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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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How To Build Your Own Retro Gaming Console With A Raspberry Pi

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Once your micro SD card is mounted with RetroPie, you can plug it into your fully assembled Raspberry Pi 4 and begin the setup process in the software menu that appears. Make sure your controller is nearby, as you’ll need it during the first boot process. If you’re using a USB controller, make sure it’s connected physically, then follow the instructions on-screen.

If you’re using a Bluetooth controller, tap F4 on your USB keyboard to exit back into the Linux command prompt screen, then type and execute the command “sudo ~/RetroPie-S etup/retropie-setup.sh” that loads you into a backend RetroPie menu. Navigate to the Bluetooth option and then open it to begin searching for a controller. Set your Bluetooth controller to sync mode, then pair it in the menu. Return to the Linux command prompt and type the command “sudo shutdown -r now”. Upon loading back into RetroPie, you should be able to use your Bluetooth controller by simply turning it on and following the on-screen menu. Once everything is complete, you’ll end up on another menu with the option RASPI-CONFIG, which you should now select.

Upon tapping that option, you’ll be taken to the main configuration menu for RetroPie, which includes all sorts of different settings. Go ahead and configure whichever settings you need. It’s also a good idea to navigate to Advanced Settings and disable Overscan if you’re using an HDTV. From here, you should be able to load your ROMs (stored on your SD card) and play them from the menu that appears when you boot up RetroPie. Check out the RetroPie documentation for troubleshooting any issues you may encounter, and happy gaming!

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Today’s Wordle Answer #377 – July 1, 2022 Word Solution And Hints

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The solution for the July 1, 2022, edition of Wordle is pinto. It made its way to the English vocabulary from the Spanish word pinto, which refers to a subject that is spotted or mottled. Horses with a patchy coloration, especially those rocking white patches, are affectionately known as pinto.

The word traces its etymological roots to the Latin term pinctus, which is used to describe something that has been painted over. The pinto bean, which is a staple in Mexican, Spanish, and Brazilian cuisines, also gets its name from the patchy color profile of its outer skin. According to Ancestry data, Pinto is a popular Catalan name that eventually made its way to the Indian subcontinent with the advent of Portuguese invaders.

Interestingly, it is also used to describe a person with greying hair, something pop culture describes as a salt-and-pepper look. You can trace the history of Pinto family migration across the U.S. and Canada in the 19th century here. As for famous personalities with that surname, the actress described above is Freida Pinto, while the footballer in question is José Manuel Pinto. Meanwhile, Fernão Mendes Pinto was a renowned Portuguese explorer and writer who also has a crater on the planet Mercury named after him.

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This New $6 Raspberry Pi Is The Computer The DIY Smart Home Needs

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In terms of hardware, the Raspberry Pi Pico W is identical to its predecessor; it sports the same RP2040 Arm Cortex M0+ Dual-Core SoC, which is based on TSMC’s 40nm low power manufacturing process. This chip clocks up to 133MHz and also packs in 264KB of SRAM. There is 2MB of onboard flash storage thrown in, as well. Additionally, the machine features a 40-pin GPIO just like the original Pico from 2021. The onboard micro USB controller can be used for data transfer and receiving power.

The Wi-Fi module on the Raspberry Pi Pico is the Infineon CYW43439 wireless that, apart from supporting 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks, also adds Bluetooth Classic and Bluetooth Low-Energy support. However, as of now, Raspberry has chosen not to enable Bluetooth capability in the machine. The company does not rule out the possibility of enabling Bluetooth further down the line, though.

With over 2 million Raspberry Pi Pico boards in the hands of consumers, the company expects its new model to enjoy similar success. The company also believes that the ongoing chip shortage has been among the prime reasons for the popularity of the RP2040-based Raspberry Pi Pico. The Pico W, thanks to its newfound wireless capability, will continue to be a great product that can power many IoT-based applications and DIY smart home needs. With a price tag of $6, the Raspberry Pi Pico W costs just $2 more than its predecessor. As the ecosystem for starter microcontrollers evolves, the $6 you spend on the Pico W will definitely be a worthwhile investment.

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