Private LTE is an attractive target for OnGo, as new business opportunities and vertical use-cases open up in industrial IoT and in-building wireless. New low-cost LTE equipment and new spectrum options will enable new business opportunities that have been difficult to exploit in the past. OnGo can benefit both enterprises and operators. Private LTE networks can provide reliable connectivity and seamless mobility for general wireless communication and industrial IoT applications — achieving levels of performance that Wi-Fi has been unable to meet. In addition, private networks can potentially relieve a growing problem of inadequate mobile connectivity services indoors due to poor coverage or insufficient capacity—so the operators can benefit as well. OnGo can “franchise” the benefits of LTE in more places where operators may not find good business return but where enterprises see greater need and opportunities.
For industrial IoT applications, Private LTE can provide effective local area wireless networking for enterprises seeking more reliable and predictable wireless connectivity compared to Wi-Fi. For factory automation, for example, having a secure and dedicated wireless network is paramount. Highly optimized “just-in-time” industrial operations and supply-chain can ill-afford unreliable connectivity links where a few seconds of downtime can translate into millions of dollars in productivity loss. For outdoor mining or transport operations, seamless mobility is crucial as well for which LTE is more well-suited. The OnGo ecosystem of suppliers are converging to provide solutions ranging from Core, Edge cloud, and RAN to stand up private local networks dedicated for critical, performance-driven industrial IoT requirements.
While industrial IoT applications may drive OnGo in dedicated private LTE deployments, those Private LTE networks can also be extended to meet the growing demand for mobile traffic handling, especially indoors, where LTE coverage is needed most. Many commercial buildings use modern materials like metalized glasses, which are good for energy-saving but bad for cellular signal propagation. While the need at major public venues like sports stadiums and airports are addressed with indoor mobile coverage solutions like Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS), other buildings like multi-tenant office buildings, hotels, etc. are unfortunately left behind – hoping that outside macro tower can provide sufficient coverage indoors. The owners of such buildings have been impatiently waiting for a solution for many years. With so many different areas vying for limited capital expenditure dollars, these indoor projects simply don’t make the cut when the mobile operators are focused only on major venues and buildings. Private LTE networks, deployed by enterprises or neutral host providers, can expand the reach of LTE deeper into more places than the operators can do on their own.
To make OnGo in-building wireless successful, enterprise “private” LTE networks must be “extended” to work with operators’ “public” networks. In other words, “private” LTE core networks must work seamlessly with the operators’ core networks such that operators’ subscribers can roam onto private LTE networks and still access operator services as if a subscriber device is still on its operator’s network. To provide identification of “private” networks, a shared Home Network Identifier (HNI) has been identified by ATIS and CBRS Alliance for CBRS/OnGo use cases. This is a great idea. To reap the benefits, the operators will need to cooperate in authentication and policy control. In addition, the operators must pre-provision shared HNI as part of their device SIM credentials, so that the device is “aware” that it can roam onto private or neutral host OnGo network to access mobile services.
Expanding LTE coverage into more places is becoming vital for enterprises and operators alike, as overall demand for mobile connectivity is unabated. Industrial IoT applications running on Private LTE are providing near-term opportunities, as the mobile industry expands market opportunities beyond mobile broadband into massive and critical industrial IoT applications. OnGo can address many new applications today with LTE on shared CBRS spectrum, handling both IoT and broadband access. If the operators choose to cooperate, private LTE can expand mobile broadband coverage in more indoor places as well, and everybody wins.
About Kyung Mun
Kyung Mun is a Senior Analyst at Mobile Experts LLC, a network of market and technology experts that analyze mobile communications market. Over the course of his 20+ years in wireless and cable industries in a dynamic range of roles from engineering to product management and technology strategy, he has contributed to the advancement of mobile communication, while working at leading companies in the mobile value chain including Motorola, Texas Instruments, Alcatel-Lucent, and a few startups in between. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and Georgia Tech, and an MBA from Southern Methodist University.
This article originally ran on the website of the CBRS Alliance.
Anritsu has introduced the PIM Master MW82119B-0600, a 600 MHz field passive intermodulation (PIM) analyzer to verify installation of LTE at 600 MHz cell sites currently being deployed.
Leveraging the PIM Master platform, the new model supports 600 MHz PIM measurements generated by IM3 and IM5 products and has a second built-in 1900 MHz-receiver port to measure PIM generated by third harmonic products falling in the 1900 MHz PCS bands. A standard Site Master option is available to provide field technicians with a single instrument to perform PIM plus cable and antenna line sweep measurements.
The 600 MHz PIM Master measures RF power with two CW tones from 20 dBm to 46 dBm in 0.1 dBm steps. The high RF power measurement capability makes it easier for field technicians to detect PIM and its cause.
All the features and functionality of the 40-Watt, battery-operated, industry-leading PIM Master platform are integrated into the PIM Master MW82119B-0600. It leverages Anritsu’s proprietary Distance-to-PIM (DTP) and has cable and antenna analyzer capability to create a single-instrument cable and PIM test solution. The PIM Master MW82119B-0600 reduces the number of instruments necessary for field technicians to take into the field, creating greater test efficiencies.
Airspan, a global vendor of LTE small cells and backhaul, has purchased Mimosa, a maker of wireless broadband point-to-point and point-to-multipoint with an engineering center in Silicon Valley.
The deal strengthens Airspan in the area of network infrastructure by adding to its technologies and products, sales channels and customer base. Airspan’s global customer base includes mobile operators, cable/MSO’s, CSPs, Wireless ISPs and private network operators in public safety, utilities, oil and gas and air-to-ground.
Airspan will continue to execute the Mimosa channel-led sales strategy, which will also be used for the distribution of Airspan’s existing products for specific vertical markets, such as private LTE and applications in the newly available CBRS spectrum band.
“Mimosa brings important intellectual property to the table and accelerates Airpsan’s path to delivering 5G features such as Massive MIMO to the industry” said Eric Stonestrom, CEO of Airspan. “Furthermore, Mimosa’s disruptive and award-winning fixed wireless technology addresses the rapidly growing wireless broadband markets and further establishes Airspan as a leader in the convergence of densified 4G/5G mobile network backhaul and broadband access. Also the strong distribution channel allows Airspan products to be sold to many more customers.”
Participants in a January Network Computingwebinar sponsored by the MulteFire Alliance, a membership organization, and disseminated by UBM, an event organizer, sorted out the competing aspects of enterprise networking using Long Term Evolution (LTE) high-speed wireless communications. Derek Peterson, Ph.D., chief technology officer of Boingo Wireless, said it is important for wireless networks to take advantage of all available radio-frequency spectrum to support the coming 5G LTE wireless technology.
Peterson serves as a member of the board of directors of the MulteFire Alliance, an international association dedicated to promoting MulteFire, which is a form of LTE deployment in unlicensed frequency bands. Since 2006, Boingo Wireless has been deploying cellular and Wi-Fi networks in large venues, and Peterson said the company seeks economical ways to continue deployment in enterprises and smaller locations on behalf of wireless carriers, venues or systems integrators, as the case may be.
Where traditional LTE technology may be unprofitable for an individual wireless carrier to deploy, MulteFire LTE technology might allow enough costs to be shared that an installation could turn a profit. Source: MulteFire Alliance
Derek Peterson, Ph.D., chief technology officer of Boingo Wireless, and a member of the MulteFire Alliance board of directors. Photo by Don Bishop
“MulteFire allows you to deploy LTE in a simple way, enabling a neutral-host solution to serve many players that could become a part of the network for ubiquitous coverage,” Peterson said. He said the same parties, including wireless internet service providers and neutral-host providers (such as Boingo) that have deployed Wi-Fi in hotels and enterprises can release LTE capability to users who want the connectivity it provides.
MulteFire suits frequency bands with over-the-air contention for fair sharing with other LTE and Wi-Fi services, Peterson said. MulteFire has LTE’s quality of service (QoS) class identifier (CI — together, QCI) mechanism that ensures bearer traffic is allocated appropriate QoS. Peterson said MulteFire guarantees latency for specific applications. Whether MulteFire shares 5-GHz spectrum with Wi-Fi or 3.5-GHz spectrum with Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) devices and other LTE providers, Peterson said, the technology has built-in coexistence as a key component. Encryption, authentication and authorization support secure communications, he said, and MulteFire is suitable for near-band internet-of-things communications.
Because it can use various frequency bands, Peterson said the technology can deliver superior wireless communications range whether indoors or outdoors. He said many providers foresee 1-gigabit-per-second (1 Gbps) service with 1-millisecond latency connecting many devices in a dense environment. This points to the use of smaller cells, which MulteFire supports.
When it comes to deployment, Peterson said some venues want coverage even though the individual wireless carriers may find it too expensive to extend their networks into those venues. He said Boingo’s traditional deployments relied on using wireless carriers’ licensed spectrum and on funding from the carriers. Peterson said that in the future, Boingo looks forward to installing neutral-host systems that take advantage of common spectrum that reduces deployment cost while meeting the needs of the carriers and the venues — and maybe persuading the venues to share some of the cost.
“The way we’re going to deploy these networks in the future serves many opportunities,” Peterson said. “It serves traditional deployment that uses carrier spectrum and perhaps carrier aggregation for a wider channel for a better user experience for that specific carrier. In addition to that, we can serve more than one carrier because we’re using a neutral band, 5 GHz, 3.5 GHz or some other unlicensed or shared band. The single deployment can serve all of the operators, whether they are mobile network operators (MNOs), multisystem operators (MSOs), mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) or others that want to share the network and provide connectivity.” Peterson said MulteFire also can provide discrete channels for specific MNOs to use in delivering special services.
Alex Glaser, director of development at Harbor Research, also spoke at the webinar. He gave some details from the MulteFire Alliance-sponsored Harbor Research white paper, “MulteFire in the Enterprise: Driving Innovation and Value Creation.” A recording of the webinar and a copy of the white paper are available via hyperlinks on the MulteFire Alliance website, www.multefire.org.
This article originally ran in the September issue of AGL Magazine.
Redzone Wireless in Rockland, Maine, began deploying a fixed LTE high-speed wireless broadband data network in 2014 to replace a network that was made for a mobile environment. With its undulating hills and heavily treed terrain, Maine is not the easiest state in which to deploy a wireless network. Obstacles between base station antenna sites and user devices that blocked line-of-sight radio wave propagation inhibited each site’s market potential.
In three years, Redzone has expanded its coverage to more than 100 communities, 40,000 businesses and 240,000 households throughout Maine through the use of fixed LTE.
“We ended up replacing our former network equipment with Telrad’s fixed LTE radio access network, evolved packet core and customer premises equipment,” Jim McKenna, the president of Redzone, said. “As a result, we realized 25 percent greater coverage and increased speeds by 5 Mbps in a 20-megahertz-wide channel. The end-to-end solution also provided us with improved stability across the network. Fixed LTE also provided critical non-line-of-sight penetration to capture more market share per tower.”
Wireless Revolution, Evolution
In the early part of this century, small wireless internet service providers were eager to join the market, as unlicensed 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz bands provided an attractive business case. Telecom operators, on the other hand, were skeptical of anything in unlicensed bands because their business model was not set up to take on the risk of losing capacity caused by interference.
Since that time, some operators have fallen by the wayside or changed names, but many of the early adopters are still playing major roles in the evolution of wireless broadband. Various access technologies have been used: Wi-Fi, mesh, WiMAX, proprietary point-to-multipoint and now standards-based LTE. That’s the evolution.
For example, Wharton County Electric Cooperative (WCEC) in southeast Texas used WiMAX 802.16 wireless broadband technology for four years until a competitor began crowding the spectrum, making it a challenge to offer a high-quality service and higher throughputs to their customers.
As a result, WCEClooked for a better solution for its subscribers. The co-op settled on Telrad 4G/LTE dual-mode radios. “We understood that the upfront investment was slightly higher, but the quality of the equipment and therefore our service was much improved,” said Keith Beal, manager of information technology and metering for WCEC. “The range and capacity are outstanding. These are critical as we upgrade and grow our network.”
The challenge with Wi-Fi-based networks is that additional equipment is needed to meet increased capacity demand; increased interference between towers reduces capacity because of the unlicensed spectrum. LTE uses licensed or managed spectrum and avoids the problem. Operators find that the cost savings realized by using unlicensed radios is mitigated by losing capacity because of interference. The message? Base the purchase decision on network return on investment, not the cost of a radio. LTE is also the first non-line-of-sight technology that increases the market potential for each tower, something not often factored into the business plan when purchasing equipment.
Migrating to LTE resolves the interference issue because the 3.65-GHz spectrum is standardized. Having high confidence that the network is reliable and having downtime minimal provide an excellent blueprint for seamlessly working with, and not against, nature’s abundant beauty that often plagues operators, said Redzone’s McKenna.
So where is it all headed, and who will be the visionaries?
They will be the companies that build upon the engineering successes of their predecessors and that expand their networks to meet the growing demands of video streaming. That’s the revolution.
Fixed LTE can tackle six fixed wireless access market challenges:
Streaming video. Gone are the days of simply being connected, viewing web pages and shopping. Why? Because households and offices are streaming video to multiple devices simultaneously, which chews through operator capacity. The video evolution from standard definition to high definition to 4K will keep the pressure on capacity.
Software-defined radios.Service providers want to add capacity to their networks without a tower climb to upgrade equipment. One solution is to deploy software-defined radios, which allow for remote capacity upgrades without a truck roll.
Standards-based.Service providers of all sizes want to deploy quality, standards-based fixed broadband wireless access solutions at price points that generate profits, increase their return on investment and give them more vendor options and more exit value.
Changing how consumers buy broadband.Not many end users know the difference or effect of buying a 15-Mbps best-effort service compared with a 25-Mbps best-effort service. With multiple streams per household, operator capacity is being consumed with no increase in revenue. In rural markets, the trend will be for operators to offer packages based on the number of streams the customer wants supported, bringing clarity to the user about what they are actually buying.
Evolution path.Operators know that video is usurping capacity. LTE’s roadmap goes to LTE-Advanced, LTE-Advanced PRO and then 5G. Operators care less about what it’s called and more about how much more capacity can be delivered incrementally. LTE standards are driven by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) via the GSM Association.
Non-line-of-sight.At the end of the day, reaching end-users in any environment increases the market share per tower. LTE is a non-line-of-sight technology, and the standards will continue to advance and enhance this capability. Non-line-of-site also means never having to say “I can’t serve you,” which occurs afterspending operator time and energy to determine that the customer can’t be served. That represents a loss for both parties.
Fixed LTE is a Game-changer
Fixed LTE is not a technology that uses the same assumptions as other wireless technologies. In fact, it would be a disaster if this operator deployed a fixed LTE network using the same methodology and ideas as Wi-Fi or other proprietary technologies.
Here are some differences:
LTE makes use of hybrid automatic repeat request (HARQ), along with dynamic rate adaptation as part of a media access control (MAC) scheduler, to ensure consistent, reliable performance in a multipath, non-line-of-sight environment. Other wireless technologies lack this scheduling capability and try to avoid multipath propagation, which ultimately limits deployments to line-of-sight paths.
LTE isnon-line-of-sight technology. As Redzone experienced, a dense fixed wireless access deployment can result in unwanted self-interference. This is because professionally installed directional customer premises equipment is preferred, because of the link budget benefits. These higher-gain directional antennas translate to increased reliability along with higher modulation and coding, which ultimately improves the overall capacity of the sector. This can create challenges in a handover-enabled network, because directional subscribers can easily wind up interweaving in terms of sector associations, resulting in unnecessary inference. This can be managed through careful planning with the use of alignment tools, along with cell-locking.
The success of any deployment directly correlates with the radio network design. When radio planning is executed carefully, an operator can optimize coverage and throughput, which in turn provides a greater return on investment. For example, the antenna in a 3-GHz non-line-of-sight deployment needs to be two to three times higher than the tree canopy for an optimized sector implementation. This minimizes the attenuation by optimizing the angle of incidence.
Understanding how LTE works, in addition to using the proper network tools at the beginning of a project, provides the best chances for a successful installation, thereby eliminating reactive cleanup at the tower.
Roderick Kelly is cofounder of K+L Storytellers. For information about the fixed LTE wireless access equipment described in the article, visit www.redzonewireless.com.