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Clifton K Morris
Clifton K Morris
2/11/2019 | 3:21:41 PM
Re: All aboard the hype train
I have to respectfully disagree.

5G networks (according to the ITU specification; not yet ratified yet) is nothing more than LTE technology, but with an increase in QAM symbol rates.

3GPP TSGs for Release 15 show that 5G features an increase from 256-QAM to 1024-QAM to increase overall throughput.  This requires faster processors, and higher CPU overhead.  There is also a 3db penalty in loss per order of magnitude QAM increase.   Going from 256-QAM to 1024 is actually two orders of magnitude increase meaning a -9db signal loss; and likely 1/2 the battery life.  Because handsets are designed to be next to your head, it's not possible to increase transmitter power by a factor of 300% without serious FDA review and third-party cancer and radiological health studies.

The point is that a standard cell phone will display 4-bars of signal strength is at -72db.  However ITU/3GPP "True" 5G"'s requirement of increasing QAM will place signal strength at -81db (2-bars of signal strength).  It will likely fall back to "LTE" inside the house due to multipath interference.

It's simple math.  However, this also falls in-line with T-Mobile disclosure documents related to the Sprint/T-Mobile Merger where T-Mobile estimates it will provide 5G coverage to 50% of Charter/Spectrum's footprint.  

Cable is also uniquely postioned because they don't have to bid for RF licenses, they already own all the spectrum on the coax they bury.  Today, the cable itself is generally RG6 which the cable companies use 0-1200MHz today.  But people like Jeff Finkelstein at Cox think it can support more capacity.  Jeff introduced a proposal to upgrade cable networks so they can support up to 2GHz (or more). 

Meanwhile, companies like T-Mobile crow about their $8B investment to purchase 35Mhz of new downstream 600Mhz spectrum.   I don't know why Jeff doesn't get more press.

Finally, the biggest challenge wireless carriers will have to overcome is that many of their cell site leases from the 1990s and 2000s were designed on propegation models at a time when analog service was sold.  These leases are often 20 years in length (or more), and negotiated when digital 2G and 3G (and some 4G) service were based on QAM-16/64.

Often, these sites are incompatible when the range changes based on QAM penalties, or landlords/leases don't allow fiber upgrades.  Often new trenches to lay fiber optics can't occur, especially in areas where permits are required.  Cable isn't subject to these same technology-facing issues.

Still, the majority of QAM-related R&D occurs at behest of the Cable Industry, and NOT in wireless.  3GPP takes innovations from companies like CableLabs, IEEE, and other standards organizations.  Whenever 3GPP makes a fundamental change to QAM symbolrates, you can expect mergers.  It happens like clockwork.

As for CableLabs, they are now working on new DOCSIS standards that not only add asymetrical data speeds (great option instead of fiber optic to-the-last-mile for businesses).   They're also looking and evaluating new QAM technologies including 4028-QAM, 8192-QAM  and 16384-QAM.  But in each iteration, fiber optic can't keep speed.  As such, CableLabs is investing into new R&D that will also increasing speed over fiber. 

Whatever technology cable develops to provide service can (and will) have secondary positive effects in wireless industry once royalties are paid.

2/11/2019 | 8:12:29 AM
Re: All aboard the hype train
I have to agree with Macemoneta. Cable is riddled with issues and we still can't get symmetrical 1 gig yet. Cable has a long way to go and if history is any indicator it's going to take the cable industry 10 years  to get true symmetrical 1gig deployed in all service areas much less 10 gig. Complete hype
2/11/2019 | 7:41:52 AM
All aboard the hype train
"ramping up from today's 1 Gig downstream speeds to tomorrow's 10-Gig symmetrical service will still be no easy matter."


1 gig speeds are still unaffordable / unavailable / capped at nonsensical levels to the majority of subscribers. Cable has a lot more issues than raising their interface bit rate to a handful of people.

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