Home Industry Telecoms & NBN How Artemis can deliver 5G on 4G LTE devices today deployed worldwide with Nokia Networks

How Artemis can deliver 5G on 4G LTE devices today deployed worldwide with Nokia Networks

This background info document explains the 5G conundrum and how Artemis is best placed to solve it today - not in 2020 or 2025.

This information is largely a must-read re-print of information supplied today by Nokia Networks and Artemis Networks. Please read on.

Nokia Networks and Artemis Networks announced on November 2, 2015 that they have signed an MOU to would work together to deploy pCell with wireless operators starting in 2016, initially in high-density areas such as stadiums, venues and offices and later offer advanced services such as precise 3D location positioning and high-density Wi-Fi.

Additional detail on that press release is available here at iTWire - but read on, because it's all here and more below. 

Nokia Networks, a division of Nokia, is one of the largest wireless infrastructure vendors in the world, serving almost 5 billion subscribers through its operator customers. Artemis Networks (“Artemis”) is the creator of pCell, a breakthrough wireless technology that increases the capacity of existing 4G LTE spectrum by a factor of over 50 times, achieving 5G performance on unmodified 4G LTE devices such as iPhone, Android and iPad. - See “Why 5G is Urgently Needed...but Doesn’t Exist,” below.

Under the agreement, Nokia Networks and Artemis will interconnect pCell technology with Nokia Networks’ core network infrastructure and support device hand-over to/from Nokia Networks’ existing networks.

This will enable wireless operators to seamlessly deploy pCell into their networks to work immediately with their existing subscriber devices, such as iPhones, Android and tablets, using spectrum they already own.

Nokia Networks and Artemis have already been working with tier-1 mobile operators, the first of which has successfully concluded technical due diligence of pCell technology and is planning a pCell trial with Nokia Networks and Artemis at the start of 2016. Trials, followed by full deployments with other tier-1 mobile operators, venue operators and enterprise are expected to follow.

Here’s Why Artemis says ‘5G is Urgently Needed...But Doesn’t Exist’

“Mobile First” used to be the mantra for technology-oriented products and services. Now it is “Mobile Everything” for all products and services, across all industries. HD video channels recently only available through cable or satellite are now available on any mobile device.

4K video streams and 12 megapixel video clips a year ago were only possible on professional equipment. Now, everyone with a current iPhone or Android phone will shoot video/photos at these resolutions by default, and anyone with a Facebook account will have them automatically streamed to them (whether they care about the high resolution or not).

And, undoubtedly a year from now, even higher mobile bandwidth-intensive services will be introduced. 4G LTE networks are already overwhelmed by current mobile traffic, and despite massive investment by mobile operators in spectrum and infrastructure, the countries with the most mature LTE deployments (e.g. U.S. and Japan) have the slowest LTE data rates (US ranks 56th and Japan ranks 36th globally).

These figures are according to OpenSignal.com from September 2015.

LTE inherently becomes a victim of its own success: as users use more LTE services, networks become more congested, and no technology exists that can alleviate the congestion.

While a variety of technologies (e.g. small cells, MIMO, beam-forming, CoMP) have been deployed to increase the capacity of existing spectrum, they’ve hit physics upper limits of capacity. As acknowledged by Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam (in a 2013 Verizon Investor Presentation), “It’s the physics that breaks it...you just run out of gas.”

The only remaining way to significantly increase mobile capacity is to allocate more mobile spectrum. The trouble is, mobile spectrum is a finite resource and only a very small amount remains. What does remain is being auctioned off at astronomical prices.

Article continues below ad - much more great info is below, please read on. 

In the US in 2015, second-tier spectrum was auctioned for over US$40B, more than 50% of the combined EBITDA of all four major operators, and more than all of the prior mobile spectrum auctions combined. Artemis projects that within three years there will be no more spectrum to auction at any price. This is detailed in the 99-page Artemis pCell Whitepaper, endnote 24 - PDF link

5G technology has been promised to address these mobile issues. 5G core goals include eliminating congestion, supporting very high bandwidth streams, such as 4K video streams and 12 megapixel video clips, to dense crowds and supporting millions of Internet of Everything devices.

All the major mobile industry groups and standardisation bodies have formed 5G committees. Government bodies have allocated grants for the study of 5G. Infrastructure providers have published 5G whitepapers. Mobile operators have announced 5G deployment goals, ranging from 2017 to 2025, each listing most of the major infrastructure providers as partners.

There is clearly a desperate need for what 5G promises, and also clearly an immense commitment throughout industry and government worldwide to deploy 5G.

There is only one thing missing: No 5G technology exists.

There is no technology on the table, or even a working demo of a technology, that comes close to addressing current mobile capacity demand, let alone expected demand by the time 5G is (realistically) deployed in 2025 or later.

Previous wireless generations (e.g. 4G LTE) are based on technologies (e.g. MIMO, OFDM) that were working a decade before their first deployment. Since nothing today is even projected to achieve 5G performance in a practical deployment, we certainly won’t be seeing 5G deployments until well into the 2020s. Given the limited mobile spectrum remaining, by the mid- 2020s mobile networks will be utterly congested.

pCell Achieves Core 5G Goals Today in Current Spectrum

pCell achieves all significant 5G goals today, using existing LTE devices in existing LTE spectrum. 4G LTE is capable of high speeds more than adequate to meet the key 5G goals of high-bandwidth streaming, but in practice no one sees such high speeds using 4G LTE, largely due to congestion.

So, what an LTE user will experience when moving from a conventional LTE network to pCell LTE is—with congestion now eliminated—the lightning-fast speeds that 4G LTE is capable of delivering all the time, even in a crowd of people streaming 4K HD videos or watching 12 megapixel video clips, using Periscope, HD Skype, FaceTime, or any combination of high bandwidth services.

pCell accomplishes 5G performance goals on 4G LTE devices by taking a very different approach than existing wireless systems (or even proposed 5G systems). Rather than sharing the spectrum among all of the users by giving each device a “turn” to use the spectrum, pCell technology enables all devices to use the spectrum concurrently.

So, pCell can give the full data rate of the spectrum to each user at once. For example, if the full data rate of the spectrum is 100 Mbps and there are 100 users sharing it equally, with conventional LTE, each of the 100 users can get 1 Mbps. With pCell LTE, each of the 100 users can get 100 Mbps at once.

As stated previously, pCell leapfrogs current wireless systems by turning the primary limiting factor of wireless performance—interference—into an asset:

  • In conventional wireless networks, mobile devices must avoid interference by taking turns sharing the same spectrum. Congestion results when demand exceeds spectrum capacity, slowing mobile traffic to a crawl.
  • In a pCell wireless network, all mobile devices use the same spectrum at once, deliberately creating many interfering signals. Using breakthrough patented technology, pCell actually exploits the interference, increasing spectrum capacity by over 50x, effectively eliminating congestion.

By enabling every user to run at peak 4G LTE data rate concurrently, pCell achieves the core projected 5G goals for 2025 today, seamlessly using 4G LTE devices that are already in users’ hands, and using the scarce mobile spectrum that mobile operators already own or that will soon be allocated. And, pCell accomplishes this at a much lower deployment and operation cost than conventional cellular.

Because pCell achieves such huge spectrum capacity gains, it can utilize spectrum blocks so small they would not be worth the cost of deployment for conventional cellular LTE.

For example, using conventional LTE the 5 MHz of spectrum that pCell has leased from DISH in San Francisco (SF) would only deliver an average of 5.7 Mbps of capacity per cell. Shared among 16 concurrent users, 5.7 Mbps results in only 400 kbps per user:

(Cellular LTE Average Mbps per user in 5 MHz of Spectrum according to: Rysavy Research, “Beyond LTE: Enabling the Mobile Broadband Explosion”, Aug. 2014, Fig. 29, p. 71.)

But with pCell technology, the same 5 MHz of spectrum, at the same power level to the same LTE devices, delivers 198 Mbps in actual SF test results and can deliver more as needed.

For example, shared among 16 users, 198 Mbps results in 12.5 Mbps per user, a 35x gain:

Note that 198 Mbps is a much higher data rate than is achievable by conventional cellular in even the largest single channel of LTE spectrum (40 MHz: 20+20 MHz FDD). Thus, pCell has transformed what otherwise would have been a worthless “sliver” of 5 MHz spectrum into higher capacity LTE spectrum than previously possible.

The world desperately needs 5G performance today. pCell is the only technology that delivers 5G performance, whether in a large block of 20 MHz or more spectrum or in just a “sliver” of 5 MHz of spectrum.

pCell’s “sliver” of spectrum in San Francisco today, compatible with unmodified 4G LTE devices, delivers much higher capacity at much lower cost than can be achieved using conventional cellular LTE technology.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.