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MulteFire – Bringing LTE-based Security to Unlicensed and Shared Spectrum

By Asimakis Kokkos, Technical Specification Working Group Chair, MulteFire Alliance and Head of Industry Environment Strategy, Nokia

When transmitting data wirelessly, security must always be a top consideration. While other wireless technologies operating in unlicensed spectrum have security protocols, history has shown that these can occasionally have security vulnerabilities, for example as seen with the recent KRACK vulnerability.  Only MulteFire comes with LTE-based security baked in when operating wireless networks in unlicensed or shared spectrum.

Based on 3GPP Release 13 and 14, the MulteFire specification was designed from the outset to minimize the differences between LTE and MulteFire, including how security is implemented. Inherently, LTE incorporates strong security mechanisms, ensures authentication of devices and networks, and encrypts data traffic.

Supporting SIM & Non-SIM Credentials for Secure Networks

In addition to leveraging LTE’s inherent security, MulteFire architecture provides multiple options for device authentication—such as with or without a SIM card— to support a wide range of use cases and deployments and provide services for subscribers from different types of services providers. MulteFire devices could either have physical SIM cards or virtual eSIMs to support service continuity from external mobile networks and regular mobile subscribers, while maintaining a secure network. Alternatively, any MulteFire network could issue its own SIM cards or eSIMs for use with its own services, or standalone networks can allow access from devices without a SIM card using certificates.

Keeping Local Traffic Local – and Secure

Another advantage of MulteFire technology is that it can be deployed as a private LTE network that keeps data locally controlled and independent of surrounding cellular network infrastructure. Keeping data on-premises adds additional security. One deployment example is the emerging private networks for the Industrial IoT applications where local deployment is key to further reducing end-to-end latency and serving use cases such as transportation hubs, manufacturing facilities and container ports.

For more in-depth information on MulteFire technology and security mechanisms, download the MulteFire Release 1.0 Technical Paper here. For more information about the Private LTE Opportunity for Industrial IoT, download the white paper here.

From Marconi to MulteFire – Wireless Innovation MulteFire Open Day – Rome Highlights

By Outi Niemi, Secretary for the MulteFire Alliance

I recently returned from Rome, where I attended the MulteFire Alliance’s sixth Open Day event. Co-hosted by Athonet and Enel, the MulteFire Open Day featured keynote presentations and a panel discussion that highlighted end use cases and an update on when we should expect to see MulteFire deployed.

Why Italy?

While I always enjoy any trip to Italy, you might wonder why we chose Rome for our Open Day. Karim El Malki, CEO of Alliance member company Athonet – headquartered in Trieste, Italy – shared why his company was keen to host this important event. Italy is a leader in the Industrial 4.0 revolution and is aiming to lead in 5G trials in vertical markets – making Italy a country that is ripe for MulteFire deployments. Karim detailed examples where Athonet has already deployed private LTE networks at the Milan World Expo and at Enel’s power plants. MulteFire is the right next step to meet these vertical market needs for flexible spectrum usage, low latency and high throughput, all locally controlled.

MulteFire Use Cases – Perspective from Enel

We were also excited to have Giuseppe Serrecchia, head of digital strategy, global ICT at Enel, share his thoughts on use cases where Enel would deploy MulteFire and why it offers performance advantages over Wi-Fi. As a company, Enel is making significant investments in its digital strategy as they transform their IT infrastructure and move to the Cloud, with the goal to build their services on top of this new infrastructure. Telecommunications and wireless connectivity are key to enabling this transformation as “without connectivity, you don’t digitalize a company; it’s about reaching anything and everyone.”

Giuseppe went into detail on how the company has studied MulteFire and how it offers the capabilities that they care about – high throughput, ultra-low latency, seamless experience, managed security, and Wi-Fi-like deployment ease. Some of the biggest opportunities to deploy MulteFire include power plants (including solar) and sustainability use cases to provide communications to areas hit by disasters. It was exciting to see a potential end user of MulteFire share why they’re ready to deploy the technology, and I encourage you to download the presentation here.

Panelists Share Details on Roadmap to Deployment

Stephan Litjens, MulteFire Alliance Board Chair and vice president of Innovation Steering for Nokia, shared during his opening keynote that MulteFire is now in labs with products planned to deploy in 2018. This was seconded in the discussion amongst the MulteFire panelists – Nanda Menon, Athonet; Rao Yallapragada, Intel; Samuele Machi, Nokia; and Neville Meijers, Qualcomm.

  • IoT will be first. When asked which application will deploy MulteFire first, Neville Meijers stated that he believed that industrial IoT environments are going to see early traction. Qualcomm is already in trials with private LTE at the moment. The areas of focus include shipping ports, airports, mines, and oil & gas refineries. Using MulteFire will be the next step for these trial applications.
  • Enterprises need MulteFire. Rao Yallapragada shared how Enterprise networks today have several pain points – for both wireline and wireless. Wireline networks have costly set-ups, are difficult to configure and almost impossible to re-configure, and don’t provide any mobility or outdoor coverage. Wi-Fi comes with its own limitations for reliability and security. MulteFire overcomes these pain points. It’s easy to configure and cost-effective due to reduced number of access points that need to be installed (in comparison to Wi-Fi). It comes with reliability and security baked in (of particular importance in healthcare applications). And it provides all the benefits of LTE – including voice – to provide campus-wide connectivity.
  • MulteFire will power the Industrial 4.0 Revolution. Nanda Menon pointed out that while the 4.0 revolution is out to change the world, it can’t succeed without very reliable connectivity. Industrial 4.0 will require very high SLAs that can’t be supported by Wi-Fi or macro networks. A completely new network is needed that meets the 1) laws of physics, 2) laws of economics, and 3) laws of the land. MulteFire is the right network solution as it meets these laws’ requirements.
  • A Robust Ecosystem for MulteFire. As companies begin to prep for MulteFire deployments in 2018, Samuele Machi detailed how the Alliance is supporting commercialization efforts through development of a certification program to ensure a robust and interoperable ecosystem of devices. The Alliance already includes members from the entire supply chain needed to bring MulteFire to market, including chip makers, infrastructure vendors, device manufacturers, small cell & Wi-Fi vendors, service providers, and test & measurement vendors. Meijers added that while the ecosystem is developing, the biggest hurdle isn’t the technology, but is defining the business agreements that will support MulteFire deployments.
  • The Road to 5G. Looking ahead, the Alliance will develop 5G MulteFire based on 3GPP NR standards and continue its focus on commercialization efforts. The panelists agreed that 5G – beyond enhanced mobile broadband – is being driven by the vertical market use cases – and MulteFire is the right solution for many of these verticals.

The combination of Italian hospitality and tradition of wireless innovation and MulteFire made for a great event! The MulteFire Alliance will next venture to The Hague for Wi-Fi NOW, October 31-November 2, where Stephan Litjens will present on MulteFire and we’ll be showcasing technology demonstrations. I hope to see you at our future MulteFire events!

MulteFire Open Day to be Hosted at Enel Premises in Rome

ROME, ITALY – September 25, 2017 – The MulteFire Alliance today announced the MulteFire Open Day, which will be held at the Enel Auditorium on Tuesday, September 26. Co-hosted by Alliance member, Athonet, a service provider for mobile core network solutions, the event will provide an introduction to MulteFire™ technology and discuss key business use cases. Anyone interested in learning more about MulteFire technology is invited to attend.

MulteFire is an LTE-based technology that can be deployed standalone in unlicensed or shared spectrum, while ensuring fair sharing of spectrum with other users and technologies in the same bands, such as Wi-Fi. By removing the requirement for an anchor in licensed spectrum, MulteFire enables new use cases and allows anyone to deploy and operate their own network, while gaining the advantages of LTE technology such as performance, coverage, mobility and security.

Event Details:

  • Tuesday, September 26
  • 2:00 – 5:00pm
  • The Enel Auditorium, Viale Regina Margherita 125, 00198 Roma RM, Italy – hosted by Enel and Athonet

“MulteFire is an ideal technology for industrial IoT and enterprise applications that require low latency. MulteFire meets the demands for a robust wireless technology that can be deployed as a private network and locally controlled,” said Mazen Chmaytelli, MulteFire Alliance President and Senior Director of Business Development for Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “I invite all companies to join us for informative presentations and demos of MulteFire technology.”

The MulteFire Open Day agenda will include:

  • An overview of MulteFire technology
  • Keynote presentations on the MulteFire business opportunities, end-user perspectives for MulteFire and leveraging MulteFire networks for industrial applications
  • Panel discussion on MulteFire advantages for Enterprise, IoT and Neutral Host Networks
  • Reception featuring MulteFire technology demonstrations

To attend the free MulteFire Open Day, register at www.multefire.org/multe-events/rome-open-day-rsvp-form/.

About MulteFire Alliance
MulteFire Alliance is an international association dedicated to building a global ecosystem in support of the common interests of members, developers and users in the application of Long Term Evolution (LTE) and next generation mobile cellular technology in configurations that use only unlicensed radio spectrum. For more information about MulteFire technology, its benefits how to become a member of the MulteFire Alliance, please visit www.MulteFire.org.

PCTEL Joins MulteFire Alliance to Promote LTE in Unlicensed Spectrum

PCTEL Scanners and Antennas Ideal for Small Cell and Industrial IoT Deployments

SAN FRANCISCO – September 12, 2017 PCTEL, Inc. (Nasdaq:PCTI), a leader in Performance Critical TELecom solutions, announced today at Mobile World Congress Americas that it has joined the MulteFire Alliance. The Alliance is an international consortium established to define and promote MulteFire™, which enables LTE-based cellular and Internet of Things (IoT) network configurations operating solely in unlicensed and shared spectrum.

By enabling standalone configurations in unlicensed and shared spectrum, MulteFire makes high performance wireless technology available to a variety of users beyond the established carrier base. Solutions based on MulteFire technology will enable enterprise, venues, and ISPs to deploy neutral host small cells, providing hyper-dense mobile connectivity. Industrial users will be able to deploy reliable wireless IoT networks without the need to purchase spectrum.

“It is important to the commercial success of MulteFire technology that we build a complete eco-system, including test and measurement partners such as PCTEL,” said Mazen Chmaytelli, President, MulteFire Alliance and Sr. Director Business Development, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “PCTEL has a strong reputation in both test and measurement and antenna design, with a range of products that can be used to deploy MulteFire.”

PCTEL’s IBflex® and MXflex® scanning receivers and antenna solutions currently support all MulteFire frequencies. PCTEL’s scanning receivers provide RF measurements to support planning and configuring of wireless networks. PCTEL also offers a complete portfolio of antennas as well as embedded systems design and integration expertise for small cells and the industrial Internet of Things.

“PCTEL’s flex scanning receivers are precision RF measurement tools based on software-defined radio technology, ideal for assessing technology performance and identifying sources of interference. They will adapt to MulteFire technology regardless of the spectrum being used,” said Jeff Miller, PCTEL’s Senior Vice President and General Manager, RF Solutions. “We look forward to working closely with the Alliance as this exciting technology develops and supports today’s use cases as well as use cases we haven’t imagined,” added Miller.

About MulteFire Alliance

The MulteFire Alliance is an international association dedicated to building a global ecosystem in support of the common interests of members, developers and users in the application of Long Term Evolution (LTE) and next generation mobile cellular technology in configurations that use only unlicensed and shared radio spectrum. For more information about MulteFire technology, its benefits how to become a member of the MulteFire Alliance, please visit www.MulteFire.org.

About PCTEL

PCTEL delivers Performance Critical TELecom technology solutions to the wireless industry. We are the leading global supplier of antennas and wireless network testing solutions. PCTEL Connected Solutions designs and manufactures precision antennas. PCTEL antennas are deployed in small cells, enterprise Wi-Fi access points, fleet management and transit systems, and in equipment and devices for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). PCTEL RF Solutions provides test tools and engineering services that improve the performance of wireless networks globally. Mobile operators, neutral hosts, and equipment manufacturers rely on PCTEL’s scanning receivers and testing solutions to analyze, design, and optimize next generation wireless networks.

For more information, please visit the following websites.

PCTEL Corporate: http://www.pctel.com/

PCTEL Connected Solutions: http://www.antenna.com/

PCTEL RF Solutions: http://rfsolutions.pctel.com/

For further information contact:

Michael Rosenberg

Director of Marketing

PCTEL, Inc.

(301) 444-2046

public.relations@pctel.com

 

MulteFire Alliance Gears Up for MWC Americas’ Debut in the ‘Epicenter of Mobile Innovation’

By Rasmus Hellberg, MulteFire Alliance Marketing Working Group Chair and Senior Director of Technical Marketing at Qualcomm

The inaugural GSMA Mobile World Congress (MWC) Americas comes at a time when North America is considered the ‘epicenter of mobile innovation.’ The West Coast specifically is a hub for this innovation, which is why the MWC Americas will launch next week in San Francisco. The event will be held in the Moscone Center, Tuesday, September 12 through Thursday, September 14.

The MulteFire Alliance is excited to take part in this premiere event, and we will be showcasing MulteFire technology demonstrations in our booth in the South Hall, S.1861. Member companies Athonet, Nokia, Qualcomm and Sanjole will be featuring their solutions. I encourage you to come by the booth to see MulteFire in action, as well as learn more about the immediate roadmap to Release 1.1, which will include optimizations around IoT.

In addition, to the MulteFire Alliance booth, our strong ecosystem of member companies will also be available to talk MulteFire at the show. You can find our members throughout the show floor:

– American Tower: North Hall, Stand N.108
– Baicells: South Hall, Stand S.2056
– Casa Systems: West Hall, EMR.33
– Cisco Systems: South Hall, S.542
– DEKRA: North Hall, Stand N.182
– Ericsson: South Hall, Stand S.1930
– Intel: West Hall, EMR.43
– Nokia: North Hall, Stand N.854, South Hall, Stand S.2300A1
– Qualcomm: South Hall, Stand S.216
– Rohde & Schwarz: North Hall, Stand N.1360
– Ruckus Wireless: South Hall, Stand S.128
– Samsung: South Hall, Stand S.616
– Sierra Wireless: Marriott Marquis Bay 2
– SpiderCloud Wireless: South Hall, S.2626

If you would like to meet with the Alliance onsite to learn about membership or our roadmap, please email us at press@multefire.org to schedule a meeting.

To learn more about the current, public release of the MulteFire 1.0.1, visit: https://www.mfa-tech.org/2017/04/13/release-1-0-1-now-publicly-available-for-download/

You may also download our latest white paper The Private LTE Opportunity for Industrial and Commercial IoT, developed by Harbor Research and in collaboration with the CBRS Alliance.

See you in San Francisco!

Driving Wireless Connectivity for Industrial IoT

By Mazen Chmaytelli, President of the MulteFire Alliance and is Senior Director of Business Development for Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

We have entered a new era for manufacturing, automation and technology advancement. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is paving the way for the next Industrial Revolution, but there is still work to be done to connect smart devices and have them communicate in an efficient manner. The current state of machinery and networks is struggling to keep up with the deployment, integration and operational demands in industries like shipping ports, warehouses, hospitals, mines, and airports. If these challenges are not overcome, future automation and smart device manufacturing will undoubtedly falter.

As large enterprises evaluate connectivity options for their IoT deployments, it’s important to keep mobility and security in mind. Private LTE networks such as MulteFire fulfill both these needs, while operating solely in unlicensed or shared spectrum. This is an ideal network solution for industries concerned with the scope and scale of their sensor-based, IoT devices. MulteFire simplifies private LTE deployments by offering spectrum sharing and coexistence, making it a prominent player in IoT network infrastructure.

The MulteFire Alliance and the CBRS Alliance recently commissioned a white paper by Harbor Research, The Private LTE Opportunity for Industrial and Commercial IoT, that highlights the benefits for leveraging shared and unlicensed spectrum to deploy highly reliable and secure private LTE networks. I, along with Alex Glaser, Director of Development, Harbor Research, had the opportunity to share the findings from the paper during an RCR Wireless webinar, where we also discussed how private LTE networks based on MulteFire can deliver enhanced coverage, capacity, reliability and mobility for business-critical markets. You can download the archived webinar here.

Following this successful webinar, Alex and I presented Delivering MulteFire Connectivity for Industrial IoT” at the IoT Evolution Expo in Las Vegas. There, we covered how MulteFire enables IoT networks, and answered attendee questions on MulteFire technology and the MulteFire Release 1.1 specification roadmap.

Keep up with our blog to learn more about the upcoming Release 1.1, which will add further IoT optimizations, creating new opportunities for Industrial IoT.

Recent resources:
The Private LTE Opportunity for Industrial and Commercial IoT, Harbor Research
• MulteFire Webinar: MulteFire for Industrial IoT Applications

Embarking on an Industrial IoT Tour with the MulteFire Alliance

By Rasmus Hellberg

MulteFire Alliance members have been around the world and back since the completion of the Release 1.0 specification in January. From the Open Day in Tokyo, to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, we have been busy sharing how MulteFire will enable new business models and innovation for vertical markets like private and industrial IoT. In its latest report, Harbor Research forecasts that private IoT with LTE and MulteFire solutions could reach $31 billion by 2020.

MulteFire delivers key advantages for industrial and private IoT in terms of capacity, coverage, mobility and reliability, thanks to its LTE-based design for handling interference from multiple users. It can be deployed as a traditional access mode by a single network operator – an exciting development for private, enterprise and industrial IoT networks. We shared some of these advantages in a presentation at our Business Opportunities event at MWC.

The Release 1.0 specification supports MulteFire deployments for demanding IoT applications today, and the future Release 1.1 will add additional IoT optimizations. We invite you to learn more about how MulteFire will play in the IoT ecosystem by attending one of the upcoming conferences where the Alliance will be presenting and exhibiting.

 

Smart IoT London – March 15-16, London, UK

Smart IOT London is the UK’s largest gathering of global IoT experts. This event focuses on the key issues surrounding IoT security and data sharing, as well as provides case studies and new products for unlocking the full potential of IoT.

The MulteFire Alliance member companies will be exhibiting the latest technology demonstrations in our Booth #1532. I also encourage you to drop by the IoT Platforms, Connectivity and Device Management Theatre at 11:30am on Thursday, March 16 to hear from Dirk Lindemeier, Head of Business Center – Advanced Mobile Network Solutions, Nokia on the “Promise of MulteFire.”

To learn more about this event and to secure a free conference pass, visit: http://www.smartiotlondon.com/welcome.

 

Enterprise IoT Summit – March 28-29, Austin, TX

On the heels of the Smart IoT London event, we will be traveling to Austin to participate in the Enterprise IoT Summit, which delivers a practical guide to digital transformation using IoT technology systems and solutions.

Learn how MulteFire creates business opportunities that allow new market verticals like – large enterprises, public venues (malls and airports), healthcare, transportation applications, M2M, IoT, seaport management, gas detection, manufacturing and logistics – to benefit from the LTE technology and ecosystem.

At the event, Neville Meijers, vice president of Business Development at Qualcomm, will present on how MulteFire delivers an end-to-end wireless architecture that enterprises and IoT can deploy today.  Our members will also showcase MulteFire technology demonstrations in Booth 126. To schedule a meeting, contact press@multefire.org.