Verizon and Google Cloud are working together to bring the power of the cloud closer to mobile and connected devices at the network edge, according to Verizon.
“With Verizon 5G Edge with Google Distributed Cloud Edge, Verizon plans to bring Google’s compute and storage services to the edge of the local network enabling the bandwidth and low latency needed to support real-time enterprise applications like autonomous mobile robots, intelligent logistics and factory automation,” a statement from Verizon reads. “The companies expect that this combination of Verizon’s private On Site 5G and private 5G Edge with Google Distributed Cloud Edge will enable enterprises in industries from retail to manufacturing to unlock the power of 5G and mobile edge computing and gain operational efficiencies, higher levels of security and reliability, and improved productivity.”
Verizon and Google Cloud also plan to develop public 5G mobile edge computing for developers and enterprises, the wireless carrier said. It said that the public 5G Edge solution has the potential to enable developers to build and deploy applications at the edge of Verizon’s wireless network in various locations throughout the United States.
“By working with partners like Google Cloud and Ericsson, we’re building the 5G edge compute ecosystem that will enable enterprises in many industries to benefit from having a completely dedicated private network and edge compute infrastructure on premise,” said Rima Qureshi, chief strategy officer at Verizon. “5G Edge with Google Distributed Cloud Edge will give our customers the ability to connect and manage a broad range of devices at scale and speed while also providing highly secure, near real-time connectivity. This will allow companies to unlock greater value from data and enable innovative applications involving computer vision, augmented and virtual reality, and machine learning.”
Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud, said that his company’s infrastructure and expertise in data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning is enabling the rapid development and deployment of new services and applications.
“By bringing intelligence from data centers to the network edge, Verizon 5G Edge with Google Distributed Cloud Edge will allow customers to build new cross-industry edge solutions, unlock new revenue models and transform the next generation of customer experiences,” Kurian said. “From AI-driven in-store operations to live inventory management on the factory floor, the possibilities span multiple industries.”
Verizon said that Ericsson would collaborate with it to pilot 5G Edge with Google Distributed Cloud Edge as part of a proof of concept at Ericsson’s USA 5G Smart Factory. It said that the first trial use case involves Verizon’s Sensor Intelligence solution, which involves attaching a camera to an autonomous mobile robot that will scan packages to maintain inventory and location of indirect materials in the factory’s warehouse. Then, using computer vision, the robot will communicate the bar code and shipping label data via 5G and mobile edge computing to the inventory management system, providing real-time analytics to improve logistics, Verizon said.
“Ericsson’s Smart Factory is where we’re putting the principles of the Fourth Industrial Revolution into action,” said Niklas Heuveldop, president and head of Ericsson North America. “Technologies like Verizon’s 5G Edge, which is built on Ericsson’s 5G private network technology, are critical for unlocking 5G’s true potential, and this pilot brings real-time data to make operations more efficient, secure and cost-effective. Testing this technology with autonomous mobile robots in our Smart Factory is an important step on the journey to the factory of the future.”
The FCC has voted to approve – with strong consumer protection conditions – the transfer of control of TracFone Wireless from América Móvil to Verizon Communications. After rigorous review, the FCC said it found that the transaction, as modified by Verizon’s enforceable commitments, will make Verizon and Tracfone stronger providers of prepaid and Lifeline services.
Given the communities that TracFone primarily serves within the U.S., the FCC adopted a number of binding conditions to address potential harms and to ensure the transaction will be in the public interest. These conditions include strong parameters to:
Protect low-income consumers from price increases;
Ensure that TracFone remains a supportive Lifeline participant;
Guarantee the availability of affordable 5G devices and service offerings to underserved consumers;
Maintain the existing packages of TracFone subscribers;
Market and provide customer services for Lifeline and prepaid customers, including non-English speaking customers; and
Make sure that customers are not left behind by the transition onto Verizon’s network.
The FCC also adopted strong, independent mechanisms for enforcing these conditions and ensuring that the transaction does not harm low-income or other consumers. These enforcement mechanisms include both an internal and an independent compliance officer who are empowered to proactively monitor conditions, ensure that low-income consumers are not being harmed, and facilitate consumer complaints about potential violations. Given the likelihood that any violation of these conditions could harm low-income consumers, today’s order also requires regular public reporting and more than seven years of oversight.
Specifically, as described more fully in the order, Verizon must:
Offer TracFone’s Lifeline-supported services over the same service areas for at least seven years;
Offer a free, compatible device or SIM in certain circumstances where Lifeline customers are being required to transition to Verizon’s network;
Continue to offer and advertise existing Lifeline plans, with no added co-pays to TracFone’s existing Lifeline plans offered at no cost to prepaid customers for at least three years;
Make available to existing and new Lifeline prepaid customers a 5G plan and offer a range of cost-effective 5G devices to existing and new Lifeline customers;
Maintain a specified level of marketing and advertising expenditures for Lifeline Establish and maintain a dedicated website with information about the Lifeline program and a dedicated customer service line for Lifeline customers;
Maintain TracFone’s existing MVNO agreements to serve customers outside Verizon’s network coverage (including Puerto Rico, and maintain existing TracFone rate plans for new and existing customers for three years;
Maintain an exclusive, toll-free customer service line for customer transition;
Conduct outreach, advertise, and display all plans on a dedicated website;
Notify customers at least twice before they are transitioned to Verizon’s network;
Offer a free, compatible device or SIM in certain circumstances where Lifeline customers are being required to transition to Verizon’s network;
Extend its 60-day unlocking period to all 700 MHz C Block devices purchased from TracFone after closing and activated on the Verizon network;
Provide notice to affected TracFone customers of its unlocking policy;
Provide MVNOs that have current contracts with Verizon an option to extend, subject to certain limitations specified in the order, their existing MVNO wholesale agreements, on the same terms and conditions, on a month-to-month basis until three years after the transaction closes;
Submit publicly available semi-annual reports describing its compliance that includes information regarding Lifeline and non-Lifeline customers for seven years;
Pay for and retain both an internal company compliance officer and an independent compliance officer to ensure compliance with these commitments for seven and a half years; and
Assume liability for forfeitures, restitution, or other obligations that may be imposed by the Commission or the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) on TracFone. In addition, Verizon will comply with any agreements with the Commission or USAC, including following any compliance plans, or other obligations, agreed to by TracFone, its subsidiaries, or any successors or assigns.
AT&T and Verizon Communications have agreed to delay by a month the commercial launch of their C-band wireless service pending an assessment of any effect on aviation safety. Both carriers had planned to launch their C-Band networks in early December, but have postponed deployment until early January.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the FCC said in a joint statement they would “continue to coordinate closely to ensure that the United States keeps pace with the rest of the world in deploying next-generation communications technologies safely and without undue delay.”
Both carriers agreed they would delay deployment at the Transportation Department’s request. AT&T said it would “continue to work in good faith with the FCC and the FAA to understand the FAA’s asserted co-existence concerns. It is critical that these discussions be informed by the science and the data.”
In August, just a few months before the C-Band spectrum was scheduled to be put to use commercially, aviation groups started pressing the FCC to halt the auction of that spectrum until more research on the effects of 5G operations in the C-Band can be understood and aviation groups can improve the resilience of future radar altimeter designs. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile have collectively spent more than $100 billion on C-band spectrum licenses for 5G so far this year.
“The deployment of 5G in the C-band could lead to possible harmful radio frequency interaction with radar altimeters,” David Silver, AIA vice president for civil aviation, told Aviation Today magazine earlier this year. “Protecting the frequency bands used by these sensors, which provide direct measurements of an aircraft’s clearance height over terrain or other obstacles, is imperative to the safe operations of thousands of civil aircraft and the well-being of the flying public.”
Verizon and Lockheed Martin have signed an agreement to collaborate on 5G.MIL technologies that will provide ultra-secure, reliable connections for U.S. Department of Defense systems, bringing together high-tech platforms into a cohesive network spanning air, land, sea, space and cyber domains. The strategic relationship agreement also establishes a joint research and development lab framework to prototype, demonstrate and test 5G.MIL technologies.
Lockheed Martin’s 5G.MIL program is a robust, 5G-enabled, heterogeneous network that integrates military tactical, strategic and enterprise networks, and leverages existing telecommunication infrastructure technology. 5G.MIL will enable interoperability between 5G networks, NextG networks and operational DoD networks to enable effective and resilient communication across all domains.
Earlier this week, Lockheed Martin and Verizon conducted a joint demonstration using a Verizon private 5G network installed at Lockheed Martin Space’s 5G Test Range in Colorado, connected to a Lockheed Martin open mission system processor running mission applications at the Skunk Works Integration Facility and Test Center in Texas.
Initial tests demonstrated interoperability between Lockheed Martin open tactical gateway solutions and Verizon’s On Site 5G network technology. Specifically, situational awareness applications receiving Link-16 standard messages were linked to 5G user devices. Verizon’s infrastructure and Lockheed Martin’s open mission system tactical gateway technologies will help to address future anticipated requirements for tactical operations.
“Verizon is at the cutting edge when it comes to building out reliable, high performance 5G Ultra Wideband networks with mobile edge computing capabilities,” said Kyle Malady, chief technology officer at Verizon. “Our work with Lockheed Martin will help enable the creation of new and innovative products and technologies, helping DoD leaders achieve the goals laid out in their 5G strategy.”
“Lockheed Martin’s deep understanding of DoD mission requirements coupled with Verizon’s wireless expertise will truly enable the Joint All-Domain Operations battlespace our customers envision,” said Rod Makoske, chief engineer and senior vice president of engineering and technology at Lockheed Martin. “Leveraging commercial 5G technologies with military-grade enhancements will let customers field, scale and deploy this technology faster and in more operational environments.”
For more information, visit www.lockheedmartin.com/5G and http://www.verizon.com/about/our-company/5g.
Amid all the chatter about how “5G has arrived” and the constant barrage of news bytes that 5G will change the world and has hit new data speeds, yada, yada, yada, comes a reality check from an unlikely media source in the computer world – PCMag (PCRag, as I like to call it).
PCMag is a consumer pub that spends more time doing happy camper surveys between ads about curing dementia and toenail fungus. It likes to talk about things such as who is the fastest internet provider, tips and tricks on Windows optimization, kicking your kids off of Wi-Fi, and finding hidden secrets of apps like Tic Toc and Facebook, rather than providing serious discussions about wireless technology. Every once in a while, it does seem to hit a 5G nail on the head. In this case, PCMag commented on a Finnish report that noted reliable and somewhat pervasive 5G will not arrive before 2027.
I have been hard on the industry hype that claims any real presence of 5G. Sure, deployment and coverage of 5G will become increasingly visible in what I like to call islands, as the rollout proceeds. However, these islands will only offer limited footprints for some time to come. But, as the PCMag journalist pointed out, being able to use 5G for your primary communications network, consistently, is years away.
How one sees 5G is subjective and depends upon a number of factors, just like how one sees quantum computing (QC). Yes, we have a couple of — if one stretches the envelope — quantum computers. They are housed in a sterile environment kept at zero degrees Kelvin. They are highly susceptible to movement, vibration, even looing at it with an evil eye, and must be kept in extremely stable environments. Under these conditions, they do function as quantum computers. In reality, depending upon with whom one speaks, opinions vary from “yes, we have” to “practical quantum computing” is likely a couple of decades off (Gartner, expes at least 10 more years of hype, according to a recent report). However, the unqualified answer to that question is no, we do not have real QC now.
This kind of pushing the envelope is commonplace. Not just with QC, but also with platforms such as wireless, autonomous vehicles and smart X, as well as technologies such as dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) virtualization, software-defined networking (SDN) and O-RAN. In all of these cases, we can say it has arrived, but as well, in all of these cases, the technology or platform is nascent.
Porting that to 5G, if we had listened to the hypsters, we have had 5G since 2019. Do you remember AT&T’s attempt to sell 5G by issuing phone updates that changed the 4G icon to 5GE? Over the last year or so, we have deployed 5G, but only as non-standalone (NSA).
However, these deployments are isolated islands of 5G, with minimal performance (read: performance is not much better than 4G). Does that mean we have 5G? Or does having 5G mean we have the ubiquitous 5G deployments and performance hitting the hype that has been levied these past couple of years? Add to that the fact that only 4 percent of respondents in a Morgan Stanley report said they would switch carriers to access new technologies like 5G. To me, this does not sound like we have 5G.
Another set of financials released by Elisa, a wireless carrier in Finland, on the operator’s 5G launch said it made $3.50 per month per customer from 5G. However, the details are sketchy, and the report does not break down that number further.
Most carriers, globally, are calling 5G a success and throwing out figures and hype that make it sound like 5G is on a fast track. Perhaps that is true in countries like Korea and China, but in the western hemisphere, carriers are simply exaggerating what the numbers really mean. And the hype continues.
Although it is old news now, recall when T-Mo got caught exaggerating claims of 5G being nationwide. Also, remember the National Advertising Division of BBB National Programs examined some of T-Mobile’s claims about having the best 5G network and found that they were potentially misleading to customers.
T-Mo does have a good dispersion of 5G at the lower frequencies they use. However, the benefits of 5G are not as spectacular in lower frequencies as they are at frequencies with more available bandwidth (above 6 GHz). Hence, while T-Mo may cover 200 million people, that coverage is qualified with location — not everywhere or all the time — and performance. Typically, T-Mo’s 5G at these frequencies only comes in at just over 100 Mbps. Although that is a two-to-three-times improvement over typical 4G data speeds (~35 Mbps), it is not nearly the super-speeds of the hype — although that may change somewhat when they bring the midband spectrum they acquired from the merger with Sprint online.
Other carriers, such as AT&T and Verizon, are working at mmWave frequencies. These do deliver significantly faster speeds. However, we are all aware of the propagation and penetration shortcomings of mmWave in large-area coverage and building penetration. Therefore, they are more working with siloed deployments in dense, high-traffic areas in cities, stadiums and, soon, airports, campuses and other similar footprint areas. Where these limited mmWave networks are deployed, the speeds are impressive — anywhere from 600 Mbps to 1.5 Gbps in the most stellar installations. Yet, in other than a few shining examples, the hype still continues.
Okay, circling back to the issue of do we or do we not have 5G — IMHO, as with QC, the unqualified answer is no, and the qualified answer is yes, but it is still nascent. I tend to agree that it will be years before we can say we have a 5G network that meets the expected performance of the 3GPP specs and does so with a large enough global footprint so much of the time the user has access to it.
The best perspective comes from an observation that emerged from the recent Brooklyn 6G Summit. The overall consensus was that 5G has a long way to go, with much that needs to be learned and applied in 5G, before we tackle 6G. That knowledge base will be what shapes the future beyond 5G (B5G), years from now.
Ernest Worthman is an executive editor with AGL Media Group.