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back to article Huawei set to pump MILLIONS into 5G mobe networking research

Chinese networking kit giant Huawei plans to pump $600m into 5G research over the next five years. The company said that it expects to see the next generation wireless networks reach speeds of over 10Gbps by 2020 when 5G is expected to be available for commercial deployment. Huawei's predicted speeds are 100 times faster than …

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Hmmm Vodafone can't even pipe decent speeds to their 3G network across much of the country. We'll see how 4G copes when more people sign up and coverage increases, but surely at this kind of speed backhaul would very quickly become the bottleneck?

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Anonymous Coward

Not an issue

because he who own the patents can sit back and let the cash roll in.

Let the network operators licence your IP and worry about the network config.

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"the majority of the work remains ahead of us."

He's right about that. And that work will have two parts:

1) Finding sufficient quality content to fill the bandwidth. Chances of success: Very low

2) Persuading mobile networks to price data sensibly on high speed networks. Chances of success: Nil.

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Joke

Re: "the majority of the work remains ahead of us."

Finding Quality content a problem?

What? not seen enough 'kitten' videos yet? Shirley not?

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Re: "the majority of the work remains ahead of us."

True, but you don't need 10 gbps per device to watch kitten videos. Aggregate through put maybe...

Not meaning to p*$$ over your joke though. Sorry

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Re: "the majority of the work remains ahead of us."

Not if they're in 4K resolution!

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Re: "the majority of the work remains ahead of us."

"Not if they're in 4K resolution!"

Nope, that could easily be handled by a competent 4G connection, as 4G movies would stream at around 15 Mb/s. In fact, 3G HSPA+ could easily handle it in theory, given that the theoretical speed limit is over 150 Mb/s.

In reality nobody ever sees that 150 Mb/s in the UK, but how the shortfall is split between client hardware limits, RF limitations, operator restrictions of choice, and mast/backhaul capacity contraints I don't know. Makes you wonder why they bothered with 4G at all, but perhaps somebody who knows can help me out on that?

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Re: "the majority of the work remains ahead of us."

Capacity and marketing.

4G (LTE \ WI(beta?)MAX) gives them the ability to sell the same amount of 'product' to more people using the same amount of spectrum or sell more to the same amount of people, or a combination of the two. Right now 4G will not deliver a significant cost reduction compared to 3g service because the companies are spending a fortune rolling out the new networks (all new expensive kit with r&d to be paid for, rru's, base stations, permits, significantly more backhaul, civils work etc) and they will want to recoup that so they sell it as a premium service. Higher burst rates, lower pings, less congestion etc. In time as their investment is returned and kit drops in price you will get more GB for your money (not the same GB for less as they will want to keep ARPU high), but expect the timeframe for this to be years not months.

So why anyway right? As mentioned video is a huge driver. 1080p runs about 4mbps for a mobile stream and 4k will run 12-15mbps. Whilst the penetration level of phones is unlikely to get much higher, the market share for smart phones is rising and the average capability of phones is increasing. Whilst the current networks might cope with 4k (just) the actual overall capacity wouldn't deliver it to many people simultaneously. One LTE is rolled out expect them not only to add more spectrum in time (and carrier aggregation with LTE A, rev 12 or whatever they're calling it this month) but expect MIMO and other technologies to increase airside capacity. The overall total capacity per sector on a site (usually 3 sectors per site) on a 10x10 LTE rev 9 deployment is about 73mbps. Thats not a lot of people streaming at once, especially with all the other general use. Once you start to look at 4k streaming (overkill perhaps but I can see it being a reality for mobile in 4 years) you start to need a lot of overall capacity rather than just individual link speed. Personally on LTE I can get about 30mbps max, routinely 15-20mbps. I have unlimited usage and do tend to watch my fair share of netflix etc. The more people who end up with that kind of usage the more they need to keep up with new technologies. I also expect that quite a few of the technologies touted as 5g will be implemented prior to 5g as a 4.5G.

One final big reason is that the 73mbps (or half that for a 5x5, or double for a 20x20) is a theoretical maximum, the reality is that say someone is downloading a video at 1mbps, if they are right by the site they may 'leave' 72mbps for everyone else, but if they are a couple of miles away and have a degraded signal then there might only be 60 or 50mbps of capacity left. Throw in a few people like this and you might only see 20mbps total instead of the 73. MIMO should help with this, but the underlying principal still drives the need for more capacity. Multiple carrier 3g as you mention might allow for 150mbps but you would have to throw a hell of a lot of spectrum at it to get that and LTE would deliver more for the same spectrum. The downside is you due to the error checking you need a higher minimum payload to get a working signal and if you have a negative signal to noise ratio you are in trouble.

That and of course if one network rolls out 4g, they all have to because in the eyes of the average consumer 4g must be better than 3g so why would they buy 3g? More is teh better!! etc etc.

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Stop

Coverage is more important

The industry has this all wrong. Up until a few years ago speed was important. However I would argue that it is now more important to improve coverage. Until you travel you don't realise how difficult it is to remain connected. Travelling along any major transport route (be that the motorway, A road or rail network) it is almost impossible to sustain a conversation let alone keep a VPN connection running due to coverage gaps. I can understand having little to no coverage in very remote locations but I should at least be able to sustain a decent 3G level of speed (not necessarily delivered by 3G tech) when travelling along major arterial routes.

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Re: Coverage is more important

" can understand having little to no coverage in very remote locations but I should at least be able to sustain a decent 3G level of speed (not necessarily delivered by 3G tech) when travelling along major arterial routes."

I take it you don't realise how technically difficult this is to actually achieve? A few dropped packets in a voice call doesn't matter , a few dropped packets in a data connection does as it nicely stall TCP especially if it keeps on occuring at random intervals. And the best way to do this is move at high speed and have the device constantly try to connect to base stations and deal with interference at the same time.

Just think yourself lucky you can get ANY sort of data connection on the move. 20 years ago it would have been science fiction. People are spoilt today.

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Re: Coverage is more important

@boltar : Glass half empty today?

One possible solution could be to make small, low powered base stations which can chain or repeat the connection to a proper base station. Speeds might not be amazing but it would allow them to fill some of the obvious gaps in coverage

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Re: Coverage is more important

"@boltar : Glass half empty today?"

Err no. Just stating some facts that the Ooh Shiny! crowd who think it all works by magic might not be aware of.

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Re: Coverage is more important

Yes coverage is very important but in the long run LTE will help. At the risk of sounding like a fan boy :) there are a few factors that will make the situation better.

Technology like ehprd should route 3g traffic via the 4g 'core' of the network so when you go from one tower to another and from 4g to 3g to 4g you shouldn't have any issue with the connection being broken.

MIMO should improve reception at the edges of cells which in turn will increase capacity for the cell as a whole.

Volte and Carrier Aggregation (not different companies but different carriers on different or the same lte bands) will help the most. As LTE and VoLTE starts to hit the market you will see carriers scale back their legacy networks and refarm the spectrum to LTE. Whilst you might only get a 3x3 LTE carrier in a lower frequency, CA should allow you to seamlessly lose a higher frequency band, use the lower band and switch back to the higher band when you reacquire it. At the risk of giving granny egg sucking lessons the higher the frequency the shorter the effective range, especially with building penetration. O2 and Voda have sub 1GHz lte networks, but there should be some 600MHz along in the future and combine that with 800,1800 and 2600 MHz stuff, then throw in some refarmed low end spectrum (700/900) and you should see a much smoother experience. However in some places they will be no choice but to actually build out more sites.

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But we don't even have 4G yet as originally defined

We have something that is marketed as 4G but isn't delivering.

But of course, don't let that stand in the way of wasteful development and marketing.

I can just see the future:

Blow through your entire allowance for a decade in femtosecond!

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Personally I'd just settle ...

... for them selling a 4G mifi device with a bloody RJ45 jack so I can plug it into a wired network where it can substitute for a broadband mdoem. Is this too much to ask?

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Re: Personally I'd just settle ...

How about a media bridge. Yes it means buying an extra 'thing' but it should basically allow you to go from a wifi signal to an Ethernet cable. I use one for the bluray player as I refused to pay the insane price for the 'dongle', the media bridge was half the price and works perfectly. Not the worlds best solution, but a practical work around. Huawei had \ has 3g mifi devices with a wired connection, 4g can't be that far away if you want a single box solution (theres probably a few already on the market in China).

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