Light Reading

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        ADD A COMMENT
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
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Custom TV
End-User or Enterprise Benefits to the New IP

7|30|15   |   04:27   |   (1) comment


Andrew Coward discusses what the New IP means to end users or enterprise customers. He explains compelling reasons, including how every customer can get their own network, from the transformation to the New IP.
LRTV Custom TV
Network Visibility & the New IP

7|30|15   |   02:23   |   (0) comments


Mukund Srigopal provides an explanation of what network visibility is and how it is essential as service providers transition to the New IP. In addition, the importance of the network packet broker is discussed.
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (5) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Thailand's AIS: Transforming to an FMC Operator

7|17|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


Saran Phaloprakarn, Senior VP of Fixed Broadband Business Management of Thailand's AIS, was a keynote speaker at the first Asia-Pacific Ultra Broadband Summit in Bangkok. In this video, he talks to Heavy Reading about transforming into an FMC (FBB+MBB+Content) operator.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network operators start seeing savings from NFV in the first year, according to a study by Affirmed Networks and ACG.
Hot Topics
Robbins Succeeds Chambers as Cisco Changes CEOs
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/27/2015
Cable Feuds With Senate Dems Over STBs
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/31/2015
RJio to Launch Its Own 4G Devices Brand
Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, 7/27/2015
Easing the Tech Pains for the Homeless
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/28/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
Cats with Phones
Comes With Free Phone Stand Click Here
Who says cats don't have any skills?