C Users Dave Pictures Disruptive Analysis Edge Diagram with Dave Burstein levels 230Carriers have to decide whether they want to offer ~15 ms latency or 25-45 ms latency. 25-45 ms is inexpensive because it requires very few servers, The number of servers and the cost is much higher for ~15 ms. (1 ms works in the lab but it will be years before it is widely deployed. I wish politicians would stop lying about that.)

Choosing where to put Edge Servers is one of the most crucial decisions to make in advanced networks. Very few are certain the demand is there and confident about spending heavily. In the diagram (larger below), I point to 4 Levels at different speeds and costs.  

C Users Dave Pictures Disruptive Analysis Edge Diagram with Dave Burstein levels 650Every network is different. To simplify things, I offer four logical points for telco servers.  

Level 1 - At towers and cells for 10-15 ms. No one except possibly the Chinese is discussing this for the next 5 years. Too expensive

Level 2 - 1-3 hops back, C-RAN or exchange, 15-20 ms. Most engineers think this is ideal, but the investments haven't been approved.

Level 3 - A little further back, at a city or regional hub. BT is suggesting 1000 servers would be right for the UK.

Level 4 - At a limited number of national aggregation points but still within the telco network. DT is beginning with 7-14 servers, KT with 6. Latency might be 25 ms.

My opinion is that almost every carrier should offer at least a Level 4 network, building a market without committing much capital/

Verizon says the latency on its 5G network is 30 ms; actual tests are a little better. Verizon and AT&T have demonstrated in the lab that Edge Servers fairly close - what I call a Level 2 cloud - can deliver 15 ms. 

Minister Miao Wei 18 months ago set a goal of 90% of China within 25 ms of a server. The telcos are almost certain to build what he wants. The technology is improving so rapidly they may do better than that. China Telecom may delay a large investment until after 2021, however.  Yang Xin believes there is still a problem with the business model.


dave ask


Samsung has delivered 5G chip samples to BBK's Oppo and Vivo, the #2 or #3 phones manufacturer. Samsung is facing off against Qualcomm in the 5G market. Qualcomm is unfazed and reportedly moving the production of their next chip from TSMC to Samsung. 

Sprint's 2.5 GHz 5G is delivering 100-500 megabit downloads consistently. That bodes well for China Mobile, using the same frequencies.

Vodafone, BT, and soon 3UK are delivering modestly sized 5G mid-band networks. Vodafone is also live in Spain and Italy. 

Sunrise in Switzerland is using 5G mid-band for fixed wireless in rural areas.  

More newsfeed


Welcome  1,000,000 Koreans bought 5G in the first ten weeks. The demand is there, and most of the technology works. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while reducing capex. Deutsche Telekom and Orange/France Telecom also confirm they won't raise capex.

Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 3X to 7X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Carrier Aggregation, 256 QAM, and other tools double and triple that. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year.

Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less.  I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

Believe it or not, 80+% of 5G (mid-band) for several years will be slower than good 4G, which is more developed.