The news, July 21, 2017

Reply "subscribe" to be added, "un" to be dropped News, below. 212 MHz and cDTA Are Ready: Adtran; Frank Miller of Century: Will be Important to Us; Carl Russo: Since 2007, I've Been Turning Calix Into a Software Company; Adtran Chosen for Australia nbn Fiber to the curb; 1,400,000,000 In The Works. 1.4 Gigabits; Africa & Connecticut Go Nokia; Omantel: 90% Fiber &

In brief: $400,000,000,000 - the Chinese 5G plan - should put to rest any doubts 5G is coming. Japan, Korea, and Verizon in the U.S. are also committed to large volumes in 2019-2021. Europe remains mostly talk and pr. ** is ready to expand worldwide, as Adtran & DT show cDTA and 212 GHz. Both deliver over a gigabit. 96 port units are ready to go at Huawei, tested by BT. Omantel & Telkom South Africa are now deploying.** Cox Cable, #3 in the U.S., moved the completion of their gigabit upgrade from 2017 to 2020. Comcast says they are on track for 40% of the U.S. gigified for 2018. Rogers in Canada offers a gig to all 4M homes.** DT has delayed VDSL 35b until the second half of 2018. They have reduced overall the target network speed from 100 megabits to 50 megabits. New chief Gigabit Dirk Wossner comes from Rogers and might turn that around. ** Wireless abundance is spreading worldwide. India LTE mobiles for free with a $22 refundable deposit. Monthly plans are under $5. In Paris, the irrepressible Jennie discovered her $23 SIM had a 100 gigabyte cap. ** Verizon CEO McAdam affirms VZ does not need more spectrum and did not bid in the auction. AT&T has ~60 MHz unused, enough to build a Verizon sized network.

Politicians and others - on both sides - are pushing ridiculous lies on Neutrality. Less reported is the $billions in waste I'm seeing in U.S. and other subsidies. The biggest carriers in Europe & the U.S. are telling politicians they will increase investment if they get concessions and telling Wall Street they invest will be flat and even down.

*** The new Telebyte Guide to Testing Gfast follows the Broadband Forum IR-337 Gfast test specification, the same used by the University of New Hampshire (UNH-IOL) for Gfast certification testing. Free download (ad) It is the best technical guide to  I have seen. Grab it. Dave


China 5G? $180,000,000,000 to $400,000,000,000 ($180B to $400)
$400B between 2020 & 2030 says MIIT, $180B says SCMP. Some will be "Fake 5G" in lower frequencies with performance no better than what will be delivered by 4G. Verizon and NTT DOCOMO have committed tens of billions; add China Mobile quickly going wide, and doubt should disappear. China's real 5G is likely to cover hundreds of millions by the middle of the next decade, more than anyone else on earth. China will almost certainly be the first to 10M 5G subscribers. China Mobile is among the world leaders in true 5G and expects to upgrade 1% of their million+ base stations by 2010 with mmWave. China Mobile Research is among the best in the world.

*** Sckipio's Three advances are taking to the next level. (ad)

McAdam of Verizon: We Don't Need No 'effing Spectrum Lowell was more polite, of course. For several years, top engineers have been telling me spectrum just isn't such an important factor. Verizon didn't buy any spectrum in the last auction despite prices that were down by 50-60%. "We simply do not need it," explains Chief Network Officer  Nicola Palmer. Lowell McAdam told Morgan,"When you look at the spectrum and the cost of small cells versus the cost of spectrum in the old AWS auction sort of environment, it was clear to us that building the fiber infrastructure to densify via small cells was better than the alternative of a buying spectrum." CFO Matt Ellis explained to Craig Moffett,"Spectrum is one way that we can add that capacity, but it is not the only way,"
     Technology allows adding relatively inexpensive capacity within existing spectrum faster than demand is growing. Verizon estimates the cost per bit is going down 40%/year; Telus estimates 55%. Verizon's capex has been flat to down but they now are offering new unlimited plans. McAdam expects capex to stay flat for the next decade, despite one of the largest 5G mmWave builds in the world.

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Free/$22 4G LTE Phones at Reliance Jio India
While Jio calls the phones "free," they require a $22 deposit refundable only after three years. Jio plans start at thirty cents for 200 megabytes and unlimited calls for a day.  $1.50 buys a gig/day for 7 days. It's less than $5 for a gig each day for 28 days. 500M Indians are still on 2G phones. Starting in September, Jio intends to migrate hundreds of millions to 4G. A 4G network offers more than 10X the capacity of 2G & 3G, drastically bringing down the network cost. 4G is so much cheaper to run Ambani would come out ahead even with a $10/phone subsidy. The $20B LTE system is easily handling 100M paid subscribers. The Made-In-India JioPhone supports 22 major languages, voice over LTE, secure payments, and voice dialing. Press #5 to send a distress signal, a feature I predict others will copy.  The chip is either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 205 or a Spreadtrum SC9820. The 205 is about as basic as you can get today. 3 MP camera, 640 x 480 screen and LTE Cat 4 topping out at 150 megabits. The SC9820 can support a 5 MP camera and 720P video. Screens will be very small   Both are manufactured on a years-old 28 nm process and have two ARM cores. The screen is only 2.4 inches. Within a year, Ambani expects to have more users than Verizon & AT&T combined.
The historic Jio revolution means India will soon have more robust Internet users than the U.S. and Western Europe combined.


Cox Delays Gig Cable 4 Years! to 2020
Cox decides 300 megabits is enough for now. Cox, #3 in the U.S. with 6M customers, had initially promised to offer a gig to all of them by the end of last year. Comcast, as far as I know, is still going rapidly for  gigification .Their 40% of the U.S. should be gigified by the end of next year.  Rogers has already gigged all 4M homes.

Gigabit Dirk Wossner Taking Over at Deutsche Telecom
New Germany CEO offered a gigabit on all 4M Rogers cable connections in Canada, his previous company. Despite very high prices, Rogers has returned to growth. 46% of Rogers residential Internet base already take speeds 100 Mbps. Now he's moving from Canada to Bonn, replacing Niek Jan van Damme. His new boss, Tim Hottges, has been betting DT's future on the belief most Germans will stick to DT if he builds a network designed for 50 Mbps downloads. The Rogers figures are a potent argument that 50 Mbps will not satisfy most customers in years to come. The German cablecos have been winning market share for years and cover two-thirds of the country. Those that are still only 200 or 400 Mbps will almost all go to the gig in the next few years because the upgrades are so cheap.

*** Linley IoT Hardware Conference July 25 - 26, Hyatt Regency Santa Clara. This two-day, single-track conference will cover hardware design for applications such as smart cities, smart grid, smart farms, smart homes, connected vehicles, and industrial IoT, along with wearables, health and fitness devices. (Courtesy ad in exchange for an interview.) Linley always has top technical people who explain what's going to happen with sophistication. Most in the industry get in free if you pre-register. On-site is $195. Sure to be worthwhile, Dave

3 IoT Surprises From Linley: Telcos Don't Win, 4G Rather Than 5G, Industrial Outpacing Consumer
Most connections will be Wi-Fi or local. Very few require 5G high speeds or latency. Consumer IoT will come, but industrial is now leading the way. Those observations are from Linley Gwennap, one of the world's leading chip analysts. I listen closely to the chip guys, who often see trends several years ahead.
Some would call these opinions heretical, but I think they are right on target. Wi-Fi is close to ubiquitous in every middle class home, so why pay a phone company to connect you in home or office? The vast majority of IoT apps are low speed and latency tolerant. Your air conditioner or washing machine doesn't need to communicate at megabits/second, much less gigabits. Adding Wi-Fi is just a couple of bucks and getting cheaper. 802.11ac is delivering a routine 500 megabits.

Hidden Figures: Missing Data for Wireless
Bad policy comes from bad data.  What is the landed cost of bandwidth/transit in different countries? How high are the royalty costs on mobile phones? What is the actual 3G/4G coverage in each country? What are the ten most attractive commercial volume offerings? If anyone has data, please pass it on.
Most policy studies are funded, directly or indirectly, by interested parties. There is little or no money to research many basic facts. I do my best, but can't find crucial data.  Here are some questions I can't answer confidently. News

212 GHz and cDTA are soon shipping from Adtran. True gigabit is here. Sales takeoff is almost in sight, probably Q1 2018.
Australia confirms 1M, AT&T is ready to ramp, DT finally is moving. Omantel and Telkom South Africa are now on the map. Almost all telcos are now choosing for large buildings when they don't go FTTH. MNet Cologne and Chunghwa Taiwan have changed from fiber all the way to in the basement.

212 MHz and cDTA Are Ready: Adtran
Demos double frequency and cDTA with Deutsche Telekom. Adtran only claims "gigabit rates" but the technology is designed for over a gigabit and a half, combined upstream and downstream.  I infer from their comments they are ready to ship. They also claim good performance from DTA, rapidly shifting upstream and downstream ratios based on traffic demands.
   Sckipio  is supplying the DTA chips, now working on ordinary twisted pair, Sckipio cDTA chips allow telcos to claim "effective speeds of 500 upstream, 500 downstream." from fiber to the basement or wireless to the rooftop now outshines gigabit DOCSIS, especially on the upstream. Few cablecos are likely to improve their upstream significantly before Full Duplex is ready next decade. Verizon is heavily advertising their 50/50 & 100/100 Fios speeds because the higher upstream is winning customers.

*** The new Telebyte Guide to Testing Gfast follows the Broadband Forum's IR-337 Gfast test specification, the same used by the University of New Hampshire (UNH-IOL) for Gfast certification testing. Free download (ad) It is the best technical guide to  I have seen. Grab it. Dave

Frank Miller of Century: Will be Important to Us
The 44 building trial went well and Miller expects to deploy widely. Century, the $17B telco that swallowed Qwest, has 6M broadband lines. many of which need to be upgraded. "Key projects are and NG-PON2"

*** Virtual fiber by Sckipio. Extend your fiber with 100-300 meters of single-port It can save expensive trenching for cell towers, small cells, basement fiber, commercial customers and others. A very thin management layer allows operators to keep their existing GPON management layer. Sckipio makes it effortless to add to any GPON network. (ad)

Carl Russo: Since 2007, I've Been Turning Calix Into a Software Company
Carl's epiphany: the box business was going to shrink; software was going to become king; the carriers' traditional revenue would stagnate or worse. More recently, I heard much the same things from AT&T. It's now the common wisdom. Ten years ago, I didn't put all that together and I think few others did.
To decide the right moves, he started with the question "What will Calix's customers need in ten years?" His first conclusion was that the carriers would need to find massive new revenues. That would require extreme flexibility, including a network designed to satisfy new demands rapidly. With revenues flat to down, the carriers would need to cut costs drastically to stay profitable. Inevitably, that would squeeze their suppliers.  Russo decided the answer was agile software that brought carrier products to market quickly and allowed using less expensive standard hardware.

*** ASSIA: Network software that ensures your customers get the performance they demand, (ad)

Adtran Chosen for Australia nbn Fiber to the curb.
nbn looking to a million lines. This one is big. Adtran is on a roll, with DT & AT&T also looking good for 2018.

1,400,000,000 In The Works. 1.4 Gigabits
Rami Verbin of Sckipio has no doubts: Doubling the frequency range will double speeds from today's 500-800 megabits. Soon, 212 GHz and DTA will double those speeds.

South Africa & Connecticut Go Nokia
Alphonzo Samuels of Telkom South Africa has just added to his very extensive toolkit. Samuels said at BBWF he needed to offer European quality service in some of his regions and also reach vast areas that have no electricity. They have world class tech companies like Ubuntu and Dimension Data and luxury flats in the major cities. Folks like that demand and usually get the best.
Three years ago, Samuels told me he expected to use fiber home,, and vectoring in different areas. Only fiber home has been announced. They have now demonstrated G.Fast to an office complex in Pinelands and announced a wider deployment later this year. The volume should be substantial; Nokia projects SA will "soon join the top 10 companies worldwide deploying the technology." They've released no estimates of how many and when.

Omantel: 90% Fiber &
Muscat's Internet will be better than Verizon in Manhattan. Omantel began deploying fiber in 2015. Like Chunghwa and Net Cologne, they are now terminating that fiber in the basement and using the existing copper wires for Speeds today will be 500-800 megabits. Soon, perhaps next years, the 212 MHz chips will become available and offer something like 1.4 gigabits. 80% of Omanis are urban, many living in apartment buildings that are natural for The population is generally young and well-educated, with a majority going to college. 75% of the population use the Internet.

Telebyte Publishes Guide to Testing Gfast

Gfast Testing Demystified
Telebyte, Inc., the leader in Gfast physical-layer testing solutions today announced the publication of its Guide to Testing Gfast. The convenient and timely publication follows the Broadband Forum IR-337 Gfast test specification which provides a set of functional, stability and performance test cases focusing on interoperability between CPEs and DPUs. This same specification is used by the University of New Hampshire (UNH-IOL) for Gfast certification testing.
"Interoperability between communication equipment vendors is critical to the success of Gfast" said Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum. "This guide should be very helpful to anyone who needs an introduction to Gfast Interop testing and is preparing for Broadband Forum Gfast Certification."
For those not familiar with the required test equipment (e.g. digital analyzer, noise generator, cable farm automation switch and traffic generator), Gfast might seem rather daunting. While the actual ID-337 test specification provides the step-by-step details for all aspects of testing the standard, the Guide to Testing Gfast offers a higher-level look at the tests, along with equipment lists and connection diagrams. It is a simple way for anyone undertaking Gfast testing to understand what they need and how to configure their test bed in the most efficient manner.
"Our focus has been to optimize product features and provide a complete solution that meets the requirements of IR-337 and more," said Michael Breneisen, President of Telebyte. "Our free guide is a convenient and informative summary of the tests and shows how to configure Telebyte's solution for each of them."
Telebyte's free Guide to Testing Gfast is available now for free download
Headquartered in New York State, USA, Telebyte is the leader in Gfast Physical Layer Testing, with a reputation built on 30+ years of innovation, customer service and product quality. Telebyte offers crosstalk emulators, noise generators, local loop simulators, cable farm automation switches, test automation switches and digital analyzers.

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Volume 18, #3 July 21, 2017


In 2023, hundreds of millions will have two gigabit choices, with the advance of 5G, fiber, and, Billions will not have a single decent choice at high speeds.

Tokyo: NTT DOCOMO CEO Kazuhiro Yoshzawa promises 5G to >120M people by 2023. There's no more doubt about 5G. and below.

New York: Verizon CEO describes 400 meter mmWave without line of sight. That should cut the cost by about half. and below.

Hong Kong: SCMP reports Chinese telcos are ready to spend $180B for rapid 5G build. Unconfirmed All that's official is 1% of China Mobile by 2020.

Berlin: John Chapman of Cisco led an historic demo of full duplex cable over a gigabit upstream. It probably won’t get to consumers until 2019-2021. Peak, shared speed on DOCSIS 3.1 will go to 5+ gigabits upstream and a possible 10 gigabits downstream.

Cisco: Drastic Fall in Internet Traffic Growth, Going Down to 15% in U.S. landline, 30-40% in mobile. and below

New York: Q1 U.S. Cable adds Million, Telcos Fall Further

DC: AT&T will show off Open Source. AT&T is now "a media company."

Paris: John Cioffi's Terabit DSL is convincing people. Explained below &


May 8

FNN/5GW/DSL Prime in an experimental short form, with News beneath

The news: Verizon $20B 5G network to 1/3 to 1/2 of the U.S. is on; John Cioffi Wednesday will explore terabit DSL; Telefonica CTO rips the 5G hype and rush; NTT CTO reverses position, now expects mmWave 2020; Super Wi-Fi is delivering 300 meg symmetrical at a fraction of mmWave costs; AT&T has massive unused spectrum holdings; Belgacom: Nothing “needs” 5G;  Ralph de la Vega and a story worth reading: 5 stories

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New York: Verizon is going ahead full speed with a $20B 5G network to 1/3 to 1/2 of the U.S. Not a trial, test, fake, or limited. Lowell McAdam has made the decision although it’s not announced. 6 part article linked below.

Paris: Terabit DSL (not a typo) is John Cioffi’s talk 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Paris Summit. If it were anyone but John, I’d think this pure science fiction. If testing proves out, this will be historic. (Submillimeter wave with waveguide.) Four distinguished Professors think John’s on target

Spain: CTO Enrique Blanco of Telefonica warns the rush to get something called “5G” is forcing some very bad decisions. He asks, “So what's new? They simply end up extending 4G capabilities [with] little differentiation from advanced LTE technology.” Enrique is saying publicly what his peers tell me privately. Some wisdom

Japan: Seizo Onoe, NTT DOCOMO CTO, changed his mind and now expects mmWave in 2020. In 2015, he predicted little mmWave mobile before 2022-2023. That became the common wisdom among leading engineers. The technical progress in the last year has been extraordinary and the costs are way down.

California: George Ginis used Mimosa’s super Wi-Fi to connect a customer a customer with 435.74 down, 331.83 up, and 4 ms ping. 5 GHz Mimosa is designed like a mmWave network but a heck of a lot cheaper than 28 GHz. Interesting alternative

Dallas: AT&T has 60 MHz of fallow spectrum. There never was a U.S. spectrum shortage.

Belgium: Raphaël Glatt of Belgacom reminds us, “There is no service today that requires 5G.”  LTE is going to a gigabit this year, plenty for just about everything. Nothing “needs” 1 ms latency. Verizon and AT&T are building to a 5-10 ms target; I don’t think any telco has committed to  1 ms. It would require moving all the intelligence to the edge, brutally expensive. A connected car expert tells me “There’s nothing I can’t do with 3 ms DSRC.” Virtual reality apps are being designed for 10-15 ms.
Next issue: A deep dive into Massive MIMO, already on 

My opinion: Blanco is right much of what’s being promoted is really “4G and a press release.” I call it “Fake 5G.” The level of bs has become ridiculous. It’s time to shout “The emperor has no clothes” to many of the top companies in the industry. Much more 

“5g” has become so meaningless I’m about to move to

*** Virtual fiber by Sckipio. Extend your fiber with 100-300 meters of  single-port It can save expensive trenching for cell towers, small cells, basement fiber, commercial customers and others. A very thin management layer allows operators to keep their existing GPON management layer. Sckipio makes it effortless to add to any GPON network. (ad)

Do read: Ralph de la Vega of AT&T and the Price of Discrimination 
Ralph de la Vega, one of the most capable executives in telecom, retired as Vice-Chairman of AT&T. He brought the iPhone to America, working closely with Steve Jobs. I first met him in the early years of DSL, when his BellSouth division was far more efficient than any other in the U.S. Gary Becker won a Nobel Prize for developing an economic analysis of the cost of discrimination. Ralph's career shows how a company benefits by not discriminating.

Nearly sixty years after Ralph came to America as a young boy, you can still hear Cuba in his voice. He worked his way through college as a janitor; he probably didn’t have the style to get a job at many companies. Even today, someone like de la Vega from a working class background, with strong ethnicity, from a little known college, would rarely get a chance at Google, Facebook, or Apple. Worth a click

Verizon’s $20B mmWave Network is building.
Seven articles, with more to come.


  • Kumu Networks full duplex wireless backhaul for small cells is in production and deployed at several European telcos. Their board includes the cream of the Stanford EE Department: Sachin Katti, Philip Levis, Nick Mckeown, Guru Parulkar and Arogyaswami Paulraj, so great things are expected.  No, they haven’t yet reduced it to size appropriate for a mobile phone. When they do, that can add 30% to 70% to the capacity of a mobile system.
  • Caroline Gabriel at Wireless Watch reports “Ericsson is planning to sell a variety of TV assets – Tandberg TV, Azuki, Mediaroom, Red Bee, Fabrix nPVR, Envivio encoding, Technicolor Broadcast.” Her reports often dig deeper than almost anyone else. Wireless Watch and Rethink, are priced for corporate buys but deliver value for money.
  • Rohde and Schwarz has a useful Antenna Basics pdf for us non-EE’s at . What I really need is a deep explanation of beamforming choices. Any pointers?
  • Mediatek, #2 to Qualcomm, is having trouble finding customers for their new 10 nm LTE chip. (Digitimes, Electronic Daily News) Xiaomi has backed away, LeEco doesn’t have the money, and few others are buying in. If Qualcomm’s 835 delivers what’s promised, it should own that market. Samsung and Intel also have hopes.
  • Kevin Krewell, Jim McGregor, and Paul Teich have taken over Will Strauss’ Forward Concepts - Wireless/DSP Newsletter. Will’s joining them at Tirias Research. If they maintain Will’s standard, the free subscription is a must-have. News

Terabits over phone wire? Wednesday May 10 at the Paris Summit may prove historic. At 9 a.m. John Cioffi will present TDSL. Can a waveguide deliver submillimeter waves of copper? 1,000 times faster than what we can do today, but some very respected EE’s are impressed.I’ve seen the presentation and it’s compelling. Details on Tuesday when the embargo is over. Here’s what’s public.

Trevor Linney of BT follows John. He’ll bring details from the field of BT’s 100,000 homes already passed, the first large deployment in the world. A dozen more of the best in the business will be there to present and then answer my questions. By Thursday, we will all know a great deal more.

Taiwan’s Chunghwa claimed the first deployment, but nothing happened after the press release. That’s one reason the government fired the CEO. The new CEO is moving forward. Bezeq in Israel also is actively installing (Adtran/Sckipio)

Send me more news. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Gigabit+ and Longer Reach as Amendment 3 Approved

ITU makes it official. Amendments 2 & 3 promise longer reach, reverse power, downloaded upgrades for the customer equipment, DTA over coax, and a dozen other improvements. The major chip vendors, Broadcom and Sckipio, are already hard at work. The carriers are hoping for equipment in the second half of 2017. The amendments extend the frequency range up to 212 MHz. 

AT&T has been vocal they want a true gigabit to compete with cable, not "up to a gigabit." Comcast is well along deploying gigabit cable to 40M U.S. homes. That will almost double speeds on very short loops, such as the apartment buildings AT&T is planning to serve.

BT needs longer reach. Their finance guys insist they use existing cabinets rather than building to the distribution points closer to the customer. was designed for 50-200 meters but existing cabinets are often 350 meters away or more. The new standard increases the maximum transmit power up to +8 dBm, with a practical goal of 300 megabits 300 meters

*** Paris May 9-11 is an unmissable event for anyone deploying networks. Trevor Linney of BT, deploying 10M lines; John Cioffi with a bombshell; and just about every company in the business except Broadcom. In three days, you'll master & discover the state of the art. I'm chair and promise a very high S/N. (Ad) Jennie's bringing her camera.
The ITU has also started work on G.mgfast (Multi-gigabit.) Alcatel/Nokia is the pioneer here with XG-FAST, which reaches over 10 gigabits over 30 meters in lab tests. (Below) It uses full duplex, more spectrum, and other new techniques. Huawei also is making contributions

300 Megabits Upstream For Australian Business can do what ADSL & its successor VDSL can't: Deliver fast upstream or down, whichever is needed most. Comvergence sells to Australian businesses 300 up, 300 down and finds that is preferred over any flavor of ADSL or VDSL Comvergence runs fiber to the basement where they have a Calix DSLAM and use phone wire from there. The prize in Australia is the big National Broadband Network contract. They are installing 700,000+ lines of "fiber to the distribution point" as well as millions of lines of vectored VDSL and fiber home.

Here in New York, Verizon can't bring me more than 6 megabits and I had to deliver DSL Prime over cable.

Adtran: Volume is 2018

Adtran had a great Q1 and expects to have strong 2017. isn't selling enough yet to be a factor. Mike Foliano doesn't expect volume to ramp until 2018, even if announcements come sooner. 

All but a few companies are moving cautiously. British Telecom has passed 100,000 homes and looks to move quickly to 3M/year. Bezeq in Israel is rapidly deploying. AT&T - Adtran's keystone customer - is enthusiastic about but not buying much equipment yet. NBN in Australia is just beginning with a million lines of "fiber to the distribution point +"  An amazing 100 telcos around the world are trialing Adtran, an encouraging sign. 

Adtran announced they have shipped 10M ports of vectored DSL, far more than any telcos have declared. That suggests at least one large carrier (?Century, AT&T) has been deploying vectored gear without offering that to customers. That wouldn't be surprising; in the past, companies like AT&T  have waited on new offerings until they were widely deployed. More Made in Europe by Altice

Nuno Monteiro at Altice Labs Portugal  is ready to ship CPEs, 16 port DSLAMs, and single port “fiber range extenders.” They are working on a 24 port DSLAM as well, using Sckipio chips. The single port has a natural application when you can bring fiber close (<200 meters) and want to save time and the expense of running fiber all the way. They are seeing enough demand for coax connectivity they offer a unit with both coax and twisted pair interfaces.

Altice acquired the company when it took control of Portugal Telecom and renamed it Altice Labs. It has a proud history going back to building digital switches in the 1950’s. Today they make GPON ONTs in the hundreds of thousands. Portugal has fiber home in most of the country, far ahead of most of Europe. Having in-house manufacturing is one reason Altice America is the first in the world to replace DOCSIS cable with fiber home. More


Feb 18

“It is two and a half minutes to midnight” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, supervised by a board including 15 Nobel Laureates.

Ronan Donne, Verizon Wireless President, just announced “unlimited” after years of everyone at Verizon saying that was impossible. “We’ve built our network so we can manage all the activity customers undertake.” Consider that, all you doubters of Wireless Abundance (Wireless issue next) 

Donald Trump is right the U.S. has declined in many ways. Paulraj at Stanford invented MIMO and Marzetta at Bell Labs defined Massive MIMO.  Today, no company in the United States sells Massive MIMO or an LTE network. Ted Rappaport at NYU is the world's leading world researcher in 5G millimeter wave but no American company can build a network.. 

Cutting America off from the world is not the answer, even if it works in the short term. In Tokyo, I discovered most of the world will respond, "Who cares?" or “So What?” 

Softbank Japan is first in the world to 5G Massive MIMO with gear from China’s Huawei and ZTE. Even before the election, Mexico chose a Chinese-Mexican group to build what may be the most advanced LTE network in the world: 80 MHz, wholesale shared, Red Compartida

Broadcom is still a leader in wireline chips, but they are now owned by a Singapore company. Thailand’s TRUE has a more advanced wireless network than AT&T or Verizon, including the world’s largest deployment of 4x4 MIMO. Countries like the Philippines often have much faster LTE than the U.S.

When I started DSL Prime, the U.S. was the dynamic world leader in telecom. We are now mostly an also-ran. Tax cuts will mostly go to the shareholders, not investment or research. Trade wars are not a longterm solution for a rich country. Neither will solve the problems.

Readers should know I actively oppose Trump even if he's right about some things. 

After I wrote the above, the Trump visa dispute exploded, with a direct impact on technology companies and Internet Governance. I’m involved responding to that in the IETF and elsewhere. Atif Mian of Princeton tweeted, Six Americans won the Nobel prize this year in various sciences. ALL of them immigrants. (Mian won in economics.)

Cisco: 33% Wireless Traffic Growth in 2021 Predicted but "Unlimited" May Be a Gamechanger
Why bother to offload when your LTE is fast and unlimited? Growth rates seven years ago approached 100% as people first got iPhones. They are much lower now. Verizon last year saw about a 45% growth in data per customer, confirming the trend. Cisco (and I) have been predicting this fall for the last three years because smartphones are now nearly ubiquitous. 

Technology in wireless is moving so rapidly that telcos could increase capacity 8-10X in the next few years without raising capex. They may not because they won't be able to sell so much data. Cisco projects a 7X increase in demand in five years, less than the potential capacity increase. 

Logically, this extra capacity would be used to win customers, which is why TMO, Sprint, and now Verizon went "unlimited."  

Cisco's remarkable VNI predicts telco traffic growth in the U.S. will slow to 33% in 2021.That perfectly reasonable projection may be out of date, as Verizon joins Sprint and T-Mobile with "unlimited" plans. Arielle Sumits of Cisco pointed me to data from Sprint that offload went down when plans went unlimited. LTE is now over 10 megabits in most of the U.S., plenty to watch HD video. Cisco data My writeup

*** Paris May 9-11 is an unmissable event for anyone deploying networks. Trevor Linney of BT, deploying 10M lines; John Cioffi with a bombshell; and just about every company in the business except Broadcom. In three days, you'll master & discover the state of the art. I'm chair and promise a very high S/N. (Ad) Jennie's bringing her camera.

New York's Massive Time Warner Fraud Case Proves I was Wrong About Cable Performance (Correction)
The multibillion dollar New York State suit against Charter/Time Warner revealed details about how they delivered false results to the FCC tests, in a manner reminiscent of the $20B Mercedes-Benz emissions fraud. Hundreds of thousands of customers were overcharged $20, $30, and $40/per month, often for several years, for speeds they did not get.

Because TWC blocked interconnections with companies like Netflix, millions of customers did not get the Internet connection TWC promised and advertised.A 20% refund to those customers adds up to $billions. 

That I got this wrong is not nearly as interesting as the story itself, but I'm putting my correction first. My frequent comments about U.S. cable systems generally delivering promised speeds or close. I hope the other cablecos, especially Comcast, were more honorable.

More, including some smoking guns in the filing

*** Virtual fiber by Sckipio. Extend your fiber with 100-300 meters of  single-port It can save expensive trenching for cell towers, small cells, basement fiber, commercial customers and others. A very thin management layer allows operators to keep their existing GPON management layer. Sckipio makes it effortless to add to any GPON network. (ad)

Broadband growth tops at Egypt, Vietnam, China, Lebanon & Algeria
Strongman rulers delivering better results. We like to think democracy and openness are the keys to expanding broadband but the data show otherwise. Egypt, the current growth leader, is a vicious military dictatorship.  Vietnam remains a single-party socialist republic. The Chinese government has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty, one of history's greatest achievements. The horrors of 1958-1975 are now in the past, but it remains an authoritarian state. 

Thailand, #4 among nations with 1M or more connections, remains under a military government. #5 Belarus makes the Soviet Union look like a model Democracy. Among smaller countries, the leaders are Sri Lanka, Kosovo, and Syria.  The growth rates for Q3 2016 of these countries ranged from 3% to 8%.

Much as we'd like to believe it, the evidence is clear broadband growth does not require openness, freedom of speech, public private partnerships, light touch regulation, or the other recommendations of the Washington Consensus. Nor is "multi-stakeholder" control required. These may be good things - I support most of them - but making stupid claims in public is not the way to achieve them.

*** Self-Healing Wi-Fi With ASSIA® Real-Q™ 
“Beyond-the-Box” visibility and control extends quality-of-experience (QoE) beyond the gateway to the end-user device for every device in the home. Based on ASSIA technology, proven across 80 million subscribers (ad)

Forget Fiber to Farms, France: Costs Called Too High
Cour des Comptes, the French government auditor, says current plans for 100% by 2022 would cost € 34.9 billion rather than € 20 billion. C des C insists on a "un mix technologique," a euphemism for giving satellite and other lousy service to rural areas.  Sebastian Soriano of ARCEP fired back the result would be, "rural desertification and the risk of decommissioning of certain territories, their inhabitants and their businesses." 

Australia's NBN is coming in twice as high as planned, so serious problems are plausible. Australia actually went from 93% fiber to a "mix of technologies." We now have results: the cost estimates have gone up. The high cost was due to serious inefficiency, a bad deal with Telstra, a complicated labour system, and ...  Changing technologies - except for the last 1-4%, only brings down the cost very modestly. Mathias Kurth in Germany found ways to reach rural areas efficiently. That's what France needs.

It's all political posturing. In the U.S. Broadband Plan, the staff always assumed the last one or two percent would be served by satellite and the cost would have been much lower.   I doubt any major country is serious about a high speed connection beyond ~98% and any 100% promise is a "politician's truth." Much more 

*** Jeff Pulver invites you to explore the Future of the Conversational Web. MoNage, taking place March 21-23 in San Jose, CA will be a landmark event. The convergence of Computing, AI, Communications, and the underlying ecosystems. Messaging, chatbots and much more. (ad) Pulver's Voice On the Net conferences defined telecom for a decade. He always runs great events. db

Bharti reaches 2M VDSL but India's story will remain wireless
200M wireless, 2M wired. Reliance just signed up 74M 4G subscribers in four months; India either has or is about to pass the U.S. in broadband connections. About 15M of those have DSL, mostly from government owned BSNL & MTNL. Bharti, which is the fourth largest telco in the world, has just connected DSL customer two million. The current offering is VDSL, which they sell as the misleading, "up to 100 megabits." I haven't found any evidence of vectoring nor a breakdown of actual speeds or distances. Based on the British experience, that means most customers will get 10 megabits to 50 megabits. They call it V-Fiber, a marketer's fantasy. news

BT: performance "pretty much spot on"
"We have the production hardware, we have the production firmware and we're building a footprint quite quickly now," said Clive Seeley on the quarterly call. "The indications are that the performance of the product over the new equipment is pretty much spot on what we had predicted." They are on target for 150,000 or so homes passed in the next couple of months and a fast ramp towards the 10M they've promised for 2020. BT is running G.halffast, with a target of ?300 down, ?30 up at three hundred meters. More, including a look at BT’s deeper troubles,

*** The schedule is now up for the Paris May 9-11. A really strong just in time for the expected takeoff in the second half of this year. (Ad) 15 of the very best in the business. See you there.

DSM Could Increase Speeds 25-50+ Megabits
Overlapping Spectrum can add 10-15+% more speed to BT's can run 100 megabits faster if the frequencies below 21 MHz didn't need to be protected, but that’s politically impossible for now. John Cioffi believes DSM line monitoring could capture much of that bandwidth while protecting VDSL. One box would coordinate all the lines, so BT would have to make a generous offer to encourage everyone to share. It's Win-Win; VDSL speeds would also go up with the power monitoring.

Unbundling in England is going to die in a few years no matter what the regulator does. Cable will run at over 400 megabits and BT's is aiming for 300 meg. The others will be offering less than 50 meg to most. They won't be competitive. Much more including the problems with structural separation

Important conflict of interest note: I'm on the Advisory Board of ASSIA and have done significant (five figure) work for them over the years.

*** ASSIA invites you to join our CEO, John Cioffi, as he presents Terabit DSL at the Paris Summit. (ad) That is not a typo, although products are far in the future. In 2005, Cioffi presented the idea of Gigabit DSL. It took more than a decade but gigabit is now real.

DT: No 35b VDSL before 2018, modems not available
35b was expected for 2016 but wasn't ready, the Germans say. DT wants to use 35b because it doesn't force DT to replace old modems. Speeds should be 200 megabits or more up to 300-400 meters. Philipp Blank of DT now says 35b, especially the modems, won't be available until 2018. 

DT isn't using the much faster because it was considered impossible to share the binder with the existing VDSL. John Cioffi's DSM overlay might solve that problem. 

However, at least three vendors claim they are ready to ship those modems. The Italians have already installed more than 10,000 ports and are widely advertising the "200 megabits." The Italians tell me, "70% are getting 130 megabits or more downstream." That's about half the speed expected from 35b, vectored. It makes sense if the Italians are using 35b without vectoring. The Germans may be waiting for vectoring. 

The calculations to vector dozens of lines are intense and may have been too much for the VDSL silicon.

35b VDSL explained
35b was introduced in 2014 as a simple, fast, low cost upgrade that could more than double speeds on existing VDSL lines. It uses 35 MHz of spectrum rather than the 17 MHz of most European VDSL builds but otherwise is nearly the same. Chipmakers - several now out of business - promised chips ready to deploy by 2016. More

AT&T confirmed (unofficially.)
They will go slow in the first half, probably ramping in the second half. AT&T is being officially coy, but a senior source confirmed they are definitely moving ahead on Tom Starr played an important role in the standard and they were one of the first in trials. Their top executives have been enthusiastic several times. They have been making quiet moves in D.C. to get out of their commitment to 12.5 million fiber homes, presumably using instead. is logical for them. They've built an enormous amount of fiber the last few years, going first to businesses. In many places, fiber can be extended inexpensively to nearby buildings. They are also expanding their trial of WTTR - Wireless to the rooftop - beyond Minneapolis. 

AT&T has been vocal they need a true gigabit version of for marketing against cable's gigabit DOCSIS 3.1. Comcast, Cox and some smaller companies are bringing gig cable to over half the U.S. in 2017 and 2018, although the upstream is currently a slow 20-35 megabits. Today's is best considered 500-800 megabits deployed, but Amendment 2 & Amendment 3 should raise that by the end of the year. T also wants to bust the current 16-24 line limits, which raise costs in all but small buildings.

*** The Brooklyn 5G Summit April 17-19 features CTOs from NTT, KT, and Nokia. Professor Ted Rappaport brings in the world's top researchers as well as senior people from the major telcos. IEEE will provide a live stream. (PSA) Ted's 5G Summit has an extraordinary S/N, See you there.

Andrew Ferguson: DSLAMs can be different
5%-10% disparity between ECI & Huawei. Tests in December show Huawei VDSL DSLAMs in Britain have a mean download speed of 32.6 Mbps. ECI DSLAMs measure 30.5 Mbps. That's not much to the average user but a big difference to an engineer looking for best performance. Chart and more

*** Virtual fiber by Sckipio. Extend your fiber with 100-300 meters of  single-port Sckipio makes it effortless to add to any GPON network. (ad)

Energia Selling Nokia in Japan

Japan's Energia, the ISP of a regional electric company, has been running a small deployment of for a year. They are now becoming a distributor. Alongside the giants NTT, KDDI, & Softbank there remain many smaller companies delivering broadband. Now that is proven to deliver 500-800 megabits, it allows the smaller companies to compete with the fiber to the basement of the giants. Half of the Japanese fiber to the home actually terminated in the basement and used 100 megabit VDSL to reach apartments in the "mansions" most Japanese live in. 

Diversification must be particularly attractive for the Hiroshima electric company after Fukushima. More, including whether a non-Japanese company has a chance. 

Calix Clobbered by Services Cost
Sales doing well and NG-PON2 to customers. Carl Russo attributed the $11.5M loss to "higher than expected costs in our turnkey network improvement projects, particularly as activity accelerated to meet project schedules." I infer that Calix threw extra resources at projects running late. Calix has earned a reputation for taking care of customers. I'm not surprised they rushed in help when problems developed.

Calix proudly announced the first customer for their NG-PON2 gear. Northpower Fibre in New Zealand has connected a home and a business. Each received 10 gigabits on separate wavelengths. They have a five minute video with good information article


  • Reporters should reveal their bias. I joined a small demonstration against Islamophobia by Jewish Voice for Peace. Jews know about scapegoating. I have been involved in several responses to the visa and deportation rules. When I got into the details, I found the press is seriously understating just how bad things are.
  • John Pitzer of Credit Suisse reports Intel at their analyst conference projects a TAM (total available market) of $40B for their mobile chips. They gave up on LTE and now are working on 5G instead. Unfortunately for Intel, It's almost certain the volume will be very small at least until 2022-2024. Cisco, predicting 5G at only 1.5% of the traffic in 2021. Onoe of NTT says he doesn't expect much mmWave until about 2023. I've spoken to many senior telco people, who don't see much volume for 5-6 years. Meanwhile, Qualcomm's 835 is a remarkable chip, a year ahead of any other announced. (4x4 MIMO, 4 LTE bands, and much more.) It should own the the high end market for a while and spin off several winners in the midrange. Spreadtrum is joining Mediatek pulling down the prices in low and midrange. It looks like the mobile chip market will be a hard place for Intel to find a profitable niche
  • Snapchat $22B? I don’t see it but Alex Heath has a remarkable writeup of their road show presentation.  Appropriately, it’s more pictures than text.They present themselves as TV, personalized. They consider themselves more a camera company than a software house. 100M people like to present to their friends what they are seeing, whether from their phone cameras or Snap’s eyeglass camera. People are more willing to expose themselves when the record will disappear, whether a bad hair day or something NSFW. Worth a look. 

Gig LTE & Massive MIMO ushering in the Age of Wireless Abundance

Wireless Abundance is here: What the new tech means
Sprint & T-Mobile Charge to be 1st in U.S. to Gig LTE  AT&T
Kitahara of Softbank “I am crazy about Massive MIMO”
20 Gig mmWave, Massive MIMO & Gig LTE at the Huawei MBBF
LTE gets to the gigabit explained for non-engineers
Massive MIMO explained.
2017's Big Gigabit story: Qualcomm 835 is ready
Doubling speed with 4x4 MIMO & 256 QAM at T-Mobile
Netgear Nighthawk M1, Telstra do "gigabit class" LTE
Spectrum price down by half
Dish and the telcos see big asset cut
Shorts on 3GPP,  NYU research, Ralph de la Vega, 5G new radio

Another issue will report where fiber is replacing coax, some major breakthroughs, what the Trump people believe and what they will do, and much more that didn't fit here.

Reply "subscribe" to be added, "un" to be dropped

“Wireless will increase 50X to 100X. MU MIMO is the right choice for rural areas, especially where there are no landlines and you need maximum capacity.” A J Paulraj, 2014

Henry Samueli, Andrea Goldsmith, Vint Cerf, Ted Rappaport and Marty Cooper in 2014 were comfortable with 50X, which of course was not guaranteed. No one except engineers believed them.

In 2017, this is coming out to the world. Massive MIMO is shipping by the 1,000’s to Softbank Japan and China Mobile. Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T are racing to be first in the U.S. with Gig LTE. Verizon’s 5G mmWave (fixed) is going to field tests. A half dozen less publicized techniques are making a difference. CTOs and senior tech people around the world see a 10X to 25X capacity increase at modest cost.

We are entering a Wireless Age of Abundance.
Trump’s tech people are not the shills the NY Times suggests. They are smart, dedicated, and believe in what they are doing. I know Eisenach to be an excellent economist who works hard to find the data. What they believe is deeply anti-government and they see everything through that lens. Net neutrality regulations are gone or gutted; those who believe in neutrality will need to find other tools, such as consumer action. 

It’s likely Trump era policies will echo Bush II rather than be a break with the past. Bush’s first FCC Chairman, Mike Powell, was close to Eisenach’s PFF. I hope they focus on government waste, such as the $100M scandal at RUS that’s been covered up or how much of USF/CAF is pure giveaway.

I urge them to appoint at least one commissioner with a strong tech background, such as Julie Knapp (OET) or Bill Smith, who recently retired from running AT&T’s network.

Readers should know I am strongly opposed to Trump and his policies, even if I’m not lying in the street in front of the White House playing dead. I haven’t done that in years. I’ll do my best to report accurately.
Verizon has proven sharing spectrum can work, especially if they have 20 MHz to 40 MHz for a control plane. The LAA/LTE testing they’ve supported provides a powerful argument for sharing most of Verizon’s spectrum and cutting monopoly spectrum by 50%-75%. A remarkable British government report promotes sharing licensed spectrum that’s not in use. Drs. Boccardi, Hudson, and Unger of OFCOM are leading the world on sharing spectrum.   

Done right, this can roughly double capacity. Engineers know this but it's a revelation to most policy people. Pai & Eisenach please note: If you believe in markets, reducing spectrum monopolies over time should be part of your program.
Paris May 9-11 is an unmissable event for anyone deploying networks. Trevor Linney of BT, deploying 10M lines; John Cioffi with a bombshell; and just about every company in the business except Broadcom. In three days, you'll master & discover the state of the art. I'm chair and promise a very high S/N.

This issue is for Ahmad Waqass Goraya & Asim Saeed in Pakistan, Arash Sadeghi in Iran, and the dozens jailed in Israel and Palestine for Facebook postings. The music is the songs of Paul Robeson.

Conflict of interest: Huawei paid expenses for me, Jennie and her cameras to their Tokyo event.

*** Self-Healing Wi-Fi With ASSIA® Real-Q™ 
“Beyond-the-Box” visibility and control extends quality-of-experience (QoE) beyond the gateway to the end-user device for every device in the home. Based on ASSIA technology, proven across 80 million subscribers (ad)

Gig LTE & Massive MIMO ushering in the Age of Wireless Abundance

Wireless Abundance is here: What the new tech means
Technology already on the market can deliver 10X to 25X today's capacity at reasonable cost. Most areas will see this in 2-4 years; weak competition or weak regulation will hold some back.

Gig LTE offers about a gigabit to the cell site. Beginning this year, phones with a good connection will get 100-300 megabits down.  That's 6X original LTE and 3X the more advanced systems.

Massive MIMO, using as many as 128 antennas, by September 2016 was deployed at 100 cells of Softbank Japan and by China Mobile. Both told me at the Huawei BBW in Tokyo the results were excellent, and they are moving on thousands. Even in early days, the improvement is 3X to 10X. 

Half a dozen other technologies are starting to have an impact. I report those in the Eightfold Way to the Wireless Age of Abundance. The impact will not be small but we don't have field results for a good estimate. below and

Most of these tools work together, so multiply the impact of each to get a total. Then 

5G millimeter wave won't see volume for 4-7 years, most people believe. Key researcher Ted Rappaport thinks it will be sooner.

The first results are in. Verizon's David Small sees his costs going down 40%/year. Telefonica costs went down 60% in 2016.  The spectrum price is down by half in the latest auction.T-Mobile U.S., Sprint and Finland now offer "unlimited" with only a few gotchas. Carriers around the world will follow. 

Add to that 5G mmWave. Most believe it will be four to seven years before we see a large effect but leading researcher Ted Rappaport expects results sooner

Sprint & T-Mobile Charge to be 1st in U.S. to Gig LTE  AT&T
John Saw of Sprint will "push 1 Gbps speed boundaries very soon," he mentioned December 13. Later, he specifically said, "in 2017." Neville Ray of T-Mobile replied, "T-Mobile will absolutely be first to Gigabit speeds!"  Godspeed to both of them, although the availability of phones with the 835 chip will probably be the big issue. In 60-120 days, expect to see the 835 in the Samsung Galaxy 8, the Xiaomi MI 6, and phones from HTC and LG. The “gig” is per cell. Individual phones may get hundreds of meg but not a gig.

T-Mobile has a dramatic video of testing over 900 megabits with "an unreleased phone." In Tokyo, Huawei's LTE ran at over a gig for the two day show. Saw dropped a mention of Massive MIMO but no details. Verizon is being quiet but their research is advanced. AT&T’s John Donovan responded with a promise of 2017. Verizon hasn’t spoken, but I know their research is advanced.

BT meanwhile is working with Huawei to use more spectrum and reach two gigs.

*** FIerce Wireless luncheons at MWC. Feb 27-March 1. Featuring Sanyogita Shamsunder of Verizon, the first U.S. carrier to endorse massive MIMO. The real standouts are the three Fierce reporters, Monica Alleven, Mike Dano, and Colin Gibbs. (ad) I'm giving them a free ad in return for how much I pick up from them.

Kitahara of Softbank “I am crazy about Massive MIMO”
China Mobile and Softbank Japan are placing orders for thousands of cells. Early results are improvements of at least three times and sometimes as much as ten times. Softbank has 100 base stations up and running. China Mobile has working systems in two cities.  Huang Yuhong of China Mobile is impressed with their testing. Huawei and ZTE are shipping in volume. 

Softbank has 100 base stations up and running. China Mobile has working systems in two cities. They are both ready to order thousands. Their early reports are that 128 antenna Massive MIMO today increases capacity 3X to 10X. It will improve. Softbank’s historic Massive MIMO, which I was the first to report in the West Verizon agrees We must have massive MIMO 

*** Virtual fiber by Sckipio. Extend your fiber with 100-300 meters of  single-port It can save expensive trenching for cell towers, small cellsbasement fiber, commercial customers and others. Sckipio's single port DPU acts like virtual fibre by extending GPON networks with twisted pair or coax. A very thin management layer allows operators to keep their existing GPON management layer. Sckipio makes it effortless to add to any GPON network. (ad)

LTE gets to the gigabit explained for non-engineers 
Three well-known technologies come together. Gig LTE isn't magic, just darn good engineering. More spectrum is put to use through carrier aggregation. Early LTE used a single 20 MHz band. Gig LTE will use three or four bands. More antennas send more signals, usually four. (4x4 MIMO). Advanced modulation (256 QAM) carries 8 bits per signal rather than the 6 bits of the earlier 64 QAM, a third more. 

Massive MIMO explained.
Paulraj in 1993 discovered that you can multiply capacity by using many antennas, even close together. (The signals bounce off walls and obstacles so you can tell them apart.) By 2009, Moore’s Law brought the cost of the processing power low enough that MIMO was deployed in Wi-Fi. Massive MIMO uses 64 or 128 small antennas, which allow multiple beams and use the additional antennas for beamforming (steering.) The first units were deployed in late 2016 by China Mobile and Softbank Japan. The units require prodigious processing power and state of the art engineering. The early results are showing a 3X to 10X capacity increase. There are dozens of suggested improvements in research papers; as they get implemented, performance should increase.

A Massive MIMO textbook is now out. Marzetta published Fundamentals of Massive MIMO at the beginning of the year. The book belongs close at hand for every engineer in advanced wireless. Marzetta invented  Massive MIMO at Bell Labs, so I expected a fine book. Marzetta and co-authors Larsson, Yang, and Ngo did an extraordinary job. The book is admirably clear, short, and definitive. They answer the key questions: what it is, why it works, and how to design the systems. 

*** Paris May 9-11 is an unmissable event for anyone deploying networks. Trevor Linney of BT, deploying 10M lines; John Cioffi with a bombshell; and just about every company in the business except Broadcom. In three days, you'll master & discover the state of the art. I'm chair and promise a very high S/N. (Ad) Jennie's bringing her camera.

20 Gig mmWave, Massive MIMO & Gig LTE at the Huawei MBBF
I saw and I believe. Throughout the show, two large screens showed live data from a 1 GHz mmWave + 4x4 LTE MIMO system. The results were consistently between 19 gigabits and 21 gigabits. Across the room, Softbank showed Massive MIMO. Outside in the parking lot, Softbank had a live demo of NB-IoT.

The 20 gig mmWave is the headline, but also note the consistent gigabit from LTE. As you can see from the picture, Huawei did something I haven't seen from anyone else. The signals were combined, live. 

On the floor I saw an 8 x 2 MIMO system already deployed in Kuwait that improved performance 50% in congested areas. I saw the 2 Gig LTE being tested at BT. Customers showed great demos of VR, robot manufacturing, and drones.    

I learned that Softbank Japan and China Mobile are ordering thousands of Massive MIMO base stations. Telus CTO Ibrahim Gedeon reminded us that small cell HetNet and SON as well as other less publicized advances shouldn't be forgotten. That inspired my Eightfold Way piece, below. Softbank and China Mobile told me Massive MIMO was working so well they were ready to order thousands. 

Pepper showed us how well a robot can dance Gangnam style.

2017's Big Gigabit story: Qualcomm 835 is ready
Gig LTE is happening because Qualcomm’s remarkable chip is reaching the market. The first commercial chip built on Samsung’s 10 nanometer process will be in nearly every high end Android phone as quantities ramp up in a few months. It also has enormous processing power for video, AR, VR, and gaming. No other chip comes close. Qualcomm looks to be 6-12 months ahead of everyone. (Some folks at Qualcomm hate me because I tell the truth about their lobbying in D.C. and 3GPP. I hope they can see I’m equally delighted to praise them. They are one of the best chip outfits in the world.)

*** The Brooklyn 5G Summit April 17-19 features CTOs from NTT, KT, and Nokia. Professor Ted Rappaport brings in the world's top researchers as well as senior people from the major telcos. IEEE will provide a live stream. (PSA) Ted's 5G Summit has an extraordinary S/N, See you there.

Doubling speed with 4x4 MIMO & 256 QAM at T-Mobile 
T-Mobile’s experience in the field is a convincing point that Gig LTE will deliver.

Netgear Nighthawk M1, Telstra do "gigabit class" LTE
This was announced last fall as the first Gig LTE device in the world. But I couldn’t find any available or when I asked Telstra. Presumably, it will be excellent when more units are available.


Spectrum price down by half
The $60-80B expectations were hogwash. The telcos know the tech advances I’m writing about and just don’t need spectrum so badly. The auction is at $10B, which could go up to ~$18B as it ends. Tim Farrar see it winding up at $0.90/MHz/pop. Last time, it came to $2.63/MHz/pop. Too many people believed the lobbyist lies about a spectrum crisis. More spectrum slightly lowers wireless costs, somewhere about ~1% of the customer bill. It’s maybe the fourth or fifth most important factor in wireless progress, not the crucial one lobbyists’ proclaim. 

Everyone is better off with lower spectrum prices except those who own some. The broadcasters got the spectrum for nothing and mostly weren't using it. Every dollar in this auction would be a windfall profit, mostly to very rich men.

"There's never been a spectrum shortage and there never will be one," Marty Cooper told Washington in 2014. (Marty built the first cellphone and went on to be an antenna pioneer) There's a video of Marty in 2014 predicting this all

Dish and the telcos see big asset cut

John Hodulik, Craig Moffett, and Brett Feldman also accepted the price drop and had the guts to say, “I was wrong.” Honesty like that is one reason they are the best on Wall Street. Feldman of Goldman writes, "We estimate that the auction will end with just under $18bn of bids, implying a valuation of $0.86/MHz/POP." Moffett read through to DISH. "At $1.00 per MHz-POP, Dish’s shares would be worth about just over a third of their recent trading range."

The new values should chop ?$10B off the balance sheets of AT&T and Verizon, but the accounting there is so creative I wouldn't want to guess. Telco balance sheets, at least in the U.S., should be considered fiction. The same is true of the absolute level of capex. 

Craig went on to discuss what clearly now is a buyer's market for spectrum. While I report tech is reducing the need for spectrum, Craig notes the financial issues that will keep the price down. Verizon has "balance sheet constraints." AT&T's "balance sheet is stretched to the breaking point." Craig has been pointing out how hard they've had to work just to cover their dividends. They continue to raise dividends every year to inflate the stock price, but earnings have been flat to down. Both should be cutting dividends but fear the stock price - and CEO options - would collapse. 

I don't pick stocks and the market here runs on psychology, not facts. I wouldn't want to play poker against Charlie Ergen but he seems to be holding a losing hand.


  • I wrote that the Qualcomm 835 announcement would bring Gig LTE to the general press. I think that’s a crucial trend, foreshadowing an age of abundance in wireless. Times, WSJ & Washpo journalists don’t see that yet. Q chose to feature battery life and increased performance for (extraordinary) augmented and virtual reality, not the raw capacity. Matt Humrick did an exceptional job reporting the features of the 835, including 4K video encoding and dual camera support, at


  • Rajesh Manish writes about my article that was strongly critical of their research report. “I have just gone through your article on our market study on ' News'. I believe you misinterpreted our study. The number of subscriber is very much underestimated in your case. BT and AT&T alone expected to have around 20 million subscribers by the year 2022 (your own data on News). So how can you estimate our finding based on your assumption?” Unless the price per chip was about $200, the report implied that all those subscribers and many more would sign up in 2022. Unlikely. If he had responded when I first wrote him, I would have included his full comments in my article.


  • As we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the world-changing iPhone, let us not forget the remarkable Ralph de la Vega, who took a massive gamble and brought the iPhone to America at AT&T. He just retired as Vice-Chairman.
  • If you have any doubt about how fast wireless technology is moving, take a look at for how much NYU alone is doing. Even the pros in wireless are struggling to keep up.
  • Bruno Dewaelheyns of Nokia posted that they are hiring an ASIC/FPGA engineer in Belgium, despite the cutbacks in the company.
  • “Will rush for New Radio compromise 5G quality?” is an article at The answer of course is yes; some bad compromises have been made, as the very cogent article explains. I reported that China Mobile and AT&T found better performance from Cohere. That, as well as other ideas, seem to have disappeared. The article is from Peter White or Caroline Gabriel, both among the best telecom reporters.
  • The IEEE, IETF, and ITU are already questioning why 3GPP is making decisions like this. Vint Cerf and Larry Strickling (U.S. Internet lead until Trump replaces him) should be more than corporate only. Both are deeply committed to “multi-stakeholder” and 3GPP has no public or civil society participation. 3GPP has done an extraordinary job on the technical side, but has never done a good job on the public interest side. It’s done nothing to prevent clearly unreasonable royalties, a major issue in the global South and poor people everywhere. 3GPP LAA clearly interferes with WI-Fi, as independent testing by New York City demonstrated. The head of the relevant 3GPP committee lied about that; his company stands to collect literally $billions in royalties. The list goes on. Great engineers but they answer to companies who, like all companies, put their profits first.
  • Starry CEO Chet Kanojia did a remarkable talk at CITIBANK. If they deliver what he describes, including a 5 gig microwave ptmp system that costs $1,000, that’s a game changer.  It uses 802.11ac to keep the cost down.

Eightfold way to the Wireless Age of Abundance Version 0.1.2

10,000 engineers are producing remarkable advances in wireless. Massive MIMO, GiG LTE, and 5G millimeter wave make the headlines, but I'm learning from folks like Telus CTO Ibrahim Gedeon to look at another half-dozen tools soon coming out of the labs. The linked article is three times as long It is still very incomplete and needs your improvements. It’s growing as suggestions come in and I do more research.

HetNets and SON for interference reduction between cells. 
As interference problems are solved, small cells are deploying in volume. Finally.

Sharing spectrum 
Wi-Fi proves that shared spectrum can deliver more capacity. The U.S. is moving ahead on sharing 3.5 GHz frequencies now mostly used by the military; the navy doesn't use the spectrum in the middle of the country. December 2016, a major British government report recommended sharing licensed spectrum as well. Telcos led by Verizon, working with Qualcomm, have demonstrated LTE can share spectrum with Wi-Fi in LAA. 

Monopoly spectrum is becoming obsolete in the next few years, except for a minimum amount for control channels. (?20-40 MHz.) The engineers know it, but few in policy. That's why the British report is so important.

Full Duplex uses the same spectrum for both upstream and down, yielding a likely throughput increase of 50% or more

Reducing the capacity demands of the billions of IoT devices. 
NB-IoT, starting to deploy in LTE networks, allows connection while using less spectrum. So does LTE Cat M and at least three flavors of low power wide area networks. Most IoT devices send only limited data, often for brief periods. The 80 MHz of 802.11ac and the 40 MHz of LTE/LAA should be considered harmful; ways to use no more spectrum than the application needs necessary. 

Ways to put more spectrum bands in use
Both Verizon and AT&T recently told Wall Street they have 40 MHz of unused spectrum each, enough to double their current capacity. 2016 brought three band aggregation, with ten band on the way. Full Software defined Radio  doesn't fit in a mobile phone that's less than military sized - yet. 

Most countries have hundreds of megahertz unused around 3.5 GHz, just now being made available. The newly shared 3.5 GHz band in the U.S. could support four Verizon-sized networks.  

Several techniques I'm combining into item eight because I like the title Eightfold Way.  
Murray Gell-Mann's Eightfold Way unified sub-atomic physics. He took the name from the Buddhists. The Noble Eightfold Path is Right Understanding, Right Intent, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. They include better antennas in phones and base stations; power tweaks such as HPUE; analog improvements that allow going beyond 256 QAM;  and more.
There will be generations of technology still to come. They will be called "6G," which will again be a near-meaningless marketing term. "Cell free" systems will reconfigure the physical network on the fly, optimizing for the actual demand at that moment. .. .

Halving the bandwidth needed can do as much as doubling the network capacity. Google's new RAISR delivers a remarkable picture at half the size. Advances in video encoding continue; applying AI in a RAISR-like style is promising. T-Mobile is reducing video to 480P by default, probably halving the file size with only a modest change in quality on most phones. This must be under easy control by customers or is a violation of neutrality.

A note on WI-Fi: You can't look at the wireless future without including Wi-Fi. One basic is that most incumbent telcos in some areas can double capacity for minimal cost simply by turning on a second SSID in customers existing home gateways. As I walk around Manhattan or Paris and look for Wi-Fi, I usually see gateways from both the local cableco and telco.

802.11ac works well for a kilometer or two, making it a very viable choice for areas without tall buildings or hills. Starry has ambitious plans for Boston. Wi-Fi is far cheaper and easier to manage for the local connection at the end of rural fiber. India and others are running fiber to hundreds of thousands of villages. Put up a 50-foot pole and Wi-Fi can give good coverage at a very low cost, with easy operation.

Improvements welcome.

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"How will a billion Internet users change China?"  Vint Cerf asks. That's a good question, but I'm also interested in how three billion Asian, African, and Latino users will change the Internet.

Jeff Eisenach, Trump's comms guy, is a first-rate economist. He holds very strong “free market,” “deregulatory” opinions, presumably a requirement for Trump. (policy, at end)
Ralph de la Vega of AT&T met Argentine President Macri. He’s offering to build a world class 4G+ network and probably some fiber home. T is negotiating to buy big local telcos in Brazil and Argentina to go with their DirecTV satellites. They are doing so well in Mexico they want to expand. No one is saying Yanqui go home. Meanwhile, Trump has  

Ted Rappaport of NYU has long reach results for some 5G millimeter wave, confirmed by Facebook experience.

This issue is for Norway’s Erna Solberg, censored by Facebook ; those who have to pay the taxes dodged by Apple and other giants; and my old colleague, Amy Goodman, facing an arrest warrant for reporting on the protests in Dakota . 

Tokyo, here we come. Huawei is bringing me to their mobile event, along with Jennie and her camera. They are shipping Massive MIMO and close on mmWave, so I should learn a great deat. Say hello to the round fellow with a beard and the irrepressible Jennie Bourne.

*** Sckipio Technologies, the leader in, announces the first single-port DPU design. The solution acts like virtual fibre by extending GPON networks with twisted pair or coax. A very thin management layer allows operators to keep their existing GPON management layer. Sckipio makes it effortless to add to any GPON network. (ad)

Swisscom: 100% wireless increase no problem; Vodafone, Verizon: ~40% annual drop in cost per gig.
"We see traffic doubling every 12 months but we don't have quality problems in the network." Urs Schaeppi, CEO Swisscom, on the investor call. "Do we run into congestion problems? No, we will be able to manage it." Swisscom's business model is to offer outstanding service at a premium price, which they have generally done well. Schaeppi closely watches the quality of his wireless network.

At Vodafone, CEO Colao reports "60% of growth in data [but] our network utilization went up only one percentage point." He adds technology is driving down cost per gig by, "40% year-over-year." David Small of Verizon also estimates cost drops of ~40% per year. Depending on who is estimating, the move from 3G to 4G LTE reduced costs from 50%-90%. We're seeing a similar fall as telcos go from LTE to LTE Advanced. 

Capital spending has generally been going down and often is actually below depreciation. Most wireless companies have no net investment.  Future ezplained and more

*** Summit. Paris. 9-11 May. The best show of the year. Upperside presented. *** See you there.

Australia confirms: Landline traffic growth is slowing down
40% last two years, 30% expected next two years. NBN Chief Bill Morrow sees the Netflix surge passing and future growth slowing. The average NBN user draws 131 gigabytes/month. Until two or three years ago, landline data traffic for the average user had been growing at 40% +-5% for a dozen years. Fortunately, Moore's Law has brought down the costs of the necessary components at a similar rate of about 40%. The marginal cost per subscriber per month has stayed flat at all the large carriers: About $1/subscriber/month across the developed world. Wireless growth has been similarly slowing.

From 2002 to 2009, Odlyzko found a median growth rate of 43% and a mean of 51%. Adjusting for the number of Internet users yields a trend of 35% to 45% going back over a decade.

*** Self-Healing Wi-Fi With ASSIA® Real-Q™ Technology Booth B20 BBWF London
“Beyond-the-Box” visibility and control, extends quality-of-experience (QoE) beyond the gateway to the end-user device for every device in the home. Based on ASSIA technology, proven across 80 million subscribers

5G highband: Not as easy as McAdam thinks, the Professor suggests
Unsolved problems with blockage, beam aggregation, and even how you hold the phone.

Robert Heath is the man "who wrote the book on millimeter wave."  Millimeter waves sometimes are blocked by a window or wall. They definitely won't get to the other side of a building or bounce around most obstacles. Turn around and your body may affect the signal. Most of these problems can be solved. Beamforming and beamtracking have great promise.

Lowell McAdam of Verizon will do a demonstration deployment, probably in Boston, in 2018 or earlier. It will be fixed only. Lowell makes it sound easy. "We're getting 500 meters in some tests. So we can put a cell every 1,000 meters." That will be true some places, but dense areas will be much harder. It will work, but can seriously degrade if a bus goes down the street. VZ will choose the right location, possibly a residential neighborhood with good line of sight.

*** Sckipio and Calix introduce world’s first solution to support DTA over multiple phone lines (twisted pair.) When Sckipio announced the invention of DTA, it was only available on low crosstalk environments such as coax applications or single line scenarios. Now, DTA works on higher density, higher-crosstalk environments. Visit the Sckipio booth (D20)  London, October 18 – 20, 2016. (ad)

David Small of Verizon: 30-40% annual drop in the cost per megabit on wireless
They now have dark fiber to almost every macrocell. Backhaul can go from 100 megabits to multi-gigabits inexpensively by changing the electronics. Customers are using more data, perhaps at a similar 30-40% rate of increase. That allows even a mid-single digit increase in price to dramatically improve profits. (He didn’t discuss how the wireless part of the network handles the increased load, but that’s also coming with advanced LTE and 5G when it’s needed.) The implication is that Verizon can lower the wireless price per gigabit ~30% per year.

Small’s endorsement of C-Ran means they are not going for one millisecond 5G latency. His plan to eventually move control to 3-5 national data centers suggests they are going for 4-10 millisecond, because the 2-5 hops to get from the small cell to the data center adds latency. 

Small’s conversation with Tim Horan of Oppenheimer is one of the most thoughtful discussions I’ve read about how you build the network edge today.

*** HFR and Sckipio Announce World’s First 24-Port DPU
Sckipio Technologies and South Korean network infrastructure equipment maker, HFR, Inc. announce the world’s first distribution point unit (DPU) that supports up to 24 subscribers in a single DPU. Visit the Sckipio booth (D20)  London, October 18 – 20, 2016. (ad)

3.5 GHz ready to support three Verizon-sized networks on TD-LTE
150 MHz shared coming available in U.S., 3GPP Band 42 in many other countries. Most of the U.S. spectrum around 3.5 GHz was reserved for government use, mostly Navy radar. It's unused in most of the country, and now is becoming available for consumer services. A 3.5 GHz eco-system is developing in the U.S., driven by the demands of AT&T and Comcast. CableLabs, Ericsson, Google, Intel, Nokia, Qualcomm and a dozen others have formed the CBRS Alliance. In other parts of the world, the spectrum will be used for ordinary TD-LTE service.

In the U.S., the quiet heroes included John Leibowitz at the FCC, Larry Strickling of NTIA and several who worked on the PCAST report and prefer to remain out of the limelight. PCAST - and the cogency of the argument - is convincing people around the world that sharing spectrum is the way to go.

Ruckus: Shared small cells better than LTE/DAS, using 3.5 & 5 GHz
Everybody wins if you connect in-building with Wi-Fi or shared TD-LTE rather than a network that only works for one carrier. The same applies to stadiums. A football team wants good service for all the fans in the seats, not just those with Verizon phones or whichever other carrier is first to build. Ruckus' OpenG is designed to make the shared network easy to administer.

One network is cheaper to build than four. 

*** ASSIA is proud to partner with Hitron, a proven industry leader, to provide MSO subscribers with the industry's most comprehensive solution to residential Wi-Fi service problems. CloudCheck enables self-healing Wi-Fi networks by leveraging ASSIA’s machine-learning based cloud architecture with an agent solution in the gateway. (ad)
$0.002/gigabyte Backbone/transit cost - and up
In large volume, 2/10ths to 5/10ths a cent. That suggests large ISPs pay something less than a penny per gigabyte. If you use 139 gigabytes/month, that costs your provider something like $1/month. (Doubling transit costs gives you a rough estimate of the cost to the carrier, which also has to carry the bits to your local exchange.)

Akamai recently bid "$0.002 per GB delivered," according to Dan Rayburn, a streaming media expert I trust. Dan notes that's the lowest price he's ever seen for a content delivery deal, and other recent bids have been as high as half a cent. Hurricane Electric is advertising Internet transit at dozens of locations for $0.20/Mbps, which works out to a similar price. Small and rural carriers often pay much more, sometimes 20X higher. 

20 Gigabits mmWave 13 kilometers in Facebook test
Large antennas, custom parts for Aquila drones. Aquila, a solar powered, 1,000 pound aircraft with a wingspan longer than a 737, had a first test flight on June 28. Aquila is no longer intended to serve people broadband. Instead, Facebook has the far more realistic plan of providing backhaul in extreme rural areas where fiber and terrestrial microwave would be too expensive.

Mark Zuckerberg and his top team are deeply committed to connecting everyone, a mutual friend tells me.  Their was inappropriate but their engineering is at the forefront. A 96 antenna massive MIMO rig delivered ten times the performance of typical LTE today. Their 60 GHz wireless mesh Terragraph prototype demonstrates how neighborhoods can be connected at multi-gigabit speeds. 60 GHz WiGig is likely to explode as Intel and Qualcomm are including it in new wireless chips and offering "Tri-band" local networking. 

Two important 5G articles weren’t finished in time. One is the latest data from Ted Rappaport and team: Landmark paper: 10 kilometer millimeter wave test confirms new model. The second is about massive MIMO: Softbank Japan, China Mobile, Huawei and ZTE bringing 5G MIMO to the field. News

Switzerland: We're going; Forget fiber home except in new builds
“Everything we do from now on will be based around,” according to Swisscom’s Oliver Lamparter, blogs Australia's nbn.  Their first 1,000 lines have convinced them. Swisscom two years ago planned a multi-technology buildout. From here on, most of it will be FTTP in new builds, to the street in existing homes. Lamparter added, "We don’t envisage extending the FTTP footprint too much further in Brownfield areas because gives us a much better way of delivering ultra-fast services.”

Both Huawei and Nokia were hopeful of winning the contract. They are sharing the next phase at British Telecom, over 100,000 lines in the next six months.

*** Sckipio's Three advances are taking to the next level. (ad)

Nokia takes XG-FAST to 8 gig in the lab at nbn
Hinting they are getting closer to product but no date is set. Jochen Maes and team have been wowing the world with high speeds over phone wires for a couple of years, including a recent visit to Australia that "generated peak aggregate data throughput speeds of more than 8 Gbps over a 30-meter twisted-pair copper cable. A 5 Gbps peak aggregate speed was achieved over 70 meters of twisted-pair copper cable." They've previously shown 5 gig+ to Deutsche Telekom. The short reach limits the possible applications; the natural market, apartment buildings, needs far more ports than the 16 Nokia currently supports. I've heard rumors of more powerful vectoring engines to support more ports but none were shown at the recent BBWF.

Everything is speculative until enough engineers have production units to test.

*** Summit. Paris. 9-11 May. The best show of the year. Upperside presented. *** See you there.

Huawei jumping in to G.faster
Use more spectrum, get higher speeds at very short distances. They showed a prototype at BBWF they claimed would provide "3.8 Gbps @ 50 meters and 2.4Gbps @70 meters." Huawei's name for the next generation, 2-8 gigabit DSL is NG-fast. They brought a unit to BBWF and put out the press release with the information below. The speed is primarily achieved by using 500 MHz of spectrum. Full duplex allows using the same spectrum for both upstream and down. Nokia/Alcatel has been demonstrating their comparable technology, XG-FAST. It's good to see Nokia getting competition. 

Paris Summit 2017 9 to 11 May will be a great show; Proposals due
Three days with some of the best in the world of In 2017, they will share the experience of hundreds of thousands of lines deployed. The atmosphere is informal but the technical level very high. The event was large enough to include virtually all the companies in the industry but small enough for everyone to be heard. I chaired and also did a three hour, first-day seminar to bring newbies up to speed.  Knowledgeable speakers are welcome whether or not their companies buy sponsorships. Marketing VP's giving sales pitches are not wanted; top engineers very welcome. 

Paris. May 9-11. See you there.

A third chipmaker: Metanoia
Interoperability demonstrated at BBWF. Metanoia's press release features a quote from Swisscom, one of the first to deploy Their chips are in an SFP container, ready to plug into routers designed for SFP upgrades. They developed in cooperation with Huawei. I've sent a note and hope to learn more about them.

Interop demo'd by Broadband Forum & UNH Lab at BBWF
Broadcom, Metanoia, and Sckipio chips communicate. For more than a decade, the industry has come together at the University of New Hampshire to confirm chips work well together. Customers hate to be locked into a single source so demand vendors solve the problems. Live at the Broadband World Forum, the major vendors connected their gear. All report progress but there's still much work to do. 

100,000 modems sold by Technicolor - running VDSL
For less than $10 more than the VDSL-only version, Technicolor is selling a unit ready for when the company deploys. A telco has decided that's a small price to pay for an easy future upgrade. Karel Adriaensen wouldn't even give me a hint of which telco may be the world's largest buyer of modems.  He expects to sell several hundred thousand but will not be enabled until later in 2017.

The telco intends to use the modems for one day, but they are serving as 35b vectored VDSL modems for now. Adriaensen says is now ready for large-scale commercial deployment. "Standardization is complete and chipsets are available." 

*** Summit. Paris. 9-11 May. The best show of the year. Upperside presented. *** See you there.

Australia: 700,000 "FTTdp homes." Should use but may go VDSL.
Australia's National Broadband Network has decided to use DSL to bypass some of the cable network they bought from Optus. They are calling this FTTdp, which everywhere else in the world means For unclear and probably political reasons, they are planning to use VDSL at much lower speeds. 

Fiber to the basement + is the obvious choice today to upgrade apartment buildings. 

Tens of millions lines predicted
"11M subs/year in 2021 predicted by nbn/Ovum" was my original headline. After reading the report, I saw no way to be so precise five years from now. There are too many unknowns.  AT&T is passing 3M homes a year with fiber and/or They are being coy about but see large savings likely. BT is passing 140K homes in the first half of the year, then ramping rapidly to 3M/year. 

SK in Korea will be in a race with Korea Telecom for the 9M homes in the country that need upgrades. KT is promising to offer at hundreds of megabits to 95% of the 9M by the end of 2017; SK can't afford not to move quickly. I've 12 countries on the map with firm deployments. Over 60 more are in trials.

I have the Ovum data from Petroc Wilson of Commsday. “In 2021 Ovum expects to be supporting nearly 29 million subscribers, representing 3% of the global fixed broadband market. As an emerging technology the growth in annual subscriber additions is expected to accelerate in each year, rising from 330,000 in 2017 to nearly 11.5 million in 2021.”

"Study" predicts $200/line chip price in 2022 !?
Not a typographical error, unfortunately.  To reach the projected "USD 4,216.3 Million" in chip sales, chip price per home served would have to be $200  or so. That's ten times the price today in some markets, with every expectation the prices will go down over six years. (Moore's Law may be slowing but it isn't dead.) Save your $5650; an outfit called Markets and Markets has produced a work of low fantasy in the guise of a research "study."  Buy these folks a new abacus. 

Predictions about the future are hard - see Trump, Donald.

Upstream 300 meg+ in 2017 at Comcast

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Our communities are being destroyed by racial tension and we're too polite to talk about it. ... If this is a dialogue that's to begin at AT&T, I feel like it probably ought to start with me" Randall Stephenson, AT&T CEO

Marcelo Claure says mobile costs are “minimal,” allowing Sprint to give away a million mobiles to poor kids. Free in France is selling 50 gigabytes+ for $22; Ambani in India is selling 10 gigabytes for $7.40. An EU estimate of mobile data cost is between 0.4 and 0.8 euro per gigabyte, which is probably high. Finnish consultant Antonios Drossos calculates the marginal cost of a gigabyte is about 0.1 euro.  See Ambani pricing isn't crazy. France, Finland, and Denmark are similar.
    David Small of Verizon estimates the cost per bit will go down 30-40% per year, confirming what I’ve written about the efficiency of carrier aggregation, advanced LTE & MIMO. That’s a drop of about ~50% in two years and ~80% in five years.Mobile speeds have gone up remarkably, putting the lie to the lobbyists’ and politician’s “spectrum crunch.” Back in 2009, the U.S. broadband planners and Glen Campbell of Merrill Lynch convinced me the fears were hogwash. Every year since has seen an increase in mobile speeds.
    The telcos need to buy much less equipment, leading to agony at Ericsson and other suppliers. The Big E has lost half its value in 18 months and is firing thousands. Verizon just fired another 3,000 while AT&T wants to chop 50,000+ jobs in the next few years. 
    Efficiency is great for consumers but many in the industry are living through nightmares.  John Donovan of AT&T says the survival of his $250B company is uncertain. 

This week’s Broadband World Forum in London will have some excitement. I have to skip the show so everyone please keep your ears open and send me the news that isn’t in press releases.

*** @ BBWF Wednesday 19 Oct, Sckipio hopes you will join Peter Bell of BT Openreach; Oliver Lamparter of Swisscom; Werner Heinrich of Adtran; Hubert Mariotte of Orange; Hyung Jin Park of Korea Telecom; David Renehan of Eircom, and our CEO, David Baum for Deployment Strategies and Results (ad)

Headlines without articles yet. News is breaking faster than I can write it.

  • "F-yes for F-cell! Flying F-cell Fantastically Free of wires" Marcus Weldon of Nokia shows off the 8x8 MIMO small cell efficient enough for solar power and small enough for delivery by drone. Great picture. No delivery date.
  • EU’s new policy:  “share spectrum in all the spectrum ranges, particularly in bands below 6 GHz” The telcos will fight very hard, but “use it or share it” is the right policy for more capacity and lower prices. This is huge for spectrum policy.
  • AT&T wireless to the rooftop, below, is in Century’s Minneapolis. T plans to go after Verizon as well. Only a world-class game theoretician can predict how this will play out.
  • Comcast is building a low power wide area network with Semtech. LPWAN is remarkably cheap, which AT&T is acknowledging with an order of magnitude price drop.

Upstream 300 meg+ in 2017 at Comcast
Jorge Salinger is ready as soon as the vendors can deliver.  Casa Systems has already demonstrated 400 megabits upstream and will soon show 600 megabits. They will offer gigabits downstream only in 2016, Daniel Frankel reports, “because 3.1 was not available in upstream. ... I think it’ll be in 2017.” Comcast's $70 gigabit downstream is available today in parts of Chicago, Nashville, and Nashville with a promise to cover over 40M homes by 2018. The upstream is limited to 35 megabits, but that's about to change. 
   I had heard from cable people that they would wait for Full Duplex before upgrading speeds, so this is good news. Full Duplex - sending both upstream and down in the same spectrum - is an active project at CableLabs but likely 3-7 years from volume deployment. Comcast instead will use dedicated spectrum for upstream, possibly eight 6 MHz channels. AT&T is serious about adding 12M "gigabit" homes, using GPON and, and Comcast wants to be able to match the gigabits soon available to about 30% of the U.S.
   But when will they bring it to my house? Much more

*** Self-Healing Wi-Fi With ASSIA® Real-Q™ Technology Booth B20 BBWF London
“Beyond-the-Box” visibility and control, extends quality-of-experience (QoE) beyond the gateway to the end-user device for every device in the home. Based on ASSIA technology, proven across 80 million subscribers

Sprint's mobile bandwidth cost is so low they are giving poor kids 1M free lines and phones
"The new program’s cost to Sprint is minimal" Cecilia Kang quotes NYT. She added  "It doesn’t require additional network upgrades; instead, it would be the equivalent of adding more cars to a highway, the company said." That's an exaggeration, of course. Sprint may have the emptiest network in America, but some of their $3B capital budget is required for the congested areas.
    The cost of bandwidth, even on mobile, is low and getting lower rapidly. A recent EU study found fully loaded cost often one euro/gigabyte or less. Consultant Antonios Drossos emails, "the actual incremental cost of mobile data which depending on the network topology, configurations, vendor pricing etc ranges from €0.05/GB to €0.5/GB."
    Drossos is more likely on target than the EU. Free in France and several in Scandinavia are selling 50 gigabytes+ for $22.  Even if we assume people only use half their allotment, that's 80 cents retail for a profitable product. Ambani in India is selling 10 gigabytes for $7.40.
     David Small of Verizon estimates the cost per bit will go down 30-40% per year, confirming what I’ve written about the efficiency of carrier aggregation, advanced LTE & MIMO. That’s a drop of about half in two to three years and three quarters in about five years.
     Mobile speeds have gone up remarkably, putting the lie to the lobbyists’ and politician’s “spectrum crunch.” Back in 2009, the U.S. broadband planners and Glen Campbell of Merrill Lynch convinced me the fears were hogwash.

AT&T/DirecTV ready to go "Wireless to the Rooftop" + DSL or Ethernet
AT&T needs a tool for both coax and existing telco twisted pair. I believe they are not using at this stage, although it will be a natural choice going forward. AT&T's WTTR looks to be the same as Google's new Webpass division. Companies like Towerstream have been beaming mmWave to rooftops for commercial customers for more than a decade. Hundreds of wireless ISPs rely on mmWave backhaul as do most mobile towers around the world. The technology is old but few have done WTTR for consumers.
     AT&T has several million lines of satellite TV with roof access and wiring throughout the building, a natural for this kind of deployment. Their initial buildings are in Minneapolis. They are also planning Denver, Phoenix, and Seattle, where Century has only limited upgrades. I was surprised T is also discussing prime Verizon FiOS territory: Boston, New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, and Washington D.C. The headline includes "Outside of Traditional Wireline Service Area."
     For $3,000, you can buy a pair of Ubiquiti radios to carry a gigabit. Siklu, which supplies Google/Webpass, and Ericsson have 5 gigabit units available with low latency. Boris Maysel of Siklu tells me they will have 10 gig in a box next year. 
     T is getting scared as gigabit cable is spreading around the country.  Ed Balcerzak expects WTTR will not just save money but will reach customers quickly. AT&T's current plan, fiber or to 12M by 2020, leaves more than two/thirds on older DSL. Cable should win most of those not soon upgraded.

*** Columbia CITI November 10th 2016 First Impressions for the New Administration and Congress: What's on the Telecom, Internet, and ICT Agenda? Online via Webex 12:00pm-2:00pm. Registration (psa) My suggestion: begin by counting. Obama promised affordable broadband for all Americans in 2008. Since then, prices have gone up by a third. $7B of stimulus reached very few of the unserved. Hillary is making the same promise, without a plan for results.

AT&T, Ericsson public demo of mmWave webcast Oct 18
A chance to watch.  Press releases sometimes are as credible as politician's speeches, so I'm looking forward to watching Tuesday's live demo of a 5G network. At the Texas Wireless Summit, Arunabha Ghosh of AT&T will present Designing Ultra-Dense Networks for 5G at 9:40. At 10 a.m., AT&T will demonstrate their state of the art 5G testing. This will be one of the first public demonstrations of a 5G mmWave system. Webcast by RCR Wireless.
     AT&T & Ericsson are working on phased arrays with ultra-fast beam steering, feedback-based hybrid precoding, multi-user multiple-input/multiple-output, dynamic beam tracking and beam acquisition. Beamforming and related technologies seem may be a breakthrough that extends the reach and throughput of mmWave systems. mmWave Works!, as Ted Rappaport proclaimed a few years ago. The question now is where it will prove financially practical. All those small cells and backhaul can be very expensive.

*** Sckipio and Calix introduce world’s first solution to support DTA over multiple phone lines (twisted pair.) When Sckipio announced the invention of DTA, it was only available on low crosstalk environments such as coax applications or single line scenarios. Now, DTA works on higher density, higher-crosstalk environments. Visit the Sckipio booth (D20)  London, October 18 – 20, 2016. (ad)

KT Giga to 9M Korea homes, Spain, Turkey
Moving from to Wave 2 at "up to 1 gig." has grown beyond home powerline into a legitimate contender for in-building broadband. KT, using Marvell chips, has been offering hundreds of megabits since late 2014. KT reaches several million apartments now and intends to cover 95% of Koreans who can't get fiberhome by the end of 2017. That puts a year or more ahead of
    KT, working with Ubiquoss and Lightworks, has begun exporting the system. They have a deal with Turk Telecom and a  demonstration building in Barcelona near Mobile World Congress. Chano Gomez of Marvell believes Wave 2 can match today's chips. I haven't seen test data from an independent source.

*** Silicon Harlem 3rd Annual Next Gen Tech and Media Conference
Friday October 21 MIST 46 W. 116th St. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, Jennifer Hensley of LinkNYC, Alvin Bowles of Facebook, and two dozen more presenters. Nona Hendryx will both present and perform - but she ain’t gonna play Sun City. (psa) Clayton Banks and Bruce Lincoln have built a thriving community. Come join. News 

A dozen telcos have deployed 10's of thousands of lines. It works. 

Centurylink: works as promised
Curtis Frankenfeld tells me produced "No disappointments on performance. The results in the field on real cable approach the lab results The results using coax were flawless, with slightly better performance than twisted pair. The installers only had to do a small amount of repair, splitter removal and similar." 

*** HFR and Sckipio Announce World’s First 24-Port DPU
Sckipio Technologies and South Korean network infrastructure equipment maker, HFR, Inc. announce the world’s first distribution point unit (DPU) that supports up to 24 subscribers in a single DPU. Visit the Sckipio booth (D20)  London, October 18 – 20, 2016. (ad) amendments 2 & 3 for more than a gigabit
Longer reach, reverse power, downloaded upgrades for the customer equipment, DTA over coax, and a dozen other improvements. At an ITU SG-15 meeting in Geneva, Amendments one and two were approved. Amendment three was consented but very few changes are likely before final approval. The major chip vendors, Broadcom and Sckipio, are already hard at work. The carriers are hoping for equipment in the second half of 2017.
     BT needs longer reach. was designed for 50-200 meters but existing cabinets are often 350 meters away or more. The new standard increases the maximum transmit power up to +8 dBm, with a practical goal of 300 megabits 300 meters. AT&T has been vocal they want a true gigabit to compete with cable, not "up to a gigabit."

*** ASSIA is proud to partner with Hitron, a proven industry leader, to provide MSO subscribers with the industry's most comprehensive solution to residential Wi-Fi service problems. CloudCheck enables self-healing Wi-Fi networks by leveraging ASSIA’s machine-learning based cloud architecture with an agent solution in the gateway. (ad)

24 Port DPU shipping from Sckipio, HFR
Until now, no one made a DPU with more than 16 ports. Curtis Frankenfeld of Century recently told me, "I would like to support a larger vectoring group than the current 16 ports." For now, Century is only using in smaller buildings. Many buildings have far more than 16 apartments, with wires in the same bundle.
   HFR of Korea has the first 24 port DPU and a giant customer ready to go. Sckipio is first with chips designed to work with VDSL 30a, the faster form of VDSL used in Japan and Korea. $15B SK Telecom is Korea's largest wireless carrier and #2 in fixed. They are targeting the 9M apartments in Korea served with VDSL and copper LAN, most running at 100 megabits. Korea Telecom is actively deploying GIGA Wire, their version of, and intends to upgrade 95% of those units by the end of 2017.  Japan is similar; millions of their "fiber" lines are fiber to the basement + VDSL.

Nokia 8 port
The headline is the whole story. Two North American telcos have told me they need a smaller unit. They don't want to pay for 16 ports when they only need 4 or 5. Nokia has announced one. The unit is shipping. Price is undisclosed, which means the price is based on how hard you negotiate and how much Nokia wants your business. 
     I would love to add to this report that Nokia's new gear supports longer loop lengths, as they claim below. Unfortunately, they don't say longer than what, provide an estimate of rate/reach, or release test data.

Single port The fiber extender
Sckipio's single port is an ideal solution if you need hundreds of megabits a few hundred meters from fiber and digging to extend it is too expensive. A telco engineer tells me that is a common situation. It's easy to imagine a small radio station with a dozen people on staff across a highway from fiber, or three homes about 200 meters beyond a telco GPON network. 
     I live about 50 meters from Columbia's Engineering School, with probably a terabit of connectivity. Verizon can't deliver more than 6 megabits to the fifty apartments in my building (Columbia-owned) or the ~800 more within 150 meters. If you could find a simple wire run from Columbia and connect that copper line to a unit in the basement, everyone in the building could have several hundred megabits 95+% of the time.

*** Jeff Pulver (@JeffPulver) will host #140conf/State of Now Los Angeles  November 14th. (ad) Jeff created the now-legendary VON conferences. Guaranteed no long boring speeches. Folks who define the tTittersphere can do fine in under ten minutes. 

Eric Small of AT&T: is essential.
WTTR + for coax. In an interview with Sean Buckley, Small said “The other thing that we have separately talked about is we’re exploring the use of That technology can work over coax or twisted pair so that’s an essential companion way to deliver service where a property does not have Cat 5 or Cat 6.” DirecTV has millions of lines with an antenna on the roof and either coax or ethernet cable throughout the building. 
     They want to use for 500 megabits or more but continue to be coy about whether they will turn their trials into volume deployment.

*** Sckipio Technologies, the leader in, announces the first single-port DPU design. The solution acts like virtual fibre by extending GPON networks with twisted pair or coax. A very thin management layer allows operators to keep their existing GPON management layer. Sckipio makes it effortless to add to any GPON network. Visit the Sckipio booth (D20)  London, October 18 – 20, 2016. (ad)

BT delays rollout 6-9 months to 2H 2017
Pioneers get arrows in their back and schedules do slip. 
BT had originally promised to start their 10M home rollout late this year or early next. They are expanding the trials to 140,000 homes.  BT wants 48 or 96 ports while today's tech only supports 16-24 ports. They also want the higher power and longer reach of the Amendment 2/3 chips. 
    The original plan, promised by CEO Gavin Patterson, would go to local distribution points for speeds generally 500+ megabits. Then the bean counters jumped in and insisted on using the existing cabinets, Trevor Linney and a strong team of BT engineers did the research to go 300 meters rather than 100 meters, now in the standard. I'm going to call the downstream speed 200+ megabits, rather than the "up to 330" in the BT pr. It's time to use actual speeds that most users can achieve.

Nokia & Huawei win BT's (delayed)
BT decides to stick with the big guys. Alcatel-Nokia and Huawei have been #1 & #2 in DSL for a decade, both with excellent products. They both jumped in early to and their gear works well. They've now won the next stage of BT's 10M home servable offering, another 100,000 homes in the next six months.  BT's Seeley is hopeful they will get production amendment 2/3 chips, but their main supplier Broadcom is not committed to delivering the chips so soon. Ray Le Maistre, a first rate British reporter, believes Adtran has a chance to get back in at the next stage of DSLAM procurement. BT has surprisingly few choices. The vendor community has shrunk drastically. I know only four DSLAM makers and two chip vendor likely to be ready to serve a customer like BT.

To come: Technicolor ships 100,000 modems; first interop from UNH/Broadband Forum; 11M subs/year in 2021 predicted by nbn/Ovum; BBWF: How well will chips talk to each other?; 700,000 FTTdp Australia; Graz 50.000; DTA over phone lines 


  • Victor Harwood has done an extraordinary job programming Digital Hollywood 18-21 October. The speakers on virtual reality and augmented reality are the highlight; literally dozens including senior people from the major studios and production houses. If I had a travel budget, I’d go to Los Angeles. The price is low for a professional event like this ($645.) DH has large discounts for small businesses, students, and non-profits. It’s $50 for students, $95 for the unemployed and $130 for the self-employed.
  • John Walko has an outstanding interview with Trevor Linney of BT, who leads the largest deployment in the world. Trevor “suggests the key outstanding issues include enabling higher bits per tone, typically 15 rather than the 12-14 now; better receiver sensitivity (<-150dBm/Hz); increasing the transmit power from 4 to perhaps 8dBm; optimising the frequency usage with VDSL2; and increasing the vectoring group sizes to 96.” If that sounds like what I’ve been writing, it’s because I listen very closely to anything Linney says.
  • J.H. Snider reports two profound failures of the U.S. spectrum auction. It will not yield the $billions promised to the U.S. Emergency Service Network or the U.S. Treasury. It will gives $Tens of Billions to station owners, who had no legal claim to permanent use of the public airwaves. Most of the money will go to people like Rupert Murdoch and Brian Roberts. The piece is polemical but also accurate.
  • Dean Bubley takes a detailed look at what quantum computing could mean for networks and more

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Volume 16, #8 Oct 13, 2016Sept 20

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“I did exactly what I should have done,” Hilary said, adding, “Always have, and always will.” The U.S. has two candidates who think they are God.

Masayoshi Son at Softbank fearlessly launched the first true 5G, multi-gigabit system, the Giga Monster Massive MIMO with beamforming. They have delivered 100 systems in 43 cities. At each, 128 antennas deliver 6X  to 10X more capacity than today, with better results likely in coming years. Masa-san changed the world in 2002. Softbank’s Yahoo BB used the first IP DSLAMs, an efficient dark fiber network, and a new business model to bring broadband prices down almost by half. 

Mukesh Ambani is also changing the world, signing up 10M 4G LTE subscribers in a few weeks at Reliance Jio, a brand new $20B network covering 800M people. He's pricing at $7.40 for 10 gigabytes and unlimited calls. Bharti and BSNL have matched. I expect at least 200M 4G subs in India 12 months from now. Ambani's pricing isn't crazy. France, Finland, and Denmark are similar for 20-50 gigabytes. Free in France is 20 euro ($23) for 50 gigabytes + unlimited calls. Wireless costs per bit are going down at 20-50% per year, so this kind of pricing will be likely in a few years where markets are strongly competitive.

The question is not why Jio is so cheap but why America and Canada are so much higher?

China's 4G subs reached 646 million in August. Their 282 million broadband landlines are 1/3rd of the world total. Half the Internet will soon be Asian; add Africa and Latin America and the Global South will soon be 3/4ths of the Internet. 

*** Sckipio congratulates Calix and Centurylink on North America's largest deployment, Platteville, Wis. (ad) Curtis Frankenfeld of Centurylink discovered  "The results in the field on real cable approach the lab results." 

Softbank's Giga Monster Massive MIMO: World's first commercial 5G not mmWave
128 antennas, 6X-10X improvement in throughput to ?1.5 gigabits. 
The fearless Masayoshi Son wants to change the world again, this time by launching 5G. They have deployed 100 cell sites in 43 cities, with many in Tokyo. He may be a year ahead of anyone else. Masa-san wasn't patient enough to wait. Softbank subsidiary Wireless City Networks is taking charge. They may be using the ZTE 128 antenna unit demoed last year. Cell siting is particularly difficult in Japan and MIMO is the best way to get much more out of your existing network and spectrum. On the other hand, Softbank controlled Sprint has 120 MHz of unused spectrum. Sprint's logical path forward begins with carrier aggregation putting that spectrum to use.

The magic of MIMO is that signals from different antennas, even very close together, can be distinguished. Each signal bounces off obstacles in a slightly different way. Arogyaswami Paulraj discovered MIMO one day when it rained on the Stanford campus. He was doing some experiments using two cordless phones, testing how far apart they needed to be to distinguish the signals. He moved inside that day, not expecting to get any usable results. Instead, he clearly saw two signals. "We must have MU-MIMO," Sanyogita Shamsunder of Verizon said this spring. Much more and links

10 gig LTE $7.40 at Reliance. All calls free.
"Cheapest 4G-LTE data rates the world has ever seen." 
India will shortly have more 4G connection that the U.S. has people (317M.) China already is over 600M. In a few years, Indians with 4G phones will probably number more than the combined population of Western Europe and the United States. This is a very different Internet.

Mukesh Ambani spent $20B on the network across India. He intends to get 100M users as soon as possible. One Indian newspaper believes they signed up 10M in much less than a month. Everything is free until December 31. If $7.40 is too much, you can buy 100 megabytes for $0.30 on a day pass. Many new phones in India come with a free Reliance Jio SIM. Calls are free across India, eliminating the roaming charges others demand. His LYF phones start at $45. Reviews say they are fine.
This is already one of the world's largest networks, covering a population of over 800M. They have built 250,000 kilometers of fiber so have essentially unlimited backhaul capacity. They are part owners of the 55 terabit Bay of Bengal Gateway undersea fiber. More

Ambani pricing isn't crazy. France, Finland, and Denmark are similar.
Xavier Niel is making $billions pricing as low as 40 euro cents/gig. 
The wireless world is shocked by Reliance Jio's low price of $0.74/gigabyte. "Cheapest 4G-LTE data rates the world has ever seen." That's true at 10 gigabytes but Finland and France are lower in price/gigabyte at 50 gig

Bharti, the largest carrier, has matched. So has BSNL, the national carrier.  European data demonstrate today's LTE networks are efficient enough to thrive on low prices. In comparison, U.S. prices are astronomical. Germany and Italy, with only three carriers, are very high. 
The right question is not why Reliance is so cheap but why others are so high? More, including a great chart comparing prices

Expensive auction, Reliance Jio explosion may kill half the Indian telcos
$5B - $50B auction scaring some out of business. 
Not long ago, India had 12 wireless companies and the toughest voice competition in the world. Three are gone and others shaky. Ambani of Jio sees only four or five likely to survive. 

Ambani has one of the most cost-effective networks in the world. They have scale in a business of scale. Some companies are giving up, especially as they would need to spend money in the coming auction. Vodafone pumped $7B into Vodafone India to keep up.

Indian analysts and press believe telcos have neither the financing nor capacity to buy most of the amazingly large amount available in the auction.  See "$80B" Indian auction could be world changing - or only $12B" An alternate view is that Jio and the current giants will jump in hard for enough spectrum to operate efficiently. LTE works best with at least 20x20 MHz, far more than most of them use today.

*** ASSIA is proud to partner with Hitron, a proven industry leader, to provide MSO subscribers with the industry's most comprehensive solution to residential Wi-Fi service problems. CloudCheck enables self-healing Wi-Fi networks by leveraging ASSIA’s machine-learning based cloud architecture with an agent solution in the gateway. (ad)

Tim Farrar: U.S. auction ?$25-35B
Paul Milgrom's auction design keeps everyone guessing. 
Anyone who tells you she is sure of the outcome doesn't know very much. I was so wrong the last time I'm not even trying this time. Wall Streeters I respect, including Craig Moffett and John Hodulik,  believe the phone companies + Comcast will find it very hard to bid more than $30B-$40B. That will let them split about 70 MHz except in a few big cities if no one plays the spoiler. 

Knowing who the other bidders are in a particular part of a complex auction enables developing a strategy that may bring down the total proceeds. Therefore, an auction designer often tries to maintain some mystery about who's who and what's what. Several have said this two-way auction is the most complex ever designed. Some call it fiendish.

Tim Farrar, an extraordinarily perceptive observer, warns about unknowns, then goes on to say: "Comcast may well emerge from the auction with a significant national footprint of roughly 20MHz of spectrum, potentially spending $7B-$10B. In addition, unless the forward auction drops to only 70MHz being sold, all four national bidders could largely achieve their goals, spending fairly similar amounts except in New York and Los Angeles, where one or two of these players are likely to miss out. 

In other words, nothing much changes.

*** Oct 7 CITI Columbia Online Video as the Disruptor 
Raul Katz of Columbia, who is doing pioneering work on the impact around the world of Internet giants; Matthias Kurth, whose "Kurth Solution" inexpensively brought broadband to rural Germany; Robert Pepper, the very policy guru at the FCC for a decade; and Columbia's Henning Schulzrinne, who just went to Washington for a spell as FCC Chief Technologist. (psa) Columbia's annual event is alway very strong. See you there.

Gig LTE: Telstra 2016, Swisscom 2017; AT&T joining the parade
Who needs 5G? Most large carriers will be able to dedicate 60-100 megabits to LTE and achieve peaks of a gig and more. AT&T's Andre Fuersch points out.  "LTE is still here. And LTE will be around for a long time. And LTE has also enormous potential in that, you’ll be capable of supporting 1 gigabit speeds as well.” LTE will reach a gig in many places in the next two years. Fuersch points out that 5G will be needed only when we want more than a gig. 
Of course, you don't get those speeds at the cell edge or when the network is congested. But I believe that "gig" LTE will deliver hundreds of megabits 90+% of the time if you have a good connection to the cell site. Getting close to a gig is likely often possible.
Tom Keathley of AT&T promises the gig in 12-18 months and reminds us LTE will be important for a decade or more.

*** ASSIA's Cloudcheck for your mobile solves Wi-Fi problems, delivering a better, faster Internet. It tests, diagnoses, and remedies slow connections. Free from Apple's App Store and Google Play. (ad)

Small cells, finally: U.S. carriers get going in 2016
At $20,000/per small cell, great where you have backhaul and power. 
Small cells have been the next big thing for years, but I haven't seen many of them. Christos Karmis of Mobilitie tells me that's changing dramatically in 2016. Karmis says Sprint is planning 70,000 small cells, although CEO Claure is only saying “tens of thousands.” Verizon and T-Mobile have talked big plans. Some of those outdoors will also be called DAS, some counted as cell sites. From here on, cell site figures will be impossible to compare. 

Telcos can increase capacity with small cells (densification); putting more spectrum to use (carrier aggregation); adding antennas (MIMO and Massive MIMO); network sharing; and half a dozen other techniques. Verizon, Sprint, & T-Mobile claimed they've doubled speeds by adding a second, 20 MHz carrier. Deutsche Telekom just announced a field test with 5 carriers for over a gig. Softbank has deployed 100 cell sites with 128 antenna Massive MIMO, claiming an improvement of 6-10x. Somewhere around 2022-2025, highband 5G will become a common choice. Verizon will bring highband to the field in 2017 or 2018, but few expect significant volume before next decade.

Everyone has a different opinion on which network design will be dominant. The answer is "none." The real experts- the CTOs of the major companies - will tell you they aren't sure.

*** Unparalleled Upstream Performance with Sckipio’s Dynamic Bandwidth Allocation. 750Mbps on Speed Test in both upstream and downstream with Sckipio’s innovative dynamic bandwidth allocation over coax. (ad) 

How fast can MIMO go? 10X, 50X, 100X
If you have clear line of sight and little reflection, simple MIMO gain can be negligible. Hakan Ericsson of Ericsson told me I was wrong to assume MIMO would help the NBN connect people in the Australian bush. Because there wasn't much to bounce off, his tests results were very disappointing. The company had found a similar effect driving around Stockholm, 8x8 antenna MIMO did have an 800% gain in some places but much less in others. The beamforming enabled by massive MIMO arrays can provide major improvements whatever the terrain. 
Many of us have seen how well four antennas work in 4x4 Wi-Fi, raising theoretical speeds over a gigabit and real world tests at 500 megabits. See 1000% MU MIMO gain in gigabit tests by Universities, Facebook. MIMO 2025: A 10x or 100x Capacity Multiplier? is a remarkable 80 minute session from when Paulraj won the Marconi Prize. Paul said to me he's comfortable with 50x although 100x may be far away. Vint Cerf, Marty Cooper and Andrea Goldsmith have told me in Marconi webinars they are comfortable with the 50x projection, although nothing is guaranteed. 
No one believed Arogyaswami Paulraj in the 1990's when he claimed MIMO (his invention) would one day lead to a 100x improvement in wireless capacity. That day is now closer.  My three days interviewing Paulraj for his Marconi Award film were to me like a cello player taking personal lessons with Pablo Casals. 
T-Mobile 4x4 MIMO 256 QAM "400 meg" putting Verizon to shame
A big step on the way to gigabit LTE. 
I wouldn't expect to get 400 megabits at Broadway and 42nd Street at 6 p.m. Some people, in just the right spot, will see speeds close to that. Speeds of 50-150 megabits will be common many places, although those at the edge of cell or through a thick wall the speeds will go down to under 10 megabits.
CTO Neville Ray has done an extraordinary job keeping up with the technology despite a capital budget of under $5B, not much for a U.S. sized network. He's also extended coverage to 311M pops, about 98% of the country, almost matching Verizon. With the amount of spectrum AT&T is about to put to work, the gig would be close.
Ray should not have signed his name to the claim, "delivers a massive 2x speed boost to customers." There are places where doubling the number of antennas will double speed. Doubling won't happen in many other places and the average T-Mobile speed will not go up that much.
DT Field Test: 5 20 MHz carriers, 4x4 MIMO, 1.2 gigabits peak (brief)
Where are the phones with four antennas?  
Ericsson and Telstra used 5 carriers for a gig last year; Deutsche Telkom with Huawei now announced their "field" test with 5 carriers. SK in Korea and Telstra promise the gig in 2016; AT&T in "12-18 months" (Tom Keathley.) No one will be surprised if those schedules slip, or if the first "deployments" are more like field tests. But it's coming.  
As far as I know, none of these networks are actually delivering more than 400 megabits peak today. Since 2009, LTE has been planned for 100 MHz of spectrum, 8 antennas at both transmitter and receiver, and other improvements to reach far beyond the gigabit. Your speed will vary. The cell edge will be 90% slower; some windows and walls can be equally devastating.
128 Antenna MIMO from Ericsson in 2017
Huang Yuhong of China Mobile  and Tom Keathley of AT&T provided applause in the Ericsson announcement.. Although few early systems will go that far, the new Ericsson system can scale to 64 transmit and 64 receive. It's called Massive MIMO for a reason. They come four to a box so it would take a heckuva lot of boxes to max out the system. Unless you want to buy 100,000 or so, I expect the price will be high.There clearly are locations where 16 or 24 antennas would pay off today, but I suspect most large early systems will be used for testing.

More on Massive MIMO

*** Sckipio congratulates Calix and Centurylink on North America's largest deployment, Platteville, Wis. (ad) Curtis Frankenfeld of Centurylink discovered  "The results in the field on real cable approach the lab results." News

Still to come: The ICANN farce in D.C., where both sides are lying. Latest word from D.C. is the strong lobbying effort led by the Internet Society is winning; LTE-U, the telcos grab at Wi-Fi spectrum, is dead per Qualcomm lobbyist Dean Brenner. But pressure from Verizon protected LAA, for now; is real, with Century going commercial, although 48/96 port DSLAMs may be delayed to 2H 2016; The 646M 4G subs in China and 282M broadband landlines (Minister Miao Wei); and more on the run-up to BBWF in London.


A reporter at <a major metropolitan daily> sent me a compliment and added, “You're going to put the Fierce Cable guys etc. out of business.” I certainly won’t. Mike Dano, Sean Buckley, and the other reporters at Fierce are excellent, often finding stories I miss. They have to write five stories a day; I may do five stories a week. Having more time really helps.


In 2010, I wrote that “Virtually all carrier investment in telecom comes from the profits of the existing companies.” That was wrong. I should have left out the word profit and simply said: “Virtually all carrier investment comes from the existing companies.” Greg Rosston pointed out that Clearwire & Sprint were investing far more than their profits. This doesn’t contradict my point, that money from government “incentives” - such as reducing competition to raise prices - mostly benefits shareholders. Only a small fraction is spent on network building, the public goal. 


  • 32 percent of all iPhones used in August were models that debuted in 2013 or earlier, with that year’s iPhone 5s the third-most popular device at 17 percent Localytics
  • Irwin Jacobs of Qualcomm is “still learning” at the age of 82. From an interview with Mike Freeman, who has done excellent reporting on the company.
  • Karl Bode, of DSL Reports, has been one of the best reporters for a decade. He’s getting satirical e.g. I've heard that actual cable box competition will harm puppies, accelerate climate change, and cause goiters. Also FYI: you can dislike Clinton's positions on encryption, permawar, fracking and whistleblowers and not be sexist or want Trump to win.(tweets)
  • Kelly Hill at RCR Wireless produced a report,  “The Future of Wi-Fi”, with clear, thoughtful coverage of everything from future standards to today’s test challenges,

Myths to Bust - 5G
5G is high frequency millimeter wave.
Millimeter wave is an important part of 5G but at least for the next few years many antenna MIMO is likely to dominate. 

5G requires < 1 millisecond latency. 
Marcus Weldon of Nokia opened the 5G Summit with a stirring call for < 1 millisecond latency for high speed traffic control as well as future virtual and augmented reality. Many telcos think driving to 1 millisecond is unnecessary, wasteful, and brutally expensive. 

The delay in standards to 2019-2020 will prevent earlier 5G.
Tom Wheeler at the U.S. FCC has decided to eff the 3GPP-ITU procedure and authorize a 2018 deployment of mmWave fixed 5G by Verizon. Massive MIMO is already deployed on 100 towers.

Millimeter waves always have short reach and require line of sight.
Beamforming is dramatically improving the performance of millimeter wave. NTT CTO Seizo Onoe calls "5G is always short range" myth. Consumer millimeter deployments will nonetheless require a very high number of base stations.

Fiber is always needed for backhaul
Ericsson provides convincing evidence that microwave wireless, now available up to 5 gigabits, has latency and other characteristics appropriate for 5G. 

Virtual Reality requires 1 millisecond
Oculus Rift runs at 11 milliseconds.

Wireless networks are often congested
Actually, 95+% of cell sites are generally uncongested. The remainder have only limited peak limits. That's why Deutsche Telekom is promoting a DSL/LTE combo router; LTE nets have plenty of spare capacity, most times, most places.

Densification is necessary to get increased capacity
Verizon and AT&T have doubled and tripled capacity while adding very few towers or small cells. Carrier aggregation and now MIMO have often been enough to deliver the needed capacity. With small cell costs down to $20,000/per, if you have power and backhaul, we're finally starting to see limited deployments.

Spectrum is the main problem for capacity.
AT&T currently has 40 MHz of unused spectrum across the United States. More spectrum is a good thing because it reduces the cost of adding wireless capacity. But MIMO, densification, and many other technologies can also add capacity, often more cheaply. 

There is such a thing as 5G wireless.
It's purely a marketing term, meaning different things to different people and confusing everyone.

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Volume 16, #7 September 25, 2016


August 31 News

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“SDN is probably the most revolutionary change I’ve seen in my career.” Andre Fuetsch, AT&T’s new CTO

Mukesh Ambani made it official: $7.40 for 10 gig LTE and calls across India, the best price in the world. He’s not crazy; France, Denmark, and Finland have the same price per gig at 20-50 gig/month. Those and more in a wireless issue, soon come.  
Dean Brenner of Qualcomm is leading the LTE-U vs Wi-Fi spectrum grab with an audacity that makes the Donald and Hillary look like paragons of truth. Both Brenner and his Verizon backers agree that LTE-U should be blocked if it interferes with Wi-Fi. It does interfere, so now they are demanding the testing be rigged. The takeaway: One of the top wireless experts in the world says the standard should be set at “-85 dBm or -86 dBm,” based on test data. Qualcomm and Verizon want -65 dBm to -72 dBm, a huge difference on a log scale. 
Jochen Homann in Germany just gave Deutsche Telekom a monopoly, unfortunately the right move in the vectored DSL era. Competition doesn’t have to die. With unbundling the customer line now obsolete, the rules need massive change. 5G highband also is a competition killer; no one has a good idea what to do.   
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson leads probably the best management team in telecom. Odd that he told Commissioner Clyburn about his, “rapid deployment of 5G wireless technology in rural America.” Everyone knows 5G highband has a very short reach and will rarely be used outside dense areas - including his own engineers. Unless millions of people move to places like rural Georgia and Illinois, ain't gonna happen.
The CTIA show next week is loaded with new products. Speakers include Qi Bi, a former Bell Labs Fellow now leading research at China Telecom; Mingxi Fan and Matt Grob of Qualcomm; and AT&T’s new CTO, Andre Fuetsch. 
Do take a look at my draft, Next six years of wireless I wrote it for some policy people drafting a U,N, document and I want to get it right.

*** Sckipio congratulates Calix and Windstream on the world’s first bonded deployment. They will deliver speeds up to 1 gigabit per second over existing copper infrastructure in Lincoln, Nebraska. (ad) 

Why Cuts at Google Fiber: No one wants to switch, wireless and cable going to a gig
If cable/DSL is good, people won't switch. Too many people read this as a rejection of fiber, which actually is expanding rapidly in America and the rest of the world. The real problem comes from being the third operator where the first two aren’t that bad. Kevin McLaughlin reported half the division (500 people)  is being dumped; unofficially, it's suggested that's not so.  The analysis stands. Google is struggling because people hate to switch. Cable in the U.S.  is mostly 50/5 today, going to a gig. LTE is also going to a gig, and 500+ megabit is deploying. 

I have 200/20 cable; Jennie 50/50 fiber. Both are rock solid and uncongested. TWC just ran for 70 hours upstream without falling below 20 meg. (Jennie does video and we’re backing up terabytes.)  Most people see no urgency to switch. I've had agony rearranging my home network and I'm in the business. Reported result: Cost per new customer blows out the economics. Fiber needs to win ?30% to 50% of the market. Google Kansas City five years ago looked like a moneymaker, confirmed by CFO Ruth Porat and Carlos Kirchner on Wall Street. Comcast and Cox, half the U.S., promise the gig download within two years.  AT&T and Century are hemorrhaging subscribers where they haven't upgraded their DSL. They are planning 15-20M upgrades to either fiber home or 500+ megabit

*** ASSIA's Cloudcheck for your mobile solves Wi-Fi problems, delivering a better, faster Internet. It tests, diagnoses, and remedies slow connections. Free from Apple's App Store and Google Play. (ad)

U.S. Q2: Huge losses at telcos (-361K), huge gains at cable (+553K)
Singularity in half the U.S.? Cable is now 50/5 or higher for nearly everyone.  40% of the U.S. can't get more than 6 megabits from the telco. Another quarter are effectively limited to less than 16 megabits.  Q2, Cable totally clobbered DSL in the U.S., far beyond the any previous period. For several years, I frequently pointed out that telcos were doing fine in about ~50M homes with faster DSL (AT&T U-Verse, millions at Century) or fiber (Verizon FiOS.) The losses were coming in the about ~25M homes AT&T and Verizon hadn't upgraded in a decade or more. They intend to shut down landlines for most of them, expecting to be more profitable because many would switch to their wireless. Another quarter or two like this and the death march will be almost irreversible across the areas not upgraded. DSL is still beating cable in Canada, England, and France, so this wasn't inevitable. 
AT&T and Verizon have had to borrow to cover their dividend. They remain extremely profitable but not really enough to keep Wall Street satisfied. The regionals have been starving their networks for years. They are hurting,

Partial explanations:

  • Century/Qwest (-66K,) Frontier (-77K), and Windstream (-16K) have upgraded a modest fraction of their lines to VDSL and fiber and have plans to expand the upgrades. It may be too little, too late.
  • AT&T (-123K) has ~15M homes that have not been upgraded to U-Verse. They've been hemorrhaging customers for years in those areas. The loss of subs Q2 suggests even in the 30-33M U-Verse homes, customers are switching.
  • Verizon (-83K.) FiOS has some of the highest prices in the world, starting at $70. They have 10-15M homes with 10 year old DSL. Verizon's entire business model is based on higher prices because they are much better. Others are catching up both wired and wireless.  Much more data and analysis

*** Oct 7 CITI Columbia Online Video as the Disruptor 
Raul Katz of Columbia, who is doing pioneering work on the impact around the world of Internet giants; Matthias Kurth, whose "Kurth Solution" inexpensively brought broadband to rural Germany; Robert Pepper, the very policy guru at the FCC for a decade; and Columbia's Henning Schulzerinne, who just went to Washington for a spell as FCC Chief technologist. (psa) Columbia's annual event is alway very strong. See you there.

Comcast promises "100% of advertised speeds, even during peak"
Shared networks can work remarkably well. I suspect there's a slight exaggeration here, but 97-99% would make most of us very happy. U.S. & U.K. government tests (SamKnows) have long demonstrated that most cable networks are darn close to 100% delivery. In 2014, FCC tests showed 95% of Comcast customers received between 109% and 119% of advertised upload speeds.

Across the U.S., AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon are in a fierce marketing battle to the 400,000 new apartments added each year. Once you have fiber backhaul, the cost to add extra data capacity is usually very small. Most cablecos provision enough reserve capacity to very rarely slow down. Telcos claim their service is much better because it's not shared. That's bogus. more

Comcast surprise: They are using fiber all the way instead of coax in two new developments. Liberty is using fiber home to some of the millions they are adding in England. Jay Rolls, rebuilding Cox New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, considered but ultimately rejected using fiber. Fiber may be the choice for new builds by the companies called "cable." 

*** Jeff Pulver presents MoNage / "The Age of Messaging on the Net" Boston Sept 20th - 22nd. Headliners include Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Yossi Vardi, whose company ICP was sold to AOL and became Instant Messenger. Two dozen more speakers will tell you what is to come and what they are building. (ad) Jeff’s VON conferences were legendary. Skype, Vonage and a hundred start-ups began at VON.

SDN Works! Adtran demo why AT&T is so committed
SDN is object oriented programming brought to telco networks. Adtran showed an impressive but still early version at their press event. Named Mosaic, it is already managing at trials in 65 telcos. The 40 gig NG-PON2 units Verizon is testing also run under Mosaic. From a single console controlling more than a dozen pieces of equipment, Adtran showed they can run "Configure, Deploy and Activate" on any of the boxes, not all of which are made by Adtran. 

Their Huntsville SDN demo was along a long wall. To the left of the picture was an 8086 type of Linux PC, about $5,000 worth, running ONOS and Adtran's Mosaic software suite. Off the shelf boxes, 48x10G switches, 32x100G switches, and 16x10G PON OLTs were underneath. To the right of the monitor was an Adtran box running SHDSL; a 16 port box, 2 x 10 gig OLTs, 2 CPE, a carrier Ethernet unit, and gateways connected to the 10 gig PON. The switches were leaf and spine, from an obscure vendor in a white box. Much more in articles to come: 9 months at AT&T from plan to deployable system, AT&T is building their own GPON box; and the Broadband Forum is diving in hard. much more

SDN human cost: 5K jobs at Cisco just the beginning
AT&T is cutting 80K jobs. Carriers are gung-ho for SDN/NFV because it will be more efficient. Tens of thousands of people will lose their jobs at telcos, cables, and suppliers. In the long run, the economy benefits from the increased productivity. But many of those fired will never get a decent position again, especially older workers. There are no easy answers. AT&T is paying for extensive employee retraining, hoping linemen can learn to be programmers for cloud computing. 

None of these cuts are related to today's SDN deployments, of which there are very few so far. Tough competition from Huawei is more important. But the companies are listening when AT&T's new CTO Andre Fuetsch warns, "Those who don't make the pivot will face a really rough road. This is going to be a really rough road." Bill Smith estimates AT&T is now buying three times as much capacity per dollar invested as four years ago.

Nick McKeown, Guru Parulkar, and a thousand others are building great software tools, but we also have to think about the people. More and a great photo by Dorothea Lange

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The time is now, as several carriers have moved from trials to deployment. Almost all MDU’s should now get, backhauled by fiber or wireless. Bonding delivers true speeds of a gigabit and next year Amendment 2 of the standard will deliver a gig on a single twisted pair. 

On the map The U.S. has moved from light blue (regional) to dark blue (incumbent confirmed) as Century, with 20M homes, has announced they are deploying. AT&T is pretty definite and Verizon  is looking hard. Italy is added in green (considering) because of newspaper reports but the big deal between Fastweb and Telecom is 35b with a fraction fiber.

*** Sckipio congratulates Calix and Windstream on the world’s first bonded deployment. They will deliver speeds up to 1 gigabit per second over existing copper infrastructure in Lincoln, Nebraska. (ad) 

" is commercial." Half a dozen customers and thousands of ports from Calix
Calix has a half-dozen customers in "deployment," with a significant one about to announce. British Telecom told analysts they are about to finish their 25,000 "trial" and move forward with deploying 10M lines of 

Calix believes their SDN platform AXOS  is helping them win accounts. 100 customers are running AXOS,  While AXOS is proprietary, Calix is contributing to ONOS, the open source SDN controller.  Adtran's Tom Stanton, also bringing a proprietary SDN to market, believes most telcos are following AT&T and moving their SDN/NFV efforts to ONOS and CORD or something very similar. It's easy for me to project that most SDN software will migrate to the Open Source standards.

*** Columbia CITI November 10 First Impressions for the New Administration and Congress: 
Online via Webex  12:00pm-2:00pm Registration (psa)

Stealth mode 35b in Italy delivering 50-187 megabits
It's not vectored so speeds will go down as traffic goes up. 35b VDSL, probably from Huawei, has been deployed in towns across Italy by Fastweb/Swisscom. Deutsche Telekom has also chosen 35b, mostly from existing cabinets. They hope to turn it on late this year or early next. Italy has no cable, so Telecom Italia and Fastweb are mostly installing 35b rather than the more expensive or fiber. Why? Because they can. Most Italians have no choice but settle for whatever the monopoly offers.

35b gains speed from using frequencies from 2 MHz to 35 MHz. a total of 33 MHz. the earlier VDSL 17b runs from 2MHz to 17 MHz, only 15 MHz. and 35b deliver similar performance for 300-450 meters, but two or three times the speed below 200 meters. is consistently getting 500-800 megabits on short loops. The upstream can be much higher than 35b. The equipment is similar.The DSLAM prices in large volume should not be far apart considering the modest difference in the BOM. The bigger saving comes from the compatibility of 35b with 17b. That means the VDSL modems already in the field won't need to be replaced, as they would with more

*** Unparalleled Upstream Performance with Sckipio’s Dynamic Bandwidth Allocation. 750Mbps on Speed Test in both upstream and downstream with Sckipio’s innovative dynamic bandwidth allocation over coax. (ad) 

35b: Greater than 200 megabits @ 300 meters
More than a year late but now in acceptance trials at a large European carrier. Fastweb in Italy is actually in production with 35b VDSL getting 50-187 megabits down per consumer speed tests even without vectoring. With vectoring, Kevin Schneider’s lab tests at Adtran found “mid to high 200’s @ 1,000 feet.”  Talking with Kevin, I didn't sense any major anomalies in his testing at other distances. Adtran hopes to move to field trials in Q4 and soon after to deployment.

In theory, the 35b chips should have been an easy design modification, I was told, because they were so similar to the existing chips. If any reader knows what held them up for a year, please let me know. Anonymity assured.I made a mistake saying these were "First results." Alcatel's Paul Spruyt had published results from KPN testing I had missed. Much more, with details on 35b

Live from New York. It's wireless backhaul
Who needs fiber for Skywire/Xchange has been using microwave for backhaul and commercial links, here in New York. They are putting into some of their building, using wireless to the roof rather than fiber to the basement. Siklu and Ericsson offer mmWave up to 5 gigabits with good latency.  Multi-gigabit radios are now priced in the thousands; Ubiquiti sells a pair of one gig units for $2K. Since Google bought Webpass everyone is thinking gigabit wireless to homes.  Webpass used wireless to the roof and then copper, often Cat 5 Ethernet, to reach the apartments, not wireless directly.  More

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The news, July 21, 2017

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