Dont Believe the Hype 230Typical speeds: 100-600 megabits down, much less up. 

The new "2 gig peak" chips from Huawei and Qualcomm deliver about the same speed with a similar number of antennas and the same spectrum. You can't get much more speed without breaking the Laws of Physics, whether you call it 4G or 5G.

The real 5G uses perhaps ten times as much spectrum for practical speeds over a gigabit. You can only find 800 MHz free at millimeter wave ranges, mostly 26-30 GHz. I and most others consider Massive MIMO, 64-256 antennas, also 5G.

Early in 2017, the marketing people started to call 3.5 GHz "4G" TDD LTE "5G" even though the speed was almost the same. The result is what Dan Jones calls Faux 5G and I call Fake 5G.

The software tweak (NR New Radio) did little for the speed although NR offers other features. The marketing people love the name 5G and stuck it on everything. 

Don't believe the hype.

Since the 2009 first LTE networks forward, LTE in ideal conditions delivers 90+% of the Shannon capacity per hertz of spectrum per antenna. Since then, everything got faster as more spectrum and antennas became practical. (There's a further boost by more efficient coding, with now using 256 QAM.)

Lowell McAdam, Verizon CEO, explains, "when we deployed 4G, there was a big scramble for everybody to try to get 3G to look like 4G and we called it 4G Faux. And you're seeing some of the same stuff right now."The first generation of LTE used 20 MHz and 1 antenna. Moore's Law and improved components allowed increasing the spectrum used and adding antennas.The new chips use 5-8 times as much spectrum and 4 antennas. 

In 2009, peak speeds were about 100 megabits and typical user speeds 10-20% of that. (Always affected by distance and topology; cell edge was much less.) On paper, the new could reach 2,000 - 3,200 megabits plus the 256 QAM. 

Both Huawei and Qualcomm in the real world deliver much less. Qualcomm models 70-300 megabits as typical for Gig LTE, as you add users, distance, and obstacles. I'd expect the new Qualcomm two gig chips will be 100 megabits to ~600 megabits in the real world when tested. For 5G, Qualcomm's simulation predicts a median 490 megabits in 3.5 GHz, apparently using more antennas. Not too far apart.

5G in spectrum below 6 GHz is just 4G, a software tweak that adds almost no more speed (NR), and infinite hype. Fake 5G is easy to recognize: it's not much faster than 4G.

Faux 5G (Dan Jones' term) or Fake 5G (my name) is anything that is called 5G and doesn't deliver dramatically better performance than 4G. Millimeter wave (mostly 26-40 GHz) and Massive MIMO generally deliver 3-10X more. Peak performance will generally be 5-25 gigabits and real users' speed often a true gigabit.

Don't believe any of this, including what I write, until we have real results from the field. 

 

Qualcomm Continues Gigabit LTE Leadership with World’s First Announced 2 Gbps LTE Modem

 

FEB 14, 2018SAN DIEGO

Qualcomm products mentioned within this press release are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

 

Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., has started sampling the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X24 LTE modem, the world’s first announced Category 20 LTE modem supporting up to 2 gigabits per second (Gbps) download speeds, and the first-announced chip built on a leading-edge 7 nanometer FinFET process. It is the Company’s eighth generation LTE multimode modem and third generation Gigabit LTE solution, featuring the most advanced cellular features of any commercially available 4G LTE modem to date, and strengthening the LTE foundation for future 5G NR multimode devices and networks. The Snapdragon X24 LTE modem will be featured in a live demonstration at Mobile World Congress Barcelona in conjunction with Ericsson, Telstra and NETGEAR.

“As the world’s first announced Gigabit LTE modem to achieve speeds of up to 2 Gbps, the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem sets a major mobile industry milestone, designed to provide enhanced mobile broadband and deliver an extremely important gigabit coverage layer for commercial 5G networks and mobile devices that are expected to start launching in 2019,” said Serge Willenegger, senior vice president and general manager, 4G/5G and Industrial IOT, Qualcomm Wireless GmbH. “Further expanding on the use of 4x4 and LAA capability, the Snapdragon X24 packs a powerful array of the most advanced 4G LTE technologies commercially available, helping mobile operators to fully mobilize their spectrum assets and maximize the capacity of their Gigabit LTE networks, and mobile device makers to offer consumers a tangible glimpse of our 5G future”.

As the world’s first commercially announced Category 20 LTE modem supporting download speeds up to 2 Gbps, the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem delivers 2x the speed of the Company’s first generation Gigabit LTE modem. The Snapdragon X24 supports up to 7x carrier aggregation in the downlink, as well as 4x4 MIMO on up to five aggregated LTE carriers – both mobile industry firsts – for a total of up to 20 concurrent spatial LTE streams. This unprecedented feature set is designed to allow devices that feature the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem to utilize all spectrum assets available from a mobile operator, whether in licensed spectrum, or with License Assisted Access (LAA). Additional system capacity improvements are made possible through support of Full Dimension Multi-Input Multi-Output (FD-MIMO), a Massive MIMO technology that is foundational to future 5G NR networks. In the uplink, Snapdragon X24 supports Category 20 upload speeds, 3x20 MHz CA and up to 256-QAM.

The Snapdragon X24 LTE modem pairs with an advanced RF transceiver built in 14 nm FinFET process technology, and the Qualcomm® QET5100 Envelope Tracker, making it the first announced modem to support 60 MHz envelope tracking for up to 3x uplink carrier aggregation channels with simultaneous High Power User Equipment (HPUE) support in Band 41, engineered to deliver power-efficient connectivity for the next generation of mobile devices. Consumers will also benefit from the Snapdragon X24 modem’s support for the concurrent multi-constellation multi-frequency global navigation satellite system (GNSS), which is optimized to provide highly accurate location positioning required in different applications and services.

With the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem’s fiber-like Internet speeds delivered wirelessly, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can offer consumers incredible mobile experiences such as immersive 360-degree video, connected cloud computing, rich entertainment and instant apps. At the same time, operators can gain flexibility in using their spectrum assets to offer blazing fast speeds to consumers, while also improving their network capacity and maximizing spectral efficiency.

Those attending Mobile World Congress in Barcelona can experience a demonstration of the 2 Gbps speeds of the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem, in conjunction with Ericsson, NETGEAR and Telstra at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, February 26-March 1, Booth: Hall 3 Stand 3E10.

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.