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My Telecom Predictions for 2021

It's that time of the year for me to get out the crystal ball and peer into 2021... The FCC Will Have Egg on its Face from the RDOF Grants. The reverse auction was a disaster in many ways, with a lot of the money going to companies that can't possibly do what they promised or companies that largely intend to make a profit by pocketing a lot of the grants. The FCC will have a chance to rectify some of the problems during the review of the long forms... more

WiFi QoE Assurance with TR-069 - Part 3: From Single AP to Large AP Deployments

Last week we investigated how rich data derived from TR-069 can be used to optimize the service quality of a single access point (AP) within the subscriber premises. Often a service provider will control multiple APs within a multi-dwelling unit, university campus, or other public space. This opens up new doors for optimizing service quality - instead of simply optimizing a single AP, you are now able to control other APs in the vicinity as well. more

WiFi QoE Assurance with TR-069 - Part 1: The Toolbox

Subscribers today expect to be connected at all times with exceptional service quality. For communication service providers operating in urban environments, multi-dwelling units (MDUs) are a big cause for concern. Delivering consistently high WiFi service quality in high-density environments is a challenge. The sheer number of nearby access points, electronics, and outside influences can result in a host of WiFi service quality issues... more

5G and the Health Scare

Having been involved in the telecommunications industry for a long time, I followed many of the discussions involving health concerns when the 3G and 4G mobile technologies were introduced. This time, with 5G, the situation is no different. Again, there are many communities worried about the potential negative health effects of the radiation that emanates from mobile communications. more

WiMAX Has Early Lead Over LTE, Says New Report

Mobile WiMAX will outpace LTE over the next few years due to its head start on deployments, reports In-Stat. While WiMAX and LTE will take very different paths, the report suggests Mobile WiMAX already has commercial deployments where as LTE won't be commercially available until late 2009. more

Cracks Appearing in Trump’s Huawei Boycott

It must have been a galling experience for President Trump when his good mate British Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed to step in line with Trump's demand that the UK should also boycott the Chinese firm Huawei by not allowing them to be involved in the rollout of 5G in Britain. However, the involvement of Huawei will be limited. It further proves that boycotting Huawei is a political and not a technical issue. more

Spending on Mobile Phone Surpasses Residential Phone Services

Recent statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey has shown that American have been increasingly spending on mobile phones from 2001 through 2007. BLS data indicates cellular phone expenditures surpassed spending on residential landline phone services beginning in 2007. From the report: "In 2001, the ratio of spending on residential phone services to spending on cellular phone services was greater than 3 to 1. In 2007, cellular phone expenditures accounted for 55 percent of total telephone expenditures compared to 43 percent for residential phone expenditures. The distribution of telephone service expenditures between residential telephone/pay phone services and cellular phone services changed significantly in all age groups since 2001." more

Starlink’s zoomready Rating Is Going Down

zoomready is open-source shareware I wrote to measure the suitability of an internet connection for teleconferencing. As you can see above, Starlink had an average zoomready rating of 2.66 out of a possible 3.0 over the four measured days. The problem is NOT bandwidth, which has fluctuated but stayed above the minimums needed for good teleconferencing. The problems are failures (most of them short), latency, and jitter. more

SpaceX to Launch Satellites for Competitor OneWeb

On March 2, Russia covered the US flag on the Roscosmos Space Agency rocket that was scheduled to launch 36 OneWeb broadband satellites on March 5. The Russians made two obviously untenable demands -- that OneWeb guarantee that the satellites would not be used for military purposes and the United Kingdom government remove its investment in the company. OneWeb declined, and the satellites were removed from the rocket. more

China Mobile Is Reporting 15M 5G Contracts, 8.7M Joined in February

5G is growing by millions per month in China, although the exact status is unclear. The telcos are reporting "contracts," which continue to be far higher than the separately reported 5G phone sales. more

SpaceX Starlink Service in Ukraine Is an Important Government Asset

At 4:04 AM on February 26 Mykhailo Fedorov, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine requested Starlink service from Elon Musk and at 2:45 PM on the 26th, Elon Musk tweeted "Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route." On February 28 at 12:29 PM Fedorov posted a photo of a truck load of terminals. (Kyiv is 10 hours ahead of California). more

WiFi QoE Assurance with TR-069 - Part 2: Optimizing a Single Access Point

As we have seen in the first installment of this series, TR-069 offers unprecedented visibility into the customer premises network to highlight devices beyond the gateway, and in the case of WiFi, the issues affecting service quality. Insights into the surrounding WIFI landscape alone provide ample data to provision the access point (AP) to operate in a part of the spectrum with the least amount of interference. more

Using LEOs and GEOs

Once you head away from the areas serviced by modern terrestrial cable infrastructure, the available digital communications options are somewhat limited. Some remote areas are served using High-Frequency radio systems, using radio signals that bounce off the ionosphere to provide a long-distance but limited bandwidth service. Or there are satellite-based services based on spacecraft positioned in geostationary orbital slots. more

SpaceX Starlink Comes to South America

SpaceX has roughly 90,000 Starlink beta test customers in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand and now they have one in South America -- in Sotomó, an isolated town at 41.6° South in Chile's Lake Region. Chile's second terminal will be online at a school in Caleta Sierra in a few days and other pilot locations will follow. Twenty families live in Sotomó and it is only accessible by private boats or subsidized services that navigate the Reloncaví Estuary on which it is located. more

Bringing Broadband to the Arctic

The Arctic region has largely been left out of the broadband arena in the past due to the high cost of building last-mile broadband infrastructure. The primary broadband available in the region has been provided for decades by Iridium Communications, which provided only low-bandwidth connections capable of supporting satellite phones and low-bandwidth monitoring devices. more