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LTE and Spectrum Stupidity

Mobile operators are counting on Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to handle surging demand for mobile data access. But LTE developers made some poor choices, cutting spectral efficiency and thus driving up operator costs. LTE was envisioned as an all IP system, but the RF allocations follow the voice-centric approach of earlier generations. While LTE standards allow for either Frequency Division Duplexing (FDD) or Time Division Duplexing (TDD), all initial LTE equipment uses FDD. FDD requires two separate blocks of spectrum... more

WiMAX vs. LTE

Mobile WiMAX, with the release of 2×2 MIMO chips in 2008, gives WiMAX a lead of two or so years on its major competitor -- the 3GPP's LTE. However, 3G cellphones using 3GPP UMTS technologies, extended to higher speeds with HSPA, is widely used in handsets in many countries. In North America, 3GPP2 CDMA2000 and EV-DO are widely used, but these are likely to be replaced over time by LTE and to some extent WiMAX. more

A Simulation of the SpaceX, Amazon, Telesat and OneWeb Broadband Satellite Constellations

Over two years ago, an MIT research group ran a simulation of the low-Earth orbit broadband constellations of OneWeb, SpaceX, and Telesat, and last January they repeated the simulation updating with revised constellation characteristics and adding Amazon's Project Kuiper. They ran the new simulation twice, once using the planned initial deployments of each constellation and a second time using the configuration shown. more

A Short History of Internet Protocol Intellectual Property

A little over 25 years ago, the Internet Society proposed that they assume responsibility for the DARPA Internet Protocol (IP) specifications Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) that were being evolved by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to facilitate their use by the mainstream network communication standards bodies and providers. Last week, the IETF, in an attempt to fend off alternative Internet Protocols emerging in the 5G ecosystem and create a standards monopoly, asserted... more

5G Leadership Reality Check: January 2020

As we embark on a new year and decade, it seemed worthwhile to take a peek at the principal forums for global 5G industry technical collaboration and do a quick assessment of what is occurring and who are the "leaders." The leadership dimension is especially relevant in Washington these days – which is suffering from a peculiar 5G dementia. As the year ended, there were no less than 35 current 5G related Congressional legislative actions, several of which actually passed one of the chambers. more

America Will Not Win the Global Race to 5G

Several weeks ago, the White House published a document asserting that "America Will Win the Global Race to 5G." The White House should get over it. This is not about America winning any global race to 5G, but the world working together on fundamentally different, complex, new communication networks and services. There are four important points, however. more

About That Second, Third and Fourth Wireless “Attachment”

There is some good news about the decision by Verizon Wireless to offer shared monthly data plans. But there could be a lot more if the FCC applied its Carterfone policy. That policy gave consumers the power to decide what and how many devices to attach to a network connection. If Carterfone applied, consumers could use multiple devices to access a network subscription, albeit perhaps not at the same time. more

LTE Insufficient from the Start, Boingo IPO Propitious

The trouble with planning way ahead is that the world changes before you execute. The major wireless carriers have been planning their 4th generation LTE (Long Term Evolution) rollouts for a long time -- that's how they do things. Now, even as Verizon Wireless is doing an aggressive rollout of LTE, it's becoming clear that LTE networks will not be able to slake the data thirst of a world full of smart phones and tablets. Whoops. more

A Closer Look at Apple and Location-Tracking

There's been a lot of media attention to a report that iPhones track your movements. It's even reached the U.S. Senate. I'm underwhelmed. I think that the threat is overhyped. What is happening is that these devices create a hidden file with your location... more

IPv6 Over Satellite: Pie in the Sky?

I am writing this from the Satellite 2008 conference in Washington, D.C. As I make my way through the exhibits, I see many vendors advertising IP capabilities in their hardware products or network services. But when asked about IPv6 support, the common reply is a not so believable "it is on our roadmap" followed by a somewhat vague delivery date. Although IPv6 development has been slow across the board, it appears to be moving even more slowly in the satellite world... more

WiMAX vs. WiFi

In fact WiFi (technically standard 802.11) and WiMAX (802.16) don't compete for broadband users or applications today. That's partly because WiFi is widely deployed and WiMAX is still largely an unfulfilled promise and partly because the two protocols were designed for very different situations. However, if WiMAX is eventually widely deployed, there will be competition between them as last mile technologies. Some people describe the difference between WiFi and WiMAX as analogous to the difference between a cordless phone and a mobile phone... more

Why Did Russia Test an Anti-Satellite Missile and Why Doesn’t China Condemn the Test?

On November 15th, Russia used an anti-satellite missile to destroy COSMOS 1408, a defunct spy satellite. The explosion quickly created over 1,500 pieces of trackable debris and will likely generate hundreds of thousands of smaller pieces. As a precautionary measure, the astronauts on the International Space Station, two of whom are Russians, took shelter in escape shuttles during two orbits. The anti-satellite test was widely criticized, but the Russian defense ministry released a statement saying... more

Starlink Beta vs. Fiber

Last year we had terrible DSL from Consolidated Communications and much better, although not always consistent, service from wireless ISP GlobalNet. I signed up for fiber service from Stowe Cable for installation this year and also was accepted early as a Beta tester for Starlink. Now we have both Starlink and fiber and can compare the two. I was very happy to cancel my Consolidated service but felt bad about canceling GlobalNet, which was essential to me for many years. Most of the time, there are only two of us in the house. more

Record $89B in China Means 2020 +4% Sales, $10B Profit

The US war on Huawei brought down sales internationally, but China's 700,000 5G cells and explosive cloud growth meant Huawei had an up year. The chip blockade did hurt in Q4 and will continue to hold down sales in 2021. Huawei has sufficient reserves to outlast the United States until China catches up in chip production. Perhaps the most important figure in the financial report was the $55 billion cash. Another $10 billion will come in from the sale of Honor/Glory. more

A New Chinese Broadband Satellite Constellation

In an earlier post, I described three Chinese low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations that seemed to be oriented toward broadband communication... None of those companies seem to be pursuing the global consumer market that SpaceX and OneWeb hope to serve, but a new Chinese company code-named GW seems to plan on doing so. more