Millimeter-wave 5G isn’t for widespread coverage, Verizon admits

A giant Verizon 5G logo in an expo hall.

Enlarge / A Verizon booth at Mobile World Congress Americas in Los Angeles in September 2018. (credit: Verizon)

T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray wrote that millimeter-wave spectrum “will never materially scale beyond small pockets of 5G hotspots in dense urban environments,” wireless industry analyst Craig Moffett asked Vestberg about Ray’s statement during a Verizon earnings call.

Vestberg responded that millimeter-wave spectrum “has lived up to our expectation on performance” and will get better as Verizon improves the software for managing the spectrum. But he added a significant caveat.

Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

UK cyber security officials report Huawei’s security practices are a mess

As Huawei makes its bid to roll out 5G, a UK government oversight board is not exactly thrilled with the company's security practices—or how it makes software.

Enlarge / As Huawei makes its bid to roll out 5G, a UK government oversight board is not exactly thrilled with the company’s security practices—or how it makes software. (credit: Getty Images)

In November of 2010, the Chinese networking and telecommunications giant Huawei entered into an agreement with the government of the United Kingdom to allow extensive security reviews of Huawei’s hardware and software—a move intended to allay fears that the company posed a security risk to the UK’s networks. Since then, the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) has given UK officials a window into the company’s information security practices. And UK officials haven’t necessarily liked what they’ve seen.

In a report issued today, the HCSEC Oversight Board—a panel including officials from the National Cyber Security Centre, GCHQ and other agencies, as well as a senior executive from Huawei—warned that Huawei had failed to make long-promised changes to its software development and engineering practices needed to improve security.

“HCSEC’s work has continued to identify concerning issues in Huawei’s approach to software development bringing significantly increased risk to UK operators,” the oversight board members noted. “No material progress” had been made in correcting those problems since they were noted last year.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Hate your Comcast broadband? Verizon might sell you 5G home Internet

A Verizon router in a home along with text that says,

Enlarge (credit: Verizon)

this week were Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. Comcast is the main cable provider in Houston, Indianapolis, and Sacramento, while Charter leads the way in Los Angeles and covers part of Indianapolis, according to ISP tracker BroadbandNow.

That’s no coincidence. Verizon Chief Technology Architect Ed Chan told Ars that Verizon is focusing on using the $70-per-month wireless home Internet service to compete against dominant cable companies.

Read 31 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Verizon 5G home Internet: $70/month, 300Mbps to 1Gbps speeds, no data caps

A Verizon logo at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Enlarge / A Verizon logo at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

single-millisecond latencies.”

Verizon 5G Home will be available in parts of Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento beginning on October 1, and customers can sign up starting on Thursday morning, Verizon announced yesterday.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Making way for new levels of American innovation

New fifth-generation “5G” network technology will equip the United States with a superior wireless platform, unlocking transformative economic potential. However, 5G’s success is contingent on modernizing outdated policy frameworks that dictate infrastructure overhauls and establishing the proper balance of public-private partnerships to encourage investment and deployment.

Most people have heard by now of the coming 5G revolution. Compared to 4G, this next-generation technology will deliver near-instantaneous connection speed, significantly lower latency — meaning near-zero buffer times — and increased connectivity capacity to allow billions of devices and applications to come online and communicate simultaneously and seamlessly.

While 5G is often discussed in future tense, the reality is it’s already here. Its capabilities were displayed earlier this year at the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where Samsung and Intel showcased a 5G enabled virtual reality (VR) broadcasting experience to event-goers. In addition, multiple U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, have announced commercial deployments in select markets by the end of 2018, while chipmaker Qualcomm unveiled last month its new 5G millimeter-wave module that outfits smartphones with 5G compatibility.

BARCELONA, SPAIN – 2018/02/26: View of the phone company QUALCOMM technology 5G in the Mobile World Congress. (Photo by Ramon Costa/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

While this commitment from 5G commercial developers is promising, long-term success of 5G is ultimately dependent on addressing two key issues.

The first step is ensuring the right policies are established at the federal, state and municipal levels in the U.S. that will allow the buildout of needed infrastructure, namely “small cells.” This equipment is designed to fit on streetlights, lampposts and buildings. You may not even notice them as you walk by, but they are critical to adding capacity to the network and transmitting wireless activity quickly and reliably. 

In many communities across the U.S., 20th century infrastructure policies are slowing the emergence of bringing next-generation networks and technologies online. Issues, including costs per small cell attachment, permitting around public rights-of-way and deadlines on application reviews, are all less-than-exciting topics of conversation but act as real threats to achieving timely implementation of 5G according to recent research from Accenture and the 5G Americas organization.

Policymakers can mitigate these setbacks by taking inventory of their own policy frameworks and, where needed, streamlining and modernizing processes. For instance, current small cell permit applications can take upwards of 18 to 24 months to advance through the approval process as a result of needed buy-in from many local commissions, city councils, etc. That’s an incredible amount of time for a community to wait around and ultimately fall behind on next-generation access. As a result, policymakers are beginning to act. 

Thirteen states, including Florida, Ohio and Texas, have already passed bills alleviating some of the local infrastructure hurdles accompanying increased broadband network deployment, including delays and pricing. Additionally, this year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has moved on multiple orders that look to remedy current 5G roadblocks, including opening up commercial access to more amounts of needed high-, mid- and low-band spectrum.

The second step is identifying areas in which public and private entities can partner to drive needed capital and resources toward 5G initiatives. These types of collaborations were first made popular in Europe, where we continue to see significant advancement of infrastructure initiatives through combined public-private planning, including the European Commission and European ICT industry’s 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership (5G PPP).

The U.S. is increasing its own public-private levels of planning. In 2015, the Obama administration’s Department of Transportation launched its successful “Smart City Challenge” encouraging planning and funding in U.S. cities around advanced connectivity. More recently, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded New York City a $22.5 million grant through its Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) initiative to create and deploy the first of a series of wireless research hubs focused on 5G-related breakthroughs, including high-bandwidth and low-latency data transmission, millimeter wave spectrum, next-generation mobile network architecture and edge cloud computing integration.

While these efforts should be applauded, it’s important to remember they are merely initial steps. A recent study conducted by CTIA, a leading trade association for the wireless industry, found that the United States remains behind both China and South Korea in 5G development. If other countries beat the U.S. to the punch, which some anticipate is already happening, companies and sectors that require ubiquitous, fast and seamless connection — like autonomous transportation, for example — could migrate, develop and evolve abroad, casting lasting negative impact on U.S. innovation. 

The potential economic gains are also significant. A 2017 Accenture report predicts an additional $275 billion in infrastructure investments from the private sector, resulting in up to 3 million new jobs and a gross domestic product (GDP) increase of $500 billion. That’s just on the infrastructure side alone. On the global scale, we could see as much as $12 trillion in additional economic activity according to discussion at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in January.

Former President John F. Kennedy once said, “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” When it comes to America’s technology evolution, this quote holds especially true. Our nation has led the digital revolution for decades. Now with 5G, we have the opportunity to unlock an entirely new level of innovation that will make our communities safer, more inclusive and more prosperous for all.