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Signals Ahead - On the Inside, Looking Out: Evaluating the in-building performance capabilities of commercial LTE networks (Band 4, Band 7, Band 13 and Band 17) Product Image

Signals Ahead - On the Inside, Looking Out: Evaluating the in-building performance capabilities of commercial LTE networks (Band 4, Band 7, Band 13 and Band 17)

  • Published: January 2013
  • 75 Pages
  • Signals Research Group, LLC

This report analyzes the in-building performance of four LTE networks that utilized Band 4, Band 7, Band 13 and Band 17. The extensive analysis leveraged numerous device reported parameters to quantify the impact of RF signals penetrating buildings and interior walls, the subsequent effect on
user throughput, and the ability of existing indoor solutions to provide sufficient capacity.

Additionally, the report quantifies the amount of in-building network loading that exists today, how it compares to the outdoor macro network, and how the performance in the in-building and outdoor networks varies as a function of loading.

This report is included as part of a corporate subscription to Signals Ahead or it can be purchased separately.

ABOUT SIGNALS AHEAD SUBSCRIPTION

Signals Ahead is a research-focused product that is published on a periodic basis. Its clientele include all facets of the wireless ecosystem, including some of the largest mobile operators, the top handset suppliers, the major infrastructure vendors, subsystem suppliers, semiconductor companies and financial institutions, including Wall Street, Private Equity and Venture Capitalists, spread across five continents.

1.0 Executive Summary

2.0 Key Findings and Observations

3.0 Band 7 versus Band 4 – Redux
3.1 Oakridge Mall
3.2 Marriott Hotel
3.3 Oh Canada!

4.0 Closer to Home
4.1 Leveling the Playing Field – a view from the outside
4.2 Cleared for Takeoff
4.2.1 SFO Terminal 3
4.2.2 SFO Terminal 1
4.2.3 Washington Dulles Terminal C
4.2.4 Chicago O'Hare Terminal C
4.2.5 Boston Logan Terminal C
4.2.6 DFW Terminal E
4.3 Checking In?
4.4 Cleanup in Aisle 3

5.0 Test Methodology

6.0 Conclusions

7.0 Appendix

Index of Figures & Tables

Figure 1. Oakridge Mall RSRP – Band 7 and Band 4 Probability Plots
Figure 2. Oakridge Mall RSRP – Band 4 Geo Plot
Figure 3. Oakridge Mall RSRP – Band 7 Geo Plot
Figure 4. Oakridge Mall Power Headroom – Band 7 and Band 4 Probability Plots
Figure 5. Oakridge Mall Power Headroom versus RSRP – Band 7 and Band 4 Scatter Plots
Figure 6. Marriott Hotel Power Headroom – Band 7 and Band 4 Probability Plots
Figure 7. Marriott Hotel Test Route
Figure 8. Marriott Hotel Power Headroom versus RSRP – Band 7 Scatter Plot
Figure 9. Marriott Hotel Power Headroom versus RSRP – Band 4 Scatter Plot
Figure 11. Canada Place RSRP – Band 7 Geo Plot
Figure 10. Canada Place Test Route
Figure 12. Canada Place Power Headroom – Band 7 Time Series Plot with Location Tags
Figure 13. Canada Place Power Headroom – Band 4 Time Series Plot with Location Tags
Figure 14. PDSCH Throughput Analysis – Verizon Wireless and AT&T
Figure 15. Downtown San Francisco Drive Test – Verizon Wireless PDSCH Throughput
Figure 16. Downtown San Francisco Drive Test SINR Results – Verizon Wireless and AT&T Probability Plots
Figure 17. Downtown San Francisco Drive Test CQI Results – Verizon Wireless and AT&T Probability Plots
Figure 18. Downtown San Francisco Drive Test SINR versus PDSCH Throughput – Verizon Wireless and AT&T Scatter Plots
Figure 19. Downtown San Francisco Drive Test Rank Indicator and Modulation Scheme Distributions – Verizon Wireless and AT&T Pie Charts
Figure 20. Downtown San Francisco Drive Test Resource Block Results – Verizon Wireless and AT&T Probability Plots
Figure 21. SFO Terminal 3 PDSCH Throughput Results – Verizon Wireless and AT&T Probability Plots
Figure 22. SFO Terminal 3 SINR Results – Verizon Wireless and AT&T Probability Plots
Figure 23. SFO Terminal 3 Power Headroom Results – Verizon Wireless and AT&T Probability Plots
Figure 24. SFO Terminal 3 SINR versus PDSCH Throughput – Verizon Wireless and AT&T Scatter Plots
Figure 25. Outside of SFO Terminal 3 PDSCH Throughput Results – Verizon Wireless and AT&T Probability Plots
Figure 26. SFO Terminal 1 SINR versus PDSCH Throughput – AT&T Scatter Plot
Figure 27. SFO Terminal 1 PDSCH – AT&T Geo Plot
Figure 28. Dulles Terminal C SINR versus PDSCH Throughput – AT&T Scatter Plot
Figure 29. Dulles Terminal C PDSCH – AT&T Geo Plot
Figure 30. Dulles Terminal C SINR versus PUSCH Throughput – AT&T Scatter Plot
Figure 31. O'Hare Terminal C SINR versus PDSCH Throughput – Verizon Wireless and AT&T Scatter Plots
Figure 32. O'Hare Terminal C Rank Indicator and Modulation Scheme Distributions – Verizon Wireless and AT&T Pie Charts
Figure 33. O'Hare Terminal C PUSCH Throughput Results – Verizon Wireless and AT&T Probability Plots
Figure 34. Boston Logan Terminal C SINR versus PDSCH Throughput – AT&T Scatter Plot
Figure 35. Boston Logan Terminal C PUSCH Throughput – AT&T Geo Plot
Figure 36. Boston Logan Terminal C Power Headroom – AT&T Geo Plot
Figure 37. DFW Terminal E SINR Versus PDSCH Throughput – Verizon Wireless and AT&T Scatter Plots
Figure 38. DFW Terminal E Rank Indicator and Modulation Scheme Distributions – Verizon Wireless and AT&T Pie Charts
Figure 39. DFW Terminal E PDSCH Throughput – AT&T Geo Plot
Figure 40. DFW Terminal E PDSCH Throughput – Verizon Wireless Geo Plot
Figure 41. Fairmont Hotel PDSCH Throughput Results – Outside and Inside Probability Plots
Figure 42. Fairmont Hotel PDSCH Throughput – AT&T Geo Plot
Figure 43. Fairmont Hotel Power Headroom – Outside and Inside Probability Plots
Figure 44. Fairmont Hotel Power Headroom – Outside Room and Inside Room Scatter Plots
Figure 45. Fairmont Hotel Power Headroom – Outside Adjacent and Outside Non-Adjacent Scatter Plots
Figure 46. Westfield Mall PDSCH Throughput – Verizon Wireless Probability Plots
Figure 47. Westfield Mall PDSCH Throughput – AT&T Probability Plots
Figure 48. Westfield Mall First Floor PDSCH Throughput – Verizon Wireless Geo Plot
Figure 49. Westfield Mall Floor PDSCH Throughput – AT&T Geo Plot
Figure 50. Westfield Mall Inside SINR versus PDSCH Throughput – Verizon Wireless Scatter Plot
Figure 51. Westfield Mall Ouside SINR versus PDSCH Throughput – Verizon Wireless Scatter Plot
Figure 52. Westfield Mall Inside SINR versus PDSCH Throughput – AT&T Scatter Plot
Figure 53. Westfield Mall Outside SINR versus PDSCH Throughput – AT&T Scatter Plot
Figure 54. Westfield Mall Power Headroom – Verizon Wireless Probability Plots
Figure 55. Westfield Mall Power Headroom – AT&T Probability Plots
Figure 56. XCAL-M Drive Test Tool in Action – DL performance
Figure 57. XCAL-M Drive Test Tool in Action – In-building
Figure 58. Outside Perimeter of the Oakridge Mall RSRP Values – Band 7 Geo Plot
Figure 59. Outside Perimeter of the Oakridge Mall Serving Cell PCI – Band 7 Geo Plot
Figure 60. Oakridge Mall Downlink Path Loss – Band 7 and Band 4 Probability Plots
Figure 61. Canada Place Convention Center Serving Cell PCI – Band 7 Geo Plot
Figure 62. Canada Place Convention Center RSRP – Band 7 Geo Plot
Figure 63. Canada Place RSRP – Band 7 Time Series Plot with Location Tags
Figure 64. Canada Place RSRP – Band 4 Time Series Plot with Location Tags
Figure 65. SFO Terminal 3 PDSCH – AT&T Geo Plot
Figure 66. SFO Terminal 3 PDSCH – Verizon Wireless Geo Plot
Figure 67. Dulles Terminal C PUSCH – AT&T Geo Plot
Figure 68. Dulles Terminal C PUSCH Transmit Power – AT&T Geo Plot
Figure 69. O'Hare Terminal C PUSCH Transmit Power – AT&T Geo Plot
Figure 70. O'Hare Terminal C PUSCH Transmit Power – Verizon Wireless Geo Plot
Figure 71. Fairmont Hotel Outside PDSCH Throughput – AT&T Geo Plot
Figure 72. Fairmont Hotel Oak Room Power Headroom – AT&T Geo Plot
Figure 73. Fairmont Hotel Oak PUSCH Transmit Headroom – AT&T Geo Plot
Figure 74. Westfield Mall 2nd Floor LTE and EV-DO Rev A – Verizon Wireless Geo Plot
Figure 75. Westfield Mall Concourse Level PDSCH Throughput – Verizon Wireless Geo Plot
Figure 76. Westfield Mall Concourse Level PDSCH Throughput – AT&T Geo Plot
Figure 77. Westfield Mall Concourse Level MAC Layer Throughput – AT&T Geo Plot

As we enter the fourth year of commercial LTE networks, operators who have been at it for a while are starting to transition from providing basic macro network coverage across a large swath of territory to improving and enhancing the performance of their networks. As revealed in this report, one critical area that requires a lot of [immediate] attention is in-building coverage along with the requisite capacity to satisfy the needs of the in-building mobile data subscriber.

With the continued support of Accuver, we leveraged its XCAL-M drive test solution and its enhanced support for in-building testing to evaluate the performance of four LTE networks encompassing Band 4, Band 7, Band 13, and Band 17. In addition to drive testing the outdoor macro network as we have done numerous times in the past, we ventured indoors to map out the network performance in a number of prominent publicly-accessible buildings, including five major airport terminals, two shopping malls, two hotels and a large convention center. Once we completed the testing campaign, we used the Accuver XCAP post-processing solution to analyze the data and to reach our conclusions on how LTE performs in an in-building scenario. SRG takes full responsibility for the analysis and conclusions that we provide in this report.

We've leveraged the Accuver tools numerous times in the past to provide the industry with what we believe is very valuable and insightful information and we look forward to working with them in the future.

In this 75-page report we provide the answers to several important questions, including the following:

1. How loaded are today's outdoor macro LTE networks and how does the outdoor loading compare with loading that exists in various publicly-accessible buildings where a large number of people congregate and use their mobile devices?
2. How does network performance degrade as a function of network loading and are there material differences between the outdoor and indoor networks?
3. Will today's in-building network solutions scale to meet the projected growth of mobile data traffic?
4. Does a 700 MHz LTE network overlaid on an operator's existing cellular grid offer sufficient in-building coverage? Will it meet the performance criteria of FirstNet and their public safety network?
5. Can a dual-band strategy involving Band 4 (coverage) and Band 7 (capacity) provide sufficient in-building coverage and capacity?
6. How do coverage-related issues differ between the downlink and the uplink and as a function of the frequency band?
7. What are the performance differences between the Verizon Wireless and AT&T LTE networks? How do the differences in network loading influence the results?
8. What will happen to the current coverage profile once networks experience higher traffic levels and available network resources become limited?

To answer these questions, we present a wealth of information in 77 figures, plus we include commentary and analysis of other test results that we did not include in the report.

Analyzed KPIs include the following:

1. PDSCH/PUSCH Throughput
2. Utilization Rate (percentage of network resources assigned to a mobile device)
3. RSRP
4. Power Headroom
5. SINR
6. CQI
7. MIMO Availability
8. Transmit Power
9. Modulation Schemes
10. Serving Cell Site PCI
11. Resource Block Utilization
12. Rank Indicator / Transmission Mode

Types of figures that we use in this report include the following:

1. Scatter Plots
a. SINR versus PDSCH
b. Power Headroom versus RSRP
2. Pie Charts
a. Modulation Schemes (64 QAM, 16 QAM and QPSK)
b. Rank Indicator 2 versus Rank Indictor 1
c. PDSCH/PUSCH Throughput
3. Probability Distribution Plots
a. PDSCH Throughput
b. PUSCH Throughput
c. RSRP
d. SINR
e. CQI
f. Power Headroom
g. Resource Block Allocation
4. Time Series Plots with Event Tags
a. RSRP / Cell PCI for indoors and outdoors
b. Power Headroom / Cell PCI for indoors and outdoors
5. Geo Location Plots (indoors and outdoors) of virtually all KPIs

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