Showing posts with label 3GPP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 3GPP. Show all posts

Monday, 6 June 2022

2G/3G Shutdown may Cost Lives as 4G/5G Voice Roaming is a Mess

You have probably heard me a complaining about the pace of VoLTE rollout, 2G/3G shutdowns, 4G Voice roaming, etc. This post highlights all these issues coming together in a dangerous way. People often ask me why is it that it's always just me highlighting the issues. The answer is that there are other people but their voice may not reach you. In this post, I am highlighting presentations by Rudolf van der Berg, Project and programme manager at Stratix Consulting.

Let's start with Rudolf's post from LinkedIn:

Stop the shutdown of 2G and 3G networks to save lives. This is the urgent call I make today and I hope you can help me spread it! Please call on people you know in politics, regulators and emergency services to demand a stop! Call on anyone you know in the GSMA, 3GPP, handset makers (Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm, MediaTek), network builders (Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei) to re-engineer VoLTE to an interoperable standard.

Emergency calls (112, 911) should work anywhere in the world on any phone. For GSM and 3G voice calling it did. You could fly anywhere and call emergency services and in the EU we have the roaming regulation that demands calling like at home. Voice over 4G and 5G hasn't been properly standardized and isn't interoperable between networks, devices, chipsets and firmware. People need to be able to make and receive telephone calls around the world, to each other and to emergency services. Unfortunately even according to sector itself emergency services are at risk from VoLTE. A consumer today can't know whether a phone they bought will make VoLTE calls at home or abroad, nor whether it can reach emergency services. That can't be right!

So please help EENA 112 and me share this message! Thank you #eena2022 (Slide 4 contains a mistake, T-Mo USA hasn't decided on 2G shutdown yet. that is good for availability of 911, though fundamental point remains. Apologies.)

The video and slides are embedded below:

The slides contain many useful references and links, you can download directly from here.

Back in April, iBASIS hosted a VoLTE and 5G Roaming Roundtable. You can watch the video here and download the presentation and whitepaper as well. It contains talks from Kaleido Intelligence, iBASIS, KPN, Bouygues Telecom and Telus. 

The slide from Dutch MNO KPN above highlights the VoLTE Roaming issues they are observing. Other operators will face this issue sooner or later as well. 

The Regulators, GSMA and 3GPP have to come together to fix this important issue for once and all so no lives are lost because of this. Hopefully someone is listening!

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Monday, 23 May 2022

5G Reality Check - Data Rates

One of the common questions that we encounter is why are 5G speeds so low as we were promised 5G downlink speeds of 20 Gbps. Most people do not understand how the 5G speeds are calculated and what do they depend on. In many cases, the network won’t be capable of delivering higher speeds due to some or the other limitation. 

In a new presentation, I try to explain the theoretical speeds and compare them with real world 5G data rates and even try to map it to why these speeds are what they are. Hopefully people won't mind me adding some humour as I go along.

Video and Slides embedded below

Embedded below is the Twitter thread on Speedtests 😂

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Wednesday, 4 May 2022

ATIS Webinar on '5G Standards Development Update in 3GPP Release 17 and 18'

Our blog post on ATIS Release-16 webinar has been one of the popular posts so it's no brainer that people will surely find this Release 17/18 update useful as well. 

The moderator for this webinar was Iain Sharp, Principal Technologist at ATIS. The following were the speakers and the topics they spoke on:

  • Services: Greg Schumacher, Global Standards, T-Mobile USA
  • Systems Architecture and Core Networks: Puneet Jain, Principal Engineer and Director of Technical Standards at Intel Corporation, and 3GPP SA2 Chairman
  • Radio Access Network: Wanshi Chen, Senior Director,Technology at Qualcomm, and 3GPP RAN Chairman

Here is a summary of the webinar:

In Release 17, 3GPP delivered important updates to 5G specifications to broaden their range of commercial applications and improve the efficiency of networks. 3GPP is now starting standardization of Release 18. This webinar provides an up-to-date view of the completed 3GPP Release 17 work with a particular focus on how the work is expanding capabilities of 5G and enhancing the technical performance of the mobile system.

The webinar will cover:

  • The status of 3GPP's work and the organization's roadmap for the future
  • The main themes the delivered Release 17 features in 3GPP specifications
  • How enhancements to 5G are helping the 5G market proposition (e.g., through new service opportunities, or enhanced efficiency of 5G networks)

The webinar will give a technical overview of 3GPP's Release 17 content and its benefits to 5G networks. It is suitable for people in technical roles and technical executives who want to understand the current state of 5G standardization.

The video is embedded below and the slides are available here:

Glad to see that 3GPP Rel-19 work has already started as can be seen in the roadmap below.

(click to enlarge)

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Monday, 11 April 2022

3GPP Release-17 5G NR Reaches Completion

In the last week of March 2022, 3GPP Release 17 reached stage 3 functional freeze. Now the ASN work is ongoing and it will be frozen in June 2022. After that point, any changes will need to be submitted to 3GPP as CR (change request) and would have to be agreed by everyone (or unopposed).

Juan Montojo, Vice President, Technical Standards, Qualcomm Technoloigies, in his blog post reminds us:

Release 17 has been completed with its scope largely intact, despite the fact that the entire release was developed in the midst of a pandemic that hit the world, including 3GPP, right after the scope of the Release was approved in December 2019. 3GPP has been operating through electronic means from the latter part of January 2020 and has yet to get back to face-to-face meetings and interactions. The return to face-to-face meetings is not expected before June 2022. Release 17 completion not only marks the conclusion of the first phase of the 5G technology evolution, but it is a testament to the mobile ecosystem’s resiliency and commitment to drive 5G forward. I couldn’t be more proud of 3GPP, and our team, in particular, as Qualcomm Technologies led the efforts across a wide range of projects. Release 17 delivers another performance boost to the 5G system and continues expanding 5G into new devices, applications, and deployments.

The blog post briefly explains the 'New and enhanced 5G system capabilities' as well as features related to 'Expansion to new 5G devices and applications' as shown in the image on the top.

In addition, 3GPP Rel-17 has many other projects as can be seen in the image above. 3GPP TR 21.917: Release 17 Description; Summary of Rel-17 Work Items has a summary of all the items above but it is still undergoing revision.

Juan also did a webinar on this topic with Fierce Wireless, the video is embedded below:

The slides could be obtained from here.

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Tuesday, 15 February 2022

What Is the Role of AI and ML in the Open RAN and 5G Future?

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have moved on from just being buzzwords to bringing much needed optimization and intelligence in devices, networks and infrastructure; whether on site, on the edge or in the cloud.

Qualcomm has been very active in talking about AI/ML in webinars and on their site. A detailed blog post looking at 'What’s the role of artificial intelligence in the future of 5G and beyond?' is available here. It was posted in time for a Light Reading webinar where Gabriel Brown, Principal Analyst – Mobile Networks and 5G, Heavy Reading and Tingfang Ji, Senior Director, Engineering - Wireless R&D, Qualcomm discuss the topic. The video is embedded below and slide deck is available here.

Louis Scialabba, Senior Director of Marketing at Mavenir, looking at AI and Analytics spoke at Layer 123 conference on the topic, 'AI/ML for Next Gen 5G Mobile Networks'. His talk is embedded below and a blog post by him on the topic, 'The RIC Opens a New World of Opportunities for CSPs' is available here.

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Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Extending 5G TDD Coverage With XDD (Cross Division Duplex)

A new 3GPP Technical report, TR 38.858 (draft not available yet) will look at Study on evolution of NR duplex operation (FS_NR_duplex_evo) in Rel-18. RP-213591 provides a justification on why this new duplex evolution needs to be studied:

TDD is widely used in commercial NR deployments. In TDD, the time domain resource is split between downlink and uplink. Allocation of a limited time duration for the uplink in TDD would result in reduced coverage, increased latency and reduced capacity. As a possible enhancement on this limitation of the conventional TDD operation, it would be worth studying the feasibility of allowing the simultaneous existence of downlink and uplink, a.k.a. full duplex, or more specifically, subband non-overlapping full duplex at the gNB side within a conventional TDD band.

The NR TDD specifications allow the dynamic/flexible allocation of downlink and uplink in time and CLI handling and RIM for NR were introduced in Rel-16. Nevertheless, further study may be required for CLI handling between the gNBs of the same or different operators to enable the dynamic/flexible TDD in commercial networks. The inter-gNB CLI may be due to either adjacent-channel CLI or co-channel-CLI, or both, depending on the deployment scenario. One of the problems not addressed in the previous releases is gNB-to-gNB CLI.

This study aims to identify the feasibility and solutions of duplex evolution in the areas outlined above to provide enhanced UL coverage, reduced latency, improved system capacity, and improved configuration flexibility for NR TDD operations in unpaired spectrum. In addition, the regulatory aspects need to be examined for deploying identified duplex enhancements in TDD unpaired spectrum considering potential constraints.

Samsung has a technical white paper on this topic which they refer to as XDD (Cross Division Duplex), available here. The abstract says:

XDD (Cross Division Duplex) is one of the key technologies that Samsung is proposing as part of Rel-18 NR (5G-Advanced) to address the coverage issue observed during the initial phase of 5G deployment. XDD provides improved coverage, capacity, and latency compared to conventional TDD. Instead of relying solely on orthogonal time resources for DL-UL separation as in TDD, XDD allows simultaneous DL-UL operation by using non-overlapping frequency resources within a carrier bandwidth.

This white paper provides a high level description of XDD concept, benefits, and implementation challenges. First, an overview of XDD including a comparison with conventional TDD and FDD is provided. Next, the implementation challenges of XDD especially at the base station to handle self-interference mitigation is provided. Furthermore, several features that we consider critical in realizing XDD in actual deployment scenarios are provided along with some performance results. Finally, Samsung’s view on XDD for the next phase of 5G (5G-Advanced) is provided.

An open access IEEE Access paper, 'Extending 5G TDD Coverage With XDD', written by Samsung researchers provides a much more detailed insight into this topic. The abstract says:

In this paper, an advanced duplex scheme called cross-division duplex (XDD) is proposed to enhance uplink (UL) coverage in time division duplex (TDD) carriers by utilizing self-interference cancellation (SIC) capability at a base station. With XDD, it is possible to combine TDD’s ability to efficiently handle asymmetric UL and downlink (DL) traffic with frequency division duplex’s coverage advantage. To do so, XDD simultaneously operates UL and DL on the same TDD carrier but on different frequency resources. Such operation leads to severe interference on the received UL signal at the base station which requires two levels of SIC implementation; antenna and digital SIC. More than 50 dB of interference is removed through the antenna SIC using electromagnetic barriers between the transmitting and receiving antennas. The remaining interference is removed by the digital SIC based on estimating the non-linear channel of the circuit at the receiver baseband. It is verified by simulation and analysis that with the proposed XDD, the UL coverage can be improved by up to 2.37 times that of TDD. To check the feasibility of XDD, a Proof-of-Concept was developed where it was observed that the benefits of XDD can indeed be realized using the proposed SIC techniques

In the segment of the video embedded below, Dr. Hyoung Ju Ji, Principal Engineer, Samsung Electronics, Korea explains how XDD is a Realistic Option for Full Duplex Realization.

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Tuesday, 25 January 2022

3GPP Release-18 Work Moves Into Focus as Release-17 Reaches Maturity

In early December 2021, 3GPP reached a consensus on the scope of 5G NR Release-18. With the 3GPP Rel-17 functional freeze set for March 2022, Release-18 work is moving into focus. This is being billed as a significant milestone marking the beginning of 5G Advanced — the second wave of wireless innovations that will fulfil the 5G vision. Release 18 is expected to build on the solid foundation set by 3GPP Releases 15, 16, and 17, and it sets the longer-term evolution direction of 5G and beyond.

(click on the image to enlarge - PDF here)

The 3GPP Release-18 page has a concise summary of all that you need to know, including the timeline. For anyone interested in going through features one-by-one, start navigating from here, select Rel-18 from the top.

For others who may be more interested in summary rather than a lot of details, here are some good links to navigate:

  • Nokia whitepaper - 5G-Advanced: Expanding 5G for the connected world (link)
  • Paper by Ericsson researcher, Xingqin Lin, 'An Overview of 5G Advanced Evolution in 3GPP Release 18' (link)
  • Marcin Dryjański, Rimedo Labs - 3GPP Rel-18: 5G-Advanced RAN Features (link)
  • Bevin Fletcher, FierceWireless: Next 3GPP standard tees up 5G Advanced (link)

As always, Qualcomm has a fantastic summary of 5G evolution and features in 3GPP Release-18 on their page here. The image above nicely shows the evolution of 5G from Release-15 all the way to Release-18. The image below shows a summary of 3GPP Release-18, 5G-Advanced features.

They also hosted a webinar with RCR wireless. The webinar is embedded below.

The slides can be downloaded from GSA website (account required, free to register) here.

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Tuesday, 18 January 2022

3GPP 5G Non Terrestrial Networks (NTN) Standardization Update

We have looked at 5G Non Terrestrial Networks (NTN) in many different posts in our blogs. If you are new to this topic then this tutorial with a video is a good place to start or just follow this IEEE Comsoc article or this short update from R&S here.

Nicolas Chuberre is the rapporteur of the NR_NTN_solutions work item (TSG RAN) and of the FS-5GET study item (WG SA1) from Thales Alenia Space. In the October 2021 issue of 3GPP Highlights newsletter, he along with Munira Jaffar, Lead delegate representing EchoStar and Hughes Standards in ESOA (EMEA Satellite Operators Association) Standards Working Group, wrote a summary of 'Status of NTN & Satellite in 3GPP Releases 17 & 18'.

Quoting from the article:

The approval of normative activities on Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN) in Rel-17 has generated growing interest in the topic. The Rel-17 NTN work items are supported by a wide range of vendors (terminal, chipset, network), as well as service providers from both the mobile and space industries and vertical user groups including ESOA.

The Rel-17 NTN and satellite work items in Technical Specification Group (TSG) RAN and TSG SA have been progressing towards the goal of satellite inclusion in 3GPP technical specifications. The focus is on transparent payload architecture with FDD systems where all UEs are assumed to have GNSS capabilities. The normative phase includes adaptation to the physical & access layer aspects, radio access network and system architecture, radio resource management, and RF requirements for targeted satellite networks operating at LEO, MEO or GEO orbits.

With an expected completion date of March 2022, the 3GPP Rel-17 specifications will support New Radio (NR) based satellite access deployed in FR1 bands serving handheld devices for global service continuity. Equally exciting, the 3GPP Rel-17 specification will support NB-IoT and eMTC based satellite access to address massive Internet of Things (IoT) use cases in areas such as agriculture, transport, logistics and many more. 

This joint effort between mobile and satellite industries will enable the full integration of satellite in the 3GPP ecosystem and define a global standard for future satellite networks. This will address the challenges of reachability and service continuity in unserved/underserved areas, enhance reliability through connectivity between various access technologies, and improve network resilience and dependability in responding to natural and manmade disasters.

Upon completion of Rel-17 the long-awaited standard for satellite networks serving handheld devices should be in place by 2022, with commercial product availability expected sometime in 2024. Including satellite as part of the 3GPP specifications will support the promise of worldwide access to 5G services and drive explosive growth in the satellite industry. 

Looking ahead, ESOA members and other NTN stakeholders have started discussions during the 3GPP Rel-18 June workshop and are continuing to work on a further list of enhancements for both NR-NTN and IoT-NTN to be considered in Rel-18. Plans are also underway to further define the enablers for NR based satellite access in bands above 10 GHz to serve fixed and moving platforms (e.g., aircraft, vessels, UAVs) as well as building- mounted devices (e.g., businesses and premises). The goal of these efforts is to further optimize satellite access performance, address new bands with their specific regulatory requirements, and support new capabilities and services as the evolution of 5G continues.

At Mobile Korea 2021, Nicolas Chuberre gave a talk on '3GPP NTN standardization: past, current and future'. The talk nicely summarizes Release-17 progress and the features planned for 3GPP Release-18. His talk is embedded below:

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Tuesday, 23 November 2021

3GPP Presentations from CEATEC Japan 2021

3GPP and its Japanese Organizational Partners TTC (Telecommunication Technology Committee) and ARIB (Association of Radio Industries and Businesses) hosted a “3GPP Summit” online workshop at CEATEC 2021, back in October. The event was co-located with the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) and 5G Mobile Communications Promotion Forum (5GMF) 5G day at the event. Here is a summary of the event from 3GPP news:

The “3GPP Summit” featured all three Technical Specification Group (TSG) Chairs and one Japanese leader from each group. After the presentations, they exchanged their views and expectations for 3GPP work – as the industry starts to look at research beyond 5G. The event attracted almost 700 people, keen to understand what is going on in 3GPP.

The first session covered Release 17 and 18 evolution, with each TSG Chair and a domestic leader jointly presenting. Wanshi Chen introduced the latest schedule of each release and potential projects for Release 18 with the result of 3GPP Release 18 workshop held in June. Then, Hiroki Takeda presented some key features on Release 17 such as Redcap, RAN slicing and evolution of duplex.

TSG SA Chair, Georg Mayer introduced the group’s latest activities alongside Satoshi Nagata, covering key Release 17 features, such as enhanced support on Non-public Networks, Industrial IoT and Edge computing.

Next up was the TSG CT Chair, Lionel Morand, presenting the latest activities and roadmap for Core Network evolution from Release 15 to 17. Hiroshi Ishikawa also presented, covering 5G core protocol enhancements and some activities driven by operators.

The second part of the session focused more on activities ‘Beyond 5G’. First, Takaharu Nakamura introduced the latest activities on the topic in Japan. A panel discussion followed, with Satoshi Nagata joining the other 3GPP speakers, to give feedback on 5G developments and future use.

You can download the PPT of presentations from 3GPP site here or get the PDF from 3G4G page here.

Please feel free to add your thoughts as comments below.

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Tuesday, 26 October 2021

An Early View of 3GPP Release-18 5G-Advanced Topics

5G is hot at the moment. While the operators are busy rolling out the networks based on Release-15/16 features, 3GPP is working on finalising Release-17 specifications and laying the foundations for Rel-18.

The latest issue of 3GPP Highlights magazine (I prefer the PDF) contains a lot of valuable technical content, in addition to many other articles. The technical content includes:

  • An early view of the RAN Topics for 5G-Advanced
  • 5G Advanced in the Making – The TSG SA approach to Release 18
  • Application Enablement Standards in 3GPP – Maximizing the potential of 5G!
  • RAN3 flourishing in this time of change
  • Enhanced support of Industrial IoT in the 5G System (Rel-17)
  • Autonomous Network standardization in WG SA5
  • Rel-17 Edge Computing and Network Slicing charging (WG SA 5)
  • Media Production over 5G NPN

While I am not going into too much detail here, I want to highlight the 5G-Advanced topics that will be under discussion over the next couple of months. The final list will be approved by 3GPP TSGs SA, RAN and CT in December 2021.

Dr. Wanshi Chen, 3GPP TSG RAN Chair provided an early view of the RAN topics for 5G-Advanced. 

Topics Under Discussion

As well as taking a tentative decision on an 18-month duration for Release 18, the RAN workshop endorsed a list of topics for subsequent email discussions. Some of the topics in the following list also have a set of example areas, serving as a starting point for further refinement:

  • Evolution for downlink MIMO, with the following example areas:
    • Further enhancements for CSI (e.g., mobility, overhead, etc.)
    • Evolved handling of multi-TRP (Transmission Reception Points) and multi-beam
    • CPE (customer premises equipment) -specific considerations
  • Uplink enhancements, with the following example areas:
    • >4 Tx operation
    • Enhanced multi-panel/multi-TRP uplink operation
    • Frequency-selective precoding
    • Further coverage enhancements
  • Mobility enhancements, with the following example areas:
    • Layer 1/layer 2 based inter cell mobility
    • DAPS (Dual Active Protocol Stack)/CHO (Conditional HandOver) related improvements
    • FR2 (frequency range 2)-specific enhancements
  • Additional topological improvements (IAB and smart repeaters), with the following example areas:
    • Mobile IAB (Integrated Access Backhaul)/Vehicle mounted relay (VMR)
    • Smart repeater with side control information
  • Enhancements for XR (eXtended Reality), with the following example areas:
    • KPIs/QoS, application awareness operation, and aspects related to power consumption, coverage, capacity, and mobility
      • Note: only power consumption/coverage/mobility aspects specific to XR
  • Sidelink enhancements (excluding positioning), with the following example areas:
    • SL enhancements (e.g., unlicensed, power saving enhancements, efficiency enhancements, etc.)
    • SL relay enhancements
    • Co-existence of LTE V2X & NR V2X
  • RedCap evolution (excluding positioning), with the following example areas:
    • New use cases and new UE bandwidths (5MHz?)
    • Power saving enhancements
  • NTN (Non-Terrestrial Networks) evolution
    • Including both NR & IoT (Internet of Things) aspects
  • Evolution for broadcast and multicast services
    • Including both LTE based 5G broadcast and NR MBS (Multicast Broadcast Services)
  • Expanded and improved Positioning, with the following example areas:
    • Sidelink positioning/ranging
    • Improved accuracy, integrity, and power efficiency
    • RedCap positioning
  • Evolution of duplex operation, with the following example areas:
    • Deployment scenarios, including duplex mode (TDD only?)
    • Interference management
  • AI (Artificial Intelligence)/ML (Machine Learning), with the following example areas:
    • Air interface (e.g., Use cases to focus, KPIs and Evaluation methodology, network and UE involvement, etc.)
    • NG-RAN
  • Network energy savings, with the following example areas:
    • KPIs and evaluation methodology, focus areas and potential solutions
  • Additional RAN1/2/3 candidate topics, Set 1:
    • UE power savings
    • Enhancing and extending the support beyond 52.6GHz
    • CA (Carrier Aggregation)/DC (Dual-Connectivity) enhancements (e.g., MR-MC (Multi-Radio/Multi-Connectivity), etc.)
    • Flexible spectrum integration
    • RIS (Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces)
    • Others (RAN1-led)
  • Additional RAN1/2/3 candidate topics, Set 2:
    • UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle)
    • IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things)/URLLC (Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication)
    • <5MHz in dedicated spectrum
    • Other IoT enhancements/types
    • HAPS (High Altitude Platform System)
    • Network coding
  • Additional RAN1/2/3 candidate topics, Set 3:
    • Inter-gNB coordination, with the following example areas:
      • Inter-gNB/gNB-DU multi-carrier operation
      • Inter-gNB/gNB-DU multi-TRP operation
      • Enhancement for resiliency of gNB-CU
    • Network slicing enhancements
    • MUSIM (Multiple Universal Subscriber Identity Modules)
    • UE aggregation
    • Security enhancements
    • SON (Self-Organizing Networks)/MDT (Minimization of Drive Test)
    • Others (RAN2/3-led)
  • Potential RAN4 enhancements

Dr. Georg Mayer, 3GPP TSG SA Chair provides the TSG SA approach to 3GPP Release-18

The candidate items for Rel-18 include:

  • Immersive Media and Virtual/Artificial/Extended Reality (XR) Media support in Working Group (WG) SA4 and WG SA2.
  • New work areas for Internet of Things (e.g. passive IoT (WG SA2) and application capability exposure for IoT platforms (WG SA6)).
  • Proposals to for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Services Transport and Management (WGs SA2, SA5).
  • Concepts for integration and migration of existing vertical infrastructure, e.g. for railway networks (WG SA6).
  • Examples for proposed enhancements to existing 3GPP services and functionalities include:
    • Network Slicing (WGs SA2, SA5)
    • Edge Computing (WGs SA2, SA5, SA6)
    • Autonomous Networks (WG SA5)
    • Service Based Architecture (WGs SA2, SA5)
    • Northbound APIs (WG SA6)
    • Non-Public Networks (WG SA2)
    • Satellite 5G Networks (WG SA2)
    • Drone support (WG SA2)
    • 5G Multicast and Broadcast (WG SA2)
    • Location Services (WG SA2, SA6)
    • Management Data Analytics (WG SA5)
    • Mission Critical Services (WG SA6)

None of these features are final but we will know in the next few months what will be included as part of Rel-18 and what won't. In the meantime, do check out the latest issue of 3GPP Highlights here.

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Wednesday, 20 October 2021

5G NR-Unlicensed (NR-U)

I have been talking about unlicensed LTE since 2013. With all the debate around LTE-U and LAA now non-existent, the technology has evolved with every new release. As can be seen from this picture by Ericsson above, 5G NR-U in Release-16 supports:

  • License-exempt Downlink (DL)
  • License-exempt scheduled Uplink (UL)
  • License-exempt autonomous UK
  • Standalone license-exempt operation

The Release-16 work item summary details the following deployment scenarios for NR-based access to unlicensed spectrum:

  • Scenario A: Carrier aggregation between NR in licensed spectrum (PCell) and NR in shared spectrum (SCell);
    • A.1: SCell is not configured with UL (DL only); 
    • A.2: SCell is configured with UL (DL+UL). 
  • Scenario B: Dual connectivity between LTE in licensed spectrum and NR in shared spectrum (PSCell);
  • Scenario C: NR in shared spectrum (PCell);
  • Scenario D: NR cell in shared spectrum and uplink in licensed spectrum;
  • Scenario E: Dual connectivity between NR in licensed spectrum (PCell) and NR in shared spectrum (PSCell)

5G New Radio Unlicensed: Challenges and Evaluation, available on arXiv here provides a lot of useful information on different kind of operations within the unlicensed band and the challenges of co-existence with Wi-Fi

Finally, Qualcomm has quite a few resources on this topic. Last year, they hosted a webinar on the topic, "How does unlicensed spectrum with NR-U transform what 5G can do for you?". The slides from that are available here and a video of that is available here. RCR Wireless also has this short article from one of the webinar presenters here.

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Monday, 27 September 2021

Maritime Communication (MARCOM) Services over 3GPP system


Maritime Communication Services over 3GPP System is one of the topics listed in the 3GPP Release-16 summary that I summarised here.

Maritime domain, one of 5G vertical domains in 3GPP, started to be considered since 2016 to enable 3GPP systems to play the role of mobile communication platform necessary for the digitalization and mobilization of the maritime domain that bring about the Fourth Industrial Revolution of the maritime businesses as well as maritime safety.

Compared to other vertical domains, the maritime domain has the radio communication environment that 3GPP hasn’t considered in detail, which means that maritime related issues and features were not in the scope of 3GPP standardization and some of existing 3GPP enabling technologies or solutions are not able to fully support the optimized performances required by the maritime domain in a way that has been guaranteed for on-land communication. In addition, on-board mobile users in a vessel would like to experience the same rich mobile communication services as they enjoy on land.

Furthermore, it is of the view that the capacity and rate for data transmission based on legacy maritime radio communication technologies are indeed not enough for e-Navigation described in IMO Strategy Implementation Plan (SIP) or Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS), which the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a United Nations specialized agency, have been working to provide to ship.

Considering that the maritime domain is one of 5G vertical domains that 3GPP take into account in order for 5G to be able to provide enhanced mobile broadband services or massive machine-type communication services etc. everywhere anytime in the world, it is desirable to study use cases and requirements for maritime communication services over 3GPP system so that 3GPP system can be a good candidate of innovative tools to help address the information gap between users on land and users at sea as well as the maritime safety and vessel traffic management etc. that IMO intends to achieve especially in 5G era.

3GPP TR 22.819, Feasibility Study on Maritime Communication Services over 3GPP system concluded in 2018 and a report is available here. The scope of the document says:

The present document aims to support the maritime communication services between users ashore and at sea or between vessels at sea over 3GPP system that are targeted to improve maritime safety, protect the maritime environment and promote the efficiency of shipping by reducing maritime casualty caused by human error, in particular, involving small ships and fishing vessels. In addition, the outcome of the technical report is expected to narrow the information gap between mobile users on land and shipboard users on vessels at sea by making it possible to provide the mobile broadband services.

The document describes use cases and potential requirements for services between shore-based users such as authorities and shipboard users in the maritime radio communication environment over 3GPP system. In addition, it deals with use cases to support Mission Critical Services between authorities on land and authorities at sea (e.g. maritime police) as well as use cases to support the interworking between 3GPP system and the existing/future maritime radio communication system for the seamless service of voice communication and data communication between users ashore and at sea or between vessels at sea.

Analysis is also made on which legacy services and requirements from the existing 3GPP system need to be included and which potential requirements need additional work for new functions to support maritime communication services over 3GPP system.

The first 3GPP Technical Specification (TS) 22.119 covering service requirements (Stage 1) is specified for the support of maritime communication (MARCOM) over 3GPP systems.

The maritime domain, one of the 5G vertical domains in 3GPP, is moving forward with the digitalisation and mobilisation of commercial as well as safety fields. Legacy 3GPP-based technologies and solutions can be beneficial to the digitalisation and mobilisation of the maritime domain though some of the legacy 3GPP enabling technologies and solutions may not be able to fully support the performances required by the maritime domain. The maritime radio environment was not originally considered by 3GPP when the technical specifications and solutions were standardised for LTE and 5G. 

However, most of the legacy mobile services and IoT services based on capabilities of EPS and 5GS specified in 3GPP specifications are applicable to maritime usage for the support of mobile broadband services, and for the support of IoT services or machine-type communication services in a vessel at sea. 

In addition, there are service scenarios and requirements specified in 3GPP specifications based on requirements of other related vertical domains (e.g. public safety domain, automotive domain, factory automation domain, and satellite industrial domain). Some requirements derived by service scenarios from these related vertical domains are applicable to the maritime domain. Thus, it is beneficial to use 3GPP enabling technologies developed to satisfy those requirements for the maritime domain in terms of the economy of scale.

For example, satellite access is one of the 3GPP radio access networks supported over the 5G system, so it is possible to provide seamless maritime mobile services by integrating multiple access technologies including satellite access depending on the service scenarios. In addition, Vertical LAN that can replace Ethernet-based access are applicable to indoor maritime mobile services inside a vessel.

Mission Critical (MC) Services specified in 3GPP specifications are applicable to commercial and maritime safety fields. Some similarities exist between the public safety domain and the maritime domain in terms of service scenarios that are essentially the same. For example, in some situations, mobile communication services are supported in spite of disconnected networks, i.e. off-network mode, or under isolated conditions. 

However, the maritime domain also has specific situations that do not happen in other vertical domains or in the legacy ICT industrial domain. New 3GPP enabling technologies dedicated to the maritime domain can be used to address such specific situations based on requirements derived from maritime use cases. Other vertical domains may benefit from such new 3GPP enabling technologies that consider maritime domain scenarios and may need more robust technologies or solutions than those that currently exist for those vertical domains.

The following specifications are relevant for MARCOM:

  • 3GPP TS 22.119, Maritime communication services over 3GPP system
  • 3GPP TS 22.179, Mission Critical Push to Talk (MCPTT); Stage 1
  • 3GPP TS 22.280, Mission Critical (MC) services common requirements
  • 3GPP TS 22.281, Mission Critical (MC) video
  • 3GPP TS 22.282, Mission Critical (MC) data

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Tuesday, 14 September 2021

3GPP Release 16 Description and Summary of Work Items


Someone reached out recently asking for a summary of Release 16 features. For people who are involved in standards, they already know of a few ways you can get this quickly. 

The first is to go to the Releases page here: https://www.3gpp.org/specifications/releases 

Here you can see the status of current releases as well as at the bottom of the page you can jump to the individual releases. 

A full Release Description is produced by the Work Plan manager at the completion of the work. This has been available since Release-14 onwards. You can go and get the latest version of the following technical reports:  

The following is the summary of features listed in 3GPP TR 21.916 for Release-16: 

  1. Enhancement of Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communications (URLLC)
    1. Enhancement of URLLC support in the 5G Core network
    2. Physical Layer Enhancements for NR Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communication (URLLC)
    3. Support of NR Industrial Internet of Things
  2. Support of LAN-type services
    1. NR-based access to unlicensed spectrum
    2. LAN support in 5G
    3. 5GS Enhanced support of Vertical and LAN Services
  3. Cellular Internet of Things (IoT)
    1. Cellular IoT support and evolution for the 5G System
    2. Additional enhancements for NB-IoT
    3. Additional MTC enhancements for LTE
  4. Advanced V2X support
    1. Improvement of V2X service Handling
    2. Architecture enhancements for 3GPP support of advanced V2X services
    3. Application layer support for V2X services
    4. 5G V2X with NR sidelink
  5. Northbound APIs related items
    1. Usage of CAPIF for xMB API
    2. Enhancement of 3GPP Northbound APIs
    3. Enhancements for Common API Framework for 3GPP Northbound APIs
    4. Service Enabler Architecture Layer for Verticals
    5. Other APIs-related items
  6. Coexistence with Non-3GPP systems
    1. Wireless and Wireline Convergence Enhancement
    2. Access Traffic Steering, Switch and Splitting support in the 5G system architecture
  7. Railways and Maritime
    1. Mobile Communication System for Railways 2
    2. Further performance enhancement for LTE in high speed scenario
    3. NR support for high speed train scenario
    4. Maritime Communication Services over 3GPP System
  8. Mission Critical, Public Warning
    1. Enhancements of Public Warning System
    2. MBMS APIs for Mission Critical Services
    3. Mission Critical Services Security Enhancements
    4. Other Mission critical improvements
      1. MCData File Distribution support over xMB
      2. Enhanced Mission Critical Communication Interworking with Land Mobile Radio Systems
      3. MBMS APIs for Mission Critical Services
      4. Enhancements to Functional architecture and information flows for Mission Critical Data
      5. MC Communication Interworking
      6. Enhanced Mission Critical Push-to-talk architecture phase 2
      7. Other Mission Critical activities
  9. Conversational services, Streaming and TV
    1. Conversational services
      1. Coverage and Handoff Enhancements for Multimedia (CHEM)
      2. Single radio voice continuity from 5GS to 3G
      3. Volume Based Charging Aspects for VoLTE
      4. EVS Floating-point Conformance for Non Bit-Exact
      5. Media Handling Extensions for 5G Conversational Services
      6. VR QoE metrics
      7. Media Handling Aspects of RAN Delay Budget Reporting in MTSI
      8. Removal of H.263 and MPEG-4 Visual from 3GPP Services
    2. 13.2 Streaming
      1. Enhancement of LTE for Efficient delivery of Streaming Service
      2. Enhancements to Framework for Live Uplink Streaming
      3. Media streaming architecture
  10. 5G Location and Positioning Services
    1. 5G positioning services (5G_HYPOS)
    2. Enhancement to the 5GC LoCation Services
    3. NR positioning support
  11. User Identities, Authentication, multi-device
    1. User Identities and Authentication
    2. Multi-device and multi-identity
  12. Slicing
    1. Enhancement of Network Slicing
    2. Enhancement of 3GPP management system for multiple tenant environment support
    3. Business Role Models for Network Slicing
    4. Enhancement of performance assurance for 5G networks including network slicing
  13. UE radio capability signalling optimization
    1. Optimisations on UE radio capability signalling
  14. Other system-wide Features
    1. Enablers for Network Automation Architecture for 5G
    2. Provision of Access to Restricted Local Operator Services by Unauthenticated UEs
    3. Enhancing Topology of SMF and UPF in 5G Networks
    4. Private and Non-Public Network Support for NG-RAN
    5. Service-Based Architecture
      1. Enhancements to the Service-Based 5G System Architecture
      2. SBA aspects of enhanced IMS to 5GC integration
    6. User data interworking, Coexistence and Migration
  15. Radio Features
    1. NR-related Release 16 Features
      1. NR-based access to unlicensed spectrum
      2. 2-step RACH for NR
      3. UE Power Saving in NR
      4. Integrated access and backhaul for NR
      5. Dual Connectivity (EN-DC) with 3 bands DL and 3 bands UL
      6. NR mobility enhancements
      7. Rel-16 NR inter-band CA/Dual Connectivity for 2 bands DL with x bands UL (x=1, 2)
      8. Rel16 NR inter-band Carrier Aggregation for 3 bands DL with 1 band UL
      9. Add support of NR DL 256QAM for frequency range 2 (FR2)
      10. SON (Self-Organising Networks) and MDT (Minimization of Drive Tests) support for NR
      11. Introduction of NR FDD bands with variable duplex and corresponding framework
      12. Cross Link Interference (CLI) handling and Remote Interference Management (RIM) for NR
      13. RF requirements for NR frequency range 1 (FR1)
      14. NR RF requirement enhancements for frequency range 2
      15. NR RRM enhancement
      16. RRM requirement for CSI-RS based L3 measurement in NR
      17. Over the air (OTA) base station (BS) testing TR
    2. Release 16 Features impacting both LTE and NR
      1. Transfer of Iuant interface specifications from 25-series to 37-series
      2. Introduction of GSM, UTRA, E-UTRA and NR capability set(s) (CS(s)) to the multi-standard radio (MSR) specifications
      3. Direct data forwarding between NG-RAN and E-UTRAN nodes for inter-system mobility
      4. eNB(s) Architecture Evolution for E-UTRAN and NG-RAN
      5. High power UE (power class 2) for EN-DC (1 LTE TDD band + 1 NR TDD band)
      6. LTE-NR & NR-NR Dual Connectivity and NR Carrier Aggregation enhancements
      7. 29 dBm UE Power Class for LTE band 41 and NR Band n41
      8. LTE/NR Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) in band 48/n48 frequency range
    3. LTE-related Release 16 Features
      1. LTE-based 5G terrestrial broadcast
      2. Support for NavIC Navigation Satellite System for LTE
      3. Even further mobility enhancement in E-UTRAN
      4. DL MIMO efficiency enhancements for LTE
      5. Other LTE-only items
  16. All other Release 16 Features
    1. Service Interactivity
    2. RTCP Verification for Real-Time Services
    3. Stage-3 SAE Protocol Development for Rel16
    4. Reliable Data Service Serialization Indication
    5. Shared Data Handling on Nudm and Nudr
    6. New Services and Markets Technology Enablers – Phase 2
    7. Ambient noise test methodology for evaluation of acoustic UE performance
    8. KPI reporting
  17. Telecom Management
    1. Network and Service Management
      1. 5G Management capabilities
      2. Energy Efficiency of 5G
      3. OAM aspects of LTE and WLAN integration
      4. Methodology for 5G management specifications
      5. Closed loop SLS Assurance
      6. Trace Management in the context of Services Based Management Architecture and Streaming Trace reporting
      7. Management of QoE measurement collection
      8. Network Resource Model (NRM) enhancement
    2. Charging Management
      1. Charging Enhancement of 5GC interworking with EPC
    3. Other charging and management items
  18. Other items
    1. Items not (fully) completed in Rel-16
      1. Remote Identification of Unmanned Aerial Systems
      2. 5G message service
      3. Integration of Satellite Access in 5G

If you find them useful then please get the latest document from here.

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