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Cellular on Unlicensed Bands

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Researchers working on next-gen cellular technologies are exploring cellular services on unlicensed 3.5 GHz, 5GHz and even 60 GHz, reports EE Times. Companies like DoCoMo, Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia and Qualcomm are looking at using unlicensed spectrum for subscription LTE services because LTE is said to increase capacity and reliability over WiFi technolgoy.

Japanese cellco NTT DOCOMO has successfully demonstrated LTE over the ‘unlicensed’ 5GHz band. The test uses the so-called LAA (Licensed-Assisted Access) on the 5 GHz band.

“Currently, we are aiming to finish the joint experiment by fiscal 2015. The next step will be to develop a technology that will enable LAA and WLAN to efficiently coexist in the same spectrum. We hope LAA will be standardized with the Release 13 LTE which should come out in fiscal 2016,” DoCoMo said.

According to Huawei, operators must think outside-the-box by innovating their business models, and providing innovative solutions, such as LTE video for consumers & enterprises as well as using unlicensed bands for LTE.

Qualcomm is also an advocate of LTE on 5 GHz. With LTE broadcast, a single video channel can multicast to hundreds of users, particularly useful for stadiums or major national events.

Qualcomm’s proposal, dubbed Authorized Shared Access (ASA), is similar to the Licensed Shared Access (LSA) that is being considered among European carriers for the 5 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands.

The FCC proposed a 3.5 GHz sharing arrangement includes three tiers:

  1. Incumbent Access, which would include authorized federal users and grandfathered fixed satellite service licensees
  2. Protected Access, which would include “critical use facilities, such as hospitals, utilities, government facilities, and public-safety entities
  3. General Authorized Access, which would include all other users, including the general public.

The 3.5GHz Interest Group has reached a consensus on a uniform network scheme on Bands 42 & 43 to ensure effective collaboration and sharing. The group suggests that spectrum allocation be no finer than 40MHz per block, so that its roughly 400MHz of bandwidth is utilized effectively.

SoftBank constructed nine 3.5GHz base stations within the Ginza shopping area, making for an average spacing of less than 300 meters.

The network used 80MHz of 3.5GHz bandwidth, and supported an average download speed of 550Mbps (770Mbps peak), enabled by technologies the likes of 4*4 Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output systems (MIMO), carrier aggregation (CA), coordinated multipoint (CoMP) transmission and cloud baseband.

UK Broadband switched on its first TD-LTE system in London back in 2012 using the 3.5GHz band with gear from Huawei. It utilizes over 120MHz of spectrum in Bands 42 and 43, sufficient for six 20MHz channels that can be aggregated for LTE-A when the time comes.

UKB operates a wholesale model and works with partners like Relish to offer commercial services in the businesses, consumer and public sector. UK Broadband is a wholly owned subsidiary of PCCW Limited, the holding company of HKT, Hong Kong’s premier telecommunications provider.

One of the big questions, of course, is whether cellular operators will soon charge for the air that was previously free.

Related Dailywireless articles include; UK Broadband: TD-LTE at 3.5GHz, FCC Opens 3.5 GHz for Shared Access, Qualcomm: Chips for MU-MIMO, Small Cells, Home Gateway, Battle for 3 Dot 5, London Served 3.5GHz Fixed Wireless – with Relish, FCC Boss Wheeler Pushes for 3.5 GHz Spectrum Sharing, FCC Paves Way for 3.5GHz Band Nationwide, FCC Dishes Dirt, Talks Up 3.5 GHz, FCC Limits Dish on LTE Terrestrial Spectrum, Dish: On the Move, Dish and Sprint Battle over PCS band Extension, FCC Approves 2.3 GHz for AT&T, AT&T Likely to Get 2.3 GHz, Sprint’s Dish Compromise, MetroPCS Merges with T-Mobile USA, T-Mobile Gets AWS Spectrum from Breakup, FirstNet: The Asymetrical Threat, Spectrum War: Unlicensed, Shared and Auctioned, White Spaces: Nationwide by Mid January, FCC: TV Auction in 2014, Genachowski Lobbies for Unlicensed White Spaces, Universal Service Reform Passed

D-Link 802.11ac Router for Enterprises

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D-Link today announced the DWL-8610AP, a new high power, 802.11ac unified wireless access point. Intended for the small/medium enterprise market, it provides up to 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band, and 1300 Mbps using the 5 GHz band using 3 x 3 MIMO technology.

The DWL-8610AP is D-Link’s next generation Unified Wireless Access Point, designed to succeed the DWL-8600AP. It can be deployed as an autonomously managed, standalone wireless access point, or as a centrally managed access point controlled by a D-Link Unified Wireless Switch or Wireless Controller.

Businesses can start with standalone mode and then migrate to a centrally managed system. With an embedded antenna and a simple housing, the DWL-8610AP can be installed on a wall or ceiling and blends in with most office environments.

The DWL-8610AP will sense a neighbor nearby and automatically select a non-interfering channel. When a nearby AP is operating on the same channel, the DWL-8610AP will minimize interference by automatically lowering its transmission power.

The new DWL-8610AP unified wireless access point is currently shipping through D-Link’s channel partners and online retailers and costs in the neighborhood of $650.

Vehicle-to-Vehicle Network Proposed for United States

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is seeking input about a possible federal standard for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, which would let cars automatically exchange information, such as whether they’re close to each other.

On Monday, the NHTSA published a research report and issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) in hopes of collecting a lot of feedback before issuing a full NPRM in 2016.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the technology holds the potential to significantly reduce crashes, injuries and deaths on the nation’s streets and highways.

Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications utilizes a wireless network where automobiles send messages to each other. Traffic signals or other stationary devices are called V2I, or vehicle to infrastructure.

A transponder would continually transmit the vehicle’s position, heading, speed and other information 10 times per second in all directions. It has a range around 1000 feet or about 10 seconds at highway speeds.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communications uses dedicated short-range communications (DSRC), using the 5.9GHz band, which is close to the new, higher power 5 GHz WiFi band authorized by the FCC. Proposed FCC rules would increase power for the U-NII-3 band–5.725-5.850 MHz, but it is drawing heavy criticism from highway advocates and wireless ISPs. The highway administration is concerned about possible DSRC interference from more powerful outdoor WiFi in the adjacent 5 GHz band.

The Association of Global Automakers has expressed concerns about more power in the adjacent 5 GHz WiFi band.

The TIA believes that the FCC acted correctly to promote use of the 5 GHz band by unlicensed devices, including allowing operations up to 5850 MHz which is adjacent to the automakers’ DSRC / U-NII-4 spectrum (5850-5925 MHz)

V2V would be a mesh network, meaning every node (car, smart traffic signal, etc.) could send, capture and retransmit signals. Five to 10 hops on the network would gather traffic conditions a mile ahead. That’s enough time for even the most distracted driver to take his foot off the gas. On the first cars, V2V warnings might come to the driver as an alert, perhaps a red light that flashes in the instrument panel, or an amber then red alert for escalating problems.

The intelligent highway communications network (using the 5.9 GHz band) is not directly connected to a car’s infotainment system which uses Bluetooth, WiFi and 4G commercial networks for passenger entertainment.

Five years ago infotainment ranked 27th on a list of features most cars shopper wanted. Now it’s in the top five.

According to research firm Analysys Mason, 11.5 million connected cars will ship this year, growing to around 170 million in 2023. General Motors’ OnStar service currently has 6 million customers. Worldwide sales of HUD-equipped cars will increase from 1.2 million units in 2012 to 9.1 million in 2020.

Here’s My Proposal for self-driving cars in Portland. See Dailywireless stories on Vehicle to Vehicle Communications: Moving Forward?, FCC Moves to Add 195 MHz to Unlicensed 5 GHz band, World Congress on Talking Cars, and 5.9 GHz Hits the Road, Inside Google’s Driverless Car, Driverless Cars Rolling Out in UK, Autonet Does Control and Diagnostic Apps, Verizon Forms Connected Car Venture, Automotive Telematics Goes 4G, Ford Lowers SYNC Costs, Google’s Driverless Car Explained, World Congress on Talking Cars, Connected Car Conference

Sharp Aquos Crystal: Mid Range, Bezel-less

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Sprint today announced the Sharp Aquos Crystal, a mid-range handset that it will sell later this year for $239.

The Sharp Aquos features a nearly bezel-less design, with narrow edges running along the top and sides of the phone. The screen measures 5 inches and offers 720p HD resolution. The device offers a handful of software features developed by Sharp, including Clip Now, which takes screen shots with a swipe and Speaktoit Assistant, a natural language assistant that can perform a number of tasks.

The device runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat and features a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor with 1.5GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage.

The Aquos supports microSD cards up to 128GB. The camera captures 8-megapixel still images and 1080p HD video and a 1.2-megapixel camera for selfies. Sprint subsidiaries Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA will also sell the device, which goes on sale in the near future.

Phone Arena compares specs of the Sharp Aquos Crystal vs Galaxy S5 vs One (M8) for Windows. HTC’s One M8 Windows Phone is only on Verizon at $99 on-contract.

Talking Statues Project

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Talking Statues uses Near Field Communication to enable curious passers-by to swipe their smart-phone over a statue’s signage, triggering a “call back” from the likes of Isaac Newton, Queen Victoria or Sherlock Holmes. A call back can also be initiated by the use of a QR code or by using a short URL that is displayed on the signage at each statue.

The Talking Statues project was developed in conjunction with the non-profit event production company Sing London and Antenna Lab to bring 35 statues to life using a dozen of Britain’s most recognizable celebrity voices.

“Talking Statues is all about using low cost technology to give people access to art, culture and technology in streets and parks,” said Jessica Taylor, Antenna Lab Director. Our hope is that museums – small and large – will benefit from this pioneering approach.”

The Talking Statues project will run for one year and will be closely monitored and analysed by Leicester School of Museum Studies, gauging whether the technology can lead people to visit surrounding galleries and museums. All findings will be made publicly available to museums and galleries.

In related news, Qualcomm’s iZat indoor geo-location technology offers location mapping on the LG G3 in 21 shopping malls, but so far it only works in South Korea, notes GigaOm. G3 owners can download an app on Google Play. iZAT combines GPS constellations, WiFi and a phone’s built-in sensors such as a gyroscope, accelerometer and compass to pinpoint your location, no matter where you are.

Apple’s iBeacon can notify nearby iOS 7 devices of their presence, enabling a smart phone or other device to perform actions when in close proximity to an iBeacon. iBeacon uses Bluetooth low energy proximity sensing to transmit a universally unique identifier picked up by a compatible app or operating system.

Devices running the Android operating system prior to version 4.4 can only receive iBeacon advertisements but cannot emit iBeacon advertisements.

Android L added support for both central and peripheral modes.

2014 LTE Coverage: 30% of World’s Population

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The total number of subscribers for LTE and LTE Advanced is expected to grow to nearly 411 million and 22 million, respectively, by year’s end, according to ABI analysts Jake Saunders and Cheri Wong.

About 337 mobile networks worldwide already have deployed LTE with LTE network coverage expected to cover more than 30% of the world’s population by the end of 2014. ABI estimates that nearly 482 million LTE handsets will be shipped in 2014, up by nearly 150 million units from the previous year. It expects that number will grow to 1.34 billion by the end of 2019.

Ericsson’s Mobility Report guesses world-wide mobile subscriptions will reach 9.3 billion by 2019, with more than 60% of these – 5.6 billion – smartphones.

LTE Advanced provides carrier aggregation and heterogeneous network capabilities, where low-power small cells can be coordinated with the macro network.

Smartphone makers shipped 301.5 million devices during the second quarter of 2014, reports IDC. Of those, Android accounted for a commanding 84.7% of the worldwide smartphone market, up from 79.6% a year-ago.

Apple’s iOS platform shipped only 35.2 million of the 301.3 million devices, giving it a share of 11.7%. That’s down from 13% a year-ago. Windows Phone and BlackBerry are barely holding on. Microsoft and Nokia shipped 7.4 million Windows Phones during the second quarter, down from the 8.2 million shipped a year-ago.

MarketsandMarkets forecasts the global Wi-Fi Market to grow from $12.89 billion in 2014 to $26.19 billion by 2019. North America is expected to be the biggest market, while Asia pacific and Latin America are expected to grow quickly. The global outdoor Wi-Fi market revenue is forecasted to reach $37.2 billion in 2018 from $15.41 billion in 2013, at an estimated CAGR of 15.8%.