Small Cell Network 320
Absolutely not announced but I'm sure they made the go decision. Recent actions have made clear they are going forward to 30-50M homes, probably  2019-2022.  This will require 100.000's of thousand of small cells and possibly over a million. They want the best network in America, probably unmatched in any other part of the world as well. 

My conviction comes from my belief that the top people at Verizon are smart and knowledgeable. They've taken several actions that would be stupid if the big build wasn't decided. McAdam and team are the opposite of stupid.

Senior executives have made a dozen statements pointing the way. Verizon is a world leader in 5G research, with eleven cities mostly installed and about to go live. (Fixed only, upgrading to mobile as soon as it is ready ?2020-2021.) The technology has improved so much in the last year the engineers are confident. The cost is coming in lower than expected. Verizon can expect some crucial marketing and lobbying advantages. Everything has come together to make this the logical move for Verizon.


Verizon's 5G network - What

CEO Lowell McAdam provided many details talking to Wall Street. (Here and here.)

Homes will have an outside antenna, measured in inches, not feet. That the antenna is larger than an entire cell phone is one reason the fixed connections are easier than the mobile ones. Target speed is 5 gigabits shared, 1 gigabit to almost everybody most of the time. A wire will normally terminate in an Ethernet jack inside.

The actual signals will travel over 28 GHz, where Verizon has eight times as much spectrum as they are using today.  The available spectrum allows higher speeds. They will probably start at 5 gigabits (shared) and I have seen 20 gigabit radios almost ready for market. Most customers with a good connection will see 1 gigabit almost all the time. In practice, it's very rare to see many users running 100 meg at the same time, much less 500-1000.  

The radios will also support advanced LTE, with speeds that may go up to a gigabit, shared. The LTE can be put to work immediately, providing much-needed capacity.  The first wave probably will be 200,00-300,000 small cells. A national network will probably require a million.

 Verizon and everyone else so far is using fiber to connect to a Cloud RAN: dozens or hundreds of relatively simple cells will be connected to one big brain. NG-PON2 is the likely fiber choice. Ericsson thinks microwave backhaul has a place.

The travel back and forth to the Cloud slows things down but the savings look to be enormous. One ms looks to be a dream more than a desired product. Even connected cars and virtual reality work well at 5-10 ms  I haven't spoken to a telco convinced. While 1 millisecond latency is possible and widely promoted, all the telcos who have announced are building for 5-10 milliseconds. It costs as much as double to deliver 1 ms, because you need to have a great deal of intelligence in every node.

Software Defined Networking and Network Function Virtualization will be every.



dave askAugust 2018 Verizon's $20B 5G build is starting to add customers in 2018. Gigabit LTE & Massive MIMO became real in 2017 and enow expanding worldwide. Almost all the other "5G" is mid-band, 70%-90% slower + hype. Europe is mostly pr. The term 5G has been bastardized, unfortunately.

Being a reporter is a great job for a geek. I'm not an engineer but I've learned from some of the best, including the primary inventors of DSL, cable modems, MIMO, Massive MIMO, and now 5G mmWave. Since 1999, I've done my best to get closer to the truth about broadband.

Send questions and news to Dave Burstein, Editor. I always want to hear from you, especially if you catch a mistake.


 5G Why Verizon thinks differently and what to do about it is a new report I wrote for STL Partners and their clients.

STL Partners, a British consulting outfit I respect, commissioned me to ask why. That report is now out. If you're a client, download it here. If not, and corporate priced research is interesting to you, ask me to introduce you to one of the principals.

It was fascinating work because the answers aren't obvious. Lowell McAdam's company is spending $20B to cover 30M+ homes in the first stage. The progress in low & mid-band, both "4G" and "5G," has been remarkable. In most territories, millimeter wave will not be necessary to meet expected demand.

McAdam sees a little further. mmWave has 3-4X the capacity of low and mid-band. He sees an enormous marketing advantage: unlimited services, even less congestion, reputation as the best network. Verizon testing found mmWave rate/reach was twice what had been estimated. All prior cost estimates need revision.

My take: even if mmWave doesn't fit in your current budget, telcos should expand trials and training to be ready as things change. The new cost estimates may be low enough to change your mind.