Archive for the ‘5G’ Category

Ajit Pai says NOAA and NASA are wrong about 5G harming weather forecasts

June 13th, 2019
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai listening at a Senate hearing.

Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai listens during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in Washington, DC, on June 20, 2017. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

The FCC recently auctioned spectrum in the 24GHz band under controversial circumstances, as experts from other federal agencies warned that cellular transmissions in that band may significantly reduce the accuracy of weather forecasts.

When asked about the controversy at yesterday's Senate Commerce Committee hearing, Pai said that data provided by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is faulty. He also criticized the agencies for raising concerns "at the 11th hour."

Calling NOAA's study "fundamentally flawed," Pai said, "For example, it ignores the fact that 5G will involve beamforming, essentially adaptive antenna arrays that will more precisely send 5G signals—sort of a rifle shot, if you will, instead of a shotgun blast of 5G spectrum."

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Posted in 5G, Biz & IT, FCC, NASA, NOAA, Policy, weather forecasts | Comments (0)

For 5G, AT&T and T-Mobile buy $1.8 billion worth of 24GHz spectrum across US

June 5th, 2019
The AT&T logo displayed on a smartphone screen.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | SOPA Images)

AT&T and T-Mobile committed to spend nearly $1.8 billion, combined, on high-frequency spectrum for their 5G networks in a Federal Communications Commission auction that sold airwave licenses covering the whole US. Verizon committed to spend $506 million in a separate 5G auction.

AT&T's winning bids in the 24GHz auction totaled $982.5 million for 831 licenses in 383 Partial Economic Areas (PEAs). That should cover most of the US, as the FCC divides the country into 416 PEAs for purposes of the auction. This spectrum will be used for AT&T's real 5G network, not the 4G network that AT&T misleadingly calls "5G E."

T-Mobile's winning bids totaled $803.2 million for 1,346 licenses in 400 PEAs.

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Posted in 5G, AT&T, Biz & IT, FCC, Spectrum Auction, t-mobile, verizon | Comments (0)

5G likely to mess with weather forecasts, but FCC auctions spectrum anyway

May 14th, 2019
A weather satellite orbiting the Earth.

Enlarge / A weather satellite in orbit. (credit: Getty Images | Erik Simonsen)

A US Navy memo warns that 5G mobile networks are likely to interfere with weather satellites, and senators are urging the Federal Communications Commission to avoid issuing new spectrum licenses to wireless carriers until changes are made to prevent harms to weather forecasting.

The FCC has already begun an auction of 24GHz spectrum that would be used in 5G networks. But Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) today wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, asking him to avoid issuing licenses to winning bidders "until the FCC approves the passive band protection limits that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) determine are necessary to protect critical satellite‐based measurements of atmospheric water vapor needed to forecast the weather."

Wyden and Cantwell said that the "ongoing sale of wireless airwaves could damage the effectiveness of US weather satellites and harm forecasts and predictions relied on to protect safety, property, and national security." They chided the FCC for beginning the auction "over the objections of NASA, NOAA, and members of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). These entities all argued that out-of-band emissions from future commercial broadband transmissions in the 24GHz band would disrupt the ability to collect water-vapor data measured in a neighboring frequency band (23.6 to 24GHZ) that meteorologists rely on to forecast the weather."

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Posted in 24gz, 5G, Biz & IT, FCC, NASA, Navy, NOAA, Policy, Spectrum Auction | Comments (0)

Bloomberg claims Vodafone found backdoors in Huawei equipment; Vodafone disagrees

April 30th, 2019
5G Logo in the shape of a butterfly.

Enlarge / PORTUGAL - 2019/03/04: 5G logo is seen on an android mobile phone with Huawei logo on the background. (credit: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Vodafone, the largest mobile network operator in Europe, found backdoors in Huawei equipment between 2009 and 2011, reports Bloomberg. With these backdoors, Huawei could have gained unauthorized access to Vodafone's "fixed-line network in Italy." But Vodafone disagrees, saying that—while it did discover some security vulnerabilities in Huawei equipment—these were fixed by Huawei and in any case were not remotely accessible, and hence they could not be used by Huawei.

Bloomberg's claims are based on Vodafone's internal security documentation and "people involved in the situation." Several different "backdoors" are described: unsecured telnet access to home routers, along with "backdoors" in optical service nodes (which connect last-mile distribution networks to optical backbone networks) and "broadband network gateways" (BNG) (which sit between broadband users and the backbone network, providing access control, authentication, and similar services).

In response to Bloomberg, Vodafone said that the router vulnerabilities were found and fixed in 2011 and the BNG flaws were found and fixed in 2012. While it had documentation about some optical service node vulnerabilities, Vodafone continued, it had no information about when they were fixed. Further, the network operator said that it had no evidence of issues outside Italy.

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Posted in 5G, backdoors, Biz & IT, china, cyberwar, Huawei, security, Tech, vulnerabilities | Comments (0)

AT&T says 5G will be priced like home Internet—pay more for faster speeds

April 24th, 2019
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson standing with arms crossed in front of a backdrop with AT&T logos.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. (credit: AT&T)

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson today said that 5G will likely be priced similarly to wireline Internet, with customers paying more for faster speeds.

With 5G, "I will be very surprised if... the pricing regime in wireless doesn't look something like the pricing regime you see in fixed line," Stephenson said during an earnings call today. (See transcript.)

Some customers "are willing to pay a premium for 500Mbps to 1Gbps speed and so forth," Stephenson continued. "And so I expect that to be the case. We're two or three years away from seeing that play out."

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

April 23rd, 2019
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)

Verizon's early rollout of millimeter-wave 5G is producing high speeds and throughput, but the high-frequency spectrum isn't suitable for widespread coverage, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said today.

One day after 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.

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Posted in 5G, Biz & IT, millimeter wave, t-mobile, verizon | Comments (0)

Millimeter-wave 5G will never scale beyond dense urban areas, T-Mobile says

April 22nd, 2019
T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray stands in front of a backdrop that says,

Enlarge / T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray. (credit: T-Mobile)

5G mobile networks have started arriving but only in very limited areas and amidst misleading claims by wireless carriers.

While all four major nationwide carriers in the United States have overhyped 5G to varying degrees, T-Mobile today made a notable admission about 5G's key limitation. T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray wrote in a blog post that millimeter-wave spectrum used for 5G "will never materially scale beyond small pockets of 5G hotspots in dense urban environments." That would seem to rule out the possibility of 5G's fastest speeds reaching rural areas or perhaps even suburbs.

Ray made his point with this GIF, apparently showing that millimeter-wave frequencies are immediately blocked by a door closing halfway while the lower 600MHz signal is unaffected:

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Intel quits 5G modem business hours after Apple settles with Qualcomm

April 17th, 2019
A 5G Intel logo is seen during the Mobile World Congress on February 26, 2019 in Barcelona.

Enlarge / A 5G Intel logo is seen during the Mobile World Congress on February 26, 2019 in Barcelona. (credit: Miquel Benitez/Getty Images)

Intel says it is canceling a line of smartphone 5G chips that had been slated for 2020 launches. The announcement comes on the same day Apple announced a wide-ranging settlement with Qualcomm over patent issues.

Qualcomm has long been a dominant player in the wireless chip business for smartphones. Apple worries about becoming too dependent on a single supplier. So in recent years, Apple has encouraged Intel to expand its wireless chip offerings and offered Intel a significant share of its business for 4G chips in the iPhone.

Then last year, as Apple's legal battle with Qualcomm heated up, Intel became Apple's sole supplier for 4G wireless chips in the iPhone. Intel additionally was working to develop 5G chips for Apple to use in future versions of the iPhone. But recent reports have indicated that Intel was "missing deadlines" for the wireless chip that was slated to go into the 2020 model of the iPhone.

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Posted in 5G, apple, Intel, Policy, Qualcomm, Tech, wireless chips | Comments (0)

In Verizon 5G launch city, reviewers have trouble even finding a signal

April 8th, 2019
A giant Verizon 5G logo in an expo hall.

Enlarge (credit: Verizon)

Verizon launched its mobile 5G network last week in "select areas" of Minneapolis and Chicago, and a speed test shared by a Verizon spokesperson showed an impressive download speed of 762Mbps.

But the single speed test displayed by Verizon was conducted near a tower with clear line of sight to that tower. Actually finding a 5G signal elsewhere in Verizon's launch areas is much more difficult, according to tests by The Verge and CNET.

The two news organizations each had a reporter travel through the parts of Chicago where Verizon says its 5G network is ready. The results were disappointing.

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

March 28th, 2019
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 belay 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.

“HSCE’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.

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