* Posts by ARGO

141 posts • joined 23 Apr 2012

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Hold horror stories: Chief, we've got a f*cking idiot on line 1. Oh, you heard all that

ARGO

Re: I live in fear of the day…

(insert facetime joke here)

Trolling in the Reg's forums... we mean, er, 'working' on the train still rubbish thanks to patchy data coverage

ARGO

Best connectiviity routing?

There was somebody punting that at Mobile World Congress a couple of years back. Never heard of it since....

Upcoming report from UK's Huawei handler will blast firm for unresolved security issues

ARGO

Er, have you read the Reuters link?

"The GSMA mobile operators' trade association refused to comment on a Reuters report that later this month it will propose an emergency meeting to impose a de facto ban on the use of Huawei equipment by its members."

Perhaps because that's not what the Reuters report says? GSMA doesn't have the authority to ban anything. The report was suggesting they might discuss a response to government bans.

(Given that the big three Chinese operators are all GSMA members, it would be interesting to see what response they come up with!)

If I could turn back time, I'd tell you to keep that old Radarange at home

ARGO

Re: Pesky microwaves

Leaf growth is a common problem for mobile network coverage. We can detect the start of spring from our coverage measurements!

You were told to clean up our systems, not delete 8,000 crucial files

ARGO

Re: xfer

I once worked in a lab where we were testing a laser. So obviously all the data files were called "Latest" :-/

If most punters are unlikely to pay more for 5G, why all the rush?

ARGO

Re: 5G: it will be a genuine game-changer?

As someone who was involved in designing the physical layer of the first 3G products, I can say for sure that Doppler correction was present at that point.

LG's beer-making bot singlehandedly sucks all fun, boffinry from home brewing

ARGO

Beer in the Sodastream?

Well at least you didn't try to make a milkshake in it, like one of my university housemates did. That took much more than a day to sort out.

Expired cert... Really? #O2down meltdown shows we should fear bungles and bugs more than hackers

ARGO

Re: Not-so-hidden subsidies

Cables and holes aren't generally the mobile company's job - the backhaul is usually provided by Openreach, Virgin, or one of the dedicated business network companies. Of course the cost of that would increase if the overheads did, but it would increase for everyone, not just mobile co's

Planning permission for towers is abbreviated only in certain cases. A remarkable percentage have to go to appeal to get built. (and the same folk who object sometimes complain about lack of a decent mobile signal!)

ARGO

Re: When did UK mobile networks get a taxpayer subsidy?

Pre nationalisation? They didn't do mobile then.

Total Inability To Support User Phones: O2 fries, burning data for 32 million Brits

ARGO

Re: 999

Only part of that works in the UK. Although you can dial 999 without a SIM card, UK networks will not connect the call. This is by order of OFCOM as there were large numbers of untraceable hoax calls when it was allowed. (with a SIM card - even an expired one - it all works as standards intended)

While everyone coos at the promise of 5G, UK network Three asks if it can tempt you with 4G+

ARGO

It needs to be category 6 or higher to take advantage. From their website, current 3uk routers are only cat 4. The handset range goes up to cat 18 though.

ARGO

Re: Such a con

Nope, that was the yanks. No UK network ever called HSDPA 4G.

We asked 100 people to name a backdoored router. You said 'EE's 4GEE HH70'. Our survey says... Top answer!

ARGO

"supposed to"

And the last time a telco did that was....?

300,000 BT pensioners await Court of Appeal pension scheme ruling

ARGO

Re: I blame the cursed one

Took pension holidays themselves *as required by law*

Continuing to pay into schemes that were in surplus was treated as tax evasion. That turned out well.

I wonder what unintended consequences will arise from the current efforts to increase corporation tax receipts... But of course that will be a problem for some other politician.

A story of M, a failed retailer: We'll give you a clue – it rhymes with Charlie Chaplin

ARGO

Re: Further reading

To be fair, both of those are private equity. There's also (3) investing in early stage firms.

(1) and (3) account for most private equity investments.

Unfortunately the effect of (2) is much more visible. Strangely it always seems to have the same firms associated with it - you'd have thought they would run out of buyers after a couple of failures.

Brits pay £490m extra for mobes they already own – Citizens Advice

ARGO

Re: Can someone please remind of the upsides of a mobile contract...

That the device won't have all features enabled for your chosen network unless you buy it from that network. And networks are not keen to sell a device without a contract. VoLTE is a current example - get a custom device from your network and everything is shiny, bring in one from elsewhere and that service won't work.

The device vendors are working on network id based auto-config to fix this, but don't hold your breath for UK network settings in anything that isn't widely sold in the UK.

(That said, Apple have had this capability for years and do it through an online database lookup rather than stored in the device. So their models work properly everywhere.)

The grand-plus iPhone is the new normal – this is no place for paupers

ARGO

"The XR is dual SIM – although one is an eSIM slot."

From the Apple website, all three new models are dual SIM. China and Hong Kong versions have two physical SIMs, everyone else gets one eSIM plus one physical SIM

Strewth! Aussie ISP gets eye-watering IPv4 bill, shifts to IPv6 addresses

ARGO

Re: Has anyone truly made the switch?

>Deutsche Telekom's mobile daughter, T-Mobile is going all IPv6

I doubt it's fully v6, unless they don't want any roaming revenue.

Current mobile handsets use v4 when they detect they are roaming, even if their home network uses v6. That's not going to change until pretty much all networks have v6 enabled.

Can't even use dual stack - those attach requests confuse some legacy networks and leave you with no service

Huawei first to preview its 7nm phone SoC – the HiSilicon Kirin 980

ARGO

>Could any well informed commentards help me and other ignoramii out by explaining who exactly does what?

The innards of a phone broadly break down into application CPU (ACPU), modem (sometimes called CCPU) and memory. There are ancillary bits like power supply and radio filters, but nobody ever mentions their manufacturers.

A modern ACPU contains several ARM cores, usually of different capabilities to allow power optimisation. The modem will usually have one or two small ARM cores for control, but the heavy lifting is done by DSPs and dedicated logic circuitry.

In the majority of current handsets, ACPU and modem are combined in a single System on Chip (SoC) package. Apple are the main exception to this.

Hi Silicon, Samsung LSI and Mediatek make ACPUs, modems and SoCs.

Qualcomm and Spreadtrum make modems and SoCs

Intel make modems (their mobile APCUs were discontinued)

Apple only make ACPUs

There are others, but they are either specialist (e.g. in IoT devices), regional (i.e. you won't find them outside of China), or no longer making chipsets (Icera, Broadcom, Marvel, Renesas, STE.... )

Grad sends warning to manager: Be nice to our kit and it'll be nice to you

ARGO

Re: Sometimes it's the user

We had one of those at university.

But he was nowhere near as annoying as the one who had the opposite effect. I spent hours trying to fix something without success. This guy walks in and it springs to life immediately. Every. F***ing. Time. Must have been some sort of electronics deity.

What if tech moguls brewed real ale?

ARGO

Hop count exceeded

An American style IPA, obviously.

Brit mobile phone users want the Moon on a stick but then stay on same networks for aeons

ARGO

Re: more for a mobile package that has either more data volume or higher speed

>It's not really feasible to partition like that.

It is possible on 4G. And 5G is specifically designed to offer that. While there's nobody in the UK selling premium speed packages on mobile, I'm aware of several countries where it is available.

There are also some networks that offer premium speeds at certain times of day (like economy 7 did for electricity) in an effort to even out network load.

Look how modern we are! UK network Three to kill off 3G-only phones

ARGO

>I believe that Three used to roam onto O2 2G network

Originally yes; they moved the agreement to Orange a few years after launch.

Fallback to Orange 2G still works in about 25% of the country for calls and SMS. Data is disabled everywhere (but 2G data is too slow/congested for anything you might want to do on a handset anyway)

Honor bound: Can Huawei's self-cannibalisation save the phone biz?

ARGO

Re: Services and convenience

>But actually the networks are more constrained by the terms of the spectrum licences.

Not in the UK - all mobile spectrum licenses are technology agnostic. The 2013 and 2018 licences were written that way; the older licenses were amended to bring them in line. And if you read your contract T&Cs, service is provided on the condition that you are using a compatible device.

The way things look at the moment we are going to have most spectrum on 4G and 5G by 2025, with a rump left to support long term 2G contracts like smart metering and 4G phones that need a CS network for voice. 3G is expensive to run and spectrally inefficient compared to 4G, so likely to disappear completely in the UK.

ARGO

Re: Services and convenience

>Networks used to hawk phones to pimp their technology: SMS, MMS, 3G, GPS, etc.

It will soon be the other way around - turning off the old technology networks should drive phone sales nicely. And if you're on a SIM only contract, it's *your* problem when that old phone no longer works....

MPs petition for legally binding target of 95% 4G coverage across UK

ARGO

Re: Imagine

That might be OK for voice calls, but is unacceptable for data - your handset won't move network until it's finished whatever it's doing, so if you ever roamed onto a 2G network, chances are you'd never leave it.

Heir to SMS finally excites carriers, by making Google grovel

ARGO

Doubled?

"Doubled" the number of networks and users? I note the lack of actual numbers in that statement..... Suggests it's still a long way from ubiquity.

AI boffins rebel against closed-access academic journal that wants to have its cake and eat it

ARGO

Re: Blood suckers

>Perhaps these universities and learned societies could go back to publishing their own journals

Some of them still do. For example the Institute of Physics does all these: http://ioppublishing.org/publications/our-journals/

But even the journals owned by Institutes have to charge, and in most cases are expected to make a profit to subsidise the parent Institute's wider activities.

O2 UK wafts 4G coverage over 1,000 new Brit sites

ARGO

Re: Dual Carrier?

Aggregation of 2300 + 1800 would be a possibility - quite a few phones already support that. Problem is that O2's spectrum in 1800 is a pair of 5.8MHz FDD channels. That's only going to add ~15% downlink speed to the 40 MHz of TDD in 2300.

Aggregation of 800 and 2300 would be better, but I don't recall seeing a device that actually supports that.

Aggregating 900 with 2300 would be better still, but I'm not sure how far O2 have got in refarming that old GSM spectrum

BT pushes ahead with plans to switch off telephone network

ARGO

Re: Mobile as the emergency option?

>you don't get location information from mobile

Networks have always provided an area ID based on the cell the phone is connected to.

But if you have a smartphone there's a good chance it supports "Advanced Mobile Location" - the phone sends a 999 SMS with location data taken from any location info the phone itself has available.

Huawei CEO sings 'Bye, bye, mister American Pai', trims US C-suite

ARGO

Re: Ok Answers on a Postcard please...

>Three initially had a lot of ZTE. Not sure it is still the case.

They've never had ZTE kit in the UK, but there is some in group networks elsewhere in Europe.

It was NEC and Nokia to begin with, then NEC alone, then Nokia alone and is currently Nokia (3G) and Samsung (4G). Who knew - Samsung also make networks!

I had quite a lot of involvement back in the NEC days.

ARGO

Re: Ok Answers on a Postcard please...

Huawei and ZTE are both network infrastructure equipment vendors. There's a lot of Huawei kit deployed in the UK, but minimal ZTE. There's a lot of both around Europe. And recent deployments in Africa are mainly on Chinese infrastructure

Europe turns nose up at new smartphones: Beancounters predict 7% sales drop

ARGO

Re: So why should I be upgrading again?

"5G is marketing term defined solely on the speed of the network. "

Correct from an ITU point of view. But in this context it's referring to 3GPP standards, specifically R15 and R16.

Your current phone wont work as in the new standards (a) the air interface has completely changed ("5G New Radio") and (b) 5G networks will be deployed in spectral bands that current phones don't support.

(There's also (c) core protocols have changed, but a commercial 5G core is some way off so don't need to worry about that yet.)

ARGO

Re: really? 5G as the big draw?

"my company (three) was giving less priority to packets coming from 3G devices to make 4G look better"

That's unlikely to be a deliberate policy: 3G and 4G cores are separate entities. As are 3G and 4G spectrum on most networks. For UK networks its the spectrum rather than the core that limits your throughput. Unfortunately the speed goes down as the number of customers goes up.

In the early days of 4G you could have a whole mast to yourself, or share a 3G mast with a few hundred other users. I could quite easily get 70Mbps download on my local mast 5 years ago; today that's down to 20Mbps because of all the 4G phones shipped in the meantime. I know of a few places where 3G is now faster than 4G. But the networks will fix that soon - they're refarming spectrum from 3G to 4G!

Early implementations of 5G are likely to reuse the 4G core. But you'll still see a big boost in throughput as there will be a lot of new spectrum deployed. Remains to be seen if that's enough to justify a new phone though!

Fear the Reaper: Man hospitalised after eating red hot chilli pepper

ARGO

Missing an important fact...

...did he win the competition?

Hold the phone: Mystery fake cell towers spotted slurping comms around Washington DC

ARGO

Re: This has been a scandal for years

Networks operate according to the defined mobile standards. 4G (and to a lesser extent 3G) have bidirectional authentication, so your phone knows it is taking to a real network before sharing too much info. But, as the article notes, IMSI catchers force your phone down to 2G. That's a legacy standard with crappy security. There's nothing the networks can do about it short of refusing service to anything that supports 2G. Which is pretty much everything on the market. That might be seen as a tad drastic.

Users can do something about it though - a lot of phones let the user turn off 2G through system menus.

Cambridge Analytica seeks data protection assistant

ARGO

Of course it's temporary

You don't keep a scapegoat after they've served their purpose.

Vodafone is UK's mobile ping king

ARGO

Somthing odd about those device stats

Note2's UK variant doesn't have 4G, but comes top of the performance chart?

UK mobe network Three's profits hit by IT upgrade costs

ARGO

Re: 20% profit

This makes me wonder if anyone at El Reg actually reads the things they link to. Both the 3UK PDF and the CKH PDF linked from the article state £437m as the EBIT figure, with EBITDA at £702m. Which is a healthier return.

But with CAPEX at £459m, and another £294m spent buying UKBB there is still a negative cash flow for the year. Which is not ideal....

Ofcom to probe Three and Vodafone over network throttling

ARGO

Re: Perhap they kick Three

Never spotted that in my testing - and testing is what I do for a living.

There is some variability between devices, but that's entirely down to the device in my experience.

Sorry, I can't hear you, the line's VoLTE

ARGO

Re: Correction needed

>it won't work on Three as they refuse to add it to the Volte list. No reason for them not to add the support other than the fact they don't sell the phone themselves.

A network can't just add a device to a list to make it work. All the required changes are at the device end of the system. The network settings are what they are - if the device is set up correctly it will work regardless of whether the network lists it as supported. For example there are a bunch of Xiaomi handsets that will quite happily do VoLTE on 3 and EE.

The device vendor needs to install the correct settings and (ideally) do interop testing against each network. So obviously they prioritise - in the case of OnePlus they've prioritised other countries as their tame UK network doesn't have commercial VoLTE yet. Their next model is supposed to get UK VoLTE, but the networks still won't list it as supported.

(In case you're wondering, I work in device test and have spent the last few years on VoLTE)

ARGO

Re: Correction needed

I've got a (non-custom) Mate 10 Pro which works just fine.

It's the dual SIM version and does VoLTE on 3 and EE at the same time.

And WiFi calling on both as well.

I can't even confuse it by swapping the SIMs around.

Clever folk these Chinese!

ARGO

Re: It's only a challenge...

>the sound quality is a massive step up from traditional telephony

Not so much in the UK; all the mobile networks except O2 were using WB-AMR before VoLTE came along. And the VoLTE codec is.... WB-AMR. So don't expect a bump in quality from VoLTE.

Maybe in a year or two we will get the EVS codec. But don't hold your breath - when did you last hear a UK network advertise on voice quality?

ARGO

Re: Correction needed

A handful? Over 50 Androids last time I checked, including over a dozen from Huawei or ZTE that can be sourced from anywhere and will configure themselves to the network being used.

Plus all the iPhones from 6 onwards will work regardless of source (Apple's "carrier bundle" autoconfig has always been rather powerful). Some of the later ones get WiFi calling too.

ARGO

Correction needed

>Three and Vodafone beat EE in the first half of last year for the reliability of calls – and both are relative laggards in implementing VoLTE

Nope. Three were the *first* UK network to deploy it. See the Reg's own report from September 2015

But that means they've had longer to iron the bugs out.

UK mobile customers face inflation-busting price hike

ARGO

Re: Abuse

Both EE and Three have Wifi calling - either by downloading an app or natively in the handset. Latter option requires the operator custom software on any Android that isn't <12 month old Samsung, Huawei or Honor. Apples from the last few years all work fine though.

If O2 or Voda offer it they are keeping it quiet.

Hua-no-wei! NSA, FBI, CIA bosses put Chinese mobe makers on blast

ARGO

>Try finding details of Huawei ownership

It's owned by the employees. You can't get more un-American than that!

ARGO

Re: Well, duh

Not a good analogy. Current top tier Huawei's are well ahead of Apple in features, with build quality as good or better. Unfortunately (for me) the price differential is not what it once was

I'd accept a brand-based argument though. Some folk will always pay more for an inferior product with the right badge on it.

EE unveils shoebox-sized router to boost Brit bumpkin broadband

ARGO

200GB for £60/month

Sounds a bit steep compared to unlimited over a cable, but I've got rural relatives who would love to see a speed above 100kbps

EE reckon their average broadband user only takes 150GB/month. I suspect that's a mean average and the % exceeding 150GB will be rather high. And also that the average use is increasing rather rapidly month on month....

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