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

Monday, 12 April 2021

Positioning in 5G networks



I have written about the 5G positioning techniques not that long back on this blog here and on connectivity technology blog here. With Release-16 now ready for deployment, Huawei has already announced world's first in 5G Indoor Positioning. Their announcement said:

China Mobile Suzhou and Huawei reached a new milestone with the verification of the 5G indoor positioning capability in metro transport scenarios in Suzhou — a major city located along the southeastern edge of Jiangsu Province in eastern China. The verification showed that, even with pRRUs being hidden, a positioning precision of 3 to 5 m can be achieved in 90% of the platform and hall areas. This is the first time that 5G indoor positioning has been verified on live networks in the world, providing valuable experience for the commercial growth of 5G positioning in vertical industries.

Indoor location-based services are in high demand of vertical applications, such as indoor navigation, asset tracking, geofencing, logistics management, and personnel management, which reflects the huge market space of indoor positioning. Currently, indoor positioning technologies are of great variety and most of them need to be deployed and maintained individually, resulting in high end-to-end costs. As a part of the continuous evolution of 5G, positioning has been added to 3GPP Release 16 finalized in mid 2020 to realize indoor positioning by leveraging the ultra-high signal resolution empowered by 5G's high bandwidth, multi-point measurements, and multi-access edge computing (MEC) deployment.

The verification was based on Huawei's 5G digital indoor solution LampSite and leading MEC solution. The LampSite units measure the radio signals of 5G devices and work with MEC to analyze the signal characteristics. Based on the results of the analysis, leading algorithms are used to precisely locate 5G devices.

We wrote about Huawei's Lampsite on Telecoms Infrastructure blog last year here.

A group of Ericsson engineers have written a research paper on 5G positioning recently. It's available on arXiv here. Here is the abstract:

In this paper we describe the recent 3GPP Release 16 specification for positioning in 5G networks. It specifies positioning signals, measurements, procedures, and architecture to meet requirements from a plethora of regulatory, commercial and industrial use cases. 5G thereby significantly extends positioning capabilities compared to what was possible with LTE. The indicative positioning performance is evaluated in agreed representative 3GPP simulation scenarios, showing a 90 percentile accuracy of a few meters down to a few decimeters depending on scenarios and assumptions.

Definitely worth a read if you like hardcore technical papers.

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Tuesday, 6 April 2021

A look at 5G Applications, Application Functions & Application Servers

We often get questions about 5G Service Based Architecture. Luckily, we have a tutorial that we can redirect people to. It's available here and the video just crossed 50K views. One of the questions that people often want to understand, is about the Application Function (AF) and how does it fit in the Applications Architecture.

To explain this, we made a tutorial. The slides and videos are embedded below. In that we have used the examples from our XR, V2X and Private Networks tutorials. All links are available at the bottom of this post.

Video:

Slides:

Related Posts:

Monday, 29 March 2021

5G RAN Functional Splits


I have been meaning to write a post on RAN functional splits and even make a video. Recently I came across multiple of these things so I am taking a shortcut by posting them here. 

The first is this basic introductory video from Parallel Wireless where they explain why you need RAN splits providing examples of various functional splits for 4G and 5G mobile networks. It is embedded below:

The next one is slightly detailed video from the book "5G Radio Access Network Architecture: The Dark Side of 5G" by Sasha Sirotkin (Editor). I wrote a review of the book here and Sasha kindly made a video for our channel which is embedded below:

Finally, RCR Wireless published an article looking at the 5G functional splits in detail, by Ankur Sharma, Associate Vice President, Product Management and Strategy, Radisys. The article 'Exploring functional splits in 5G RAN: Tradeoffs and use cases' is available here.

Feel free to suggest other videos, articles, etc. in comments.

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Sunday, 21 March 2021

The Status of 5G Standalone (5G SA) Networks - March 2021


I wonder if you have seen as many adverts talking about the 5G revolution as I have. In fact I have collected many of them here. The problem is that most of these promised 5G awesomeness can only be delivered when 5G Standalone networks are launched. 

Before going further, if you don't know what 5G standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) networks are, then you may want to check one of my tutorials/video. For beginners here and slightly advanced version here. If you just want to learn about the 5G core, tutorial here.

I believe that the 5G Non-standalone networks are a hack that were designed mainly to show just the 5G icon and in some cases it also provided enhanced speeds. Some operators have realised this and are thinking about the 5G NSA sunset. There are some potential issues with 5G SA speeds that need sorting out though.

GSA recently held a webinar looking at the status of 5G Standalone networks. The video of the webinar is embedded at the end of the post. The webinar summarised the stats as following:

  • By mid-March 2021, 428 operators in 132 countries/territories were investing in 5G
  • 176 operators in 76 countries/territories had announced they had deployed 3GPP compliant 5G technology in their live networks
  • Of those, a total of 153 operators in 64 countries/territories had launched one or more 3GPP-compliant 5G services
    • 145 operators in 60 countries/territories had launched 3GPP-compliant 5G mobile services
    • 51 operators in 29 countries/territories had launched 3GPP-compliant 5G FWA or home broadband services
  • For comparison, there are 807 public LTE networks worldwide
  • GSA has identified 68 operators in 38 countries/territories that are investing in 5G standalone for public mobile networks
  • Of those, a total of 7 operators in 5 countries/territories had launched 5G SA networks
    • Operators in China have deployed/upgraded hundreds of thousands of base stations 
    • T-Mobile has a nationwide network
    • Plus China Mobile HK, Rain (South Africa) and DirecTV (Colombia)
  • Also ITC KSA (soft launch), STC KSA deployed, Telstra 5G core deployed, plus various contracts for 5G core systems

Private Networks, Non-public networks (NPN) and Industrial 5G Networks are also expected to make use of standalone 5G networks. As 5G networks get virtualized and open, we will see a lot more of these.

The webinar also highlighted the progress of 5G devices:

  • There has been rapid growth in the numbers and types of 5G devices being announced and launched
  • As of end February:
    • 628 5G devices announced
    • 404 commercially available (up from 303 at the end of November)
    • 104 vendors
    • 21 announced form factors
    • Majority are phones (306 announced, 274 commercial)
  • 5G SA devices are also appearing
    • 298 devices announced with 5G SA support
    • 204 commercial devices state support for 5G SA
      • Software upgrades likely to be required
    • Steadily climbing up as % of all 5G devices
      • Now >47% of announced
      • >50% of commercial

Here is the webinar:

Related Posts

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Everything you need to know about 5G Security


5G & Security are both big topics on this blog as well as on 3G4G website. We reached out to 3GPP 5G security by experts from wenovator, Dr. Anand R. Prasad & Hans Christian Rudolph to help out audience understand the mysteries of 5G security. Embedded below is video and slides from a webinar they recorded for us.

You can ask any security questions you may have on the video on YouTube

The slides could be downloaded from SlideShare.

Related Posts:

Friday, 5 March 2021

How to Identify Network Slices in NG RAN

In my last post I described how NG RAN resources can be divided into network slices. 

Now I would like to show how these network slices and the traffic they carry can be identified. 

The key to this is a parameter from the NG Application Protocol (NGAP) called the Single Network Slice Selection Assistance Information (S-NSSAI). When configuring virtual network functions in NG RAN there are lists of S-NSSAI exchanged, e.g. between gNB-CU CP and AMF during NGAP Setup procedure, to negotiate which network slices have to be supported in general. 

When it comes to connection establishment starting with NGAP Initial Context Setup for each PDU session that is established its individual S-NSSAI is signaled. 

The S-NSSAI - as show in the figure below - consists of two parameters, the Slice/Service Type (SST - 8 bit) and the optional Slice Differentiator (SD - 24 bit). The exact format and numbering ranges are defined in 3GPP 23.003.

3GPP 23.501 defines a set of default values for SST as listed in the following table:

Slice/Service type

SST value

Characteristics

eMBB

 

1

Slice suitable for the handling of 5G enhanced Mobile Broadband.

URLLC

2

Slice suitable for the handling of ultra- reliable low latency communications.

MIoT

3

Slice suitable for the handling of massive IoT.

V2X

4

Slice suitable for the handling of V2X services.

So when looking back at the figure it emerges that for each subscriber represented by an IMSI the SST allows to identify which services are running. 

On the other hand allows to see if in which virtual network the subscriber is active. In my example I have defined that the resources are shared among a Public MNO that I consider the owner of the network hardware and two different private (campus) networks. While IMSI 1 and IMSI 2 are not allowed to use any other network slice the IMSI 3 is allowed to "roam" betweent the public slice and the two private network slices. This explains why a slice-specific authentication functionality as defined in Rel. 16 is necessary. 

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Friday, 26 February 2021

Network Slicing in NG RAN

I have been asked to explain in a nutshell how network slicing works in NG RAN. The most important facts you will find in the infographic below.

A network slice is virtual part of a network that offers full end-to-end connectivity for particular services and - optionally - for tenants. A tenant is a 3rd-party company that rents a virtual part of a public mobile operator's network. This allows the tenant to run its own private nation-wide mobile network without owning any hardware.

The network slicing is enabled by virtualization and all network functions can be divided into different slices as well. Thus, you can find in the figure the User Plane Function (UPF), gNB Central Unit for User Plane (gNB-CU UP) and gNB Distributed Unit (gNB-DU) all sliced.

It is also possible that a network function is dedicated for a particular network slice as in case of (gNB-) CU UP 2. 

In general - and this is the benefit of the cloudification - the NG RAN is a highly dynamic environment in which additional NW functions can be added (and later released) whenever this is necessary. Mostly this will be triggered by the load on CPU and memory resources. Here comes the automation into the games that deals in large parts with load balancing. Ideally automation enables a zero-touch network management. 

(click to enlarge)

However, the most precious of all RAN resources, the radio resources, cannot be administrated so flexibly and easily. Indeed, there are several automation instances that deal with radio resource management. Open RAN Alliance has defined the RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) that is split into the Near-Realtime-RIC (RT RIC) that shall operate with a latency between 10 and 500 ms while the Non-Realtime RIC (NRT RIC) deals with non-time critical task, e.g. typical SON functions like Automatic Neighbor Reporting (ANR).

While the RIC can deal with a lot of problems there is one thing it cannot do: adding physical layer radio resources on demand. The physical resources are limited by the number of remote radio heads/antennas and as long as we have only static beamforming the physical resources covering a geographical sector are also limited by hardware and their distribution must be carefully planned. Thus, I think it is fair to say that the RIC (or a similar proprietary automation function) has to deal with the most complex situations in the RAN.

Radio resources can also be sliced in different ways. My figure illustrates a kind of slicing on the physical layer where different physical resource blocks (PRB) are allocated to different network slices. 

However, this is not the only way how the resources of a cell or a beam can be sliced. Beside a split of PRBs it is also possible to slice on the MAC layer where logical channels (slice-specific radio bearers) are mapped onto transport channels or on PDPC layer as it was described and demonstrated by the 5G NORMA project (Chapter 2.1, page 17 ff.).

What in the end will be implemented by the RAN equipment manufacturers is a question I that cannot answer today. 

Monday, 22 February 2021

Reducing 5G Device Power Consumption Using Connected-mode Discontinuous Reception (C-DRX)


Back in 2019, when we were still participating in physical event, I heard Sang-Hoon Park, ESVP, Head of Regional Network O&M Headquarter, KT talk about 'KT’s journey to large-scale 5G rollout' at Total Telecom Congress.

South Korea is blessed with three highly competitive MNOs and due to this, the government asked them to launch their 5G networks at the same time in 2018. I have also blogged about how KT is working on reducing the latency of their network here.

Anyway, as you can see in the picture above, using Connected-mode Discontinuous Reception (C-DRX), KT was able to show huge power saving in the 5G Samsung smartphone. They also made a video embedded below:

KT has some more details from their blog post back in 2019 here. Also some more details on RayCat here. Both the sites are in Korean but you can use Google translate to get more details.

What is KT battery saving technology (C-DRX)?

KT's'battery saving technology' is shortened to'Connected Mode Discontinuous Reception' and is called C-DRX. In simple terms, it is one of the technologies that reduces battery usage by periodically switching the communication function of a smartphone to a low power mode while data is connected.

In CDRX technology, the base station and the terminal share CDRX information through RRC setting and reconfiguration, so when there is no packet transmission/reception by the terminal, the terminal transmission/reception terminal can be turned off to reduce battery consumption, and the CDRX setting is optimized to reduce the user's battery consumption. It is possible to increase the available time for related applications.

In order to reduce the battery consumption of the terminal, it is a technology that controls the PDCCH monitoring activity, which is a downlink control channel related to the terminal identifier, through RRC. The base station controls the CDRX through RRC, and how the communication company optimizes and applies this was a big task. Is the first in Korea to optimize this technology and apply it to the national network.

In simple terms, the smartphone is not using communication, but it turns off the power completely and enters the standby state to reduce power consumption. When not in use, it completely turns off the power wasted in transmitting and receiving even during the standby time, thus extending the user's smartphone usage time.

As can be seen from the picture above, battery saving technology saves battery by completely turning off the communication function when there is no data or voice call. If the network does not have the battery saving technology applied, it is always connected to the communication network and waits even when not in use. Then, the battery is always connected to the communication function and the battery saving technology overcomes this part.

When Qualcomm announced their Industry’s First Mobile Platform with Integrated 5G back in 2019, the press release said:

The new integrated Snapdragon 5G mobile platform features Qualcomm® 5G PowerSave technology to enable smartphones with the battery life users expect today. Qualcomm 5G PowerSave builds on connected-mode discontinuous reception (C-DRX, a feature in 3GPP specifications) along with additional techniques from Qualcomm Technologies to enhance battery life in 5G mobile devices – making it comparable to that of Gigabit LTE devices today. Qualcomm 5G PowerSave is also supported in the Snapdragon X50 and X55 5G modems, which are expected to power the first waves of 5G mobile devices introduced this year.

The picture is from the slide deck here. See links in further reading below to learn more about this feature.

Further Reading:

  • All about Wired and Wireless Technology: LTE Connected Mode DRX (link)
  • Netmanias: Future LTE Designed by SK Telecom: ​(2) Application of C-DRX, July 2017 (link)
  • Ericsson: A technical look at 5G mobile device energy efficiency, Feb 2020 (link)
  • ZTE via IEEE Access: Power Saving Techniques for 5G and Beyond, July 2020 (link)

Related Posts:

Monday, 15 February 2021

Open RAN Explanation, Videos, White papers and Other Resources


Couple of years back, just before MWC 2019, we made what I would like to think of as the first proper explanation of Open RAN. I posted it on this blog here and the video has been viewed nearly 45,000 times. At that time, the concept of Open RAN was still quite new and in my day job with Parallel Wireless*, I was spending quite some time explaining what it really means.

Anyway, I think it made the concept of Open RAN so easy to understand that I have seen tens, if not hundreds, of people copy it, but only a few kind people give credit. 

With the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and O-RAN driving the ecosystem further, I along with my Parallel Wireless colleagues, created a series of videos to explain the concept a bit more in detail. As expected, the introductory videos have been extremely popular while the others have been reasonably popular as well. The concept from these videos have been copied even far and wider than the original one. 

Embedded below is the playlist of all the videos (6 currently but 1 more in works):

In addition to these, I maintain a list of Open RAN whitepapers (publicly available without registration), some good articles, etc. on the 3G4G website here. I try and update the site on a regular basis so feel free to put any resources in the comments of this post and I will add them on the site during the next update.

Related Posts:

*Full Disclosure: I work for Parallel Wireless as a Senior Director, Technology & Innovation Strategy. This blog is maintained in my personal capacity and expresses my own views, not the views of my employer or anyone else. Anyone who knows me well would know this. 

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

NWDAF in 3GPP Release-16 and Release-17

We looked at Network Data Analytics Function, NWDAF, in detail here. While the 3GPP Release-16 work just starting back then, we have now completed Rel-16 and looking at Release 17. 

The 5G Core (5GC) supports the application of analytics to provide Intelligent Automation of the network, In Rel-16 the set of use cases that are proposed for the NWDAF has been widely expanded. 

In an earlier post, we looked at the ATIS webinar discussing Release-16 & forthcoming features in Rel-17. Puneet Jain, Director of Technical Standards at Intel and 3GPP SA2 Chairman talked briefly about NWDAF. The following is from his talk:

Release-16 provides support for Network Automation and Data Analytics.  Network Data Analytics Function (NWDAF) was defined to provide analytics to 5G Core Network Functions (NFs) and to O&M. It consists of several services that were defined in 3GPP Rel-16 and work is now going in Release 17 to further extend them. 

In release 16 Slice load level related network data analytics and observed service experience related network data analytics were defined. NF load analytics as well Network Performance analytics was also specified. NWDAF provides either statistics or prediction on the load communication and mobility performance in the area of interest. 

Other thing was about the UE related analytics which includes UE mobility analytics, UE communication analytics, Expected UE behavior parameter, Related network data analytics and abnormal behavior related network data analytics.

The NWDAF can also provide user data congestion related analytics. This can be done by one time reporting or continuous reporting in the form of statistics or prediction or both to any other network function. 

QoS sustainability analytics, this is where the consumer of QoS sustainability analytics may request NWDAF analytics information regarding the QoS change statistic for a specific period in the past in a certain area or the likelihood of QoS change for a specific period in future, in certain areas. 

In Release 17, studies are ongoing for network automation phase 2. This includes some leftover from Release 16 such as UE driven analytics, how to ensure that slice SLA is guaranteed and then also new functionality is being discussed that includes things like support for multiple NWDAF instance in one PLMN including hierarchies, how to enable real-time or near-real-time NWDAF communications, how to enable NWDAF assisted user pane optimization and last which is very interesting is about interaction between NWDAF and AI model and training service owned by the operator.

This article on TM Forum talks about NWDAF deployment challenges and recommendations:

To deploy NWDAF, CSPs may encounter these challenges:

  • Some network function vendors may not be standards compliant or have interfaces to provide data or receive analytics services.
  • Integrating NWDAF with existing analytics applications until a 4G network is deployed is crucial as aggregated network data is needed to make decisions for centralized analytics use cases.
  • Many CSPs have different analytics nodes deployed for various use cases like revenue assurance, subscriber/marketing analytics and subscriber experience/network management. Making these all integrated into one analytics node also serving NWDAF use cases is key to deriving better insights and value out of network data.
  • Ensuring the analytics function deployed is integrated to derive value (e.g., with orchestrator for network automation, BI tools/any UI/email/notification apps for reporting).

Here are some ways you can overcome these challenges and deploy efficient next-generation analytics with NWDAF:

  • Mandate a distributed architecture for analytics too, this reduces network bandwidth overhead due to analytics and helps real-time use cases by design.
  • Ensure RFPs and your chosen vendors for network functions have, or plan to have, NWDAF support for collecting and receiving analytics services.
  • Look for carrier-grade analytics solutions with five nines SLAs.
  • Choose modular analytics systems that can accommodate multiple use cases including NWDAF as apps and support quick development.
  • Resource-efficient solutions are critical for on-premise or cloud as they can decrease expenses considerably.
  • Storage comes with a cost, store more processed smart data and not more raw big data unless mandated by law.
  • In designing an analytics use case, get opinions from both telco and analytics experts, or ideally an expert in both, as they are viewed from different worlds and are evolving a lot.

This is such an important topic that you will hear more about it on this blog and elsewhere.

Related Posts:

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Banana and Egg gets 5G Telesurgery


Last year I wrote a detailed post on '5G Remote Surgery and Telehealth Solutions' here. Since then many people with little or no understanding of how the technology works have got in touch with me to educate me about all the 5G remote surgeries taking place. 

I am always prepared to learn new things and looked at both of these surgeries (detailed below) with open mind. I was still unable to see the 5G angle here. In fact in the case of banana, I don't even know if 5G was used.

Back in 2014, a BBC article detailed how a surgeon in Canada has performed over 20 remote surgeries with the help of a robot including colon operations and hernia repairs. The article goes on to ask, "The technology behind long-distance surgery is now mature enough to be used more widely, allowing people to access world-leading expertise and better healthcare without having to travel. Could it become the norm in hospitals?"

The first case is from Aug 2020 as shown in the video above where Doctor Liu Rong from a hospital in Beijing takes on the challenge of remotely controlling a medical robot in distant Qingdao City via the 5G network to finish an egg membrane suture surgery in 90 minutes.

The question here is that where exactly was 5G used and why? Did both the ends have 5G or just one end? Etc. I was unable to find a schematic to show the end-to-end details that would provide credibility to such a scenario.

To explain what I mean, when Vodafone UK launched 5G, they demonstrated low latency by giving an example of Haptic tackle using TeslaSuit. You can read the details and watch the video here

As you can see, the end-to-end solution architecture is nicely explained as shown in this picture. I would expect a similar kind of schematic for the surgery scenario. While I can clearly understand the use case for sports outdoor, I am not able to understand the use case for the surgery indoors. Where was the access point? What frequency was used? Was this Standalone or Non-Standalone network? And many other questions like these. 

The second case was a more recent one. The video is embedded below.

Even though the video mentions 5G and many other sites (see this LinkedIn post with nearly 2.5 million views) that have picked this up mention 5G, the original Instagram video does not mention 5G. In all likelihood there is no 5G connection with this one.

Surely there will be a real life 5G remote surgery use case someday that will capture our imagination but not today.

Related Posts:

Friday, 15 January 2021

UE Radio Capability Signaling Optimization (RACS) in Rel. 16

The data volume of UE Radio Capability Information defined in 3GPP 38.306 is already high and will further increase starting with Rel. 16 due to additional supported bands and other features.

Due to this 3GPP has standardized in Release 16 what is called UE Radio Capability Signaling Optimization (RACS) for both, E-UTRAN/EPS and NG RAN/NGC networks. 

Release 16 RACS does not apply to NB-IoT.

The first key element of this feature set is the introduction of a new UE Radio Capability ID that is structured as defined in 3GPP 23.003 and shown in figure 1 below:

UE Radio Capability ID
Figure 1: UE Radio Capability ID according to 3GPP 23.003

The components of this new ID are:

  •    TF - Type Field (TF): identifies the type of UE radio capability ID.
            Type = 0 -> manufacturer-assigned UE radio capability ID
            Type = 1 -> network-assigned UE radio capability ID

  •  The Version ID configured by the UE Capability Management Function (UCMF) that is part of the EPS/5GC. The Version ID value makes it possible to detect whether a UE Radio Capability ID is current or outdated.

·      The Radio Configuration Identifier (RCI) identifies the UE radio configuration.

The PLMN-assigned UE Radio Capability ID is assigned to the UE using the Non-Access Stratum UE Configuration Update Command or Registration Accept message (figure 2).

Figure 2: PLMN-assigned UE Radio Capability Update according to 3GPP 23.743

The new UCMF (UE radio Capability Management Function) stores All UE Radio Capability ID mappings in a PLMN and is responsible for assigning every PLMN-assigned UE Radio Capability ID.

Due to introduction of the UMCM in the core networks the new Nucmf service-based interface is defined for the 5GC and new S17 reference point is defined for the EPS as shown in figure 3.

Figure 3: Network Architecture with UCMF according to 3GPP 21.916

Each UE Radio Capability ID stored in the UCMF can be associated to one or both UE radio capabilities formats specified in 3GPP TS 36.331 [LTE RRC] and 3GPP TS 38.331 [NR RRC]. The AMF must only be able ot handle the NR RRC format while the MME uses the LTE RRC format. Which format is required by the UCMF is configurable.

If at any time the AMF/MME has neither a valid UE Radio Capability ID nor any stored UE radio capabilities for the UE, the AMF/MME may trigger the RAN to provide the UE Radio Capability information and subsequently request the UCMF to allocate a UE Radio Capability ID.

In NG RAN the UE Capability Request can be requested by the AMF as a flag in any NGAP Downlink NAS Transport message or by sending a NGAP UE Radio Capability Check Request (for checking compatibility of IMS voice capabilities). This triggers a NR RRC UE Capability Transfer procedure and subsequently NGAP UE Radio Capability Info Indication or NGAP UE Radio Capability Check Response (for IMS voice support parameters).

Using the NGAP UE Capability ID Mapping procedure the NG RAN node is able to request the most recent UE Capability ID mapping information from the core network functions AMF/UCMF. The same functionality is implemented in S1AP for signaling between eNB and MME/UCMF.

If the volume of the LTE/NR RRC UE Capability to be sent by the UE is larger than the maximum supported size of a PDCP SDU (specified in 3GPP 38.323) then the UE Capability Info can be transported in LTE/NR RRC using a chain of UL Dedicated Message Segment messages.

Figure 4: RRC UL Dedicated Segment Message transporting UE Radio Capability Information according to 3GPP 36.331 and 38.331

Each of these message will have a dedicated segment number and the last one has the rrc-MessageSegmentType =  “lastSegment”, which triggers reassembly of the orignal UE Capabability information in the receiving entity.

Monday, 11 January 2021

5G for Content Acquisition and Distribution

The Cambridge Wireless (CW) Content Production & Delivery group recently delivered a two part webinar series exploring ‘5G for content acquisition and distribution’ These online events introduced participants to the state of play with 5G for content distribution and production and the path to delivering the benefits 5G.

Aspirational discussion of benefits of 5G for content production and distribution needs to be turned into operational reality. 5G will enhance what is possible to be achieved with current mobile systems and the advantages to distribution and consumption are obvious through bigger pipes and enhanced agility to support ever evolving content and application platforms. The possibilities for content production and acquisition are also exiting but may be less obvious. 5G will allow service and capacity to be delivered where required through use of small cell and potentially highly localised private 5G networks, edge computing and support of a wide range of equipment and applications (not just those use cases directly involved in content acquisition).

The first session on 24 Nov 2020 in the series considers the role of 5G for content distribution and security. It covers the role of 5G for the creation of a more varied and vibrant ecosystem for content and the desire of some content creators for greater focus on security.

Henry Johnson, Director, Plum Consulting, '5G opportunities in the provision of content distribution' - 5G services promise to provide connectivity performance in terms of bandwidth and latency which have hitherto been possible only with fixed network connectivity. This session will look into the capabilities and potential limitations of 5G services once deployed and what that might mean for content delivery to consumers. [PPT presentation]

Malcolm Brew, University of Strathclyde, ‘5G-enabled remote broadcast’ - Malcolm will share some Strathclyde’s insights over the last 10 years in working with BBC and Ofcom on ‘Spectrum Sharing’ and how this has recently been lead to working in an IBC Accelerator Program ‘5G In Remote Production’ [PDF

For limited time, the recording is available here.

The following is the description from session 2, on 2nd Dec 2020:

Join the CW Content Production and Delivery Group’s aspirational discussion of benefits of 5G for content production and distribution needs to be turned into operational reality.

There is no doubt 5G will enhance what is possible to be achieved with current mobile systems and the advantages to distribution and consumption are obvious through bigger pipes and enhanced agility to support ever evolving content and application platforms.

The possibilities for content production and acquisition are also exciting, but may be less obvious. 5G will allow service and capacity to be delivered where required through use of small cell and potentially highly localised private 5G networks, edge computing and support of a wide range of equipment and applications (not just those use cases directly involved in content acquisition).

Ian Wagdin, Senior Technology Transfer Manager, BBC R&D, '5G in Content Production, work in standards and deployments' - A look at what’s here and what’s coming and how 5G may impact broadcast workflows. [PDF]

Paola Sunna, Technology and Innovation Department, EBU, '5G for Content Production' - EBU perspective on 5G for professional content production and challenges/ambitions in the Horizon 2020 project 5G-RECORDS. [PDF

For limited time, the recording is available here.

Other Recent News / Articles / Videos on 4G/5G Broadcast:

  • SoftBank Corp. Showcases 5G-powered Entertainment and Advanced Technologies at Pop Culture Complex (link)
  • 5G TODAY: BAVARIA’S BROADCAST TRIALS (link)
  • Webinar: The role of broadcast and multicast in 5G-TOURS: High-quality video services distribution (link)
  • Delivering Media with 5G Technology: FeMBMS, 5G-Xcast and beyond (link)
  • 5G TODAY: 5G Broadcast trial using FeMBMS (link)
  • 5G Today: On the Road to 5G Broadcast (link)

Related Posts:

Monday, 21 December 2020

Challenges and Future Perspectives of Industrial 5G

Andreas Mueller, Head of communication and network technology at Bosch Corporate Research and Chair of 5G ACIA recently spoke at 'What Next for Wireless Infrastructure Summit' by TelecomTV about Industrial 5G. The following is paraphrased from his presentation 'Industrial 5G: Remaining challenges and future perspectives' which is embedded below: 

5G has the potential to become the central nervous system of the factory of the future, enabling unprecedented levels of flexibility, efficiency, productivity and also ease of use.  At the same time it's also a very special application domain so in many cases there are very demanding QoS requirements. 

Industrial applications have multi-faceted requirements where one case may require very low latencies and high reliabilities for instance, while for others we may need very high data rates (for example HD cameras). There is no single use case with a single set of requirements but many different use cases with very diverse requirements which also have to be supported in many cases at the very same time. 

As we need only a local network with local connectivity, this performance is required only in a very controlled environment; inside a factory, inside a plant. This allows for specific optimizations and makes certain things easier but we also always have brownfields deployments in many cases that means we have to live what we have in place today so that's typically wired communication in some cases it's wi-fi and similar wireless solutions and we have to be able to smoothly integrate a 5G network into this existing infrastructure

The developments towards Industrial 5G started about three years ago i would say and in the meantime it really has become a hot topic everybody is talking about industrial 5G. It has become a focused topic in standardization in 3GPP and some key capabilities already have been standardized which have been briefly outlined in the presentation. 

Good progress has also been made in the ecosystem development so we've established the 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation two and a half years ago which serves as a global forum for bringing all relevant stakeholders together and for driving industrial 5G and we have 76 members today which includes major players from the telco industry but also from the industrial domain and also of course some universities and so on. We have seen the advent of non-public networks (NPN) so for the first time it will be possible for a manufacturers to deploy and operate such non-public networks inside a factory which are to some extent decoupled from the public networks.

If we look at the standardization timeline this is what you get. The first version of 5G release 15 of 3GPP was approved mid last year and it still had a very strong focus on consumer application and enhanced mobile broadband. If you buy 5G today, this is what you get then. Release-16 has for the first time had a very strong focus on industrial applications this has been approved in June this year and it includes features like ultra reliable low latency communication, non-public networks, time-sensitive communication. It means support for time-sensitive networking 5G and also native layer 2 transport so that we don't necessarily need internet protocol but we can directly transmit ethernet frames over a 5G network which again is very important especially for the industrial domain.

Release 17 is currently underway and it will come along with several enhancements of these features. It also has a stronger focus on positioning which is again very important in manufacturing because knowing where things are is a very valuable information and it will be in this new transmission mode called NR RedCap which is somewhere somewhere in between this high-end mobile broadband mode and also this low-end a massive machine type communication and this might be especially suitable for industrial sensors for example and then of course the journey will continue with Release 18 which is still being defined but with a high probability i would say it will more focus on massive iot applications that means tiny little sensors for example which have to be connected using very low energy and low costs and not just the natural next step.

So many things have been done already towards supporting these industrial applications but if you look at factories today there are only very few of them which already make use of 5g and that's because there are still some challenges to be overcome some of them are listed here first of all having the features in the standard is nice but they also have to be implemented in the chipsets and infrastructure components and that still say test takes some time especially if we consider that really 16 is the first release which really has many of the features that make a difference to the industrial domain

Here is a list of the features that can be prioritised for future 5G releases or even for 6G. As Release-17 has just been delayed slightly, quite possible that some of the features expected in 5G may get pushed on to Beyond 5G and even 6G.

Here is the embedded talk

An interview by Dr. Andreas Müller regarding Bosch 5G activities is available here (in German)

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Thursday, 17 December 2020

Conditional Handover (Rel. 16) Explained

Although a couple of SON mobility robustness features have been introduced in LTE radio networks it is still a common problem in some network areas that a high number of handover failures leads to higher drop rates and large numbers of RRC Re-Establishments.

Often these problems occur due to quickly changing radio conditions in the handover preparation phase or after handover execution attempt. 

SON algorithms cannot cope with these dynamic changes of the environment, but improvement is possible if the UE itself is enabled to constantly monitor the radio quality during the handover procedure and finally select the best possible target cell from a list of candidate neighbors. This new feature defined in 3GPP Release 16 for both, NG RAN (5G SA NR) as well as E-UTRAN (LTE), is called "Conditional Handover". The figure below illustrates how it works.

(click on the picture to enlarge)

Step 1 is the RRC Measurement Report indicating that handover to a neighbor cell is required. However, this message contains a list of candidate neighbor cells.

In the figure it is assumed that each of these candidate cells is controlled by a different gNB. Hence, 3 XnAP Handover Preparation procedures are performed and each potential target gNB allocates radio resources for the UE and provides a handover command (NR RRC Reconfiguration message) that is sent back to the source gNB (step 2).

In step 3 the source gNB builds the conditional handover command, which is a NR RRC Reconfiguration message that contains a list of conditional reconfiguration options plus additional RRC measurement configurations that enable the UE to find out which of the possible target cells is the best fit. 

In step 4 the UE makes its handover decision and moves to the cell controlled by target gNB 1.

Here it sends in step 5 the NR RRC Reconfiguration Complete message. 

The target gNB 1 detects the handover completion based on the reception of the NR RRC Reconfiguration Complete message, performs NGAP Path Switch procedure (not shown in figure) and triggers the release of the UE context in source gNB on behalf of sending the XnAP UE Context Release message (step 6).

With this information the source gNB also detects the successful handover completion and orders in step 7 the release of the radio resources provided by target gNB 2 and 3 to which it sends the new XnAP Conditional Handover Cancel message.

As mentioned before the conditional handover is also possible for LTE radio connections. In this case X2AP is used instead of XnAP and LTE RRC instead of NR RRC.

The conditional handover can be performed for all kind of intra-eNB/gNB handover and X2/Xn handover. However, S1/N2 (NG-C) conditional handover is not allowed.


Monday, 14 December 2020

Huawei's Power Digitalization 2025 Summit


Back in October, Huawei held Better World Summit 2020 (a.k.a. "Win-Win Future" Global Online Summit). The theme of this online summit was "Power Digitalization 2025”. Experts and operators shared their ideas, vision and challenges. The following summary was shared by Huawei:

Today, how should global operators respond to opportunities and challenges brought by changes in the digital world, under the rapid development of digital technology and digital economy.

“Energy, as the foundation of the digital world, has become a key part and an important point of competitiveness in the digital economy.” Zhou Taoyuan, President of Digital Power Product Line, Huawei, pointed out that “The entire industry needs to attach greater importance to energy”

With the rapid development of emerging technologies such as 5G, cloud, AI, big data, and the IoT, a digital transformation has kicked off, opening the digital age where things are sensing, connected, and intelligent, "ubiquitous Connected, omnipresent intelligence" is becoming a reality. This has thrown the development of 5G and big data centers into the spotlight. But at the same time, the large-scale and rapid construction of 5G and data centers have brought huge challenges to energy infrastructure, such as increasing energy consumption, long construction periods, and high operation and maintenance costs.

“Pay-as-you-go model is becoming more popular in many countries, as data center owners are looking to a decrease their investment and turn their Capex into Opex. And that goes also for a number of other services as part of running and maintaining data center.” Lilia Severina,Global Major Accounts Director of Uptime Institute,talked about the insights into data center trends at the meeting. “Existing site energy facility cannot meet the power demands of 5G sites. There is a pressing need for reform and innovation in this area.Digitization,intelligent and integrated 5G power system enable faster, more affordable, and simpler 5G network deployment.” Liu Baochang, Deputy Director of Information Energy Department, China Mobile Group Design Institute Co., Ltd, expressed his opinion on the development trend and insights of site power in the 5G era.

Violaine Petit, Sales and Marketing VP of CRT Informatique, shared an interesting case about building data centers of CRT in a castle.“CRT did not just want to build something regular. We wanted to be different. We also wanted to invest in a meaningful project. Based on our business development and rejuvenating the castle, CRT successfully deployed two data centers in the castle to meet the dynamic digital development requirements of government and enterprise users. It can be said that the castle data center not only expands CRT's business boundary, but also can protects the country's cultural heritage, can be said to be two birds with one stone.”

Today, people lead a convenient life because of development of science and technology, while they also worry about the environment. How do we transit towards a net-zero carbon economy? Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Director of Science Based Targets, CDP, has his own view. “This includes changes in policies, technologies, economic structures and patterns of production and consumption, but the most important thing is that we change the way we live today. One of the changes is energy transition. Transitioning from fossil-based to clean and renewable energy and phasing out CO2 emissions in other parts of our economy.”

Zhou Taoyuan said, “Huawei integrates traditional power technologies and digital technologies to achieve power digitalization. In this way, we can use ‘Bit to manage Watt’, and provide simple, green, smart, and reliable digital power solutions to solve challenges faced by traditional power industry. ”

Fang Liangzhou, the Chief Marketing Officer of Huawei Digital Power Product Line, Huawei, said“Huawei uses a target network architecture to guide the planning, construction, O&M, and operation of digital power infrastructure, driving the rapid development of the digital economy. Concerning site power, Huawei proposes implementing 5G without increasing site power-related OPEX, and aims to reduce costs from three aspects as well as tapping into new sources. As for data centers, Huawei proposes a simple, green, smart, and reliable next-generation data center facility that uses the "four reconstructions" initiative to tackle issues such as long data center construction period, high energy consumption, and challenging O&M.”

In the future, Huawei will keep cooperating with global operators to face the challenges and seize the opportunities brought by the digital world. Huawei aims to inject green power into operators and help them grow business sustainably in the future. 

Surprisingly the only video I could find is on Periscope, embedded in the tweet above. You can jump on to the relevant sessions using the timestamps as follows

0:01:20 1. Opening Speech - Zhou Taoyuan, President of Digital Power Product Line, Huawei

0:07:14 2. Building a Net-zero Emissions Economy - Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Director of Science Based Targets, CDP

0:17:18 3. Trend and Insight of Site Power Facility in 5G era - Liu Baochang, Deputy Director of Information Energy Department, China Mobile Group Design Institute Co., Ltd

0:31:30 4. Perspective and Practice of Lithium Battery Application - José Pedro Nascimento, Network Director, Altice Portugal

0:40:10 5. Network Energy-Efficient Operation in EM Market - Li Yao, Deputy Director of NOC, China Mobile Pakistan

0:51:40 6. Trend and Insight of Data Center Facility - Lilia Severina, Global Major Accounts Director of Uptime Institute

1:10:30 7. Prefabricated Modular Data Center Case Sharing - Operator customers

1:16:20 8. Partnering To Power The Digital Datacenter - Violaine Petit, Sales and Marketing VP of CRT Informatique

1:25:10 9. New Era, New Power. PowerX 2025 Target Network - Dr. Fang Liangzhou, CMO of Digital Power Product Line, Huawei

Let me know what you think.