Skip to main content

Extreme Long Range Communications for Deep Rural Coverage

NGMN published a whitepaper quietly, like all of their other publications, on the topic of affordable Voice and Data Services for sparsely populated areas, such as Sub-Sahara Africa, but also for higher ARPU markets with wide rural areas, such as North Canada. In many countries there is an obligation on operators providing a minimum level of coverage geographically, rather than population based only. Along with the stick, operators are looking for a carrot to justify their spend on bringing rural connectivity.

The following is an extract from the paper available here [PDF]:

The purpose of the NGMN’s Extreme Long Range Communications for Deep Rural Coverage program is to explore the challenge of addressing rural markets and to create industry momentum around long range communications solutions that are suitable for offering Internet access to rural populations who are underserved today.

A number of options exists for operators to provide coverage; these are:

i. Extending the range of the existing macro sites to up to 40 Km cell radius, where possible
ii. Building new sites for extending coverage into coverage voids, with the highest possible cell radius to maximize population uptake. Suitable locations for new sites would be based on geographical coverage and statistical population growth
iii. Infrastructure sharing between operators, where regulatory environment allows, operators can offer National Roaming between their networks to share subscribers
iv. Utilising Relay nodes to connect to Remote sites
v. Wireless backhauling where the LTE or the NR (5G) spectrum is used to backhaul the traffic from the Remote Site to the Core
vi. Utilising Satellite Backhaul to connect the Remote Site to the Core

In reflection, a number of technologies are at hand that can provide services to sparsely populated areas and two categories require careful considerations:

Category 1- Network Implementations: In this document, we have presented a number of technologies that are at hand which could provide coverage to remote locations, and network operators must find a balance between practical deployment options, deployment costs and projected revenues

Category 2- User Equipment: considering that users from emerging markets in these deep rural environments have low income and cannot afford expensive smartphones, and considering large number of users in these remote areas, there is a practical business rationale for developing low-cost smartphone with new “Long Range Features”

By focusing effort directly on rural connectivity requirements, NGMN can play a role in better connecting these important populations. Technological areas that NGMN could have an influence are as follows:
  • Smartphones with Coverage Extension capabilities and wide bandwidth capabilities. By making IoT-type coverage enhancement standard features of smartphones, MNOs can see increased cell radius for voice and messaging applications, in addition to improved reliability on these services in a range of environments
  • Wider deployment of Node Relay technologies for extending the cell coverage and helping to lower deployment costs for MNOs
  • Encouraging the integration of Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN) with greatly expanded reach can help MNOs to provide some level of service to most or all of their territory. NTN applications are seen twofold: Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN), where GEO, MEO or LEO Satellites provide direct LTE or NR(5G) coverage to the users without having to deploy traditional ground based RAN equipment. Utilising inexpensive Satellite backhauls by using LEO Satellites which are either have already been launched or will be launched in the near future
  • Development of cost-effective Terminals with wide connectivity options for either Ground Based Long Range Cell Technologies or Direct Connectivity to Satellite Service 

Related Posts:


Popular posts from this blog

Laser Inter-Satellite Links (LISLs) in a Starlink Constellation

When we first talked about Starlink back in 2019 , we saw in the video that the concept involved laser communication to communicate between the satellites. While the initially launched satellites did not have the laser communication mechanism built in, it looks like they are being added to the newer ones.  A report from Fast Company in late 2021 said: One of the next big upgrades in telecom will involve satellites firing lasers at each other—to beam data, not blow stuff up. The upside of replacing traditional radio-frequency communication with lasers, that encode data as pulses of light, can be much like that of deploying fiber-optic cable for terrestrial broadband: much faster speeds and much lower latency. “Laser links in orbit can reduce long-distance latency by as much as 50%, due to higher speed of light in vacuum & shorter path than undersea fiber,” SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted in July about the upgrade now beginning for that firm’s Starlink satellite constellation. The

IEEE 802.11bn Ultra High Reliability (UHR), a.k.a. Wi-Fi 8

Back in 2020 we looked at the introductory post of Wi-Fi 7 which was followed up by a more detailed post in Feb 2022. We are now following on with an introductory post on the next generation Wi-Fi.  A new paper on arXiv explores the journey towards IEEE 802.11bn Ultra High Reliability (UHR), the amendment that will form the basis of Wi-Fi 8. Quoting selected items from the paper  below: After providing an overview of the nearly completed Wi-Fi 7 standard, we present new use cases calling for further Wi-Fi evolution. We also outline current standardization, certification, and spectrum allocation activities, sharing updates from the newly formed UHR Study Group. We then introduce the disruptive new features envisioned for Wi-Fi 8 and discuss the associated research challenges. Among those, we focus on access point coordination and demonstrate that it could build upon 802.11be multi-link operation to make Ultra High Reliability a reality in Wi-Fi 8. The IEEE 802.11bn UHR: Whose Study Gro

NTT Docomo's Disaster Countermeasures to Keep People Connected

Recently I blogged about Disaster Roaming in 3GPP Release-17. While this will take time to be implemented worldwide, it is already available in Japan, maybe not in the 3GPP standardised way. Similarly, back in 2011, I blogged about Earthquake and Tsunami Warning service (ETWS) from NTT Docomo's Journal, it was two days before the  2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami hit. Japan is no stranger to earthquakes, typhoons, and other natural disasters, which can have a devastating effect on infrastructure. To ensure that the mobile networks keep functioning, operators work extremely hard to ensure people remain connected one way or another. NTT Docomo has released a video detailing the countermeasures to keep everyone connected in case of emergencies. The following detail is provided with the video: DOCOMO's network is no exception, and our services could get cut off by a base station power outage, disconnected fiber-optic cable, or other malfunctions. DOCOMO established the three pr