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MWC 2019: How Nokia’s CTO sees 5G fixed-wireless

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Nokia’s FastMile 5G indoor gateway


(Image: Corinne Reichert/ZDNet)

With fixed-wireless being the first way 5G can be monetised, Nokia has made the move to provide access tech with its new FastMile 5G indoor gateway.

So far, 5G fixed-wireless access solutions have been deployed across Japan, Australia, Canada, and the United States, Nokia CTO Marcus Weldon told ZDNet at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 in Barcelona, with nearly every customer showing interest and Nokia conducting hundreds of trials globally.

The interest is due to both the economics of fixed-wireless 5G being better than fibre to the home, and because of the “hyper competitive” mobile market, according to Weldon.

While fixed-wireless already exists on 4G — though it has only really been used for regional connections and in disaster relief situations due to speeds being limited to just a few megabits per second — what has changed to make the technology good enough to serve as an alternative to fixed-line is the advent of Massive MIMO and beam-forming technology, as well as the addition of millimetre-wave (mmWave) spectrum.

For now, it’s the customer premises equipment (CPE) that serves as the critical cost for fixed-wireless, but with Nokia having already entered the market, Weldon said this would start to reduce.

Nokia’s FastMile 5G fixed-wireless gateway

According to Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri, Nokia’s new FastMile 5G fixed-wireless gateway provides speeds of up to 1Gbps.

Despite the unit being sizeable — due to the 5G tech behind it needing time to mature, and the company also squeezing its meshed Wi-Fi solution announced at MWC 2018 inside — Nokia said it made a conscious effort to ensure the device was still nice to look at. If people are less likely to hide the gateway, it will provide better service and signal due to it being positioned out in the open, explained the networking giant.

Nokia said it had seen strong interest in the product already, with a second customer in Africa soon to be announced. In the meantime, exploring the real-world use of the device with its first customer Optus means Nokia will be able to iron out the kinks and understand the final challenges.

“It’s a very quick way for us to mature a technology, getting it in the field,” Nokia said.

“So from that point, it was fantastic to work with Optus. You want someone who wants to move quick, and wants to jump in the deep end of the pool.”

Arguing that Nokia has the most complete access portfolio across both fixed and wireless, Weldon said that the service could eventually also be used for mobile connectivity.

“That same technology could provide a mobile function as well, because the radio actually can, if you implement mobility, you can form the beams in the direction of a user who’s outside a home as well as inside, and then it goes to a handset rather than the CPE,” he explained.

“There’s nothing stopping that from happening, so there is some thinking that maybe it’s not entirely fixed, that it ends up having a mobile capability as well.”

The service will start as a fixed solution, however, “because why would you offer local mobility in just a local neighbourhood”?

“But as you start adding 5G macro, it might make a lot of sense that you’ve got this nice complement if you do this 5G macro on Massive MIMO, you’ve got this millimetre-wave local, even a small cell doing mini Massive MIMO locally that’s just beamed to homes — you could make those things interwork,” he added.

The radios and device could also detect whether people are consuming bandwidth within a home during the day, or whether to redirect it to mobile users.

Bell Labs is already looking into this now, Weldon said: Dynamically retuning beams based on changing circumstances within milliseconds.

Making money through 5G: Carriers will need enterprise

Nokia’s recent 5G Maturity Index showed that carriers must become digital service providers rather than simply connectivity providers. In this way, they would produce enough revenue to make up for the amount they spent on upgrading their networks to 5G.

“It takes more than one use case to justify the network investments,” Nokia said.

The real new money for 5G, according to Nokia, is going to be in industrial systems and private LTE networks.

Weldon, however, noted that it would be “years-ish” down the track before telcos begin to see revenue from enterprise 5G — but when they do, he predicted that it would be equal to the amount being made in the consumer 5G mobile space.

“Most of those features you can start in private LTE mode, but the real volume of that market will be when all 5G specs are done, and a couple of years to deploy it [after that],” he said.

“In three to five years, the revenue will be very visible.”

The networking giant sees the rise of private LTE networks in campuses, industrial areas, and mines, especially where Wi-Fi isn’t working well enough so LTE and 5G connectivity are needed to wirelessly control intelligent systems.

The private LTE part of the Nokia Enterprise business arm has been “growing rapidly” as a result, the company said.

Over at US tech giant Cisco, Bob Everson agreed, calling enterprise “the place that’s most monetisable for 5G”.

Cisco is backing this prediction with its “5B for 5G” program, which is providing $5 billion in loans to help carriers transition to new networking technologies.

“Historically, these networks have been defined by the radio access, and now we’ve moved to an era, and we’re really in the era, where the customer can define the network by the services they want to deliver, and by their operational model,” Everson said, pointing to Rakuten as an example.

“They can define the network by operational model and by the applications they want to deliver, [like] enterprise platform — versus having it defined by what’s essentially an access technology.”

The US market is ahead of the pack on 5G, according to Nokia. Japan and Korea are hot on its heels, followed by Australia and the Middle East, while Europeans are still waiting for 5G spectrum to be licensed.

Suri kicked off MWC 2019 by saying Nokia is confident it has “the right strategy at the right time”, with more than 3.8 million 5G radio products in the market already, including with AT&T, KT, Optus, T-Mobile, Vodafone, SK Telecom, NTT DoCoMo, Telia, TIM San Marino, and Rain.

“As of today, we’re approaching 100 5G trials,” Suri said.

“We are remarkably well positioned.”

MWC 2019 Coverage

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Indiana Is The First State To Sue TikTok Over Child Safety Worries

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To tech-savvy and/or historically informed readers, the widespread concern about TikTok in the U.S. might smack of earlier moral panics. As mental health nonprofit Take This reports, it’s a matter of record that social media, video and tabletop games, clothing choices, music genres, and virtually anything else enjoyed by the young have been excoriated by American elders on one moral basis or another.

At the same time, serious questions have been raised about the safety of TikTok as a platform. We’ve reported in the past about the successes and failures of TikTok’s content moderation, from its largely hands-off, algorithmic approach to managing content to the borderline unethical treatment experienced by the human moderators the platform does possess. Content capable of generating severe psychological trauma in adult professional content managers certainly shouldn’t be emerging in children’s feeds.

Moderation and data security are also inescapably entwined. Hands-off moderation doesn’t just threaten the possibility of traumatic content in users’ feeds; it allows for sharing media at least some users are likely to see as unethical if not illegal. Add that to the documented pressures that Chinese law puts on social media platforms and it starts to seem like the Indiana lawsuit, right or wrong, at least has some kind of grounding.

Still, TikTok has answered critics and survived plenty of tough talk from the previous presidential administration. Whether it can continue to do so will depend both on the commitment of the platform’s user base and its ability to adapt to the requirements of American law.

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How Fast Is The Electric Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Really?

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According to Livewire, the ONE has some impressive speed and acceleration numbers, going from 0-60 mph in just three seconds and topping out at 110 mph. Sure, 110 mph doesn’t seem awfully fast, but Harley-Davidson motorcycles were never known for being fast. According to testing by CycleWorld, the Livewire ONE lives up to its reputation, accelerating from 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds — a fraction of a second slower than the marketed number.

Interestingly, in terms of acceleration, the Livewire ONE is second only to the FXDR 114, which has a 0-60 mph time of only 2.5 seconds, according to Harley Davidson of Kingwood. Being quick off the line is par for the course for an electric motorcycle, though — there are no gears to cycle through, and electric motor torque is usually much higher at low RPM. The highest top speed for a production Harley-Davidson bike also goes to the FXDR 114, which tops out at a respectable 160 mph, according to Peterson’s Harley-Davidson. As far as the Livewire ONE’s 110 mph top speed, that’s par for the course for Harley-Davidson, with most everything except for the FXDR 114.

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The Most Luxurious Features Of Mariah Carey’s 1.8 Million Dollar RV

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Upon entering you are immediately met by a makeup station with an oversized mirror ringed by “true” makeup lights. On the opposite wall behind the seat is an offset television so the Queen of Christmas can watch her favorite program (through the mirror) while getting properly primped. Dark wood lines the floors, top and bottom (via HotCars). 

This segues into a lounge with a curvy 15-foot custom couch ($7,000) and a 65″ Samsung 9000 connected to a Genelec studio-grade 5.1 surround sound system. The left side slides out 35 feet while the right slides out 25 feet to create a 600-square-foot space for her entourage.

The full gourmet kitchen includes a convection microwave, two-burner induction stove top, Sub-Zero hideaway fridge, and a $4,000 LeveLuk SD501 Platinum Kangen water system. Granite stairs lead from the kitchen to a second floor, where the roof pop-ups via hydraulics to reveal what designer RJ Anderson calls a “skyscraper on wheels” (per Daily Mail via AOL Celebrity Motor Homes).

Huge windows run down each side of the bus providing a nearly 360-degree uninterrupted panoramic view, while a 35-foot wrap-around couch seats 30 people. Not only can the lights be dimmed, but it comes with a color wheel that can turn the area into a proverbial nightclub. Big 60-inch televisions on either end of the room round out the entertainment area (via AOL Celebrity Motor Homes).

Anderson Mobile Estates also operates the 7744 Ranch, a resort outside Austin, Texas, where anyone can book a stay in a previously-owned-by-a-celebrity motor home. One of the five listed is “The Lounge.” However, a promotional video not only says it once belonged to Jennifer Lopez (not Mariah Carey) but looks precisely like Mariah Carey’s from the 2005 “Access Hollywood” segment. 

Now, all we really want for Christmas is some clarification in this great camper caper.

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