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

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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Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS)


I have been meaning to write on this topic for a very long time. The discussion started back in 2016 when the limitations of GSM-R were obvious and it was recognised that a successor will be needed sooner or later. The International Railway Union (UIC) published a user requirement specification in their paper “Future Railway Mobile Communication System - FRMCS”. This is available on 3GPP server as liaison statement S1-161250.

As 3GPP notes in their article, this was the trigger for them to go ahead and start the studies. Then in Release 16, 3GPP TS 22.289 "Mobile communication system for railways" outlined the requirements for railway communication, beyond the 3GPP Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) Phase 1 specs. Details are available on this post here.

Source Tweet

The latest version of 3GPP TR 22.889, Study on Future Railway Mobile Communication System; Stage 1 is from Release 17. The introduction to the document clarifies:

The railway community is considering a successor communication system to GSM-R, as the forecasted obsolescence of the 2G-based GSM-R technology is envisaged around 2030, with first FRMCS trial implementations expected to start around 2020. 

The Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) Functional Working Group (FWG) of the International Union of Railways (UIC) have investigated and summarised their requirements for the next generation railway communication system in the Future Railway Mobile Communication User Requirements Specification (FRMCS URS). The present document is based on this input given by the UIC/ETSI TC-RT 

Study on FRMCS Evolution (FS_eFRMCS), available as SP-201038 clarifies:

The UIC FRMCS programme was recently releasing stable version 5.0.0 of the User Requirement Specification, version 2.0.0 of the Functional Use Cases and a new specification item, version 1.0.0 of the Telecom On-Board System - Functional Requirements Specification, as a further step in the evolution of the FRMCS specifications. The UIC FRMCS Programme is developing all the technical conditions for the 5G FRMCS, with the main objective to make available a “FRMCS First Edition” ecosystem available for procurement by Q1 2025.

The UIC FRMCS 3GPP Task Force has been identifying and analyzing impact of this newly released set of FRMCS specifications on existing use cases and requirements collected in TR 22.889. The UIC FRMCS 3GPP Task Force analysis has concluded that refining existing use cases, defining new use cases such as merging railway emergency communications and real-time translation of conversation, and deriving potential new requirements, will be necessary to align FRMCS and 3GPP specifications. The potential impact on normative work is estimated to be limited and much less compared to the study work.

As approved in SA1#90-e (S1-202245), TR 22.889 has now been re-named to TR 22.989 from Rel-18 onwards (latest version is TR 22.989 v18.0.0) to make it visible to the Rail community to be able to follow the 3GPP normative work in line with their needs. It is of most importance for the Rail community that specifications from different organisations (i.e. UIC, 3GPP and ETSI) are all aligned.

Due to the expected 3GPP work overload in Release 18 (SA1 and downstream groups), it is proposed to reduce the scope of the present Rel-18 study to evolution of critical applications related use cases only already identified by UIC – what is really essential for the railways as part of the “FRMCS First Edition” and the migration phase from GSM-R to FRMCS. 

Study of non-essential use cases (e.g. evolution of performance and business use cases) shall be postponed to Rel-19.

This plan is from 2019 so quite likely that it is already outdated. It does provide an idea on different steps and trial plans. Some of this was also covered in the 5G RAN Release 18 for Industry Verticals Webinar detailed here.

Finally, as this image from Arthur D. Little highlights, there is a lot of other interest in addition to FRMCS for 5G in railway. Report here.

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Tuesday, 24 August 2021

3GPP's 5G-Advanced Technology Evolution from a Network Perspective Whitepaper


China Mobile, along with a bunch of other organizations including China Unicom, China Telecom, CAICT, Huawei, Nokia, Ericsson, etc., produced a white paper on what technology evolutions will we see as part of 5G-Advanced. This comes not so long after the 3GPP 5G-Advanced Workshop which a blogged about here.

The abstract of the whitepaper says:

The commercialization of 5G networks is accelerating globally. From the perspective of industry development drivers, 5G communications are considered the key to personal consumption experience upgrades and digital industrial transformation. Major economies around the world require 5G to be an essential part of long-term industrial development. 5G will enter thousands of industries in terms of business, and technically, 5G needs to integrate DOICT (DT - Data Technology, OT - Operational Technology, IT - Information Technology and CT - Communication Technology) and other technologies further. Therefore, this white paper proposes that continuous research on the follow-up evolution of 5G networks—5G-Advanced is required, and full consideration of architecture evolution and function enhancement is needed.

This white paper first analyzes the network evolution architecture of 5G-Advanced and expounds on the technical development direction of 5G-Advanced from the three characteristics of Artificial Intelligence, Convergence, and Enablement. Artificial Intelligence represents network AI, including full use of machine learning, digital twins, recognition and intention network, which can enhance the capabilities of network's intelligent operation and maintenance. Convergence includes 5G and industry network convergence, home network convergence and space-air-ground network convergence, in order to realize the integration development. Enablement provides for the enhancement of 5G interactive communication and deterministic communication capabilities. It enhances existing technologies such as network slicing and positioning to better help the digital transformation of the industry.

The paper can be downloaded from China Mobile's website here or from Huawei's website here. A video of the paper launch is embedded below:

Nokia's Antti Toskala wrote a blog piece providing the first real glimpse of 5G-Advanced, here.

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Tuesday, 17 August 2021

'5G RAN Release 18 for Industry Verticals' Webinar Highlights

5G PPP held a virtual workshop on RAN Release 18 for Industry Verticals on June 23rd, 2021. The workshop was organised by 3GPP Market Representation Partners (MRPs): 5G-IA, 5GAA, 5G-ACIA and PSCE.

It features a fireside chat with new 3GPP RAN TSG Chair, Wanshi Chen. In addition to this, the workshop then provides a deep dive on new requirements from verticals, spanning automotive (5GAA), manufacturing (5G-ACIA), critical communications and public safety (TCCA with PSCE), broadcasting and media (5G-MAG), satellite (ESOA), rail (UIC), maritime (IALA) and energy (EUTC).

5G-SOLUTIONS came on board as a 5G PPP project supporting verticals with the 5G-EVE and 5G-VINNI 5G network infrastructures alongside RAN specialists doing standardisation work applicable to multiple verticals.

The video of the webinar is embedded below. In addition, you will find timings of when a particular talk starts and a link to the slides (if shared/available)

Timings:

  • 0:04:21 Fireside chat with Wanshi Chen, Qualcomm and 3GPP RAN TSG Chairman
  • 0:21:00 NTN Requirements in Rel-18 by Nicolas Chuberre, Thales Alenia Space (slides)
  • 0:31:40 Multiple verticals: Andrea Di Giglio, 5G SOLUTIONS (slides)
  • 0:36:35 Media and Broadcasting: David Vargas, BBC and 5G-MAG Chair of CD-T WG, Proposals for 3GPP RAN Rel-18 (slides)
  • 0:43:19 Maritime: Hyounhee Koo, Synctechno and IALA, Maritime Requirements on 3GPP Rel 18 RAN Studies/Works Priorities (slides)
  • 0:46:12 Rail: Ingo Wendler, UIC, NR Narrowband Channel Bandwidth - Railway Use Case (slides)
  • 0:50:02 Utilities: Julian Stafford, EUTC 3GPP RAN Rel-18 Requirements (slides)
  • 0:58:35 Utilities: Erik Guttman, Samsung 5G Smart Energy Infrastructure (slides)
  • 1:05:45 Multiple verticals: Mathew Webb, Huawei and 3GPP RAN 3GPP Release 17 and Release 18 support for industry verticals (slides)
  • 1:15:19 Public Safety/Critical Communications: Tero Pesonen, TCCA Chair, joint presentation with PSCE, 3GPP MRP Mini Workshop: 3GPP Rel 18. Requirements from industry verticals (slides)
  • 1:20:15 Multiple verticals: Thierry Berisot, Novamint and 3GPP RAN, Industry Verticals and Rel-18 RAN (slides)
  • 1:32:56 Manufacturing/IIoT: Michael Bahr, Siemens and 5G-ACIA WG 1Chair and An Xueli, Huawei and 5G-ACIA WG1 Vice Chair 3GPP RAN Rel-18 for Industry Verticals (slides)
  • 1:42:20 Automotive: 5GAA Maxime Flament, CTO Input to RAN 18 Rel-18 Workshop (slides)
  • 1:53:35 Interactive Session 2
  • 2:04:36 Passive IoT for 5G-Advanced, Mathew Webb, Huawei and 3GPP RAN (slides)
  • 2:14:59 Template A for Interactive Session 2
  • 2:20:40 Critical Communications / Public Safety requirements for Release 18 
  • 2:26:00 Closing Remarks

Official page here.

The slide above nicely summarizes 3GPP RAN Verticals up to Release 17.

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Monday, 2 August 2021

3GPP's 5G-Advanced Workshop Summary

From 28 June to 02 July 2 2021, 3GPP held its first internal workshop on the radio specific content of Release 18, reviewing over 500 company and partner organization’s presentations, to identify topics for the immediate and longer-term commercial needs for:

  • eMBB (evolved Mobile BroadBand);
  • Non-eMBB evolution;
  • Cross-functionalities for both eMBB and non-eMBB driven evolution.

All the documents related to the workshop can be found on the 3GPP website here. The workshop details is available in RWS-210002 while the summary of the RAN Rel-18 workshop is available in RWS-210659.

The following is from 3GPP's news article on 5G-Advanced workshop:

Wanshi Chen, the TSG RAN Chair, summarized that the example areas under each topic serve as a starting point, each subject to further update or removal during the email discussion period - with additional topics still possible, up to the September e-meeting. That RAN#93-e meeting (13-17 September 2021) will see progress on ‘high-level descriptions’ of the objectives for each topic.

List of Topics:

1. 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
2. Uplink enhancements, with the following example areas:
  • >4 Tx operation
  • Enhanced multi-panel/multi-TRP uplink operation
  • Frequency-selective precoding
  • Further coverage enhancements
3. 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
4. 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
5. 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)
6. 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
7. RedCap evolution (excluding positioning), with the following example areas:
  • New use cases and new UE bandwidths (5MHz?)
  • Power saving enhancements
8. NTN (Non-Terrestrial Networks) evolution
  • Including both NR & IoT (Internet of Things) aspects
9. Evolution for broadcast and multicast services
  • Including both LTE based 5G broadcast and NR MBS (Multicast Broadcast Services)
10. Expanded and improved Positioning, with the following example areas:
  • Sidelink positioning/ranging
  • Improved accuracy, integrity, and power efficiency
  • RedCap positioning
11. Evolution of duplex operation, with the following example areas:
  • Deployment scenarios, including duplex mode (TDD only?)
  • Interference management
12. 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
13. Network energy savings, with the following example areas:
  • KPIs and evaluation methodology, focus areas and potential solutions
14. 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)
15. 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
16. 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)
17. Potential RAN4 enhancements 

The latest timeline for Release-17/18 is as shown in the diagram above. 

The official 3GPP Release-18 page is here. This link is better to navigate through features in different 3GPP releases.

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Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Introduction to 5G Reduced Capability (RedCap) Devices

Back in 2019, we wrote about Release-17 study item called NR-Lite (a.k.a. NR-Light). After the study started, it was renamed as RedCap or Reduced Capability.

We have now made a video tutorial on RedCap to not only explain what it is but also discuss some of the enhancements being discussed for 3GPP Release-18 (5G-Advanced). For anyone wanting to find out the differences between the baseline 5G devices with RedCap, without wanting to go too much in detail, can see the Tweet image for comparison.

The video and the slides of the tutorial are embedded below:

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Monday, 21 June 2021

3GPP Standards on Edge Computing

A sub-set of 3GPP Market Representation Partners hosted a 2-part webinar series in April 2021 looking at edge computing for industry verticals and on-going standardisation work in 3GPP. The first part write-up is available here. The webinar was attended by a mix of organisations from both verticals and the telecommunication industry, helping to share a common understanding on edge computing. 

The webinar brought together top experts at the 3GPP plenary level, SA2 (Architecture) and SA6 (application enablement and critical communication applications) for a deep-dive into how 5G and related standards can help harmonise and enable technologies like edge computing and artificial intelligence to work together much more efficiently. 

The webinar was co-chaired by Georg Mayer, 3GPP SA Chairman and Stephanie Parker, Trust-IT and Vice-chair of the 5G-IA Pre-Standardisation WG with the John Favaro, Trust-IT and member of the 5G PPP Automotive Working Group. 

The webinar was attended by a mix of organisations from both verticals and the telecommunication industry, helping to share a common understanding on edge computing.

This video embedded below is the recording of the webinar on edge computing held on Thursday 22 April 2021 part 2 - 3GPP Standards on Edge Computing as an educational deep dive to help industry verticals gain a better understanding of an evolving landscape. It gives key insights into 3GPP standardisation work on edge computing with an overview of the main activities taking place within SA (System Aspects and Architecture). Presentations and panel discussions zoom in on the network layer with SA2 Architecture and on the application layer for vertical enablement with SA6 Application Enablement and Critical Communication Applications. The panel discussion with SA TSG, SA2 and SA6 chairmen sheds light on the role of artificial intelligence from both the network and application perspectives, underscoring the vital importance of industry verticals in the standardisation process to meet their specific requirements in 3GPP as a truly global initiative.

PDF of presentations as follows:

Global5G has a summary with main takeaways and poll findings here. The following is from there:

Main Takeaways

  1. 5G will help technologies like edge computing and artificial intelligence to harmonise and enable them to work together much more efficiently.
  2. 3GPP Release 17 is foundational for edge computing but more will come in future releases given its importance in mobile communications and as we gradually move beyond 5G. The webinar was therefore a timely deep-dive into today's landscape. 
  3. Artificial Intelligence and edge computing can both serve as building blocks but in different ways: 
    • Network layer perspectives: AI can further optimise edge computing applications.
    • Application layer persepctives: Edge computing can be a building block for AI, e.g. offloading limited capabilities from the device to the network.
  4. Global initiatives like 3GPP can help reduce regional fragmentation, drive convergence and enable network-compliant rollouts that benefit the ecosystem around the world.
  5. As a global initiative, 3GPP is well placed to build on its strong relationships and collaborations with ETSI MEC and GSMA. 
  6. It is absolutely essential that industry verticals get involved in 3GPP working groups, which is where key activities take place and where their requirements should be channelled. It is also important that verticals understand how their seemingly specific requirements could be relevant to other sectors. Being part of 3GPP is a complex but highly rewarding experience. It does not need to be a life-long commitment.

Poll Findings - Participant Viewpoints

Do you participate in standardization on edge computing?

Interestingly most respondents do not take part in any standardisation initiatives. Hence the webinar series was an opportunity to highlight the many activities taking place and encourage participants to get involved. Those that do take part mostly contribute to 3GPP and other forums (29%) like ETSI (SDO) and industry associations like 5GAA and 5G-ACIA as some of the early movers on edge computing. Beyond 3GPP, a smaller number of respondents (11%) contribute to ETSI and other forums such as 5GAA and GSMA and the same amount (11%) are involved in other forums.

How important do you think coordination on edge computing standardisation is?

Coordination on edge computing standardisation needs to be prioritised with 65% of respondents saying it's vital and another 33% saying it's quite important. Only 1 respondent said it's not needed. An important output via the 5G-IA Pre-Standardisation WG and supported by panellists and organisers (5G-IA, 5GAA, 5G-ACIA and PSCE) would be a user-friendly guide on edge computing standardisation to help stakeholders navigate the landscape. 

Do you see a need for new areas of standardisation for edge computing?

Findings from this poll are particularly interesting as we have a close split between those that think more standardisation work is needed (47%) and those that don't know (43%) with just 10% saying it's not needed. Webinar organisers have come up with two possible explanations. On the one hand, we may be looking at a fragmented landscape that would benefit from more unification, also from an architecture perspective. On the other hand, organisations looking at the landscape may simply be overwhelmed by the dverse activities taking place. They may also have new applications sitting on top of the network but are not sure if they need to be standardised. Practical guidance could go a long way in clarifying this uncertainty. 

Again, a quick guide on edge computing standardisation could be a useful output, highlighting also the good cooperation already taking place as an important step in the right direction. 

You can see Part 1 of this webinar here.

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Saturday, 19 June 2021

Edge Computing - Industry Vertical Viewpoints


A sub-set of 3GPP Market Representation Partners hosted a 2-part webinar series in April 2021 looking at edge computing for industry verticals and on-going standardisation work in 3GPP. The webinar was attended by a mix of organisations from both verticals and the telecommunication industry, helping to share a common understanding on edge computing. 

The first webinar brought together experts from the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA), the 5G Alliance for Connected Industry and Automation (5G-ACIA), Edge Gallery, ETSI Multi-access edge computing (MEC) and the Automotive Edge Computing Consortium (AECC) to highlight opportunities and updates on how diverse market sectors can benefit from offloading data at the edge of the network. Further insights came from interactive discussions and polling with participants. This webinar is part of a 5G user webinar and workshop series designed for industry verticals co-hosted by 5G-IA, 5GAA, 5G-ACIA and PSCE as Market Representation Partners of 3GPP.

This video embedded below is the recording of the webinar on Tuesday 20 April on edge computing - part one, giving an educational deep dive on industry vertical viewpoints. 5GAA (5G Automotive Association) gives an overview of its white paper, use cases and upcoming trials for Cellular-V2X in the automotive sector. Edge Gallery shows how it is supporting the Industrial Internet of Things with its 5G open-source solutions and application development support. ETSI MEC explain its common and extensible application enabling platform for new business opportunities. 5G-ACIA (5G Alliance for Connected Industry and Automation) describes new work on the applicability of 5G industrual edge computing within the associaton. The Automotive Edge Computing Consortium (AECC) brings insights into how it is driving data to the edge.

Bios and PDF presentations as follows:

Global5G has a summary with main takeaways and poll findings here. The following is from there:

Main takeaways

  1. The webinar was an excellent deep-dive into the edge computing landscape highlighting on-going work in automotive, manufacturing and the Industrial Internet of Things, as well as standardisation work in ETSI and open-source approaches. 
  2. It illustrated the value of edge computing with strong signs coming from industry in terms of growing interest and adoption roadmaps. There is an impressive number of initiatives across the globe embracing edge computing, with examples of cooperation globally as seen in 5GAA, 5G-ACIA, AECC and ETSI MEC. 
  3. Industrial automation, digital twins and infrastructure control among the main drivers for growing demand. 
  4. Collaboration on edge computing is essential and will become even more important as applications increasingly move to the edge. Continued discussions are needed to have greater clarity at multiple layers: business and technology, SW and HW. Collaboration can also support efforts to educate consumers and businesses, both key to uptake and achieving network compliant rollout.  
  5. The collaboration underpinning the 3GPP MRP webinar series is an excellent example of how we can intensify joint efforts across the ecosystem working towards convergence and ensuring RoI, e.g. for telecom investments. 

Poll Findings - Participant viewpoints

Where would you position your organisation in terms of implementing edge computing?

Only 16% of respondents already have a commercial strategy in place for edge computing while 26% are starting to develop one. Therefore 42% are expected to have one in short term. 30% are at early learning stage to understand market opportunities and 28% are exploring its potential. 

In which verticals do you expect the first implementations other than automotive?

The automotive sector is an early mover in edge computing, as testified by 5GAA and AECC presentations in the webinar with both having published studies and white papers. 5GAA is planning trials in 2021 in various locations globally so another webinar on this topic in 2022 would be helpful. After automotive, manufacturing is expected to be the next sector to implement edge, as testified by the 5G-ACIA presentation. All three associations are market representation partners of 3GPP, with 5GAA also contributing to standardisation work. In the 5G PPP, 5GCroCo (cross-border automotive use cases) has contributed to standardisation activities of both 5GAA and AECC. Gaming, AR/VR and media is the next sector expected to adopt edge computing. 

What are your top 2 priority requirements for edge computing? 

Low latency is the top requirement for most respondents (33%) followed by interoperability and service continuity (both on 20.5%) with transferring and processing large volumes of data and very high reliability in joint third place (both on 12.8%). It' will be important to see how many of these requirements feature in early deployments as not all of them will be there at first rollout. The poll also shows how requirements combine together, e.g. 2 priority requirements: Low latency + very high reliability; Interoperability + Service continuity; Interoperability + Low latency; 3 requirements: Interoperability + Service continuity + Transferring and processing large volumes of data and 4 requirements: Interoperability + Service continuity + Low latency + Transferring and processing large volumes of data. 

Part 2 of this webinar is available here.

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Monday, 7 June 2021

TSDSI's Low Mobility Large Cell (LMLC) Requirements in 5G


Back in November 2020, ITU completed the evaluation for global affirmation of IMT-2020 technologies. Three new technologies were successfully evaluated by ITU and were found to conform with the International Mobile Telecommunications 2020 (IMT-2020) vision and stringent performance requirements. The technologies are: 3GPP 5G-SRIT and 3GPP 5G-RIT submitted by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), and 5Gi submitted by Telecommunications Standards Development Society India (TSDSI). 

I have explained in earlier videos that 5G-SRIT  and 5G-RIT corresponds to Non-Standalone and Standalone respectively. 5Gi on the other hand is an updated version of 5G-RIT designed mainly to improve rural coverage. 

TSDSI announced this as follows:

TSDSI’s 5G Radio Interface Technology named as “5Gi” has cleared the rigorous processes of  International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and has been approved by the SG5 of ITU as a part of Draft Recommendation M.[IMT-2020.SPECS] in its meeting held on 23rd November 2020.

5Gi, the first  ever Mobile Radio Interface Technology contribution from India to become part of ITU-R’s  IMT recommendation, went through a rigorous evaluation process of the ITU-R working groups over the past 3 years before getting the approval.

This standard is a major breakthrough for bridging the rural-urban digital divide in 5G deployment due to enhanced coverage. It enables connecting majority of India’s villages through towers located at gram panchayats in a cost effective manner. It has found support from several countries as it addresses their regional needs from a 5G standpoint.

The standard will now be circulated by ITU to member states for adoption and approval. Specifications are expected to be published by ITU in early February 2021.

TSDSI thanks its members, the Department of Telecommunications, Govt. of India and its partners for their support over the last four years in helping get this standard reach the final stage in ITU.

In a keynote address presented to the 2020 IEEE 5G World Forum plenary session, Radha Krishna Ganti from TSDSI discusses rural connectivity challenges in India, Low Mobility Large Cell requirements, benefits of implementing LMLC for rural coverage, and internet ecosystem updates. His talk is embedded as follows:

TSDSI explains their 5Gi technology as follows:

TSDSI standard fulfils the requirements of affordable connectivity in rural, remote and sparsely populated areas. Enhanced cell coverage enabled by this standard, will be of great value in countries and regions that rely heavily on mobile technologies for connectivity but cannot afford dense deployment of base stations due to lack of deep fibre penetration,  poor economics and challenges of geographical terrain. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a UN body that is setting requirements for IMT 2020 (aka 5G), had earlier adopted the Low-Mobility-Large-Cell (LMLC) use case proposed by TSDSI as a mandatory 5G requirement in 2017. This test case addresses the problem of rural coverage by mandating large cell sizes in a rural terrain and scattered areas in developing as well as developed countries. Several countries supported this as they saw a similar need in their jurisdictions as well. TSDSI successfully introduced an indigenously developed 5G candidate Radio Interface Technology, compatible with 3GPP Technology, at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in 2019 for IMT 2020 ratification. The RIT incorporates India-specific technology enhancements that can enable larger coverage for meeting the LMLC requirements. It exploits a new transmit waveform that increases cell range developed by research institutions in India (IIT Hyderabad, CEWiT and IIT Madras) and supported by several Indian companies. It enables low-cost rural coverage and has additional features which enable higher spectrum efficiency and improved latency.

While technically this sounds interesting and as discussed in the talk, would make sense due to a large market like India, there are other solutions that are already possible that probably may make this redundant.

As someone who worked with the rural communities to bring coverage in hard to reach areas, small cells and In-band backhaul was one such solution to improve coverage in not-spot areas. Examples of that here and here. Relays are other option that don't cost much but can bring coverage quickly, at a much lower price.

Typically, in practice, the cells easily reach 10km radius. In theory this distance can be as much as 100km. Last year, Australian operator Telstra and vendor Ericsson announced that they have successfully managed to increase the range of an LTE cell from 100 km to 200 km. So, we can already have large cells with existing 4G/5G cells. 

Facebook connectivity is working on SuperCell concept, a Wide-Area Coverage Solution for Increasing Mobile Connectivity in Rural Communities. Details here. NGMN published a paper on Extreme Long Range Communications for Deep Rural Coverage. Details here.

Finally, we also have 5G Integrated Access and Backhaul (IAB) that can be used for backhauling and solving backhaul issues. They will end up playing a role in rural areas as well as dense urban areas eventually.

Let me know what you think.

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Monday, 17 May 2021

3GPP RAN Plenary Update and Evolution towards 5G-Advanced

(click on image to enlarge)

ETSI recently held a webinar to provide a 3GPP RAN Plenary update by Wanshi Chen, Senior director of technology at Qualcomm Technologies, who was appointed as the RAN Chair not too long back. The webinar video is embedded below. The following is from the 3GPP summary of the webinar:

Wanshi Chen acknowledged that Release 17 - the third release of 5G specifications - has been under pressure due to COVID-19 restrictions, but despite making the move to e-meetings, he reported that the group’s experts have managed to ensure positive progress towards the freeze of the RAN1 physical layer specifications on schedule, by December 2021.

This is to be followed by the Stage 3 freeze (RAN2, RAN3 and RAN4) by March 2022 and the ASN.1 freeze and the performance specifications completion by September 2022 – On the timeline agreed back in December 2019.

This staggered timeline has been made achievable with careful planning and management, demonstrated to the webinar viewers via a complex planning schedule, with a slide showing the array of Plenary & WG meetings and Release landmarks - Interspersed with a series of planned periods of inactivity, to allow delegates some relief from 3GPP discussions.

Wanshi Chen noted that the efficiency of e-meetings has not been comparable with physical meetings, in terms of getting everything done. To compensate for that, the companies involved have planned two RAN1 meetings in 4Q21 and two meetings for each of the RAN working groups in the 1Q22. He observed: “We will monitor Release 17 RAN progress closely and take the necessary actions to make sure we can get the release completed on time.”

Release 18 Planning

Looking forward to Release 18 and the start of work on 5G-Advanced, Chen outlined the schedule for an online RAN workshop from June 28 – July 2, to define what will be in the release. The workshop will set the scene for email discussions about the endorsed topics for consideration. The work will culminate with Release 18 Package Approval, at the December 2021 Plenary (RAN#94).

The high-level objective of the workshop will be to gather company proposals in three areas:

  • eMBB driven work;
  • Non-eMBB driven functionality;
  • Cross-functionality for both.

Wanshi Chen concluded that during the Release 18 planning process, some capacity must be kept in hand; keeping around 10% of WG effort in reserve, for workload management and to meet late, emerging critical needs from commercial deployments.

The following Q&A topics were covered, along with the time stamps:

  • The effect of the pandemic and eMeeting management schedules and tools (19.25).
  • Balance between commercial needs and societal needs, emergency services, energy efficiency, sustainability (21.20).
  • The importance of the verticals in the second phase of 5G – With 5G-Advanced. How will this Rel-18 workshop compare in scale with the 5G Phoenix workshop in 2015? (23.00)
  • The job of the Chair is to be impartial…but Wanshi guesses that Antennas, MiMo enh., Sidelink, Positioning, xR, AI machine learning…. could come up in Rel-18! (26.15)
  • Will 5G-Advanced have a strong identity & support? (30.05)
  • The potential for hybrid meetings – No clear answers yet, but we have learnt a lot in the past year.(34.35)
  • The link between gathering new requirements and use cases in SA1 and RAN work and RAN1’s role in focusing these needs for radio work. (40.10)
  • Software-ization of the RAN. Do you see more open RAN work coming to 3GPP? (44.18)
  • Machine type communications and IoT – Where is IoT going in 3GPP RAN? (47.01)
  • Some thoughts on Spectrum usage from a 3GPP point of view, is that difficult to fathom for non-experts? (52.00)
  • Can Standards writing become more agile, less linear? (54.00)

If you want to get hold of the slides, you will have to register on BrightTALK here and then download from attachments.

Signals Research Group has a short summary of 3GPP RAN #91 electronic plenary held in late March. It is available to download after registration from here.

xoxoxoxoxoxo Updated later, 07 June 2021 oxoxoxoxoxoxox 

5G-Advanced logo is now available as shown above. Guidelines on how to use the logo is available on 3GPP here.

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