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5G the Free WiFi Killer

Integrating comm comes at a price
8/21/2015 09:50 AM EDT
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RichardBennett
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Paranoid Delusions
RichardBennett   8/24/2015 1:30:33 PM
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You could write the same click-baity, over-the-top, alarmist story about the Internet, because its overarching purpose is to integrate distinct networks to facilitate information flows across different technologies. There's not only nothing wrong with integrating 3GPP networks with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other unlicensed networks, it's the name of the game.

Anyone who thinks carriers - or Google, Amazon, Intel, or anyone else - has to power to kill Wi-Fi needs his head examined. The best the carriers can do is smooth the handoffs between licensed and unlicensed networks to improve user experience, and I hope they do that. IEEE 802.11 has tried to do this, as have other inititiaves such as Hotspot 2.0, with limited success, so the time is ripe for another shot.

Most of the speculation about LTE-U and LAA (which are two different things created by two different groups) is over-heated because it's uninformed. Some interests claim LTE-U can kill Wi-Fi by not observing the Wi-Fi sharing protocols, but it's obvious from an engineering POV that they can't step on Wi-Fi without killing their own unlicensed transmissions. And they need them to work because of spectrum constraints in the licensed bands.

Wi-Fi, for all of its virtues, is a grossly inefficient protocol that spends more of its time sensing clear air than actually transmitting. This can be corrected and must be corrected if we're to avoid a constant allocation of new spectrum to Wi-Fi. 

LTE-U and LAA are very clever means to squeeze more funtionality out of the unlicensed "innovation band". Experimentation with better systems is one of main arguments for unlicensed in the first place, and if we're going to back away from that goal and insist that it can ony be used by legacy Wi-Fi (what happens to Bluetooth if we do that?) we may as well license it to the Wi-Fi Alliance for an appropriate price.

This article should not have been published, it's way too crazy for EE Times.

 

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: lol
R_Colin_Johnson   8/21/2015 5:10:43 PM
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Thanks for you comment, but I hope your "playing nice" is tongue-in-cheek. I believe we-the-people need to raise our voices now, while 5G is still being defined, if we want it to be "OK" in the future. Again, thanks for your comment.

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: lol
R_Colin_Johnson   8/21/2015 5:06:56 PM
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You're right about the leverage the carriers can convey to Intel, Google, Apple and the rest of the corporate world using their infrastructure, but I believe we-the-people can. And if we do make our opposition known, that will give the Intel's of the world the backing they need to keep the carriers from taking over the net. Do you agree?

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Seems like egregious expression of boundless self-interest
R_Colin_Johnson   8/21/2015 5:03:46 PM
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Thank you for your insight. I believe that you have hit-the-nail-on-the-head. One of the reasons I wrote this headline was to raise people's awareness and hopefully their voices too, that 5G should not "integrate" the other wireless access technologies in a way that we pay for every bit transmitted or received.

The allure of no dropped calls, no lack of signal and no congestion ever--even if they are achievable--is not worth giving up all our rights in order to make us pay for unlicensed spectrum.

So lets spread the word about the 5G issues, get the standardizers on-board, and let the FCC and other regulatory agencies know what we-the-people think. Now is the time--before even the first trials begin!

Bert22306
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Seems like egregious expression of boundless self-interest
Bert22306   8/21/2015 4:26:04 PM
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What a load of nonsense. So, promise them pure nirvana, no network congestion ever, no dropped calls ever, no lack of signal, ever, but we'll grab all the spectrum and make them pay for it.

I've explained from the start what the true aim of LTE-U was. A ploy from the service providers to grab all the spectrum and make revenue from it. But the answer is simple enough. We, the people, make it abundantly clear, to the FCC, that the unlicensed spectrum is not for sale. This works. On a similar issue, neutrality of broadband Internet access, Tom Wheeler, the FCC Chairman, actually reversed his position, in the face of an overwhelming public outcry. He was originally unsure about how the FCC should classify Internet access, as a neutral telecom service or as a potentially non-neutral information service. The public response was so large that the FCC could not ignore it.

I recommend the same be done for unlicensed spectrum. I will bet a boat load of cash that if unlicensed spectrum is off limits to subscription services, the interest in LTE-U, and the consequent demise of WiFi, will vanish in thin air. And at the same time, the carriers will continue to find it convenient to offload traffic onto local, free WiFi nets. Just as they do now.

The trick is for people to wake up and react, when the time comes.

realjjj
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Re: lol
realjjj   8/21/2015 1:27:09 PM
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I'm not so sure about Intel. They seem to be pushing their base stations in this pitch and they do need carriers to validate their modem (in some key markets) if they want any share in mobile. Don't think Google or Apple have the courage to openly go against carriers at this point either. Intel's solution makes you wonder if buying a BT speaker will cost you 5$ per month just to connect it and then some extra for the data. Sure making it simpler for the user is good, offloading is fine but if it just enables carriers to maximize profits, it's bad for everybody. The solution is fine ,the consequences are scary, guess i was too outraged when writing my comment to make that distinction.

realjjj
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Re: lol
realjjj   8/21/2015 12:56:59 PM
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Carriers are not telecom providers, are not utility providers. Wireless is infrastructure and someone needs to start treading it accordingly. Everybody needs cheap data, except the carries. There is a fundamantal conflict of interests but lets just play nice and maybe in a decade or two it will be ok.

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: lol
R_Colin_Johnson   8/21/2015 12:56:20 PM
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Thanks for your thoughts. I imagine there are many that agree with you, but are afraid to state their feelings so openly.

The reason I brought up this issue in the headline, was not because Intel pronounced it--they did not--but because I see the danger of building 5G the wrong way. My hope is that those on the 5G standardization committees will keep free speech and network equality in mind as they integrate all the different types of wireless (and wired) connections under the 5G heading.

The carriers, I believe, assume that they are going to be in control of everything, since they own 4G already ad 5G is its succesor, hopinb to make us pay for every bit transmitted everywhere. 

Now is our chance to do it right, and I think Intel is on our side--courting consumer rights--such as using 5G for backhaul and keeping shortrange access (what we call WiFi today) free when you are in range.

Comcast is pushing this model by providing a second "free" WiFi channel inside their cable boxes that any Comcast customer can log onto for free. Make that model universal among all 5G devices, make it unmetered, and you have a solution to "5G as a free WiFi killer."

Of course, that carriers will fight tooth-and-nail to oppose this, but the standardization committees and consumer advocates--maybe even Intel--could push something like that through, if only to keep the carriers from taking over the world :)

realjjj
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CEO
lol
realjjj   8/21/2015 10:59:50 AM
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Screw the consumer ,serve the carriers, too much of that going around. They would just kill the internet and kill hardware sales, there is nothing worse than giving carriers even more leverage. Carriers are cancer for the web, the mobile market and IoT. Govs really need to reform how spectrum is sold and managed ,eliminate this problem for good.They cripple strategic industries and the net losses are enormous. How do you transport data if the road toll is prohibitive. Enough is enough, wireless is not in it's infancy anymore, it's fundamental. Why are we driving with the handbrake on , on purpose? Carriers earn a few bucks, the world loses 100 times more. 

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