Showing posts with label URLLC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label URLLC. Show all 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.

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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 M├╝ller regarding Bosch 5G activities is available here (in German)

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Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Understanding the Dual Active Protocol Stack (DAPS) Handover in 5G


In this video I explain the principles and signaling procedures related to the DAPS handover.

The DAPS handover is a new feature for URLLC services defined by 3GPP in Rel. 16.

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.

Monday, 11 May 2020

5G Remote Surgery and Telehealth Solutions


One of the most controversial 5G use cases is the remote surgery. In this post I want to quickly look at the history and what is possible. Before I go to that, here is a short summary video that I am embedding upfront.



As far as I can recall, Ericsson was the first vendor that started talking about remote surgery. This is a tweet from back in 2017.


Huawei didn't want to be far behind so they did one at MWC Shanghai in 2018. Their tweet with video is embedded below.


In January 2019, South China Morning Post (SCMP) showed a video of a remote surgery on an animal. While the video and the article didn't provide many details, I am assuming this was done by Huawei as detailed here. The video of the surgery below.



This was followed by Mobile World Congress 2019 demo where a doctor used 5G to direct surgery live from a stage at MWC to Hospital Clinic Barcelona over 3 miles away. The team of doctors was removing a cancerous tumor from a patient's colon. This video from that is embedded below.



Vodafone New Zealand had a silly remote surgery of a dog video but looks like they have removed it.  Nothing can beat this Telecom Italia ad embedded below.



There are some realistic use cases. One of them being that with 5G the number of cables / wires in a hospital can be reduced saving on the disinfection.
NTT Docomo showcased 5G Mobile SCOT (Smart Cyber Operating Theater) which is an Innovative solution to enable advanced medical treatment in diverse environments. You can read more details here.

There are lots of other things going on. Here is a short list:
  • April 2020: Because of Coronavirus COVID-19, NT Times has an article on Telemedicine Arrives in the U.K.: ‘10 Years of Change in One Week’ - even though this does not involve 5G, it just shows that we are moving in that direction.
  • February 2020: 5G-aided remote CT scans used to diagnose COVID-19 patients in China (link)
  • February 2020: Verizon teamed with Emory Healthcare to test new 5G use cases for the medical industry at the latter’s Innovation Hub in Atlanta, in a bid to discover how the technology can be used to improve patient care. The collaboration will explore applications including connected ambulances; remote physical therapy; medical imaging; and use of AR and VR for training. (link)
  • February 2020: Vodafone 5G Healthcare – Conference & Experience Day (link)
  • November 2019: TIM enables first live remote-surgery consultation using 5G immersive reality (link)
  • October 2019: Along with a hospital in Malaga, Telef├│nica has presented what it claims is the first expert assistance system for medical interventions that runs on 5G. (link and video)
  • September 2019: Mobile Future Forward 2019 - World's First Remote VR Surgery Demo conducted on Sept 4th, 2019 in Seattle by Chetan Sharma, James Youngquist, Evie Powell, Nissim Hadar, David Colmenares, and Gabe Jones. (link)

Finally, a nice video on Benefits of 5G for Healthcare Technology by T-Mobile



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