Blog Archive

Winning at the World Cup: The Benefits of Deploying Neutral Host Networks

By Christian Wagner, m3connect

People from around the world are traveling to Russia right now for the 2018 FIFA World Cup which has kicked off play. The largest venue and the heart of the 2018 World Cup tournament will take place in Luzhniki Stadium, located at the center of Moscow’s Olympic complex. Luzhniki Stadium has hosted over 3,000 soccer matches and has a capacity of 80,000 people. As just one of the 11 stadiums that will be in use for the 2018 World Cup, Luzhniki Stadium will be able to seat fans, but will each attendee be able to stay connected in such a crowded environment?

The one thing that everyone there will have in common – besides a love for soccer (or football or futbol depending on where you’re from) – is the need for connectivity in a device dense area such as these massive stadiums. There is no doubt that each person there will have their smartphone and will be trying to text, call, stream video and more during the matches. But what happens when each of these devices is battling it out for connectivity? Calls get dropped, texts go unsent and videos are left buffering. With a limited amount of licensed spectrum available to accommodate this growing number of data-demanding devices, private Enterprises such as sports arenas are left with spotty network coverage when large numbers of mobile-dependent devices (and people) gather in these dense environments.

Traditional options to provide coverage in stadiums include DAS and operator-specific small cells, but both approaches also have limitations. DAS is a great technology but expensive, and operator-specific small cells means that each operator must be able to make the business case for deploying their own small cells in a stadium that’s not in everyday use.

Deploying MulteFire technology as a neutral host network in stadiums opens up new business opportunities for the stadium owners, mobile operators, systems integrators, and more. For example, the stadium owner could deploy MulteFire small cells that support roaming from all mobile operators’ networks. As the network owner, the stadium owner can develop new revenue streams. The mobile operator wins as they don’t have to deploy DAS or as many small cells in individual stadiums, thereby reducing costs while meeting subscriber demand. And the end user wins as well, getting a seamless experience and being able to share that great goal they just captured on their smartphone. It presents a win-win-win advantage for all. Neutral host networks provide new business opportunities for enterprises, mobile operators, cable operators, ISPs, building owners, venue and stadium owners and more.

Too good to be true or just the future of connectivity? By installing MulteFire technology as a neutral host setting, the stadiums for the FIFA World Cup of the future can become neutral host hotspots, offering LTE connectivity for any of the tens of thousands of devices present at each match. It’s a great “goal”!

For more information on Neutral Host and Private LTE networks, download our white paper from Harbor Research. To see the business impact of MulteFire technology deployed in the Enterprise and Industrial IoT, download our latest white paper from Wireless 20/20.

I wish your team the best of luck!

Providing Seamless Mobility for the Enterprise with MulteFire – 451 Research Webinar

By Amit Jain, VP, Product Management and Marketing, SpiderCloud Wireless, and
Mike Carper, Head of New Business Incubation in Advanced Mobile Network Solutions, Nokia

According to 451 Research, the number of mobile devices within the global enterprise market is forecasted to steadily increase over the next few years. As more companies embrace bring your own device (BYOD) policies, we experience a shift from office-centric models to mobile ecosystems–averaging three devices per employee. All of these personal devices require connectivity and security, thereby presenting a challenge for today’s enterprise IT decision makers.

To further understand this issue, we sat down with 451 Research analyst, Ken Rehbehn, in a webinar to discuss the tough decisions facing enterprise IT teams. Upgrades and other innovative solutions are constantly knocking on IT directors’ doors, but new technologies are not always worth the time and resources needed for installation and ongoing maintenance. In this webinar, we shared how MulteFire technology can meet the coverage, capacity and performance needs of the enterprise with easy deployment and seamless mobility.

As members of the MulteFire Alliance, we believe MulteFire technology is a key solution
screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-12-07-25-pmfor enterprise IT application–from universities to company campuses to construction sites. We encourage you to listen to the full webinar available here to learn more about how MulteFire provides seamless mobility for the enterprise.

If you missed our other webinars, you can access the recordings via the following links: “Understanding MulteFire’s Radio Link”, “MulteFire’s End-to-End Architecture” and “The Promise of MulteFire”.

From CTIA to Open Day – Globetrotting with the MulteFire Alliance

By Mazen Chmaytelli, President, MulteFire Alliance

As we close in on the much-anticipated release date of the 1.0 specification, Alliance members will be going global to Las Vegas for CTIA Super Mobility Week and to the Nokia campus in Paris-Saclay, France for the MulteFire Alliance Open Day and Technical Workshop.

CTIA Super Mobility Week 2016

CTIA Super Mobility Week 2016 will take place September 7-9 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This event focuses on mobile innovation, reimagining and redefining every part of daily life – from the office to home, networks to retail, health and auto. Experts from across the wireless ecosystem, including the MulteFire Alliance, will be onsite to help define the future of wireless.

The MulteFire Alliance will showcase technology demonstrations from Alliance members Athonet, Nokia and Qualcomm in our booth #3937 in the Tower & Small Cell Summit area. We will also be hosting 1:1 meetings to share details about MulteFire’s high performance capabilities, enhanced coverage and LTE-like performance in the unlicensed spectrum.

Alliance members will also participate in the Tower & Small Cell Summit panel, Wi-Fi and LTE Coexistence in Unlicensed Bands: Carrier-grade Wi-Fi, Mobile Offload, Hotspot 2.0, LAA Networks and MulteFire, Thursday, September 8, from 4:00-5:00 p.m. in San Polo rooms 3401-3501 of the Sands Expo. The panel will be moderated by Randall Schwartz, Wireless 20/20 and will feature MulteFire Alliance members: Art King, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies, SpiderCloud Wireless; Jim Rydberg, Head of Solutions Architecture, Small Cells, Nokia; and Neville Meijers, VP, Small Cells, Qualcomm Labs.

Please contact us if you are attending CTIA and would like to request a meeting.

MulteFire Open Day & Technical Workshop

Across the pond, and also on Wednesday, September 7, the MulteFire Alliance will be hosting a MulteFire Open Day and Technical Workshop at the Nokia facilities in Paris-Saclay, France. This half-day event offers mobile operators, enterprise, cable operators, venue owners and end users an opportunity to learn more about the benefits of MulteFire technology through panel discussions, technical sessions, product demos and a networking reception. The technical workshop will provide insight into the MulteFire specification, Release 1.0 that is currently under way, along with deep-dive sessions into MulteFire’s end-to-end architecture, neutral host capabilities and radio link.

If you would like to attend the MulteFire Alliance Open Day and Technical Workshop on September 7, please RSVP today.

We hope you are able to meet with the Alliance at one of these exciting upcoming events. We look forward to sharing more about what is to come for MulteFire.

mazen_chmaytelli-hiresMazen Chmaytelli serves as LTE Unlicensed Business Development lead for Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. In this role, Mazen oversees the continued evolution of LTE-based technology for unlicensed spectrum (LTE-U / LAA / MulteFire) strategy globally.

As of June 2016, Mazen was also appointed as the MulteFire Alliance President. In this role, Mazen is responsible for the overall functions of an industry organization and functioning business within BoD-set policy frameworks. Managing the global ecosystem and operations for MulteFire to support development of technical specifications, certification programs, and coordination with related industry groups and regulators.

Mazen has over 20 years’ experience across all major wireless telecommunications technologies and a broad range of expertise in areas including business development, business negotiations, product management, new product development and technical marketing.

Mazen has also held several other positions for Qualcomm including product management for mobile devices, EV-DO technical marketing, BREW/uiOne product management, FLO Technologies business development, head of LTE Broadcast (eMBMS) business development and product management, and Small Cell business development lead for worldwide operators.

Mazen is a registered professional engineer in the State of California, a Senior IEEE member, a registered attorney with the California Bar, and a registered patent attorney with the USPTO. As an inventor, he holds 37 USPTO issued patents covering a range of telecommunications and software designs.

Mazen has a B.S. and an M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) and holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University Of San Diego School Of Law.

Looking Ahead: SON Working Group Forms

By Yun Xiang, MulteFire Alliance SON Working Group Chair

The goal of SON – Self Organizing Networks – is to reduce the amount of human intervention required to integrate, optimize and maintain the network. This is achieved through self-configuration, self-optimization and self-healing: the key words for SON.

In a network composed of MulteFire small cells, SON is just as important. Whether in a standalone MulteFire network deployed in an enterprise or in a mobile operator network augmented with MulteFire small cells, SON can help enable effective coordination of the “unplanned” small cell resources. In the unlicensed frequency band, where we have very complex co-existence scenarios, SON can optimize the network and reduce the interference effectively.

To meet this need, the MulteFire Alliance has recently formed the SON Work Group (SWG) with the goal to enable simple plug-n-play MulteFire network deployments with optimized performance in unlicensed spectrum.

In the SWG, we are defining the typical use cases, requirements and architectures of SON functions for a MulteFire network and will ultimately draft technical specifications for MulteFire SON solutions. As these SON functions will be designed based on the output from the Radio Work Group and the End-to-End Architecture Work Group focused on Release 1.0, we are targeting the inclusion of SON in Release 1.1.

We invite all companies with an interest in optimizing small cell networks to join us.

Mobility as the Foundation for Enterprise Innovation Needs MulteFire

By Art King

Smartphones have been unprecedented in their impact on a wide range of consumers, from end user individuals to global enterprises. When coupled with mobile networks for ubiquitous global coverage and capacity, smartphones have the ability to enable innovation at scale.

THE JOURNEY TO ENABLING ANYTIME, ANYWHERE ON ANY DEVICE

At-scale innovation relies on the global communications infrastructure. In the enterprise realm, there are a number of factors contributing to wireless connectivity anytime, anywhere. In most corporations, contracted agreements with mobile operators are in place that support the majority of employees; however there can be outliers on other mobile operators’ networks for a number of reasons. For example, BYOD or “bring your own device” policies are becoming more common and enterprise IT staff must be able to support these devices and the spectrum they operate in. In addition, international mobile roamers and their spectrum requirements must be considered. And, finally, “green building” technologies that save energy unfortunately prevent the outdoor cellular network from pushing signals into buildings.

In terms of costs, the legacy network solution to support all of these devices and spectrums – Distributed Antenna System (DAS) – is not a viable option for buildings under 500,000 sq. ft. (50,000m2). Although larger venues still use it, they are slapped with reoccurring overhead expenses.

So, we ask the loaded question:

What cost effective network solutions are there that can meet the multi-operator demands for the 320,000+ buildings that range from 50,000 to 500,000 sq. ft. in the U.S.?

The answer is MulteFire!

MulteFire technology delivers a new way to wireless for enterprise. It meets today’s business needs for mobile connectivity by delivering a shared access method to a common global frequency band. The vision for a business environment with MulteFire would include:

  • Excellent coverage and capacity, reaching every part of an equipped facility for all mobile devices.
  • Handset families all incorporated with the same MulteFire radio.
  • Harmonized, low-power band(s) for unlicensed sharing across the globe so international roamers are supported just as effectively as domestic employees.
  • Neutral Host capabilities to connect MulteFire to all the mobile operators in a region.
  • Support for both operator PLMN (Public Land Mobile Network) and private authentication of LTE devices.
  • Use of transport technology and infrastructure that the enterprise has already invested in.

The MulteFire approach, as it evolves, will become a competitive advantage for enterprises that effectively embrace and exploit it to satisfy the anytime, anywhere demands of mobile business customers. I am excited to see how MulteFire’s flexible business models and mobility will lay the groundwork for further innovation.

art-kingAs the Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies, Mr. King leads the development of enterprise services definitions and business case prepositions for customers and partners. Mr. King is a Small Cell Forum Board member and a Vice Chair of the Services Working Group. Mr.

King was formerly the Mobility/Collaboration lead in Global Architecture for Nike Inc. where he held various global roles over 10 years. Prior to Nike, he led the build out of two multinational engineering and consulting organizations for an IP Services network vendor in the service provider industry. Mr. King holds a BS in Computer Engineering from Portland State University.

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kingart

Understanding MulteFire’s E2E Architecture and Neutral Host: Archived Webinar

By Gyorgy Wolfner

Within the MulteFire Alliance, we are defining an end-to-end architecture in order to ensure that there are no restrictions in the implementation of a MulteFire network and to ensure that multi-vendor deployments are supported.

In a recent webinar with Light Reading, I had a chance to share more details on the MulteFire E2E architecture work with a focus on different deployment scenarios. Together, Heavy Reading analyst Gabriel Brown and I covered:

  • A Public Land Mobile Network access mode, where the MulteFire small cell is connected to 3GPP EPC
  • Neutral HostNetwork access mode, where the MulteFire small cell is connected to a neutral host network (Note: Check out the MulteFire blog archive to learn more about Neutral Host solutions for private enterprises, mobile operators and service providers.)

A MulteFire small cell may support both access modes simultaneously.

One of the most important starting points in our work was the interworking of MulteFire with 3GPP networks and 3GPP network elements. With 3GPP Release 13 as the base specification for our work, we can provide interworking via 3GPP interfaces, enabling operators to easily add MulteFire to their existing networks without needing a major upgrade. Also, by standardizing the interfaces between the MulteFire RAN and core network, we can support a multi-vendor ecosystem.

During the webinar, I dived into the details behind each access mode and had a chance to answer attendee questions about deployment scenarios.

We also asked a live audience poll question, asking “Which of the following features of the MulteFire architecture discussed in today’s webinar is the most attractive to you?” with the following results:

As you can see, the results were fairly evenly split, and is useful feedback for our work. I encourage you to listen to the archived webinar and let us know if you have any questions about MulteFire’s end-to-end architecture work.

gyorgy-wolfner_headshotGyörgy Wolfner has been actively participated in MulteFire Alliance meetings since the establishment of MFA. He chairs that the E2E Architecture Working Group, which is responsible for creating the general architecture for MulteFire and protocol specifications of the core network.

György started his professional career at the research institute of the Hungarian Telecom in 1998. He joined Nokia in 1999. He worked as system specification engineer and later as a product architect for different products of Nokia. He started supporting standardization work when 3GPP Rel-5 specifications were created and has been a regular 3GPP SA2 delegate of Nokia since 2003. His main expert area is the interworking of 3GPP and non-3GPP systems. He participated in the creation of the 3GPP WLAN interworking solution in 3GPP Rel-6 and in the specification of the non-3GPP interworking architecture of LTE in 3GPP Rel-8. He has also contributed in various other IMS and packet core related areas.

György received his Master’s degree in Informatics from Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BUTE), Budapest Hungary in 1994. He carried out research and PhD studies in the field of traffic and congestion management of ATM networks, and telecommunication network planning. He received his PhD in Telecommunication from BUTE in 1999.

MulteFire: LTE-Like Performance with Wi-Fi-Like Simplicity

By Rasmus Helberg, Ph.D., Senior Director, Technical Marketing, Qualcomm

View video on Light Reading: MulteFire: LTE-Like Performance with Wi-Fi-Like Simplicity

From these videos, it should be clear that MulteFire will enable new use cases and allow mobile operators, enterprise, venue owners, cable providers and more to deliver LTE-like performance with Wi-Fi-like deployment simplicity. We invite you to join us to shape the future by working with us within the MulteFire Alliance.

hellbergRasmus Hellberg joined Qualcomm in 2006 and leads Qualcomm’s corporate technical marketing team that drives Qualcomm’s visions for future technologies, such as the wireless evolution, the path to 5G and the evolution of mobile computing. Rasmus has spent 20 years in the wireless industry and started his career in product management, working on the Japanese PDC system, the first commercial WCDMA products, and later on CDMA2000 1X and EV-DO focusing on radio access network products. Rasmus holds a Ph.D. in electromagnetic wave propagation and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance from the University of Stockholm, Sweden.

Related Links
Press Release: MulteFire Alliance to Showcase Momentum at Mobile World Congress

SCWS Recap: Starting the Show With MulteFire

By Stephan Litjens, Nokia

I recently returned from the annual SCWS World 2016, where the industry gathers in London every May to advance small cell technology. First on the agenda at this year’s show was our morning seminar and panel discussion on MulteFire technology moderated by David Chambers, ThinkSmallCell. I was joined on the panel by Juan Santiago, director of small cells for Ruckus Wireless, James Body, head of research and development for Truphone, and Sami Susiaho, head of edge technologies for Sky.

LTE over unlicensed spectrum has been a hot topic over the last year, and with MulteFire as the newest entrant in this field, it was no surprise we had a full room. It was also no surprise that we had a lively discussion! A few key themes emerged.

The importance of the Neutral Host. Neutral host was on the agenda for many of the sessions throughout the conference and is seen as a key driver for the small cell market to grow exponentially. It was agreed amongst the panel that MulteFire’s ability to operate as a Neutral Host presents a compelling use case for the technology. As more enterprises embrace a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) strategy, they will need a multi-operator solution that supports all of those devices with seamless connectivity. Enterprises and mobile operators will need to work out roaming agreements.

Congestion is a consideration. MulteFire is designed to support Listen Before Talk for fair sharing with other technologies such as Wi-Fi or LAA in the same spectrum band. Sami Susiaho with Sky argued that based on Sky’s experience with deploying Wi-Fi in tube stations, sometimes there’s just too much congestion for any wireless technology to work well.

However, the first public test of MulteFire by mobile operator Saudi Telecom Company, demonstrated co-existence with Wi-Fi in the 5 GHz band, with MulteFire delivering up to 2x better coverage. It should be also noted that while in indoor venues, campus areas, industry facilities and many other places the unlicensed spectrum is very clean and almost as good as licensed. Moreover combined with the massive amount available for example in the 5GHz band and the quality attributes of MulteFire a carrier grade service level for end users can be expected.

IoT presents a tremendous opportunity. We also discussed how this technology will come to market. While some members of the panel emphasized the need for MulteFire to be adopted in smartphones in order to take off, I believe that we’ll first see the technology deployed in business-critical applications where MulteFire can deliver better coverage and capacity than Wi-Fi. MulteFire is the right technology for industrial applications in indoor settings such as factories or hospitals with a multitude of new IoT devices.

Interested in learning more about MulteFire? ThinkSmallCell has just published a white paper on MulteFire explaining how “MulteFire Lights up the Path for Universal Wireless Service.” Or contact the MulteFire Alliance to learn more about joining us to advance MulteFire technology and enable a new way to wireless.

 

MulteFire Continues to Gain Membership Momentum

By Mazen Chmaytelli, MulteFire Alliance President

Some say the holiday season slows productivity; however, I find that difficult to believe given the growing momentum and support for MulteFire technology. With the release 1.0 specification publication right around the corner, the MulteFire Alliance has kicked things into overdrive with event participation, industry liaison partnerships and online webinars. More importantly, the Alliance membership has continued to strengthen in numbers, as we have welcomed several new members.

Joining the table with Ericsson, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm, it’s a pleasure to introduce Huawei as the newest board member. We are excited to see how Huawei will leverage the potential of MulteFire technology within the enterprise setting and “steer the future of wireless connectivity for several vertical industries.”

From mobile operators and cable providers to ISPs and various venue and enterprise owners, the Alliance supports the common interests of its members in the application of next-gen mobile cellular technology.  Our newest members also include Comcast and CAICT, China Telecommunication Technology Labs-Terminals. Comcast will be a great asset to our membership base, helping to round out our expanding cable operator presence, while, CAICT, a prominent test lab in Asia, has joined at the opportune time as we begin discussions around MulteFire certification.

As the president of the MulteFire Alliance, I am honored to be part of this collaborative group enabling the future of mobile cellular technology and a new way to wireless, and look forward to seeing the membership continue to grow. I encourage you to check out the rest of our newly redesigned website where you will find the current list of members, latest news announcements, as well as a resource library.

There are several ways to get involved with the Alliance and promote the future of MulteFire technology, use cases and business opportunities. If your company is interested in joining the Alliance, please visit: http://www.multefire.org/join/become-a-member.

Open for Business: MulteFire Enables Unbounded, Neutral Host Solutions for Private Enterprises, Mobile Operators and Service Providers

By Ashish Dayama, Nokia

It goes everywhere we go – whether we’re heading to the gym, in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, or grabbing a latte at the local café. Our phone is always within reach and ready when we need it, that is, unless we enter an unmarked network “black-hole.” These unpredictable dead zones can drop calls and time out connections without warning. While elevators and basements are notorious dead spots, others can materialize when too many devices are trying to battle for bandwidth.

Unfortunately, our mobile device dependency has made business owners’ jobs even more difficult now that they need to ensure customers can still catch the latest score or update their Facebook feeds once they walk into their store. Failure to do so could result in customer frustration, sub-par Yelp reviews and even public shaming. Okay, the last one may be a bit extreme and we don’t expect business owners to perform a Game of Thrones’ style walk of atonement for having a dicey Wi-Fi network or spotty network coverage.

But what if there was an easy way for business owners to avoid the potential of any public shaming and provide a seamless network connection for little-to-no cost? With MulteFire technology there can be. MulteFire opens the doors for small and medium-sized businesses to establish themselves as a neutral host hotspot, offering LTE-like network performance for any device. By enabling neutral host solutions with MulteFire, private business owners can offer better connections and speeds that otherwise may have been strained by high user traffic in a restrictive environment.

So how does a small business enable itself a neutral host?

It’s actually quite simple and it all falls within the unlicensed spectrum bands and where an LTE anchor is not required.

MulteFire’s neutral host environment offers flexible business models such as, a standalone solution. In this scenario, no carrier subscription or SIM card has to be installed on a device in order for it to connect to the network, thereby offering seamless mobility within the network.

It can also be configured to communicate with existing network carriers using tight integration where a SIM card is already enabled on a device. In the latter situation, someone who is connected to the carrier LTE network will continue to enjoy the LTE-like performance, as well as the network security, upon entering a store with MulteFire technology installed in a neutral host setting. When simultaneous access is available, the transition from the mobile operator network in the licensed spectrum to the private, neutral host environment in the unlicensed spectrum is seamless and without connectivity hiccups. Furthermore, standardized interfaces for multi-vendor deployments are also possible.

This arrangement can also benefit mobile operators or service providers if they choose to collaborate with business owners to include their network in the neutral host environment. For instance, mobile operators can charge the business owners a small fee for including their network, reaping the benefit of authentication and seamless connectivity with their network. On the flip side, in larger environments such as stadiums, the network operator may need to pay the venue owner if they want patrons to still use their network within the venue. Any given arrangement between the private business owner and the mobile operator comes down to the negotiations at hand.

While this idea of a neutral host solution may seem forward-thinking, it’s already being tested by a few of the MulteFire Alliance’s member companies. For instance, Nokia showed off a neutral host demo at Mobile World Congress Barcelona.

MulteFire’s neutral host solution opens the doors to many possibilities for enterprises, mobile operators, cable operators, ISPs, building owners, venue owners and stadium owners. Each of these stakeholders can benefit from MulteFire’s customizable, end-to-end network architecture by expanding LTE-like performance within the confines of their business.

ashish-dayamaAshish Dayama is the Vice chair for MulteFire Alliance Marketing Working Group and Head of MulteFire and TD-LTE marketing for Nokia Network’s mobile broadband portfolio.

Mr. Dayama is responsible for global MulteFire and TD-LTE product marketing, strategy, and content development. Mr. Dayama is Nokia Marketing point of contact for CBRS Alliance and The Wireless Innovation Forum’s Spectrum Sharing Committee.

Mr. Dayama has been a solution architect, system integrator and business developer for various mobile networks. He has filed patents, published papers, and is a speaker on various forums such as IEEE, BBWF, GTI.

Prior to joining Nokia, Mr. Dayama held several management positions at Motorola, and Alcatel-Lucent. He holds an MBA from University of Chicago, MS in Computer Science from Western Illinois University and a Bachelor’s in Electrical from Karnataka University.

MulteFire Gains Interest in China

By Stephan Litjens

I recently returned from the first MulteFire event held in China – MulteFire Open Day and Technical Workshop as well as a week long meeting of the Technical Specification Group (TSG). Hosted by MulteFire Alliance member company Baicells, our presence in China was an outstanding success. Here are a few thoughts on the importance of this week.

Chinese Companies Want to Know More about MulteFire

We kicked off the week hosting the MulteFire Open Day to offer non-member companies the opportunity to learn more about the technology directly from the companies developing the specification. Mr. Sun Lixin, CEO of Baicells, offered a good overview of the MulteFire opportunity in China that focused on the need for MulteFire to fill the need for better wireless connectivity than Wi-Fi alone can offer. With Chinese handset manufacturers in attendance, we were able to educate a critical audience for MulteFire technology.

Mr. Sun Lixin, Baicells CEO, presents on the MulteFire opportunity in China

First Detailed Look at the MulteFire End-to-End Architecture and Radio Link Shared

In addition to looking at the business opportunities that MulteFire opens up for mobile operators, handset manufacturers and more, we provided insight into the specification work under development.

György Wolfner, Chair of the E2E Architecture Work Group, shared details on the different access modes for MulteFire – Public Land Mobile Network access mode and Neutral Host Network access mode – and how these architecture solutions can address different types of deployments. Tamer Kadous, Radio Work Group Chair, then presented on the MulteFire radio link as well as shared simulation results that showcase how MulteFire delivers improved performance and coverage.

Opportunities for MulteFire in the Medical Field

By Eric B. Abbott, Director, Product Management, ExteNet Systems, Inc.

Technology innovation, while embraced by many industries, is cautiously measured in others. The healthcare industry is a prime example of taking a more measured approach where new device deployments are approached with some hesitation and carefully evaluated to meet the Food and Drug Administration* (FDA) requirements. Let’s face it; no one wants to be human guinea pig in the operating room.

The same hesitations apply when determining how medical appliances and applications will connect and communicate with one another. From glucometers, to scales, to blood pressure monitors, Wi-Fi has served as the de facto standard for medical device connectivity. However, this is now beginning to change as new wireless connectivity solutions are needed to support the growing numbers of sensor and IoT-based devices. Considering a majority of medical data transactions now occur over wireless connections, Wi-Fi solutions are struggling to keep up with the spectrum efficiencies needed to accommodate increased data transfers.

To address the spectrum shortcomings and potential bottlenecks, mobile cellular technologies in the unlicensed spectrum are being considered as possible alternatives to Wi-Fi in the healthcare field. Healthcare administrators and IT specialists are currently exploring how unlicensed radio connectivity solutions could prove to be more efficient, while also enhancing security, privacy and QoS to align with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s** (HIPAA) stringent requirements.

This is where MulteFire comes into play as it offers the best of both worlds in terms of LTE’s spectrum efficiencies and Wi-Fi’s ease of deployment. Ultimately, MulteFire could help to improve the overall experience and operational capabilities in the healthcare industry that a siloed Wi-Fi deployment cannot.

While MulteFire’s standards-based technology promotes interoperability and presents new network opportunities, there is a great deal of work to do before this technology debuts in a clinic or hospital. As with any new technology, especially one that would connect heart monitors and other life-support devices, the challenges lie within the network design that requires 24/7 uptime.

When you combine the challenge of maintaining a persistent connection with the privacy and security requirements related to patients’ health information, any change to the current network infrastructure will be heavily scrutinized. Nonetheless, given the limitations with traditional Wi-Fi connections and the recent advancements in the unlicensed spectrum (i.e. MulteFire), I believe a shift in network connectivity in the healthcare setting is imminent.

To learn more about MulteFire technology and its potential to broaden the mobile cellular network into new markets, visit: http://www.multefire.org/faq/.

* The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices.

**HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) is United States legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information.

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-7-52-30-amEric B. Abbott, Director, Product Management, ExteNet Systems, Inc.

Eric Abbott is the Director of Product Management and Strategy at ExteNet Systems, Inc.  Mr. Abbott is a visionary professional with 15+ years of progressive experience delivering market relevant solutions in healthcare, IT services, and telecommunications.  His professional experience includes Fortune 500 and entrepreneurial companies focused on technology solutions in business and healthcare.  He is also Adjunct Faculty at Northwestern University, teaching Consumer eHealth, Medical Health Informatics, and Medical Technology Acquisition in the Medical Health Informatics Graduate Program.  He holds Masters of Science degrees in Medical Health Informatics, Business Administration, and Engineering, and is a graduate of Northwestern University, Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and University of Toronto.  He is also a licensed Professional Engineer.

 

Au Revoir France: MulteFire Alliance Concludes Successful Technical Specification Group Meetings and MulteFire Open Day

By Outi Niemi, MulteFire Alliance Secretary and Head of Planning & Operations, Innovation Steering, Nokia

The MulteFire Alliance members have just returned from a week-long sojourn to the Nokia facilities in Nozay, France where we hosted the Technical Specification Group (TSG) and a MulteFire Open Day. It was a critical week for the Alliance as we made progress toward the publication of Release 1.0 and educated companies about how MulteFire technology will enable new opportunities.

TSG Preps for Release 1.0

Member companies from around the world converged in France to participate in the TSG meetings as the Alliance moves closer to the delivery of our first specification and began exploring functionality of the next release. We’re on track for Release 1.0 to publish in Q4 this year and will be kicking off our certification program. This week included the first discussions around how the certification program will take shape to ensure interoperability of devices and interworking of networks in 2017

Member Companies Take the Stage 

In conjunction with the TSG meetings, we hosted our second MulteFire Open Day. The Open Day is designed to educate potential member companies about MulteFire and included presentations that provide an overview of the benefits of MulteFire and a deeper look at the technical details behind MulteFire’s end-to-end architecture and radio link.

The highlight of the Open Day was our member company panel, moderated by the MulteFire Alliance President, Mazen Chmaytelli, that featured Nanda Menon, Director of Corporate Development for Athonet, Derek Peterson, CTO for Boingo Wireless, Rao Yallapragada, Director at Intel, and Mike Carper, Head of New Business Incubation, Advanced Mobile Network Solutions with Nokia.  There were a few key themes that emerged from this interactive discussion with the audience.

The opportunities are endless. The panel opened with a discussion around how MulteFire access points deliver neutral host capabilities that open opportunities for new and existing wireless providers. From an enterprise perspective, Menon from Athonet explained how MulteFire not only offloads traffic from the network, but also delivers secure, private networks that provide IT staff with control. Yallapragada from Intel highlighted the performance, mobility and plug-n-play capabilities that MulteFire brings. A discussion around new verticals such as utilities and automotive followed, but perhaps the biggest opportunity may be emerging economies where many parts of the world don’t have fixed line connectivity.

Monetization and creativity go hand in hand. Much of the discussion – including from audience participants – revolved around the way existing and new wireless providers may be able to monetize MulteFire deployments. Peterson with Boingo Wireless shared how the first order of business is to get subscribers on the network, and then service providers can get creative in how they monetize that network. One way could be by offering new services that leverage MulteFire or by developing roaming agreements with other providers.

A rich technology ecosystem is needed. Attendees asked about how the Alliance will enable a robust device ecosystem. Carper from Nokia pointed out that it’s more than just enabling devices – those devices also need a network with which to communicate. It will be up to device manufacturers and infrastructure vendors to work together to build out a complete technology ecosystem. The MulteFire Alliance kicked off its certification program discussion this week to address this issue.

Connectivity expectations are evolving. One attendee pointed out that there are perceived expectations that “Wi-Fi is free, while mobile data is expensive.” Peterson pointed out that as connectivity solutions evolve, it won’t matter what network subscribers are connected to. Today’s mobile plans are changing as service providers move business models away from “cost per bit” and subscribers care about getting the wireless connectivity they desire rather than the network.

The event concluded with MulteFire technology demos from AthonetNokia and Qualcomm.

The Alliance will be participating in the upcoming BroadBand World Forum, October 18-20 in London. I encourage anyone with an interest in exploring a new way to wireless to schedule time with us at the conference, or to contact the Alliance at http://www.multefire.org/become-a-member/ to learn more about joining.

outi-niemi_headshot

Outi Niemi leads the organization planning and business operations for the Innovation Steering function in Nokia. She is a transformation and change enthusiast with an MSc. in Industrial Engineering and years of experience in product & service businesses, portfolio management, capability development, marketing, partner management, project management, strategy development and business control.

Outi enjoys networking across cultural and organizational boundaries, which is one reason why she jumped at the opportunity to help bring the MulteFire Alliance together. The other reason lies in her conviction that MulteFire is a brilliant way to enter new markets with LTE technology and ensure connectivity for all.

MulteFire is Making Global Strides: From CTIA in Vegas to Broadband World Forum in London

By Neville Meijers, VP, Business Development Qualcomm Technologies Inc.

Last month, I attended CTIA Super Mobility in Las Vegas to share details around the MulteFire Alliance and participate in discussions focused on the future of wireless technology. This was the MulteFire Alliance’s first booth presence at a tradeshow, which proved to be a great venue for meeting with attendees and sharing use case demonstrations of MulteFire technology.

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-2-26-32-pm

Pictured Above: MulteFire Alliance Booth at CTIA Super Mobility 

I also had the opportunity to participate in an engaging panel discussion as part of the Tower & Small Cell Summit: Wi-Fi and LTE Coexistence in Unlicensed Bands: Carrier-grade Wi-Fi, Mobile Offload, Hotspot 2.0, LAA Networks and MulteFire. Moderated by Randall Schwartz, Wireless 20/20, the panel featured fellow MulteFire Alliance members – Art King, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies, SpiderCloud Wireless and Jim Rydberg, Head of Solutions Architecture, Small Cells, Nokia – along with Kevin Robinson, VP of Marketing for the Wi-Fi Alliance™.

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-2-35-30-pm

Tower & Small Cell Summit Panel: Wi-Fi and LTE Coexistence in Unlicensed Bands 

 

During the panel, we discussed MulteFire’s work toward providing a new wireless connectivity option for unlicensed and shared spectrum that that delivers the neutral host capabilities of Wi-Fi with the performance advantages of LTE. I covered the potential applications and use cases for MulteFire technology, from standalone private IoT networks to indoor, neutral host networks, and explained how MulteFire can enhance coverage and capacity for operators in specific geographic areas.

In terms of coexistence in the unlicensed bands, we discussed how MulteFire will work alongside Wi-Fi in unlicensed bands like 5 GHz, as both are founded upon the same ‘Listen before Talk’ principal. While there may be applications for LTE-TDD in the future for the U.S. CBRS 3.5 GHz band, MulteFire is a viable alternative, able to coexist with LAA and better scale as the number of deployments grow.

Now we’re taking the discussion to the Broadband World Forum in London. MulteFire Alliance Board Chair Stephan Litjens will be speaking on the panel Satisfying the Industry’s Need for Seamless Connectivity at 2pm on Wednesday, October 19. The MulteFire Alliance will also be showing technology demonstrations in Booth C10 in Hall S6. To schedule a meeting during the show, email press@multefire.org. We hope to see you in London.

Join in the SCWS 10th Anniversary Celebrations at SCWS Americas

By Rasmus Helberg, Senior Director, Technical Marketing Qualcomm and MulteFire Alliance Marketing Working Group Chair

Throughout 2016, the SCWS series has celebrated its 10th year in the making. This year’s theme, “Commercializing the Mobile Edge,” is relevant to the new deployments, business models and service opportunities available in small cells industry, including the introduction of MulteFire technology. The MulteFire Alliance is proud to endorse the SCWS World Series, serving operators and solution providers across the globe whose interest is in advancing network connectivity.

If you haven’t had the chance to attend one of the SCWS World Series events, I encourage you to check out the last one for this year – SCWS Americas, taking place Oct. 31-Nov. 2 in Fairmont Dallas, TX. This event unites the small cells, Wi-Fi, DAS and backhaul ecosystem under one roof, exploring deployment scenarios of each technology and how they can best work together. Attendees span from carriers, neutral host providers, system integrators, OEMs, as well as end users from enterprise, transit, real estate, smart cities and hospitality.

Several members of the MulteFire Alliance will be presenting and exhibiting at SCWS Americas, including Baicells, CableLabs, Ericsson, ExteNet Systems, Qualcomm and SoftBank. Find out more at www.scwsamericas.com.

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-9-25-23-amRasmus Hellberg joined Qualcomm in 2006 and leads Qualcomm’s corporate technical marketing team that drives Qualcomm’s visions for future technologies, such as the wireless evolution, the path to 5G and the evolution of mobile computing. Rasmus has spent 20 years in the wireless industry and started his career in product management, working on the Japanese PDC system, the first commercial WCDMA products, and later on CDMA2000 1X and EV-DO focusing on radio access network products. Rasmus holds a Ph.D. in electromagnetic wave propagation and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance from the University of Stockholm, Sweden.

Tune-in to MulteFire Webinar on Enterprise IT

By Amit Jain, VP, Product Management and Marketing, SpiderCloud Wireless
Mike Carper, Head of New Business Incubation in Advanced Mobile Network Solutions, Nokia

Curious how MulteFire technology will play in the field of enterprise IT? Join us for our next MulteFire Alliance webinar on Thursday, November 17 at 7:00 a.m. PT / 10:00am ET to find out. You’ll hear from us on the potential use cases, value propositions and offerings for MulteFire in the enterprise. Moderated by 451 Research’s Principal Analyst, Ken Rehbehn, this webinar will focus on the ease of deployment and improved performance capabilities of MulteFire in the enterprise.

During the panel discussion, we will delve into the MulteFire use cases for neutral hosts to extend cellular network applications and services, as well as discuss why IT decision makers should start planning to incorporate MulteFire into their networks. Additional topics attendees will learn is how MulteFire can:

• Improve indoor and outdoor capacity
• Deliver a neutral host to serve any user
• Offer opportunity to cover more area and devices with fewer nodes than Wi-Fi
• Leverage LTE’s strong security, authentication, and more
• Support features such as VoLTE, LTE broadcast, interface management, advanced radio resource management and more

The webinar will conclude with an audience Q&A where you are welcome to submit questions related to the topics at hand.

Register for the 451 Research webinar on “MulteFire for Enterprise IT” on the BrightTALK website.

Also, in case you missed our last webinar on “Understanding MulteFire’s Radio Link” you can access the recording here. This webinar, part of the Alliance’s webinar series with Light Reading, delved into the advantages the MulteFire radio link delivers to provide enhanced coverage, capacity and mobility.

MulteFire Alliance: A Year in Review

By Mazen Chmaytelli, MulteFire Alliance President

Amidst the holiday cheer and before we ring in the New Year, I wanted to take the time to reflect on everything the MulteFire Alliance has accomplished in the last twelve months. We have achieved some significant milestones in our first year and are on track to make considerable strides in 2017.

Notable highlights from 2016 include:

Membership Momentum

From cable operators and mobile operators to small cell and Wi-Fi vendors, we are growing in numbers and expanding our reach to all corners of the world. Global support is crucial for the adoption of MulteFire technology and I look forward to seeing our membership continue to grow in the coming year.

Industry Resources

Alliance members have helped with the creation and production of materials to educate the industry on the benefits MulteFire. A few of the popular resources include:

 

Specification Development

With the Release 1.0 specification nearing completion, the Alliance has promoted key features such as end-to-end architecture, neutral host and radio link. Learn more by watching the recorded Light Reading webinars: MulteFire’s End-to-End Architecture and Understanding MulteFire’s Radio Link.

This is merely a snapshot of the Alliance activities from the last twelve months and does not account for all the behind-the-scenes work that goes on within the various technical working groups, marketing committee, Executive Committee and the Board of Directors. Each of these groups keep the wheels turning via weekly conference calls and frequent face-to-face meetings in all regions of the world.

We have completed a tremendous amount of work in a short period and I am honored to be part of this cross-industry, collaborative group. The potential applications for MulteFire range from private networks to industrial IoT to neutral host solutions – and that is only the beginning. A special thanks to all our members for their unwavering support and I look forward to what’s to come in the New Year.

MulteFire Delivers: Release 1.0 Specification and Technical White Paper Completed

By Stephan Litjens, MulteFire Alliance Board Chair and VP Innovation Steering, Nokia

It has been a remarkable first year for the Alliance and we’re hitting the ground running as we begin 2017 with the finalization of the MulteFire Release 1.0 specification and associated technical paper.

Release 1.0, based on 3GPP Releases 13 and 14, defines LTE to operate in unlicensed and shared spectrum, while ensuring fair sharing of spectrum with other users and technologies such as Wi-Fi. MulteFire incorporates high quality LTE services and functionality supporting voice and data IP services locally, either independently as a private network and/or interworking with existing mobile networks to provide secure, seamless service as a neutral host.

By removing the requirement for an anchor in licensed spectrum, MulteFire will enable innovation in the enterprise and the booming Internet of Things (IoT) industry by offering new use cases and deployments of LTE technology. With MulteFire, businesses and property owners of public and private venues can create, install and operate their own private or neutral host MulteFire network in the same way that they do with Wi-Fi.

MulteFire Release 1.0 Technical Paper

In tandem with the completion of the MulteFire Release 1.0 specification, we are also publishing a white paper that provides technical insights into MulteFire. Key highlights from the paper include:

  • An overview of the end-to-end architecture, designed to minimize the differences between LTE and MulteFire
  • A detailed look at the reference architectures developed for MulteFire: It defines a traditional access mode for a single network operator as well as Neutral Host access mode where the same deployment can serve multiple operators
  • How the specification defines interworking with LTE networks
  • Insight into MulteFire’s robust anchor carrier design
  • Performance evaluations and comparisons with Wi-Fi

To download the technical white paper, please fill out the form here.

Delivery of the Release 1.0 specification and technical white paper was made possible by the dedicated members of the MulteFire Alliance. Thank you to everyone who participated in development of both documents and we look forward to another great year of progress.

Release 1.0 is available to MulteFire Alliance members today and will be made available for public download by mid-2017. To be notified when the specification becomes publically available, click here.

To read the Release 1.0 Specification press release, click here.

 

Stephan Litjens, MulteFire Alliance Board Chair

Stephan Litjens serves as the MulteFire Alliance Board Chair and is the VP of Innovation Steering at Nokia. His responsibilities include innovations both internally and externally with customers, partners, and governments to achieve Nokia’s ambition to create the Programmable World. Prior to his current role, Stephan was responsible for Nokia’s Mobile Broadband portfolio strategy.

Stephan joined Nokia in 1997 and has held several R&D, product marketing, services, product support and portfolio / product management and leadership positions in the mobile networks business. During the rise of 3G in the early 2000s, Stephan moved to Finland from the Netherlands. Since then he has been working for Nokia in Germany and in Japan before moving back to the Nokia headquarters in Espoo, Finland. He is enthusiastic about exploring opportunities, new ways of working and business prospects that can make a difference and inspire others.

Join us for our next Open Day in Tokyo

By Outi Niemi, Secretary, MulteFire Alliance

As you can imagine, it took many dedicated people working countless hours to deliver the MulteFire Release 1.0 specification and associated technical white paper. These milestones and industry resources help to define MulteFire technology, as it enables innovation in the unlicensed spectrum and introduces a number of new use cases for private or neutral host networks.

These monumental achievements were a great way to kick-off the New Year, and to keep the forward momentum, we’re exploring many geographic and vertical market opportunities for our continued promotion efforts. We are particularly excited about prospects in Japan and will be holding our next MulteFire Open Day in Tokyo.

Hosted by member company, SoftBank, the Open Day will feature a great line-up of presentations and technology demonstrations that will educate and inform anyone interested in MulteFire technology.

The event will feature keynote presentations on MulteFire, as well as a presentation from the XGP Forum that will highlight opportunities for MulteFire in Japan. Additionally, there will be a panel on how mobile operators, enterprises and IoT will use MulteFire technology and the business benefits it will bring to each vertical. The presentations will conclude with a reception and MulteFire technology demonstrations from Athonet, Nokia, and Qualcomm.

We invite you to RSVP and join us in Tokyo.

DETAILS

WHAT: MulteFire Open Day

WHEN: Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 2:00-5:00pm

WHERE: SoftBank: Aoumi 2-4-32 Time24 Bldg 9th Floor, Koto-ku, Tokyo, 135-8073

MulteFire Alliance Preps for MWC Barcelona 2017

By Ashish Dayama

It’s hard to believe Mobile World Congress Barcelona is less than one week away! This event will mark the first anniversary of the MulteFire Alliance’s official launch. We have accomplished so much since MWC 2016, highlighted by the completion of our first specification, and I look forward to the Alliance showcasing its achievements at MWC 2017.

This year, the Alliance is excited to host our first-ever booth at MWC. The booth, #7F81 in Hall 7 will feature MulteFire technology demonstrations from Athonet, Huawei, Nokia and Qualcomm, and showcase MulteFire test products from Sanjole. There will be demonstrations showing how MulteFire’s carrier aggregation can be used to boost network performance, how its seamless mobility can be used in an outdoor scenario, and how it could be developed to support narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) connectivity for efficient use of spectrum and increased battery life of devices. There will also be a demo showcasing how a MulteFire core-network device can be used to deliver dedicated networks for Industry 4.0, Enterprises and Neutral Hosts. If you are interested in learning more about MulteFire technology or would like to walk through the demos, contact us to schedule an appointment.

The MulteFire Alliance plays a key role in pioneering technologies such as, standalone unlicensed operation, over-the-air spectrum sharing, and Neutral Host network architecture. To exemplify this, we will also be hosting a MulteFire Business Opportunities Event on Tuesday, February 28 from 2:00-4:00pm in Press Room 1 in the Media Village (located on the upper walkway.) At this year’s event, our members and invited panelists will provide insight into business models and MulteFire deployment scenarios for industrial IoT, enterprise, venues, cable operators, service providers and more. You can see the full agenda and register for the event here.

We hope to see you at MWC 2017!

Embarking on an Industrial IoT Tour with the MulteFire Alliance

By Rasmus Hellberg

MulteFire Alliance members have been around the world and back since the completion of the Release 1.0 specification in January. From the Open Day in Tokyo, to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, we have been busy sharing how MulteFire will enable new business models and innovation for vertical markets like private and industrial IoT. In its latest report, Harbor Research forecasts that private IoT with LTE and MulteFire solutions could reach $31 billion by 2020.

MulteFire delivers key advantages for industrial and private IoT in terms of capacity, coverage, mobility and reliability, thanks to its LTE-based design for handling interference from multiple users. It can be deployed as a traditional access mode by a single network operator – an exciting development for private, enterprise and industrial IoT networks. We shared some of these advantages in a presentation at our Business Opportunities event at MWC.

The Release 1.0 specification supports MulteFire deployments for demanding IoT applications today, and the future Release 1.1 will add additional IoT optimizations. We invite you to learn more about how MulteFire will play in the IoT ecosystem by attending one of the upcoming conferences where the Alliance will be presenting and exhibiting.

 

Smart IoT London – March 15-16, London, UK

Smart IOT London is the UK’s largest gathering of global IoT experts. This event focuses on the key issues surrounding IoT security and data sharing, as well as provides case studies and new products for unlocking the full potential of IoT.

The MulteFire Alliance member companies will be exhibiting the latest technology demonstrations in our Booth #1532. I also encourage you to drop by the IoT Platforms, Connectivity and Device Management Theatre at 11:30am on Thursday, March 16 to hear from Dirk Lindemeier, Head of Business Center – Advanced Mobile Network Solutions, Nokia on the “Promise of MulteFire.”

To learn more about this event and to secure a free conference pass, visit: http://www.smartiotlondon.com/welcome.

 

Enterprise IoT Summit – March 28-29, Austin, TX

On the heels of the Smart IoT London event, we will be traveling to Austin to participate in the Enterprise IoT Summit, which delivers a practical guide to digital transformation using IoT technology systems and solutions.

Learn how MulteFire creates business opportunities that allow new market verticals like – large enterprises, public venues (malls and airports), healthcare, transportation applications, M2M, IoT, seaport management, gas detection, manufacturing and logistics – to benefit from the LTE technology and ecosystem.

At the event, Neville Meijers, vice president of Business Development at Qualcomm, will present on how MulteFire delivers an end-to-end wireless architecture that enterprises and IoT can deploy today.  Our members will also showcase MulteFire technology demonstrations in Booth 126. To schedule a meeting, contact press@multefire.org.

 

Innovation and Opportunity: MulteFire Business Opportunities Event at MWC17

By Mazen Chmaytelli, MulteFire Alliance President

At the recent Mobile World Congress, the MulteFire Alliance hosted attendees at our MulteFire Business Opportunities Event. While last year’s MWC event introduced the Alliance to the industry and provided an education on MulteFire technology, this year we shared how MulteFire leads to “Innovation and Opportunity” – with a focus on enterprise, industrial IoT and service provider segments.

With the completion of our Release 1.0 technical specification, the industry now has the tools to build an end-to-end MulteFire network. While the specification is currently just available to member companies, I announced during the event that we will make it publicly available on April 3 to everyone.

So what are the business benefits to deploying a MulteFire network? Following a presentation on the Business Case for MulteFire by Stephan Litjens, Alliance Board Chair and VP Innovation Steering at Nokia, we invited Harbor Research and potential MulteFire end users and vendors to provide their viewpoints.

Alex Glaser with Harbor Research shared findings from the firm’s research into the market opportunity for private LTE/MulteFire networks for Industrial IoT. Based on its market segmentation, Harbor Research found that private IoT with LTE and MulteFire could reach $31B by 2022! That’s a big opportunity over the next five years.

After Stephan and Alex set the stage, we then turned to end users to get their thoughts on how MulteFire will impact their business. Our first panel included leaders from enterprise and IoT, including Athonet, Digital Greenwich, Enel, GE Digital and Globalgig.

When asked why MulteFire is attractive in comparison to other wireless connectivity options, Globalgig’s CEO Ernest Cunningham commented that the ability to deploy a neutral host network in unlicensed spectrum globally was a huge asset for the multinational company.

Mario Bocchiola with Enel commented that as a manufacturer and distributor of electricity and gas across multiple geos around the world, “MulteFire’s capability to utilize unlicensed spectrum is certainly a key draw in the Industry 4.0 direction” – a sentiment that the other panelists agreed with wholeheartedly.

Addressing why smart cities would find MulteFire an attractive option, Paul Copping with Digital Greenwich commented that MulteFire delivers much needed scalability. Peter Marx with GE Digital was in agreement. Marx, previously the chief technology officer for the City of Los Angeles, shared his view that “cities are the big daddy, just from their sheer scale and massive size of infrastructure. Cities stand to greatly benefit from the latest advances in cellular technology.”

We then invited representatives from the cable operator, service provider and vendor community to take the stage to discuss their thoughts around MulteFire’s role. Panelists included Boingo Wireless, CableLabs, Qualcomm, SpiderCloud Wireless and Talk Talk Group.

Martin Wren-Hilton, Director of Mobile Innovation for Talk Talk Group kicked the discussion off by stating that from his perspective, MulteFire’s deployment models are the most exciting thing about the technology, with flexibility on the back-end being really good.

From the cable operator perspective, Belal Hamzeh, vice president of wireless R&D for CableLabs, shared how MulteFire plays well with cable. To deploy a MulteFire network, you need a location, power and backhaul – and the cable industry already has these pieces in place. They can leverage what they currently have without needing to acquire new real estate or invest in power and fiber.

Derek Peterson, CTO with Boingo summed up the MulteFire opportunity as a toolkit. “We used to just have a hammer and DAS was the nail, so we’d just hammer, hammer, hammer. Now we have a whole toolkit that we can choose from and pick the best solution to take advantage of the spectrum.”

MulteFire allows anyone to create, install and operate their own private or neutral host network while also creating new revenue streams via innovative business models. The discussion and comments from our panelists validated that MulteFire will play a vital role in various market segments. I look forward to seeing the ecosystem deliver on the promise of MulteFire as we look to lab trials and commercial deployments in the near future.

Release 1.0.1 – Now Publicly Available for Download

By Asimakis Kokkos

At the beginning of the year, we announced the completion of our first MulteFire technical specification – Release 1.0 – a key milestone in bringing MulteFire to market. The Release 1.0, which is now in a phase of maintenance and further improvement, was initially available only to Alliance members as early access to specification work is a member benefit. Release 1.0, version 1.0.1 is now publicly available for download.

The Alliance is dedicated to enabling a robust ecosystem; providing broad availability of our Release 1.0 is yet another step toward achieving our vision.

Release 1.0 enables real-world deployments with the ability to deploy standalone LTE networks in unlicensed or shared spectrum. This solution solves a very real problem developers are facing in enterprise IT applications, industrial IoT, and several other scenarios. The specification allows anyone to create, install and operate their own private or neutral host MulteFire network.

Download Release 1.0 of the specification.

The Alliance is also at work on Release 1.1, targeted for publication in Q4, which will provide additional IoT optimizations. Follow us on Twitter and connect with us on LinkedIn to stay up to date on Alliance news.

The Future is MulteFire – MulteFire Open Day Looks Ahead

By Outi Niemi

April 25, 2017 was an important date in MulteFire Alliance history. Nokia hosted the first ever Annual General Meeting and the fourth MulteFire Open Day at our iconic Bell Labs campus in Murray Hill, New Jersey. While the location was full of history – the discussion during the Open Day was anything but! Marcus Weldon, president of Bell Labs and CTO of Nokia, delivered an exciting keynote address that shared his vision for what the networks of the future will look like 10 years down the road, and MulteFire will play a critical role in that future.

The Future is X.

In his keynote – Future X: Building the Digital Networks, Systems and Platforms for the Automation of Everything and the Creation of Time – Dr. Weldon shared how in the technology revolution we are on the cusp of transitioning from the “Information Age” connected by the Internet and broadband access to the “Automation of Everything” that will require new networks.

This new technology revolution will be driven by industrial applications that will more than double the current market. Rather than focus on consumer mobility, web services or social media as was done in the Information Age, we’re about to do something now that is much more profound. He stressed the need to build networks for extremely low latency and exponentially more capacity that will be able to change our world by connecting it. MulteFire is designed to meet these requirements. You can learn more by downloading Dr. Weldon’s presentation here.

Panelists Talk MulteFire.

The Open Day also featured a panel represented by MulteFire Alliance members from Athonet, Boingo Wireless, Huawei, Nokia and Qualcomm. Given that the MulteFire Release 1.0 specification was made publicly available in early April, the panel discussion focused on business opportunities enabled by MulteFire. A few key themes emerged:

Industrial IoT is prime for MulteFire. Echoing the keynote presentation by Dr. Weldon, the panelists agreed that private MulteFire networks for industrial IoT will most likely see the first MulteFire deployments. While the specification is complete, the next phase should see MulteFire trials and proof-of-concept deployments.

MulteFire fills a gap in the Neutral Host Network space. Neutral host networks to date have most likely either been DAS – which is a great technology, but extremely expensive, or Wi-Fi – which can’t deliver the range that new applications require. MulteFire is right in the middle, filling this gap by delivering LTE-like performance, range and capacity, but with a simpler deployment model than DAS.

Keeping an eye on rural and emerging markets. Some of the most interest that panelists have seen for MulteFire has come from emerging markets. MulteFire is a great option to deliver connectivity to these regions of the world as they don’t have broadband infrastructure in place. Another advantage that because MulteFire operates in unlicensed spectrum, it eliminates the need to navigate spectrum regulations with more than 34 regulatory bodies around the world.

Open Day Heads Next to Beijing

Don’t miss our next MulteFire Open Day in Beijing on June 13. Hosted by Huawei, the event will spotlight MulteFire opportunities for industrial IoT and enterprise. Looking forward to see you there!

Register here for the Beijing Open Day.

Alliance Brings Industrial IoT Focus to Beijing

By Outi Niemi

I recently returned from my second trip to Beijing with the MulteFire Alliance where Huawei hosted our fifth MulteFire Open Day. Our Open Days have become a core component of our program to engage with people around the world who want to know more about this exciting technology and see the demonstrations.

While the temperatures soared outside, we had a full room inside and a line-up of presenters that focused on the opportunities that are ripe for MulteFire. MulteFire Alliance Board Member and senior director of Strategy & Standards Mr. Said Tatesh for Huawei EU welcomed attendees with a key statement: that MulteFire is the cornerstone in achieving the digital revolution. As we grapple with connecting billions of people, devices and industries, MulteFire offers a way forward to extend the 3GPP ecosystem and realize the vision of a connected world.

Industrial IoT is Ready for MulteFire

One of the key themes from this Open Day is how MulteFire meets the wireless connectivity requirements of industrial IoT. Our board chair Mr. Stephan Litjens shared the challenges that MulteFire technology overcomes in a port or on a factory floor. In these environments, Wi-Fi just can’t provide the coverage, capacity or mobility that is needed from a wireless network.

Mr. Peng Jianhua, president of Enterprise Wireless Business with Huawei shared with the audience how MulteFire is the critical path to connecting IoT, and that 52% of all IoT connections will be built by enterprises, as opposed to 19% by operators and 17% by internet vendors. These enterprises will need a private LTE network deployable in unlicensed or shared spectrum – and MulteFire is that network.

  

Mr. Peng shared specific examples of how Huawei’s pre-MulteFire, eLTE technology has been deployed in multiple industries, including campuses, ports, manufacturing facilities and industrial parks. In these environments, MulteFire can support both high bandwidth and low power IoT applications. Additional presentations followed from ZPMC, RichonTech and the Alliance of Industrial Internet (AII).

The Open Day concluded with a panel Q&A where Alliance members from Baicells, Huawei, Nokia and Qualcomm engaged with the audience to answer their questions about product timelines and deployment strategies.

Our next MulteFire Open Day is already scheduled for September 26 in Rome hosted by Athonet. You can find event details and register here. I hope to see you there!

 

MulteFire Alliance Comes to Espoo

By Outi Niemi, MulteFire Alliance Secretary and Director of Operations Management, Digital Automation, Nokia

The MulteFire Alliance made a good choice in coming to Finland for its Annual Member Meeting, Working Group meetings and Open Day the last week in June – the longest days of the year. Nokia was proud to host the Alliance in our Espoo headquarters. We had members and industry leaders from around the world join us to advance MulteFire by working on the specification development, get a “State of the Forum” update from board chair Stephan Litjens, and watch the World Cup once the day was done. It was a productive week, and I was so excited to see all my colleagues again that I did not even mind the early morning working group starts. (They’re all very dedicated!)

Making an Impact
One of the highlights of the Annual Meeting is when we recognize individual contributors who have made the biggest impact during the year.  This year’s recipients who were on hand to receive their awards in person included Scott Fischel, founding chair of the Certification Working Group, and Huaning Niu, key contributor and recently elected vice chair for the Radio Working Group.

Along with Alliance President, Mazen Chmaytelli, I was honored to be able to give the awards personally.

My colleague, Ashish Dayama, former vice chair of the Marketing Working Group, also received a recognition award. Since our beginning, Ashish has traveled the globe promoting MulteFire.

He recently changed jobs within Nokia, so was not at the Annual Members Meeting, but we were able to surprise him with the award at his home base at the Nokia office near Chicago. Handing the award to Ashish is Mark Hogenboom from the Nokia Small Cell business line – home of the Nokia MulteFire Small Cell. I wish Ashish well, and know he’ll continue to beat the drum for MulteFire in his new role.

Open Day Draws a Crowd
Following our tradition of hosting Open Days in conjunction with Members Meetings, we once again brought together individuals from across Europe who were interested in learning more about MulteFire technology. It was a great event with almost 80 participants. I even got a Twitter account so I could live tweet during the event – and sent out my first tweets ever! Here are some of the scenes from the event.

MulteFire Alliance Board Chair Stephan Litjens shared the vision for MulteFire, as well as provided a progress update on the specification work and announced products from Nokia and Baicells.

Our invited guest speaker, Alex Glaser with Harbor Research, shared his research findings on the market opportunity for MulteFire in the industrial IoT and Enterprise markets. You can download his presentation here, as well as the two associated white papers here.

Antti Toskala, Bell Labs Fellow and Head of Radio Standardization at Nokia, provided an update on 3GPP progress for 5G Unlicensed. It was good insight into 3GPP’s next steps, as well as the role for the MulteFire Alliance in the 5G era. I encourage you to check out his presentation, “5G Standards and Outlook for 5G Unlicensed.”

The event concluded with a panel discussion moderated by Alex Glaser. The panelists shared their thoughts on the most exciting use cases that MulteFire will enable, and engaged in good dialogue with event attendees on how MulteFire technology can bridge the digital divide.

My Alliance colleagues from Left to Right: Asimakis Kokkos, Head of Standards Steering, Nokia and Technical Specification Group Chair; Yi Shi, Senior Research Engineer, Huawei and Industry Working Group Chair; Prithu Prakash, Vice President, Business Development, Redline Communications; Derek Peterson, CTO, Boingo Wireless and MulteFire Alliance Board Member; and Nanda Menon, Director, Corporate Development, Athonet.

The event concluded with a live demo from Nokia of MulteFire technology being used to livestream attendees at the event.

Athonet also showcased a demo of its private LTE technology.

It was a great week of MulteFire activity in Espoo. We’ll next be getting together in Beijing for the MulteFire Alliance Members Meeting and MulteFire Open Day on September 25, hosted by Huawei. You can register now for the Open Day here. I hope to see you in Beijing!

Release 1.0 Technical White Paper Now Available in Chinese

By Xiaochen Chen, China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT)

MulteFire technology is continuing to gain a strong following in the Asia Pacific region, with a lot of interest in China. The MulteFire Alliance recently returned to Beijing for its second MulteFire Open Day in China and had a packed room of attendees eager to learn more about how MulteFire addresses the wireless connectivity needs for enterprise and industrial IoT applications.

In response to this growing interest in MulteFire technology, the Alliance has translated its MulteFire Release 1.0 Technical White Paper into Simplified Chinese. The MulteFire Release 1.0 specification was published earlier this year and is available for download.

Key highlights from the Technical White Paper include:

  • An overview of the end-to-end architecture, designed to minimize the differences between LTE and MulteFire
  • A detailed look at the deployment models developed for MulteFire, defining a traditional access mode for a single network operator as well as Neutral Host access mode where the same deployment can serve multiple operators
  • How the specification defines interworking with LTE Networks
  • Insight into MulteFire’s robust anchor carrier design
  • Performance evaluations and comparisons with Wi-Fi

The Chinese translation of the MulteFire Release 1.0 Technical Paper is now available to download.

The English version of the white paper is available for download.

Driving Wireless Connectivity for Industrial IoT

By Mazen Chmaytelli, President of the MulteFire Alliance and is Senior Director of Business Development for Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

We have entered a new era for manufacturing, automation and technology advancement. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is paving the way for the next Industrial Revolution, but there is still work to be done to connect smart devices and have them communicate in an efficient manner. The current state of machinery and networks is struggling to keep up with the deployment, integration and operational demands in industries like shipping ports, warehouses, hospitals, mines, and airports. If these challenges are not overcome, future automation and smart device manufacturing will undoubtedly falter.

As large enterprises evaluate connectivity options for their IoT deployments, it’s important to keep mobility and security in mind. Private LTE networks such as MulteFire fulfill both these needs, while operating solely in unlicensed or shared spectrum. This is an ideal network solution for industries concerned with the scope and scale of their sensor-based, IoT devices. MulteFire simplifies private LTE deployments by offering spectrum sharing and coexistence, making it a prominent player in IoT network infrastructure.

The MulteFire Alliance and the CBRS Alliance recently commissioned a white paper by Harbor Research, The Private LTE Opportunity for Industrial and Commercial IoT, that highlights the benefits for leveraging shared and unlicensed spectrum to deploy highly reliable and secure private LTE networks. I, along with Alex Glaser, Director of Development, Harbor Research, had the opportunity to share the findings from the paper during an RCR Wireless webinar, where we also discussed how private LTE networks based on MulteFire can deliver enhanced coverage, capacity, reliability and mobility for business-critical markets. You can download the archived webinar here.

Following this successful webinar, Alex and I presented Delivering MulteFire Connectivity for Industrial IoT” at the IoT Evolution Expo in Las Vegas. There, we covered how MulteFire enables IoT networks, and answered attendee questions on MulteFire technology and the MulteFire Release 1.1 specification roadmap.

Keep up with our blog to learn more about the upcoming Release 1.1, which will add further IoT optimizations, creating new opportunities for Industrial IoT.

Recent resources:
The Private LTE Opportunity for Industrial and Commercial IoT, Harbor Research
• MulteFire Webinar: MulteFire for Industrial IoT Applications

MulteFire Alliance Gears Up for MWC Americas’ Debut in the ‘Epicenter of Mobile Innovation’

By Rasmus Hellberg, MulteFire Alliance Marketing Working Group Chair and Senior Director of Technical Marketing at Qualcomm

The inaugural GSMA Mobile World Congress (MWC) Americas comes at a time when North America is considered the ‘epicenter of mobile innovation.’ The West Coast specifically is a hub for this innovation, which is why the MWC Americas will launch next week in San Francisco. The event will be held in the Moscone Center, Tuesday, September 12 through Thursday, September 14.

The MulteFire Alliance is excited to take part in this premiere event, and we will be showcasing MulteFire technology demonstrations in our booth in the South Hall, S.1861. Member companies Athonet, Nokia, Qualcomm and Sanjole will be featuring their solutions. I encourage you to come by the booth to see MulteFire in action, as well as learn more about the immediate roadmap to Release 1.1, which will include optimizations around IoT.

In addition, to the MulteFire Alliance booth, our strong ecosystem of member companies will also be available to talk MulteFire at the show. You can find our members throughout the show floor:

– American Tower: North Hall, Stand N.108
– Baicells: South Hall, Stand S.2056
– Casa Systems: West Hall, EMR.33
– Cisco Systems: South Hall, S.542
– DEKRA: North Hall, Stand N.182
– Ericsson: South Hall, Stand S.1930
– Intel: West Hall, EMR.43
– Nokia: North Hall, Stand N.854, South Hall, Stand S.2300A1
– Qualcomm: South Hall, Stand S.216
– Rohde & Schwarz: North Hall, Stand N.1360
– Ruckus Wireless: South Hall, Stand S.128
– Samsung: South Hall, Stand S.616
– Sierra Wireless: Marriott Marquis Bay 2
– SpiderCloud Wireless: South Hall, S.2626

If you would like to meet with the Alliance onsite to learn about membership or our roadmap, please email us at press@multefire.org to schedule a meeting.

To learn more about the current, public release of the MulteFire 1.0.1, visit: https://www.multefire.org/2017/04/13/release-1-0-1-now-publicly-available-for-download/

You may also download our latest white paper The Private LTE Opportunity for Industrial and Commercial IoT, developed by Harbor Research and in collaboration with the CBRS Alliance.

See you in San Francisco!

From Marconi to MulteFire – Wireless Innovation MulteFire Open Day – Rome Highlights

By Outi Niemi, Secretary for the MulteFire Alliance

I recently returned from Rome, where I attended the MulteFire Alliance’s sixth Open Day event. Co-hosted by Athonet and Enel, the MulteFire Open Day featured keynote presentations and a panel discussion that highlighted end use cases and an update on when we should expect to see MulteFire deployed.

Why Italy?

While I always enjoy any trip to Italy, you might wonder why we chose Rome for our Open Day. Karim El Malki, CEO of Alliance member company Athonet – headquartered in Trieste, Italy – shared why his company was keen to host this important event. Italy is a leader in the Industrial 4.0 revolution and is aiming to lead in 5G trials in vertical markets – making Italy a country that is ripe for MulteFire deployments. Karim detailed examples where Athonet has already deployed private LTE networks at the Milan World Expo and at Enel’s power plants. MulteFire is the right next step to meet these vertical market needs for flexible spectrum usage, low latency and high throughput, all locally controlled.

MulteFire Use Cases – Perspective from Enel

We were also excited to have Giuseppe Serrecchia, head of digital strategy, global ICT at Enel, share his thoughts on use cases where Enel would deploy MulteFire and why it offers performance advantages over Wi-Fi. As a company, Enel is making significant investments in its digital strategy as they transform their IT infrastructure and move to the Cloud, with the goal to build their services on top of this new infrastructure. Telecommunications and wireless connectivity are key to enabling this transformation as “without connectivity, you don’t digitalize a company; it’s about reaching anything and everyone.”

Giuseppe went into detail on how the company has studied MulteFire and how it offers the capabilities that they care about – high throughput, ultra-low latency, seamless experience, managed security, and Wi-Fi-like deployment ease. Some of the biggest opportunities to deploy MulteFire include power plants (including solar) and sustainability use cases to provide communications to areas hit by disasters. It was exciting to see a potential end user of MulteFire share why they’re ready to deploy the technology, and I encourage you to download the presentation here.

Panelists Share Details on Roadmap to Deployment

Stephan Litjens, MulteFire Alliance Board Chair and vice president of Innovation Steering for Nokia, shared during his opening keynote that MulteFire is now in labs with products planned to deploy in 2018. This was seconded in the discussion amongst the MulteFire panelists – Nanda Menon, Athonet; Rao Yallapragada, Intel; Samuele Machi, Nokia; and Neville Meijers, Qualcomm.

  • IoT will be first. When asked which application will deploy MulteFire first, Neville Meijers stated that he believed that industrial IoT environments are going to see early traction. Qualcomm is already in trials with private LTE at the moment. The areas of focus include shipping ports, airports, mines, and oil & gas refineries. Using MulteFire will be the next step for these trial applications.
  • Enterprises need MulteFire. Rao Yallapragada shared how Enterprise networks today have several pain points – for both wireline and wireless. Wireline networks have costly set-ups, are difficult to configure and almost impossible to re-configure, and don’t provide any mobility or outdoor coverage. Wi-Fi comes with its own limitations for reliability and security. MulteFire overcomes these pain points. It’s easy to configure and cost-effective due to reduced number of access points that need to be installed (in comparison to Wi-Fi). It comes with reliability and security baked in (of particular importance in healthcare applications). And it provides all the benefits of LTE – including voice – to provide campus-wide connectivity.
  • MulteFire will power the Industrial 4.0 Revolution. Nanda Menon pointed out that while the 4.0 revolution is out to change the world, it can’t succeed without very reliable connectivity. Industrial 4.0 will require very high SLAs that can’t be supported by Wi-Fi or macro networks. A completely new network is needed that meets the 1) laws of physics, 2) laws of economics, and 3) laws of the land. MulteFire is the right network solution as it meets these laws’ requirements.
  • A Robust Ecosystem for MulteFire. As companies begin to prep for MulteFire deployments in 2018, Samuele Machi detailed how the Alliance is supporting commercialization efforts through development of a certification program to ensure a robust and interoperable ecosystem of devices. The Alliance already includes members from the entire supply chain needed to bring MulteFire to market, including chip makers, infrastructure vendors, device manufacturers, small cell & Wi-Fi vendors, service providers, and test & measurement vendors. Meijers added that while the ecosystem is developing, the biggest hurdle isn’t the technology, but is defining the business agreements that will support MulteFire deployments.
  • The Road to 5G. Looking ahead, the Alliance will develop 5G MulteFire based on 3GPP NR standards and continue its focus on commercialization efforts. The panelists agreed that 5G – beyond enhanced mobile broadband – is being driven by the vertical market use cases – and MulteFire is the right solution for many of these verticals.

The combination of Italian hospitality and tradition of wireless innovation and MulteFire made for a great event! The MulteFire Alliance will next venture to The Hague for Wi-Fi NOW, October 31-November 2, where Stephan Litjens will present on MulteFire and we’ll be showcasing technology demonstrations. I hope to see you at our future MulteFire events!

MulteFire – Bringing LTE-based Security to Unlicensed and Shared Spectrum

By Asimakis Kokkos, Technical Specification Working Group Chair, MulteFire Alliance and Head of Industry Environment Strategy, Nokia

When transmitting data wirelessly, security must always be a top consideration. While other wireless technologies operating in unlicensed spectrum have security protocols, history has shown that these can occasionally have security vulnerabilities, for example as seen with the recent KRACK vulnerability.  Only MulteFire comes with LTE-based security baked in when operating wireless networks in unlicensed or shared spectrum.

Based on 3GPP Release 13 and 14, the MulteFire specification was designed from the outset to minimize the differences between LTE and MulteFire, including how security is implemented. Inherently, LTE incorporates strong security mechanisms, ensures authentication of devices and networks, and encrypts data traffic.

Supporting SIM & Non-SIM Credentials for Secure Networks

In addition to leveraging LTE’s inherent security, MulteFire architecture provides multiple options for device authentication—such as with or without a SIM card— to support a wide range of use cases and deployments and provide services for subscribers from different types of services providers. MulteFire devices could either have physical SIM cards or virtual eSIMs to support service continuity from external mobile networks and regular mobile subscribers, while maintaining a secure network. Alternatively, any MulteFire network could issue its own SIM cards or eSIMs for use with its own services, or standalone networks can allow access from devices without a SIM card using certificates.

Keeping Local Traffic Local – and Secure

Another advantage of MulteFire technology is that it can be deployed as a private LTE network that keeps data locally controlled and independent of surrounding cellular network infrastructure. Keeping data on-premises adds additional security. One deployment example is the emerging private networks for the Industrial IoT applications where local deployment is key to further reducing end-to-end latency and serving use cases such as transportation hubs, manufacturing facilities and container ports.

For more in-depth information on MulteFire technology and security mechanisms, download the MulteFire Release 1.0 Technical Paper here. For more information about the Private LTE Opportunity for Industrial IoT, download the white paper here.

From Ship to Shore: What’s in Store for Maritime MulteFire

By Ashish Dayama, Vice Chair, MulteFire Alliance Marketing Working Group and Head of MulteFire, CBRS and TD-LTE Marketing, Nokia

When it comes to international trade, the liner shipping industry accounts for more than 60 percent of the total volume, with container ships making more than 9,000 port calls per week.

This magnitude of traffic flow is compounded with outdated machinery and constrained network infrastructures. As a result, port operators struggle to manage a seamless flow of goods and reduce port traffic and congestion.

The ever-intensifying deployment and operational demands in industrial IoT settings like shipping ports makes it difficult to maintain a robust telecommunications system. For instance, when a ship docks, the crew requires broadband connectivity for their devices to operate. Historically, wireline connections have been utilized; however, they can be easily disconnected and are limited to a certain number of wires and endpoints. Traditional Wi-Fi networks may also be used in machine-dense environments, but signals can be blocked or not propagate far enough, leading to coverage blind spots.

Wireless blind spots often materialize when transporting large containers of cargo on-and-off the ships. This is a significant pitfall in the current network infrastructure for shipyards, as heavy machinery must communicate with one another in a continuous, reliable manner.

Shipping port telecommunications networks can also falter when it comes to mobility and latency. With more and more connected devices, the possibility of service interruption and connection failure has proliferated. The existing wireless networks often compete with one another, thereby causing additional interference and have limited coverage areas, requiring more applications and resources to maintain.

The health of current network systems in shipping ports is in dire straits and requires a new generation of wireless technology, in the form of private LTE networks. Private LTE-based networks, like networks enabled with MulteFire technology, are self-contained and locally controlled, thereby functioning independently of surrounding cellular networks.

How would this benefit ship operators?

By providing a reliable, industrial and integrated wireless network core for production flow, machine automation, wireless IP security and remote monitoring functions, thus streamlining operations from ship-to-shore.

MulteFire is a LTE-based technology operating solely in unlicensed and shared spectrum and offers enhanced performance benefits. It can provide 2x the coverage radius as traditional wireless networks, both indoors and outdoors. It delivers higher performance capacity with fewer access points and is designed to mitigate interference with its Listen-Before-Talk (LBT) feature. MulteFire networks also deliver lower latency, improved mobility, and seamless reliable connectivity.

These key offerings make it an attractive network solution for port operators to consider, as they try to keep up the pace with increasing container traffic. Private LTE networks like MulteFire can be used to manage automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and other remote operations, so that port employees no longer need to be dangerously positioned under the heavy containers. They can also be used to control computer vision applications like optical character recognition (OCR) and provide real-time surveillance and monitoring of port equipment such as cranes and moving trucks.

The market opportunity for private LTE networks like MulteFire in shipping ports is evident, as Harbor Research projects 22.8 million shipments and $2.4 billion in private LTE system revenue by 2023.

To learn more about the potential for MulteFire in shipping ports and other industrial and commercial IoT settings, download the white paper.

MulteFire Makes Waves at MWC

By Outi Niemi, Secretary for the MulteFire Alliance, Director Operations Management, Digital Automation, Nokia

I recently returned from a great week in Barcelona where Mobile World Congress was bigger than ever. While it’s been a few years since the last time I attended MWC, this was the MulteFire Alliance’s third year since our formal launch event in 2016. We’ve come a long way since then with the delivery of the Release 1.0 specification in 2017 – and now at our 2018 event – I’m pleased to share that we highlighted the first two MulteFire™ products announced by our members!

MulteFire Open Day at #MWC18

During our MulteFire Open Day held at MWC, MulteFire Alliance Board Chair and GM, Digital Automation at Nokia Stephan Litjens highlighted the new products from Nokia and Baicells in his keynote presentation – which you can watch here. It’s exciting to see these first announced products as the first step in building an interoperable ecosystem of devices.

MulteFire Alliance Board Member, Said Tatesh with Huawei, shared exciting details on the progress of Huawei’s eLTE solution that supports the MulteFire specification. He shared commercial use cases of eLTE being deployed in diverse vertical industries such as a detailed analysis of eLTE deployed in the Yangshan Port of Shanghai. You can watch Said here or download the presentation here.

Our MWC event also featured a panel discussion that focused on how MulteFire will be leveraged by Industrial IoT and Enterprise applications and included panelists from board members Boingo and Nokia, one of our newest members m3connect, and our industry liaison partner – the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC). I encourage you to check out the full panel discussion here for insight into how MulteFire changes the game. You can also read more on Alliance board member Derek Peterson’s thoughts on the vast opportunities for MulteFire in the enterprise space in his blog post, where he highlighted how MulteFire can deliver smart, dense networks for a seamless customer experience. In addition, the Alliance is continuing to release interesting white papers such as the most recent paper “The Business Case for MulteFire technology” by Wireless 20/20. You can find them all here.

One application that will be able to leverage MulteFire technology is Nokia Saving Lives – a corporate non-profit initiative that provides innovative communications technology and technical expert assistance to emergency response teams. I was at MWC to highlight the work that Nokia is doing in this space, and I will be excited to see these come together in the future. Please also check out the cool MulteFire use cases that my colleague Stephane Daeuble demonstrated at MWC in this video.

MulteFire Technology on Display at MWC

Once again, MulteFire Alliance member companies demonstrated MulteFire technology in action in the Alliance booth in Hall 7. Athonet highlighted its vEPC and IMS for MulteFire. Huawei featured its eLTE deployments of MulteFire technology in vertical industries. Nokia showcased the first small cell product built to the MulteFire specification as well as demonstrated MulteFire IoT in 1.9 GHz unlicensed bands and future MulteFire support for network slicing. Sanjole, a test equipment participant member of the Alliance, showed full PHY and upper layer analysis for testing MulteFire.

Beyond MWC – Technical Specification Group Makes Progress

With the focus at MWC on IoT and enterprise, the Alliance is hard at work on our next specification – Release 1.1 – which will add further optimizations for industrial IoT applications. Our Technical Specification Group met just ahead of MWC in beautiful Aalborg, Denmark where we were hosted by member company RTX. I’d like to give a big thanks to RTX for their hospitality and support in enabling our working groups to make great progress toward hitting our targeted spec finalization date in June. We’ll next meet up in Colorado in April where CableLabs will be hosting our Spring meeting to continue progress. MulteFire will continue to make waves in 2018!

Evolution in Enterprise Connectivity: New Research Spotlights Vast Opportunities for MulteFire

By Derek Peterson, Board Member, MulteFire Alliance and CTO, Boingo Wireless

When deploying an entirely new wireless network in the enterprise, there are many challenges to overcome to ensure each connected device has seamless, reliable coverage throughout the entire environment. During a recent webinar—LTE in Unlicensed Spectrum: Driving Innovation in the Enterprise—I joined Harbor Research’s director of development Alex Glaser to discuss this vertical and how the wireless industry is working to enhance its coverage and capacity. We kicked off the conversation by asking attendees about the top challenges they face with enterprise networks. Their answer? Cost, robust connectivity and coverage were flagged as the biggest hurdles.

Addressing Enterprise Network Challenges

I was not surprised by this response. At Boingo, we deliver both cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity to large venues around the world and know firsthand that the only way to ensure a seamless customer experience is by overcoming challenges like coverage and cost with smart, dense networks that can provide monetization opportunities for our partners. We also have to be on top of skyrocketing mobile data trends and build our networks accordingly.

Most of us know data is climbing at an incredibly fast rate. But how does that impact the enterprise? For starters, network traffic increases will mean more access points, which can increase costs. Added pressure on enterprise Wi-Fi and carrier networks can also mean compromising quality of service in data-intensive, hyper-dense environments. And remember, having traditional LTE networks deployed is not always the answer as in some cases, it might not make financial sense for the venue.

This is why MulteFire™ – a new wireless technology – makes so much sense. MulteFire can be deployed as a neutral host network and allow us to take advantage of common spectrum, while delivering a cost-effective way to expand LTE networks ubiquitously. It also provides new opportunities to separate private services, such as a near-band IoT network that is reserved for specific use cases.

New research from Harbor Research bears this out. Harbor Research details in a new white paper its prediction that the total addressable revenue for enterprise markets deploying MulteFire will reach $5.7B in 2025, in addition to the $118.5B opportunity in the industrial and commercial IoT markets. During the webinar, Alex also shared how MulteFire will act as a stepping stone to 5G, showing the benefits of wireless networking in new ways that haven’t all been imagined. MulteFire already meets some of the current needs today that 5G seeks to address.

At the beginning of the webinar, only 58% of attendees said that they were familiar with Private and Neutral Host LTE and/or MulteFire, but we hope to bring that number up to 100% as we continue to educate audiences on how MulteFire changes the wireless networking paradigm. I shared my thoughts on the critical importance of this convergence of licensed and unlicensed spectrum just a year ago ahead of MWC in my convergence manifesto. Since then, we’ve seen traction for MulteFire grow as the MulteFire Alliance membership doubled and Nokia launched the industry’s first small cell based on the MulteFire Release 1.0 specification.

I’m excited to continue the education and momentum for MulteFire at MWC 2018 where I will be participating on a panel during the MulteFire Open Day – you can find more details on the Alliance’s activities at MWC here. I invite you to join me and other industry leaders in Barcelona as we help move MulteFire from vision to reality.

Resources:

MulteFire Alliance Adds Five New Members

By Mazen Chmaytelli, President of the MulteFire Alliance

The New Year is off to a great start for the MulteFire Alliance. Along with MulteFire™ technology advances, recent webinars, new white papers and upcoming events – including Mobile World Congress 2018 – the Alliance continues to reach key milestones including our recent achievement of exceeding more than 40 members since our public launch two years ago.

On behalf of the Alliance, I’d like to welcome our newest members – 7layers, KATHREIN-Werke KG, Klas Telecom, m3connect Gmbh, and Quanta Computer. These member companies bring additional expertise to our organization, including test & certification services, antenna design, networking, hardware, and more.

As president of the Alliance, I’m charged with conducting communication and outreach to foster the organization. Throughout 2017 I saw my frequent flyer miles increase as I met with companies around the globe that have an interest in MulteFire. I welcome these opportunities as new members bring a fresh perspective along with new technology applications and new marketplace opportunities that can positively impact the industry and further our goal of broadening the LTE ecosystem to new players. The journey of the Alliance so far has been exciting and as we achieve this new membership milestone I am looking forward to what we will be able to accomplish throughout this coming year as we see first announcements of MulteFire products and trial deployments.

I’ll be at Mobile World Congress 2018 this year and look forward to meeting with all companies that are interested in learning more about Alliance membership or the MulteFire ecosystem. I encourage you to schedule a meeting, join us at our MulteFire Open Day at MWC, or visit us in Hall 7, Stand 7F81 to see MulteFire technology demonstrations. I look forward to seeing you in Barcelona!

MulteFire Heats Up in Snowy Colorado

By Outi Niemi, MulteFire Alliance Secretary and Director of Operations Management, Digital Automation, Nokia

MulteFire Open Days have become a staple on my annual calendar as they coincide with the MulteFire Alliance Members Meetings held quarterly around the world. At the end of April, Alliance board member CableLabs graciously hosted its second Members Meeting and the first Open Day to be held in Louisville, Colorado at the base of the Rocky Mountains. While being from Finland, I’m very used to snow – the unexpected snow on the Open Day still took me by surprise. This was my first trip to Colorado and the snow was beautiful, but luckily it didn’t stop attendees from arriving to learn about MulteFire™.

In fact, the MulteFire Alliance is heating up! Alliance President Mazen Chmaytelli shared in his keynote that membership has tripled in the last 18 months. And in the room right next door to where the Open Day was being held, the Technical Specification Group members were hard at work on the Release 1.1 specification to target IoT applications. Industrial IoT and Enterprise are two target areas for early MulteFire trial deployments.

Analyst Findings for IoT and Enterprise

Following Mazen’s presentation on Advances in MulteFire, Alex Glaser from Harbor Research, headquartered just up the road in Boulder, presented his firm’s findings on the market opportunities for MulteFire in Industrial IoT and Enterprise applications, and how MulteFire can help smart systems evolve from simple to compound to complex applications, delivering more value

For example, a forklift company has been monitoring its forklifts for many years, but nothing has been done with the gathered data. With MulteFire in place, this same company could use that data for authentication, remote diagnostics, preventive maintenance and more. It’s a lot more cost-effective and timely for an engineer to be able to identify and fix an issue remotely than to jump on a plane and travel thousands of miles to fix it.

MulteFire deployed as a private LTE network also brings new revenue opportunities. Based on its research of the addressable market for private LTE in industrial and business-critical environments, Harbor Research has identified four revenue categories:

  • Enablement
  • Network Management
  • System Applications
  • Value-Added Applications and Services

Panelists and Attendees Engage on Next Steps for MulteFire

The final section of the Open Day was our panel discussion where the panelists and speakers answer the questions on our attendees’ minds. Moderated by Alex Glaser, the panel included Asimakis Kokkos from Nokia, Mark Poletti from CableLabs and Yi Shi from Huawei.

With CableLabs as the Open Day host, we had a large contingent of cable operators represented in the room. Giving insight into cable operators’ interest in MulteFire, Mark commented that “MulteFire is another tool in the toolbox for emerging business models.” MulteFire deployed as a neutral host also makes sense for cable operators in venues where they dominate the environment. Other topics that came up included how to jumpstart the client ecosystem, the anticipated growth for MulteFire in the IoT ecosystem, the Alliance certification program and the importance of interoperability testing, co-existence mechanisms, and of course no discussion is complete without addressing the evolution to 5G.

Beyond Colorado: MulteFire in Hannover

At the same time the Open Day was happening, my Nokia colleagues and an additional quarter of a million guests had converged at Hannover Messe, the biggest industry event in the world. The MulteFire Alliance had a kiosk in the Industrie 4.0 area where we displayed the world’s first MulteFire small cell from Nokia, while the Nokia booth featured demos of MulteFire technology deployed in a port scenario. You can learn more about the Nokia private LTE story at www.dac.nokia.com.

I get energized every time I attend a Members Meeting and Open Day. On one hand, we have the dedicated individuals from our member companies coming together to create the specifications that will enable MulteFire products and deployments to become a reality. And on the other hand, we have the Open Day attendees that include end users that are eager to learn more about MulteFire and how they can deploy it to achieve all of the benefits of LTE technology deployed in unlicensed spectrum. I invite you to join our next Open Day to be held in Espoo, Finland in conjunction with the MulteFire Alliance Annual Meeting hosted by Nokia. Mark your calendar for June 26 and register today.

 

MulteFire Alliance Welcomes Latest Wave of New Members

By Mazen Chmaytelli, President of the MulteFire Alliance

MulteFire Alliance momentum and activities are heating up as we enter the last days of summer. We recently wrapped up one of the Alliance’s most successful Open Days in Espoo, Finland (read about it here), which drew members and interested stakeholders from across Europe to learn about advancements in MulteFire™ technology through presentations and panels. The gathering also gave us an opportunity to recognize the significant efforts from some of the Alliance’s most impactful contributors over the past year.

As we turn our attention to the remainder of the year, I would also like to highlight another noteworthy milestone for the organization. Over the last 18 months the MulteFire Alliance has tripled its membership, bringing our current membership to 44. Since our last new member blog in February, the Alliance has added five new members.

  • Keysight Technologies (Test Lab Participant): Keysight is a leading technology company that helps enterprises, service providers, and governments accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world. Its solutions optimize networks and bring electronic products to market faster and at a lower cost with offerings from design simulation, to prototype validation, to manufacturing test, to optimization in networks and cloud environments.

 

  • Motorola Solutions (Full Member): Motorola Solutions creates mission-critical communications solutions, including devices, networks, software and video, that help public safety and commercial customers build safer cities and thriving communities.

 

  • Redline Communications (Full Member): Redline Communications is the creator of very capable Private Dedicated Secure LAN and WAN networks that have been developed from the ground up and designed for mission-critical grade applications. It operates in challenging locations around the world ranging from offshore to deep beneath the earth, and from the Antarctic to desert regions. Redline networks are deployed by oil and gas, mining and utility companies to manage onshore and offshore assets, by militaries to secure battlefield communications, by municipalities to remotely monitor infrastructure, and by telecom service providers to deliver premium services. Redline platforms are designed to augment existing communications to rapidly give next generation capabilities.

 

  • System Innovation Group (Adopter Member): System Innovation group, LLC (SIG) was established in 2017 with the goal of supporting US and Foreign Government Agencies, as well as specialized commercial communication providers with modern networking and cellular solutions.

 

  • ZenFi Networks (Adopter Member): ZenFi Networks owns and operates a carrier-neutral dark fiber network specializing in fronthaul, backhaul and wavelength connectivity to enable the Internet of Things (IoT). Its New York City purpose-built network is the infrastructure that underlies and enables connectivity in today’s mobile world.

I am pleased to welcome these new members to the Alliance as they demonstrate the ever-expanding diversity in the MulteFire community – bringing expertise from their respective fields, as well as a shared interest in and enthusiasm for the technical advancement and market success of MulteFire technology.

Along with other Alliance board members and officers, I will be at MWC Americas in September. If you’re interested in meeting in person to learn more about membership options and benefits, contact press@MulteFire.org to schedule.

To join the MulteFire Alliance or for more information, visit www.MulteFire.org. To see the full membership list, visit http://www.MulteFire.org/our-members/. 

Understanding Private Networks and the Role of Small Cells

MulteFire Open Day – MWC Panel Recap

By Outi Niemi

In keeping with tradition, I’m writing a blog on the latest MulteFire Open Day – which took place during MWC19 – to provide you with insight into some of the discussions taking place in the industry around MulteFire. While I was unable to attend this year’s event in person, I was able to watch the panel discussion that has been posted by RCR Wireless News here.

For the first time, we partnered with the Small Cell Forum on the panel in order to focus the discussion around the role of small cells as they relate to Private Networks for Industrial IoT and Enterprise. Moderated by James Blackman, editor of Enterprise IoT Insights, the panelists included David Orloff, Small Cell Forum Chair representing AT&T, Uwe Rueddenklau, 5G-ACIA Co-Chair and director of program management for Infineon, Piyush Raj, director of Technology with American Tower, and Mick O’Dwyer, sales and marketing director for Druid Software.

Here are a few of my key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Lack of spectrum is driving new technology. One of the biggest challenges for connectivity is the lack of available spectrum. Both MulteFire and CBRS are defining new technology that leverage unlicensed and shared spectrum for standalone private network deployments.
  • Control your destiny. Large enterprises and campus environments such as hospitals with mission-critical IoT and voice applications want to be able to control their own destiny. Private networks allow Enterprise owners to control their capacity and coverage, and deploy a network that meets their specific requirements.
  • Reliability and availability are critical. The telecom industry has long been known for its stringent requirements around five nines. For new applications such as autonomous vehicles, augmented reality, or factory robots, wireless connectivity will need to be as good as wired connectivity. It will need to meet function with 99.999% or even 99.9999% availability and reliability.
  • Small cells enable ease of deployment. How do you remove the barriers to enterprise deployment of MulteFire technology? You make it as easy and as fast to deploy as possible. MulteFire technology – which is deployed via small cells – meets these requirements. Deployed as a private LTE network, it combines simplified installation with a cost model that the customer can understand.
  • The future is 5G. 5G will bring in new high bandwidth, low latency applications and Enterprises and Industrial IoT will consume all of it. The MulteFire Alliance has a path to 5G and is committed to active support of 3GPP 5G NR Standalone standardization efforts for Release 16.

I encourage you to check out the full panel discussion here.

Our next two Open Days are just around the corner! Join us for MulteFire Open Day – Krakow on March 26, hosted by Comarch, and MulteFire Open Day – Hannover Messe on April 2. Follow the links to register. I look forward to meeting you at a future event.

The BYONIC Age

Bring-Your-Own-Networks for Industrial Communications

By Nanda Menon, Director – Corporate Development, Athonet srl

The Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 promises to bring in a new age which will transform manufacturing, work and society at large. A study by the WEF and McKinsey forecast its impact as much as US$ 3.7 trillion in value by 2025 alone.[i]

However, this great industrial and economic transformation is crawling to a halt due to a lack of reliable connectivity. For example, the agile factory of Industry 4.0 will see production robots which glide anywhere across the factory floor to reconfigure production lines for real time manufacturing of different kinds of products. The entire production line could reconfigure from making a luxury electric sedan at one instant to a combine-harvester at the next.

This ballet of robots requires not just reliable wireless mobility, but their control systems require guaranteed latency in the 10s of milliseconds in order to function. The jitter in those communications (i.e. the change in communications latency which leads to “hiccups” known to those who watch video streams) can bring entire production lines to a complete standstill.

At the same time, the use of remote video, virtual and augmented reality and other applications are creating throughput and low latency requirements that dwarf anything seen by networks in the past. Intel forecasts that a connected factory will produce 1,000,0000 GB of traffic in a single day.[ii] When compared with the average usage of 5GB a month for the average mobile user, this is the equivalent of a 6-million-person network in just one factory premise!

Traditional macro LTE networks or Wi-Fi simply cannot provide the reliable connectivity and throughput of this quality and a new solution is needed.  Users in industries as diverse as manufacturing, automotive, utilities, mining and oil & gas are hence turning to Private LTE to meet these demands. Private LTE allows mobile operators and end-users to collaboratively Bring-Your-Own-Network for Industrial Communications and usher in a new BYONIC Age for manufacturing.

MulteFire unlocks Private LTE

While Private LTE has been the solution of choice for demanding industrial applications from the earliest days of LTE networks, its challenge has been the lack of dedicated spectrum to deploy upon. For example, Enel, one of the largest energy utilities in the world, deployed the world’s first LTE smartgrid, and the first Private LTE Network on mobile operator spectrum with mobile operator Hutchison 3G as early as 2011. Since then Private LTE networks have seen proven deployments in manufacturing plants, oil & gas, the mining industry and public safety. For now, these have been isolated deployments and the challenge has been how to deploy the large numbers required for Industry 4.0 given the competing demands on mobile operator’s licensed spectrum.

Cue MulteFire™ – A New Way to Wireless.  MulteFire now allows mobile operators and end-users to deploy private LTE networks on a dedicated band for Industrial applications. Live deployments have already begun in Japan on 1.9 GHz with the rest of the world to follow on 5 GHz, Wi-Fi channels. With MulteFire, Mobile operators, End-users and their system integrators can now spin-up private LTE on demand, finally making the same sophisticated LTE technology used by mobile operators widely available for Industry 4.0.

Be BYONIC with MulteFire!

With MulteFire, the choreographers of Industry 4.0 can once again return to their work at the robot ballet and its numerous other applications. Whilst MulteFire uses the same sophisticated technology as mobile operators, the MulteFire ecosystem has simplified the user experience so that so that networks can be deployed and managed by IT departments while still integrating with the mobile operator network for more advanced capabilities – Bring-Your-Own-Networks for Industrial Communications. This is particularly true in the area of the mobile core network which is the “brain” of any mobile network and whose cost and complexity has been a barrier to adoption. New fully softwarised core network solutions now allow enterprises to benefit from “one-click” deploy solutions that bring the best of cloud and best of edge deployments in a simple and affordable way.

READY FOR MulteFire AND THE BYONIC AGE? JUST CLICK HERE TO DEPLOY.

Athonet is presenting at MWC Americas, 12-14th Sept 2018 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Please join our CEO, Karim El Malki, and Robin Harwani, Global Telecoms Partner Solutions Lead at AWS, at the IoT Talks theatre at 4.30 pm for a discussion on “Industrial IoT – How to Deliver High Performance Connectivity with Private LTE”. They will address how MulteFire can be deployed as a private LTE network.

Visit the MulteFire Alliance booth at MWC Americas at Stand W.1202 in the West Hall to see technology demonstrations and learn more about membership benefits.

[i]http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Technology_and_Innovation_The_Next_Economic_Growth_Engine.pdf

[ii] Intel Presentation: http://globecom2016.ieee-globecom.org/sites/globecom2016.ieee-globecom.org/files/u14/Cellular%20IoT.pdf

MulteFire - Connecting the Unconnected

By Nanda Menon, Director – Corporate Development, Athonet srl

It has become a truism to say that today internet connectivity is as essential to modern life as air and water. Yet for more than 4 billion people, access to the internet is an idea as fanciful as a trip to the moon. This is a divide that creates vastly diverging life chances and denies some of the most deprived communities in the world of access to education, healthcare and employment. This is a global challenge as the digital desert is not just found in some of the poorest countries of Africa, Latin America and Asia, but also, surprisingly, in many communities in developed regions such as the USA, Canada and Europe.

Bridging this digital divide will require a Herculean effort and no one technology can provide the silver bullet. WiFi, TV Whitespace, conventional LTE and LTE on shared or lightly licensed spectrum all have an important role to play. By decoupling LTE from expensive licensed spectrum, technologies such as MulteFire can make a very significant impact on bridging this divide, and it can shoulder the lion’s share of the burden.

Photo by Thomas Layland on Unsplash

Rural coverage – Wi-Fi has a very large ecosystem of devices but struggles in rural areas due to the cost and complexity of wider area coverage. LTE-based technologies using unlicensed and shared spectrum, such as MulteFire, can help because they require 3-4 times less access points than Wi-Fi at the same power output, drastically reducing the cost and complexity of covering a small village, town or farming community. Rather than build Wi-Fi or traditional LTE networks, a mobile operator, rural community or government agency can self-deploy MulteFire-based networks in an incremental way depending on their budgetary constraints. These can be combined with whitespace technologies for backhaul or CPEs and MiFi devices for capillary coverage that gives access to existing handsets and devices.

Urban coverage –  Unfortunately large numbers of people still live in densely populated, underdeveloped urban areas and cannot afford LTE data services on expensive licensed spectrum. Many communities have tried to cover these areas with Wi-Fi but find that the networks cannot support the density of users, suffers from poor mobility aspects and becomes very expensive to build backhaul. Many such projects have had to be curtailed or abandoned due to the cost and complexity of roll-out. MulteFire can support a far greater number of simultaneous users within a particular coverage area with predictable quality of service. Over time, as the MulteFire ecosystem expands, it can play an increasingly greater role in capillary coverage.

MulteFire has a key role to play in bridging the digital divide and helping to uplift the lives of many who are today denied opportunity for education, healthcare, safety and governance. Together with other complementary technologies, we hope the MulteFire Alliance can build bridges of digital hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to Beijing: MulteFire Open Day Event Recap

Back to Beijing: MulteFire Open Day Event Recap

By Outi Niemi, MulteFire Alliance Secretary and Director of Operations Management – Digital Automation, Nokia

The MulteFire Alliance recently hosted its third MulteFire Open Day in Beijing and our ninth Open Day overall! The Open Days originated in Beijing in June 2016 and we return every year because of strong regional interest in MulteFire™ technology. I’d like to thank Huawei for hosting this year’s MulteFire Open Day as well as the Alliance Members Meeting that ran in conjunction.

MulteFire Alliance President Mazen Chmaytelli and myself with Dr. Lei Wan, Head of Wireless Standards for Huawei and one of our featured speakers during the Open Day.

One of the highlights from the Open Day this time around was that we heard from several new speakers that were able to provide insight into how MulteFire technology will positively impact the industrial IoT space.

Mr. Kaikuo Zhuo from BYD Company and Mr. Yanbin Meng with Rockwell Automation covered specific use cases that will benefit with MulteFire, while Mr. Jiadong Du with Alliance of Industrial Internet, which recently signed a liaison agreement with the MulteFire Alliance, shared how it is advancing LTE connectivity for the industrial internet. We also had presentations from Dr. Lei Wan and Dr. Haibin Wu with Huawei on MulteFire for enterprise applications. Alex Glaser with Harbor Research rounded out the presentations with his research firm’s findings on the market opportunity for MulteFire in both industrial IoT and enterprise segments. It also helped the Huawei provided simultaneous translation of all presentations!

Alex also led a panel discussion with representatives from the Alliance of Industrial Internet, Baicells, Huawei, and Nokia. There were a number of questions from the audience that asked about performance, latency, and handovers, as well as deployment models around private LTE and neutral host networks. Our Release 1.0 Technical Paper does an excellent job of providing detailed answers to these questions – and I encourage you to download the English version here or the Chinese version here. Stay tuned for more details on MulteFire technology trials and solutions.

Finally, the Open Day concluded with a field trip to Alliance member CAICT Laboratory where attendees had the chance to see a live demo of Huawei’s MulteFire-based eLTE-U solution. The technology demo showcased an eLTE-U wireless network, where an Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) integrated with a wireless module is connected to the eLTE-U base station, which sends navigation guide control signals for shelf rack moving and automated self-charging.

        

MulteFire Open Day – Bay Area

I invite you to join us for our last Open Day of 2018, scheduled to be held Tuesday, December 4 in the Bay Area in California and hosted by Intel. Our team is working on pulling together the full agenda now, but you can register today for this free event here. We have a lot of exciting activity planned for the remainder of this year and for 2019, and I can’t wait to share more details. I hope to see you in San Jose in December!

 

 

 

 

Mamma Mia, Here We Go Again!

MulteFire Release 1.1, optimized for IoT, now complete; Commercial launch in Japan anticipated for 2H 2019

By Outi Niemi

Yes, the title of this blog is inspired by the fun movie that I watched on my flight from Helsinki to San Francisco for the last MulteFire Alliance Members Meeting and Open Day of 2018. This December meeting was hosted by Intel, and I’d like to give a big thanks to the Intel team, and especially to Intel’s board member for the Alliance, Geng Wu.

Mazen Chmaytelli, MulteFire Alliance President, myself, and Geng Wu, Intel Fellow and Chief Technologist for Wireless Standards, Platform Engineering Group

In the spirit of “here we go again,” our global MulteFire Open Day series continue to attract high interest from the industry, and our Bay Area event attracted 50 attendees. The highlight of the event was the formal announcement by MulteFire Alliance President, Mazen Chmaytelli, that the MulteFire Release 1.1 specification, optimized for IoT, has been completed.

This specification could not have been completed without the energy and dedication of our Technical Specification Group (TSG), so a big thanks to all of our TSG members!

Mazen also pointed out that our membership continues to grow as we near 50 members. The most recent additions to the Alliance roster include Askey Computer Corporation, Caltta Technologies, China Electric Power Research Institute, and Qucell.

Now it was time to take a deeper dive into Release 1.1.

Asimakis (Makis) Kokkos, chair of the TSG, shared more details on the benefits of MulteFire 1.0 and 1.1 technology as well as the key features of Release 1.1. These features included important enhancements to Release 1.0, the addition of new spectrum bands including 1.9 GHz (also known as sXGP in Japan), 2.4 GHz and sub 1-GHz bands, and expanded IoT services with eMTC-U and NB-IoT-U. You can download Makis’s presentation here.

Our last presentation of the day was by Monica Paolini, principal analyst with Senza Fili Consulting. Monica shared her research on the value of MulteFire from the end customer vantage point, and how enterprises can benefit from the flexibility of MulteFire’s deployment models, including private networks, neutral host, and hybrid. She concluded with how MulteFire is a key pillar in the Industry 4.0 revolution. I encourage you to download her presentation here. A follow-on white paper will be published in Q1 2019.

The Open Day presentations concluded with a panel moderated by Monica with panelists from Huawei, Intel and Nokia.

Yi Shi, Huawei, Makis Kokkos, Nokia, and Geng Wu, Intel

The panelists talked about the use cases where MulteFire will be deployed, such as shipping ports and mines, as well as when private networks make sense. For neutral host network models, they addressed how MulteFire benefits mobile operators as they can leverage roaming agreements. They also answered attendee questions about timing for MulteFire solutions and first deployments. The first anticipated commercial launch for MulteFire is in the second half of 2019 in Japan, with solutions leveraging the 1.9 GHz band and devices. The Alliance is planning a public technology demonstration of MulteFire in 1.9 GHz in February in Tokyo – stay tuned for more details!

Our next Members Meeting will take place January 29-February 1 in Louisville, Colorado, hosted by CableLabs, so all members please note that registration is now open. For those of you who are not yet members, there is still time to join. You can download the membership application package here. Once new membership applications are submitted, our Executive Committee is pretty fast in processing the applications, giving plenty of time to confirm your travel plans for Colorado.

I wish you Happy Holidays and hope to see you soon!

Outi
MulteFire Alliance Secretary and an ABBA music fan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MulteFire on a Mission: Connecting Factories of the Future Today

MulteFire on a Mission: Connecting Factories of the Future Today

By Outi Niemi

The MulteFire Alliance is on a mission to enable Enterprise and Industrial IoT to leverage MulteFire technology as a private cellular network for their business-critical applications that require robust and secure connectivity. As such, we recently held a MulteFire Open Day in Krakow in conjunction with our Members Meeting hosted by Comarch, and we took to Hannover Messe – the world’s largest industrial tradeshow. I was happy to be able to travel to both events to engage with our membership and with companies that are evaluating MulteFire for deployment in their factories, ports, campuses, and more.

Comarch was our gracious host in Krakow. Here we are in the House of Beers united over advancing our technology and mission.

Our first Open Day in Krakow attracted audiences from both industry and academia. Presentations focused on the Release 1.1 specification which is optimized for IoT, as well as market traction for Release 1.0 and 1.1 solutions. MulteFire Alliance President Mazen Chmaytelli presented on traction we’re seeing in Japan for MulteFire 1.9 GHz. We also shared details from our Industry Working Group, led by Yi Shi, MulteFire Alliance Industry Working Group Chair and Senior Engineer with Huawei, on how MulteFire technology applies to applications such as Smart Grid to address the increasing interest in the unlicensed spectrum private cellular option. You can watch Yi’s presentation here.

From Krakow to Hannover

After a short weekend home to Helsinki, I was back on a flight to Hannover for Hannover Messe. This event is huge! More than 215,000 attendees visited over the course of five days for a comprehensive look at industrial applications and how they will be impacted by Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence, 5G and more. During our Open Day at Hannover Messe, MulteFire Alliance Board Chair and GM of Digital Automation at Nokia, Stephan Litjens, presented on how MulteFire enables private networks for industrial IoT. He also shared details on our roadmap to supporting 5G NR-U. You can download his presentation here.

I had the pleasure of presenting on MulteFire to a number of visitors who stopped by the booth as part of the show’s “Path to 5G” tour.

Asimakis Kokkos, MulteFire Alliance Technical Specification Group Chair and Head of Industry Environment Strategy for Nokia, was on hand at Messe’s 5G Forum to highlight MulteFire’s standalone operation in unlicensed spectrum and help drive the panel discussion.

My key takeaway from both of these events is that the “factories of the future” can benefit from MulteFire connectivity today. Throughout the event’s massive 27 Halls, companies were showcasing a myriad of technology demonstrations from factory automation to smart cities. While the promise of 5G is huge, private LTE networks such as those enabled by MulteFire can overcome many of the challenges and deliver on the opportunities that these private networks represent already NOW.

The Alliance will next travel to Orlando, Florida for Connectivity Expo in May and then to Tokyo, Japan for our MulteFire Open Day – Tokyo (register here), our June Members Meeting and Interop Tokyo. I hope to see you at a future event as we continue to advance MulteFire around the world.

 

MulteFire Alliance IoT Optimized Specification Now Publicly Available

MulteFire Alliance IoT Optimized Specification Now Publicly Available

By Mazen Chmaytelli, MulteFire Alliance President

I am pleased to announce that the MulteFire Release 1.1 specification is now available to download for anyone with an interest in LTE-based technology operating standalone in unlicensed or shared spectrum. Our new release is an important development for industrial IoT and Enterprise, helping to meet their specific requirements for performance, latency, security and mobility.

MulteFire Release 1.1 enhances the performance of MulteFire Release 1.0 broadband services for the global 5 GHz unlicensed band, adding many new IoT capabilities and spectrum bands.

Supporting eMTC-U and NB-IoT-U
In Release 1.1, we’ve added eMTC-U in the 2.4 GHz unlicensed band, which supports medium data rate applications and delivers robust wireless connectivity up to several hundred meters. A typical application to benefit from this capacity and range would be surveillance monitoring for private networks. We’ve also added NB-IoT-U in the 800/900 MHz unlicensed bands for narrowband applications requiring only extremely low date rates. NB-IoT-U delivers connectivity between devices that are several kilometers apart and enables applications such as smart meters for private networks.

Enabling commercial deployments in 1.9 GHz in Japan
Growing support for the 1.9 GHz (3GPP Band 39) in Japan is an exciting development as we anticipate the first commercial launch of MulteFire technology in the Japanese market. Developed in conjunction with the XGP Forum, MulteFire in 1.9 GHz benefits from the massive TD-LTE ecosystem with over 1 billion devices that already support 3GPP Band 39 today. Several vendors have also announced commercial availability of MulteFire 1.1 eNBs.

The MulteFire Technical Specification Group drove the specification development with determination and I think you will agree that their hard work is evident.

Download Specification and White paper
The Release 1.1 Specification is available for download here.

For a deeper dive,  please download the Release 1.1 Technical Overview white paper.

Please contact the MulteFire Alliance if you have any questions regarding the 1.1 Specification.

MulteFire: Ready for Deployment in Japan

By Outi Niemi, MulteFire Alliance Secretary

I recently returned from our MulteFire Open Day in Tokyo which included an exciting mix of presentations from Alliance leadership, Q&A with attendees and live MulteFire technology demonstrations. While this was our second Open Day in Tokyo (following our successful event in February 2017), this was my first time moderating the panel. This was also our second time in Tokyo in 2019 as we announced the commercial availability of MulteFire solutions in Japan during our MulteFire Works event in February.

During our 2017 event, the XGP Forum presented to the Alliance members and attendees on its vision for MulteFire technology in the 1.9 GHz band in Japan. Originally, the 3GPP Band 39 was designated for PHS and DECT systems, but with the ecosystem growth of TD-LTE devices in Band 39, it opened up a new opportunity for MulteFire. Since this initial introduction by XGP Forum and in collaboration with the organization, we have published the Release 1.1 specification which added support for 1.9 GHz and the technology is now ready for commercial deployment in Japan.

I was pleased to moderate the Open Day panel this time around and to learn more about what the next steps to take MulteFire to commercialization. Noriaki Hibi with Baicells, Miguel Delorme with DEKRA Japan, and Yoshiyuki Kubo with Qucell served as panelists and in a combination of both English and Japanese answered audience questions. During the discussion a few themes came out that resonated with me.

  • Initial Deployments will Focus on Industrial IoT. The initial interest for MulteFire technology is for data communications for industrial IoT applications and private LTE networks. These initial deployments will be important benchmarks to prove the MulteFire value proposition for LTE-like performance and security with Wi-Fi-like deployment simplicity. Once the value proposition is proven in Japan, we expect global deployments to follow.
  • Interoperability is Critical. In order for MulteFire technology to be successful in Japan, devices will need to not only meet mandatory regulatory requirements, but also be proven to interoperate with each other. If you look at any successful wireless technology, they all have a few things in common: 1) multiple players, both large and small; and 2) solid certification programs that test for interoperability.
  • MulteFire is for Everyone. One of the main benefits of MulteFire is that anyone can use it. Deployed as a private LTE network, Enterprises and IoT can tailor it and manage it to meet their specific requirements for high security, high performance, mobility and low latency. Deployed via small cells in unlicensed spectrum bands with Wi-Fi-like plug & play implementation, MulteFire can be deployed anywhere, from shopping malls and factories, to shipping ports and large campuses. There is no limit on how or where the technology can be deployed.

From left to right: Noriaki Hibi with Baicells, Miguel Delorme with DEKRA Japan, and Yoshiyuki Kubo with Qucell.

Following the presentations and panel discussions, attendees had the chance to meet with the six member companies that showcased MulteFire technology solutions and live technology demonstrations. This was our second public demonstration in Japan this year following our successful “MulteFire Works” event in February.

I’m excited about the potential for MulteFire in 2019 and beyond. I encourage you to contact us to learn more about how to get involved and be a part of the MulteFire story.

Roadmap to the Future of Connectivity

By Christian Wagner, m3Connect

According to Gartner, there will be 25 billion connected devices by 2021. The interest in better connectivity within the wireless industry focuses on the need to support this rising number of connected devices which continue to demand an increasing amount of faster data rates and lower latency. Organizations are searching for solutions that can support this influx of data-demanding device use. MulteFire achieves this by providing the benefits of LTE (security, reliability, expanded coverage and capacity) in the unlicensed band. In order to promote MulteFire technology, members travel the world, attending industry events and engaging with end users, potential members and more.

We recently attended the industry-leading event, Industry of Things World Europe, in historic Berlin. This event brought together industry leaders and organizations alike to discuss the future of the wireless connectivity industry for a scalable, secure and efficient IoT. This was the MulteFire Alliance’s second time at Industry of Things World Europe and we were excited to once again connect with end users, partners and more to collaborate on how we can continue to support the evolution of IoT and beyond.

I had the pleasure of speaking on behalf of the MulteFire Alliance during the event. My session, titled “MulteFire – LTE-based Technology for Unlicensed Spectrum,” included an introduction that highlighted how MulteFire technology enables anyone to deploy their own Private LTE network with performance advantages over other wireless technologies. I covered MulteFire deployment uses cases in industrial IoT and Enterprise settings, followed by market opportunities and insight into 5G New Radio Unlicensed (NR-U). Not only were we able to give end users a glimpse into how MulteFire works today, but also into how it will enable the future of wireless connectivity.

Focusing on the Future

Following my talk, we engaged with fellow attendees who were interested in how MulteFire technology would impact the wireless industry today and in the future. By providing this enhanced connectivity, verticals that will be most impacted by the IoT and 5G evolution, such as airports, shipping ports, factories, mines, etc., are able to deploy standalone LTE-based networks today that will provide their industry with the needed connectivity to scale with the changing wireless landscape. The MulteFire Alliance will also continue to ensure connectivity in the unlicensed band beyond LTE-technology. We will be promoting 5G in unlicensed spectrum and we are actively supporting 3GPP standardization efforts for 5G NR-U (Release 16) thanks to overlapping membership between the organizations.

Next up: Scaling the Internet of Intelligent Things

With the focus on IoT, the MulteFire Alliance will once again be at MWC Los Angeles this October 22-24 and IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona, October 29-31, 2019. Starting at 1:00 P.M. on October 22, Nabil Bitar, CTO, Large Enterprise & Webscale Segment, Nokia, will represent the MulteFire Alliance during a panel session on Scaling the Internet of Intelligent Things. He will be joined by other industry leaders from KORE and Cisco to discuss how businesses will be able to future-proof their IoT solutions, allowing for true scalability.

Stop by one of our booths at MWC Los Angeles (South Hall #2066) or at IoT Solutions World Congress (B285) to learn more about the most recent MulteFire devices, IoT uses cases, certification program and more. To schedule a meeting with the MulteFire Alliance during an upcoming event, contact press@MulteFire.org.