Tag Archives: Mobile broadband

The Internet’s Nightmare Scenario Could Be Playing Out on Your Smartphone

5 Aug
 There is no shortage of scaremongers who believe that the future of the Internet — and by some extension, humanity — relies on keeping the Internet an even, open and neutral platform for the flow of information.It can be tough to tell whether the concern is legitimate. After all, the grim picture of an Internet that more closely resembles cable TV is a far-off notion compared to the open platform enjoyed today.

Or maybe not. A look at the wireless industry now makes the doomsayers look more like soothsayers.

Mobile carriers have begun to give the world a picture of what a net neutrality-free Internet could look like. Wireless companies have slowly but surely begun to roll out plans that favor certain content providers or entirely limit access to particular sites and apps.

Regulation of this activity is tricky. It is an area that FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has said is under supervision but “should not be prohibited out of hand.” Wheeler has not been shy about going after companies for limiting consumers’ access, but has little legal basis for going after the deals made between companies. (The FCC declined to comment for this story.)

Here’s a rundown of what T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint have been up to:

  • T-Mobile and music: The “un-carrier” has looked for ways to attract younger consumers that tend to do data-intensive smartphone activities. Streaming music from the likes of Spotify tends to take a toll, so T-Mobile decided to stop counting it against data plans.

  • AT&T and sponsored data: Sponsored data is the term that usually refers to companies paying providers to give consumers preferential access to certain websites and content, often by not counting the activity against consumer data plans.This type of plan has been in the works for some time, but finally launched in early 2014. Re/code reported that it has some smaller customers, but no big names as of yet.

  • Sprint and its Facebook/Twitter plan: This might be the most disconcerting plan of them all. With this deal, customers don’t have access to the Internet; they have access to channels. Customers can choose to have access to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram (or all four for an additional charge).Sprint bills the deal as a way for customers to have more choice while also serving to provide access for lower income customers.

  • As these deals pile up, a less-than-rosy picture of the future of mobile Internet begins to emerge. Fred Wilson, a prominent venture capitalist, recently took to his blog to discuss how these plans can seem advantageous. He focused on “zero rating,” in which companies pay providers so that their content does not count against data plans.

    “The pernicious thing about zero rating is that it is marketed as a consumer-friendly offering by the mobile carrier — ‘we are not charging you for data when you are on Spotify,'” he wrote in a post.

    “But what all of this zero rating activity is setting up is a mobile internet that looks a lot more like cable TV than our wide open Internet,” he wrote. “Soon, a startup will have to negotiate a zero rating plan before launching because mobile app customers will be trained to only use apps that are zero rated on their network.”

     

    It’s not that wireless Internet might end up becoming tiered for everyone, but freedom could become an expensive feature of smartphone plans.

    It’s not that wireless Internet might end up becoming tiered for everyone, but freedom could become an expensive feature of smartphone plans.

    Mobile broadband is regarded by the FCC differently from “fixed” broadband, which is Internet service used by devices at certain endpoints, usually computers. The most important distinction comes from the 2010 Open Internet Order, which detailed that mobile had to abide by transparency requirements but not other rules that helped ensure net neutrality for fixed broadband.

    The order meant that wireless companies like AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint could strike deals with companies that would prioritize certain content.

    This might not have seemed as big of a deal in 2010, as mobile data usage remained a fraction of the larger Internet. That changed as smartphones matured, networks grew faster and more companies tailored content for the mobile experience.

     

    Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 12.21.54 PM

     

    To capitalize on this growth, mobile broadband providers have rolled out new data plans that put caps on usage and charge for overages. Many plans once offered limited voice minutes and text messages with unlimited data. That has now flipped, with data capped and voice and text an unlimited afterthought.

    Data caps are not unique to wireless companies, and are on their way to a broader landline market. Comcast has been testing such plans and its chief executive has already said “usage-based billing” is on its way.

    The combination of data caps and sponsored content deals suddenly make the dystopian Internet future more believable. With Internet consumption pushing more into mobile, the lack of rules ensuring equal access is providing some idea of what might happen if the FCC is unable to enforce net neutrality rules.

    The result, unfortunately enough, looks a lot like a nightmare dreamt up by the most paranoid net neutrality advocates.

    Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

    Source: http://mashable.com/2014/08/04/wireless-dystopian-future-of-the-internet/

    Advertisements

    The Standards-Based LTE Network and How it All Comes Together

    25 Jun

    Mobile network operators that want to deploy LTE now want to do so on their own terms; they want to roll out ultrafast mobile broadband safe in the knowledge that one vendor’s solution will work efficiently with another, while delivering the high level of service that subscribers expect. Standards-based networks can help to drive down cost for operators, but understanding how to pull it all together can be a challenge – so how does it all come together?

    This blog and the LTE Architecture Technical Poster we have produced were born out of a couple of conversations between the two of us. We were trying to find the best way to illustrate LTE networking, show the various network nodes, explain the many interfaces, acronyms and standards that surround LTE and what people really need to know about modern mobile networks.  We quickly came to the conclusion that our previous poster, and many of the other publicly available documents explaining LTE architectures, do not do a good job of showing how the latest standards from 3GPP work together nor how LTE may be deployed as an overlay network while still inter-connecting with GSM/WCDMA and CDMA mobile and Wi-Fi networks. So we felt it was time to start again from scratch.

    With that in mind we set about designing and producing the new Alcatel-Lucent LTE Architecture Technical Poster. We felt it would be useful to highlight the most important things that people need to know and understand about LTE – how LTE fits into existing mobile networks, how it interworks with Wi-Fi, how it extends to enable new services like VoLTE, eMBMS, and so on.

    What we all need to know

    In mapping out our comprehensive LTE network, we came to the conclusion that overall LTE architecture can be broken down into a few “blocks” of related functionality, so we’ve tried to communicate those in our poster. As we began whiteboard this idea, we quickly realised a few things. One was that we needed to map out the base LTE network as a central image and include the other blocks around it. Then another was that to help make it as engaging and comprehensible as possible we would need to colour-code it, so that radio, broadcast, packet core and other functions were clear and easy to identify. Next we felt that it would be useful to split the interfaces using dashed lines for those that only carry control plane information and plain lines for user plane connections.

    Then other parts of the LTE map came into view – so we decided that we would include a table of the radio and network bearers, a table of standardized frequency bands and then a section which shows how the key LTE protocols and security work together.

    Finally we decided that each block should have a short text explaining the alphabet soup of acronyms, the role of the key network elements and what this brings to the end-user.

    Poster Layout

    All LTE, all in one place

    With this plan in place we then began work on the poster itself. Firstly we placed the main LTE and Evolved Packet Core (EPC) networking functions into a large “global view” diagram.  We then added the new broadcasting mode for LTE called eMBMS to this diagram, along with the charging nodes plus the way IP networking connects to the EPC.

    Underneath we placed a more detailed view on mobility and roaming support plus the new VoLTE solution for voice over LTE which is now being deployed in commercial networks.

    The top right-hand section of the poster illustrates how LTE can interwork with legacy 2G or 3G infrastructure that is already in place and here we covered both non-3GPP (CDMA and WLAN) and 3GPP (GSM, WCDMA and TD-SCDMA) legacy networks.

    Finally in the top left corner we placed a large table listing the main radio bands, each with its band number and frequency ranges.  It is interesting to note that before LTE was launched people tended to talk about radio bands by their frequencies – 850, 900, 1800, etc. With LTE however, we’ve noticed that people refer more to band numbers – band 2, band 17 and so on. Being able to look up the FDD and TDD bands, their commonly-used names and their frequencies seemed to us a smart idea. We also decided to highlight in bold the radio bands most commonly used in the networks.

    So that was the target –provide the best possible supporting tool showing the network and how its components all fit together. . We hope you like it and will use it each time you need to review the exact role of any of those network entities and how it interworks with the others.   If you would like to receive a hi-resolution hard copy of the LTE network poster in the mail, please click here and complete the form – please enter ‘I WANT A POSTER’ in the subject and we will be happy to send you one!

    Poster Lo Res

     

    Source: http://www.wilson-street.com/2014/06/standards-based-lte-network-comes-together/

    MiFi: A wireless Router for mobile Wi-Fi hotspots (Mobile Broadband)

    10 Oct

    MiFi

    MiFi

    With the increasing role of wireless devices and network, the internet has become now valuable resource. With its world wide use, the internet has gone to portable and mobile devices. Being used the internet in systems and laptops as Wi-Fi, the mobile broadband named MiFi has changed the outcomes of wireless router.

    MiFi works as wireless router by creating a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot to connect the mobile device with a moving broadband connection.

    A Cellular hotspot:

    With MiFi, you can access the world wide web with a simple small router. Also you need not to look-up for wifi hotspots to check your E-mail. As it is a hotspot, you can connect up to 5 devices to your router i.e. Every device with wifi accessibility can use this hubspot.

    Store your data on MiFi:

    With MiFi, you can store your data files. MiFi supports the MicroSD cards that after inserting into MiFi store the data.

    Better than Dongle:

    With Dongle, you would be allowed to connect only one device and not work as a broadband hotspot but MiFi provides you freedom to connect up to 5 device with single hotspot broadband. Thus it saves the money by providing 5 connectivity points. WiFi does not need any port to plugged in to the internet connecting device.

    On the other hand, MiFi does not need any software to install but what you need is to turn on your device and detect the signal and now you are connected.

    How to Activate:

    After Activating your MiFi SIM card, just check for all available wireless networks. Now choose MiFi from the networks and enter the network key.

    If you face a problem, then check for your account status and restart your system and MiFi. Now after restarting, detect the network signal and again enter the network key.

    Conclusion: As MiFi provides the mobile Broadband Connectivity, it simplify the connectivity issues.

     

    Source: http://volumeoftech.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/mifi-a-wireless-router-for-mobile-wi-fi-hotspots-mobile-broadband/

    LTE Asia: transition from technology to value… or die

    27 Sep

     

    I am just back from LTE Asia in Singapore, where I chaired the track on Network Optimization. The show was well attended with over 900 people by Informa’s estimate.

    Once again, I am a bit surprised and disappointed by the gap between operators and vendors’ discourse.

    By and large, operators who came (SK, KDDI, KT, Chungwha, HKCSL, Telkomsel, Indosat to name but a few) had excellent presentations on their past successes and current challenges, highlighting the need for new revenue models, a new content (particularly video) value chain and better customer engagement.

    Vendors of all stripes seem to consistently miss the message and try to push technology when their customer need value. I appreciate that the transition is difficult and as I was reflecting with a vendor’s executive at the show, selling technology feels somewhat safer and easier than value.
    But, as many operators are finding out in their home turf, their consumers do not care much about technology any more. It is about brand, service, image and value that OTT service providers are winning consumers mind share. Here lies the risk and opportunity. Operators need help to evolve and re invent the mobile value chain.

    The value proposition of vendors must evolve towards solutions such as intelligent roaming, 2-way business models with content providers, service type prioritization (messaging, social, video, entertainment, sports…), bundling and charging…

    At the heart of this necessary revolution is something that makes many uneasy. DPI and traffic classification, relying on ports and protocols is the basis of today’s traffic management and is becoming rapidly obsolete. A new generation of traffic management engines is needed. The ability to recognize content and service types at a granular level is key. How can the mobile industry can evolve in the OTT world if operators are not able to recognize a content that is user-generated vs. Hollywood? How can operators monetize video if they cannot detect, recognize, prioritize, assure advertising content?

    Operators have some key assets, though. Last mile delivery, accurate customer demographics, billing relationship and location must be leveraged. YouTube knows whether you are on iPad or laptop but not necessarily whether your cellular interface is 3G, HSPA, LTE… they certainly can’t see whether a user’s poor connection is the result of network congestion, spectrum interference, distance from the cell tower or throttling because the user exceeds its data allowance… There is value there, if operators are ready to transform themselves and their organization to harvest and sell value, not access…

    Opportunities are many. Vendors who continue to sell SIP, IMS, VoLTE, Diameter and their next generation hip equivalent LTE Adavanced, 5G, cloud, NFV… will miss the point. None of these are of interest for the consumer. Even if the operator insist on buying or talking about technology, services and value will be key to success… unless you are planning to be an M2M operator, but that is a story for another time.

    Why EE is missing the point about 4G

    18 Dec

    Running with Stethoscopes

    Everything Everywhere is spending a fortune on persuading people to spend a fortune with them. I’ve seen billboards, TV ad after TV ad, posters, radio adverts (didn’t see those, but you catch my drift) and pages in the paper. They’ve got a transient monopoly and they want to milk it for every penny they can get.

    Sadly, they’ve gone so hard at the advertising and rolling out a 4G network that they’ve failed to account for the purpose of 4G: that is, high-speed on-demand data. Nobody needs high-speed data to check their e-mails, or check facebook – 3G is perfectly adequate for that. What people want 4G for is streaming. Films, TV-channel-catch-up of choice, YouTube; name a video service, and people want to watch it on the train home in HD on their Retina-or-equivalent device.

    This is where EE have gone wrong. Video streaming eats data like Eric Pickles eats…

    View original post 503 more words

    LTE telephony finally off the ground, but take-up will be slow

    14 Aug

    Lack of phones and financial upside for operators can hinder popularity of Voice-over-LTE

    Last week saw the launch of the first commercial Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) services, but most operators are likely to take a cautious approach as they face technical and business challenges.

    U.S. operator MetroPCS as well as SK Telecom and LG Uplus in South Korea will be the first to offer VoLTE services.

    Related Content

    “It is the crystallization of all of what we have been working on in the last two years,” said Dan Warren, director of technology at industry organization GSM Association, which has lead the work to implement VoLTE.

    Eric Ericsson, head of the Mobile Telephony Evolution Program at Ericsson Networks, agrees: “It is proof that VoLTE works. I find it difficult to believe that someone would make a commercial announcement without being fairly sure that it works from a technical standpoint,” he said.

    However, take-up of telephony will be slow compared to the roll-out of commercial LTE networks for mobile broadband, which is expected to reach 150 networks by the end of the year, according to industry organization Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA).

    Expectations for VoLTE are much lower, according to market researcher Dell’Oro Group.

    “There will be up to ten commercial launches next year around various parts of the world. The success or failure at MetroPCS and shortly thereafter Verizon Wireless and what happens in Korea will determine whether the other projects go ahead quickly or slowly,” said Chris DePuy, analyst at Dell’Oro.

    For operators, VoLTE has to make sense both technically and financially, and the latter may be a struggle in the short term, according to DePuy.

    “The problem with VoLTE is that operators aren’t able to charge more than for current voice services, and therefore carriers are spending money but not getting more revenue; possibly even getting less revenue because voice usage is going down, and it’s very competitive,” said DePuy.

    Swedish TeliaSonera was the first to launch a commercial LTE network for mobile broadband in 2009. But when it comes to moving voice to 4G the operator won’t be an early adopter, as it sees few advantages over existing systems, according to Tommy Ljunggren, vice president of system development at TeliaSonera.

    “The drivers for us in Europe for implementing VoLTE for economic reasons are not strong. In the long term, and that is in the very long term, it will be easier for us to handle just IP. But producing VoLTE isn’t automatically cheaper than circuit-switched voice,” said Ljunggren.

    TeliaSonera will instead continue to rely on CS (Circuit-Switched) Fallback, a mechanism that allows smartphones to access the Internet using LTE and then switch to GSM or 3G when there is an incoming call. So the radios for GSM and 3G as well as LTE don’t have to be turned on at the same time, which increases battery life.

    Warren, on the other hand, isn’t a big proponent of CS Fallback.

    “I am hoping [the first launches] will give a strong indication that within the next 12 to 18 months operators can take the step directly into VoLTE and not encumber themselves with a CS Fallback launch,” said Warren.

    Proponents say VoLTE will result in better voice quality thanks to lower latency and HD Voice becoming a defacto standard. There is nothing in the VoLTE specification that makes implementing HD Voice mandatory, but most operators are still expected to do that, according to Warren.

    The improved quality HD Voice offers is possible thanks to AMR-WB (Adaptive Multi-Rate – Wideband), a speech-compression algorithm that doubles the range of voice frequencies transmitted.

    To take full advantage of the improvement HD Voice can offer, users also need phones and headsets with good sound quality.

    “More and more people are using headsets, and you can really tell that there is a difference in quality. There are lots that are really bad,” said Ljunggren.

    However, HD Voice isn’t a VoLTE exclusive, and has already been implemented in over 40 3G networks, according to GSA. Lower connection times should give VoLTE an edge over CS Fallback, but the technology also introduces new potential problems, according to Ljunggren.

    That’s because the implementation of VoLTE also means telephony traffic is moved from a circuit-switched world to one where everything is IP-based.

    “Previous mobile networks have been optimized for telephony and SMS, while LTE has been optimized for offering broadband connections that are as fast as possible,” said Ericsson.

    The challenge is to ensure the quality of the voice service on that data-centric network, including at the edge of a cell or network where the available bandwidth is limited, according to Ericsson. The key to doing that is prioritizing voice over data, he said.

    “From the LTE device, telephony is sent using one radio bearer or pipe and data is sent using another pipe, and if a conflict arises, the telephony gets priority,” said Ericsson.

    Getting the quality right will be important to operators. The disaster scenario is that the quality and coverage is not as good as the old telephony systems, according to DePuy, who nonetheless is still optimistic about the outlook for the pioneering operators.

    “I actually do think they will be successful. Technically it will work,” said DePuy.

    The use of traffic prioritization opens up discussions on network neutrality, but Ljunggren isn’t too worried.

    “As long as we offer other services the same possibilities to use QoS and priority, I don’t see a problem with using it for VoLTE,” he said.

    VoLTE is powered by the IP Multimedia Subsystem framework, the implementation of which also allows operators to roll out over-the-top services such as instant messaging based in turn on a specification called Rich Communication Suite (RCS).

    Work on the suite started in 2008, and the goal was to turn IMS into standardized services for operators. IMS had been around for a long time, but due to the framework’s complexity it hadn’t taken off, a situation which RCS was meant to change.

    Even though it is off to a slow start, there is a lot of hope in the telecom industry that RCS will help operators develop more attractive offerings and compete with Web-based services, while at the same time potentially delaying the arrival of VoLTE.

    “In the past month or so, bundling voice and messaging has become a priority for operators, and that is having somewhat of a delaying effect,” said DePuy.

    The combination of VoLTE and RCS will allow users to communicate in new ways, according to Warren. The vision is that they will be able to see who is available, and chat, share files across any device, on any network, with anyone in their address book.

    “What I think will be really interesting is the step beyond that when operators expose those capabilities to application developers,” said Warren.

    But even if VoLTE works well, it won’t take off until there are a number of great smartphones for users to choose between, including a future version of Apple’s iPhone.

    “Handsets will be shipping in small volumes initially, and that is not good for keeping prices low,” said DePuy.

    TeliaSonera’s motivation to implement VoLTE isn’t helped by the fact that Europe is behind the U.S. when it comes to rolling out 4G. That has resulted in fewer smartphones and tablets being adapted for the European spectrum bands.

    The launches in South Korea and the U.S. are backed by LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics, with smartphones like the Galaxy S III available. It is good news that Samsung is onboard, according to Warren. But when it comes to Apple he isn’t as hopeful.

    “When it comes to this kind of technological evolution, Apple isn’t on the bleeding edge. Instead it is relatively cautious,” said Warren.

    Together Samsung and Apple own the smartphone market with a 50 percent market share, according to IDC.

    Still, the arrival of the first VoLTE services is a really positive step for 4G as a whole, and shows that LTE can become the preeminent technology for all services, according to Warren.

    Source: http://www.networkworld.com/news/2012/081312-lte-telephony-finally-off-the-261604.html?hpg1=bn – By Mikael Rickna$?s, August 13, 2012

    %d bloggers like this: