Light Reading
Planning 5G will likely mean some huge antenna headaches for operators, reckons Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs.

5G Will Give Operators Massive Headaches – Bell Labs

Robert Clark
News Analysis
Robert Clark
6/27/2014
50%
50%

The Massive MIMO antennas expected to be at the heart of so-called 5G next-gen mobile networks will come with some major challenges because of their huge size, according to Tod Sizer, head of access technologies research at Bell Labs , part of the Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) empire. (See AlcaLu Breathes New Life Into Bell Labs and Prepare for a 5G Onslaught.)

He says operators will face a creative challenge in deploying 5G basestations in downtown areas.

"They're very flat, they're very large, and they'll never go on top of the big towers because there's too much wind blowing," Sizer said. "But you can hide them in the facades, say, right behind advertising billboards or on the side of walls or buildings."

Of course, even before they are deployed, there's no shortage of technical hurdles to be overcome to build antennas of that power and complexity.

No more than six MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) antennas are deployed in a 4G basestation, but 5G MIMO will likely involve hundreds, Sizer predicts.

"If you want to make 100 antennas work together, you need to get the costs to the point and the size and the weight and the power to be low enough so it's economic to deploy. The challenges we have in the digital processing are as severe as the heat and size issues."

Sizer said Massive MIMO would be likely deployed only in high-density urban areas. He describes it as "a wonderful technology for Singapore," where most people live in a high-rise, but wouldn't be required for medium-density suburbs.

He said that whereas 4G was primarily about the radio, the big challenge for 5G would be to create a user- or application-aware network with a focus on end-to-end performance.

"We know what the application is, we know what the network is. How can the network adapt to that particular woman, with that particular application, in that particular place?"

As well as the obvious issues of bandwidth and latency, 5G would also have to provide "responsivity," which Sizer describes as the ability to create a session, complete the operation quickly, and shut it down.

"For an app like search, that's critical… if I can create a connection, use it and then shut down the connection, that allows me to use the network less. That has impacts on the capacity of the network; it also impacts battery life."

He says the industry will need to get creative to acquire the spectrum resources necessary for 5G, such as millimeter waves or the use of LTE unlicensed spectrum through carrier aggregation.

He also points to under-used 5GHz bands used for radar surveillance near airports. "We're working with the federal government and the FCC to share that spectrum. If you're not within 100 kilometers of an airport, why can't I use it? Or use it when the radar is pointed in other directions?" asks the Bell Labs man.

Keep up to date with 5G views and developments at Light Reading's dedicated 5G track.

— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

(26)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
MikeP688
50%
50%
MikeP688,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/1/2014 | 12:40:50 AM
Re: LTE2
Excellent...the right spirit especially as we celebrate 4th of July :-)
jabailo
100%
0%
jabailo,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/1/2014 | 12:26:41 AM
Re: LTE2
If it does happen, you will see me parading down Hollywood Boulevard in a red, green, and black liberation jumpsuit, that I have been saving...for just an occasion.

 
MikeP688
50%
50%
MikeP688,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/30/2014 | 11:27:00 PM
Re: LTE2
As I was reflecting upon this discourse, I remembered Gil Scott-Heron's Song, "The revolution will not be televised".    Here, we're continuing to see an evolution--and in that the Revolution is being "transmitted" even hourly!! :-) For me, the continued vibrancy of Bell Labs is gratifying to note.   This is despite the obvious technical challenges that is outlined.    How much is enough, though?   That I think is the bigger question here.  :-)
jabailo
50%
50%
jabailo,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/30/2014 | 1:19:48 PM
Re: LTE2
You might think so, but it's not the case yet.

They definitely stopped selling the modem equipment -- hotspots and modems can only be purchased from leftover stock on Amazon and e-Bay.

I still don't know what it means when they say switch to LTE.   My use of Wimax was (is!) as my primary home Internet connection (I use it as I write this).   While there is Spark, it doesn't seem to have been rolled out to more than but a few areas in a few small cities.

There is no Sprint LTE equivalent of the always on, unlimited use, Clear Wimax style of home use.   So what comes next?   I'm not sure...




 
tb100
50%
50%
tb100,
User Rank: Moderator
6/30/2014 | 1:08:58 PM
Re: LTE2
Maybe it was your wording--the tower may not be 'decommissioned', but it might be converted, to LTE. Isn't getting access to the Clearwire 2.6Gig band the reason Softbank bought Sprint and, by extention, Clearwire?

Hearing about WiMax is like hearing about some old actor you didn't realize was still alive. I think it has been a couple of years since they stopped selling WiMax phones, which means that everyone on contract should have switched by now.
nasimson
50%
50%
nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/30/2014 | 11:46:01 AM
Re: LTE2
@Joe: as I see it, 4g and 5g are experiencing activities in altogether different spheres. Activity we are witnessing in 4g space is about roll out, optimization and expansion. There is more field work. On the other hand 5g is about lab work. It's in the sphere of standardisation, trials, and field tests. So talks about both make perfect sense as talks are in different spheres.
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/30/2014 | 1:11:45 AM
Re: the size will go down
@kq4ym: IMHO, nothing that enough money from the right people/corporations can't buy if the private sector decides there's enough profit to be made there.

Yay, capitalism!
Joe Stanganelli
100%
0%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/30/2014 | 1:10:31 AM
Re: LTE2
Everything is about 4G these days, and 4G/LTE tech is in such a big hurry with itself that it's tripping all over itself.  We simply don't have wide-enough adoption/accessibility/capability right now, and the technology just isn't there yet.

And now we're talking about 5G?  I mean, that's really cool and all, but maybe let's try to perfect what we have first.

But then, we still have a severe lack of Broadband adoption in many parts of the world (parts of the US included).
thebulk
50%
50%
thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/29/2014 | 11:13:03 PM
Re: the size will go down
@kq4ym, 

I agree its unlikely, but I am sure the industry lobby will do their best to "suggest" its bennifits. ;-)
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/29/2014 | 9:22:34 PM
Re: the size will go down
It will be interesting to see how they install the huge arrays. Side of buildings, as suggested and behind billboards. Maybe they'll actually somehow make it a billboard? But, the idea of getting the 5Ghz from the FAA now used for radar seems a bit unlikely. The FAA is going to be real cautious because of the real safety issues involved in sharing that band.
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Rick Talbot, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:12   |   (0) comments


At the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Rick Talbot shared his positive feedback about the holistic and open approach that Huawei adopts for SDN and NFV. He also found the open sharing at the event valuable as it features different perspectives from Huawei experts, telecom operators, industry analysts as well as security experts.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With David Snow, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:24   |   (0) comments


David Snow talked about his understanding of Huawei and its SoftCOM strategy at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that Huawei's wide approach combining IT and CT expertise, introducing big data and analytics into solutions and contributing to the OpenStack community particularly resonate with him and make the company stand out in the industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

10|31|14   |   3:13   |   (0) comments


Roz Roseboro commented on Huawei's data center capabilities and NFV solutions at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that in addition to covering all three key domains of compute, storage and networking, the company also emphasizes the importance of management capabilities and professional services, which are essential in making NFV a reality.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Michael Howard, Co-founder & Principal Analyst, Infonetics Research

10|31|14   |   5:25   |   (0) comments


Michael Howard talked about SDN, NFV, and OpenStack adoption at Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014. Particularly, he pointed out that Virtual Enterprise CPE is the top NFV use case that operators plan to invest in over 2014 and 2015 to deliver new enterprise services through virtualized functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Jerry Caron, Senior Vice President, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   3:11   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Jerry Caron from Current Analysis said that orchestration and management are key to realizing SDN and NFV for global carriers, and the approach that Huawei is taking, with its FusionSphere Cloud OS at the core, is in the right direction to address the challenges.
LRTV Documentaries
Broadband Battles

10|31|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


This year's Broadband World Forum featured a number of show floor battles focused on access gear, components and coffee.
Jonestown
Mobile Backhaul: Going to the Dark Side?

10|30|14   |   2:26   |   (1) comment


Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan shares his view on a dark trend that bubbled up at Light Reading's annual backhaul conference in NYC.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With CEO of SwitchCom

10|30|14   |   4:13   |   (0) comments


SwitchCom, an IT company based in Angola, recommends a variety of Huawei solutions and hardware to their customers in the energy industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy

10|30|14   |   4:08   |   (0) comments


Gosaye Mengistie of Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy discusses the collaboration with Huawei in that country.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Dongfang Electronics Corporation

10|30|14   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Dongfang Electronics Corporation, headquartered in Chengdu, China, is one of China's largest manufacturers of power generators and contractors of power station projects.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Zimbabwe's Customers

10|30|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


Representatives of Zimbabwe's Ministry of Power and Development discuss the energy needs of their country as well as new areas of improvement due to enhanced ICT capabilities.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Colbún Chile

10|30|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


In Chile, an aging energy infrastructure was in dire need of a modern update. Claudio Valenzuela of Colbún discusses how Huawei's ICT solutions continue to provide crucial information to improve the grid and how an in-country engineer is a cricial asset.
Upcoming Live Events
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 30, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Microsoft's Skype Embraces WebRTC on IE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/27/2014
FTC Slaps AT&T With Throttling Lawsuit
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/28/2014
Wheeler Gets Down With OTT
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/29/2014
China's MVNOs Hit the Wall
Robert Clark, 10/27/2014
Let's Not Kill SDN & NFV With Silos
Francois Locoh-Donou, Senior VP, Global Products Group, Ciena, 10/28/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed