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LTE-U By Any Other Name is Licensed-Assisted

I recently read the rather interesting announcement from NTT DoCoMo where they demonstrated LTE running over the unlicensed 5GHz band.  They report a 60% increase in spectral efficiency over IEEE 802.11n Wi-Fi.  The article also noticed that LTE-U is now referred to as Licensed-Assisted Access using LTE or LAA-LTE.  This caused me to pause, and think about several things.

The comparison between LAA-LTE and Wi-Fi is not (and should not be) about spectral efficiency. Rather it is about several other factors:

  • A robust network with a diverse client ecosystem (does anybody reading this blog own an IP device without Wi-Fi? How many of those devices contain LTE? How many are Wi-Fi only, without any SIM card?)
  • The ability to support neutral host deployments (are stadium owners willing to deploy LAA-LTE if it only supports one operator?)
  • The ability to co-exist in a multi-operator environment (how would LAA-LTE operate in dense environments when it has to co-exist with LAA-LTE APs from other operators?)
  • The ability to co-exist in a multi-technology environment (would if it adversely affects the existing and extensive deployments of Wi-Fi infrastructure?)
  • A number of Mobile operators have agreements with Wi-Fi providers for offloading cellular traffic (how does one enable such a scenario with LAA-LTE?)

And if you really want to talk about speeds and feeds, it’s interesting that the test was done against 802.11n, when 802.11ac is now widely available, providing speeds that exceed LTE-Advanced speeds of 1 Gbps (IEEE 802.11 ac Wave 1 provides maximum speed of 1.3 Gbps and Wave 2 provides maximum speed of 3.5 Gbps).  It’s also important to note that LAA-LTE has not been defined yet and so it’s very likely that the LAA-LTE implementation tested here does not have the politeness mechanisms required in certain regulatory domains like Europe. These mechanisms allow fair usage of the unlicensed spectrum by allowing other users an opportunity to transmit and share the spectrum.  These mechanisms already integrated into Wi-Fi will add additional overhead to LAA-LTE that will reduce its spectral efficiency, a factor that needs to be taken into account in any comparison.

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Reality Check

Hype is interesting, but Read More »

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SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2014: It’s a Wi-Fi Bonanza!

By David Alsobrook, Director, Strategy & Product Management, Cisco’s Connected Devices BUDavid Alsobrook

If there’s one thing that is absolutely unmistakable, going into this week’s IBC conference in Amsterdam, it’s the proliferation of Wi-Fi -- a technology that’s also a service, and the industry’s ticket to providing wireless broadband connectivity that simultaneously rivals mobile, and tightens consumer loyalty.

Note: I’m not the cheerleader type, and as such don’t use the word “bonanza” loosely. By definition it is “a situation or event that creates a sudden increase in wealth, good fortune, or profits.” That fits. Let’s go literal about the increase in wealth, good fortune, or profits. Here’s an impressive supporting number for you: As of this moment, we’ve shipped Read More »

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IP Traffic Will Need a Fast Lane for Video in 2018

Over the past two decades, Internet Protocol (IP) traffic has been on the rise and is anticipated to continue along a similar trajectory over the next five years. The increasing number of fixed and wireless devices and M2M nodes that are connecting to global IP networks is one of the primary contributors to global IP traffic growth. According to the Cisco’s Visual Networking Index™ Global Forecast and Service Adoption for 2013 to 2018, global IP traffic will increase nearly three-fold over the next five years. The growing number of Internet users and faster broadband speeds are also contributing to this traffic growth. However, another trend likely to increase global IP traffic is the increased use of video applications — online video streaming, live video feeds and video on demand (VoD), as well as various forms of video communications.

The Growth of IP Video

The world will reach 2.5 trillion Internet video minutes per month by 2018. That is nearly Read More »

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Off to the LTE Asia Awards: Singapore or Bust

cisco-lte-asia-awards

Think about what is going on in the APJC Mobile Market for a minute:

  • In Korea, mobile data traffic on 2G, 3G, and 4G networks increased approximately 70% between 3Q 2012 and 3Q 2013.
  • In China, mobile data traffic of China’s top 3 mobile operators grew 90% in 2012 and 72% from mid-2012 to mid-2013.
  • In Japan, mobile data traffic grew 92% in 2012 and 66% from 3Q 2012 to 3Q 2013, according to Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications
  • While in India, Bharti Airtel reported mobile data traffic growth of 112% between 3Q 2012 and 3Q 2013 and Reliance Communications reported mobile data traffic growth of 116% between 3Q 2012 and 3Q 2013.

Nomophobia is Read More »

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Cisco’s Visual Networking Index: Understanding the Evolution of Internet Users, Devices and Connections

Today’s networks are an essential part of business, education, government, and home communications. Many residential, business, and mobile Internet Protocol (IP) networking trends are being driven largely by the combination of video, social networking, and advanced collaboration applications, termed “visual networking.”  In fact, total Internet traffic has experienced dramatic growth in the past decade alone. Take a look at this interactive infographic from Cisco that shows key trends and forecasts the growth of global IP traffic from 2013 to 2018. You can choose a category and filter the geographic regions in the map to view the impact of global IP traffic. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI), globally, there will be 20.6 billion networked devices by 2018, up from 12.4 billion in 2013. VNI is part of Cisco’s ongoing effort to forecast and analyze the growth and use of IP networks worldwide. VNI also forecasts that global Internet Protocol (IP) traffic will increase nearly three-fold over the next five years due to more Internet users and devices, faster broadband speeds and increased video viewing. Global IP traffic for fixed and mobile connections is expected to reach an annual run rate of 1.6 zettabytes – more than one and a half trillion gigabytes per year by 2018.

So who and what are responsible for the projected increase in overall internet traffic?

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