Tag: 5G

Ofcom to auction military high capacity spectrum

HTC smartphoneRegulator Ofcom said today that next year there will be an auction for high capacity spectrum used by the military.

The spectrum is being made available by the Ministry of Defence after the UK government made it plain it wants to free the airwaves for civil use.

The auction will of 190MHz of high capacity spectrum in two bands – 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz. Ofcom said these are well suited for high speed mobile broadband services and equivalent to three quarters of the spectrum released by Ofcom in the 2013 4G auction.

Ofcom is setting reserve prices of £70 million for the spectrum.

The regulator said there won’t be a cap on the amounts that bidders can buy with large blocks supporting very fast download speeds, paving the way for a future 5G standard.

Most smartphones from major manufacturers including Samsung and Apple are already compatible with the 2.3GHz spectrum, while the 3.4GHz band is being used for 4G wireless broadband in six countries including the UK.

5G is still mostly hype

5GA survey performed by IHS said that the world is slowly moving to true 4G, but the path of telecommunications is still far from smooth.

Stephane Teral, research director for mobile said “the 4G experience is still far from consistent and is falling short of expectations.

She said that the debate over 5G is being accompanied by “fanfare, hype and confusion, but little substance about what it is exactly and what it is not. For now the mindset is still locked into mobile broadband as we know it with LTE, so it’s good that the ITU has just stepped in to define 5G in its brand new IMT-2020”.

She said Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia are the top LTE (4G) equipment manufacturers. And commercial voice over LTE (VoLTE) will ramp in volume this year and next year.

And although vendors are talking about 4G network functions virtualisation migration, Teral said that won’t happen very fast because most LTE networks are new, and mobile operators simply aren’t ready to migrate.

ZTE signs 5G deal with Softbank

ZTE, Softbank dealChinese phone manufacturer ZTE said it has signed a memorandum of understand with Japanese giant Softbank for joint research and development on 5G networks.

ZTE has technology called Pre5G which includes multiple input, multiple outlet (MIMO) technology. The two companies have already worked together including ultra dense networks and multi user shared access.

ZTE said MIMO base stations are able to support over 100 antenna elements and give higher space division multiplexing gains than traditional eight antenna base stations.

Softbank believes this technology will define standards for future mobile internet communications.

ZTE said that it already has formed alliances with other partners around the world on 5G research and wants to build a system based on open collaboration.

Softbank already has ambitions to dominate a future 5G network and said it will be the industry leader worldwide.

Scientists make wireless comms breakthrough

Device made by University of Bristol researchersA team of researchers at the University of Bristol said they have come up with a technique that will let radio devices transmit and receive on the same channel at the same time.

That means a device will use half as much radio spectrum compared to current systems.

The researchers designed and built a protoype full duplex transceiver architecture which cuts interference by over 100 million and uses low cost devices.

The researchers said the system could double the capacity of a wi-fi access points, while network operators could give the same network capacity using fewer base stations.

Leo Laughlin, one of the researchers, said: “Until now there has been a fundamental unsolved problem with radio communication. Since the radio spectrum is a limited resource, and with network operators paying billions of pounds to access the spectrum, solving this problem would bring us one step closer to the faster, cheaper and greener devices of our connected future.”

The researchers point out that in mobile devices right now, a separate filtering component is needed for each frequency band and consequently different devices are made for different parts of the world.

There aren’t any 4G phones capable of unrestricted global roaming but if manufacturers used the team’s duplexer circuit, one model could work across the whole world.

4G gets the works except the Turks

istanbul-2The only former world empire to be named after a piece of furniture has decided to give 4G technology a miss.

The once “sick man of Europe” Turkey is debating cancelling a May tender for 4G telecoms infrastructure and moving to 5G instead.

President Tayyip Erdogan urged the country not to “lose time” with the technology and move straight to 5G.

Erdogan last week called for a move to fifth-generation mobile networks, within two years, skipping the current 4G technology.

However more cynical observers say that this is Erdogan trying to put positive spin on a disastrous tender process. The process was supposed to finish in May and if it is like any other big Turkish contract it will be full of stories of bribery, corruption and inefficiency. If something has gone wrong then axing the 4G move might bury a scandal before it is made public.

The Information and Communication Technologies Authority this month set a May 26 deadline for a 4G tender for 20 frequency segments at a minimum value of around $2.5 billion.

Officials have previously said 4G services would be offered from the start of 2016.

David Cameron has paper from Germans

UK Prime Minister David “one is an ordinary bloke” Cameron has returned from meeting the German Chancellor at SnowBIT and he has in his hand a paper which could mean that the UK has a 5g piece on our time. He met a robot at the Messe in Hangover yesterday.

Apparently David’s glorious vision is that Britain and Germany will team up to work on developing the next super-fast mobile network, 5G.

Cameron said the initiative is one of three areas that he wants Britain and Germany to collaborate on to “pool ideas, share data, innovate, and to lead on the next big ideas” in what he dubbed as being “a world on fast forward.”

Speaking at CeBIT, Cameron said that the future fifth-generation, or 5G, network will enable a full-length film to be downloaded on the internet in one second. At least in London. In rural areas it will take a hundred years and cost a trillion pounds. In Cameron’s Britain the film will have to be fit for a three year old and not contain any sex, swearing, witches, or references to the Tory party being out of touch.

“This is a prize that researchers all over the world are going for,” he said, unveiling the new collaboration between Germany’s Dresden University and Britain’s King’s College University in London and the University of Surrey.

Cameron said he is eyeing closer German-British collaboration on improving Europe’s telecommunications single market and the internet of thongs, or getting everyday objects to talk to each other over the internet.

“This has enormous potential to change our lives,” he said, outlining examples such as health monitors that keep an eye on the heart rate or blood pressure. It will also enable the government to know how many poor people are not sharing their bedrooms.

He evoked the good old Dickensian ideals by saying that the world was on the brink of a new industrial revolution and he wanted us, the UK – including Scotland –  and Germany, to lead it. 

Intel coming in the air tonight

Intel has come up with a new form of ultra-high-speed wireless tech which lets small base stations handle shedloads of data.

The technology is based around Chipzilla’s modular antenna arrays.

Intel has prototyped a chip-based antenna array that can sit in a milk-carton-sized cellular base station. If it works, and Intel claims that it does, the technology could turbocharge future wireless networks by using ultrahigh frequencies.

The tech is a millimeter wave modular antenna array, and will be shown off today at the Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, Spain.

It takes ultrafast capabilities that Samsung and researchers at New York University demonstrated last year using benchtop-scale equipment and packs it into a box-sized gadget. Cities would be carpeted with such small stations with one every block or two—and be capable of handling huge amounts of data at short ranges.

One cell could send and receive data at speeds of more than a gigabit per second over up to few hundred metres far more at shorter distances. It knocks the socks off 4G LTE which can only manage 75 megabits per second.

Both the Intel and Samsung technologies could eventually use frequencies of 28 or 39 gigahertz or higher. These frequencies are known as millimeter wave and carry far more data than those used in mobile networks. The downside is that they are easily blocked by objects in the environment.  Even rain can stuff them up.

To get around the blockage problem, processors dynamically shape how a signal is combined among 64, 128, or even more antenna elements, controlling the direction in which a beam is sent from each antenna array, making changes in response to changing conditions.

Intel says its version is more efficient than what has been seen so far.

It can scale up the number of modular arrays as high as practical to increase transmission and reception sensitivity.

If Chipzilla is right, the only barriers to the technology are regulatory not technological.

Samsung claims 5G breakthrough

Although many countries around the world have struggled to get 4G widely available, Samsung has claimed it has made a major breakthrough at the core of 5G, the next generation of mobile communications.

Samsung claimed in its Tomorrow Works blog that it has built the world’s first adaptive array transceiver to work in the millimeter-wave Ka bands for mobile communications. This breakthrough, the company boasted, should eventually lead to data transmission “up to several hundred times faster” than existing 4G, LTE networks. 

Although the technology is a number of years off before it begins to become available, 5G should let subscribers enjoy data transmission speeds of up to several tens of Gbps per base station, Samsung claims. In simple terms, on an unclogged network, this means ultra speedy downloads, wirelessly.

To successfully run a 5G cellular network, a large range of frequencies are required. Samsung pointed out that the technology community was skeptical about using millimetre-wave bands over long distances. But the company says its latest breakthrough has proved successful – with the transceiver able to transmit data through the millimetre-wave band at a frequency of 28 GHz, at a speed of up to 1 Gbps, with a reach of up to 2 kilometres.

By using 64 antenna elements, Samsung said its adaptive array transceiver offers a possible way to get around radio propagation losses at the millimetre wave bands. 

Samsung is confident it will be able to utilise the adaptive array transceiver at millimetre wave bands, along with other 5G technologies, to a commercial level by 2020. This will be in line with European Union investment targets, also set at 2020, to be well en route to delivering usable 5G technology.

Much of the world still relies on 3G networks, including in countries where 4G is available, so although the lofty goal of reaching usable 5G by 2020 is of interest, it may be significantly later before the technology drips down to the consumer level. 

AMOLED panel demand leads to short supply

The increasing popularity of AMOLED panels has led to shortages of supply, prompting firms to develop the market to cope with demand in 2011.

Firms in Taiwan, Korea and Japan will actively develop the AMOLED panel market, while China is set to develop the supply chain for OLED.

Samsung Mobile Display is currently the leader in the AMOLED panel market, starting mass production in 2009  at its 4.5G plant, which has seen the panels becoming very popular for high-end phones

Samsung accounts for over 90 percent of the total market in 2010, meaning that there are not many options to deal with the increase in demand from vendors.

It is thought that Samsung will begin producing AMOLED panels at its 5.5G plant next year, as well as a number of other firms increasing output, meaning that shipments will potentially reach 168 million units.  It is likely that Samsung will see its share decrease to around 70 percent of the market as this happens, though Korea-based makers in general will still see in the region of 80 percent.

Taiwanese firm AUO, considered the most active player among Taiwan-based manufacturers developing AMOLED panels, is set use two 3.5G plants alongside a 4.5G plant held by its Singapore subsidiary.  It is thought, says Digitimes, that it may transfer another 4G or even a 6G plant for AMOLED production.

Chimei Innolux will also use a 3.5G plant, while Wintek is apparently interested in transferring its 3G line.

China is currently developing a supply chain for OLED, with many research facilities developing OLED.

The majority of this increased production will be to cope with demand for AMOLED panels for handsets however, as it is not expected that AMOLED will be gracing many of the TV sets being widely bought anytime soon, according to a display analyst at Meko.

Goksen Sertler believes that the technology will need considerable investment before it ready to become anything other than a niche product in terms of TV screens.

Speaking to TechEye, Sertler says: “Having seen a prototype Samsung screen at CES it is clear that they can offer fantastic picture quality, for 3D and standard viewing, perhaps better quality than LCD and plasma screens. 

“However I don’t see any evidence, at this moment, that it will be anything other than a niche product.”

Sertler noted that LG currently ship a very small number of AMOLED screens, amounting to less than 1,000 per quarter at the moment.

“While LG are shipping a small amount at the moment, and will likely continue to do so in 2011, it will probably be 2012 before many other products are on the market.  With this in mind it is difficult to say how much of an impact AMOLED will actually have on the television screen market, though if there were to be more investment in production then it would mean that it could make the technology more accessible to consumers.

“However firms are currently investing more into, for example, LCD screens.”