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Guess What’s #1 on the Mobile Industry Wish List?

16 nov. 2012

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

As a repeat visitor to the annual 4G World conferenceI was excited to have the chance to return to Chicago this month for the conference billed as the world’s largest independent event covering the ecosystem for next-generation mobile broadband networks.

Over the years, the agenda has dramatically evolved. For example, there’s no more debate over which technology standard is driving the mobile revolution. Despite some early momentum, WiMAX is no longer a contender (think Betamax video). It’s an LTE world out there. The big question now is how to handle the explosive growth in mobile data services like video. The industry is preparing for an astounding 1,000x increase. Evolving 3G/4G technology is key to getting there, but even the most advanced next-gen networks like 4G LTE will have to employ multiple innovations, all working together, to feed the public’s voracious appetite for all things digital.

As just about every speaker at this year’s gathering of mobile industry movers and shakers noted, small cells are going to be key. The conference began with a Summit, hosted by the Small Cell Forum, which now has 149 member companies focused on Femtocells, Picocells, Microcells and Metrocells. Confused yet? You’re not alone. Even within the industry, the terminology is still being standardized. For example, in kicking off the summit, Andy Germano, VP of the Forum explained that even the term “small cell” is a misnomer. Since many of these devices are not small (at least not yet) Germano suggested that “low power cells” is a more accurate description.

Terminology aside, the value proposition is clear. One way to dramatically increase the capacity and performance of the mobile network is to simply bring it closer to the user. That can be accomplished by adding small cells (e.g. home femtocells) to the mix. It’s called “network densification.” The denser the network configuration (the more cells that are deployed), the better the results.  

Nine out of the top 10 mobile network operators worldwide (as measured by revenue) have already started making small cells available to their customers. According to the Forum, within the next four years, almost 90 percent of all cells will be small cells. While the business opportunity is clear (the Forum projects that it will grow from a $250 million market today to a $2 billion market in 2016), there are challenges to overcome.

To prepare for the possibility of a 1,000-fold increase in data traffic, network operators will need to squeeze all they can out of their existing spectrum. In addition, they’ll have to purchase new spectrum (a finite resource) where possible. Another big challenge is interference. All those small cells  will need to be intelligently managed. Factoring all these strategies in the mix, technology companies like Qualcomm, and its partners in the mobile ecosystem, are calling for “a radically different way of acquiring, deploying, operating and managing these resources.”

As described by the industry bigwigs at the 4G World Conference, the whole idea of the mobile network is being reshaped. For example, by the end of 2016, there will be about 91.9 million small cells in the mix. That’s actually good news for consumers since it increases network capacity and ultimately translates to better user experiences. So if you’re one of those people who’d rather not wait for a web page to load or a video to cache, it’s a pretty sure bet that there’s a femtocell somewhere in your future.  

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Michael Copeland

Sr. Manager, Marketing

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Cellular V2X is gaining momentum

Believe it or not, the idea of talking cars on our streets and highways everywhere just got one step closer to reality.

Yesterday, the 3GPP announced the completion of the initial Cellular V2X (C-V2X) standard, which focuses on V2X Direct Communication. Further enhancements to support additional V2X operational scenarios will follow in 3GPP Release 14, targeted for completion in March 2017. In addition, today, key auto and mobile industry players including Audi AG, BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm Incorporated, announced the formation of the global, cross-industry 5G Automotive Association (5GAA). One of the key objectives of the association is to develop, test and promote communications solutions, such as C-V2X communication and its strong evolution to 5G. The Association is creating real cross-industry momentum around the development and deployment of connected car technologies, working to support national and regional policies in Europe and globally.

The completion of the initial C-V2X specification in 3GPP represents an incredibly important milestone for the role of the cellular ecosystem in vehicular communications. C-V2X is becoming a viable modern alternative to IEEE 802.11p and the basis for significant advancements in the future as the cellular industry moves toward 5G.

George Tsirtsis, Qualcomm Technologies C-V2X Engineering Lead

In my last blog post I covered how C-V2X was introduced in 3GPP Release 14 by evolving LTE Direct and LTE Broadcast to meet the requirements for automated driving. C-V2X will serve as the foundation for the safe, connected vehicle of the future, giving vehicles the ability to communicate with each other (V2V), with pedestrians’ devices (V2P), with roadside infrastructure (V2I) and with the cellular network (V2N).

C-V2X defines two new transmission modes that together enable a broad range of use cases:

  • C-V2X Direct communications – Enhances LTE Direct device-to-device communications to enable direct exchange of real-time information between vehicles, road side infrastructure and/or pedestrians’ devices.
  • C-V2X Network communications - Leverages existing LTE infrastructure with ubiquitous coverage to bring additional services, such as finding parking or advanced accident alerts

The coexistence of the two modes of operation delivers more advanced deployment scenarios and services to vehicles, opening up new opportunities and diverse business models for operators.

In this post, I want to elaborate on why C-V2X is gaining momentum and support from key global industry players:

1) Strong ecosystem – C-V2X benefits from the fast-moving and established mobile industry

The mobile ecosystem moves quickly to meet customer expectations, while keeping backward compatibility in mind. The fast evolution and high penetration rate of mobile devices have resulted in accelerated innovation and faster adoption of new technologies. The timely completion of the initial C-V2X standard is a testament to the fast pace of innovation in the mobile industry. This uptick in pace is penetrating the automotive industry, enabling a growing set of use cases for the connected vehicles and automated driving. The collaboration between the mobile and automotive industry has been established and the 5GAA will further foster this collaboration.

2) Superior performance – Designed to operate with or without cellular network coverage

C-V2X Direct communications enhances LTE Direct device-to-device communications with innovations to exchange real-time information between vehicles traveling at high speed, in high-density traffic, and even outside of mobile network coverage areas — enabling safer driving through true direct communications on designated ITS spectrum.

Several innovations have been introduced to allow direct V2X communication in the absence of infrastructure (i.e., without cellular network coverage). For example, the standard allows scheduling resources and interference management of V2X traffic based on distributed algorithms implemented between vehicles without network assistance. Also, vehicles can use Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers for synchronization instead of relying on cellular network coverage. When in coverage, V2X Direct Communication can be augmented by V2N’s extended range and network assistance. 

All these enhancements result in dramatic performance improvements over those enabled by IEEE 802.11p-based systems, with the ability to operate at higher relative speed up to 500 km/h and at higher node densities.

3) Strong evolution path – Continuous enhancements to accommodate new use cases

Unlike older V2X technologies, C-V2X has a technology evolution roadmap, providing a unified connectivity platform for safer vehicles of tomorrow. The C-V2X roadmap will benefit enormously from the strong LTE evolution path and the introduction of 5G technologies in the coming years, and from the mobile ecosystem as a whole. The evolution of C-V2X is already being discussed and we envision a growing set of use cases, including ultra-low latency vehicle platooning, high throughput sensor sharing, video see-through, and other automated driving requirements.

Qualcomm is driving C-V2X on the path to 5G

We are very pleased to see these positive developments. Our unique position at the intersection of the automotive and communications industries allows us to pave the road to our vision of the always-connected, more autonomous vehicle of the future by pioneering C-V2X technologies, driving a rich roadmap to 5G, and bringing new levels of on-device intelligence. We are actively driving the C-V2X work in 3GPP, which builds on our leadership in LTE Direct and LTE Broadcast to pioneer C-V2X technologies. Learn more about C-V2X here.

As a co-founder of the 5GAA Alliance, we are vey pleased about the role of the association in fostering collaboration between the automotive and communications industries. We look forward to more positive developments in this space and more collaboration between governments, as well as, telecommunication and automotive industries.


27 sept. 2016