Jump to content

The Wall

  • entries
    401
  • comments
    6,079
  • views
    4,749,684

Contributors to this blog

About this blog

Entries in this blog

Teaser: Samsung Galaxy S5 gets a boost via Wi-Fi but not carrier aggregation

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, March 10, 2014 - 8:47 AM MDT   After official unveiling at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona a few weeks ago, the Samsung Galaxy S5 made public its authorizations in the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database at the start of this weekend. All of the domestic variants are there, including the A3LSMG900P, which in its tri band LTE configuration and "P" designation is the obvious Sprint variant.   As expected of a Sprint high end handset, the Galaxy S5 ticks off all of the checkboxes: tri band LTE, UE category 4, global roaming capability, 802.11ac, NFC, wireless charging, etc. It also appears to improve upon the RF output of last year's single band Samsung Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3. From a common uplink EIRP standpoint, the Galaxy S5 can max out up to 3-4 dB greater on band 25 LTE 1900, hitting 26.85 dBm in the middle of the PCS band, falling off 1-2 dB at the extremes of the band. Additionally, band 41 LTE max output looks relatively healthy at 25.03 dBm.   In a pleasing move, the FCC authorization docs for the Galaxy S5 do include an antenna diagram -- something that is unfortunately becoming less common, per my mention in the recent HTC M8 FCC article. But in this case, we are able to show a visual of the dual WLAN antennas required for Wi-Fi 2x2 MIMO support, allowing MCS index raw data rates up to 300 Mbps over 802.11n and 866.7 Mbps over 802.11ac. Previously, two spatial stream Wi-Fi has been limited to some laptops and a select few tablets. Thus, the Galaxy S5 is pushing the handset envelope in that regard. See the antenna diagram below:     Of course, with no separate CDMA2000 and LTE antennas, as depicted in the diagram above, the Galaxy S5 does not support SVDO nor SVLTE. No surprises there, since Sprint tri band LTE handsets have all been single radio path with e/CSFB.   But continuing on the Wi-Fi front, the Galaxy S5 does include a unique simultaneous transmission mode: Wi-Fi and LTE. Now, this is not simultaneous Wi-Fi and LTE in the typical sense that Wi-Fi is used to tether an LTE connection. This is a dual IP stack connection over both Wi-Fi and LTE that Samsung dubs Download Booster, allowing packets to be split up and delivered by both connections, thereby increasing data speeds.   Editorially, S4GRU has some concerns about inclusion of the bonded connection Download Booster, since it may engender "unlimited" data users to remain connected to LTE, too, while on secure Wi-Fi at home, work, school, etc. In most cases, Wi-Fi alone is sufficiently fast for all smartphone activities. And that is why S4GRU has long advocated offloading to Wi-Fi -- when/where possible and secure -- so as to help maintain valuable LTE capacity for truly mobile users. That said, we are curious to see the real world implementation of Download Booster before passing judgment.   Finally, many hoped that the Galaxy S5 might be the first Sprint handset to support LTE Advanced carrier aggregation because Sprint plans to use its acquired Clearwire spectrum to aggregate multiple band 41 20 MHz TDD carriers. That capability, though, will have to wait for the presumed Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy S6, or some other device.   The carrier aggregation omission is worth mentioning only because the A3LSMG900A variant headed to AT&T does support inter band downlink carrier aggregation. This allows the Galaxy S5 to bond up to 10 MHz FDD of AT&T's low frequency band 17 LTE 700 with up to 10 MHz FDD of its mid frequency band 2 LTE 1900 or band 4 LTE 2100+1700. Indeed, AT&T carrier aggregation is already in use in Chicago, as Gigaom's Kevin Fitchard reported last week.   Well, that is the FCC skinny on the upcoming Sprint variant Galaxy S5. Nothing revolutionary on the cellular side of things, but with MIMO and Download Booster, it does offer up some interesting Wi-Fi enhancements.   Sources: FCC, Samsung

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

Teaser: How does HTC M8 RF performance stack up?

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, March 3, 2014 - 5:37 PM MST   No one is publicly sure what the codenamed HTC M8 will finally be called. HTC One 2, HTC One More, or maybe pull an Apple move and just call it yet again the HTC One. Regardless, all of the big four domestic variants were added to the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database today. The last to have its authorizations appear online this afternoon was none other than NM80P6B700 -- the tri band LTE variant undeniably headed to Sprint.   As has been our trend over the past six months, we will still call this a teaser article -- albeit make it more extensive than usual. And we may not do a full RF breakdown in the future. Now that tri band LTE and 802.11ac, for example, are de facto standards among top of the line handsets, while SVDO and SVLTE have been laid to rest, there is less news to report on the RF side.   But we do want to run a brief RF ERP/EIRP numbers comparison among the high end HTC handsets that have graced the Sprint lineup over the past two years because, well, HTC has developed a bit of a reputation among S4GRU members for losing its lead in the RF performance department. Despite its moniker, the HTC EVO LTE was downright poor on LTE, and the follow up Sprint variant HTC One and HTC One max were average at best.   Numbers wise, the HTC M8 looks like a step in the right direction. Per the customary caveats, the available test bench measurements represent only maximum uplink ERP/EIRP, so they do not necessarily reflect the full two way RF performance equation. However, they can provide a decent advance peek inside at the RF proficiency of a handset.   In that regard, the HTC M8 offers some improvements over its predecessors. See the table snapshot below (or link to it on Google Docs):     https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ArY31Mr219-ydHh0c2xsUWFmbE1udW5vSnlSMjA3TFE&usp=sharing   More and more, OEMs are hiding behind the shroud of confidentiality and not allowing public inspection of the antenna diagrams in their FCC OET filings. HTC now appears to have jumped on that bandwagon. Fortunately, the Sprint variant HTC M8 docs do reveal some antenna gain figures, and those numbers are not always divulged, diagrams or not. Of note are unity 0 dBi or positive 1 dBi antenna gains for >1 GHz bands. Compare these to the -3.5 dBi antenna gain for PCS 1900 MHz in the HTC EVO LTE.   Additionally, though this is not apparent in the table because it lists only maximum figures, the ranges of max and min ERP/EIRP within the various frequencies in each CDMA2000 band class and within the various carrier bandwidths in each LTE band are more tightly clustered, more consistent than usual. This, likewise, could indicate enhanced antenna engineering.   And, finally, the single radio path handsets that have arrived in conjunction with Sprint tri band LTE so far have generally been better RF performers. Will the HTC M8 -- or whatever it gets called -- follow suit? Early returns indicate so, but once S4GRU membership gets its hands on a few samples, field testing in the coming weeks will tell the full story.   Source: FCC Thread: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/5008-htc-m8new-flagship/

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

Sprint Direct Connect Now Android App available on 6 smartphones

by Rickie Smith Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, February 4, 2014 - 3:30 PM MST     After a long time of no news on the Sprint Direct Connect app, there is finally something to report. On February 3rd, Sprint launched its Direct Connect Now app on six devices, plus announced three other devices that will get support for it in the future.   The app is free to download, but some plans have it as a service add-on for $5 a month for unlimited use. For other plans it's a free add on feature.     Phones now supported LG G2 Galaxy S4 Galaxy Note 3 LG G Flex LG Optimus F3 Kyocera Hydro Edge Devices coming soon S4 Mini Galaxy Mega Galaxy S4 Spark Edition Now I haven't had any real world experience with it yet, but we would love to hear from people to see how it works compared to old Nextel Direct Connect.   Here is what we wrote about Direct Connect back in 2012: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/blog/1/entry-127-sprint-direct-connecttheres-an-app-for-that/    

Rickie546

Rickie546

"What's the frequency, Kenneth?" Interpreting your engineering screen. Part three.

by Andrew J. Shepherd
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Monday, February 3, 2014 - 8:47 AM MST Yes, it has been a while, but welcome to S4GRU's third installment in an ongoing series about the many signal metrics available on those engineering screens hidden inside most mobile devices. Both part one and part two date back to last spring, so check those out if you have not already or if you need a refresher. Part three has been a long time coming mostly for lack of a really relevant topic. But a question was just recently posed in The Forums here at S4GRU about EARFCNs and center frequencies for band 41 TD-LTE 2600. Previously, we covered that 3GPP relationship for band 25 LTE 1900 and touched upon it for band 26 LTE 800, but when we did so, band 41 had not yet made its domestic debut. So, now that band 41 -- christened Sprint Spark -- is being overlaid on Clearwire WiMAX sites in the top 100 markets and tri band LTE handsets are finding their way into more and more Sprint users' hands, it is due time for an educational look at those 20 MHz TDD carriers being deployed across the massive BRS/EBS 2600 MHz band. First, let us take a look at the BRS/EBS band plan itself. Both it and band 41 encompass 2496-2690 MHz for a total of 194 MHz. The BRS spectrum is licensed -- mostly but not entirely in every market to Sprint subsidiaries. The EBS spectrum is also licensed but to educational institutions, which may then choose to lease the spectrum to commercial entities. So, even though band 41 is maximally 194 MHz wide, Sprint does not necessarily control all of that spectrum. And some of that spectrum -- such as the EBS J block and BRS/EBS K block -- is not intended for broadband uses. In other words, contiguity is periodically interrupted. Plus, WiMAX carriers still occupy much of that BRS/EBS spectrum. All told, band 41 in the US is not quite the huge blank slate that some make it out to be for Sprint to deploy 20 MHz TDD carriers. For reference, see the BRS/EBS band plan: Next, we will examine a couple of band 41 engineering screenshots drawn from The Forums: Just as we did for band 25 in part one of this series, we can extract the channel numbers (i.e. EARFCNs) and enter them into an equation to calculate the band 41 center frequencies: uplink/downlink center frequency (MHz) = 2496 + [0.1 × (EARFCN - 39650)] Because this is TDD, not FDD, we need to use only the "DL" channel number. In TDD, there are no separate frequencies for uplink and downlink. The LG screenshot on the left properly indicates the same EARFCN for both uplink and downlink. But good old Samsung "enginerring" on the right registers a different channel for the uplink, EARFCN 58978, a number which is an invalid value. So, when working with TDD, disregard any spurious "UL" channel number. To finish up our calculations, the range for band 41 EARFCNs is 39650-41589, so EARFCN 39991 is toward the low end of the the band, equating to a center frequency of 2530.1 MHz. And EARFCN 40978 comes out to a center frequency of 2628.8 MHz. Separated by nearly 100 MHz, the former is in the lower EBS segment, while the latter is in the contiguous BRS segment, as depicted in the aforementioned band plan graphic. Now, that 20 MHz TDD carrier at EARFCN 40978 is the one that we have documented most commonly across Sprint Spark markets. This was not surprising, since it is deployed in the up to 55.5 MHz of contiguous BRS spectrum that Sprint is licensed, not EBS spectrum that Sprint just leases. That said, we are seeing more and more reports of other EARFCNs, such as EARFCN 39991 detailed above. In other words, the band 41 EARFCN -- unlike the one and only PCS G block band 25 EARFCN -- can vary from market to market because of differences in spectrum licensing/leasing and remaining WiMAX carriers. Sprint's ultimate plan is to deploy multiple 20 MHz TDD carriers per market, putting it in an enviable position for satisfying the public's rapidly growing appetite for mobile data. However, do not misinterpret the multitude of current EARFCNs. We have no evidence to this point that the various EARFCNs indicate multiple 20 MHz TDD carriers in the same market. That is coming but probably will not be widespread prior to the WiMAX sunset slated for no earlier than 2015. In conclusion, S4GRU has created a tracking thread for the various band 41 EARFCNs as they pop up from market to market. Additionally, in our DL Center, we have made available a comprehensive WiMAX/TD-LTE carrier bandwidth and center frequency spreadsheet (screenshot below) that is continually updated as new EARFCNs get reported. If you are interested, we hope that many of you will continue to help us "crowdsource" this band 41 data so that we can get a clearer picture on Sprint Spark and BRS/EBS spectrum utilization.   Sources: 3GPP, FCC

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

LG LS740: Could it be a midrange RF powerhouse?

by Josh McDaniel Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, January 31, 2014   This year is shaping up to be an interesting one for Sprint handsets. In 2012, 15 LTE devices were released on the then brand new Sprint LTE 1900 network, while last year saw a 100 percent increase to 30 devices. And this year could be just as big of a year as last. So, what better way to start 2014 off right than with a tri-band LTE phone?   We present S4GRU's first FCC OET authorization article of 2014, the LG LS740, a midrange LG tri-band LTE handset not yet announced but presumably headed to Sprint. RF stats are pretty high for a midrange device, as you can see below. CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800) LTE bands 25, 26, 41 (i.e. LTE 1900/800, TD-LTE 2600) band 25 LTE 3/5/10 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth band 26 LTE 1.4/3/5/10 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth band 41 LTE 10/15/20 MHz TDD carrier bandwidth LTE UE category 4 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi 802.11n MCS index 7 (single spatial stream, 20 MHz carrier bandwidth, 400 ns guard interval) SVDO and SVLTE support absent RF ERP/EIRP maximum: 22.121 dBm (CDMA1X 800), 21.081-22.621 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 23.14 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 25.06-26.82 dBm (LTE 1900), 22.901-25.211 dBm (LTE 800), 24.9-26.29 dBm (TD-LTE 2600) NFC Antenna locations: notably absent from this article as LG has an on again/off again attitude about when it releases antenna diagrams Simultaneous transmission paths: (see FCC OET diagram below)     According to the FCC OET docs and Sprint UA profile, system specs for this device are as follows: Qualcomm MSM8926 (aka Snapdragon 400) 4.7 in screen 540 x 960 screen resolution Android 4.4 KitKat Bluetooth 4.0 2 GB RAM 32 GB ROM microSD slot absent 1.3 MP front camera 8 MP rear camera with full HD (1920 x 1080) video recording sealed battery Expect this device to have a mid to late spring release, and it might be the replacement to the LG F3 (LS720) Sprint released last year.   Source: FCC OET, Sprint UA Profile

MacinJosh

MacinJosh

Sprint scores an 800 on the LTE!

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 2:12 PM MST   As most of our S4GRU readers are aware, Sprint is pursuing a three pronged approach to LTE. Tri band 25/26/41 LTE 1900/800/2600 -- the first two bands operating as FDD in Sprint and Nextel PCS 1900 MHz and SMR 800 MHz spectrum, the last operating as TDD in Clearwire BRS/EBS 2600 MHz spectrum.   A year and a half ago in the early days of Network Vision, S4GRU was the first web site to offer a peek at a live Sprint LTE downlink carrier. We did likewise in running tri band hotspot field tests upon the emergence of Sprint/Clearwire TD-LTE 2600 in Denver this past summer.   But the missing piece in the tri band LTE strategy has been the 800 MHz spectrum and the decisive propagation advantages it brings to the table. Then, three weeks ago, S4GRU was able to start sourcing inside info on a few but growing number of band 26 site acceptances around the country. And today, S4GRU presents an exclusive first look at a live Sprint LTE 800 carrier.     From the spectrum analyzer RF sweep, we can see that this site has achieved SMR 800 MHz deployment completion. On the left is the 1.25 MHz FDD CDMA1X 800 downlink carrier at band class 10 channel assignment 476, which equates to center frequency 862.9 MHz. On this site, CDMA1X 800 was deployed earlier this year just prior to the Nextel iDEN 800 shutdown. But LTE 800 did not follow -- until now.   On the right is the newborn 5 MHz FDD LTE 800 downlink carrier. Temporarily, connections to the LTE 800 carrier are not yet allowed, so an exact EARFCN cannot be determined. But frequency domain analysis suggests a downlink EARFCN 8763, which equates to center frequency 866.3 MHz and is smack dab in the middle of the EARFCN 8761-8765 range that I predicted in one of my engineering screen articles earlier this year.   In our Premier sponsors section, S4GRU continues to track ongoing band 26 LTE 800 site acceptances, which should accelerate rapidly over the next several weeks and months. Most progress thus far is in the Chicago, Houston, Kansas, Jacksonville, and North Wisconsin markets. However, LTE 800 will continue to sprout up across the Sprint network -- outside of those areas encumbered by IBEZ restrictions with Canada and Mexico. Below is today's snapshot of the evolving LTE 800 site map.     Source: author's field test, S4GRU map data

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

Nexus 5 and LG G2 experience temporary Sprint LTE connectivity issues due to Circuit Switched Fallback technology

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Monday, November 11, 2013 - 11:55 PM MST S4GRU Staff and Members have been anxiously waiting for over a year for smartphones that would support all three of Sprint’s LTE bands. Since April 2012, Sprint LTE devices have been limited to only one band. Band 25 (1900MHz in the PCS Band). Subsequently, Sprint closed down the Nextel network and picked up another LTE band (Band 26). Also, Sprint purchased Clearwire and picked up another LTE band that they had started to use (Band 41). So Sprint now has use of three LTE bands which will allow it to provide more capacity, better maximum LTE speeds and coverage. With now three LTE bands, Sprint needs Triband LTE phones. S4GRU and our members really became excited in Mid 2013 when we learned through sources that the first Triband LTE smartphones would be out in late September. Shortly after that, we learned that the upcoming LG G2 would be able to support all three Sprint LTE bands via FCC reports. Rejoicing and happy tears filled all of us wireless nerds in anticipation of the first Sprint Triband LTE devices. Then we learned through a source that Sprint Triband LTE devices would not support SVLTE (Simultaneous Voice and LTE). To some this was a setback, but the hard core wireless enthusiast was not distracted. We all wanted Triband LTE at any cost. Besides, nerds don’t spend much time on the phone talking with people. We waited and waited, but nothing released. A few more Triband LTE devices came through the FCC, including the Nexus 5, Samsung Mega 6.3 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. Then we found out that the Sprint versions of these device would not launch at the same time as their competitor counterparts. Many of our members were screaming about the delays. And we knew there had to be good reason. We just didn’t know what. The dam finally broke with Google’s release of the Nexus 5 on Halloween. And Sprint finally broke down and released the LG G2 about a week later. S4GRU and dozens of our core members quickly got their hands on their new Triband Nexus 5’s and G2’s and all was happy. For a few minutes. Until they tried to use Sprint’s LTE network where they used to on previous LTE devices. Some of our members reported that both the G2 and N5 had extremely strong LTE signals in Band 25. The best they have ever encountered. However, there was a very vocal group who were reporting that they could not stay connected to LTE for more than a few seconds. Something was very wrong. We tried to troubleshoot and figure out the problem with our members. But there were no clear common denominators among the problems that we could ascertain. We could not figure it out. And then we received heads up from internal memos within Sprint as to the problem. Sprint Triband LTE devices use Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB) on the network.   Sprint Triband LTE phones dropped SVLTE for eCSFB/CSFB Up until these new Triband devices, previous Sprint LTE devices supported simultaneous voice and LTE (SVLTE). It could do so with two separate transmission paths from the antennas to the chipset. Voice/texting could run via 1xRTT on one transmission path. LTE could run a separate path, allowing data and voice to be used simultaneously. In contrast, Sprint Triband LTE devices do not support two separate transmission paths. They have one path, shared by voice/SMS and data. We were alerted to this months in advance. However, we did not realize that the network would have to run on Circuit Switched Fallback in order for this to work and what the ramifications of this would be. S4GRU was told by a source this past summer that Sprint and the OEM’s came to the conclusion that these new Triband LTE devices could not use SVLTE in the conventional way they used to, and it would require a lot of engineering, testing and cost to even attempt such a design change. It was decided to release Triband LTE devices without SVLTE. It may seem that the only drawback for doing that is Sprint Triband LTE devices would not be able to run simultaneous LTE data while on a phone call or when actively transmitting a text. But there is another. And it’s why many early adopters of these new Triband LTE smartphones no longer are being able to connect to Sprint LTE in many places that they used to.   How it works In previous Sprint LTE phones, when a device was in Sprint LTE coverage it would park in both the LTE and CDMA Sprint networks at the same time. When a voice call came in, it would just go straight through to the device. And signal to the LTE network would be maintained the whole time while the call was active. In contrast, a Sprint Triband LTE device can only stay on one technology at a time. CDMA or LTE, not both. So when a Sprint LTE Triband device is in Sprint LTE coverage it parks only in LTE. And doing so means it cannot transmit calls without Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB) on the network side. CSFB and eCSFB (Enhanced Circuit Switched Fallback) are network controls that will allow a single mode/single path network to operate in two modes, both CDMA and LTE. Here is how it works in the simplest way I can describe. When your Triband LTE device has an LTE signal, it cannot receive or make calls on its own. It is just using LTE data happily. However, what if someone calls you? How does it get through the CDMA network to your device? Via CSFB. When the Sprint network tries to forward a call to your device but cannot see it via CDMA, it then checks for an LTE connection to your device. If it sees one, it tells your device to disconnect from LTE for a moment and reconnect to CDMA. Your device then jumps over to take the call on Sprint CDMA and the LTE session is interrupted. This happens very fast and seamlessly. Except for the loss of data availability. If you receive a text, the Sprint network is able to route it to your device via LTE. Circuit Switched Fallback is a great solution to the issue of Sprint Triband LTE smartphones. But the problem here is that the Sprint network is being upgraded in Network Vision, and not all Sprint parts of the Sprint network can currently support CSFB. And it affects all Sprint Triband LTE phones, not just the Nexus 5 and LG G2.   Why it’s not working and impacting LTE in some places As everyone reading this article probably knows, Sprint is in the middle of a network modernization program nationwide called Network Vision. It upgrades every piece of network hardware, site equipment, radios, software and network backhaul to every one of Sprint’s nearly 40,000 CDMA sites. And much of Sprint’s legacy network either doesn’t support Circuit Switched Fallback or doesn’t support it in cases where the legacy network equipment is by a different manufacturer than the new Network Vision equipment. The problem that these early adopters of Sprint Triband LTE devices are encountering is that when their phones connect to the Sprint network they try to connect to LTE. And when it cannot see the CDMA network through CSFB, it then reverts back to Sprint CDMA and stays there. It does this in order to preserve device connectivity for the user to Sprint voice capability. When forcing these devices into LTE Only mode, the LTE works very well ruling out a device problem. They just are unable to use LTE in default mode without being able to have access to CSFB on the Sprint network.   How and when is this problem going away? The good news is that most of the Sprint network is capable of supporting CSFB in some form or another now. Some markets are not having any problems at all, like Ft. Wayne/South Bend, Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands, most of Chicago and Indianapolis. eCSFB is complete or very close to complete in these markets. Upgrades to the Sprint network are being handled nationwide by three different OEM’s. Samsung, Alcatel/Lucent and Ericsson. They are in various stages of deployment and are currently impacted differently by region. In places where CSFB is in place and operational, there are no problems with using LTE on a Sprint Triband device. And Sprint and their OEM’s are scrambling to get CSFB operational in all the other places. Some of the existing networks are capable of supporting CSFB and Sprint is working to get software upgrades in place for these networks to get it operational on them. However, some of the Sprint network has unsupported equipment from Motorola and these cannot be upgraded and will need to be replaced with their new Network Vision equipment to allow LTE and voice to work together via CSFB. Currently, just over 60% of Sprint sites have their sites upgraded to new Network Vision 3G standards which allow Circuit Switched Fallback capability. However, not all 60% of these sites are currently allowing LTE to work on a Triband device. These all should be capable of using LTE on a Triband device now, or in the next few weeks. Many of these markets will need to have their MSC Switch Center’s software upgraded too for CSFB to work. Beyond this, Sprint also has another 10% of their sites that have LTE operational but not the 3G upgrades that support CSFB. These 3,000 sites currently have Sprint LTE live, but it cannot be used by Triband devices without CSFB active. But there is hope for these locations. These sites do already have all the hardware needed to install upgraded 3G that will work with CSFB on the network. Sprint is scrambling with their OEM’s to get 3G up and running on these sites as soon as possible. Many have been upgraded recently and they will continue to be upgraded over the next weeks and months. I was told by an unnamed Sprint source that half of these will be CSFB capable in a month and the other half will be between 2-3 months additional beyond that. Sprint should be in a position that in the next 3 months that their entire LTE network will be CSFB capable and this will go away. As each site gets CSFB capable, Sprint LTE Triband device owners will be able to connect to LTE. And some S4GRU Members have already experienced this and are now reporting some sites reappearing to be used by their Triband LTE devices. This is likely do to a recent enabling of CSFB at the connected site.   What about the last 30%? The last 30% of the Sprint network is not currently affected by this problem because they have yet to be upgraded with Network Vision or LTE. These sites are in various stages of being upgraded. In internal correspondence, Sprint says they will now take into account CSFB availability before launching new markets. Network Vision deployment will continue as normal, but OEM’s will now try to launch LTE and CDMA upgrades together at each site whenever possible and install CSFB capability at the network level for all the remaining sites. In cases where they cannot happen together, Sprint will continue to allow the LTE site to go live. But the site will only be discoverable initially to Sprint SVLTE devices. But by the time Sprint is ready to launch the whole market, CSFB will need to be operating before they issue the Press Release so customer expectations are met for all LTE device holders.   Conclusion The bottom line here is that there are thousands of Sprint Triband LTE early adopters that are currently not able to connect to LTE sites that do not have a CDMA network connection that support Circuit Switched Fallback. But the problem is temporary, and improvements will go live every day around the nation reducing the number of affected sites. It will get better and better every day. However, we do not know how different markets will fare and when. It will be highly variable. There are many advantages of being an early adopter. However in this instance, for those who are very dependent on their new found Sprint LTE service, this may be too big of a burden to bear. These folks will need to use a Sprint single LTE band device until CSFB is working in their area or, as some have threatened, use another wireless carrier. At S4GRU, we believe that knowledge is power. This is the explanation of what’s going on, and what is being done about it. Now use the info to determine what’s best for you. Most of our members will likely just endure it and then reap the rewards once CSFB can be brought online in their area. A parting point in all this is Sprint is promising some advantages to a single transmission path with Circuit Switched Fallback. Sprint says in their memo that Sprint Triband LTE devices with CSFB will have improved battery life and better edge of cell radio performance. We’ll be glad to enjoy those benefits when they are fully realized. EDIT: Since the initial publishing of this article, it was discovered that Triband LTE devices were capable of sending/receiving texts via LTE. It is only voice calls that require Triband LTE devices to shunt back to the CDMA network via CSFB. The article has been edited to make this clarification. Initial LTE devices were data only (like USB dongles and MiFis), then LTE devices with voice/text services use either SVLTE or CSFB. Finally, Voice over LTE (VoLTE) will be enabled in the coming years that will allow simultaneous voice and data without need of falling back to 3G/CDMA networks. But VoLTE is still at least 18 months or more from being instituted on a large scale.     Sprint Internal Memo regarding Circuit Switched Fallback issues:

S4GRU

S4GRU

Teaser: Samsung Galaxy S4 + 2 = 3?!

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, October 21, 2013 - 3:55 PM MDT   Clarification: Many readers seem to be confusing the previously authorized and officially announced tri band Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini with this tri band Galaxy S4 reboot, which is full size. The two have quite different model numbers -- the Mini is SPH-L520, while as stated below, the tri band Galaxy S4 is SPH-L720T. Sprint has not yet formally acknowledged the latter, but it has passed FCC OET authorization. And S4GRU expects it to be another tri band handset available before the end of the year.   To alleviate the confusion, we are planning an overview article on Sprint Spark tri band handsets, probably to coincide with the November 8 street date next week for the first group of released handsets.   Six months ago, S4GRU published an article breaking down the FCC authorization documents for the Sprint variant Samsung Galaxy S4.   Many were disappointed that the Galaxy S4, like all other Sprint LTE devices for the past year, was limited to single band 25 LTE 1900. It was not a Sprint tri band LTE handset -- even though band 26 LTE 800 and band 41 TD-LTE 2600 seemed to be right on the horizon because of the impending shutdown of the Nextel iDEN network and the likely approval of the SoftBank-Sprint-Clearwire transaction. Indeed, with the arrival of several Sprint tri band mobile hotspots, TD-LTE 2600 started to become available in metros around the country late this past summer.   Today, we bring you another teaser article. The FCC OET database this afternoon uploaded the authorizations for this Samsung model number: SPH-L720T. Now, if you are familiar with the Galaxy S4, you know that its Sprint variant model number is SPH-L720. So, it does not take a genius to put 2 + 2 together. Or in this case, to put S4 + 2 together.   Yes, Samsung has just revealed a Sprint tri band Galaxy S4. It carries very similar specs to those of the original Galaxy S4, but it adds two additional Sprint bands: band 26 LTE 800 and band 41 TD-LTE 2600.   So, between the previous release of the single band Galaxy S4 and the almost inevitable upcoming release of the tri band Galaxy "S5," look for a tri band updated variant for the Sprint Galaxy S4 in the coming months, probably before the end of the year.   Rest assured, this handset will be of popular interest among the faithful -- and possibly despised among those who already used a subsidized upgrade on a single band Galaxy S4 -- so we will run a full FCC OET RF breakdown in the coming days. To head off the obvious questions in the meantime, no SVDO, no SVLTE, as expected.   Before we go, though, view the antenna diagram below to see the Sprint tri band LTE goodness.   As always, stay tuned...   Source: FCC

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

Teaser: What's this aboot the BlackBerry Z30 being single band, eh?

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, September 30, 2013 - 4:41 PM MDT   Phew, what a September it has been for discovery/announcement of new devices likely headed to Sprint! S4GRU staff has been busy keeping a watchful eye on the FCC OET. And in an egalitarian way, we have covered nearly the gamut of mobile operating systems: Android, iOS, and now, the latest OS version for BlackBerry.   Yes, ahead of a potential government shutdown tomorrow that will reportedly include FCC device authorization, a Sprint relevant BlackBerry Z30 variant was added to the FCC OET database today. This will be another teaser article, not a full RF analysis, but BlackBerry devices usually have healthy ERP/EIRP. Regardless, we have gleaned from the FCC OET documents some important details to share with you.   In a nutshell, this BlackBerry Z30 hardware variant supports the following airlinks: GSM 850/1900 band 2/5 W-CDMA 1900/850 band class 0/1/10 CDMA1X/EV-DO 850/1900/800 band 4/13/25 LTE 2100+1700/750/1900 Anyone familiar with the current state of the domestic wireless industry can put two and two together to see that this hardware variant covers the CDMA2000 and LTE capabilities of both VZW and Sprint. Additionally, because of the inclusion of the GSM/W-CDMA modes, the Z30 is probably a world phone, including GSM 900/1800 and at least band 1 W-CDMA 2100+1900. But as we have noted previously, FCC OET filings may divulge band support outside the US but are not required to do so.   The twist is that, within this single hardware Z30 variant, there do seem to exist two wireless operator versions: RFX101LW for VZW and RGB141LW for Sprint. In short, the Sprint version will include CDMA2000 band class 10 but ostensibly use firmware to lockout LTE band 4/13. So, any potential thoughts of CSIM swapping between Sprint and VZW accounts for LTE access with this handset are probably nipped in the bud. See the note from the FCC OET filing:     To sum up, the BlackBerry Z30 coming to Sprint will be effectively limited to single band 25 LTE 1900. It will definitely not be among the upcoming tri band LTE Sprint devices. And its VZW supported LTE bands will likely be inaccessible. On the upshot, it does still support SVLTE.   In only a few years, BlackBerry née RIM has gone from being the leader in smartphones to being a former champ nearly down for the count. So, do these developments -- single band LTE, VZW LTE CSIM compatibility lockout -- matter to you? If so, well, place the blame where it lies. Blame Canada.     (just barely NSFW)     Source: FCC

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

Teaser: Megalith, megahertz...Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, September 13, 2013 - 3:15 PM MDT   The teaser articles continue. But this is a big one -- in a quite literal way.   The presumed Sprint variant Samsung Galaxy Note 3 passed through the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) on Wednesday this week. We have an article already started on it, so look for that full length rundown soon.   But since that SM-N900P variant hit the FCC OET, the cries about it being single band 25 LTE 1900 have been strong among the S4GRU faithful. Well, here is something potentially to make the disappointed forget those concerns.   Just within the last hour or two this Friday afternoon, another Samsung handset has revealed itself at the FCC OET. But this is no Galaxy Note 3. It is even larger than that. The model number SPH-L600 and dimensions (see the diagram below) suggest that this is a Galaxy Mega 6.3 headed to Sprint. The size exceeds that of the Galaxy Note 3, and in an interesting twist, the FCC OET filing even refers to the device as a "phablet."   The grand pronouncement, though, is that this Samsung "phablet" is indeed a tri band LTE device: band 25 LTE 1900, band 26 LTE 800, band 41 TD-LTE 2600 -- plus the usual Sprint CDMA2000 band classes.       In conclusion, the "SPH" model number and the specs add up. This is a huge handset for Sprint, it is tri band LTE, and it may render the Galaxy Note 3 irrelevant.   Enjoy! And know that there is more detailed RF info to come...   Source: FCC Thread: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/4368-samsung-galaxy-mega-tri-band-sph-l600/

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

For Sprint's Samsung Galaxy Note 3, one is the loneliest number

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 2:40 PM MDT   S4GRU has been on a bit of a roll of late. We had an unusually quiet summer here on The Wall, as our writing staff was frequently away on summer vacation. But we have come back with a vengeance.   Earlier this month, we got the next Nexus handset scoop on the rest of the tech press with our discovery of the reappearance of the LG D820 authorization docs at the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) and supposition that the D820 circumstantially has a striking amount in common with the presumed upcoming Nexus 5. Additionally, last week, we brought you a quick dissection of the two new Sprint variant iPhone models with dual band LTE only minutes after Apple released the specs, not to mention, another FCC OET discovery -- a tri band LTE Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 clearly headed to Sprint   All three of those articles were "Teasers." We have decided to publish shorter articles more often when longer articles may not be immediately feasible for our writing staff. Then, down the road, expect more in depth follow up pieces, such as on the Nexus 5, iPhone 5S/5C, and Galaxy Mega 6.3. Today, though, we bring you another full length FCC OET airlink article on the presumed Sprint variant Samsung Galaxy Note 3.   Late on Wednesday last week, authorizations for multiple Samsung Galaxy Note 3 variants -- all bearing the SM-N900 base numbering scheme -- started appearing in the FCC OET database. Other tech outlets had previously gotten a list of the model numbers and tied the N900A to AT&T, N900T to T-Mobile, N900V to VZW, and N900S to Sprint. But while the "A," "T," and "V" variants all arrived in the FCC OET, the "S" variant did not make an appearance, and additional info suggested that the "S" variant is instead for SK Telecom in South Korea.   Meanwhile, the N900R4, the "R4" variant, also had its authorizations posted to the FCC OET. And at least one tech site incorrectly pegged it as the one for Sprint and other CDMA2000 operators. But that clearly missed the absence of band class 10 CDMA1X 800, which has been a staple of Sprint devices for roughly two years now. In the end, the "R4" variant is coming to CDMA2000 operators, but USCC and C Spire are the likely destinations.   So, that left the N900P, the "P" variant, for Sprint, and the circumstantial evidence of being the only version with band class 10 CDMA1X 800 supports that inference. Thus, adding to S4GRU's continuing series of articles on the FCC OET authorizations for the HTC EVO 4G LTE, Samsung Galaxy S3, Motorola Photon Q 4G, LG Optimus G, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4, and LG G2 is Sprint's expected Samsung Galaxy Note 3: CDMA1X/EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X/EV-DO 850/1900/800) LTE band 25 (i.e. LTE 1900) LTE 5/10 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth LTE UE category 4 W-CDMA bands 2, 5 (i.e. W-CDMA 1900/850) GSM 850/1900 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 802.11n MCS index 7 (single spatial stream, 40 MHz carrier bandwidth, 400 ns guard interval) 802.11ac MCS index 9 (single spatial stream, 80 MHz carrier bandwidth, 400 ns guard interval) SVLTE support, including SVLTE and mobile hotspot (both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) SVDO absent RF ERP/EIRP maximum: 19.82-20.93 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 18.91-21.30 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 21.85-23.63 dBm (LTE 1900) RF conducted power maximum: 24.75 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800) CDMA1X/EV-DO Rx antenna diversity NFC antenna integrated into battery cover Antenna locations: (see FCC OET diagram below) Simultaneous transmission paths: (see FCC OET diagram below)     By now, many of our readers have a solid understanding of how to analyze the bullet points listed above. As such, we will hit just some of the highlights.   Samsung has finally started adding LTE 10 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth authorization to its Sprint devices. That may be inconsequential during the lifetime of these devices, but it is nice to see, nonetheless, as other OEMs have included 10 MHz FDD capability from the beginning.   The Note 3 is reportedly another world phone for Sprint. While the specs for FCC testing include only those bands licensed in the US, the GSM 850/1900 capabilities are actually quad band: GSM 850/900/1800/1900. Likewise, W-CDMA 850/1900 expands to include bands 1 and 8 for W-CDMA 2100+1900/900 outside of the US.   The Note 3 also follows the trend of devices released this summer that now support mobile hotspot via 5 GHz Wi-Fi. That can be handy in congested 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi environments, and congested 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi environments are now basically everywhere that people live and work.   Devices with SMR 800 MHz capability seem to be coming through the FCC OET now with only conducted power testing, instead of radiated power testing. I suspected previously that a Class II Permissive Change would be required to include ERP testing, but that seems no longer to be the case. Looking back at the Sprint variant Samsung Galaxy S4 authorization docs, they submitted only conducted power specs for CDMA1X 800. Of course, the Galaxy S4 has already been out in the world all summer. I am not sure what to make of this, but Part 90 -- which governs SMR 800 MHz -- may not require ERP testing. So, going forward, we will report conducted power if that is the only data available.   But the phrase that dare not be heard among the committed is "single band." One LTE band. That is the elephant in the room in this article. Yes, the "P" variant is band 25 LTE 1900 only. Sources have suggested to S4GRU that tri band LTE handsets headed to Sprint will not support SVLTE. As such, some have hypothesized that Sprint sacrificed tri band capability for SVLTE support in the Note 3 because it is, indeed, a "phablet." Using a "phablet" as a phone against one's ear looks clownish, so using the "phablet" in hand with an earpiece or Bluetooth headset may be expected, leading to more SVLTE usage.   However, further examination of FCC OET docs on the multiple Note 3 variants and subsequently announced Sprint version Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 tri band "phablet" pokes some holes in that SVLTE theory.   The major revelation, which will bring no solace to Sprint subs who had been expecting and are now pining for a Sprint tri band Note 3, though, is that the "R4" version headed to USCC manages to support both SVLTE and quad band LTE: band 4, 5, 12, 25 LTE 2100+1700/850/700/1900.   See the antenna locations and simultaneous transmission paths diagrams:     The big takeaway is that Samsung has managed to cram in SVLTE and multi band LTE for relatively minor regional CDMA2000 operators. Why not Sprint?   Well, the Sprint variant Note 3 is a world phone, while the regional CDMA2000 operator variant is not. And the Sprint version has to support band class 10 CDMA1X 800 and band 25 LTE 1900 -- unlike any others. Does the engineering required for world phone and Sprint boutique band/class capabilities present an obstacle to multi band LTE? Is SVLTE worth the sacrifice?   Let the discussion flow...   Source: FCC, FCC Thread: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/4318-samsung-galaxy-note-3/

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

Teaser: iPhone gets two new models but no LTE band *trifecta* on Sprint

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 1:10 PM MDT   To cut right to the chase, Apple announced at its live event today two new iPhone models: high end iPhone 5S and mid range iPhone 5C. Both are coming to Sprint and both support Sprint LTE -- but only dual band Sprint LTE. The new crop of iPhone models for the next year will not be tri band LTE handsets on Sprint.   The LTE bands supported by iPhone 5S (A1453) and iPhone 5C (A1456) are substantial and as follows: band 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26. For Sprint users, that means dual band LTE 1900/800.   While 13 total bands seems impressive, a few of those bands -- such as band 2/25 and band 5/26 -- are subset/superset bands. The big takeaway for Sprint users, though, is that band 41 is absent this year. So, TD-LTE 2600 will be coming soon to several tri band Android handsets but not to the dual band two new iPhone models. Band 38 TD-LTE 2600 is limited to the Asia/Oceania variants.   Also worthy of note, Sprint and SoftBank share the same iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C variants this year. Whether that is merely coincidence is impossible to determine. But Sprint and SoftBank have talked about combined economy of scale as a benefit of their tie up.   To conclude, the new iPhone FCC OET docs have not yet trickled out, but as they do, we will have more info to come. Stay tuned...   Source: Apple Thread: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/4442-the-iphone-5s-iphone-5c-not-tri-band-lte-was-next-iphone-to-be-announced-on-september-10/

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

Teaser: Is the LG D820 the Nexus 5???

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 5:33 PM MDT   About a month ago, our FCC OET reporter, Josh McDaniel, noted that a mystery handset, the LG D820, came and went from the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology). Its authorizations were uploaded, then quickly rescinded, citing confidentiality reasons.   Well, today, the LG D820 authorization documents are back. And we are looking at a 3GPP/3GPP2 handset that runs nearly the full North American wireless airlink gamut: GSM 850/1900 W-CDMA 1900/2100+1700/850 (band 2, 4, 5) CDMA1X/EV-DO 850/1900/800 (band class 0, 1, 10) LTE 2100+1700/850/700/1900/800 (band 4, 5, 17, 25, 26) TD-LTE 2600 (band 41) The only notable omission is LTE 750, VZW's currently boutique band 13 -- possibly left out for political reasons, since VZW has a strained relationship with Nexus devices, or for technical reasons, as band 13 has an inverted FDD uplink/downlink duplex. But in a nutshell, this handset looks like it could be headed to AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, covering all of their bases.   Here is the kicker, though. One of our moderators, Tim Yu, noted a significant resemblance between the back plate in the FCC OET filing and the back plate of a mystery Nexus device in a widely circulated photo recently from the Google campus.         So, you be the judge. Based on the specs and pics, does the the LG D820 look like it could be the upcoming Nexus 5???   More to come...   Source: FCC Thread: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/4366-lg-d820-google-nexus-5/

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

Bande à part: LG G2 is the first announced Sprint tri band LTE handset

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 11:35 AM MDT   Welcome back from summer vacation. The S4GRU writing staff, too, has returned and is ready to catch up on some of the developments from over the last two or three months.   In late July, Sprint released two tri band LTE mobile hotspots and one tri band LTE USB dongle. Meanwhile, Clearwire had lit up band 41 TD-LTE 2600 on numerous sites in several markets around the country. Around the same time, the LG G2 became the first Sprint tri band LTE handset to pass through FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorization.   As is our tradition by now, we add to S4GRU's stalwart series of articles on the FCC OET authorizations for the HTC EVO 4G LTE, Samsung Galaxy S3, Motorola Photon Q 4G, LG Optimus G, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, HTC One, and Samsung Galaxy S4 our look at the RF faculties of the LG G2: CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800) LTE bands 25, 26, 41 (i.e. LTE 1900/800, TD-LTE 2600) band 25 LTE 3/5/10 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth band 26 LTE 1.4/3/5/10 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth band 41 TD-LTE 10/15/20 MHz TDD carrier bandwidth LTE UE category 4 W-CDMA bands 2, 5 (i.e. W-CDMA 1900/850) GSM 850/1900 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 802.11n MCS index 7 (single spatial stream, 40 MHz carrier bandwidth, 400 ns guard interval) 802.11ac MCS index 9 (single spatial stream, 80 MHz carrier bandwidth, 400 ns guard interval) SVDO and SVLTE support absent RF ERP/EIRP maximum: 19.80 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 21.64 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 23.09-27.08 dBm (LTE 1900), 17.77-21.29 dBm (TD-LTE 2600) CDMA1X/EV-DO Rx antenna diversity NFC antenna integrated into battery cover Antenna locations: (see FCC OET diagram below) Simultaneous transmission paths: (see FCC OET diagram below)   The LG G2 is not only the first revealed Sprint tri band LTE handset but also the first Sprint category 4 UE of any kind because it is utilizing the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974). The MSM8974 is a 28 nm process SoC that contains processor, cellular baseband, and WLAN/GNSS baseband all on one chipset -- à la the MSM8960 that dominated the first half of last year. The difference, of course, is that the MSM8974 has a quad core processor and a UE category 4 cellular baseband. The latter supports up to 150 Mbps on the downlink, 50 Mbps on the uplink -- though those speeds will not likely be seen on Sprint during the lifespan of this handset due to spectrum bandwidth constraints.   Also, we cannot confirm at this point that the G2 is actually using the internal WLAN/GNSS baseband capabilities of the MSM8974 and not a separate chipset solution from Broadcom, as has been the trend with the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. But having at least both processor and cellular baseband on the same chipset should be a step in the right direction.   Regarding maximum ERP/EIRP, we are slightly modifying the way that we report those figures. Even within a given frequency band, max ERP/EIRP can vary according to frequency and modulation. So, if the FCC OET docs show greater than 1 dB of variance in a certain band and airlink, we now report that range instead of a single max figure.   As we have stated in the past, FCC OET testing includes only transmitters, not receivers. Thus, we have to extrapolate overall RF prowess based on mobile uplink transmission capabilities, and that is an inexact science.   In a nutshell, though, the CDMA2000 band class 0 and 1 power outputs appear to be a bit on the weak side, while the band 25 LTE power output looks good. The band 41 TD-LTE EIRP is lower than we would like to see -- especially considering BRS/EBS 2600 MHz propagation characteristics -- but TD-LTE 2600 will be used largely as an offload band for handsets, probably less so for hotspots.   What is missing are band class 10 CDMA2000 and band 26 LTE ERP figures. The original FCC OET filing in late July included only conducted power figures for that band class and band. Conducted power is what is delivered to the antenna, not what is actually radiated from the antenna. And even though the G2 at the end of August has already had one Class II Permissive Change filing, we expect at least one more Class II filing with additional ERP figures before this Sprint variant hits the streets.   Last year, the LG Optimus G had its initial, incomplete FCC OET filing in the summer, followed by a Class II change in the fall and a release in November. In our Optimus G article last summer, we wrote not to expect the street date right away, and we will offer the same caveat here. The rumored November release for the Sprint variant G2 should probably be the expectation.   Source: FCC

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 for Sprint

by Josh McDaniel
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Sunday, August 25, 2013 - 2:30 AM MDT On August 21, Samsung received approval from the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) for a Sprint variant of the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0, model number SM-T217S (Wi-Fi versions of the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 are SM-T210 & SM-T211). According to the FCC authorization docs, the Galaxy Tab has a dual core 1.7 GHz processor and may come in a 16 GB storage size if the picture on the FCC label page is accurate. Specs for the Wi-Fi only version are 3 MP rear camera with a 1.3 MP front facing camera, 1 GB RAM, up to 64 GB of microSD storage, and 7” screen with 1024 x 600 display. (All specs are subject to change before official release, as the processor on the Wi-Fi only model is 1.2 GHz dual core and it only comes with 8 GB storage.)   Here is the antenna diagram:   CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800) LTE band 25 (i.e. LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks) LTE 3, 5, 10 MHz FDD channel bandwidths 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi with hotspot mode on 2.4 GHz only (LTE, EV-DO, and CDMA1X) Maximum RF ERP/EIRP: 22.10 dBm (CDMA 850), 27.11 dBm (CDMA 1900), 24.96 dBm (CDMA 800), 28.30 dBm (LTE 1900, 5MHz FDD with QPSK), 27.20 dBm (LTE 1900, 5MHz FDD with 16QAM)   Although this tablet has a fairly strong uplink LTE EIRP, it is pretty weak on specs with only a dual core processor, 1 GB RAM, low screen resolution, and only single band LTE. For these reasons, this Galaxy Tab should be a budget device. Source: FCC

MacinJosh

MacinJosh

What is a PRL? - Part 2 - EVDO

by Travis Griggs
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Monday, May 20, 2013 - 10:15 AM MDT   In Part 1 of the "What is a PRL?" series we covered the the initial basics and building blocks of the PRL which covered the 1X portion of the wireless connection. I encourage you to read the article if you have not already done so. You may have seen the various claims of receiving faster or even slower speeds with the mysterious PRL update procedure that seems to randomly happen to our devices. In reality it could be possible that nothing changed in regards to EVDO at all in the PRL. After a PRL update is applied to the device, whether it is pushed from Sprint or user initiated, the CDMA radio will reset just like when airplane mode is cycled on and off. This causes the device to reacquire with the network which could change the site and/or channel the device was using previously. AJ wrote an excellent article, "Can toggling airplane mode actually improve your 3G data speeds?" explaining the EVDO acquisition process. With all that being said let's jump right in and look at a small piece of the PRL to determine how a device connects to the EVDO network.
 
In a mock scenario, the device scanned and did not find signal for the SIDs 22443, 22430, etc but was able to acquire 4159. The device will then check to see if any data records are associated with the connection. The assn tag field for 4159 is a 5. Any records inside this one geo block are checked for the assn tag of 5. In some Sprint PRL versions, the creators have failed to place the EVDO record in the correct geo creating a type of orphaned EVDO record issue, but this is not the case with this example. Record #279 has an assn tag match for the value of 5. The record is analyzed and it is determined that the device will use acquisition record #59 with a 0084:0AC0 subnet and no roaming indicator. If no EVDO signal can be found in the area with this search criteria, the device will fall back to using 1X for data and periodically scan for EVDO. The EVDO subnet is very similar to a SID, but since it is a 128 bit address scheme it offers more combinations than a SID. If needed, the provider could actually assign different priorities to individual sectors of one cell site using the subnet IDs. You may have already noticed multiple SIDs in this block share the assn tag of 5 along with the same acquisition records. The PRL is designed like a relational database where redundant data is shared to save space. So, how does the device know which channels to scan for EVDO? Let's look at the acquisition records of 2 and 59 used by SID 4159.

The PCS band channels 50, 75, 100, 175, 200, 250, and 25 are used to scan for SID 4159 1X. These are not the only channels that you device will actually use. These are only used to acquire the initial CDMA handshake. The basestation of the site may direct the handset to rest on channel 25 but during an active phone call channel 150 might be used if the other available channels are at capacity. For EVDO, the device will scan 75, 175, 225, and 250 with a subnet of 0084:0AC0. If another carrier's EVDO signal happens to be on one of these channels it will be ignored as the subnets do not match. Just like on the 1X side and explained in AJ's EVDO article referenced above, the channel scan is only utilized for the initial EVDO handshake. The cell site may have a channel available that is not on the PRL list, which your device could end up using based on the basestation configuration. After attempting to digest all of this material you can see how the new PRL file itself is usually not why the speeds decreased or increased. If the spectrum licenses allowed for it in the area, Sprint could add an additional EVDO carrier channel of 300 to all of the neighboring sites and all of the handsets will be able to use it. The users in this area would probably see faster speeds due to this without a single PRL update.

How does EVDO roaming work? In this example the device is connected to SID 4160 which is Verizon Wireless. Using the same analysis explained above, we see a data record of 5 is assigned. "Wait! I thought Sprint used data record 5 already?" This is correct. While your device is roaming on 4160 for 1X connectivity it is also scanning for Sprint EVDO. In order to save on roaming costs, Sprint has designed the PRLs this way. One negative impact on the user is additional battery drain due to this scan combined with the already active scan to find a non-roaming 1X signal. In the standard PRL for residential accounts, EVDO roaming on Verizon Wireless is not allowed. You will only find EVDO roaming on smaller regional CDMA carriers in some areas. On certain corporate accounts, Sprint configures devices with PRLs allowing Verizon Wireless EVDO roaming. While roaming, whether it be 1X or EVDO, the Sprint Terms & Conditions state: "Sprint reserves the right, without notice, to deny, terminate, modify, disconnect or suspend service if off-network usage in a month exceeds: (1) voice: 800 min. or a majority of minutes; or (2) data: 300 megabytes or a majority of kilobytes." Stay tuned for part 3 of the “What is a PRL?” series. We will cover the 800SMR SIDS, 800SMR acquisition records, and the coveted MCC/MNC LTE records shown in the PRL screen shots above.

digiblur

digiblur

"What's the frequency, Kenneth?" Interpreting your engineering screen. Part two.

by Andrew J. Shepherd
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Friday, May 10, 2013 - 12:35 PM MDT   Welcome back to S4GRU's continuing series focused on understanding many of the signal metrics displayed on your devices' engineering screens. If you missed part one a few weeks ago, that is a good place to start for background info. Last time out, we covered 3GPP2 band class 1 PCS 1900 MHz, in which Sprint has long operated its CDMA2000 network, and 3GPP band 25 PCS 1900 MHz, in which Sprint is currently deploying its LTE network. Today, let us begin with the last of Sprint's current native spectrum usage -- 3GPP2 band class 10 SMR 800 MHz. This is what 3GPP2 also calls the "Secondary 800 MHz band," and we will understand why when we finish up with band class 0 Cellular 850 MHz a bit later today. First, take a look at the following CDMA1X engineering screenshot:     This handset is camped on Sprint's brand new band class 10 CDMA1X 800 overlay, which is replacing iDEN 800 and is currently available in select markets around the country. Now, as we did last time, we can take into account the band class and carrier channel number, then use the appropriate formulas to calculate both uplink and downlink center frequencies:      uplink center frequency (MHz) = 806 + (0.025 × carrier channel)      downlink center frequency (MHz) = 851 + (0.025 × carrier channel) In other words, the spacing in between potential carrier channel assignments in band class 10 is 0.025 MHz (or 25 kHz). This is due to the SMR 800 MHz band's legacy of dispatch and iDEN, both of which conform to 25 kHz channelization. And the band class 10 range of channel numbers extends from 0-719. So, using our formulas, band class 10 carrier channel 476 in the included screenshot has an uplink center frequency of 817.9 MHz, a downlink center frequency of 862.9 MHz. This is the one and only band class 10 carrier channel that Sprint will employ across most of the country. In parts of the Southeast where SouthernLINC also operates in rebanded SMR 800 MHz spectrum, Sprint users will instead see band class 10 channel 526, which has uplink and downlink center frequencies of 819.15 MHz and 864.15 MHz, respectively, just as S4GRU detailed in an article a year ago. As for band 26 LTE 800, well, that should be coming online in the next several months, but no devices are yet available. So, for both of those reasons, we cannot post any engineering screenshots. What we can anticipate, however, based on SMR 800 MHz spectrum constraints, is that Sprint's 5 MHz FDD LTE 800 carrier likely will be centered somewhere in the 821.1-821.5 MHz x 866.1-866.5 MHz ranges, translating to uplink and downlink EARFCN ranges of 26761-26765 and 8761-8765, respectively. I will be out in the field with my spectrum analyzer in the coming months, ready to capture and publish a first peek at the LTE 800 carrier. And expect a follow up article on LTE 800 engineering later this year. Now, let us conclude with a look at Sprint roaming service in 3GPP2 band class 0 Cellular 850 MHz. Or this is what 3GPP2 has traditionally referred to as the "800 MHz band." And that, as I piqued earlier, is why the "Secondary 800 MHz band" name comes into play for band class 10 SMR 800 MHz. In more recent years, the "800 MHz" nomenclature has become problematic, as it makes distinguishing between band class 0 and band class 10 difficult for less informed users. For a good example of this, see the iPhone 4S tech specs, which mislead many into thinking that it supports Sprint's band class 10 CDMA1X 800 overlay. For this reason, I have long advocated using "Cellular 850 MHz" as distinct terminology. That background aside, let us examine a CDMA1X engineering screen of a Sprint device roaming on VZW:     This handset is idling on channel assignment 425. Again, we can use the appropriate formulas to calculate both uplink and downlink center frequencies:      uplink center frequency (MHz) = 825 + (0.03 × carrier channel)      downlink center frequency (MHz) = 870 + (0.03 × carrier channel) So, that VZW channel 425 is centered at 837.75 MHz x 882.75 MHz, which is toward the bottom of the Cellular B block license, as we will see in just a moment. First, in the Cellular 850 MHz band, channelization is 0.03 MHz (or 30 kHz), as that dates back to the original analog AMPS standard, which used 30 kHz FM channels and got us all started on this cellularized wireless network journey. Second, we encounter a complication with band class 0. The above formula works only for a subset of channel assignments, 1-799. For channel assignments 991-1023, we have to use slightly modified formulas:      uplink center frequency (MHz) = 825 + [0.03 × (carrier channel − 1023)]      downlink center frequency (MHz) = 870 + [0.03 × (carrier channel − 1023)] The reason for this complication is complicated itself. When the FCC originally created the Cellular 850 MHz band plan in the 1980s, it was 825-845 MHz x 870-890 MHz, divided into two equal 10 MHz FDD (10 MHz x 10 MHz) licenses: Cellular A block (825-835 MHz x 870-880 MHz) and Cellular B block (835-845 MHz x 880-890 MHz). Each block consists of 333 AMPS channels, A block covering 1-333, B block running 334-666. Not long after, the FCC expanded the Cellular 850 MHz band, but it could not do so by simply adding spectrum exclusively at the bottom or the top of the band plan. Because of spectrum constraints and equal license bandwidth, the FCC had to add a sliver at the bottom of the band plan and two at the top of the band plan. The additions became known as "A low," "A high," and "B high." See my band plan graphic below: Since "A high" (1.5 MHz FDD) and "B high" (2.5 MHz FDD) continue as upper end extensions of the band plan, they follow the original center frequency formula, adding channels 667-799. "A low" (1 MHz FDD) tacked on at the bottom of the original plan is the anomaly. It requires its own center frequency formula and adds channels 991-1023. Also, note the missing channels 800-990. Those are a mystery, unbeknownst even to me. Additionally, because it is only 1 MHz FDD, "A low" is not frequently used for CDMA2000 carrier channels, which are always 1.25 MHz FDD in bandwidth. So, many of the carrier channel assignments in "A low" are invalid, since they would cause the CDMA1X or EV-DO carrier to extend off the lower edge of the band. If "A low" is utilized, the only permissible channel assignments are 1013-1023, all of which cause the CDMA2000 carrier to extend into the original A block. So, if you ever encounter a band class 0 channel assignment in the 1013-1023 range, you have found something of a rare bird. Well, that covers the relationships among bands, band classes, carrier channel assignments, EARFCNs, and center frequencies. Next time, we will turn our attention to another signal metric. I am thinking maybe SIDs and NIDs or PN offsets but have not decided yet. See you then...   Sources: 3GPP, 3GPP2, FCC

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

Mid-range LG LTE coming to Sprint prepaid/wholesale?

by Josh McDaniel
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 9:35 AM MDT   Last year, LG released a mid-range device that made its way from one CDMA carrier to another. This year appears to be no exception. The LG LG870 recently passed through the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) with Sprint LTE and band 10 CDMA2000 on board. If the LG Viper (LS840) last year is any indication, it was released as the Connect (MS840) on MetroPCS, and then as the Lucid (VS840) on Verizon before it came to Sprint. In January of this year, MetroPCS released the Spirit (MS870), and earlier this month, Verizon released the Lucid 2 (VS870). Now, it seems to be Sprint’s turn again. However, it currently appears that Sprint is releasing this handset on its Boost brand under the codename FX1, as the model number is LG870, not LS870. (As of now, the name and that it may be released only on Boost has not been confirmed.) But all previous Sprint LG phones from last year have model numbers beginning with LS. The Bluetooth 4.0 profile supports HSP, HFP 1.6, A2DP, AVRCP 1.3, OPP, FTP, PBAP, SPP, HID, GAVDP, SDAP, PAN, and MAP, according to the Bluetooth SIG, which also lists the phone as “(LG870 (for Sprint/Wholesale)).” Sprint wholesale partner Ting, anyone? As for specs, if this phone is like its 870 model counterparts, it will have a 1.2 GHz dual core processor (possibly Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8960) with 1 GB RAM, 5 MP rear camera with 1080p HD video recording, and 1.3 MP front facing camera. According to the FCC authorization docs, LG sent the handset to testing with Android 4.0.4 on board, but according to cloud4sites mtest, it has Jelly Bean 4.1.2 on board. So, hopefully it will be released with 4.1.2. CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800) LTE band class 25 (LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks) LTE 3, 5, 10 MHz FDD channel bandwidths SVLTE support, including SVLTE and simultaneous 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz Wi-Fi tether Maximum RF ERP/EIRP: 26.60 dBm (CDMA1X 850), 26.26 dBm (EV-DO 850), 26.53 dBm (CDMA1X 1900), 26.16 dBm (EV-DO 1900), 25.06 dBm (CDMA1X 800), 25.20 (EV-DO 800), 25.11 dBm (LTE 1900, 3MHz FDD), 24.93 dBm (LTE 1900, 5MHz FDD), 24.70 dBm (LTE 1900, 10 MHz FDD) 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi NFC In their FCC OET authorization filings, OEMs customarily request temporary confidentiality regarding internal and external photos of their devices. But in an unusual move, LG has requested permanent confidentiality for, among other things, antenna distance and simultaneous scenarios for SAR analysis. So, no antenna diagram is available at this time, nor maybe ever unless a teardown review is forthcoming.   Sources: FCC, Bluetooth SIG, Cloud4sites mtest

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

"What's the frequency, Kenneth?" Interpreting your engineering screen. Part one.

by Andrew J. Shepherd
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Friday, April 26, 2013 - 6:29 AM MDT   A significant piece of S4GRU's educational mission is helping our readers understand what goes on behind the scenes and underneath the hood in the operation of a wireless network. This often requires getting readers to access internal engineering (or debug) screens on their handsets to view numbers and metrics, such as PN offset, Ec/Io, cell identity, etc., as we track the progress of Sprint's Network Vision deployment around the country. So, S4GRU staff thought it long overdue to publish a tutorial on what all of those engineering screen numbers and metrics actually mean. And in this first part of what will hopefully be a long running series, we will examine frequencies, namely center frequencies. First, let us kick things off with CDMA2000 (e.g. CDMA1X/EV-DO). CDMA2000 is divided into band classes. Those band classes basically represent spectrum bands of operation. Some common CDMA2000 band classes familiar to Sprint users include: band class 0 (Cellular 850 MHz), band class 1 (PCS 1900 MHz), band class 10 (SMR 800 MHz), and band class 15 (AWS 2100+1700 MHz). Then, each band class is further divided into carrier channels. These carrier channel numbers represent the actual RF locations -- center frequencies -- of the carrier channels that we use for voice and data services. To illustrate, see the EV-DO engineering screenshot below, specifically the "Channel Number" and "Band Class" fields:     Taking into account the band class and carrier channel number, we can use the following formulas to calculate both uplink and downlink center frequencies:      uplink center frequency (MHz) = 1850 + (0.05 × carrier channel)      downlink center frequency (MHz) = 1930 + (0.05 × carrier channel) In other words, the spacing in between potential carrier channel assignments in band class 1 is 0.05 MHz (or 50 kHz). And the band class 1 range of carrier channel numbers extends from 0-1199. So, using our formulas, the band class 1 carrier channel 100 in the included screenshot has an uplink center frequency of 1855 MHz, a downlink center frequency of 1935 MHz. This FDD paired set of center frequencies falls toward the lower end of the PCS A block 30 MHz license, which is 1850-1865 MHz x 1930-1945 MHz. Next, we can shift over to the 3GPP (e.g. LTE) side, which does things a bit differently. 3GPP sets forth bands, instead of band classes, but otherwise, the functions of bands and band classes are the same. In the US, common 3GPP bands for LTE include: band 4 (AWS 2100+1700 MHz), band 13 (Upper 700 MHz), and band 17 (Lower 700 MHz). But we are most interested in band 25 (PCS 1900 MHz + G block), the band in which Sprint is initially deploying LTE. As with carrier channel numbers in CDMA2000 band classes, 3GPP bands are subdivided into Evolved Absolute Radio Frequency Channel Numbers (EARFCNs). And like carrier channel numbers, EARFCNs indicate center frequencies. However, EARFCNs do so separately for uplink and downlink, as LTE allows for different pairings of uplink and downlink via carrier aggregation. Now, see the LTE engineering screenshot below for its "Band," "UL channel," and "DL channel" fields:     Per band 25, we can enter the "UL/DL channels" (i.e. EARFCNs) into the following formulas to determine again both uplink and downlink center frequencies:      uplink center frequency (MHz) = 1850 + [0.1 × (uplink EARFCN - 26040)]      downlink center frequency (MHz) = 1930 + [0.1 × (downlink EARFCN - 8040)] In this case, spacing between EARFCNs is 0.1 MHz (or 100 kHz). Additionally, the uplink EARFCN range is 26040-26689, the downlink EARFCN range 8040-8689, both for band 25. And in the end, EARFCN 26665 in the included screenshot has an uplink center frequency of 1912.5 MHz, while EARFCN 8665 has a downlink center frequency of 1992.5 MHz. This is an FDD paired set of center frequencies, not a carrier aggregated set, and it resides exactly in the middle of the PCS G block 10 MHz license, which is 1910-1915 MHz x 1990-1995 MHz. In part two, we will take a similar look at center frequencies in the PCS 1900 MHz band's lower frequency cousins, SMR 800 MHz and Cellular 850 MHz. So, stay tuned.   Sources: 3GPP, 3GPP2

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

"Magical Mystery Phone Tour"

by Josh McDaniel
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Monday, April 8, 2013 - 1:19 PM MDT   On April 5, the mysterious Samsung SPH-L500 passed thru the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology), indicating that it is now authorized for use in the US on the Sprint network. S4GRU can report only the details that are currently available, but we will update the article as more info emerges. The phone measures roughly 5.24 inches tall by 2.68 inches wide, making it slightly smaller than the Galaxy S3 and S4 and slightly larger than the Galaxy S3 mini that it was originally rumored to be based off of, and comes with a 1.4 GHz dual core processor. As was previously noted from the Bluetooth SIG report in November, this phone has support for Bluetooth 4.0 and the following profiles: HFP1.5, HSP, OPP, A2DP, AVRCP, GAVDP, PAN, PBAP, HID, and MAP.   As you can see from the antenna diagram, CDMA1X and EVDO share the same antenna path, so SVDO is not possible, but SVLTE is possible. The phone also supports simultaneous LTE and Wi- Fi tether on 2.4 GHz, but not on 5 GHz. Lastly, it is not capable of supporting simultaneous Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as they also share the same antenna path. CDMA1X + EV-DO bands 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800) LTE band 25 (i.e. LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks) LTE 5 MHz FDD channel bandwidth SVLTE support, including SVLTE and simultaneous 802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi tether Maximum RF ERP/EIRP: 21.45 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 23.11 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 23.12 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800), 22.20 dBm (LTE 1900) LTE antenna configuration 1 uplink, 2 downlink (i.e. 2x2 downlink MIMO) 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi NFC with antenna built into battery According to the HTTP header from cloud4sites.com, the SPH-L500 has Android 4.1.2. SXTPdevelopers.com member “sextape” rumored the specs on the phone to be a 4.65” screen with a resolution of 1280 x 720, 8 MP rear camera and 1.9 MP front facing camera, 1 GB RAM, 8 GB built-in memory, and microSD Card slot supporting up to 64 GB cards. The chipset is said to be the Qualcomm MSM8930AA, which is apparently the same chipset found in the new HTC First by Facebook and HTC. If the SPH-L500 is released with these specs, they are pretty decent for a mid-range phone, considering all mid-range Sprint LTE phones up until now have only had 5 MP rear cameras and 4” 480 x 800 resolution displays.   Sources: FCC, cloud4sites, SXTP

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

(UPDATED) A short time from now in a Galaxy not far away...

by Andrew J. Shepherd
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 10:10 AM MDT   Update: The Samsung review embargo has been lifted overnight, and Galaxy S4 reviews are being published around the Web today. Thanks to one of our favorite, highly thorough reviewers, Brian Klug at AnandTech, we can confirm that the Galaxy S4 follows the recent HTC One in providing a removable micro-SIM. So, while two data points do not necessarily a trend make, the One and Galaxy S4 do suggest that removable SIMs for Sprint LTE handsets are here to stay.   Arguably the most hotly anticipated handset of the year, rivaling even the next iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy S4 in its Sprint variant popped up in the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database late yesterday, meaning that the next Galaxy is now authorized to operate in the US and is likely just a few weeks away from a Sprint street date. Not a revolutionary overhaul of the very successful Galaxy S3 platform of last year, the Galaxy S4 maintains a strong family resemblance to its older sibling but does generally and for Sprint specifically add a number of evolutionary enhancements, such as a larger 1080p display, world roaming capability, wireless charging cover functionality, and some transmit power increases. Thus, adding to S4GRU's long standing series of articles on the FCC OET authorizations for the HTC EVO 4G LTE, Samsung Galaxy S3, Motorola Photon Q 4G, LG Optimus G, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, and HTC One is our run through of the RF capabilities of the Galaxy S4: CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800) LTE band 25 (i.e. LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks) LTE 5 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth LTE UE category 3 W-CDMA bands 2, 5 (i.e. W-CDMA 1900/850) GSM 850/1900 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 802.11n MCS index 7, 40 MHz carrier bandwidth 802.11ac MCS index 9, 80 MHz carrier bandwidth SVLTE support, including SVLTE and simultaneous 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi tether RF ERP/EIRP maximum: 25.39 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 23.25 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 24.62 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800), 22.83 dBm (LTE 1900) NFC antenna integrated into battery cover CDMA1X/EV-DO Rx antenna diversity Antenna locations: (see FCC OET diagram below) Simultaneous transmission paths: (see FCC OET diagram below)     Breaking down the RF specs, honestly, the Galaxy S4 may come across as a disappointment to many. That is primarily, though, because the reality could hardly live up to the expectations. First, the Galaxy S4 does not support band 26 LTE 800 nor band 41 TD-LTE 2600. Reports are that Sprint will not release any dual band LTE devices and will skip straight to tri band. Those devices, however, are still at least six months off, so like all Sprint LTE devices before it, the Galaxy S4 is limited to band 25 LTE 1900 on the native Sprint network. Additionally, the Galaxy S4's band 25 LTE 1900 is limited to 5 MHz FDD bandwidth. This seems to be largely a Samsung quirk, as Sprint LTE devices from other OEMs are tested and authorized for 10 MHz FDD (or greater) as well. That being said, this will likely be of no consequence, as all Sprint LTE FDD deployment for at least the next several years is apt to remain based on 5 MHz FDD carriers. Also, unlike the recent HTC One, the Galaxy S4 does not appear to be particularly optimized for the Sprint LTE network. Using the FCC OET authorization documents, we can gauge a device's RF prowess by examining its maximum transmit ERP/EIRP and at what frequency that max occurs. This is by no means a perfect simulacrum for both transmission and reception, but we can say that Galaxy S4 LTE is at its max RF wise in the traditional PCS A-F blocks, not the PCS G block 1912.5 MHz center frequency where Sprint is deploying its initial LTE carrier nationwide. Staying on ERP/EIRP discussion, the Galaxy S4 looks to be a rather strong performer on roaming CDMA1X/EV-DO 850 and the now being deployed Sprint native CDMA1X 800. Both show quite high ERP. On the flip side, the EIRP for CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900 is good, too, but oddly less than the ERP of the CDMA2000 airlinks below 1 GHz that enjoy significant propagation advantages. With most other handsets, the transmit power relationship is reversed, CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900 transmit power being greater to compensate for its greater path loss. Furthermore, ERP/EIRP was tested with both the standard battery cover and the wireless charging cover. A definite caveat, the wireless charging cover reduces ERP/EIRP by up to 6 dB. Most likely, the induction coil in the wireless charging cover absorbs some of the transmitted RF, thus reducing the radiated power. For some users, the convenience of wireless charging may outweigh the hit to wireless performance. But S4GRU cannot generally recommend wireless charging due to its inefficiency (much power is wasted as heat) and detriment to RF. As for simultaneous voice and data, the Galaxy S4 does support SVLTE but is the latest in a long line of Sprint LTE handsets now to forgo SVDO. Realistically, this comes as no great surprise, as we have not seen SVDO capability in any new handset since last summer. Either this is a limitation of the Qualcomm MDM9615 baseband modem that has become standard equipment or SVDO is no longer a strong priority as Sprint LTE coverage grows weekly. Regardless, CDMA1X and EV-DO share a transmit path (indicated in the FCC OET diagram above); hence, simultaneous CDMA1X voice and EV-DO data is not supported. As S4GRU has reported in the past, the FCC OET authorization documents are not required to disclose world phone capabilities because those bands are not in use in the US. However, the presence of GSM 850/1900 and W-CDMA bands 2, 5 (i.e. W-CDMA 1900/850) is strongly indicative of the inclusion of international roaming capabilities, too. Indeed, other outlets are reporting that all variants of the Galaxy S4 include at a minimum quad band GSM 850/900/1800/1900 and W-CDMA bands 1, 2, 5, 8 (i.e. W-CDMA 2100+1900/1900/850/900) -- the latter supporting DC-HSPA+ on the downlink and HSUPA on the uplink. While we cannot confirm these reports at this time, they certainly do seem plausible. What also remains unconfirmed at this point is the SIM situation: embedded or removable. As soon as this info comes to light, we will update the article.   Source: FCC

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

 

(UPDATED) All for HTC One, HTC One for all?

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, February 22, 2013 - 2:55 PM MST   Update: Many hands on reviews of the HTC One are emerging this week. Courtesy of Engadget, we can report that the Sprint variant is one of the very first Sprint LTE handsets to include a removable micro-SIM. Removable SIM cards have long been part of the Network Vision roadmap for 2013, so it looks like that time may have arrived.   S4GRU welcomes you to the first major Sprint handset announcement of 2013. Earlier this week, the upcoming HTC One was revealed at an event in New York City. Not to be confused with last year's HTC One X, the HTC One is the new flagship of the line and will be offered by dozens of carriers around the world, including AT&T and T-Mobile in the US. Last year, Sprint got essentially a customized version of the HTC One X in the HTC EVO 4G LTE. This year, however, another EVO handset is not currently in the offing, and Sprint is joining its fellow carriers in standardizing around a universal HTC One platform. The only notable customization is for Sprint's specific CDMA2000 band classes and LTE band. And that Sprint variant had its authorization documents uploaded to the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database earlier today.   If you have followed our series of articles on the EVO LTE, Samsung Galaxy S3, Motorola Photon Q 4G, LG Optimus G, and Samsung Galaxy Note 2, then you know what is at hand. Here is an RF focused breakdown of the HTC One coming to Sprint: CDMA1X + EV-DO band classes 0, 1, 10 (i.e. CDMA1X + EV-DO 850/1900/800)
LTE band class 25 (i.e. LTE 1900; PCS A-G blocks)
LTE 5/10 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth
LTE UE category 3
802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
802.11n MCS index 7, 40 MHz carrier bandwidth
802.11ac MCS index 9, 80 MHz carrier bandwidth
SVLTE support, including SVLTE and simultaneous 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi tether
NFC
Antenna 0 max RF ERP/EIRP: 20.10 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 23.80 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 19.23 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800), 12.30 dBm (LTE 1900)
Antenna 1 max RF ERP/EIRP: 13.78 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850), 13.58 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900), 14.27 dBm (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800), 23.63 dBm (LTE 1900)
Antenna locations: (see FCC OET diagram below)
Simultaneous transmission modes: (see FCC OET diagram below)
    As for analysis of the specs, the HTC One is the world's first handset to include the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard. But let us address right away another potential first that has become the so called elephant in the room. The Sprint version of the HTC One is limited to band 25 LTE 1900. It does not support either of Sprint's upcoming LTE bands -- band 26 LTE 800 and band 41 TD-LTE 2600. One or both of those bands are expected to be incorporated in new handsets sometime this year, but the HTC One will not be the first.   The other notable absence is SVDO support for simultaneous CDMA1X voice + EV-DO data, though its omission is growing less and less notable as time goes on. SVDO requires separate RF paths for CDMA1X and EV-DO. The first few Sprint LTE handsets did support SVDO, utilizing separate paths for CDMA1X and EV-DO/LTE. But the last nine Sprint LTE handsets have foregone SVDO, combining CDMA1X/EV-DO on a single path, so SVDO was likely just a temporary measure or a fringe benefit of the Qualcomm MSM8960 chipset and will not be a common Sprint handset feature going forward.   In its press release earlier this week, Sprint calls its HTC One an "international" smartphone, and that could be interpreted to mean world roaming capabilities. The FCC authorization documents show no evidence of this, but they are not required to do so, since the FCC is a US authority. What is lacking, though, is any GSM 850/1900 or W-CDMA 850/1900. So, if the HTC One is world roaming capable, it will most likely be limited to GSM 900/1800 and band 1 W-CDMA 2100+1900.   Since the HTC One is really the de facto successor to the EVO LTE, a little bit of comparison would be in order. In our RF rundown article on the EVO LTE last spring, we stated that it "does not look to be a stellar RF performer" based on its low to moderate ERP/EIRP figures. And our prediction proved quite prescient, as the EVO LTE has not been noted for its performance with weak signals. The good news is that, on paper, the HTC One looks to be a notable improvement in this regard.   First, the dual antenna system is optimized for CDMA1X/EV-DO on antenna 0 and LTE on antenna 1. But as long as only one antenna is in use (i.e. SVLTE is not active), the dual antennas can be switched at will to combat an RF fade at one antenna but not the other. Second, LTE max EIRP has been increased by 4 dB over that of the EVO LTE. Furthermore, LTE EIRP has been maximized around the 1912.5 MHz center frequency, 5 MHz FDD carrier bandwidth configuration that Sprint is currently deploying nationwide in its PCS G block spectrum. In short, the Sprint variant of the HTC One has been tweaked specifically for the Sprint LTE network.   Source: FCC

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

Married to it

by Christina Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 3:10 AM MST   Travel back with me a few weeks ago. It’s a cold Saturday afternoon, and I am standing and staring into a gated area near a cell phone tower. My date for this outing is frantically taking pictures and discussing the exciting upgrades to the equipment which have occurred since our last visit. I have no idea what he is talking about, all the mechanical stuff looks exactly like it did a few weeks ago. To me, it happens to look exactly like the 3 other sites we visited today. Not wanting to look totally stupid, I just smile and nod. Yep, this is what I do for fun for my 17th wedding anniversary. I am officially married to a cell phone dork. Since May 2011, I have had many a romantic dinner which usually includes at least a drive-by various cell towers. I have smiled and nodded through countless conversations which are dominated by the words, “LTE”, “Wi-Max” and “backhaul”. I still have no idea what any of this means. I have taken vacations based on the availability of 4G coverage. This past summer our family ended up in Waco, Texas. Not exactly the place one would call a cosmopolitan vacation destination. At least we got to go to the Baylor football season opener. We ran tests in between plays, and my husband would constantly grab my phone to look at an Engineering screen. I have changed hotel and restaurant reservations based on cell tower locations. My kids can spot a cell tower from 5 miles away. Family outings generally include a visit to one. My oldest son understands which panel is which on the cell tower. He also understands the secret language of cell phone technology which my husband speaks. I just continue to smile and nod. Many friends ask me in wonder why I allow my date nights to be interrupted by visits to cell phone towers and discussions about things I don’t understand. The answer is simple; I have the best husband in the world. S4GRU is my husband’s passion. He loves all things Sprint, cell phone, and the technology that goes with it. He is passionate about the site and getting the information to its members. He gives unselfishly to it while still honoring all his work, home and community obligations. When he isn’t working on this site; he is being an awesome dad, devoted husband, faithful employee and a good citizen. The only sacrifice I make is that I occasionally have to smile and nod, so I don’t look like I have no idea what is going on. He sacrifices his sleep, his free time and sometimes his sanity to make sure we are all happy. I couldn’t ask for more than that. Today is Valentine’s Day, the day of romance. I am looking forward to a romantic dinner at my favorite restaurant and maybe a box of Godiva chocolate. There are two things I am pretty sure of. There will be at least one stop at a cell tower during the night, and I will probably be doing a lot of smiling and nodding.  

MommaCiCi

MommaCiCi

Sprint deploys special Ground Mount Option Network Vision sites in some low capacity and high engineering locations

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 1:13 AM MST   Often you may see us refer to a GMO site around S4GRU. But, what is a GMO site? GMO stands for Ground Mount Option. Or sometimes, it will be referred to as a GMR (Ground Mount RRU) site. In this article we will explain many points about the Ground Mount Option. In the most basic explanation, a Ground Mount site is one where they are doing a partial Network Vision conversion instead of a full build conversion. A full build site is one where they upgrade all the hardware at a site, including the base station equipment (RBS/MBS), install new multi-mode antenna panels on the tower, add Remote Radio Units (RRU’s, sometimes also called RRH’s), and run new fiber optic lines from the base station equipment up to the RRU’s on the tower. These are the ones most people who follow along Network Vision deployment are familiar with. However, a GMO site will install new base station equipment, with the RRU’s mounted down at the Ground Level, near the new base station cabinets. Then the existing lines running up the tower and the existing panels are reused. These are not to be confused with full build sites with Ground Mounted RRU’s. Those are not Ground Mount Option sites, because they still offer full Network Vision panels, and complete 800MHz and LTE services (where possible). They just are required to mount the RRU’s away from the panels for logistical reasons.   How did Sprint determine which sites were to receive the Ground Mount Option instead of a full Network Vision rebuild? I have had the privilege of talking with several Sprint and OEM employees about the Ground Mount Option the past few weeks. Every one of the 38,000+ Sprint sites in the country had a site survey visit in 2011 to establish logistics and planning for the Network Vision upgrade. Each site is broken down to three priorities, largely based on the traffic and carrier count. See the priorities below: High Priority...site gets full Network Vision upgrade. If site cannot support RRU's and new panels, engineering is done and structure modifications will be made and the site is fully upgraded. Moderate Priority...site gets full Network Vision upgrade. If the site requires minor modifications to support RRU's and NV panels, then it gets fully upgraded. If it requires major attention with full engineering, then a ground mount solution is implemented. Low Priority...low priority sites only get a full NV upgrade with new NV panels and tower mounted RRU's if no structural modification is necessary. If anything is required at a low priority site, the Ground Mount Option is deployed. Also, some low capacity/low priority sites get GMO installs, no matter if the site can support a full install now. At the site survey time back in 2011, each survey team made a judgment call based on their review of the site whether to go full build or GMO, taking into account the priority. And there are anomalies that just do not make any sense. Some markets have no GMO sites at all. And some markets have all GMO sites, like Western Pennsylvania. Also, some site owners will not allow NV full build for various reasons. In these instances, a Ground Mount Option was selected.   What are the advantages of a Ground Mount site? The biggest advantage of a GMO site is these sites are being worked on now and getting Network Vision benefits in the middle of the NV program, instead of at the end of the build out. Many 3rd Round Markets have started earlier because of GMO conversions. 1st and 2nd round markets have mostly full build sites with only a few GMO’s, or none at all. This allows some love for customers that would have been pushed off to the very end of Network Vision to see some improvements now. GMO sites are much faster to deploy with no tower work required. Most GMO sites will require minimal permitting from local authorities, or often no permitting at all. Also, GMO's require less negotiation with the site owner, as it does not materially change the site. GMO site conversions are already under way all around the country, and all of them should be completed before the end of this Summer. There are already 100’s of them with 3G upgrades in place. Ground Mount Option sites also will bring LTE much sooner at many locations. Because LTE 1900 can be run on most GMO sites if the appropriate backhaul is available and Sprint has the OEM install the appropriate number of RRU’s or RRU type. The first LTE capable GMO’s are coming online now. Alcatel Lucent has two live, one in New Bern, North Carolina and another one in the Shentel market in South Central Pennsylvania. Samsung has one live in Dayton, Minnesota. This is just the beginning.   What are the cons of a Ground Mount Option site? There are a few. The first con with the Ground Mount Option, is there will not be any 800MHz service deployed. Sprint is in the process of adding CDMA 800 voice service to full build Network Vision sites. Sprint will also begin deploying LTE 800 service to full build NV sites before the end of 2013. However, GMO sites cannot support 800MHz service, as the existing tower mounted panels do not support 800MHz. In some rural areas, this is a big disappointment as customers have been waiting for 800 MHz signal propagation benefits in the boonies (like me). The second issue, is the availability of LTE. All full build sites get LTE, but some GMO sites will not be getting LTE deployments. Most GMO sites can support LTE through existing panels, so long as there are not too many CDMA carriers installed. However, some higher capacity GMO sites will not get LTE. Also, some of the most backhaul challenged sites in the Sprint network are GMO sites. They will not get LTE initially because Sprint is unable to get sufficient backhaul to the site to support LTE performance requirements, or in some instances Sprint does not want to go through the difficulty of equipping some sites that are a low priority. The last negative detriment of a GMO site is signal propagation benefits of panel mounted RRU’s. A Network Vision full build site with panel mounted RRU’s can achieve up to a 20% signal gain at 1900MHz. However, the full 20% is only realized at very tall boomer sites with little downtilt. Most sites get more like a 5% signal increase. And these GMO’s will not get that extra signal benefit.   Are Ground Mount Options this way forever? Furthermore, at sites where the GMO is implemented, supposedly they will come back at the end of NV and do the engineering and structural modifications. At that time 800 service will be added when the new panels are installed, as well as LTE to sites that can secure appropriate backhaul. I have heard that in some instances (maybe a few hundred), they are using GMO's where they could not come to an agreement with the site owner. Whether financial agreement or logistical/structural. In those instances, Sprint is identifying other adjacent sites that they may move the site to at the end of NV. If no other options can be achieved, it may permanently stay a GMO and never have NV panels and 800 service. My understanding has grown tenfold in the past 2 weeks between talking to the Ericsson tech that's been on site and a long conversation I had with an OEM deployment manager. The most recent conversation I had, the source said they recently heard that more funding is being identified that could go ahead and do more work with GMO sites. Which may include converting them to full builds earlier, or at least changing out legacy panels to NV panels to add support for 800MHz.   Differences between vendors Not all GMO sites are the same. Sprint is using three different vendors to deploy Network Vision. Ericsson, Samsung and Alcatel Lucent. Each of these three OEM’s have their own proprietary equipment. Different base station equipment and different RRU’s. Samsung has two types of RRU’s. 800MHz and 1900 MHz RRU’s. Each of the two Samsung RRU types can do both CDMA and LTE from the same unit, supporting up to four carriers each. At a Samsung GMO site, only one RRU is needed per sector, as the RRU can do LTE and CDMA on the same unit. However, Ericsson and Alcatel Lucent do not have it so easy. These two OEM’s cannot run CDMA and LTE on the same RRU. They need a separate RRU for CDMA and LTE on each sector. This is more work and more cost. S4GRU has been told that Ericsson is finalizing a new RRU that can handle CDMA and LTE on the same unit, but they are not in production yet. These are referred to around the forums as RRUS12. Many Ericsson GMO sites have been spotted with only a single RRU per sector. Unfortunately, these have all been RRUS11 units, which cannot support CDMA and LTE together, only in separate RRU’s. Hopefully many of these will get a second RRU still to support LTE, or maybe be switched out with an RRUS12 unit when they start to hit the streets.   In closing Some of our members have been quite disappointed to learn that their site was selected for a Ground Mount Option. And I have to admit, I too initially was disappointed myself. Especially since my site is one of the GMO’s that will not receive LTE. At least, at first. The thing that we have to keep in mind is these are sites that are either very low priority or very difficult to upgrade. These were always going to be the very last sites to be touched at all, if at all. The majority of GMO sites probably wouldn’t have started until Spring/Summer 2014. For these sites to receive partial upgrades now is a very good thing. Many of us want everything, and we want it yesterday too. This is not practical though. All things considered, the Ground Mount Option is an elegant solution to the problem. Sprint just needs to push the envelope and install LTE on every one where it is physically possible. Oh and Dan, please add LTE to my GMO site (EP03AL506). It just will take two more RRUS11 units, or possibly a prototype RRUS12 unit. Just imagine the good S4GRU publicity you’d get. I will even arrange the backhaul for you!   Ericsson GMO site photo. New Ericsson NV base cabinets in the back and ground mount RRU's on the left. Three CDMA RRU's present here, one for each sector. No LTE at this site initially.   Samsung GMO site photo. New Samsung NV base cabinets at the left and ground mount RRU's directly in front. Three RRU's present here, one for each sector. Samsung GMO sites can run CDMA and LTE if set up that way.   Alcatel Lucent GMO site photo. New AlcaLu NV base cabinets on the right and ground mount RRU's on the center. Six CDMA RRU's present here, two for each sector (one behind each also). AlcaLu GMO LTE sites will require two RRU's per sector.

S4GRU

S4GRU

Sprint internal correspondence discusses Network Vision Progress/Issues with Employees

by Robert Herron
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 10:33 AM MST   Today we feature text from internal correspondence that was distributed to Sprint employees regarding the state of the Network Vision deployment and addresses key points that employees often encounter with the public. It is from a Q&A session with Chad Elliott, Sprint's Director of Strategic Technology Programs. Although there aren't really points in the memo that will be surprises for S4GRU Members who follow deployment closely, it is helpful to get some sort of official documentation from Sprint that we can now point to explain what is going on. It is a good and concise reference of many key challenges that have impacted Network Vision, with some vague outlook for 2013. Some things discussed in the memo include that production is ramping up and with more launches more frequently, why smaller towns/cities seem to be being upgraded first, issues going on that are slowing down deployment in some areas, etc. Take a look at the memo below:  

S4GRU

S4GRU

×