331px EdwinHowardArmstrongWithout Ted Rappaport, Verizon would not be turning on 5G today. In 2012, almost nobody believed millimeter wave was practical for consumer wireless. In 2013, NYU's Ted Rappaport wrote Millimeter Wave Mobile Communications for 5G Cellular: It Will Work! based on thousands of tests his team did in the skyscrapers of New York. (Abstract below) 

      Ted's results were much better than almost anyone else expected and inspired the Nokia and Ericsson to confirm with their own testing. On October 1st, 2018, Verizon is turning on a true gigabit 5G network. Yes, I realize my headline is an exaggeration. Someone else would have discovered the properties of mmWave, probably years later. We wouldn't have it today.

      He just won the Armstrong Medal from the Radio Club of America. He's particularly honored to win this because, "when I was a dirt poor college student, and newly married, this organization gave me a scholarship that helped me decide to stay for grad school instead of taking a job." 

      The world would be a poorer place if he had left Academia. The Awards banquet November 17 in New York will be, "An amazing night in general. It will have very deep personal meaning for me, as I share publicly my walk with wireless and the many amazing mentors who shaped my life, and things  you may not have known about my life and career." Ted has shared some of the details. I guarantee it will be inspiring. 

      The world's best engineers come to the Brooklyn 5G Summit at NYU in the spring out of respect for the work done there. At the event, I've learned from Paulraj, Goldsmith, Onoe, and the leaders of just about every major company in the Western world. The two days are the best single place to learn about 5G and now 6G. If you want to learn what's coming next in wireless, watch the IEEE recording.

       Samsung funded the 2013 work, part of the six years of investment that now have made them an international player in wireless.

Some appreciations from his peers:

Ted's pioneering mm-wave research has profoundly influenced our research also on the other side of the Atlantic - such a richly deserved recognition of his vision! Prof. Lajos Hanzo FREng, FIEEE, FIEE, Fellow of EURASIP, DSc Univ. of Southampton

Millimeter Wave Mobile Communications for 5G Cellular: It Will Work!

THEODORE S. RAPPAPORT1 , SHU SUN1 , RIMMA MAYZUS1 , HANG ZHAO1 , YANIV AZAR1 , KEVIN WANG1 , GEORGE N. WONG1 , JOCELYN K. SCHULZ1 , MATHEW SAMIMI1 , AND FELIX GUTIERREZ1 1NYU WIRELESS, Polytechnic Institute of New York University, New York, NY 11201, USA Corresponding author: T. S. Rappaport (tsr@nyu.edu)

This work was supported by Samsung DMC R&D Communications Research Team and Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC. ABSTRACT The global bandwidth shortage facing wireless carriers has motivated the exploration of the underutilized millimeter wave (mm-wave) frequency spectrum for future broadband cellular communication networks. There is, however, little knowledge about cellular mm-wave propagation in densely populated indoor and outdoor environments. Obtaining this information is vital for the design and operation of future fifth generation cellular networks that use the mm-wave spectrum. In this paper, we present the motivation for new mm-wave cellular systems, methodology, and hardware for measurements and offer a variety of measurement results that show 28 and 38 GHz frequencies can be used when employing steerable directional antennas at base stations and mobile devices.

Radio Club of America Awards Armstrong Medal to Wireless Communications Researcher and Educator Theodore Rappaport

Armstrong Medal Honors Founder of NYU WIRELESS Research Center for His Lasting Contributions
September 28, 2018

BROOKLYN, New York, Friday, September 27, 2018 – The Radio Club of America (RCA) announced that Professor Theodore “Ted” Rappaport, founding director of NYU WIRELESS and a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, will receive the Armstrong Medal for demonstrated excellence and lasting contributions to radio arts and sciences.

Ted RappaportRappaport conducted seminal research, most recently in the millimeter wave (mmWave) radio spectrum. He advanced commercialization of this 5G technology that will bring broadband speeds to wireless communication – thereby potentially revolutionizing medicine, enabling autonomous vehicles, inexpensively connecting rural communities to the digital world, and more.

The RCA, the oldest worldwide organization of wireless communications professionals, also cited Rappaport for his lifelong contributions as an educator. In addition to his position as the David Lee/Ernst Weber Professor of Electrical Engineering at NYU Tandon, he is also on the faculty of the NYU Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and the Radiology Department of the School of Medicine.

Rappaport joins a distinguished group of past recipients of the Armstrong Medal — all luminaries in the wireless industry — including Arthur CollinsWalter CronkiteHarold BeverageMorgan O’Brien, and Major Edward H. Armstrong himself, who laid the foundations for much of the modern radio, including circuitry and the FM radio system.

In 1991, Rappaport was named an RCA Fellow at the age of 30, making him one of the youngest in recent history.

In 2012, Rappaport launched NYU WIRELESS at NYU Tandon, the first U.S. academic center to merge wireless engineering research with computer science and medicine. Since its founding, NYU WIRELESS has remained at the frontier of next-generation mobile technology, with undergraduate, graduate, and faculty researchers transforming the wireless field through their research into mmWave technology, channel modeling, Massive MIMO, beyond-5G technologies, circuits, and nano devices. The center pioneered mmWave frequencies for mobile communications and acted as an accelerant for the technology by bringing together leading businesses, institutes, and academic researchers at the annual Brooklyn 5G Summit.

Before Rappaport’s seminal paper “Millimeter Wave Mobile Communications for 5G Cellular: It Will Work!” many researchers disregarded the potential of the mmWave spectrum. It was Rappaport’s research that demonstrated to the world the viability of mmWave radio frequency bands, central to implementing 5G wireless technology.

In addition to the Armstrong Medal, Rappaport has received many prestigious honors throughout his career, including the Marconi Young Scientist Award (1990) and the Institution of Engineering and Technology Sir Monty Finniston Medal (2011). In addition to authoring and co-authoring more than 200 papers and 20 books in wireless communications, Rappaport holds more than 100 U.S. and international patents, founded two of the world’s largest academic wireless research centers prior to NYU WIRELESS, and founded and advised multiple wireless companies.

“Ted Rappaport has shown the world the future of wireless communications, not only through his work on mmWave technology but as a leader, researcher, and educator in the wireless field,” said Jelena Kovačević, dean of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. “The RCA’s recognition of Ted, particularly with the Armstrong Medal, demonstrates how instrumental his work is on a global scale. His immense contributions have placed NYU Tandon on the map as a leader in wireless technology.”

dave askOn Oct 1, Verizon will turn on the first $20B 5G mmWave network, soon offering a gigabit or close to 30M homes. The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while keeping capex at around 15%.

The Koreans, Chinese, and almost all Europeans are not doing mmWave in favor of mid-band "5G," with 4G-like performance. Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 4X to 10X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year. I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

The predicted massive small cell builds are a pipe dream for vendors for at least five years. Verizon expects to reach a quarter of the U.S. without adding additional small cells. 

In the works: Enrique Blanco and Telefonica's possible mmWave disruption of Germany; Believe it or don't: 5G is cheap because 65% of most cities can be covered by upgrading existing cells; Verizon is ripping out and replacing 200,000 pieces of gear expecting to save half. 

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 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.