Ready for Beyond-5G?

Last year I wrote about LiFi, how it can play a role in densification and beyond-5G. LiFi (sometimes written as Li-Fi but I believe LiFi is the correct way to write it) has been in news recently because of world's first backhaul trial with an ordinary solar cell as data receiver in Orkney.
Immensely proud of the @LRDC @kikepoves team for the successful launch of the world's first #LiFi backhaul trial with an ordinary solar cell as data receiver. Thanks to @DCMS@5GRuralFirst#5G project. This means people on Graemsay (Orkney) can now watch 4k TV! pic.twitter.com/SkQw8gEn1M — Harald Haas (@dlarah15) July 4, 2019 Land Mobile has a good write up on this here.
There is also misunderstanding sometime about different types of light communications being referred to as LiFi. The picture above shows difference between OCC (Optical Camera Communications), VLC (Visible Light Communications), LiFi & FSO (Free Space Optics).

Rather than talk too much about the technology, I will point …