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London Needs 70,000 Cells For 4G

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the add-a-few-more dept.

Communications 124

judgecorp writes "How many cells does it take to cover a city? In London's case, it will take 70,000 cells by 2015 for the next-generation LTE network needed for 4G mobile broadband, according to a calculation from PicoChip. A shame that's too late for 2012, when Mayor Boris Johnson warns that mobile data demands during the Olympics may overload the current 3G network"

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124 comments

P2P? (0)

slashhasse (1153161) | more than 2 years ago | (#37550688)

Why isn't P2P used in cellphone networks?

Re:P2P? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37550720)

Because that would kill everyones battery.

Re:P2P? (3, Interesting)

adolf (21054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37550804)

Because that would kill everyones battery.

Not if the P2P back-end existed only in vehicular or fixed installations, instead of on one's hip.

Re:P2P? (0)

RCGodward (1235102) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552302)

+1 but I can't moderate with this stupid mouse...

RCGodward (1235102), you're the next contestant on (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37554066)

And now, from here until eternity, whenever someone looks up RCGodward (1235102), they will note that one of his contributions was simply "+1 but I can't moderate with this stupid mouse..."

A few thoughts would cross that someone's mind:

1. RCGodward (1235102) can't use a mouse OR a keyboard (hint: you can moderate comments with a keyboard),
2. RCGodward (1235102) couldn't figure out how to moderate comments in the ordinary way, so he quickly posts "+1 but I can't moderate with this stupid mouse..." in the hopes that the site would somehow divine his intent and award the poster in question +1,
3. RCGodward (1235102) was so anxious to contribute anything that he quickly fired off a reply containing nothing more than "+1 but I can't moderate with this stupid mouse..."
4. Some combination of the above.

The only conclusion they would draw, after due consideration of the above, is that RCGodward (1235102) is of below average intelligence and should be regarded accordingly. This will have definite economic implications for RCGodward (1235102), and it is recommended that he resign himself to a future full of asking "would you like fries with that?" to McDonalds patrons.

Re:RCGodward (1235102), you're the next contestant (1)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 2 years ago | (#37554530)

Or do what I do and start posting more meaningful posts to bury the bad one and hope nobody notices.

Re:P2P? (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 2 years ago | (#37550738)

Why does anyone want traffic clogging up their pipe when the problem is the big pipe.
Scattering transmission locallty to other routers only spreads the problem out..

Re:P2P? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37550764)

Right... because we wouldn't all throw the worlds biggest hissy-fit. ;)

Re:P2P? (1)

LucidBeast (601749) | more than 2 years ago | (#37550966)

I guess you can solve local connectivity with p2p, but I don't think it gives you more bandwidth. Transmitters are still sharing a resource.

Re:P2P? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37551174)

it's fucking hard to get working properly. abuse, quality of service, assumability of getting service, lag, etc.

and electricity. you really want to route through your pocket? I don't think so.

wifi meshes have been daydream solutions for over a decade now. You'd be amazed how many phd's and how much money has been sunk in that! anyways.. cell ap's need not to be that expensive. routing networks and bandwidth for them.. now that's what the mobile companies don't want to pay for. just do the math, 10 million users > 70 000 cells.

Re:P2P? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551378)

Cell phone communications require synchronous communications and P2P is mostly asynchronous in nature.

Take for instance the standard smartphone. It has no fan, no swap memory, and its limited battery life is its biggest constraint. Run a P2P app on it and just see what happens. It will run super hot in your pocket. And its battery could get drained long before you ever get a chance to make your first phone call of the day.

wrong HW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37551588)

Furthermore, GSM, 3G, regulations etc do not allow the mobile to TX in the downlink band. A mobile is incapable of doing so, coz of filters in the TX path.

Re:wrong HW (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551988)

Logical filters, maybe, but certainly not physical ones. Otherwise, AT&T's GSM network (and a fairly big chunk of T-Mobile/US's network) couldn't exist. In America, using the same band for uplink and downlink is the norm. I believe this is also the case in Australia and a few other places where 850MHz and 1900MHz (without 2150MHz) are used for UMTS.

Re:wrong HW (1)

mkremer (66885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37554276)

Uplink and downlink are at different frequencies in the US on all the equipment I have ever worked with. Have never heard of cellular equipment that uses the same frequencies for uplink and downlink.

I believe the GSM standard requires different uplink and downlink frequencies also.

HUH? (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552088)

What do you mean by P2P?

Point to point? That's already how cell phone networks connect - cell phone to cell site.

Peer to peer? That only works if the person you happen to call is very local, cell phones don't have the power to go far.

I think you probably meant to ask why not create a mesh network, and that brings up issues of security and power consumption, without really helping the bandwidth. (Power consumption, because it would require more phones to be actively operating, rather than being idle, to work).

Re:P2P? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552912)

The powers that be don't want us to have mesh networking devices because that is the technology that will let us route around them. Not the first devices, of course, but if you have a bunch of mesh networking devices running around carrying IP traffic on some other network the logical thing to do is to eliminate the other layer and run an IP network. This is the same reason for the unnecessary resistance to IPv6 (as opposed to the necessary resistance from the incompetent.) The last thing these corporations want is for us to all end up on some kind of network where we don't need them.

Re:P2P? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552924)

The whole POINT of a cellphone network is to get the maximum data moved while using only a small ammount of RF bandwidth. They do this by

1: moving the data a short distance using radio and moving it most of the way over wired networks. As the user density increases networks add more base stations so that the signal travels less distance by radio and the power and reuse distances are reduced.
2: carefully planning the use of frequency space first by allocating it to towers and then having the towers allocate it to users.

multi hop routing (what I presume you meant by P2P) with end devices acting as repeaters is a nice idea if you are trying to maximise coverage and have low capacity needs, it's a crappy idea if you are trying to provide maximum capacity.

no terminals (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37550708)

A shame that 70000 cells are not rolled out by 2012?

I would call that wise money management, given how many 4G terminals there will be available (i.e. few) sompared to the number of 3G devices.

Better to build WiFi / 3G picocells for the Olympic' hotspots.

Re:no terminals (2)

mrbester (200927) | more than 2 years ago | (#37550936)

Agreed. Sort out the crap HSDPA data provision I get in central London before adding another underperforming network.

Re:no terminals (2)

Suferick (2438038) | more than 2 years ago | (#37550944)

Plus the fact that the frequencies won't be allocated until 2013, after a long and elaborate auction process

Re:no terminals (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551644)

London is MASSIVE. Seriously, look at it on a satellite photo.

I suspect the area where the Olympics are going to be could be covered with a lot less than 70,000 cells. Anything else is just whining.

Re:no terminals (2)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551766)

Yep, the area where the Olympics is going to be held is actually much greater than the area of Greater London, where most of the games will be played, and those that are within Greater London will be spread out across the city...

The football games will be played at various stadia [wikipedia.org] up and down the country. Glasgow, Cardiff, Coventry, Newcastle and Manchester. And of course, the sailing will be down in Dorset, slalom canoeing in the Lee Valley in Herts., sprint canoeing and rowing at Dorney Lake nr. Windsor, paralympic cycling at Brands Hatch and mountain-biking at Hadleigh Farm nr. Southend.

Re:no terminals (1)

slim (1652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551834)

The various stadia will be used to hosting a capacity crowd, and phone networks will have provided for them.

Presumably the phone networks will have provided adequate cover for the newly built Olympic facilities.

They'll probably be putting in temporary cells for the rural events too.

I doubt this is going to be a problem; and if it is, it's negligence on the part of the networks, not the result of a fundamentally difficult problem.

Re:no terminals (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551814)

London is MASSIVE. Seriously, look at it on a satellite photo.

Or just try to get from where I am in London to the Olympic area. I can get to France quicker. Yes, Greater London is over 600 square miles, about twice the area of New York City.

I suspect the area where the Olympics are going to be could be covered with a lot less than 70,000 cells. Anything else is just whining.

There's likely to be a lot of extra cellphone traffic in the centre of London and at the usual tourist hotspots too. But still, I'd guess that boosting the coverage over about 10% of London would probably be more than enough. Olympics visitors who spread as far as Cricklewood or Croydon are likely to be sufficiently thin on the ground as not to present a significant extra loading.

Re:no terminals (2)

rockout (1039072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551878)

Or just try to get from where I am in London to the Olympic area. I can get to France quicker. Yes, Greater London is over 600 square miles, about twice the area of New York City.

Greater London may be 600 square miles (New York is actually 482 sq miles, if you include the water, which you should, since you have to go over it to get from one part of the city to another) but Greater New York is 11,842 sq miles.

Re:no terminals (2)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552042)

Or just try to get from where I am in London to the Olympic area. I can get to France quicker. Yes, Greater London is over 600 square miles, about twice the area of New York City.

Greater London may be 600 square miles (New York is actually 482 sq miles, if you include the water, which you should, since you have to go over it to get from one part of the city to another) but Greater New York is 11,842 sq miles.

The UK equivalent to Greater New York would either be "London and the Home Counties" or "The Thames Valley" (more likely the former), not "Greater London". Greater London is used for disambiguation from the "City of London" which is just over one square mile and is the financial district of Greater London. The City of London is to Greater London as Wall Street is to New York City. It's a (typically British?) quirk that we have to call what everybody thinks of as the city of London by another name because we're already using the term "the City of London" for something else.

Re:no terminals (2)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552020)

Also, we can't even begin the 4G roll-out until the analogue TV signals are switched off, and that happens in London in April 2012.

Says the manufacturer of cells (5, Insightful)

Nkwe (604125) | more than 2 years ago | (#37550752)

FTA: "Femtocell maker Picochip says London needs large numbers of micro cell towers by 2015" and "Dr Pulley’s report also stated that there needs to be in excess of ten million small cells worldwide by end of 2015". Now why would a maker of small cells say that?

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (1)

Zuriel (1760072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37550780)

Small cell maker says there is need for small cells.

Yes, obviously self serving, but that doesn't mean they're *wrong*.

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37551144)

It shifts the expectation bias towards them being wrong though. If infrastructure makers were to be believed, all major networks would have collapsed under the load long ago, so why should we expect this prediction to be any different? That said, perhaps the network operators can for once actually reinvest some of the money they take from us into providing more bandwidth. That would be much preferable to their investments in "smart" routers which only manage the scarcity.

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (2)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#37550962)

This is the LTE network for 4G ... which will give mobile users faster broadband speed than their home broadband!

The current fastest home broadband on copper is 24Mb/s - and cable runs at 50Mb/s ... LTE will give 100Mb/s on the move and more if stationary ...why exactly do we need this and who is paying ?

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551122)

LTE will give 100Mb/s on the move and more if stationary ...why exactly do we need this and who is paying ?

How?

Every cell will need backhaul which is going to be either copper or (more likely) fibre, yes? An ADSL line's no good here. And you need 70,000 such cells in London alone.

The majority of telephone exchanges in the UK haven't got FTTC yet, so where is all the fibre they're going to connect these cells to?

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (1)

evilandi (2800) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552120)

>where is all the fibre they're going to connect these cells to?

www.virginmedia.com

BT don't have a monopoly in larger towns, and especially not in London. Virgin have cable - proper fibre - throughout most of London (admittedly not all of it, but enough to base the intial phase of a 4G/LTE roll-out on it).

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552226)

Virgin don't have the monopoly on Fibre - all the BT backbone is Fibre to the Exchange which is where these will be connected to not the Local Loop copper

There are also several companies who do LLU and can do you a Fire connection the a BT exchange, and get 50Mb/s with no problems .... the infrastructure is there

But my point was if no-one can be bothered to but fast fibre to each house (Virgin only do upto 50Mb/s ... well below the possible limit) who is going to pay to do this...?

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (3, Insightful)

thasmudyan (460603) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551440)

LTE will give 100Mb/s on the move and more if stationary ...why exactly do we need this and who is paying ?

Don't worry, if the 3G precedent holds up in 4G, the actual data rates will be MUCH lower and latency will be atrocious.

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (1)

MrZilla (682337) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552200)

While data speeds will of course depend a lot on how large cells the network operator is using, the number of users in that cell, the usage pattern of each user etc etc, latency should be overall noticeably lower in an LTE network compared to 3G networks of today.

A lot of the latency that is felt by the user is caused by the Radio Access Network (RAN) infrastructure, and the way that the core network operates. In LTE, a lot of design decisions have been made that aim to reduce latency, in part by simplifying the RAN and in part by modernizing the core networks.

Computer gaming (highly latency sensitive stuff like shooters) is commonly mentioned as a key application for LTE users.

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (2)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551080)

I've heard something similar from elsewhere - the thing that isn't very widely known about 4G is it requires at least ten times the number of cells in order to work. Which means the likelihood of seeing a rollout beyond the biggest cities is slim initially, to say the least.

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551234)

I have lived in London for 8 years and I have to say that London is not and never could be ready for the Olympics. It's already way too over-crowded. There's no chance any of the infrastructure can handle another million people. In particular, transport, telecoms and services such as shops and restaurants.

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37551292)

That's good because there are no way near a million extra people coming to watch the Olympics.

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551410)

Not my estimations...

At the height of the games up to 500,000 spectators are expected to be watching various competitions with as many again attending cultural events.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/london-olympics-business/8255383/2012-Olympics-chiefs-urge-millions-to-avoid-London-to-prevent-transport-chaos.html [telegraph.co.uk]

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37551436)

500,000 is less then a million. A large number of those 500,000 will already live in London.

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37551498)

Pedantic much?

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37551610)

But not all people coming for the Olympics will be 'spectators'. Many come there to work.

A few thousand will work for the arenas(security, support etc), a few thousand for the media, hundreds of athletes, trainers etc, All these people also have to eat, drink, shit and travel. Hundreds of people selling food, and hundreds of buss/taxidrivers and so on.

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551464)

Are you implying that 500,000 is a million?

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551528)

No, I'm implying that 500,000 spectators with as many again attending cultural events is a million.

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (2)

Custard Horse (1527495) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551662)

It bears a mention for our American cousins that London is part of the UK rather than London *being* the UK. The UK mainland is actually made up of 3 countries. Before your minds melt at the thought of fitting 3 countries into London, I refer you back to my first sentence.

In the UK we whine and bitch about travelling 5 miles to work or travelling 200 miles for a holiday (vacation). It sounds pathetic but there are very few straight roads (the remaining ones were largely built by the Romans) so forward progress is slow.

However, lots of people will make the effort to travel to London for the Olympics. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most people. Over 2 million spectators lined the streets of London to watch the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana so it is most likely that there will be tourists from near and far milling about London during the Olympics sucking up bandwidth and generally getting in the way.

Fortunately I have no intention of attending - it's 106 miles away from me for crying out loud - much too far...

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (3, Interesting)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551900)

I have to say though, being french, that I'm glad that you got the Olympics games instead of Paris. By these debt-crisis times, spending as much as you do (and as much as we would have done) for such a thing is kind of silly.

Note that I'm not saying we are better in this regard. We (as a nation) wanted it, and I'm sure we would have spent as much money as you do if we would have had them. Fortunately, we suck ass at marketing, so there is no way in hell we could have beat you to it.

Good luck.

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (3, Funny)

Custard Horse (1527495) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552612)

We'll need it.

I couldn't care less about the Olympics. I will happily watch it on TV wherever it might be - I just don't want to have to clear up after everybody has buggered off. I also don't want the cleaning bill. Unfortunately, the government did me over desk with that one so I'll have to live with it...

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552648)

In the UK we whine and bitch about travelling 5 miles to work or travelling 200 miles for a holiday (vacation). It sounds pathetic but there are very few straight roads (the remaining ones were largely built by the Romans) so forward progress is slow.

Complaining about 5 miles? Hell, my commute is 55 miles in each direction (Got a job in another part of the state, haven't moved just yet; can mostly work at home). I'd kill for a 5 mile commute!

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (1)

Custard Horse (1527495) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552928)

Yes, it sounds pathetic as I said in my original post. Are you still reeling from my "The UK mainland is actually made up of 3 countries" comment?

A 55 commute is almost exactly the distance I have to travel tomorrow from the south of Birmingham (Birmingham is the second city in England and surprisingly is not in London, to Northamptonshire which is equidistant to London and Birmingham (this does not mean Northamptonshire is in the middle of London, however).

The journey involves 2 motorways (freeways), 2 A-roads, 2 B-roads and around 8 local roads and is likely to take around 2 hours, maybe slightly less but still a significant chunk of my day in which you would probably imagine me making tea and deciding which smoking jacket I am to wear for my evening meal.

The UK has smaller roads and therefore smaller cars. The roads are twisty and are apt to change altitude frequently and precipitously. In short, driving is tiring. Cruise control is next to useless, roads are congested and all of the fun things have been outlawed - mobile phones (cellphones), TV, eating, drinking and speeding..

The price of fuel is also a factor, it works out to be around $10USD per gallon.

On a plus note, I have never seen a car driving itself haplessly in a circle without a driver. That *never* happens in the UK even though there are some automatic transmission cars. I suspect that PEBWAC is probably to blame.

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 2 years ago | (#37553730)

"Are you still reeling from my "The UK mainland is actually made up of 3 countries" comment? "

You've got 3 countries? Woo. We've got 50. We just call them states.

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (2)

gnarfel (1135055) | more than 2 years ago | (#37553316)

I find this somewhat funny, I work in the USA in New York where I have to travel ~200 miles *daily* to get to work, drive out to see my son at his mom's house, then drive home again.

However, 180 miles of that is a straight shot up a highway with no stops along the way.

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551904)

Hmmm. I see. Next time, I'll try to read all the words before replying something silly.

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (2)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551790)

Give Londoners not essential to the Olympics two weeks off during the Olympics, I'm sure they'll appreciate a chance to escape the madness... :)

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37551992)

Or we could say piss on this nonsense, and not have everyone off of bloody work just so you can watch some games. Fucking children, the lot of you.

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (2)

dintech (998802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552038)

I don't know, it's looking like a lot of employers will be encouraged to encourage remote working. This is what happened during the Sydney Olympics. Whether this actually materializes into time of for people via 'shirking from home' remains to be seen.

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | more than 2 years ago | (#37554808)

Give Londoners not essential to the Olympics two weeks off during the Olympics, I'm sure they'll appreciate a chance to escape the madness... :)

Here in Hannover, Germany, we just take a couple of weeks off when CeBIT rolls around and rent our apartments out to visitors for about 5 to 10 times what we pay in rent ourselves. We then use that money to take a nice holiday somewhere.
Well, that's the theory... being a geek, I tend to just go to CeBIT, much to the dismay of my wife who'd prefer a free holiday.

Londoners that aren't interested in hanging around for the Olympics should definitely consider the same.

Re:Says the manufacturer of cells (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552784)

Dr Pulley’s report also stated that there needs to be in excess of ten million small cells worldwide by end of 2015

They can have some of mine. I shed way more than that each year just from my skin.

Offload to ADSL? (2)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37550772)

The gear exists to create a femto-cell in your home where you reroute your phone over your ADSL/cable. I often wondered, why don't they allow strangers to jump on the unused bandwith? Say I have a 10 MBit subscription, but my modem can handle 20. Why doesn't the telco open the remaining 10 for anybody comming by? Specially in downtown Londo where a lot of buildings must have direct fiber... Anybody can answer this?

Re:Offload to ADSL? (4, Informative)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#37550932)

Because in London a lot of buildings don't have direct fibre. There is the odd spot, but the majority simply don't. Most people are connected via ADSL, syncing at the maximum possible speed (the average is something like 6mbit on an "up-to" 24mbit ADSL2+ connection) so there is no left over bandwidth.
However, BT do offer a service whereby their own home routers create a separate wireless network in which they allow other BT customers to use when they're not at home, so the idea isn't completely lost.

Re:Offload to ADSL? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551030)

Are you suggesting they do this for free? They may actually lose existing customers if those customers find out they can piggy back on their neighbors connection for free.

In any case, they're already over-selling more bandwidth than they currently have. And this system works relatively well when only a fraction of subscribers are using their service at a time, but that idea quickly falls apart when everybody starts using their paid-for service at the very exact same time.

Re:Offload to ADSL? (1)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551560)

No, I am thinking telco ABC sells you a mobile phone and your neighbour an ADSL. The neighbour broadcasts 2 SSIDs, one for personal use, the other "ABC_FEMTO_12345". Your phone contacts an ABC server over 3G and sais:"Hey, I can see this Wifi here, can I use it?". ABC replies: "Sure, Logon with password XXX and do an SSL with certificate 123". You pay the same datarate whichever way it is channeled and your neighbour doesn't give a damn except maybe he is using a little extra electricity. Man in the middle is avoided because the Telco gives you the required certificates over 3G.

Re:Offload to ADSL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37551032)

security

Re:Offload to ADSL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37551046)

It probably boils down to a problem involving money.

Re:Offload to ADSL? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551404)

Another poster already said security. Most people, when they make phonecalls, expect them to be secure. They aren't, but they're vaguely secure because your call is encrypted (by weak, broken, encryption in most cellphone standards) to the tower and is then kept on a private network (or, in a few cases, a VPN) until it gets to the person you call. The intermediate hops are all in the hands of various telephone companies.

Now, it would make good engineering sense if I could set up my own cell and advertise it. Anyone who gets a strong signal could use it, and I'd then charge their telephone company a small amount of money for each call that was made through it. The person making the call would then have to trust me not to spy on the traffic, and trust my ISP to deliver the packets with low enough latency and jitter for a telephone call. The first part could be solved if mobile phones did end-to-end encryption, but they don't. The second part is a lot harder.

Re:Offload to ADSL? (2)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551584)

Only you don't require that kind of bandwith for talking. You require it for uploading to youtube. And the telco can send encryption keys over the "safe" 3G / 4G network, so you can build an end-to end tunnel over a "non-safe" Wifi connection.

Re:Offload to ADSL? (2)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551860)

Contrary to the nay-sayers who've already replied to you, BT already offer this service (BT FON) through residential connections, but only to other BT customers, and Virgin are rolling out a similar service (but with an access point in their box in the street). Some mobile phone companies offer free subscriptions to various WiFi networks (generally in pubs/restaurants) to reduce load on their 3G cells. One company offers 3G femtocells which use a home broadband connection, I don't recall any details.

Also, I'd be surprised if many buildings in "downtown" (central) London don't have direct fibre. It's certainly available. There are thousands of financial companies, tech companies, etc, and a quick Google search shows many companies offering fibre to businesses.

(10 years ago I went to school in the centre of a much smaller British city. Two telecoms companies regularly "borrowed" the playground and covered it in fibre, presumably before sticking it in pipes underground.)

Re:Offload to ADSL? (1)

Doug Neal (195160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37554170)

Correct, BT has an extensive metro ethernet network in central London, as do half a dozen other companies.

Re:Offload to ADSL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37552474)

BT FON (which can be used on any ISP) is sort of like that, If i had a box, I'd do it.

Pick a prefix already! (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37550826)

First it was microcells, then nanocells, now femtocells. What's next, QuantumCells? PlanckCells? Eesshh.

microcells, nanocells and femtocells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37550892)

Umm ... because microcells, nanocells and femtocells are all different!

"Typically the range of a microcell is less than two kilometers wide, a picocell is 200 meters or less, and a femtocell is on the order of 10 meters"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcell
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picocell
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Femtocells

Re:microcells, nanocells and femtocells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37551260)

Yeah, but those differ by factors of 10, and the prefixes are meant to be factors of 1000 (and they skipped nano-).

Unless they refer to volume, in which case a "cell" must be on the order of the combined volume of Earth's oceans.

It's shameful, really.

Re:Pick a prefix already! (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#37550972)

Logically Attocell ...but the range would be about 10cm ...

ATTOCELL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37551612)

That actually exists :

http://www.computerwoche.de/netzwerke/mobile-wireless/2363195/

How many cells? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37550926)

I thought this was about living biological cells. "70,000 by 2015" and now I'm really confused. Oh, I get it now. We are talking about cell phones.

Not quite accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37551198)

Headline is wrong. 70,000 cells are needed if small cells are used rather than traditionally sized cells. This story is based on a report by a company that makes/sells small cells.

around 2 Million simultaneous users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37551208)

2M users and 70K cells for 1500km^2 of London?. I am pretty bad at math but I am not being paid to be bad at math. Sounds like they are projecting inflated costs to justify inflated usage fees. I know I am ready for total market de-regulation.

Already overloaded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37551222)

The London 3G network is already overloaded. Try places like Liverpool street or any other, it is a shame.

70,000 small sells according to small cell vendor (2)

demiurg (108464) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551758)

The calculation is probably correct assuming the whole city needs to be covered by small (femto/pico) cells, which is of course something that small cell vendor would like very much. In reality, many areas with relatively low population/phone density can probably be covered by a macro network and high density areas - shopping malls, apartment buildings, university campuses will need to be covered by femto or pico cells.

Re:70,000 small sells according to small cell vend (2)

__Reason__ (181288) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551838)

In reality, many areas with relatively low population/phone density can probably be covered by a macro network and high density areas - shopping malls, apartment buildings, university campuses will need to be covered by femto or pico cells.

Sure - there'll always be a mix of small and large cells. But most of London is "high density areas". And it can be very difficult/expensive to find good sites to put full sized cell towers. If you can put many smaller cells inside buildings etc, just like WiFi stations, then it'll probably save the carriers a lot of money.

The current cell coverage method is going to die (1)

aglider (2435074) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551866)

The current deployment of BTSs for cell coverage needs a different approach.
Especially because in a crowded city like London, most of the BTSs would be femtocells [wikipedia.org] or picocells [wikipedia.org].
If only a BTS [wikipedia.org] would cost, say UKP 1,000 each, that coverage would cost UKP 70M, without counting the yearly maintenance costs.
For each non-virtual operator.
Unless we also start pushing for telecom infrastructure sharing [wikipedia.org].

Duh? (1)

znerk (1162519) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552068)

A shame that's too late for 2012, when Mayor Boris Johnson warns that mobile data demands during the Olympics may overload the current 3G network.

Gee, ya think?

Although, to be quite honest, there's no such thing as enough preparation/bandwidth/security/anything for an Olympics.

Re:Duh? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552416)

A shame that's too late for 2012, when Mayor Boris Johnson warns that mobile data demands during the Olympics may overload the current 3G network.

Gee, ya think?

Although, to be quite honest, there's no such thing as enough preparation/bandwidth/security/anything for an Olympics.

It will all come to a standstill when the muzzies let off another bomb.

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37554934)

A shame that's too late for 2012, when Mayor Boris Johnson warns that mobile data demands during the Olympics may overload the current 3G network.

Gee, ya think?

Although, to be quite honest, there's no such thing as enough preparation/bandwidth/security/anything for an Olympics.

It will all come to a standstill when the fundies let off another bomb.

There, fixed that for you.

Perhaps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37552480)

If they disable their monitoring and eavesdropping software they'd save a little bandwidth.

Sing along to The Clash (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552986)

London calling to the faraway towns
Now there's too much traffic and network goes down
London calling to old CGI Perl,
Come texting the shortcodes, all you boys and girls
London calling, now don't look at us
But that silly iPhone mania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain't got no bling
'Cept for the ringtone that sounds like swing.

The tech age is coming, the screen is zooming in
Engines stop running and the bandwidth growing thin
A critical error, but I have no fear
London is lagging and I've spilled all my beer.

Start adding them to streetcams! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37553228)

And you'll get the best wireless broadband coverage in the world

Won't they start by putting in cells near the... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37554636)

Olympic site? I'm betting just a few thousand 4G cells could handle all the Olympic traffic.

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