Ericsson Technology Review
CHARTING THE FUTURE OF INNOVATION
- Ulf Ewaldsson,
- Senior Vice President
- Group CTO, and Head of Group Function Technology
Providing connectivity for the IoT – and in particular for the massive MTC sector – needs to be accomplished in a sustainable and affordable manner. Connectivity needs to be able to adapt to meet the requirements of different applications like crop and building monitoring, surveillance, and fleet/cargo tracking, which various industries are currently developing. Typically, these massive MTC use cases include substantial numbers of devices, which transmit small amounts of data, and are spread out over a wide geographical area. The devices used are simple and often placed in signal-challenged locations like basements and remote rural areas. The problem: deploying radio-access designed for mobile broadband to deliver connectivity for MTC scenarios doesn't make economic sense.
The connectivity needs for MTC applications often include strict performance targets, especially when it comes to latency, yet support for voice is often unnecessary, while battery lifetime is a significant issue. So, what the massive MTC sector needs is a sustainable radio-access solution designed specifically to meet its needs in terms of performance while reducing battery wear. This technology is narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT), and the latest Ericsson Technology Review articles reveals how this solution is being designed and how it can be deployed in GSM spectrum, within an LTE carrier, or in an LTE or WCDMA guard band.
April 25, 2016
NB-IoT: a sustainable technology for connecting billions of devices
Under the umbrella of 3GPP, radio-access technologies for mobile broadband have evolved effectively to provide connectivity to billions of subscribers and things. Within this ecosystem, the standardization of a radio technology for massive MTC applications – narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) – is also evolving. The aim is for this technology to provide cost-effective connectivity to billions of IoT devices, supporting low power consumption, the use of low-cost devices, and provision of excellent coverage – all rolled out as software on top of existing LTE infrastructure. The design of NB-IoT mimics that of LTE, facilitating radio network evolution and efficient coexistence with MBB, reducing time to market, and reaping the benefits of standardization and economies of scale.
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February 2, 2016
A vision of the 5G core: flexibility for new business opportunities
Next-generation 5G networks will cater for a wide range of new business opportunities, some of which have yet to be conceptualized. They will provide support for advanced mobile broadband services such as massive media distribution. Applications like remote operation of machinery, telesurgery, and smart metering all require connectivity, but with vastly different characteristics. The ability to provide customized connectivity will benefit many industries around the world, enabling them to bring new products and services to market rapidly, and adapt to fast-changing demands, all while continuing to offer and expand existing services. But how will future networks provide people and enterprises with the right platform, with just the right level of connectivity?
January 25, 2016
Microwave backhaul gets a boost with multiband
Is there a spectrum shortage? The answer to the question is both yes and no; in some locations spectrum is severely congested, while in other places it is highly underutilized.
As the performance level demands on services like mobile broadband continue to rise, networks are going to need some innovative tools. New methods that will maximize spectrum efficiency, and new technologies that can exploit unused spectrum are going to be needed. Multiband booster is one such method. This concept fundamentally shifts the way spectrum can be used, with a promise to deliver a massive improvement in the performance levels of microwave backhaul, while at the same time accelerating the much needed shift toward the use of higher frequency bands.
December 22, 2015
Cryptography in an all encrypted world
Cyber attacks are on the increase, global fears over personal security and privacy are rising, and quantum computing might soon be reality. These concerns have created a number of shifts in how encryption technologies are being developed and applied. One of these shifts is the need for end-to-end encryption. Today, it is no longer sufficient to encrypt data as it passes through the access part of the network; information needs to be protected from source to destination. Information also needs to be secure when it is at rest – an issue that has become highly significant as the world shifts to cloud storage.
Ensuring that communication is secure, including the ability to encrypt sensitive traffic, has always been a fundamental pillar of the telecom industry. Users expect their right to privacy to be respected, and operators expect to be able to protect themselves and their customers from various kinds of attacks. But the world is changing. Encryption technologies are advancing, regulations are changing, criminals are becoming highly tech savvy, and security awareness has become a popular conversation topic. So, in light of new threats and security demands, security protocols need a shake-up.
November 5, 2015
Industrial remote operation: 5G rises to the challenge
Ericsson and ABB are collaborating to determine how to make the most of 5G and cellular technologies in an industrial setting. Together, we are looking at a number of use cases, each with its unique and challenging set of connectivity requirements. This article presents some of the use cases being assessed, highlights the challenges posed by remote operations, and describes how 5G technology can be applied to overcome them.
Power plants, mines, construction sites, and oil platforms can be hazardous environments. Industrial sites like these can be noisy and dirty, and may expose personnel to an abundance of risks associated with falling objects, harsh weather conditions, and the presence of heavy machinery and chemicals.
October 8, 2015
Flexibility in 5G transport networks: the key to meeting the demand for connectivity
The more people have been able to achieve while on the move, the more dependent society has become on mobile broadband networks. As applications like self-driving vehicles and remotely operated machinery evolve, become more innovative, and more widespread, the level of performance that 5G networks need to deliver will inevitably rise. Keeping pace with ever-increasing demand calls for greater flexibility in all parts of the network, which in turn requires tight integration between 5G radio, transport networks, and cloud infrastructures.
August 31, 2015
Identifying and addressing the vulnerabilities and security issues of SDN
The promises of agility, simplified control, and real-time programmability offered by software-defined networking (SDN) are attractive incentives for operators to keep network evolution apace with advances in virtualization technologies. But do these capabilities undermine security? To answer this question, we have investigated the potential vulnerabilities of SDN.
Why flexibility counts...
Every morning, I get out of bed and go to work because I believe technology makes a difference. I believe that in the midst of global growth, numerous humanitarian crises, the increasing need for better resource management, and an evolving threat landscape, a new world is emerging. And I believe technology is playing a key role in making that world a better, safer, and healthier place for more people to enjoy. It feels good to be part of that.
Fundamentally, I believe the breakdown of traditional industry boundaries and increased cross-industry collaboration have enabled us to maximize the benefits of technology. Today, Ericsson works with partners in many different industries that all rely on connectivity embedded into their solutions, services, and products. Our early collaborations, which were with utilities and the automotive industry, have led to innovations like the Connected Vehicle Cloud and Smart Metering as a Service.
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I am delighted that Harald Ludanek, Head of R&D at Scania (a leading manufacturer of heavy trucks, buses, coaches, and industrial and marine engines) agreed to contribute to this issue. His article on the significance of ICT – how digitalization and mobility will impact the automotive industry and bring about the intelligent transportation system (ITS) – illustrates the importance of new business relationships, ensuring that different sectors create innovative solutions together, and maximize the value they bring to people and society.
Technology is making it easier for people to protect their homes, families, and belongings. The standardization of antitheft systems in automobiles, for example, has led to a decline in car theft in most parts of the world. However, while technology offers improved security, somehow criminal countermeasures manage to keep up. In an article about end-to-end cryptography, a number of Ericsson experts highlight how car theft is no longer carried out with a slim jim and a screwdriver, but rather with highly sophisticated decryption algorithms, smartphones, and illegal access to software keys.
The protection of data – and the people who own it – as it travels across the network has always been a cornerstone of the telecoms industry. But in today’s world, no single organization can maintain end-to-end control over information as it is carried from source to destination, and so upholding the right to privacy is becoming an increasingly complex issue. And with quantum computing posing a threat to our current security systems, our experts point out that this will render certain existing methods of protection useless. Not only do protocols need a shake up, so does software – so it can work in lightweight mode for constrained or hardware-limited devices.
The idea that technology can manage an underground mine efficiently, operate construction machinery from a distance, or carry out a complex surgical procedure on a remote basis, is not far from magical. Imagine a world in which the hazardous work environment is a thing of the past, where manufacturing operations are run smoothly using remotely operated machines and robots, where everyone has access to vital medicalexpertise... This is the stuff of my boyhood science fiction comics. But today, these are the technical innovation challenges my colleagues intend to solve – and in some cases, they already have.
The article on 5G remote control, which was cowritten with experts from ABB, is yet another example of how collaboration has become embedded in our ways of working, and how different industries can help each other to create more innovative solutions.
If you were to ask me to pick a few words to summarize this issue of Ericsson Technology Review, I would choose security, new business opportunity, flexibility, SDN, virtualization, and 5G. But, it is flexibility that clearly stands out for me. If networks are going to provide the kind of connectivity that industry needs, flexibility is not only required in the technical solution, but at all other levels too – even in business models and internal processes.
Flexibility will be achieved in the network through greater abstraction, programmability, and a core built on the concept of network slicing – which is where 5G comes in. As the article on the 5G core shows, a flexible network architecture is needed by service providers and industries that depend on connectivity to develop new solutions. It will enable them to fail fast, and to adapt their networks as quickly as business models change. In his article on the multiband booster for microwave backhaul, Jonas Edstam points out that in a world, capacity needs will no longer represent the main determining factor for network architecture; instead, total cost of ownership will take over, with a more holistic approach to networking.
By 2021, over 90% of the world´s population will be covered by mobile broadband networks*
*Ericsson Mobility Report, November 2015
“By 2021, over 90% of the world´s population will be covered by mobile broadband networks*”
*Ericsson Mobility Report, November 2015
- Ulf Ewaldsson,
- Senior Vice President
- Group CTO, and Head of Group Function Technology
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