Verizon and Nokia announced they were able to achieve a key milestone on the road to 5G: handing off a signal seamlessly to a vehicle traveling between two radio sectors. The test took place at Nokia’s Murray Hill, N.J., campus. A data transmission at 28 GHz was sent from two 3GPP New Radio (NR) radios on a Nokia building to a vehicle outfitted with a receiver and equipment to measure transmission statistics. The vehicle traveled between the two radios, achieving seamless NR Layer 3 3GPP-compliant mobility hand off of the signal between the two sectors, intra-gNB and inter-DU, according to the companies.
Verizon said that the call mobility test involved a data transmission at 28 GHz that was sent from two 3GPP compliant NR radios on Nokia’s building, to a vehicle that had a receiver and test equipment to measure transmission information.
“The vehicle traveled between the two radios, achieving seamless 5G NR Layer 3 3GPP-compliant mobility handoff of the signal between the two sectors,” Verizon said, noting that these were intra-gNodeB and inter-distributed unit handovers.
“Unlike some of the incremental 5G technology announcements we’ve seen lately, tests like the one we conducted are significant advancements in the development of 5G technology,” said Bill Stone, vice president, Technology Development and Planning for Verizon, in a press release. “By taking these tests out of the lab and into the field, we’re replicating the experience users will ultimately have in a 5G mobility environment,” he added.
“We are pleased to showcase the acceleration of the mobile capabilities in 5G,” said Marc Rouanne, president, Mobile Networks, Nokia, in the release. “Enhanced mobile broadband is one of the first services being delivered on Nokia’s end-to-end 5G Future X portfolio. As a result, we can help our customers meet their early 5G deployment schedules and initial coverage demands.”
Verizon plans to be the first to launch 5G residential broadband service in four markets this year: Los Angeles, Houston, Sacramento and Indianapolis. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg told CNBC the operator is going to be first in the world with 5G. “We are building everything right now,” he said, with 5G mobile phones due in the hands of consumers next year.
Verizon will join with an unannounced over-the-top (OTT) video company rather than launch a linear service of its own, CEO Lowell McAdam said during a Yahoo Finance interview yesterday. Verizon intends to bundle the OTTP video service with its “5G” fixed access starting in the fourth quarter. “I think the linear TV model is dead — it’s just going to take a long time to die,” he said.
“Our view is we should partner with those that are in the linear game, let them be very good at what they do. We’ll add digital content to that mix and we’ll position ourselves for where we become more of an over-the-top video culture versus the linear model that we have today.”
What McAdam is previewing is an integrated OTT offer that combines a linear channel line-up and VOD with Verizon’s digital assets. He hopes this approach will provide both some differentiation in the market and additional ways to monetize their Oath digital content.
Separately, Verizon will participate in a trial “5G” network to be deployed in South Africa by local telecommunications company Comsol. South Korea’s Samsung Electronics has also joined Comsol as a partner in the venture. The three firms will deploy a trial “5G” network, which will be operational by the third quarter of 2018, Comsol CEO Iain Stevenson told TechCentral by phone on Tuesday. The objective is to showcase the network at the upcoming ITU Telecom World conference to be hosted by South Africa later this year.
Stevenson said the trial will be converted into a full commercial network with more base stations early next year once the 5G standards have been ratified. Comsol has been working to build a 5G network in South Africa for some time.
The trial, which will take place in Johannesburg, will consist of two “multi-sector” base stations to start, connected to fibre-optic backhaul. Multiple demonstration points will be established where members of the public will be able to experience 5G, which will deliver gigabit-class Internet access. Both Samsung, whose technology will be used in the trial, and Verizon will send engineers to South Africa to assist in the construction of the network.
Though the trial network will be “non-commercial”, customers will be connected to it and will use it in real-world environments, Stevenson said. Other 5G trials in South Africa have not involved live customers.
The “point-to-multipoint” network will utilise Comsol’s extensive spectrum assignment at 28GHz — it owns more than 30% of the high-frequency band. Stevenson declined to comment in detail on Comsol’s strategic plans, including its likely future funding model, but said it intends offering services to both businesses and retail consumers, with the technology serving as a replacement to fiber.
The trial is aimed at delivering a wireless solution that rivals “FTTx” offerings, including fiber to the business and fiber to the home, by early next year. This will be achieved by using the “pre-5G” proprietary standard from Verizon’s 5G Technical Forum for fixed-wireless deployments in the 28GHz and 39GHz bands. The proprietary standard will ultimately be converted into the 3GPP 5G New Radio specification once they have been confirmed by ITU-R WP 5D (not before August 2019!)
Stevenson said 5G fixed-wireless access has the potential to connect millions of South Africans with high-speed connectivity that would never be possible with fiber solutions, which, he said, require significant investment in physical infrastructure.
“Verizon has made significant investments in spectrum and technology and established a number of strategic collaborations to launch fixed-wireless 5G services in between three and five US cities by the end of this year.”
Sung Yoon, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics Africa, said in a statement about the collaboration between the companies that there is “so much opportunity in the region due to the diversity of markets and services already in place here, and we think South Africa is a prime candidate to show off the benefits that 5G can bring to consumers here.”
“While this agreement initially focuses on 5G fixed-wireless access, over time this will evolve into consumer offerings, similar to the way that we use 4G services today,” Stephenson said.
Korea Telecom (KT) announced today that it plans to offer 5G cellular service in March 2019, according to Yonhap and other news sources.
“It is true 5G only when coverage is guaranteed,” Oh Seong-mok, president of KT’s network business division, told reporters in Seoul. “KT will launch the 5G service for the first time in the world that combines true mobility, excellent service and nationwide coverage,” the KT executive added.
During this year’s PyeongChang Winter Olympics, KT offered a trial service of its 5G service for the first time in the world, allowing athletes and visitors to experience data transmission speeds 40-50 times faster than LTE.
Industry watchers said that at present, it is virtually impossible to set up a 5G nationwide network on par with existing LTE coverage, so full-fledged services will invariably be offered in major metropolitan areas first. Customers may not be able to immediately use KT’s 5G service next year because major makers of smartphones and silicon, including Samsung Electronics Co. and Qualcomm Technologies Inc., will only start shipping smart phones and 5G chip sets between the end of this year and the first half of 2019, KT said. Of course, those smart phones and silicon in them will not be compliant with the IMT 2020 standard which won’t be completed till late 2020.
Oh Seong-mok, president of KT’s network business, speaks at a press conference at the firm’s Gwanghwamun building in downtown Seoul, Thursday, stressing the firm will launch commercial 5G network services early next year based on its successful provision of the 5G trial service at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. / Courtesy of KT
KT said it has no plans to commercialize its 5G network based on Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) currently being championed by U.S. mobile carrier Verizon which plans to provide fixed 5G with an FWA system in the first half of this year. Mr. Oh said commercializing the 5G service based on FWA is a step backward as the technology has already been seen before. That comment comes after KT collaborated with Verizon on 5G video calling tests during last month’s Super Bowl, illustrating the fierce international competition to bring 5G to market first.
Verizon said in a press release that it completed the first successful FDD (Frequency Division Duplexing) massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) trial with a fully compatible customer device thanks to its collaboration with Ericsson and Qualcomm. The trial included the use of the latest Ericsson massive MIMO software and hardware along with a mobile test device powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with an X20 LTE modem.
According to the aforementioned press release:
Massive MIMO is a key technology component in the evolution towards 5G. It has the potential of greatly improving network capacity and the customer’s experience. To realize the gains, both the network and devices need to support new TM9  functionality which leverages advanced beam forming schemes between the network equipment and the mobile device. This will raise network spectral efficiency and customer speeds.
Note 1. In 3GPP Release-10 (LTE-Advanced) Transmission Mode 9 (TM9) was introduced. TM9 is designed to help reduce interference between base stations to maximise signal stability and boost performance. The new TM-9 enables the enhancement of network capabilities and performance with minimum addition of overhead. More information on TM9 is here.
Qualcomm introduced the 845 Mobile Platform at the Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii in early December. The trial comes after Verizon and Ericsson deployed massive MIMO on the wireless carrier’s Irvine, Ca network in late October.
“We don’t wait for the future, we build it. And this is another great example of moving the industry forward,” Verizon Chief Network Engineer and Head of Wireless Networks Nicola Palmer said in the release. “Massive MIMO is a critical component of our 4G LTE Advancements and will play an important role in 5G technology that will result in single digit latency and scalability in the billions of connections,” he added.
Joe Glynn, vice president, business development at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. said: “This milestone further demonstrates Qualcomm Technologies’ leadership and commitment to continually bring innovative technologies to consumers to improve their mobile experiences. We look forward to continuing our work with Verizon and Ericsson to push the limits of LTE while ushering in a world of 5G.”
Massive MIMO is an LTE Advanced (4G) technology which has been described as being akin to a set of focused flashlights targeting users rather than a single floodlight. The high number of transmitters enables more possible signal paths and beam forming, which directs the beam from the cell site directly to where the customer is located, dramatically cutting down on interference.
Figure 1. Massive MIMO exploits large antenna arrays to spatially multiplex many terminals.
Figure 2. Active Phased Array Antenna (APAA) shown above right in 5G base stations. The combination of analog beam forming via APAA and digital MIMO signal processing for the multi-beam multiplexing is believed to be one of the promising approaches for reducing the complexity and power consumption of 5G base stations. However, that has yet to be proven in a commercial 5G deployment.
In October, Verizon and Ericsson announced they had achieved a milestone in LTE Advanced technologies by completing their first deployment of FDD massive MIMO on Verizon’s wireless network in Irvine, California. Massive MIMO improves both spectral and energy efficiency, increasing network capacity for currently compatible devices in the market. Customers experience higher and more consistent speeds when using apps and uploading and downloading files.
Ericsson’s massive MIMO portfolio is expected to be available next year, putting it in line with commercial smartphones with the TM9 compatible chipset, which are expected to hit the market in the first half of 2018.
The past year saw a lot of talk around massive MIMO, which is considered by many to be a foundation technology for 5G. At the inaugural Mobile World Congress Americas in September, Sprint and Ericsson unveiled results of 2.5 GHz massive MIMO field tests conducted in Seattle and Plano, Texas, using Sprint’s spectrum and Ericsson’s radios.
- In early September, Ericsson said massive MIMO was part of a trial with T-Mobile US using mid-band FDD spectrum on three sites in Baltimore, Maryland.
- In February, Blue Danube Systems announced the completion of commercial trials using its massive MIMO technology in licensed FDD LTE spectrum with AT&T and Shentel.
Niklas Heuveldop, Head of Market Area North America, Ericsson, said: “Advanced Antenna Systems and Massive MIMO are key technology enablers for 5G, and 4G LTE service providers and end users will also benefit from the superior capacity and network performance these technologies enable. The latest trial is another important step in the collaboration we have with Verizon and Qualcomm Technologies to further evolve 4G and prepare the network for 5G.”
The Ericsson Massive MIMO portfolio is expected to be available next year, putting it well in line with commercial smartphones with the TM9 compatible chipset, which are expected to hit the markets in the first half of 2018.
Verizon and Ericsson have deployed frequency division duplexing (FDD) Massive Multiple Input-Multiple Output (MIMO) technology on the Verizon’s wireless network in Irvine, Calif., a step forward in implementing “5G” wireless communications. Ericsson provided 16 transceiver radios and 96 antenna elements in an array for the deployment.
The two companies say the Massive MIMO deployment will improve spectral and energy efficiency, increasing network capacity for current devices in the market. Other network enhancements are expected to provide higher and more consistent speeds for using apps and uploading and downloading files, clearing the pathway for “5G” deployment.
The massive MIMO deployment is running on a 20 MHz block of AWS spectrum. Four-way transmit has been widely deployed throughout the Verizon network and has contributed to significant 4G LTE advancements, according to the announcement. The high number of transmitters from the Massive MIMO provides more possible signal paths. It also enables beamforming, which directs the beam from the cell site directly to where the customer is, dramatically cutting down on interference. Reduced interference results in higher and more consistent speeds for customers.
Note: Massive MIMO is a candidate feature for IMT 2020 (standardized 5G). Please see last references for authoritative status of IMT 2020.
“While continuing to drive 5G development, the deployment of Massive MIMO offers very tangible benefits for our customers today. As we innovate, we learn and continue to lay the groundwork and set the standards for 5G technology,” said Nicola Palmer, Verizon Wireless chief network officer, in a prepared statement. “Our collaboration with Ericsson on this new deployment continues to drive industry-wide innovation and advancements.”
“We have a tremendous excitement around 5G, and today we made a great announcement to our commitment of driving the 5G ecosystem,” Verizon SVP Atish Gude said
Niklas Heuveldop, Ericsson head of market area North America said: “Massive MIMO is a key technology enabler for 5G, but already today, 4G LTE service providers and end users can benefit from the superior capacity and network performance this technology enables. The current trial is an important step in the collaboration we have with Verizon to prepare their network for 5G.”
Ericsson is active with massive MIMO deployments on other carrier networks, including Sprint, who announced a deployment last month.
Two years ago, we reported that “Verizon has completed a field trial of NG-PON2 fiber-to-the-premises technology that could provide the infrastructure for download speeds up to 10 Gbps for residential and business customers.”
This past January, Verizon completed its first interoperability trial of NG-PON2 technology at its Verizon Labs location in Waltham, MA. During the trial, Verizon demonstrated that equipment from different vendors on each end of a single fiber—one on the service provider’s endpoint and that the customer premises—can deliver service without any end-user impact.
In an October 16th press release in advance of the Broadband Forum’s Access Summit, Verizon said NG-PON2 represent a paradigm shift in the access space and a more certain path towards long-term success.
“Technologies such as NG-PON2 present exciting new opportunities for vendors, such as delivering residential and business services on multiple wavelengths over the same fiber,” said Vincent O’Byrne, Director of Technology at Verizon.
“Not only does NG-PON2 parse business and residential customer traffic to isolate and resolve potential problems in the network, it can also scale to achieve speeds of 40 Gbps and above,” O’Byrne added.
“Technologies such as NG-PON2 present exciting new opportunities for vendors, such as delivering residential and business services on multiple wavelengths over the same fiber,” said O’Byrne. “Not only does NG-PON2 parse business and residential customer traffic to isolate and resolve potential problems in the network, it can also scale to achieve speeds of 40 Gbps and above.”
At the Broadband Forum’s Access Summit, The Verizon executive will address how the fiber access space is constantly evolving, with emerging PON technology providing solutions to some of the issues around cost and reliability during the Broadband World Forum, at the Messe Berlin on Tuesday, Oct. 24th.
Verizon has been an active participant in driving awareness about how NG-PON2 can work in a real-world carrier environment. The company completed NG-PON2 interoperability with five vendors for its OpenOMCI (ONT Management and Control Interface) spec, bringing it one step closer toward achieving interoperable NG PON systems.
The mega telco plans to offer it’s own OpenOMCI specification , which define the optical line terminal (OLT)-to-optical network terminal (ONT) interface, to the larger telecom industry.
Note 1. OpenOMCI specification was developed and is owned by Verizon, rathr than a formal standards/spec writing body like the ITU-T or Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF). Is this the new way of producing specs (like “5G” used in trials)?
Bernd Hesse, Chair of the Broadband Access Summit and Senior Director Technology Development at Calix, said:
“We will be exploring NG-PON2 in depth and the use cases that underpin the decisions to deploy them. I look forward to the debate, hearing from the experts in the industry and welcoming the community to these new Forum events.”
Verizon reported a successful trial of next-generation passive optical networking NG-PON2 technology using the carrier’s OpenOMCI specification. The OpenOMCI specification is aligned with ITU-T Recommendation G.989.3, but there are different versions from several carriers.
It’s important to note that this is Verizon’s own version of the OpenOMCI spec. Verizon, along with ADTRAN, Broadcom, Cortina Access, Ericsson/Calix and Intel, worked together to develop the OpenOMCI specification that led to the successful trial. The specification defines the OLT-to-ONT interface and is aligned with the ITU-T Recommendation G.989.3. Since the initial NG-PON2 trial by Verizon in December 2016 , these companies intend to make their hardware and software compliant and are actively contributing to the OpenOMCI specification.
AT&T also published an OpenOMCI specification just a few weeks ago, based on ITU-T G.988 Managed Entities. AT&T intends to deploy an XGS-PON architecture as part of the overall FTTP solution for its Lightspeed service, hence its OpenOMCI spec differs from Verizon’s FiOS-based one. XGS-PON is championed by Nokia (who is not part of Verizon’s vendor group) and also delivers 10Gbit/s to customers.
The trial at Verizon’s technology center in Waltham, MA involved optical network terminal management and provisioning.
By outlining the tools necessary to model a multi-wavelength PON, Verizon says the OpenOMCI specification optimises the number of managed entities and methods that can be used to implement a particular service function while disallowing vendor-proprietary objects and features that have provided a major obstacle for interoperability efforts until now. The OpenOMCI also includes specific managed entities that, in Verizon’s opinion, improve the stability of PON systems. With today’s PON deployments, telcos are obliged to use the same vendor for both optical line terminals (OLT) and optical network terminals (ONT) which prevents multi-vendor interoperability.
“The NG-PON2 interoperability effort is important, not only for Verizon but for NG-PON2 technology, and is based on lessons learned over the last 13 years of PON deployment and great partnerships,” said Vincent O’Byrne, PhD and director of technology at Verizon. “We see this work as removing a major roadblock and helping accelerate NG-PON2 deployment.”
O’Byrne told FierceTelecom that the OpenOMCI specification will help to ensure the company can deploy an array of OLTs and ONTs in its network. He said:
“Since October 2016 we have been working with the vendors on enabling interoperability to mix and match one vendor’s OLT with another vendor’s ONTs, which is an object we have had since we started deploying BPON in 2004. “We have been working with these vendors and have developed OpenOMCI communications between the OLT and the ONT and how that issue is handled for NG-PON2.”
Along with ONT management and provisioning, the trial investigated transmission convergence layer features that allow support of not only business and residential traffic but wireless transport services. These features are a unique addition to NG-PON2 compared to other PON systems.
“We continuously sought the various contributors’ feedback and constructive input,” said Denis Khotimsky , Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff and Verizon’s lead engineer for the trial. “NG-PON2 technology creates specific challenges for the management layer to handle, such as multi-wavelength operations, pluggable optics and multiple interface enhancements. The Verizon OpenOMCI specification meets those challenges.”
Representatives of several telcos interested in the NG-PON2 technology – including Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom and Vodafone – participated in the trial as virtual observers, which gave them access to the specification, test plans and readouts.
Following the successful completion of the trial, Verizon shared its OpenOMCI specification with the industry for possible inclusion within the appropriate standards. A copy of Verizon OpenOMCI specification can be found here.
Addendum: On July 18th, Fierce Telecom reported: 5G backhaul spending to reach $2B by 2022, NG-PON2 to dominate
“The technology that will dominate 5G backhaul will be NG-PON2,” CIR stated. “By 2022, more than $890 million will be spent on this technology for 5G backhaul.”
The analyst firm noted that Verizon has selected NG-PON2 for 5G backhaul. Top vendors, including Cisco, Nokia, Huawei, Calix, Adtran, Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent all have PON solutions for 5G backhaul.
NG-PON2 should remain the most popular technological choice, provided prices come down as expected, based on the development of less costly tunable components, CIR said. Most of the suppliers of those components will be based in China, the firm expects.
CIR also calculated that more than 170,000 fiber miles (280,000 kilometers) of cable is expected to be shipped for 5G backhaul applications in 2022, with major fiber and cable suppliers such as Corning already showing signs of specifically targeting 5G infrastructure with their products.
The firm also noted that the introduction of high-speed wireless may have the side effect of reducing the need for fiber to the premise/home (FTTP/FTTH).
There will be some short-term uncertainty until 5G standards are finally ratified, but CIR concluded that “5G is potentially a massive opportunity for the fiber optics industry, with this taken to include opportunities for the makers of modules and components as well as the fiber/cable manufacturers themselves.”