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Showing posts with label 5G. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 5G. Show all posts

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

5G Security Updates - July 2017


Its been nearly 2 years since I last blogged about ETSI Security workshop. A lot has changed since then, especially as 5G is already in the process of being standardised. This is in addition to NFV / SDN that also applied to 4G networks.

ETSI Security Week (12 - 16 June) covered lot more than 5G, NFV, SDN, etc. Security specialists can follow the link to get all the details (if they were not already aware of).

I want to quickly provide 3 links so people can find all the useful information:

NFV Security Tutorialdesigned to educate attendees on security concerns facing operators and providers as they move forward with implementing NFV. While the topics are focused on security and are technical in nature we believe any individual responsible for designing, implementing or operating a NFV system in an organization will benefit from this session. Slides here.

NFV Security: Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), leveraging cloud computing, is set to radically change the architecture, security, and implementation of telecommunications networks globally. The NFV Security day will have a sharp focus on the NFV security and will bring together the world-wide community of the NFV security leaders from the industry, academia, and regulators. If you want to meet the movers and shakers in this field, get a clear understanding of the NFV security problems, challenges, opportunities, and the state of the art development of security solutions, this day is for you. Slides here.



5G Security: The objectives of this event are to:
  • Gather different actors involved in the development of 5G, not only telecom, and discuss together how all their views will shape together in order to understand the challenges, threats and the security requirements that the 5G scenarios will be bringing.
  • Give an update of what is happening in:
    • 5G security research: Lot of research is on-going on 5G security and several projects exist on the topic.
    • 5G security standards: Standardization bodies have already started working 5G security and their work progress will be reviewed. Also any gap or additional standardization requirements will be discussed.
    • Verticals and business (non-technical) 5G security requirements: 5G is playground where different verticals besides the telecom industry is playing a role and their requirements will be key for the design of 5G security. In addition 5G is where "security" will become the business driver.
  • Debate about hot topics such as: IoT security, Advances in lightweight cryptography, Slicing security. Privacy. Secure storage and processing. Security of the interconnection network (DIAMETER security). Relevance of Quantum Safe Cryptography for 5G, Authorization concepts....
Slides for 5G Security here.

In addition, Jaya Baloo, CISO, KPN Telecom talks about 5G network security at TechXLR8 2017. Embedded is a video of that:


Monday, 19 June 2017

Network Sharing is becoming more relevant with 5G

5G is becoming a case of 'damned if you do damned if you don't'. Behind the headlines of new achievements and faster speeds lies the reality that many operators are struggling to keep afloat. Indian and Nigerian operators are struggling with heavy debt and it wont be a surprise if some of the operators fold in due course.

With increasing costs and decreasing revenues, its no surprise that operators are looking at ways of keeping costs down. Some operators are postponing their 5G plans in favour of Gigabit LTE. Other die hard operators are pushing ahead with 5G but looking at ways to keep the costs down. In Japan for example, NTT DOCOMO has suggested sharing 5G base stations with its two rivals to trim costs, particularly focusing efforts in urban areas.


In this post, I am looking to summarise an old but brilliant post by Dr. Kim Larsen here. While it is a very well written and in-depth post, I have a feeling that many readers may not have the patience to go through all of it. All pictures in this post are from the original post by Dr. Kim Larsen.


Before embarking on any Network sharing mission, its worthwhile asking the 5W's (Who, Why, What, Where, When) and 2H's (How, How much).

  • Why do you want to share?
  • Who to share with? (your equal, your better or your worse).
  • What to share? (sites, passives, active, frequencies, new sites, old sites, towers, rooftops, organization, ,…).
  • Where to share? (rural, sub-urban, urban, regional, all, etc..).
  • When is a good time to start sharing? During rollout phase, steady phase or modernisation phase. See picture below. For 5G, it would make much more sense that network sharing is done from the beginning, i.e., Rollout Phase


  • How to do sharing?. This may sound like a simple question but it should take account of regulatory complexity in a country. The picture below explains this well:



  • How much will it cost and how much savings can be attained in the long term? This is in-fact a very important question because the end result after a lot of hard work and laying off many people may result in an insignificant amount of cost savings. Dr. Kim provides detailed insight on this topic that I find it difficult to summarise. Best option is to read it on his blog.


An alternative approach to network sharing is national roaming. Many European operators are dead against national roaming as this means the network loses its differentiation compared to rival operators. Having said that, its always worthwhile working out the savings and seeing if this can actually help.

National Roaming can be attractive for relative low traffic scenarios or in case were product of traffic units and national roaming unit cost remains manageable and lower than the Shared Network Cost.

The termination cost or restructuring cost, including write-off of existing telecom assets (i.e., radio nodes, passive site solutions, transmission, aggregation nodes, etc….) is likely to be a substantially financial burden to National Roaming Business Case in an area with existing telecom infrastructure. Certainly above and beyond that of a Network Sharing scenario where assets are being re-used and restructuring cost might be partially shared between the sharing partners.

Obviously, if National Roaming is established in an area that has no network coverage, restructuring and termination cost is not an issue and Network TCO will clearly be avoided, Albeit the above economical logic and P&L trade-offs on cost still applies.

If this has been useful to understand some of the basics of network sharing, I encourage you to read the original blog post as that contains many more details.

Futher Reading:



Friday, 12 May 2017

5G – Beyond the Hype

Dan Warren, former GSMA Technology Director who created VoLTE and coined the term 'Phablet' has been busy with his new role as Head of 5G Research at Samsung R&D in UK. In a presentation delivered couple of days back at Wi-Fi Global Congress he set out a realistic vision of 5G really means.

A brief summary of the presentation in his own words below, followed by the actual presentation:
"I started with a comment I have made before – I really hate the term 5G.  It doesn’t allow us to have a proper discussion about the multiplicity of technologies that have been throw under the common umbrella of the term, and hence blurs the rationale for one why each technology is important in its own right.  What I have tried to do in these slides is talk more about the technology, then look at the 5G requirements, and consider how each technology helps or hinders the drive to meet those requirements, and then to consider what that enables in practical terms.

The session was titled ‘5G – beyond the hype’ so in the first three slides I cut straight to the technology that is being brought in to 5G.  Building from the Air Interface enhancements, then the changes in topology in the RAN and then looking at the ‘softwarisation’ on the Core Network.  This last group of technologies sets up the friction in the network between the desire to change the CapEx model of network build by placing functions in a Cloud (both C-RAN and an NFV-based Core, as well as the virtualisation of transport network functions) and the need to push functions to the network edge by employing MEC to reduce latency.  You end up with every function existing everywhere, data breaking out of the network at many different points and some really hard management issues.

On slide 5 I then look at how these technologies line up to meeting 5G requirements.  It becomes clear that the RAN innovations are all about performance enhancement, but the core changes are about enabling new business models from flexibility in topology and network slicing.  There is also a hidden part of the equation that I call out, which is that while technology enables the central five requirements to be met, they also require massive investment by the Operator.  For example you won’t reach 100% coverage if you don’t build a network that has total coverage, so you need to put base stations in all the places that they don’t exist today.

On the next slide I look at how network slicing will be sold.  There are three ways in which a network might be sliced – by SLA or topology, by enterprise customer and by MVNO.  The SLA or topology option is key to allowing the co-existence of MEC and Cloud based CN.  The enterprise or sector based option is important for operators to address large vertical industry players, but each enterprise may want a range of SLA’s for different applications and devices, so you end up with an enterprise slice being made up of sub-slices of differing SLA and topology.  Then, an MVNO may take a slice of the network, but will have it’s own enterprise customers that will take a sub-slice of the MVNO slice, which may in turn be made of sub-sub-slices of differing SLAs.  Somewhere all of this has be stitched back together, so my suggestion is that ‘Network Splicing’ will be as important as network slicing.

Slide illustrates all of this again and notes that there will also be other networks that have been sliced as well, be that 2G, 3G, 4G, WiFi, fixed, LPWA or anything else.  There is also going to be an overarching orchestration requirement both within a network and in the Enterprise customer (or more likely in System Integrator networks who take on the ‘Splicing’ role).  The red flags are showing that Orchestration is both really difficult and expensive, but the challenge for the MNO will also exist in the RAN.  The RRC will be a pinch point that has to sort out all of these device sitting in disparate network topologies with varying demands on the sliced RAN.

Then, in the next four slides I look at the business model around this.  Operators will need to deal with the realities of B2B or B2B2C business models, where they are the first B. The first ‘B’s price is the second ‘B’s cost, so the operator should expect considerable pressure on what it charges, and to be held contractually accountable for the performance of the network.  If 5G is going to claim 100% coverage, 5 9’s reliability, 50Mbps everywhere and be sold to enterprise customers on that basis, it is going to have to deliver it else there will be penalties to pay.  On the flip side to this, if all operators do meet the 5G targets, then they will become very much the same so the only true differentiation option will be on price.  With the focus on large scale B2B contracts, this has all the hallmarks of a race downwards and commoditisation of connectivity, which will also lead to disintermediation of operators from the value chain on applications.

So to conclude I pondered on what the real 5G justification is.  Maybe operators shouldn’t be promising everything, since there will be healthy competition on speed, coverage and reliability while those remain as differentiators.  Equally, it could just be that operators will fight out the consumer market share on 5G, but then that doesn’t offer any real uplift in market size, certainly not in mature developed world markets.  The one thing that is sure is that there is a lot of money to be spent getting there."



Let me know what do you think?

Thursday, 20 April 2017

5G: Architecture, QoS, gNB, Specifications - April 2017 Update


The 5G NR (New Radio) plan was finalised in March (3GPP press release) and as a result Non-StandAlone (NSA) 5G NR will be finalised by March 2018. The final 3GPP Release-15 will nevertheless include NR StandAlone (SA) mode as well.

NSA is based on Option 3 (proposed by DT). If you dont know much about this, then I suggest listening to Andy Sutton's lecture here.


3GPP TR 38.804: Technical Specification Group Radio Access Network; Study on New Radio Access Technology; Radio Interface Protocol Aspects provides the overall architecture as shown above

Compared to LTE the big differences are:

  • Core network control plane split into AMF and SMF nodes (Access and Session Management Functions). A given device is assigned a single AMF to handle mobility and AAA roles but can then have multiple SMF each dedicated to a given network slice
  • Core network user plane handled by single node UPF (User Plane Function) with support for multiple UPF serving the same device and hence we avoid need for a common SGW used in LTE. UPF nodes may be daisy chained to offer local breakout and may have parallel nodes serving the same APN to assist seamless mobility.

Hat tip Alistair Urie.
Notice that like eNodeB (eNB) in case of LTE, the new radio access network is called gNodeB (gNB). Martin Sauter points out in his excellent blog that 'g' stands for next generation.

3GPP TS 23.501: Technical Specification Group Services and System Aspects; System Architecture for the 5G System; Stage 2 provides architecture model and concepts including roaming and non-roaming architecture. I will probably have to revisit as its got so much information. The QoS table is shown above. You will notice the terms QFI (QoS Flow Identity) & 5QI (5G QoS Indicator). I have a feeling that there will be a lot of new additions, especially due to URLLC.

Finally, here are the specifications (hat tip Eiko Seidel for his excellent Linkedin posts - references below):
5G NR will use 38 series (like 25 series for 3G & 36 series for 4G).

RAN3 TR 38.801 v2.0.0 on Study on New Radio Access Technology; Radio Access Architecture and Interfaces

RAN1 TR 38.802 v2.0.0 on Study on New Radio (NR) Access Technology; Physical Layer Aspects

RAN4 TR 38.803 v2.0.0 on Study on New Radio Access Technology: RF and co-existence aspects

RAN2 TR 38.804 v1.0.0 on Study on New Radio Access Technology; Radio Interface Protocol Aspects

38.201 TS Physical layer; General description
38.211 TS Physical channels and modulation
38.212 TS Multiplexing and channel coding
38.213 TS Physical layer procedures
38.214 TS Physical layer measurements
38.21X TS Physical layer services provided to upper layer
38.300 TS Overall description; Stage-2
38.304 TS User Equipment (UE) procedures in idle mode
38.306 TS User Equipment (UE) radio access capabilities
38.321 TS Medium Access Control (MAC) protocol specification
38.322 TS Radio Link Control (RLC) protocol specification
38.323 TS Packet Data Convergence Protocol (PDCP) specification
38.331 TS Radio Resource Control (RRC); Protocol specification
37.3XX TS [TBD for new QoS]
37.3XX TS Multi-Connectivity; Overall description; Stage-2
38.401 TS Architecture description
38.410 TS NG general aspects and principles
38.411 TS NG layer 1
38.412 TS NG signalling transport
38.413 TS NG Application Protocol (NGAP)
38.414 TS NG data transport
38.420 TS Xn general aspects and principles
38.421 TS Xn layer 1
38.422 TS Xn signalling transport
38.423 TS Xn Application Protocol (XnAP)
38.424 TS Xn data transport
38.425 TS Xn interface user plane protocol
38.101 TS User Equipment (UE) radio transmission and reception
38.133 TS Requirements for support of radio resource management
38.104 TS Base Station (BS) radio transmission and reception
38.307 TS Requirements on User Equipments (UEs) supporting a release-independent frequency band
38.113 TS Base Station (BS) and repeater ElectroMagnetic Compatibility (EMC)
38.124 TS Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) requirements for mobile terminals and ancillary equipment
38.101 TS User Equipment (UE) radio transmission and reception
38.133 TS Requirements for support of radio resource management
38.104 TS Base Station (BS) radio transmission and reception
38.141 TS Base Station (BS) conformance testing

Note that all specifications are not in place yet. Use this link to navigate 3GPP specs: http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/Specs/archive/38_series/

Further reading:



Saturday, 15 April 2017

Self-backhauling: Integrated access and backhaul links for 5G


One of the items that was proposed during the 3GPP RAN Plenary #75 held in Dubrovnik, Croatia, was Study on Integrated Access and Backhaul for NR (NR = New Radio). RP-17148 provides more details as follows:

One of the potential technologies targeted to enable future cellular network deployment scenarios and applications is the support for wireless backhaul and relay links enabling flexible and very dense deployment of NR cells without the need for densifying the transport network proportionately. 

Due to the expected larger bandwidth available for NR compared to LTE (e.g. mmWave spectrum) along with the native deployment of massive MIMO or multi-beam systems in NR creates an opportunity to develop and deploy integrated access and backhaul links. This may allow easier deployment of a dense network of self-backhauled NR cells in a more integrated manner by building upon many of the control and data channels/procedures defined for providing access to UEs. An example illustration of a network with such integrated access and backhaul links is shown in Figure 1, where relay nodes (rTRPs) can multiplex access and backhaul links in time, frequency, or space (e.g. beam-based operation).

The operation of the different links may be on the same or different frequencies (also termed ‘in-band’ and ‘out-band’ relays). While efficient support of out-band relays is important for some NR deployment scenarios, it is critically important to understand the requirements of in-band operation which imply tighter interworking with the access links operating on the same frequency to accommodate duplex constraints and avoid/mitigate interference. 

In addition, operating NR systems in mmWave spectrum presents some unique challenges including experiencing severe short-term blocking that cannot be readily mitigated by present RRC-based handover mechanisms due to the larger time-scales required for completion of the procedures compared to short-term blocking. Overcoming short-term blocking in mmWave systems may require fast L2-based switching between rTRPs, much like dynamic point selection, or modified L3-based solutions. The above described need to mitigate short-term blocking for NR operation in mmWave spectrum along with the desire for easier deployment of self-backhauled NR cells creates a need for the development of an integrated framework that allows fast switching of access and backhaul links. Over-the-air (OTA) coordination between rTRPs can also be considered to mitigate interference and support end-to-end route selection and optimization.

The benefits of integrated access and backhaul (IAB) are crucial during network rollout and the initial network growth phase. To leverage these benefits, IAB needs to be available when NR rollout occurs. Consequently, postponing IAB-related work to a later stage may have adverse impact on the timely deployment of NR access.


There is also an interesting presentation on this topic from Interdigital on the 5G Crosshaul group here. I found the following points worth noting:

  • This will create a new type of interference (access-backhaul interference) to mitigate and will require sophisticated (complex) scheduling of the channel resources (across two domains, access and backhaul).
  • One of the main drivers is Small cells densification calling for cost-effective and low latency backhauling
  • The goal would be to maximize efficiency through joint optimization/integration of access and backhaul resources
  • The existing approach of Fronthaul using CPRI will not scale for 5G, self-backhaul may be an alternative in the shape of wireless fronthaul

Let me know what you think.

Related Links:



Sunday, 19 March 2017

Latest on 5G Spectrum - March 2017

In an earlier post I mentioned that there will be three different types of spectrum that would be needed for 5G; coverage layer, capacity layer and high throughput layer. There is now a consensus within the industry for this approach.


In a 5G seminar, back in Jan, there were a few speakers who felt that there is an informal agreement about the frequencies that will be used. One such slide from Ofcom could be seen in the picture above. Ofcom has also recently released a report expanding on this further.


Analysys Mason has nicely summarized the bands suggested by Ofcom and possibly available in the UK for 5G in the picture above.

Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has also nicely summarised the bands under investigations and trials as follows:

Coverage Layer600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1.5 GHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz and 2.6 GHz

Capacity Layer:

Europe                     3400 – 3800 MHz (awarding trial licenses)

China                       3300 – 3600 MHz (ongoing trial), 4400 – 4500 MHz, 4800 – 4990 MHz

Japan                       3600 – 4200 MHz and 4400-4900 MHz

Korea                       3400 – 3700 MHz

USA                          3100 – 3550 MHz (and 3700 – 4200 MHz)

High Throughput Layer:

USA:      27.5 – 28.35 GHz and 37 – 40 GHz pre-commercial deployments in 2018

Korea:   26.5 – 29.5 GHz trials in 2018 and commercial deployments in 2019

Japan:   27.5 – 28.28 GHz trials planned from 2017 and potentially commercial deployments in 2020

China:    Focusing on 24.25 – 27.5 GHz and 37 – 43.5 GHz studies

Sweden: 26.5 – 27.5 GHz awarding trial licenses for use in 2018 and onwards

EU:        24.25 – 27.5 GHz for commercial deployments from 2020

Finally, as a reminder, list of bands originally approved for IMT-2020 (5G) as follows:


Another potential band, not being mentioned above is the 66-76GHz spectrum. This band is adjacent to the 60 GHz Wi-Fi (57 GHz - 66 GHz). Lessons learned from that band can be applied to the 5G band too.

Related links:



Thursday, 16 March 2017

Satellite Industry is Gearing up for The Next Revolution in Communications

Intelsat graphic
Source: Intelsat
I have been talking about the role of satellites in future communications on my blog and various industry fora. While most of the telecom industry is focused on 5G, it’s good to see that the satellite industry is getting ready for the next revolution.

Source: New York Times
Masayoshi Son, chief executive of SoftBank has made it his mission to merge satellite operators Intelsat and OneWeb. While on the surface they may seem as competitors, in reality they complement each other. Intelsat operates geostationary (GEO) satellites while OneWeb is building low earth orbit (LEO) satellites. They both serve overlapping but different purposes and it makes sense for them to work together. LEO satellites which are roughly at 1200km have far lower latency than compared to GEO satellites that are 36,000km away. On the other hand LEO satellites do not appear stationary unlike GEO satellites.

We in CW are already aware of Masayoshi Son’s ambition and vision. Last year Softbank acquired ARM for approximately £24 billion. In a recent keynote delivered at the Mobile World Congress 2017 (#MWC17), Son explained his vision and reasoning for this purchase. In fact he mentioned that he has a 30 year vision which is why he thinks ‘cell towers from space’ are the next step in evolution. While he refers to them as fiber from the space, I wouldn’t go that far in comparison but do admit they have the potential to deliver high speed connectivity anywhere on earth.

The most obvious application of high speed connectivity ubiquitously available anywhere on earth are connected cars. While there is Wi-Fi to provide connectivity and software updates when parked at home, it will be complemented by mobile connectivity within the cities and the major roads. What is missing is anywhere and everywhere connectivity that the satellites can bring.

The big barrier for satellite connectivity in the cars had been the need for satellite dish mounted on the top of a car roof. Kymeta, an innovative company based in Washington, USA has been trying for years to solve this problem. In May, they will start selling  their “lightweight flat-panel antennas, meant to bring fast satellite-transmitted internet connections to cars, trains and boats”.

Source: Seattle Times
Kymeta is partnering with Toyota and Intelsat to bring a complete solution for future connectivity in the cars. They are not the only ones, there are other similar interesting projects ongoing in many different parts of the world.


The telecom industry cannot ignore satellite communications forever. Satellites have already proved themselves beyond doubt in broadcasting, navigation, earth observation, etc. It’s just a matter of time before they prove their while in communications as well.

Originally Posted on CW Blog here.

Monday, 6 March 2017

IMT-2020 (5G) Requirements


ITU has just agreed on key 5G performance requirements for IMT-2020. A new draft report ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.TECH PERF REQ] is expected to be finally approved by  ITU-R Study Group 5 at its next meeting in November 2017. The press release says "5G mobile systems to provide lightning speed, ultra-reliable communications for broadband and IoT"


The following is from the ITU draft report:

The key minimum technical performance requirements defined in this document are for the purpose of consistent definition, specification, and evaluation of the candidate IMT-2020 radio interface technologies (RITs)/Set of radio interface technologies (SRIT) in conjunction with the development of ITU-R Recommendations and Reports, such as the detailed specifications of IMT-2020. The intent of these requirements is to ensure that IMT-2020 technologies are able to fulfil the objectives of IMT-2020 and to set a specific level of performance that each proposed RIT/SRIT needs to achieve in order to be considered by ITU-R for IMT-2020.


Peak data rate: Peak data rate is the maximum achievable data rate under ideal conditions (in bit/s), which is the received data bits assuming error-free conditions assignable to a single mobile station, when all assignable radio resources for the corresponding link direction are utilized (i.e., excluding radio resources that are used for physical layer synchronization, reference signals or pilots, guard bands and guard times). 

This requirement is defined for the purpose of evaluation in the eMBB usage scenario. 
The minimum requirements for peak data rate are as follows:
Downlink peak data rate is 20 Gbit/s.
Uplink peak data rate is 10 Gbit/s.


Peak spectral efficiency: Peak spectral efficiency is the maximum data rate under ideal conditions normalised by channel bandwidth (in bit/s/Hz), where the maximum data rate is the received data bits assuming error-free conditions assignable to a single mobile station, when all assignable radio resources for the corresponding link direction are utilized (i.e. excluding radio resources that are used for physical layer synchronization, reference signals or pilots, guard bands and guard times).

This requirement is defined for the purpose of evaluation in the eMBB usage scenario.
The minimum requirements for peak spectral efficiencies are as follows: 
Downlink peak spectral efficiency is 30 bit/s/Hz.
Uplink peak spectral efficiency is 15 bit/s/Hz.


User experienced data rate: User experienced data rate is the 5% point of the cumulative distribution function (CDF) of the user throughput. User throughput (during active time) is defined as the number of correctly received bits, i.e. the number of bits contained in the service data units (SDUs) delivered to Layer 3, over a certain period of time.

This requirement is defined for the purpose of evaluation in the related eMBB test environment.
The target values for the user experienced data rate are as follows in the Dense Urban – eMBB test environment: 
Downlink user experienced data rate is 100 Mbit/s
Uplink user experienced data rate is 50 Mbit/s


5th percentile user spectral efficiency: The 5th percentile user spectral efficiency is the 5% point of the CDF of the normalized user throughput. The normalized user throughput is defined as the number of correctly received bits, i.e., the number of bits contained in the SDUs delivered to Layer 3, over a certain period of time, divided by the channel bandwidth and is measured in bit/s/Hz. 

This requirement is defined for the purpose of evaluation in the eMBB usage scenario.
Indoor Hotspot – eMBB - Downlink: 0.3 bit/s/Hz Uplink: 0.21 bit/s/Hz
Dense Urban – eMBB - Downlink: 0.225 bit/s/Hz Uplink: 0.15 bit/s/Hz
Rural – eMBB - Downlink: 0.12 bit/s/Hz Uplink: 0.045 bit/s/Hz


Average spectral efficiency: Average spectral efficiency  is the aggregate throughput of all users (the number of correctly received bits, i.e. the number of bits contained in the SDUs delivered to Layer 3, over a certain period of time) divided by the channel bandwidth of a specific band divided by the number of TRxPs and is measured in bit/s/Hz/TRxP.

This requirement is defined for the purpose of evaluation in the eMBB usage scenario.
Indoor Hotspot – eMBB - Downlink: 9 bit/s/Hz/TRxP Uplink: 6.75 bit/s/Hz/TRxP
Dense Urban – eMBB - Downlink: 7.8 bit/s/Hz/TRxP Uplink: 5.4 bit/s/Hz/TRxP
Rural – eMBB - Downlink: 3.3 bit/s/Hz/TRxP Uplink: 1.6 bit/s/Hz/TRxP


Area traffic capacity: Area traffic capacity is the total traffic throughput served per geographic area (in Mbit/s/m2). The throughput is the number of correctly received bits, i.e. the number of bits contained in the SDUs delivered to Layer 3, over a certain period of time.

This requirement is defined for the purpose of evaluation in the related eMBB test environment.
The target value for Area traffic capacity in downlink is 10 Mbit/s/m2 in the Indoor Hotspot – eMBB test environment.


User plane latency: User plane latency is the contribution of the radio network to the time from when the source sends a packet to when the destination receives it (in ms). It is defined as the one-way time it takes to successfully deliver an application layer packet/message from the radio protocol layer 2/3 SDU ingress point to the radio protocol layer 2/3 SDU egress point of the radio interface in either uplink or downlink in the network for a given service in unloaded conditions, assuming the mobile station is in the active state. 
This requirement is defined for the purpose of evaluation in the eMBB and URLLC usage scenarios.
The minimum requirements for user plane latency are
4 ms for eMBB
1 ms for URLLC 
assuming unloaded conditions (i.e., a single user) for small IP packets (e.g., 0 byte payload + IP header), for both downlink and uplink.


Control plane latency: Control plane latency refers to the transition time from a most “battery efficient” state (e.g. Idle state) to the start of continuous data transfer (e.g. Active state).
This requirement is defined for the purpose of evaluation in the eMBB and URLLC usage scenarios.
The minimum requirement for control plane latency is 20 ms. Proponents are encouraged to consider lower control plane latency, e.g. 10 ms.


Connection density: Connection density is the total number of devices fulfilling a specific quality of service (QoS) per unit area (per km2).

This requirement is defined for the purpose of evaluation in the mMTC usage scenario.
The minimum requirement for connection density is 1 000 000 devices per km2.


Energy efficiency: Network energy efficiency is the capability of a RIT/SRIT to minimize the radio access network energy consumption in relation to the traffic capacity provided. Device energy efficiency is the capability of the RIT/SRIT to minimize the power consumed by the device modem in relation to the traffic characteristics. 
Energy efficiency of the network and the device can relate to the support for the following two aspects:
a) Efficient data transmission in a loaded case;
b) Low energy consumption when there is no data.
Efficient data transmission in a loaded case is demonstrated by the average spectral efficiency 

This requirement is defined for the purpose of evaluation in the eMBB usage scenario.
The RIT/SRIT shall have the capability to support a high sleep ratio and long sleep duration. Proponents are encouraged to describe other mechanisms of the RIT/SRIT that improve the support of energy efficient operation for both network and device.


Reliability: Reliability relates to the capability of transmitting a given amount of traffic within a predetermined time duration with high success probability

This requirement is defined for the purpose of evaluation in the URLLC usage scenario. 
The minimum requirement for the reliability is 1-10-5 success probability of transmitting a layer 2 PDU (protocol data unit) of 32 bytes within 1 ms in channel quality of coverage edge for the Urban Macro-URLLC test environment, assuming small application data (e.g. 20 bytes application data + protocol overhead). 
Proponents are encouraged to consider larger packet sizes, e.g. layer 2 PDU size of up to 100 bytes.


Mobility: Mobility is the maximum mobile station speed at which a defined QoS can be achieved (in km/h).

The following classes of mobility are defined:
Stationary: 0 km/h
Pedestrian: 0 km/h to 10 km/h
Vehicular: 10 km/h to 120 km/h
High speed vehicular: 120 km/h to 500 km/h

Mobility classes supported:
Indoor Hotspot – eMBB: Stationary, Pedestrian
Dense Urban – eMBB: Stationary, Pedestrian, Vehicular (up to 30 km/h)
Rural – eMBB: Pedestrian, Vehicular, High speed vehicular 


Mobility interruption time: Mobility interruption time is the shortest time duration supported by the system during which a user terminal cannot exchange user plane packets with any base station during transitions.

This requirement is defined for the purpose of evaluation in the eMBB and URLLC usage scenarios.
The minimum requirement for mobility interruption time is 0 ms.


Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the maximum aggregated system bandwidth. The bandwidth may be supported by single or multiple radio frequency (RF) carriers. The bandwidth capability of the RIT/SRIT is defined for the purpose of IMT-2020 evaluation.

The requirement for bandwidth is at least 100 MHz
The RIT/SRIT shall support bandwidths up to 1 GHz for operation in higher frequency bands (e.g. above 6 GHz). 

In case you missed, a 5G logo has also been released by 3GPP


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Friday, 17 February 2017

What's '5G' in one word for you?


Last month in the IET 'Towards 5G Mobile Technology – Vision to Reality' seminar, Dr. Mike Short threw out a challenge to all speakers to come up with one word to describe 5G technology. The speakers came up with the following 'one words':
  • Professor Mischa Dohler, Centre for Telecommunications Research, King's College London, UK - Skills
  • Professor Maziar Nekovee, Professor,University of Sussex UK - Transformative or Magic
  • Professor Andy Sutton, Principal Network Architect, BT, UK - Opportunity
  • Professor Mark Beach, University of Bristol, UK - Networked-Society
  • Mark Barrett, CMO, Bluwireless, UK - Gigabit
  • Dr Nishanth Sastry, Centre for Telecommunications Research, Kings’ College London, UK - Flexibility or Efficiency
  • Dr Reiner Hoppe, Developer Electromagnetic Solutions, Altair - Radio
  • Professor Klaus Moessner, 5G Innovation Centre, University of Surrey, UK - Capacity
  • Joe Butler, Director of Technology, Ofcom, UK - Ubiquity
  • Dr Deeph Chana, Deputy Director, Institute for Security Science and Technology, Imperial College London, UK - Accessibility
What is your one word to describe 5G? Please add in comments. I welcome critical suggestions too :-)

Anyway, for anyone interested, the following story summarises the event:



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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

5G Network Architecture and Design Update - Jan 2017

Andy Sutton, Principal Network Architect at BT recently talked about the architecture update from the Dec 2016 3GPP meeting. The slides and the video is embedded below.





You can see all the presentations from IET event 'Towards 5G Mobile Technology – Vision to Reality' here.

Eiko Seidel recently also wrote an update from 3GPP 5G Adhoc regarding RAN Internal Functional Split. You can read that report here.

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Sunday, 22 January 2017

Augmented / Virtual Reality Requirements for 5G


Ever wondered whether 5G would be good enough for Augmented and Virtual Reality or will we need to wait for 6G? Some researchers are trying to identify the AR / VR requirements, challenges from a mobile network point of view and possible options to solve these challenges. They have recently published a research paper on this topic.

Here is a summary of some of the interesting things I found in this paper:

  • Humans process nearly 5.2 gigabits per second of sound and light.
  • Without moving the head, our eyes can mechanically shift across a field of view of at least 150 degrees horizontally (i.e., 30:000 pixels) and 120 degrees vertically (i.e., 24:000 pixels).
  • The human eye can perceive much faster motion (150 frames per second). For sports, games, science and other high-speed immersive experiences, video rates of 60 or even 120 frames per second are needed to avoid motion blur and disorientation.
  • 5.2 gigabits per second of network throughput (if not more) is needed.
  • At today’s 4K resolution, 30 frames per second and 24 bits per pixel, and using a 300 : 1 compression ratio, yields 300 megabits per second of imagery. That is more than 10x the typical requirement for a high-quality 4K movie experience.
  • 5G network architectures are being designed to move the post-processing at the network edge so that processors at the edge and the client display devices (VR goggles, smart TVs, tablets and phones) carry out advanced image processing to stitch camera feeds into dramatic effects.
  • In order to tackle these grand challenges, the 5G network architecture (radio access network (RAN), Edge and Core) will need to be much smarter than ever before by adaptively and dynamically making use of concepts such as software defined networking (SDN), network function virtualization (NFV) and network slicing, to mention a few facilitating a more flexible allocating resources (resource blocks (RBs), access point, storage, memory, computing, etc.) to meet these demands.
  • Immersive technology will require massive improvements in terms of bandwidth, latency and reliablility. Current remotereality prototype requires 100-to-200Mbps for a one-way immersive experience. While MirrorSys uses a single 8K, estimates about photo-realistic VR will require two 16K x 16K screens (one to each eye).
  • Latency is the other big issue in addition to reliability. With an augmented reality headset, for example, real-life visual and auditory information has to be taken in through the camera and sent to the fog/cloud for processing, with digital information sent back to be precisely overlaid onto the real-world environment, and all this has to happen in less time than it takes for humans to start noticing lag (no more than 13ms). Factoring in the much needed high reliability criteria on top of these bandwidth and delay requirements clearly indicates the need for interactions between several research disciplines.


These key research directions and scientific challenges are summarized in Fig. 3 (above), and discussed in the paper. I advice you to read it here.

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Sunday, 4 December 2016

5G, Hacking & Security


It looks like devices that are not manufactures with security and privacy in mind are going to be the weakest link in future network security problems. I am sure you have probably read about how hacked cameras and routers enabled a Mirai botnet to take out major websites in October. Since then, there has been no shortage of how IoT devices could be hacked. In fact the one I really liked was 'Researchers hack Philips Hue lights via a drone; IoT worm could cause city blackout' 😏.


Enter 5G and the problem could be be made much worse. With high speed data transfer and signalling, these devices can create an instantaneous attack on a very large scale and generating signalling storm that can take a network down in no time.

Giuseppe TARGIA, Nokia presented an excellent summary of some of these issues at the iDate Digiworld Summit 2016. His talk is embedded below:



You can check out many interesting presentations from the iDate Digiworld Summit 2016 on Youtube and Slideshare.

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Thursday, 17 November 2016

5G, Debates, Predictions and Stories

This post contains summary of three interesting events that took place recently.


CW (Cambridge Wireless) organised a couple of debates on 5G as can be seen from the topics above. Below is the summary video and twitter discussion summary/story.





The second story is from 'The Great Telco Debate 2016' organised by TM forum


I am not embedding the story but for anyone interested, they can read the twitter summary here: https://storify.com/zahidtg/the-great-telco-debate-2016



Finally, it was 'Predictions: 2017 and Beyond', organised by CCS Insight. The whole twitter discussion is embedded below.


Saturday, 12 November 2016

Verizon's 5G Standard

Earlier this year I wrote a Linkedin post on how operators are setting a timetable for 5G (5G: Mine is bigger than yours) and recently Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis wrote a similar kind of post also on Linkedin with a bit more detail (5G: Industry Politics, Use-Cases & a Realistic Timeline)


Some of you may be unaware that the US operator Verizon has formed 'Verizon 5G Technology Forum' (V5GTF) with the intention of developing the first set of standards that can also influence the direction of 3GPP standardization and also provide an early mover advantage to itself and its partners.

The following from Light Reading news summarizes the situation well:

Verizon has posted its second round of work with its partners on a 5G specification. The first round was around the 5G radio specification; this time the work has been on the mechanics of connecting to the network. The operator has been working on the specification with Cisco Systems Inc., Ericsson AB, Intel Corp., LG Electronics Inc., Nokia Corp., Qualcomm Inc. and Samsung Corp. via the 5G Technology Forum (V5GTF) it formed late in 2015.

Sanyogita Shamsunder, director of strategy at Verizon, says that the specification is "75% to 80% there" at least for a "fixed wireless use case." Verizon is aiming for a "friendly, pre-commercial launch" of a fixed wireless pilot in 2017, Koeppe notes.

Before we go further, lets see this excellent video by R&S wherein Andreas Roessler explains what Verizon is up to:



Verizon and SKT are both trying to be the 5G leaders and trying to roll out a pre-standard 5G whenever they can. In fact Qualcomm recently released a 28 GHz modem that will be used in separate pre-standard 5G cellular trials by Verizon and Korea Telecom

Quoting from the EE times article:

The Snapdragon X50 delivers 5 Gbits/second downlinks and multiple gigabit uplinks for mobile and fixed-wireless networks. It uses a separate LTE connection as an anchor for control signals while the 28 GHz link delivers the higher data rates over distances of tens to hundreds of meters.

The X50 uses eight 100 MHz channels, a 2x2 MIMO antenna array, adaptive beamforming techniques and 64 QAM to achieve a 90 dB link budget. It works in conjunction with Qualcomm’s SDR05x mmWave transceiver and PMX50 power management chip. So far, Qualcomm is not revealing more details of modem that will sample next year and be in production before June 2018.

Verizon and Korea Telecom will use the chips in separate trials starting late next year, anticipating commercial services in 2018. The new chips mark a departure from prototypes not intended as products that Qualcomm Research announced in June.

Korea Telecom plans a mobile 5G offering at the February 2018 Winter Olympics. Verizon plans to launch in 2018 a less ambitious fixed-wireless service in the U.S. based on a specification it released in July. KT and Verizon are among a quartet of carriers that formed a group in February to share results of early 5G trials.

For its part, the 3GPP standards group is also stepping up the pace of the 5G standards efforts it officially started earlier this year. It endorsed last month a proposal to consider moving the date for finishing Phase I, an initial version of 5G anchored to LTE, from June 2018 to as early as December 2017, according to a recent Qualcomm blog.

Coming back to Verizon's 5G standard, is it good enough and compatible with 3GPP standards? The answer right now seems to be NO.


The following is from Rethink Wireless:

The issue is that Verizon’s specs include a subcarrier spacing value of 75 kHz, whereas the 3GPP has laid out guidelines that subcarrier spacing must increase by 30 kHz at a time, according to research from Signals Research Group. This means that different networks can work in synergy if required without interfering with each other.

Verizon’s 5G specs do stick to 3GPP requirements in that it includes MIMO and millimeter wave (mmWave). MmWave is a technology that both AT&T and Verizon are leading the way in – which could succeed in establishing spectrum which is licensed fairly traditionally as the core of the US’s high frequency build outs.

A Verizon-fronted group recently rejected a proposal from AT&T to push the 3GPP into finalizing an initial 5G standard for late 2017, thus returning to the original proposed time of June 2018. Verizon was supported by Samsung, ZTE, Deutsche Telecom, France Telecom, TIM and others, which were concerned the split would defocus SA and New Radio efforts and even delay those standards being finalized.

Verizon has been openly criticized in the industry, mostly by AT&T (unsurprisingly), as its hastiness may lead to fragmentation – yet it still looks likely to beat AT&T to be the first operator to deploy 5G, if only for fixed access.

Verizon probably wants the industry to believe that it was prepared for eventualities such as this – prior to the study from Signal Research Group, the operator said its pre-standard implementation will be close enough to the standard that it could easily achieve full compatibility with simple alterations. However, Signals Research Group’s president Michael Thelander has been working with the 3GPP since the 5G standard was birthed, and he begs to differ.

Thelander told FierceWireless, “I believe what Verizon is doing is not hardware-upgradeable to the real specification. It’s great to be trialing, even if you define your own spec, just to kind of get out there and play around with things. That’s great and wonderful and hats off to them. But when you oversell it and call it 5G and talk about commercial services, it’s not 5G. It’s really its own spec that has nothing to do with Release 16, which is still three years away. Just because you have something that operates in millimeter wave spectrum and uses Massive MIMO and OFDM, that doesn’t make it a 5G solution.”

Back in the 3G days, NTT Docomo was the leader in standards and it didn't have enough patience to wait for 3GPP standards to complete. As a result it released its first 3G network called FOMA (Freedom of Mobile Access) based on pre-standard version of specs. This resulted in handset manufacturers having to tweak their software to cope with this version and it suffered from economy of scale. Early version of 3G phones were also not able to roam on the Docomo network. In a way, Verizon is going down the same path.

While there can be some good learning as a result of this pre-5G standard, it may be a good idea not to get too tied into it. A standard that is not compliant will not achieve the required economy of scale, either with handsets or with dongles and other hotspot devices.


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