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Future of Wireless International Conference

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

Monday, 2 May 2016

Does 5G need 'Next Generation' of Internet Protocols?

I have often heard Martin Geddes mention that the Internet is broken, the protocols (TCP/IP) are wrong and if we want to continue the way our data usage is going, we need to define new protocols (see here for example). It was good to find out last week at 5G Huddle that ETSI is already working on this.


The TCP/IP protocol suite has undoubtedly enabled the evolution of connected computing and many other developments since its invention during the 1970’s. Thanks to the development and ubiquity of this protocol stack, we have managed to build an Internet on which we are dependent as a communications tool, an information storage and distribution tool, a marketing channel and a sales and distribution platform, for consumers and for businesses large and small.

However, the industry has reached a point where forward leaps in the technology of the local access networks will not deliver their full potential unless, in parallel, the underlying protocol stacks used in core and access networks evolve. The development of future 5G systems presents a unique opportunity to address this issue, as a sub-optimal protocol architecture can negate the huge performance and capacity improvements planned for the radio access network.

ETSI has created an Industry Specification Group to work on Next Generation Protocols (NGP ISG), looking at evolving communications and networking protocols to provide the scale, security, mobility and ease of deployment required for the connected society of the 21st century.

The NGP ISG will identify the requirements for next generation protocols and network architectures, from all interested user and industry groups. Topics include:

  • Addressing
  • Security, Identity, Location, Authorization, Accounting/Auditing and Authentication
  • Mobility
  • Requirements from Internet of Things
  • Requirements from video and content distribution
  • Requirements from ultra‐low latency use cases from different sectors (i.e. automotive)
  • Requirements from network operators (e.g. challenges with E2E encrypted content)
  • Requirements from eCommerce
  • Requirements for increased energy efficiency within the global ICT sector.


This ISG is seen as a transitional group i.e. a vehicle for the 5G community (and others of interest) to first gather their thoughts and prepare the case for the Internet community’s engagement in a complementary and synchronised modernisation effort.

The ISG provides a forum for interested parties to contribute by sharing research and results from trials and developments in such a way that a wider audience can be informed. Other standards bodies will be involved so that parallel and concerted standardization action can take place as a further step in the most appropriate standards groups.

Andy Sutton, chair of the NGP recently gave the following presentation in 5G Huddle:



Please feel free to add your opinions in the comments.

Further reading:



Saturday, 23 April 2016

5G & Accident Free Driving


ETSI recently held a workshop titled "5G: From Myth to Reality". There were some interesting presentations and discussions, hopefully I will get a chance to write a bit more about it.

One interesting presentation was how 5G will make accident free driving a reality. While the current approach is to use the 802.11p standards that uses the license exempt 5.9GHz band, there is a possibility of enhancements based on 5G


As the final 2 slides say, What could be the use cases for 5G in vehicles? The answer suggested:

  • Map update for highly automatic driving - Instantly update the map of vehicle's surrounding. The challenge of this use case is that the vehicle is currently in the tile that needs to be updated, hence a very quick update is required. 
  • Precise Positioning high speed, no GPS, support for vehicles without high precision location tracking like cars 
  • Audio / Video Streaming (Entertainment) 
  • Online Gaming - side jobs 
  • Sensor- and State Map Sharing (Sensor Raw Data) - Transmit raw sensor data such that others can use their own classifiers to infer decisions
  • Camera and Radar sharing to improve visibility, including See-Through Share sensor information to augment ego vehicle's view. Allows for better visibility in presence of obstructing vehicles, heavy rain / fog, etc. 
  • Short-Term Sensor sharing for crash mitigation - Mitigate crash between multiple vehicle by last-minute traffic exchange 
  • Traffic forwarding using cars as relays Extend coverage or improve efficiency by using the car as a relay 
  • Teleoperated Driving "Let car be controlled by off-site driver / car operator e.g. car sharing, taxi operator, …“ 
  • Augemented Reality, e.g. Daytime-Visibility at night)

Here is the complete presentation, let me know what you think:



Sunday, 17 April 2016

NTT Docomo's 5G Treasure Trove


NTT Docomo's recent technical journal has quite a few interesting 5G articles. While it is well known that 5G will be present in Japan in some or the other shape by 2020, for the summer Olympics, NTT Docomo started studying technologies for 5G in 2010. Some of these have probably ended in 4.5G, a.k.a. LTE-Advanced Pro.

While there are some interesting applications and services envisioned for 5G, I still think some of these can be met with LTE-A and some of them may not work with the initial versions of 5G

As far as 5G timetable is concerned, I recently posted a blog post on this topic here. Initial versions of 5G will have either little or no millimetre wave (mmWave) bands. This is because most of these would be finalised in 2019 after WRC-19 has concluded. It may be a touch challenge to move all the existing incumbents out of these bands or agree of a proper sharing mechanism.

'5G+' or '5G phase 3' will make extensive use of these higher frequency bands extensively in addition to the low and mid frequency bands. For anyone not familiar with different 5G phases, please see this earlier post here.

Enhanced LTE (or eLTE) is probably the same as LTE-Advanced Pro. Docomo believes that the initial 5G deployment would include new RAT but existing 4G core network which would be enhanced later for 5G+. Some of this new RAT technologies are discussed as well.

Core Network evolution is another interesting area. We looked at a possible architecture evolution here. To quote from the magazine:

The vision for future networks is shown in Figure 3. A future network will incorporate multiple radio technologies including LTE/LTE-Advanced, 5G New Radio Access Technology (RAT), and Wi-Fi, and be able to use them according to the characteristics of each service.

Utilizing virtualization technologies, network slices optimized for service requirements such as high efficiency or low delay can be created. Common physical devices such as general-purpose servers and Software Defined Network (SDN) transport switches will be used, and these networks will be provided to service providers. Network slices can be used either on a one service per network basis to increase network independence for originality or security, or with multiple services on one slice to increase statistical multiplexing gain and provide services more economically.

The specific functional architecture and the network topology for each network slice are issues to be studied in the future, but in the case of a network slice accommodating low latency services, for example, GateWay (GW) functions would need to be relatively close to radio access, service processing would be close to terminals, and routing control capable of finding the shortest route between terminals would be necessary to reduce latency. On the other hand, a network slice providing low volume communications to large numbers of terminals, such as with smart meters, would need functionality able to transmit that sort of data efficiently, and such terminals are fixed, so the mobility function can be omitted. In this way, by providing network slices optimized according to the requirements of each service, requirements can be satisfied while still reducing operating costs.

The magazine is embedded below and available to download from here:





See Also:

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

5G Study Item (SI) for RAN Working Groups Approved


This is from a Linkedin post by Eiko Seidel.

Earlier this month (7-10 March 2016), 3GPP TSG RAN Plenary RAN Meeting #71 took place in Göteborg, Sweden. The first 5G study item for the working groups is was approved. It involves RAN1, RAN2, RAN3 and RAN4. For details please have a look at RP-160671

The study aims to develop an next generation radio access technology to meet a broad range of use cases including enhanced mobile broadband, massive MTC, critical MTC, and additional requirements defined during the RAN requirements study. 

The new RAT will consider frequency ranges up to 100 GHz. 

Detailed objectives of the study item is a single technical framework addressing all usage scenarios, requirements and deployment scenarios including Enhanced mobile broadband, Massive machine-type-communications and Ultra reliable and low latency communications. 

The new RAT shall be inherently forward compatible. It is assumed that the normative specification would occur in two phases: Phase I (to be completed in June 2018) and Phase II (to be completed in December 2019). 

The fundamental physical layer signal waveform will be based on OFDM, with potential support of non-orthogonal waveform and multiple access. Basic frame structure(s) and Channel coding scheme(s) will be developed. 

Architecture work is going to be interesting, with a study of different options of splitting the architecture into a “central unit” and a “distributed unit”, with potential interface in between, including transport, configuration and other required functional interactions between these nodes. Furthermore RAN-CN interface and functional split needs to be studied, the realization of Network Slicing, QoS support etc.


The proposed timeline for 5G was also presented in a presentation as follows:



Saturday, 12 March 2016

The role of satellites in 5G world

While many of us have been focussing purely on wireless and mobile / 5G, the coverage and capacity provided by satellites is increasing and is set to dramatically transform connectivity in hard to reach places, not only in land but also in air and sea.

In one of my roles, I get to see some of these developments happening in the satellite world. Here are some of the recent things that I have learned.

In a recent presentation by Intelsat (embedded below), they showed how we will have a truly high throughput global coverage with the help of GEO and LEO satellites. Depending on the applications, they can take advantage of either or both. Ubiquitously connected cars, planes, trains, ships and other vehicles will soon be a reality. See their presentation below:



Intelsat is not the only operator innovating and coming up with some amazing solutions.

Viasat is another operator who will be launching one of the highest capacity HTS (High Throughput Satellite). See their presentation here and here.


Eutelsat on the other hand is trying something that has not been done before. Their Quantum class satellites will be creating and modifying the beams dynamically to provide coverage whenever and wherever needed. See their presentation here.

These are just a few examples, there are many other operators I have not mentioned here. Most of them have some sort of ambitious plan which will be there before 2020.

So what role will these satellites play in the 5G world? We will look at this question in the Satellite Applications & Services Conference in October but I am interested in hearing your thoughts. 

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Possible 5G Network Architecture Evolution


Came across this interesting Network Architecture evolution Roadmap by Netmanias. Its embedded below and available to download from the Netmanias website.



Thursday, 21 January 2016

IET Lecture: 5G – Getting Closer to Answers?


I was fortunate to be able to hear the IET Appleton lecture last week. The good thing about these lectures are that the speakers get plenty of time to talk about the subject of interest and as a result they can cover the topic in much greater depth.

Some interesting tweets from the evening:




Here is the video:



As I was sitting in the front, I managed to ask a question - "5G is going to be evolution and revolution. Will it be revolution first then evolution or vice versa". If you cant wait to hear the answer, you can jump to 1:21:30 in the video.

The answer also ties in nicely with my Linkedin post on '5G: Mine is bigger than yours'. 

Saturday, 9 January 2016

5G Spectrum Discussions

While most people are looking at 5G from the point of new technologies, innovative use cases and even lumping everything under sun as part of 5G, many are unaware of the importance of spectrum and the recently concluded ITU World Radio Conference 2015 (WRC-15).

As can be seen in the picture above, quite a few bands above 24GHz were identified for 5G. Some of these bands have an already existing allocation for mobile service on primary basis. What this means is that mobile services can be deployed in these bands. For 3G and 4G, the spectrum used was in bands below 4GHz, with 1800MHz being the most popular band. Hence there was never a worry for those high frequency bands being used for mobile communication.

As these bands have now been selected for study by ITU, 5G in these bands cannot be deployed until after WRC-19, where the results of these studies will be presented. There is a small problem though. Some of the bands that were initially proposed for 5G, are not included in this list of bands to be studied. This means that there is a possibility that some of the proponent countries can go ahead and deploy 5G in those bands.

For three bands that do not already have mobile services as primary allocation, additional effort will be required to have mobile as primary allocation for them. This is assuming that no problems are identified as a result of studies going to be conducted for feasibility of these bands for 5G.


To see real benefits of 5G, an operator would need to use a combination of low and high frequency bands as can be seen in the picture above. Low frequencies for coverage and high frequencies for capacity and higher data rates.


As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, 5G will be coming in two phases. Phase 1 will be Rel-15 in H2, 2018 and Phase 2, Rel-16, in Dec. 2019. Phase 1 of 5G will generally consist of deployment in lower frequency bands as the higher frequency bands will probably get an approval after WRC-19. Once these new bands have been cleared for 5G deployment, Phase 2 of 5G would be ready for deployment of these high frequency bands.

This also brings us to the point that 5G phase 1 wont be significantly different from LTE-A Pro (or 4.5G). It may be slightly faster and maybe a little bit more efficient.

One thing I suspect that will happen is start of switching off of 3G networks. The most commonly used 3G (UMTS) frequency is 2100MHz (or 2.1GHz). If a network has to keep some 3G network running, it will generally be this frequency. This will also allow other international users to roam onto that network. All other 3G frequencies would soon start migrating to 4G or maybe even 5G phase 1.

Anyway, 2 interesting presentations on 5G access and Future of mmWave spectrum are embedded below. They are both available to download from the UK Spectrum Policy Forum (SPF) notes page here.








Further reading:


Saturday, 28 November 2015

5G, NFV and Network Slicing


5G networks have multifaceted requirements where the network needs to be optimised for data rate, delay and connection numbers. While some industry analysts suspect that these requirements cannot be met by a single network, vendors suggest that Network Slicing will allow all these requirements to be met by a single network.

Ericsson's whitepaper provides a good definition of what network slicing means:

A logical instantiation of a network is often called a network slice. Network slices are possible to create with both legacy platforms and network functions, but virtualization technologies substantially lower barriers to using the technology, for example through increased flexibility and decreased costs.
...
Another aspect of management and network slicing is setting up separate management domains for different network slices. This may allow for completely separate management of different parts of the network that are used for different purposes. Examples of use cases include mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) and enterprise solutions. This kind of network slice would, in current Evolved Packet Core (EPC) networks, only cover the PDN gateway (PGW) and the policy control resource function (PCRF). However, for machine type communication (MTC) and machine-tomachine (M2M) solutions, it is likely that it would also cover the Mobile Management Entities (MMEs) and Serving Gateways (SGWs).


NGMN came out with the 5G whitepaper which touched on this subject too: 

Figure above illustrates an example of multiple 5G slices concurrently operated on the same infrastructure. For example, a 5G slice for typical smartphone use can be realized by setting fully-fledged functions distributed across the network. Security, reliability and latency will be critical for a 5G slice supporting automotive use case. For such a slice, all the necessary (and potentially dedicated) functions can be instantiated at the cloud edge node, including the necessary vertical application due to latency constraints. To allow on-boarding of such a vertical application on a cloud node, sufficient open interfaces should be defined. For a 5G slice supporting massive machine type devices (e.g., sensors), some basic C-plane functions can be configured, omitting e.g., any mobility functions, with contentionbased resources for the access. There could be other dedicated slices operating in parallel, as well as a generic slice providing basic best-effort connectivity, to cope with unknown use cases and traffic. Irrespective of the slices to be supported by the network, the 5G network should contain functionality that ensures controlled and secure operation of the network end-to-end and at any circumstance.


Netmanias has a detailed article on this topic which is quite interesting too, its available here.

Recently, South Korean operator SK Telecom and Ericsson concluded a successful trial of this technology, see here. Ericsson is also working with NTT Docomo on 5G including network slicing, see here.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

'Mobile Edge Computing' (MEC) or 'Fog Computing' (fogging) and 5G & IoT


Picture Source: Cisco

The clouds are up in the sky whereas the fog is low, on the ground. This is how Fog Computing is referred to as opposed to the cloud. Fog sits at the edge (that is why edge computing) to reduce the latency and do an initial level of processing thereby reducing the amount of information that needs to be exchanged with the cloud.

The same paradigm is being used in case of 5G to refer to edge computing, which is required when we are referring to 1ms latency in certain cases.

As this whitepaper from Ovum & Eblink explains:

Mobile Edge Computing (MEC): Where new processing capabilities are introduced in the base station for new applications, with a new split of functions and a new interface between the baseband unit (BBU) and the remote radio unit (RRU).
...
Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) is an ETSI initiative, where processing and storage capabilities are placed at the base station in order to create new application and service opportunities. This new initiative is called “fog computing” where computing, storage, and network capabilities are deployed nearer to the end user.

MEC contrasts with the centralization principles discussed above for C-RAN and Cloud RAN. Nevertheless, MEC deployments may be built upon existing C-RAN or Cloud RAN infrastructure and take advantage of the backhaul/fronthaul links that have been converted from legacy to these new centralized architectures.

MEC is a long-term initiative and may be deployed during or after 5G if it gains support in the 5G standardization process. Although it is in contrast to existing centralization efforts, Ovum expects that MEC could follow after Cloud RAN is deployed in large scale in advanced markets. Some operators may also skip Cloud RAN and migrate from C-RAN to MEC directly, but MEC is also likely to require the structural enhancements that C-RAN and Cloud RAN will introduce into the mobile network.

The biggest challenge facing MEC in the current state of the market is its very high costs and questionable new service/revenue opportunities. Moreover, several operators are looking to invest in C-RAN and Cloud RAN in the near future, which may require significant investment to maintain a healthy network and traffic growth. In a way, MEC is counter to the centralization principle of Centralized/Cloud RAN and Ovum expects it will only come into play when localized applications are perceived as revenue opportunities.

And similarly this Interdigital presentation explains:

Extends cloud computing and services to the edge of the network and into devices. Similar to cloud, fog provides network, compute, storage (caching) and services to end users. The distinguishing feature of Fog reduces latency & improves QoS resulting in a superior user experience

Here is a small summary of the patents with IoT and Fog Computing that has been flied.



Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Cellular IoT (CIoT) or LoRa?

Back in September, 3GPP reached a decision to standardise NarrowBand IOT (NB-IOT). Now people familiar with the evolution of LTE-A UE categories may be a bit surprised with this. Upto Release-11, the lowest data rate device was UE Cat-1, which could do 10Mbps in DL and 5Mbps in UL. This was power hungry and not really that useful for low data rate sensor devices. Then we got Cat-0 as part of Release-12 which simplified the design and have 1Mbps in DL & UL.

Things start to become a bit complex in Release-13. The above picture from Qualcomm explains the evolution and use cases very well. However, to put more details to the above picture, here is some details from the 4G Americas whitepaper (embedded below)


In support of IoT, 3GPP has been working on all several related solutions and generating an abundance of LTE-based and GSM-based proposals. As a consequence, 3GPP has been developing three different cellular IoT standard- solutions in Release-13:
  • LTE-M, based on LTE evolution
  • EC-GSM, a narrowband solution based on GSM evolution, and
  • NB-LTE, a narrowband cellular IoT solution, also known as Clean Slate technologies
However, in October 2015, the 3GPP RAN body mutually agreed to study the combination of the two different narrowband IoT technical solutions, EC-GSM and NB-LTE, for standardization as a single NB-IoT technology until the December 2015 timeframe. This is in consideration of the need to support different operation modes and avoid divided industry support for two different technical solutions. It has been agreed that NB-IoT would support three modes of operation as follows:
  • ‘Stand-alone operation’ utilizing, for example, the spectrum currently being used by GERAN systems as a replacement of one or more GSM carriers,
  • ‘Guard band operation’ utilizing the unused resource blocks within a LTE carrier’s guard-band, and
  • ‘In-band operation’ utilizing resource blocks within a normal LTE carrier.

Following is a brief description of the various standard solutions being developed at 3GPP by October 2015:

LTE-M: 3GPP RAN is developing LTE-Machine-to-Machine (LTE-M) specifications for supporting LTE-based low cost CIoT in Rel-12 (Low-Cost MTC) with further enhancements planned for Rel-13 (LTE eMTC). LTE-M supports data rates of up to 1 Mbps with lower device cost and power consumption and enhanced coverage and capacity on the existing LTE carrier.

EC-GSM: In the 3GPP GERAN #62 study item “Cellular System Support for Ultra Low Complexity and Low Throughput Internet of Things”, narrowband (200 kHz) CIoT solutions for migration of existing GSM carriers sought to enhance coverage by 20 dB compared to legacy GPRS, and achieve a ten year battery life for devices that were also cost efficient. Performance objectives included improved indoor coverage, support for massive numbers of low-throughput devices, reduced device complexity, improved power efficiency and latency. Extended Coverage GSM (EC-GSM) was fully compliant with all five performance objectives according to the August 2015 TSG GERAN #67 meeting report. GERAN will continue with EC-GSM as a work item within GERAN with the expectation that standards will be frozen by March 2016. This solution necessarily requires a GSM network.

NB-LTE: In August 2015, work began in 3GPP RAN Rel-13 on a new narrowband radio access solution also termed as Clean Slate CIoT. The Clean Slate approach covers the Narrowband Cellular IoT (NB-CIoT), which was the only one of six proposed Clean Slate technologies compliant against a set of performance objectives (as noted previously) in the TSG GERAN #67 meeting report and will be part of Rel-13 to be frozen in March 2016. Also contending in the standards is Narrowband LTE Evolution (NB-LTE) which has the advantage of easy deployment across existing LTE networks.

Rel-12 introduces important improvements for M2M like lower device cost and longer battery life. Further improvements for M2M are envisioned in Rel-13 such as enhanced coverage, lower device cost and longer battery life. The narrowband CIoT solutions also aim to provide lower cost and device power consumption and better coverage; however, they will also have reduced data rates. NB CleanSlate CIoT is expected to support data rates of 160bps with extended coverage.

Table 7.1 provides some comparison of the three options to be standardized, as well as the 5G option, and shows when each release is expected to be finalized.

Another IoT technology that has been giving the cellular IoT industry run for money is the LoRa alliance. I blogged about LoRa in May and it has been a very popular post. A extract from a recent article from Rethink Research as follows:

In the past few weeks, the announcements have been ramping up. Semtech (the creator of the LoRa protocol itself, and the key IP owner) has been most active, announcing that The Lace Company, a wireless operator, has deployed LoRa network architecture in over a dozen Russian cities, claiming to cover 30m people over 9,000km2. Lace is currently aiming at building out Russian coverage, but will be able to communicate to other LoRa devices over the LoRa cloud, as the messages are managed on cloud servers once they have been transmitted from end-device to base unit via LoRaWAN.

“Our network allows the user to connect to an unlimited number of smart sensors,” said Igor Shirokov, CEO of Lace Ltd. “We are providing connectivity to any device that supports the open LoRaWAN standard. Any third party company can create new businesses and services in IoT and M2M market based on our network and the LoRaWAN protocol.”

Elsewhere, Saudi Arabian telco Du has launched a test LoRa network in Dubai, as part of a smart city test project. “This is a defining moment in the UAE’s smart city transformation,” said Carlos Domingo, senior executive officer at Du. “We need a new breed of sensor friendly network to establish the smart city ecosystem. Thanks to Du, this capability now exists in the UAE Today we’ve shown how our network capabilities and digital know-how can deliver the smart city ecosystem Dubai needs. We will not stop in Dubai; our deployment will continue country-wide throughout the UAE.”

But the biggest recent LoRa news is that Orange has committed itself to a national French network rollout, following an investment in key LoRa player Actility. Orange has previously trialed a LoRa network in Grenoble, and has said that it opted for LoRa over Sigfox thanks to its more open ecosystem – although it’s worth clarifying here that Semtech still gets a royalty on every LoRa chip that’s made, and will continue to do so until it chooses not to or instead donates the IP to the non-profit LoRa Alliance itself.

It would be interesting to see if this LoRa vs CIoT ends up the same way as WiMAX vs LTE or not.

Embedded below is the 4G Americas whitepaper as well as a LoRa presentation from Semtech:






Further reading:


Monday, 9 November 2015

5G and Evolution of the Inter-connected Network


While there are many parameters to consider when designing the next generation network, speed is the simplest one to understand and sell to the end user.

Last week, I did a keynote at the International Telecom Sync Forum (ITSF) 2015. As an analyst keynote, I looked at how the networks are evolving and getting more complex, full of interesting options and features available for the operator to decide which ones to select.

There wont just be multiple generations of technologies existing at the same time but there will also be small cells based networks, macro networks, drones and balloons based networks and satellite based networks.

My presentation is embedded below. For any reason, if you want to download it, please fill the form at the bottom of this page and download.



Just after my keynote, I came across this news in Guardian about 'Alphabet and Facebook develop rival secret drone plans'; its an interesting read. As you may be aware Google is actively working with Sri Lanka and Indonesia for providing seamless internet access nationally.


It was nice to hear EE provide the second keynote which focused on 5G. I especially liked this slide which summarised their key 5G research areas. Their presentation is embedded below and available to download from slideshare.




The panel discussion was interesting as well. As the conference focused on timing and synchronisation, the questions were on those topics too. I have some of them below, interested to hear your thoughts:

  • Who cares about syncing the core? - Everything has moved to packets, the only reason for sync is to coordinate access points in wireless for higher level services. We have multiple options to sync the edge, why bother to sync the core at all?
  • We need synchronisation to improve the user’s experience right? - Given the ever improving quality of the time-bases embedded within equipment, what exactly would happen to the user experience if synchronisation collapsed… or is good sync all about operators experience?
  • IoT… and the impact on synchronisation- can we afford it? - M2M divisions of network operators make a very small fraction of the operator’s revenue, is that going to change and will it allow the required investment in sync technology that it might require?

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Updates from the 3GPP RAN 5G Workshop - Part 3

Continuing with the updates from 5G RAN workshop, part 1 and part 2 here.
Dish network wants to have a satellite based 5G network. A recent article from Light Reading shows the following:

Dish states that there are misconceptions about what satellite technology can deliver for 5G networks. Essentially Dish says that satellites will be capable of delivering two-way communications to support 5G.

A hybrid ground and space 5G network would use small satellites that each use a "spot beam" to provide a dedicated area of two-way coverage on the ground. This is different than the old model of using one satellite with a single beam to provide a one-way service like a TV broadcast over a landmass.

Dish argues that newer, smaller satellites, equipped with the latest multi-antenna arrays (MIMO) would allow for "ubiquitous connectivity through hybrid satellite and terrestrial networks," the operator writes. In this model, satellites could connect areas that it would be hard to network otherwise like mountains and lakes.

The presentation from Dish is as follows:



Alcatel-Lucent provided a whitepaper along with the presentation. The paper provides an interesting view of 5G from their point of view. Its embedded below:



The presentation from Kyocera focused on TD-LTE which I think will play a prominent role in 5G. In case of wide channels, TD-LTE can help predict the channel accurately, which is a drawback for FDD at high frequencies. Their presentation is available here.

The presentation from NEC focussed on different technologies that will play a role in 5G. Their presentation is available here.
The final presentation we will look at this time is by the South Korean operator, KT. What is interesting to see is that in the part 1 we saw in the chairman's summary that 5G will come in two phases; Rel-15 will be phase 1 and Rel-16 will be phase 2. In the summary slide in KT's presentation, it looks like they are going to consider Rel-14 as 5G. Its not at all surprising considering that Verizon has said that they want to commercialise 5G by 2017, even though 5G will not be fully specified according to 3GPP by then. Anyway, here is the presentation by KT.



Thursday, 15 October 2015

Discussion paper on '5G innovation opportunities'

Some of you may already be aware that in my day job, we have produced a discussion paper on '5G Innovation Opportunities'. The paper has two broad aims:

  • to compile and create a snap shot of the diverse range of challenges and opportunities involved in developing the next phase of mobile technologies, services and applications, given the umbrella title of '5G', and 
  • to identify the UK expertise and opportunities within what will undoubtedly be a global competition and collaboration to shape 5G

I am already in process of detailing the 5G RAN workshop held by 3GPP, you can read part 1 and part 2 of that; this paper complements it by providing more information about prototypes, test beds and trials. It does make an interesting read. The paper is embedded below and is available to download from here.



Sunday, 4 October 2015

Updates from the 3GPP RAN 5G Workshop - Part 2

I have finally got round to having a look at some more presentations on 5G from the recently concluded 3GPP RAN 5G Workshop. Part 1 of the series is here.
Panasonic introduced this concept of Sub-RAT's and Cradle-RAT's. I think it should be obvious from the picture above what they mean but you can refer to their presentation here for more details.


Ericsson has provided a very detailed presentation (but I assume a lot of slides are backup slides, only for reference). They have introduced what they call as "NX" (No compatibility constraints). This is in line to what other vendors have referred to as well that above 6GHz, for efficiency, new frame structures and waveforms would serve best. Their slides are here.



Nokia's proposal is that in the phase 1 of 5G, the 5G Access point (or 5G NodeB) would connect to the 4G Evolved Packet Core (EPC). In phase 2, both the LTE and the 5G (e)NodeB's would connect to the 5G core. Their presentation is available here.

Before we move on to the next one, I should mention that I am aware of some research that is underway, mostly by universities where they are exploring an architecture without a centralised core. The core network functionality would be distributed and some of the important data would be cached on the edge. There will be challenges to solve regarding handovers and roaming; also privacy and security issues in the latter case.
I quite like the presentation by GM research about 5G in connected cars. They make a very valid point that "Smartphones and Vehicles are similar but not the same. The presentation is embedded below.



Qualcomm presented a very technical presentation as always, highlighting that they are thinking about various future scenarios. The picture above, about phasing is in a way similar to the Ericsson picture. It also highlights what we saw in part 1, that mmW will arrive after WRC-19, in R16. Full presentation here.


The final presentation we are looking is by Mitsubishi. Their focus is on Massive MIMO which may become a necessity at higher frequencies. As the frequency goes higher, the coverage goes down. To increase the coverage area, beamforming can be used. The more the antennas, the more focused the beam could be. They have also proposed the use of SC-FDMA in DL. Their presentation is here and also embedded below.



Monday, 21 September 2015

Updates from the 3GPP RAN 5G Workshop - Part 1

3GPP held a 5G Workshop in Phoenix last week. 550 delegates and over 70 presentations contributed to the discussion, which covered the full range of requirements that will feed TSG RAN work items for the next five years. I will eventually look at all the presentations and highlight the ones that I find interesting as a part of this blog. Due to the vast number of presentations, I will split them into a few blog posts.

Lets start with the chairman summary. The chair highlighted three high level use cases that 5G needs to address (This has been highlighted in many presentations, see here for example):
  • Enhanced Mobile Broadbandare 
  • Massive Machine Type Communications
  • Ultra-reliable and Low Latency Communications
As can be seen in the picture above, 3GPP is planning to split the 5G work into two phases. Phase 1 (Rel-15) will look at a subset of requirements that are important for the commercial needs of the day. Phase 2 (Rel-16) will look at more features, use cases, detailed requirements, etc.

Here is the chair summary of the workshop:




The presentation (RWS-150002) from Motorola/Lenovo highlighted the need to handle different spectrum. For sub-6GHz, the existing air interface could work with slight modifications. For spectrum between 6GHz and 30GHz, again a similar air interface like 4G may be good enough but for above 30GHz, there is a need for new one die to phase noise.

The presentation by CATT or China Academy of Telecommunication Technology (RWS-150003) is quite interesting and is embedded below. They also propose Pattern Division Multiple Access (PDMA).




Orange (RWS-150004) has definitely put a thought into what good 5G would be. Their presentation is embedded below too:




The presentation from Huawei (RWS-150006) introduced the concept of Unified Air Interface, UAI.



They presentation also explains the concept of Adaptive Frame structures and RAN slicing very well. For those who may be wondering, uMTC stands for ultra-reliable MTC and mMTC stands for massive MTC. RAN slicing enables the RAN to be partitioned such that a certain amount of carriers are always dedicated to a certain services independently of other services. This ensures that the service in the slice is always served reliably.

The final presentation is the vision and priorities by 5GPPP as follows:



Monday, 14 September 2015

3GPP Release-13 whitepapers and presentations

With 3GPP Release-13 due early/mid next year, there has been a flurry of presentations and whitepapers on this topic. This post provides some of these. I will try and maintain a list of whitepapers/presentations as part of this post as and when released.

1. June 2015: LTE Release 13 and road to 5G - Presented by Dino Flore, Chairman of 3GPP RAN, (Qualcomm Technologies Inc.)



2. Sep 2015: Executive Summary - Inside 3GPP Release 13 by 4G Americas



3. June 2015: Mobile Broadband Evolution Towards 5G: 3GPP Rel-12 & Rel-13 and Beyond by 4G Americas

4. April 2015: LTE release 13 – expanding the Networked Society by Ericsson


Saturday, 5 September 2015

HetNets and Ultra Dense Networks



When I did my 5G presentation back in Feb., I explained about Ultra Dense Networks (UDN) that will be a main feature of future traffic hotspots. I have also blogged about Qualcomm having tested 1000 small cells in a square km. Some operators are already running out of spectrum with traditional deployments in hotspots. They are already making their cells smaller (but not yet using Small cells) thereby having less users in each cell. This may not be enough so the approach likely to be taken is:

  • Offload to WiFi
  • Aggregate WiFi with LTE (different approaches including LTE-U, LAA and LWA)
  • Use Small cells and C-RAN
  • Multi technology Carrier Aggregation
  • Beamforming (and massive MIMO)


The above picture is from a presentation (embedded below) by ZTE in the LTE World Summit. Its a good attempt to show different technologies, the year they are expected to go mainstream, whether they are TDD or FDD and if they will form part of 5G.

Anyway, here is the presentation. There is some interesting information on C-RAN, D-RAN results and fronthaul too.



Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The Importance of License Exempt Frequency Bands


Some of you may be aware that I am also a Technical Programme Manager with the UK Spectrum Policy Forum. Recently we published a whitepaper that we had commissioned to Plum consulting on "Future use of Licence Exempt Radio Spectrum". It is an interested read not only for spectrum experts but also for people trying to understand the complex world of spectrum.

The report is very well written. Here are a few extracts in purple:

Licence exempt frequency bands are those that can be used by certain applications without the need for prior authorisation or an individual right of use. This does not mean that they are not subject to regulation – use must still comply with pre-defined technical rules to minimise the risk of interference. Most licence exempt bands are harmonised throughout Europe and are shared with other services or applications, such as radars or industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) equipment. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are probably the most familiar examples of mass-market licence exempt wireless applications, but the bands support many other consumer devices, such as cordless phones, doorbells, car key fobs, central heating controllers, baby monitors and intruder alarms. Looking to the future, licence exempt bands are likely to be a key enabler of wireless machine to machine (M2M) communication applications.

Key benefits of licence exempt bands include:
  • For end-users:
    • Greater convenience and flexibility by avoiding the need for lengthy runs of cable in home and work environments
    • Ability to connect mobile devices to a fixed broadband network, reducing dependence on the mobile network and potentially saving costs both for the service provider and the end-user
    • Enhanced convenience, safety and security, e.g. through installation of low cost wireless alarm systems or ability to unlock vehicles remotely rather than fumbling with keys
  • For equipment vendors and operators:
    • Facilitating market entry – there is no need to acquire a licence to deploy a service
    • Enabling niche applications or services to be addressed quickly and cheaply using existing technology and spectrum – this has been particularly effective in serving new machine to machine (M2M) applications in areas such as health, transport and home automation.
    • Providing certainty about spectrum access – there is no need to compete or pay for spectrum access (though the collective nature of spectrum use means quality of service cannot be guaranteed)
    • The ability to extend the reach of fixed communication networks, by providing wireless local area connectivity in homes, businesses and at public traffic hotspots.
The two most notable drawbacks are the inability to guarantee quality of service and the more limited geographic range that is typically available (reflecting the lower power limits that apply to these bands). Licence exempt wireless applications cannot claim protection from interference arising from other users or radio services. They operate in shared frequency bands and must not themselves cause harmful interference to other radio services.

From a regulator’s perspective, licence exempt bands can be more problematic than licensed bands in terms of refarming spectrum, since it is difficult to prevent the continued deployment of legacy equipment in the bands or to monitor effectively their utilisation. There is also generally no control over numbers and / or location of devices, which can make sharing difficult and limits the amount of spectrum that can be used in this way.

In Europe, regulation of licence exempt bands is primarily dealt with at an international level by European institutions. Most bands are fully harmonised, whereby free circulation of devices that comply with the relevant standards is effectively mandated throughout the EU. However some bands are subject to “soft” harmonisation, where the frequency limits and technical characteristics are harmonised but adoption of the band is left to national administrations to decide.

A key recommendation, which I think would be very interesting and useful would be: Promote further international harmonisation of licence exempt bands, in particular the recently identified 870 – 876 MHz and 915 – 921 MHz band that are likely to be critical for supporting future M2M demand growth in Europe.

Note that a similar sub-1GHz band has been recommended for 5G for M2M/IoT. The advantage for low frequencies is that the coverage area is very large, suitable for devices with low date rates. Depending on how the final 5G would be positioned, it may well use the license exempt bands, similar to the LAA/LTE-U kind of approach maybe.

The whitepaper is embedded below and is available to download from here:




Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Have researchers moved on past 5G on to 6G Wireless?


As I am active on multiple social networks including blogs, twitter, facebook, linkedin, etc., Its always tricky to be able to share information from one on to another. Some time back I tweeted about the 6G research that seems to have started according to an article in FT.

While I had a few retweets and interactions, I realised that its always challenging to search the tweets so I decided to add this in the blog post, always easier to look it up.

So the FT Article states that:

Even as 5G remains a distant prospect for most mobile users, some scientists have already begun to work on plans for 6G services in the future.

To an extent, terms such as 4G and 5G have become as much about marketing equipment as any single technology breakthrough, with incremental improvements to technical specifications often arbitrarily given names such as 3.5G or 4.5G.

But that has not stopped people from thinking about what 6G could look like — and in the UK at least, the prediction is for a “quantum” leap.

Britain has created a “national quantum strategy” to identify areas where advances in technology will have the greatest impact on daily lives in the future. The strategy was developed by the Quantum Technologies Strategic Advisory Board, a government funded agency, which oversees the £270m programme. 

One of the key goals will be the development of faster communications for mobile devices. The advisory board predicts that the market for quantum products and technology has the potential to become a £1bn industry, even if details of how mobile technology can use quantum theory — science at an atomic level — are thin on the ground.

So why did I suddenly think about 6G? Because I have had a few discussions where the research community feel that they should focus on technologies beyond 5G, something that would be a game changer and would change the way we do communications. To be honest, new ways of communications have been found (like LED-Fi / Li-Fi ) but they have not really been ground breaking.

Do you have any ideas or suggestions, add it as comments.