Showing posts with label Qualcomm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Qualcomm. Show all posts

Monday, 9 May 2022

Transitioning from eCall to NG-eCall and the Legacy Problem

eCall (an abbreviation of "emergency call") is an initiative by the European Union, intended to bring rapid assistance to motorists involved in a collision anywhere within the European Union. The aim is for all new cars to incorporate a system that automatically contacts the emergency services in the event of a serious accident, sending location and sensor information. eCall was made mandatory in all new cars sold within the European Union as of April 2018.

In UK, the National Highways have a fantastic summary of the eCall feature here. The following video explains how this feature works:

Last year, ETSI hosted the Next Generation (NG) eCall webinar and Plugtests. The presentations from the event are available here. The presentations from GSMA, Qualcomm and Iskratel have a fantastic summary of many of the issues and challenges  with eCall and transitioning to NG eCall.

From the Qualcomm presentation:

The eCall standardisation began in 2004 when 2G networks were prevalent and 3G was being deployed. The chosen solution was in-band modem and Circuit Switched (CS) 112 call. The in-band modem was optimised for GSM (2G) and UMTS (3G) as the standard completed in 2008.

eCall for 4G (NG eCall) standardisation was started in 2013 and completed in 2017. As there is no CS domain in 4G/5G, IMS emergency calling will replace circuit switched emergency call. Next generation (NG) eCall provides an extension to IMS emergency calls and support for 5G (NR) has since been added.

The picture above from GSMA presentation highlights the magnitude of the problem if NG eCall deployment is delayed. GSMA is keen for the mobile operators to switch off their 2G/3G networks and only keep 4G/5G. There are problems with this approach as many users and services may be left without connectivity. Fortunately the European operators and countries are leaving at least one previous generation of technology operational for the foreseeable future.

GSMA's presentation recommends the following:

  • New technology neutral eCall Regulation (type approval and related acts) to be amended, adopted by European Commission and enter into force by end 2022 the latest.
  • OEMs to start installing NG eCall /remotely programable/exchangeable modules by end 2022; by end 2024 all new vehicles sold in the market should be NG eCall only
  • New vehicle categories to start with NG eCall only by 2024
  • MNOs have initiated to phase out 2G/3G between 2020 and 2025 , whereas the optimal transition path of their choice beyond this date will depend on market and technology specifics, and may require alignment with NRAs.
  • By 2022 , the industry will develop solutions for the transition period that need to be implemented country by country, which will also assess the amount of needed public funding to be economically feasible.
  • Retrofitting to be acknowledged, completed and formalised as a process by end 2024; standards should already be available in 2022.
  • Aftermarket eCall solution to be completed (including testing) and formalised by end 2024; standards should already be available in 2022.
  • The European Commission to make available public funding to support OEMs and alternative solutions to legacy networks starting from 2022 , under the RRF/ recovery package (or other relevant instruments)
  • Legacy networks availability until 2030 at the latest. By then deployment of all alternative solutions simultaneously would have ensured that the remaining legacy fleet will continue to have access to emergency services through NG eCall.

EENA, the European Emergency Number Association, is a non-governmental organisation whose mission is to contribute to improving people’s safety & security. One of the sessions at the EENA 2021 Conference was on eCall. The video from that is embedded below and all information including agenda and presentations are available here.

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Monday, 11 April 2022

3GPP Release-17 5G NR Reaches Completion

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

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

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

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

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

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

The slides could be obtained from here.

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Tuesday, 15 February 2022

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, 25 January 2022

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

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

(click on the image to enlarge - PDF here)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, 4 January 2022

What is RF Front-End (RFFE) and why is it so Important?

As more technologies, frequency bands, antennas, etc., are crammed in our smartphones and tablets, it becomes essential for these devices to keep performing despite what technologies and spectrum are in use at any instant of time. This requires specialist design of the RF front end in our devices. Wikipedia explains it as:

In a radio receiver circuit, the RF front end, short for radio frequency front end, is a generic term for all the circuitry between a receiver's antenna input up to and including the mixer stage. It consists of all the components in the receiver that process the signal at the original incoming radio frequency (RF), before it is converted to a lower intermediate frequency (IF). In microwave and satellite receivers it is often called the low-noise block downconverter (LNB) and is often located at the antenna, so that the signal from the antenna can be transferred to the rest of the receiver at the more easily handled intermediate frequency.

Qualcomm is very active in this area as can be seen from the chart in the Tweet above. Back in October, Qualcomm announced ultraBAW, their new generation of micro acoustic filter technology that expands their RF front-end (RFFE) portfolio and opens up new 5G services and applications. They have a short intro video explaining RFFE:

It is also interesting to see from the Tweet above that on an average baseband + RFFE + connectivity chips cost Apple nearly $55 per device.

The analyst firm CCS Insight have also done some good work explaining RFFE and their analyst Wayne Lam has written a few detailed articles on this topic. Here are the links if you want to read further:

  • Advances in RF Front-Ends Made 5G Phones Possible (link)
  • Advances in 5G RF Front-Ends Lead to Longer Battery Life (link)

Their RFFE videos playlist is embedded below.

Also worth noting that a good modem and RF front-end, especially with 5G, can make a lot of difference in what speeds and coverage you can get

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Wednesday, 20 October 2021

5G NR-Unlicensed (NR-U)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Qualcomm Explains 5G Millimeter Wave (mmWave) Future & Integrated Access and Backhaul (IAB)

We have covered various topics in our blog posts on millimeter wave spectrum and even going beyond 52.6 GHz in FR2. A Qualcomm webinar from back in January expands on many of the topics that I looked superficially in various posts (links at the bottom).

The following is edited from the Qualcomm blog post:

5G NR in unlicensed spectrum (NR-U) was standardized in Release 16 and it is a key enabler for the 5G expansion to new use cases and verticals, providing expanded spectrum access to mobile operators, service providers, and industry players. At the same time, we are starting to push the mmWave boundary to even higher bands toward the sub-Terahertz (i.e., >100 GHz) range. Expected in Release 17, 5G NR will support spectrum bands up to 71 GHz, leveraging the 5G NR Release 15 scalable numerology and flexible framework. This opens up 5G to operate in the globally unlicensed 60 GHz band, which can fuel a broad range of new applications and deployments.

One daunting challenge that mobile operators will face when expanding 5G mmWave network coverage is the cost of deploying additional base stations for mmWave, which usually requires new fiber optics backhaul installations. Release 16-defined IAB allows a base station to not just provide wireless access for its user devices (e.g., smartphones) but also the ability to backhaul wirelessly via neighboring base stations using the same mmWave spectrum. IAB opens the door to more flexible densification strategies, allowing mobile operators to quickly add new base stations to their networks before having to install new fiber to increase backhaul capacity. 

Release 16 established foundational IAB capabilities, such as dynamic topology adaptation for load balancing and blockage mitigation, and Release 17+ will further enhance IAB by bringing new features like full-duplex operation, topology redundancy, and ML-based network management.

Beyond IAB, there is a rich roadmap of other new features that can further improve 5G mmWave system performance and efficiency. The webinar embedded below is presented by Ozge Koymen, Senior Director, Technology, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. It covers the following topics:

  • Qualcomm's vision for 5G mmWave and the new opportunities it poises to bring for the broader ecosystem
  • mmWave capabilities and enhancements coming in Release -16 and beyond
  • Qualcomm’s role in mobilizing and democratizing 5G mmWave to usher in new experiences
  • Latest update on the global commercial rollout of 5G mmWave networks and devices

Slides of the presentation are available 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, 9 August 2021

Qualcomm Demoes Sub-band Half Duplex (SBHD)


Qualcomm has been busy promoting its advanced 5G solutions these last few months in the run up to Mobile World Congress (MWC). You can find a detailed write-up on their website here as well as a feature which they did with RCR wireless here.

One of the innovations that caught my attention was Sub-band Half-Duplex (SBHD). In the first glance it looks like the Enhanced Interference Mitigation & Traffic Adaptation (eIMTA) solution we discussed long back here.

Their article talks about how their 5G multi-cell over-the-air (OTA) test network can now support subband half-duplex, allowing for more flexible service multiplexing as well as improved latency and coverage. 

While you can get an idea of what SBHD is from the diagram above, here is a video explaining it further.

Let us know what do you think about how important will this feature be in future 5G networks.

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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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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)

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Friday, 23 October 2020

Positioning Techniques for 5G NR in 3GPP Release-16

I realised that I have not looked at Positioning techniques a lot in our blogs so this one should be a good summary of the latest positioning techniques in 5G.

Qualcomm has a nice short summary hereRelease 16 supports multi-/single-cell and device-based positioning, defining a new positioning reference signal (PRS) used by various 5G positioning techniques such as roundtrip time (RTT), angle of arrival/departure (AoA/AoD), and time difference of arrival (TDOA). Roundtrip time (RTT) based positioning removes the requirement of tight network timing synchronization across nodes (as needed in legacy techniques such as TDOA) and offers additional flexibility in network deployment and maintenance. These techniques are designed to meet initial 5G requirements of 3 and 10 meters for indoor and outdoor use cases, respectively. In Release 17, precise indoor positioning functionality will bring sub-meter accuracy for industrial IoT use cases.

I wrote about the 5G Americas white paper titled, "The 5G Evolution: 3GPP Releases 16-17" highlighting new features in 5G that will define the next phase of 5G network deployments across the globe. The following is from that whitepaper:

Release-15 NR provides support for RAT-independent positioning techniques and Observed Time Difference Of Arrival (OTDOA) on LTE carriers. Release 16 extends NR to provide native positioning support by introducing RAT-dependent positioning schemes. These support regulatory and commercial use cases with more stringent requirements on latency and accuracy of positioning.25 NR enhanced capabilities provide valuable, enhanced location capabilities. Location accuracy and latency of positioning schemes improve by using wide signal bandwidth in FR1 and FR2. Furthermore, new schemes based on angular/spatial domain are developed to mitigate synchronization errors by exploiting massive antenna systems.

The positioning requirements for regulatory (e.g. E911) and commercial applications are described in 3GPP TR 38.855. For regulatory use cases, the following are the minimum performance requirements:

  • Horizontal positioning accuracy better than 50 meters for 80% of the UEs.
  • Vertical positioning accuracy better than 5 meters for 80% of the UEs.
  • End-to-end latency less than 30 seconds.

For commercial use cases, for which the positioning requirements are more stringent, the following are the starting-point performance targets

  • Horizontal positioning accuracy better than 3 meters (indoors) and 10 meters (outdoors) for 80% of the UEs.
  • Vertical positioning accuracy better than 3 meters (indoors and outdoors) for 80% of the UEs.
  • End-to-end latency less than 1 second.

Figure 3.11 above shows the RAT-dependent NR positioning schemes being considered for standardization in Release 16:

  • Downlink time difference of arrival (DL-TDOA): A new reference signal known as the positioning reference signal (PRS) is introduced in Release 16 for the UE to perform downlink reference signal time difference (DL RSTD) measurements for each base station’s PRSs. These measurements are reported to the location server.
  • Uplink time difference of arrival (UL-TDOA): The Release-16 sounding reference signal (SRS) is enhanced to allow each base station to measure the uplink relative time of arrival (UL-RTOA) and report the measurements to the location server.
  • Downlink angle-of-departure (DL-AoD): The UE measures the downlink reference signal receive power (DL RSRP) per beam/gNB. Measurement reports are used to determine the AoD based on UE beam location for each gNB. The location server then uses the AoDs to estimate the UE position.
  • Uplink angle-of-arrival (UL-AOA): The gNB measures the angle-of-arrival based on the beam the UE is located in. Measurement reports are sent to the location server.
  • Multi-cell round trip time (RTT): The gNB and UE perform Rx-Tx time difference measurement for the signal of each cell. The measurement reports from the UE and gNBs are sent to the location server to determine the round trip time of each cell and derive the UE position.
  • Enhanced cell ID (E-CID). This is based on RRM measurements (e.g. DL RSRP) of each gNB at the UE. The measurement reports are sent to the location server.

UE-based measurement reports for positioning:

  • Downlink reference signal reference power (DL RSRP) per beam/gNB
  • Downlink reference signal time difference (DL RSTD)
  • UE RX-TX time difference

gNB-based measurement reports for positioning:

  • Uplink angle-of-arrival (UL-AoA)
  • Uplink reference-signal receive power (UL-RSRP)
  • UL relative time of arrival (UL-RTOA)
  • gNB RX-TX time difference

NR adopts a solution similar to that of LTE LPPa for Broadcast Assistance Data Delivery, which provides support for A-GNSS, RTK and OTDOA positioning methods. PPP-PTK positioning will extend LPP A-GNSS assistance data message based on compact “SSR messages” from QZSS interface specifications. UE-based RAT-dependent DL-only positioning techniques are supported, where the positioning estimation will be done at the UE-based on assistance data provided by the location server.


Rohde&Schwarz have a 5G overview presentation here. This picture from that presentation is a good summary of the 3GPP Release-16 5G NR positioning techniques. This nice short video on "Release 16 Location Based Services Requirements" complements it very well. 


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Friday, 2 October 2020

5G Enhanced URLLC (eURLLC)

One of the interesting features of 5G is Ultra-Reliability and Low-Latency Communication or URLLC. It has been enhanced as part of 3GPP Release-16. A summary of the changes in eURLLC can be seen in the picture above. 


This ATIS webinar that I blogged about last week covered this topic as well. For example L1/L2 changes have been summarised nicely in this Qualcomm slide above while the slide from Intel speaker below looks at redundant transmission and session continuity.

Redundant transmission in the user plane is an extremely useful feature, especially if the packets are mission critical and have to reach from the source to their destination in a guaranteed time / reliability.

Dual connectivity will enable this redundant path when required to meet a guaranteed reliability. 

Here is a short video from the training company Mpirical, explaining the the 5G eURLLC feature: 

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Sunday, 27 September 2020

ATIS Webinar on '5G Standards Developments in 3GPP Release 16 and Beyond'

3GPP Organizational Partner, ATIS (Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions), recently delivered a webinar (video & slides below) titled "5G Standards Developments in 3GPP Release 16 and Beyond". 

3GPP News details:

An expert panel brings you up-to-speed on the current state of 5G standardization. The webinar delivers a broad overview of 3GPP's work and introduces some of the key technology elements. It is suitable for people in technical roles and technical executives who want to understand the current state of 5G standardization.

In Release 16, 3GPP delivered important updates to 5G specifications to broaden their range of commercial applications and improve the efficiency of networks. 3GPP is now further enhancing 5G in Release 17 and starting to plan Release 18. This webinar provides an up-to-date view of the completed 3GPP Release 16 work with a particular focus on how the work is expanding capabilities of 5G and enhancing the technical performance of the mobile system. It also looks ahead to future 3GPP deliverables and their use cases.


The webinar features, Iain Sharp, Principal Technologist at ATIS (Moderator), Greg Schumacher, Global Standards at T-Mobile USA and 3GPP SA and SA1 Vice Chairman, Puneet Jain, Director of Technical Standards at Intel and 3GPP SA2 Chairman and Wanshi Chen, Senior Director, Technology at Qualcomm and 3GPP RAN1 Chairman


Many interesting topics have been covered including the updates on mMTC and URLLC. 


There is also details about new features coming in 3GPP Release-17 and an early look at what 3GPP Release-18 might include, as can be seen in the picture above.

Saturday, 4 April 2020

5G eXtended Reality (5G-XR) in 5G System (5GS)


We have been meaning to make a tutorial on augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR) and extended reality (XR) for a while but we have only managed to do it. Embedded below is video and slides for the tutorial and also a playlist of different use cases on XR from around the world.

If you are not familiar with the 5G Service Based Architecture (SBA) and 5G Core (5GC), best to check this earlier tutorial before going further. A lot of comments are generally around Wi-Fi instead of 5G being used for indoors and we completely agree. 3GPP 5G architecture is designed to cater for any access in addition to 5G access. We have explained it here and here. This guest post also nicely explains Network Convergence of Mobile, Broadband and Wi-Fi.





XR use cases playlist



A lot of info on this topic is from Qualcomm, GSMA, 3GPP and 5G Americas whitepaper, all of them in the links in the slides.


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