Wednesday, 15 July 2015

5G and 4G LTE must be linked!

Ericsson’s CTO for the APAC region, Magnus Ewerbring said that further development of 5G and LTE technologies must be linked, following recent operator comments that the industry should continue to develop 4G because it cannot stand still waiting for its successor’s appearance.

The vendor supports 5G being based on two radio access parts, said Ewerbring. One part is LTE Evolution which extends on LTE-Advanced and other improvements added to LTE. The other part includes “more radical changes” addressing very high bitrates in high bandwidths, he added. “The two parts are aligned on higher protocol layers. 5G will therefore naturally drive the further evolution of LTE,” he pointed out, speaking ahead of his appearance at this week’s session on 5G Leadership in the Asia Pacific Region.

Operator agreement

An Orange executive recently urged the industry to continue developing 4G technology to meet evolving customer needs. Alain Maloberti, SVP of network architecture and design at Orange Group, warned that “we cannot stand still for five years in order to wait for 5G”. Elsewhere, the Ericsson executive also threw out a few examples of 5G existing in test form. The vendor has demonstrated over-the-air tests of pre-5G systems, which are still 20-30 times faster than today’s networks. In Asia-Pacific, it signed 5G MoUs with CAICT (China Academy of Information and Communications Technology), Japan’s NTT Docomo, Korea Telecom, Singtel and Telstra. At this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Ericsson demonstrated the kind of services that might be expected with 5G-based M2M, including an excavator that was remotely controlled thousands of kilometres away. Low latency is essential to such an application, which 5G can deliver.

Recently, a consortium including Ericsson started 5G research on real-time control of equipment in mines. The consortium will assess the possibilities of 5G with very short latency providing the basis for real-time control. “The latency shall be significantly lower than in today’s systems, perhaps down to 1 miilisecond end-to-end.”

5G talk is all about the use case

Big Asian operators agree that 5G talk is all about the use case

The telecom industry is abuzz with talk about 5G, even though implementations are years away, with the discussions already focused around use cases, business models and the wider ecosystem, according to the CTOs of leading operators from Japan and South Korea. NTT Docomo CTO Seizo Onoe explained that the type of discussions taking place are very different than with 3G and 4G, when the technology came first, which then led to services and new businesses long after deployments. “With 5G the actual technology to support the business cases will come later.” SK Telecom CTO Alex Choi agreed, noting that over the past couple of years the telecoms industry has been in the process of defining the use cases for 5G. “The use cases being discussed span many technology domains and, therefore, it is essential for the different technology domains to share the visions, strategies and use cases for efficient and timely development of 5G networks and services,” Choi said. Because many incremental steps tend to make things more complicated, Onoe said, the telecoms industry needs to take fewer, more significant steps on its road to 5G. The industry should stop the evolution of old technologies after it finds a new one, he said. “This would make things more simple through quicker migration to the new. Actually, I tried to stop HSPA evolution standardisation after LTE had emerged, but I couldn’t and then finally 8x HSPA specifications were created. Thus many steps were created in 3G.” This is not only true for core networks but also for radio networks and device implementations, he said. “5G will need a big step with significant gains for futureproof expandability,” Onoe explained.

LTE-Advanced has technical specifications for speeds of over 1Gb/s, which have not yet been implemented, so there is room to enhance current 4G networks, he noted, adding that Docomo will also continue work on the evolution of 4G, while at the same time seeking to provide 1Gb/s services before 2020. “I don’t see the aggressive push to 5G having a negative impact on 4G. We have a concrete plan for the 4G evolution and some 5G features might be implemented over the 4G evolution path, which will help smooth the introduction of 5G.”

Docomo is currently conducting trials on basic technologies and demoing the performance of some applications in computer simulations. He expects to see 4K and 8K UHD videos and sensor networks over 5G available for real-time monitoring of athletes in the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.

Choi said by the end of the year it will focus on setting up a 5G test-bed to identify and verify the feasibility of potential key enabling 5G technologies independently.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Fantastic 5G consortium grows exponentially.

16 providers join latest EU-backed 5G research project

A group of 16 leading providers will join ‘FANTASTIC 5G’, the latest EU-backed research project designed to develop standards for the next-generation of mobile technology. The initiative, “designed to boost capacity, flexibility and improve efficiency for 5G”, according to a release from project lead Alcatel-Lucent, is part of the European Commission’s first phase of its 5G Public Private Partnership initiative (5G-PPP). The EC gave backing to 19 projects designed to develop research around 5G standards in an announcement last week, after receiving a total of 83 proposals, and will invest €128 million in phase one. “I want Europe to be the world leader in 5G,” tweeted Gunther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for the digital economy and society, earlier today. “Our PPP will help to bring us there.” FANTASTIC 5G will see a number of other leading operators and vendors team up, including Nokia Networks, Huawei, Orange and Telecom Italia, to develop a new air interface below 6GHz for 5G networks. It will run for 2 years, with a total of €8 million in EU funding. The project follows the formation of the 5G NORMA consortium, announced last week, also backed by the EC, which will see 13 leading vendors and operators partner to begin thinking about the mobile network architecture for 5G. The EC added that all 19 projects are “designed to work together and collaborate to deliver “critical 5G technology building blocks”. Alcatel-Lucent said FANTASTIC 5G aims to develop highly flexible 5G solutions to support data traffic, support more devices and enable versatile solutions to support diverse device types and traffic characteristics. “FANTASTIC-5G is of key importance, as the multi service air interface concepts being developed in the project will be evaluated and validated by the partners,” said Frank Schaich, research engineer at Alcatel-Lucent. “This helps to build up consensus and to facilitate the standardisation process of 5G.” Overall, the EU pledged a total of €700 million in public funding to develop 5G networks, with 5G-PPP broken up in three phases. The research phase of 5G-PPP is due to complete next year, before companies are due to move on to system optimisation. Large scale trials are then planned for 2019, with a target launch for 5G in 2020.