A Short Bio

Emi Olbrich Emil Olbrich is currently President at PrimeLime, Senior Trainer and Expert at 5G-Courses.com and also VP of Networks with Signals Research Group. 

Prior to this, he was head of LTE research, development, test and evaluation for the Public Safety Communications Research Program where he deployed the first and most diverse Public Safety 700 MHz LTE test lab in the world with over 70 participating vendors and commercial carriers. He was responsible for the specifying, deploying and maintaining the entire ecosystem of LTE which included devices, air interface, transport, radio access network, evolved packet core, IP networking, IMS core and application servers. He also led the team efforts, which include standards work, test case development and test case execution. 

Mr. Olbrich has over 20 years of experience in the field of wireless telecommunications. He has worked primarily in R&D at some of the largest telecommunication companies in the world – such as Motorola, Qualcomm and Ericsson. His scope of work includes deploying and operating LTE infrastructure (RAN, EPC and IMS) from numerous Tier 1 vendors; testing new LTE mobile devices from multiple suppliers; testing, deploying and operating some of the first commercial CDMA networks; serving as Lead Project engineer for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics and as the Project Manager for the China Ministry of Information Industry 3G testing in China; and supporting the early development of HDR (EV-DO and EV-DO Rev A).

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Recent Publications and Analysis


Vol 3: Vikings vs. Bears

05/05/2019 | 63 pages

SRG conducted a benchmark study of the Verizon Wireless 5G NR networks in Minneapolis and Chicago. Although data speeds are interesting, we focused our efforts on metrics that have far more implications on the long-term prospects for 5G NR, operating in millimeter wave frequencies and supporting eMBB use cases. This work also includes the Interdependencies between 5G NR and LTE.

Highlights of the Report include the following:

Our Thanks.  We did this study in collaboration with Accuver Americas, Rohde & Schwarz, and Spirent Communications who provided us with their respective test equipment, which we identify in the report. SRG did all the testing and analysis of the data and we are solely responsible for the commentary in the report.

Our Methodology.  We captured chipset diagnostic messages from up to two Motorola Z3 smartphones with/without the 5G Moto Mod, as well as scanner information in the two networks. Using sustained, high bandwidth data transfers (UDP and TCP), we performed walk tests and drive tests, not to mention sensitivity studies involving grip, device positioning, and sudden turns. We also did multiple user experience tests involving popular applications to determine if the applications and services took full advantage of the network capabilities.

The Results.  Although we observed sustained PDSCH Layer data speeds of 1.1 to 1.2 Gbps on numerous occasions and a peak data speed of at least 1.5 Gbps, we believe the long-term prospects for millimeter wave are better defined by parameters, such as BRSRP and BSINR, and how these parameters are impacted by distance as well as near/non-line-of-site conditions. RF reflections remain alive and well.

A bit “Wonky.”  Although the network performance was a bit wonky, it wasn’t a direct result of millimeter wave, or at least the issues we documented can easily be overcome. Device/modem stability, support for beam management, increased utilization and more efficient use of the 5G NR radio channels top the list, as does improving the interdependencies with the LTE network. The use of 1,024 element arrays in the gNB radio and/or the mixed use of wide beams and narrow beams will further improve coverage and capacity.

The Importance of LTE.  When operators deploy 5G NR FR2, they frequently use a small cell architecture. As we witnessed in our tests, and in our earlier series of small cell studies, there is substantial capacity gains with LTE and small cells. Furthermore, operators are also taking advantage of LAA. In the case of Verizon, the Motorola Z3 (w/ 5G Moto Mod) simultaneously used five LTE carriers, including three unlicensed bands in Chicago.

A Paradigm Shift. 5G NR FR2 doesn’t need to provide ubiquitous coverage, especially once operators deploy 5G NR in cellular bands and incorporate carrier aggregation. Given results of user experience tests, it is clear that 5G NR FR2 isn’t about peak speeds to individual users, but the total capacity that it offers.


The Time 5G Got Shenzhened

Last week, we attended the RAN#83 Plenary in Shenzhen, China. In this Signals Ahead report we provide our thoughts based on recent RAN Plenary activities and key decisions impacting the functionality and timeline of the 5G standard.

The Time 5G Got Shenzhened.  3GPP is an international standards body. Like it or not, its success and the success of the telecom industry hinge on the participation of operators and vendors from around the world. Unfortunately, perceived optics about attending a standards meeting in Shenzhen seemingly prevented two major US operators from attending.

3GPP “took a duty” on 5G NR FR2. 5G NR operating in millimeter wave frequencies (FR2) was already challenging enough, especially in the uplink direction. Recent revelations pertaining to how Release 15 must address EMF (electromagnetic field) compliance with a late change request (CR) do not help. Meeting regulatory compliance isn’t the issue. Maintaining good uplink data performance without frequent dropped calls is an issue. We discuss what is being done in R15, would could be done in R16, and how it might impact the first wave of 5G NR devices and network launches. Additional R15 CRs, while critical to the success of 5G NR, are forthcoming, including CRs which address unrelated areas.

The V2X “Safety Dance.”  With the R16 V2X study item completed, one would think approving the follow-on work item would be relatively straight forward. Unfortunately, there is now uncertainty for the roles that LTE and 5G NR will play when meeting the full set of V2X requirements, including basic safety mechanisms and advanced services.

Release 16 and Release 17 Update.  We discuss the benefits of recently approved Release 16 work items and the likely timing of Release 17.

Odds and Ends. We discuss a couple of items which we found quite interesting and which we’ve covered in earlier Signals Ahead reports.

Upcoming Conferences

where you can meet Mr. Emil Olbrich

  • Big 5G Event, May 6-8, 2019, Colorado Convention Center, Denver, CO

    Drop us an email to [email protected] to schedule a meeting with Mr. Emil Olbrich.

  • Keysight World 2019 Americas May 14, 2019

    Keysight World 2019 Americas May 14, 2019

  • MWC Los Angeles, October 22 – 24, 2019

    Drop us an email to [email protected] to schedule a meeting with Mr. Emil Olbrich.