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 Interviews
The New Wave of IP + Optical Integration

11|21|14   |   04:29   |   (7) comments


At the Alcatel-Lucent Technology Symposium, Heavy Reading senior analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how SDN has reshaped the discussion around packet and optical integration.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Highlights at BBWF 2014

11|20|14   |   3:40   |   (1) comment


Broadband World Forum is one of the world's largest telecoms, media and technology events with over 7,800 senior executives from across the globe converging on Amsterdam every year to identify the Next Big Thing. BBWF is an exciting place to meet the entire industry under one roof and identify the latest in network innovation, service optimization and customer ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How Will BCMS Stimulate Margin for Broadband Operators?

11|19|14   |   6:52   |   (0) comments


In BBWF 2014, Liu Shuqing emphasizes the value of FMC 2.0 based full service experience by throwing light on the BCMS solution. The underlying principle of this innovative technique is to create network robustness and driving network from connection oriented to ACE – BAND oriented infrastructure, in which applications, cloud, and user experiences will be an asset ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
SingleFAN3.0: Better Connected Experience

11|19|14   |   3:06   |   (1) comment


At the BBWF 2014, David Hu, the VP of Huawei Access Network Product Line, talked about the future of access networks – SingleFAN3.0: faster broadband, wider coverage, and smarter connection.
LRTV Interviews
Basil Alwan Interview: The Road to Cloud

11|19|14   |   09:09   |   (0) comments


Alcatel-Lucent's head of IP and Transport talks about the migration towards a web-like networking environment, the impact of the cloud, SDN and NFV, and the yet-to-be-announced FP4 chip.
LRTV Documentaries
FairPoint Makes a Fair Point About Analytics

11|19|14   |   1:56   |   (1) comment


The US-based communication service provider gets to grips with advanced analytics, tackling data and breaking down the silos within its own business.
LRTV Documentaries
Analytics Lets C Spire Get to Know Subs

11|19|14   |   3:01   |   (2) comments


It's all about the data for US operator C Spire as it uses analytics to personalize its customer service down to individual subscribers.
LRTV Interviews
Nuage Branches Out With SDN: CEO Interview

11|17|14   |   9:32   |   (0) comments


Sunil Khandekar, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent's SDN-focused unit Nuage Networks, talks about the opportunities and challenges of breaking out of the data center into wide-area networks.
Light Reedy
Telecom Analytics Grows Up

11|14|14   |   1:15   |   (4) comments


The big data analytics debate has moved on from a year ago, with some experts suggesting it's no longer a technology challenge.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Compass

11|14|14   |   3:17   |   (1) comment


At OpenStack Summit 2014, Shuo Yang, Huawei Principal Cloud Infrastructure Architect introduced Huawei Compass, the software tool for solving customers' problems on the journey of OpenStack Cloud.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Cloud Strategy in European Region

11|14|14   |   2:56   |   (1) comment


At OpenStack Summit 2014, Dr. Gotz, CTO of Huawei IT in European Region introduced Huawei's cloud strategy in European region.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Contribution on OpenStack

11|14|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


At OpenStack Summit 2014, Dennis Gu, Huawei Chief Architect of Cloud Computing introduced the relationship between OpenStack and cloud computing, and Huawei's contribution on OpenStack.
Upcoming Live Events
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 8-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 12, 2015, Atlanta, GA
April 14, 2015, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Irish Telecom outlines the rise of VoIP technology, including its adoption within businesses and their perception of its quality.
Hot Topics
Bell Labs Chief Slams 'Toy' Networks
Robert Clark, 11/19/2014
$38.3M: Ain't That a Kik in the SMS
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 11/20/2014
Do You Have a 2020 Vision?
Dennis Mendyk, Vice President of Research, Heavy Reading, 11/21/2014
The New Wave of IP + Optical Integration
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 11/21/2014
Google, AT&T, BT Unite on Network Data Models
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 11/20/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed