5G TIMELINE The Mobile Network // www.the-mobile-network.com
ALSO FEATURING 30 F IXED WIRELESS ACCESS 34 5 G AND THE IOT EXT GENERATION 39 N PROTOCOLS
Making sense of the world’s mobile networks
2017 // Issue 18
YOUR GUIDE TO 5G
NEW RADIO D C
MEET YOUR 5G OPERATOR
AN INSIGHT INTO PLANNING, OWNING AND OPERATING THE FIRST 5G NETWORKS
ISSUE 18 // THE ALL THINGS 5G ISSUE /////////////////
The two sides of 5G testing — pre-standards and the virtual network.
Fixed Wireless Access
Protocol & Architecture
The fixie fixation arrives in 5G.
A new architectural manifesto.
What are the parts that will make up a 5G New Radio?
5G New Radio
A Who’s Who of the operators, companies and individuals shaping 5G’s future.
So when will 5G happen? Here’s the (semi) official view.
Do you know your massive MIMO’s from your MEC? We’re here to help.
Have you got a strong opinion on what 5G is? You’ll disagree with this feature, then.
5G or not 5G?
EDITOR This issue, you may just have noticed, is dedicated to 5G.
It looks at timelines, at technology development, and at the main service areas that 5G will address.
Ericsson has already said what it will charge anyone who makes a 5G phone.
What is 5G IoT, given there’s so much IoT being developed that has nothing to do with 5G?
Internet of Things
Anatomy of a Future Mobile Operator It’s 2025, and our 5GOperator is going strong. Find out how, and read some very strange job titles.
So there are features on an early application — Fixed Wireless Access — as well as on longer term projects such as 5G IoT (what is it really?). And we go beyond the obvious and look at more “under the hood” areas like efforts to determine new protocols, new architecture models, and new IPR and patent licensing regimes. Think of a 5G technology — are you sure it is really a 5G technology or is it an imposter? Let our 5G/ Not 5G explainer enrage you. There’s also a look at one of the success stories of 5G, an operator that has turned its business around as a direct result of technical transformations it made in the network. This operator has not just transformed its revenue and service mix, but it has a very interesting range of new job titles. What is apparent in drawing the issue together is just how far we have to go. In almost every area, pinning down something definitive is almost elusively hard. That, I think, is why Verizon/KT’s 5GTF specifications for FWA access have attracted so much attention. Although it’s an early and ultimately niche application for 5G, at least it is supported by real world, tangible products that offer something concrete. For the rest, we can paint our dreams in the sky. Let’s get started.
Commercial Director: Shahid Ramzan // email@example.com Editorial Director: Keith Dyer // firstname.lastname@example.org Creative Direction and Design: Francesca Tortora // email@example.com
Keith Dyer firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2017 TMN Communications Ltd.
FEATURE: ANATOMY OF A FUTURE 5G OPERATOR
HOW 5G BROKE AND ALSO SAVED THE TELCO CELEBRATING FIVE YEARS OF 5G SUCCESS, THIS FEATURE LOOKS AT HOW THIS OPERATOR DELIVERED ON THE PROMISE OF 5G TO TRANSFORM ITS BUSINESS. 6 TMNQUARTERLY
BIG 5GOPERATOR Things have gone from strength to strength for this “Tier One” player. It has attacked 5G in a number of ways since it decided to make a big deal of being the first to have live 5G services. The paradox is, to transform and survive, the operator has had to break apart its normal ways of doing business, whilst continuing to be a viable entity as it transformed. It wasn’t easy, in fact it nearly broke itself apart making the change, but it has come out the other side generating cash, with a network that is adaptable and ready for the future. So… to start at the beginning, back in 2017, and how the operator began to change. First, it made sure it bid high for a tranche of mmWave spectrum, along with a bundle at 700MHz, and it also brought up that failed Fixed Wireless Access provider that was sitting on another few hundred MHz at 28GHz. Sure, it was expensive, but it was worth it to be able to be among the first in its region to claim it had launched 5G services with room to expand. The first service launched was a fibre replacement Fixed Wireless Access service that was marketed as “5G@ Home”, using that 28GHz spectrum. The CPE — home routers that had to sit in or near a window — were heavily subsidised, with bundles of data made up of exclusive content (TV) deals, and up to 10 connected devices within the home broadband area. 14 months later, when it had used 4 carrier aggregation, some 4x4 MIMO and some 256QAM signal modulation, it marketed some pockets of Gbps coverage in a few metropolitan areas as a “5G-ready” mobile service, even though strictly speaking this was based on LTE Advanced technology. Another year and the company was launching a true 5G service, based on radio nodes running the 3GPP New Radio specifications in non-standalone mode,
FEATURE: ANATOMY OF A FUTURE 5G OPERATOR
Spectrum sharing/ aggregation with Unlicensed bands for additional capacity.
Multi-dwelling urban/ residential coverage with mmWave providing fixed access fibre replacement service.
Connected cars, smart city monitoring.
Wide rural coverage at 700MHz, including IoT use cases.
Industrial robot automation on a private network, with edge analytics built-in.
Centralised analytics feeding automated network control engines.
5GOPERATOR — THE NETWORK in some handy sub 6GHz spectrum. To attract attention to this launch the operator served a few major events — including a large international sporting competition — with some dedicated AR apps. It was only two years later that 5GOperator really began to see the benefits of 5G technology spread across its network. As it already had its 5G-ready service up and running, it decided to market “true” 5G services on a per-service basis. So it upsold customers to MegaGBroadband, using a combination of rural coverage on its lower frequencies and mmWave-based access in dense urban environments to start to put together its 5G radio network. One of its initial goals for 2025 is to harness some very high frequency bands for ultra high throughputs,
but also to increase available capacities in crowded areas where the adoption of AR and VR applications has begun to stress the networks it rolled out from 2020. Another 12 months later and its core network platform team was able to declare that it had instituted a distributed cloud-based core network, based on fully virtualised infrastructure. Workloads were distributed according to the state of the service or application in use. “SDN and NFV are really a foundation for how 5G will be deployed,” said Cloud Native, executive director for core network planning at 5GOperator. “The separation of the control and user plan all came from what we saw in the web-based environment and are part of what was crucial to our market success with 5G.”
SDN remains critical to managing this capability and optimising it for all its cloud-centric applications. Indeed, the operator was so confident in its cloud that it termed a new phrase — aimed at consumers and one that, aligned with opt-in security and privacy policies, was tagged as: “How the cloud comes to you.” It was able to do this because of the heat that OpenSource and white box
“ITS CORE NETWORK PLATFORM TEAM WAS ABLE TO DECLARE THAT IT HAD INSTITUTED A DISTRIBUTED CLOUD-BASED CORE NETWORK, BASED ON FULLY VIRTUALISED INFRASTRUCTURE.” TMNQUARTERLY 7
FEATURE: ANATOMY OF A FUTURE 5G OPERATOR
SLICE BY SLICE THE 5GOPERATOR SERVICE MIX — HOW 5GOPERATOR HAS DEVELOPED ITS NETWORK AND ANALYTICS CAPABILITIES AS A PLATFORM. VIRTUAL REALITY AND AUGMENTED REALITY Apps and games that require low latency, and provide short term demand/spikes in capacity. Demand location can be unpredictable.
PUBLIC SAFETY Extreme coverage, availability and reliability, highly secure.
LARGE EVENTS 0n-site 360 degree video processing, instant replays, holographic imagery.
MANUFACTURING Edge processing, sensor networks, network run on-site as a private network.
SMART CITY Local authority partner provisions service parameters, applies policies, manages partners and users.
AUTOMOTIVE High availability, mid-range latency budget, providing assisted navigation and some early warning anticollision services.
SPECIAL PROJECTS drones, planes and balloons providing remote connectivity using meshed, in-band and optimised satellite backhaul, with edge core.
solutions put under the seats of the leading vendors. OK, so Huawei and CiscoSon still dominate the market shares of networking equipment vendors, but the position that several major operators took — to buy, develop and work with companies building network product in OpenSource managed to accelerate or bypass the standards bodies, reduce hardware costs and, most importantly, introduce new “pay as you grow” licensing models. This meant that it became affordable to introduce services that may or may not work. It also meant that the radio network, traditionally the largest cost base for mobile operators, began to experience some real pricing competition, as open interface radios from projects such as XRAN and TIP began to come online, forcing the major vendors to open up their own radio interfaces, and give operators the chance to operate true multi-vendor RANs, controlled from standard cloud platforms. For 5GOperator, this new value model became one of the key differentiators of 5G, compared to other Gs. The breakdown in vendor stranglehold was ironically mirrored in a breakdown of the operator’s stranglehold on the service environment, and the end customer. Nowhere was this more obvious that in the IoT where, back in 2017, nobody knew what was going to happen. The multitude of different access options combined with a confusing range of ownerships models for services meant that operators were left to establish their relevance.
“THIS EXPERIENCE POINTED TOWARDS A KEY ROLE IN 5G’S SUCCESS — THE VERTICALISATION AND BREAKUP OF THE OPERATORS’ BUSINESS MODELS.”
This meant breaking down their overall control of a service, to accepting where and when they could add value. Not all of the IoT, in fact only a tiny section of it, became a target for 5G. Mission critical, high security, high density and ultra reliability became the watchword. Data analytics, often at the edge, often combined with private networks and interesting combinations of spectrum access, became the means to achieve success in the 5G IoT market. In fact operators dodged a bullet by not going after the short range, homeautomation and voice-controlled smart home market, which became rapidly commodified and bundled by Amazon, Apple and Google. This experience pointed towards a key role in 5G’s success — the verticalisation and breakup of the operators’ business models. Network Slicing, for so long derided, became a reality — at least in the sense that intelligent networks could provision, test, verify and on an ongoing basis assure quality of service parameters across the network. 5GOperator could do this because it had invested early in a network test fabric that embedded one way testing within its virtualised network functions, often as part of the VNF itself. That early investment paid off big style against a competition that could not offer the automation of quality that 5GOperator could. That meant that not only could enterprises operate as private operators, but 5GOperator was able to resell its network to create and enable a host of MVNOs that took the 5G network platform and mashed it up with some key competency of their own. For example, dedicated emergency communications bloomed — ultra secure, ultra reliable — on the 5G network. As did very low cost consumer broadband ISPs who leveraged the dynamic nature of NFV platforms to be able to track demand to supply in near real-time. It wasn’t all easy. For a while, this
FEATURE: ANATOMY OF A FUTURE 5G OPERATOR
MVNO / wholesale
Analytics & Insight as a Service
Security as a Service
Enterprise Services (inc Industrial IoT)
Smart City / Automobile Analytics
35% Consumer Broadband
THE ARRIVAL OF 5G HAS BROUGHT WITH IT SOME INTERESTING NEW ROLES AND JOB TITLES... verticalisation appeared to break the operator as rivals swooped in and made early wins in consumer broadband. But, aided by a large investment fund from a major foreign backer, 5GOperator was able to ride out a two year dead period to emerge much-strengthened. With radio access, a soft core with analytics, company can now deliver slice management, security as a service, private enterprise networks and analytics. More importantly it has revised its operating team to be much more customer facing, and to have a host of new competencies. And as vehicular and other industries continue to transform, 5GOperator is looking at opportunities abroad, aiming its sights on creating a virtual global operation, replicating its smart data centre and distributed platform in a host of markets worldwide.
CHIEF DATA SCIENTIST Heads up big data analytics platforms, directs and adopts advances in AI and machine learning to lead an integrated Customer Insight and automated network ops teams. HEAD OF CRITICAL COMMS Acts as internal SLA monitor to ensure critical comms users, including public safety users, are receiving the KQIs on their relevant network slices. DEVOPS COORDINATOR In charge of a multi-disciplinary, virtual, team that designs, deploys, re-iterates new network services on the production network.
EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT VP MARKETING AND SALES, NETWORK SLICES Sits face to face with major “verticals” signing up new business. CHIEF SECURITY & PRIVACY OFFICER In charge of integrity of user data, networks, devices and application layer. Reports direct to CEO. HEAD OF CONNECTED VEHICLES Formerly head of programme at Tesla, now in house at 5GOperator. CHIEF VIRTUAL REALITY OFFICER Develops and curates holographic experiences, 3D, 360 degree video, augmented experiences for the operator’s users. She’s 25 years old. VP, SMART CITIES & CONNECTED INFRASTRUCTURE Works to sign up governments, utilities and transport companies to the operator’s platform for smart connectivity.
VP UNLICENSED AND SHARED SPECTRUM Acts to make sure spectrum opportunities and databases are maintained, establishes commercial partnerships with venue owners and neutral hosts. OPEN SOURCE LIAISON AND VNF LICENSING OFFICER Works northbound and southbound in the OS process, contributing to and working with OS schemes. Also costs and monitors NFVi and VNF license regimes. DATA CENTRE MANAGER In charge or the distributed central offices, and centralised main data centres hosting the telco cloud, as well as managing assets deployed in some public cloud environments. HEAD OF RURAL, INDOOR AND EMERGENCY COVERAGE Heads a special ops team deploying innovative technology on a tactical basis to meet coverage demands for emergencies, remote and deep indoor locations.
Cover the full life cycle Mobile Network Testing must cover the full lifecycle of a technology, from early stage engineering when technologies are tested out in lab, to the next step of supporting and troubleshooting operator rollout, to ongoing benchmarking and service quality monitoring.
Seven things I know about…
MOBILE NETWORK TESTING
Hanspeter Bobst, CEO, Mobile Network Test, Rohde & Schwarz.
Rohde & Schwarz’s MNT portfolio covers that full spectrum. First we can work out the pros and cons of a new technology, and the challenges operators might have. In the next step as operators rollout the new technology, we troubleshoot issues and optimise the network. Then during operation out tools enable benchmarking and quality monitoring, giving operators an additional view versus what they already get from switch data. Our tools represent the Quality of Experience from the point of view of an end in the field. Benchmarking reveals where operators stand compared to their competitors, where they are good and where they need to improve and to steer investments. It also helps them to make the marketing claims that differentiates some networks from others. Finally, MNT must maintain the performance of the network in the field by doing things like finding interference, antenna cable testing, and PIM testing.
Build your own end to end portfolio
To cover the broad range of MNT, from the lab to the end user experience, R&S has integrated capabilities from its acquisition of SwissQual five years ago with its own very strong background in RF engineering and testing. What we have done is to combine the optimisation and engineering field where R&S is traditionally strong with benchmarking and Quality Monitoring from SwissQual from. However, as we have developed the integration of the two sides, there’s also been a kind of migration where technology has moved across borders — so for example we are using R&S tools in benchmarking, and adding field services tools from R&S and into the MNT portfolio for applications such as interference hunting and PIM testing. Another example would be attaching RF scanners into our drive tests, so as we perform drive tests we are also collecting RF scanning data to enrich our drive test data sets. By combining more pieces we now have a comprehensive set of products where we can really fulfil a wide range of customer needs.
You still need the end user experience
There is ongoing discussion about how much an operator has to drive test to collect data in the field versus just relying on information they get from OSS and switches. Networks today are very complex. Most networks are not close to switching off 2G or 3G, and have consistently added new frequency bands and services, such as IoT. So there has been an explosion in network complexity, and of course without SON and other automated new technologies it would be impossible to manage this. However just trusting your switch data without seeing the real customer experience in the field would be risky. SON is a tool to be more efficient but you must always verify the end user experience. The industry now is in the stage where everything starts from QoE. Compared to 10 years ago when it was all about coverage, now operators compete on claims like throughput and video quality. That’s why those claims must be verified — despite what your SON tells you.
Diversity of the user experience is expanding That user experience is diversifying. What counts now is how a user feels about using FaceBook, WhatsApp, watching live TV. We se that transition also in the testing which is far less on coverage and more about starting from the end user POV. For example we have specific modules and methodologies to test video services quality, and VoLTE services — and to provide a comparison with OTT app. Now that operators are competing not just with other operators but web-based service providers, her has to make sure any service for which he charges money is as good as or better than OTT service. Now that diversity is about video and VoLTE services, but soon it will be for IoT and other connected services, therefore MNT tools must be able to expand to provide verification of the user experience across all these service domains.
DevOps model still requires test verification As operators move to a more iterative deployment model — the adoption of DevOps in their service environment — they will still need to test and verify each iteration.
Moving to 5G 5G and all the steps leading to 5G, is very hot at the moment. It’s a special case in testing terms because 3GPP specifications are lagging behind the industry so we have multiple implementations that are prestandard. Operators are pushing hard to 5G, and that is a challenge for test tools, to deal with spectrum diversity — especially at 26GHz or higher, to carry out channel sounding and see how signals spread on that spectrum. How to measure peak throughputs, getting 1Gbps or higher also challenges us to measure peak throughputs of multi-Gbps, and to test advanced techniques such as antenna beam forming. With IoT in all its flavours and its diverse parameters, again we must provide early-stage support, ahead of actual deployments. Having the strong LTE background we have in MNT has been very beneficial to supporting ongoing 5G R&D.
Companies must be ready to evolve So if you look at where the market is going — its technology waves, new services, new things like the IoT: all of this creates new challenges. So from a market point of view there is still a very solid potential for test companies. Looking at the competitive landscape Rohde & Schwarz is in a very strong position. Our competitors face challenges in going through product and solution integrations that we went through five years ago. I believe we have a unique competitive advantage because we have all the technology needed to be the leading player in this space. Not many companies have our RF expertise and the technology to provide QoE insight into video and voice quality. Last but not least is our financial stability, size and ability to support the customer wherever they are globally. Entering into this business for new companies is more difficult because the investment required is significant. So I see that R&S is ahead of the major trends in MNT, and we are ready and equipped to evolve with the market.
So it may be that MNT tools are used by a different dept, or company, in a different way or at a different time. But at the end of the day the information that MNT tools deliver is still needed.
For more information on Rohde & Schwarz Mobile Network Testing:
Solutions that can deliver real QoE information, starting from the mobile phone will be a vital complement to the automated reporting tools that will support a DevOps type environment.
FEATURE: WHO‘S WHO IN 5G
NGMN The operator group published its first white paper in March 2015, outlining end-to-end operator requirements intended to guide the development of future technology platforms and related standards. Besides the on-going NGMN work in the projects on end-to-end Architecture, IPR, Spectrum, Trial & Testing, V2X, and Network Operations, the NGMN Board has established a Security Competence Team.
THOSE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE ALLIANCES & BODIES THAT WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT 5G EVENTUALLY BECOMES.
SMALL CELL FORUM
As 5G will operate with much greater cell site density — especially for mmWave deployments — to meet greater throughput and latency challenges, the body with the most experience of defining small cell technology, HetNet management and deployment will deliver its inputs to 5G standards bodies.
The industry association for telecoms software and operational processes kicked off a 5G working group in 2015. The goal is to develop a fully-fledged collaboration project to advance the evolution of 5G, working with all key stakeholders including standardsdevelopment organisations like 3GPP and the Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (NGMN), among others.
5GAA A recently-formed group of automotive manufacturers, telecoms equipment vendors and a few operators was assembled to provide a consistent view on what is required from the car industry. Debate still rages about how much of a role mobile networks will have to play in assisted, automatic and driverless vehicles.
GSMA The operator association has yet to define what its role will be in terms of making any industry position known on 5G. NGMN, a tighter group of major operators, has certainly led the public push on industry requirements. The GSMA’s work is more around defining use cases for its operator members, and helping to define some of the technology choices they face.
FEATURE: WHO‘S WHO IN 5G
NATIONAL & REGIONAL PROMOTIONAL GROUPS
5G-PPP The 5G Public Private Partnership (5G PPP) is the 5G collaborative research program that is organised as part of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program — The European Union Program for Research and Innovation. It is aimed at fostering industry-driven research, monitored by business-related, technological performance and societal KPIs.
IMT-2020 PROMOTION GROUP (CHINA) IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group was jointly established by three ministries in China (the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Science and Technology) in February 2013, based on the original IMT-Advanced Promotion Group. It is the major platform to promote the research of 5G in China.
5TH GENERATION MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS PROMOTION FORUM (JAPAN) The Fifth Generation Mobile Communications Promotion Forum (5GMF) was founded on September 30 2014. 5GMF has been conducting research and development concerning 5G (The fifth Generation Mobile Communications Systems): including contributions to standardisation, along with liaison and co-ordination with other national organisations, and acting as a distributor of information on 5G.
5G FORUM (SOUTH KOREA)
Founded back in 2013, 5G Forum is South Korea’s effort to foster national priorities for 5G, and to work with other regional and national organisations to define 5G R&D. It signed an MoU with the 5G Mobile Communications Promotion Forum in 2015 to bring its efforts and Japan’s into closer alignment.
5G INFRASTRUCTURE ASSOCIATION The nearly 70 current members of the 5G Infrastructure Association represent various industry manufacturers, telecommunications operators, service providers, vertical industries and providers of satellite and terrestrial infrastructure, with the aim of having a constructive dialogue and jointly interfacing with the Commission in shaping the future of 5G and developing the regulatory framework to make 5G a European success.
5G AMERICAS 5G Americas is an industry trade organisation composed of leading telecommunications service providers and manufacturers. The organisation’s mission is to advocate for and foster the advancement and full capabilities of LTE wireless technology and its evolution beyond to 5G, throughout the ecosystem’s networks, services, applications and wirelessly connected devices in the Americas. 5G Americas is the only 5G-related body specifically thinking about requirements for 5G development in the Americas. 5G Americas is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington and officially announced the change of the organisation’s name from 4G Americas on February 12, 2016.
ETSI The body most responsible for delivering GSM standards is naturally involved in 5G standards. It has groups working on network functions virtualisation, millimetre wave transmission, mobile-edge computing and, M2M technologies. It will deliver the finished standards for these aspects of the network.
ITU ITU will provide the final stamp of approval for standards to be considered as IMT-2020 standards — which is ITU-speak for 5G. Most of the standards and specifications will be worked out in other bodies — such as 3GPP and ETSI — but from 2018 to 2020 we’ll see the actual evaluation of proposals within ITU happen concurrently.
3GPP The body that is specifying 5G infrastructure and architecture has RAN (New Radio), System Architecture and other working groups working on specifications that will, from Release 15 onwards, be defined as 5G. This body will be critical in terms of defining what technology underpins 5G networks. For example, a decision to split its timetable for defining 5G New Radio attracted a considerable amount of attention.
FEATURE: WHO‘S WHO IN 5G
ACADEMIA & INSTITUTES
NYU WIRELESS Key University centred on research around mmWave. In partnership with Nokia it hosts a well-respected annual conference looking at latest technical developments.
WHO ARE THE BEST KNOWN FACES IN 5G? WE LOOK AT THE CANDIDATES:
TU Dresden’s Fitzek coined the phrase “Tactile Internet” to describe the very low latency applications that could result from 5G.
TU DRESDEN 5G Lab Germany at TU Dresden supports its industrial partners in research and development.
FRANHOFER HEINRICH HERTZ INSTITUTE Acts as the host for several 5G-PPP research projects, including 5GNetMobil, 5G Mi-Edge, Crosshaul and mmMagic.
KINGS COLLEGE, LONDON Has taken an approach of working on many aspects of next generation communications, including remote surgery and other use cases. Has entered a partnership with Ericsson for some of its activities.
UNIVERSITY OF SURREY The host of the UK’s 5GIC — a publicprivate partnership that sees operators and vendors working with academic researchers to develop, test and trial technologies such as Massive MIMO that could be foundational to 5G.
CMRI China Mobile’s research institute continues to act as a point of focus for 5G R&D inside and outside the country, often formulating the requirements of the world’s biggest operator and sharing the results of trials.
NTTDOCOMO LABS The operator with the most public announcements on which vendors it is working with, what it is trying to solve, and the technical trials it is running. 14 TMNQUARTERLY
NYU’s master of MIMO has been a consistent advocate for high end wireless networks research.
Voluble and high profile Professor at Kings College London that has publicised both the University’s own efforts, but also the potential of 5G applications.
MISCHA DOHLER As Deutsche Telekom’s CTO has led efforts within NGMN and unfurled the operator’s own 5G:haus research umbrella.
BRUNO JACOBFEUERBORN Industry veteran who has been heading up NTT’s deep investment in 5G R&D. Interestingly, often reaches out to European market.
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VISUAL: 5G TIMELINE
FROM THE OFFICIAL STANDARDS BODIES TIMELINES, TO OPERATOR PRE-ANNOUNCEMENTS, HERE’S THE TIMELINE 5G HAS TO FOLLOW.
3GPP delivers on its R14 — which is not designated an official 5G Release (it’s still LTE-Advanced PRO), but will inevitably include many features that vendors will market as pre-5G, or as 5G enablers, such as enhanced uplink and enhanced cell coordination, enhanced FD-MIMO, or “lighter” signalling.
2018 JANUARY EC Action Plan calls for precommercial trials to begin across Europe.
SEPTEMBER 3GPP study on Architecture and Security for Next Generation System. Target completion on Sep. 2017. Principles agreed. Verizon commits to commercial launch of Fixed Wireless Access services based on its NGTF specifications. Common elements on NSA and SA 5G New Radio defined.
DECEMBER Non-standalone specifications for 5G New Radio.
Winter Olympics in South Korea. Operators have promised prestandards 5G service launches by this date - including Virtual Reality services, fixed wireless access and some mmWave services with higher order MIMO.
MARCH Standalone 5G NR specifications ready - according to accelerated 3GPP schedule adopted in march 2017.
JUNE R15 will be the first 3GPP release to include specifications for 5G technology, and is set to be “frozen” in June. Includes standalone mode of 5G NR.
NOVEMBER AT&T has a public commitment to launch “standards based” 5G services by “late” 2018. 16 TMNQUARTERLY
VISUAL: 5G TIMELINE
2020 FEBRUARY 3GPP to submit the final specifications at the ITU-R WP5D meeting in February 2020.
2021-2 Phase II deployments in higher band spectrum.
MARCH The second release of 3GPP’s 5G specification to be completed = Release 16.
EC Action plan calls for all urban areas and major terrestrial transport paths have uninterrupted 5G coverage by 2025.
First widespread standards-based 5G commercial launches.
Tokyo Olympic Games — operators promise 5G services covering stadiums and travel routes.
MAY T-Mobile says it will roll out consumer 5G services in 2019.
OCTOBER Detailed specification submission by ITU-R WP5D meeting.
JUNE Initial technology submission by ITU-R WP5D meeting. ITU Evaluation of proposals and consensus building.
DECEMBER European Commission has called for every Member State to have at least one major city “5G enabled” by the end of 2020.
3GPP Release 16 — functionally frozen specs available now. TMNQUARTERLY 17
LISTING OUT YOUR MU MIMOS FROM YOUR MASSIVE MIMOS, YOUR BEAM TRACKING FROM YOUR BEAM FORMING, YOUR URLCC FROM YOUR MMTC. HERE’S WHERE 5G ACRONYMS COME TO LIFE!
CORD stands for Central Office Rearchitected as a DataCentre and m-CORD is the mobile version of that (re)architecture, that envisions distributing certain elements of a mobile core network so that certain edge based use cases can be more easily supported. Core network workloads can be dynamically placed throughout the cloud enabled network, for example distributing the core network user plane with the radio access user plan in order to meet stringent latency requirements for certain use cases.
MANAGEMENT & ORCHESTRATION (MANO) Manages virtualised and distributed network resources, providing crucial analytics and exposure information to new types of applications, such as IoT and critical industry applications that use 5G.
MEC Multi access Edge Computing used to be known as Mobile Edge Computing, and as its former name suggests, it sees the positioning of computing resources, most likely hosting virtualised infrastructure, at or near the edge of a network. This could allow for very localised optimising and routing decisions, often taken with awareness of local cell site conditions.
CONTROL AND USER PLANE SEPARATION Separating the user plane from the control plane enables network architects to centralise control aspects while siting user plane resources closer to users through a network. For example gateway user planes can be sited at an edge host, controlled by NFV manageers.
3D MIMO (FD-MIMO)
Full Dimension or 3D MIMO refers to the ability to form beams in both the horizontal and vertical plane, meaning that devices can be served across the ground and at different elevations, from the same antenna.
Is the means of then steering that beam as a device moves around within an area of coverage. It may include refraction and reflection off buildings, or the very swift handover between serving access points as a user is blocked by other people or devices.
Standalone or Non-Standalone mode refers to where the actual control of a session is held. In standalone mode, the radio network “stands alone” within an all 5G network. In NSA mode the radio network is still anchored in an LTE packet core network. NSA is a means to getting 5G NR to market without also needing to invest in the new 5G core.
Simply MIMO, but in massive form, by adding many more antenna elements — over 16 but perhaps hundreds — to an array, to make many more beams. This means throughput over a cell area can be increased, and/or that many more users can be served from the same antenna, giving us MU-MIMO (Multi-User MIMO). Massive MIMO becomes easier to integrate at the device level in higher bandwidths, because bands are closer together, meaning that spatial separation on the device is not so wide.
Transmitting and receiving in the same channel. This is a technique that could, in theory, double capacities on certain radio links - or allow for access and backhaul in the same frequency channel. For 5G, it’s a boost to throughputs and potentially to flexibility of deployments.
BEAM FORMING Related to MIMO, beam forming is the means of creating a beam, often a narrow “pencil” beam, from the antenna element or group of elements, to a device or group of devices.
BREAK DOWN TMNQUARTERLY 19
NETWORK SLICING Network slicing “slices up” resources from across a network to provide different support for different service types from the same physical network. It will be important for 5G because of the 5G vision of providing support for multiple use cases, each with diverse requirements in terms of security, latency, throughput etc. Network slicing relies on virtualisation of functions - and it assigns relevant resources from those functions in a logical manner to different services. Early 5G-related demonstrations, for example by Deutsche Telekom and Huawei, have created three slices on a network, where each network slice is an independent logical network, and each service can have its own network slice.
SOFTWARE DEFINED NETWORKS At a simple level, SDN separates the intelligence within a network from the underlying “forwarding” path, instead of integrating the two together within switches and routers. The intelligence instead resides in software controllers that instruct the forwarding entities. An SDN-based architecture will enable operators to offer networks as-a-service and manage resources efficiently while running services continuously. Within the central office/data center, SDN will also help operators control resources for highly scalable packet processing and forwarding in the fast path (in the order of end-user session time). By providing the means to chain services through a network, SDN will form a key part of the automated, data-fed network architecture that will underpin key 5G requirements.
ANALY TICS & AUTOMATION Analytics engines will analyse the data lakes, pools and oceans using AI and Machine learning techniques to provide insights for enhanced security, service, and customer-facing reasons, as well as providing feedback loops to network management systems. In fact, with the expected diversity and scale of services, applications and use cases, 5G will not operate without analytics-fed automation.
NETWORK FUNCTIONS VIRTUALISATION Supports Network Slicing by providing the virtualised network functions (VNFs) in the network, under the control of orchestration and management entities that may be automated or include elements of automation. Although NFV is not a 5G technology per se, 5G is unlikely to meet its multi-use case requirements without slicing, and slicing is unlikely to occur without NFV.
MICRO-SERVICES Micro-services represent the disaggregation of network elements into more fundamental network functions, like “control” and “data path”. The idea is that these microservices can be scaled independently, increasing network performance and improving efficiency.
IMT-2020 The name ITU gives to the set of standards that it determines will meet the requirements of its next generation. It is the official rubber stamp for 5G, but the ITU will not, in itself, be the place where 5G is defined.
5G NEW RADIO Refers specifically to the set of specifications being formed within 3GPP to define the “New Radio” interface that will form 5G radio access. Will go forward for consideration and adoption as ITU’s IMT-2020 radio technology. Hence - official 5G radio.
5GTF Refers specifically to the set of specifications for radio formed by Verizon and Korea Telecom’s 5G Technical Forum, which gave those operators and their vendor suppliers an accelerated version of 5G radio based on aspects such as higher order mimo, beam forming and support for mmWave bands.
MASSIVE MACHINE T YPE COMMUNICATIONS Refers specifically to the set of specifications being formed within 3GPP to define the “New Radio” interface that will form 5G radio access. Will go forward for consideration and adoption as ITU’s IMT-2020 radio technology. Hence - official 5G radio.
ULTRA RELIABLE LOW LATENCY COMMUNICATIONS Differs from MMTC in that density is not the key parameter — rather communications must be nearinstant, and must not fail as a result of network conditions. For the ultrareliable low latency communication scenarios, low latency (ms level) and reliability (five nines, and beyond) together with zero mobility interruption are the targets. URLLC applications could include connect car, in some high mobility cases, drones or industrial robots. TMNQUARTERLY 21
Seven things I know about…
VERIFYING C-RAN PERFORMANCE
The optical fronthaul network will be vital to underpinning C-RAN and 5G performance. Here’s how to test and validate optical performance in the mobile RAN. By Marquis Dorais, Product Manager, EXFO.
Radio network architectures are changing The design and build of cell sites, and mobile access networks in general, has changed. First we saw the introduction of FTTA (Fibre to the Antenna), designed to increase site capacities by replacing coax cable with optical connections between the baseband unit at the bottom of a tower and and remote radio heads (RRHs) at the top. Centralised-RAN extends that further by pooling baseband units in aggregated sites and connecting those sites to remote radio heads. Operators have a choice of active or passive architectures, depending on how they managed the signal across their optical links. Cloud-RAN builds on the Centralised-RAN architecture by virtualising those pooled BBUs, meaning that radio resources can be scaled and directed dynamically.
That change will accelerate as C-RAN becomes a key enabler for 5G
This architectural shift will be a key underpinning of 5G. That’s because C-RAN enables much more dynamic and therefore efficient use of radio resources, more energy efficiency and more cost savings in terms of power and site rental/equipment savings. It also provides a key co-location point for the edge cloud infrastructure that will meet 5G latency requirements. This means that putting in place a solid fibre network, including BBU centralisation, will be crucial for building tomorrow’s 5G networks.
This makes the optical network very important
However, C-RAN will present key challenges on the fronthaul and backhaul links, not least in terms of the need to deal with rising capacity demands on fronthaul — the link between vBBUs and RRHs. Today’s fronthaul interfaces as well as next generation fronthaul architectures based on Ethernet will require multiple links at 10 Gbps or more, up to 100Gbps. The distances involved will also require very “clean” installations, with no loss through poorly installed or maintained interconnections. And it challenges operators to understand transport protocols such as CPRI, OBSAI, and fronthaul over Ethernet.
But operators without much practical optical experience will need support RAN installation teams are not experts in fibre-optics, and the introduction of transport protocols and physical connectivity options will challenge them. Many technicians in the RAN industry have extensive RF expertise but are new to the optical field. Cell tower, base station and network installers will need tools that can enable them to detect and fix issues in the field. It is therefore important to consider test and measurement tools that are easy to use for engineers and technicians at all skill levels. EXFO’s FTB-1 Pro platform which integrates automated fiber inspection probe, one-touch, automated iOLM application, CPRI layer 2 link validation, BBU emulation and RF spectrum analysis over CPRI/OBSAI provides all the functionalities required to carry out complete validation of fibre-based mobile architectures, such as C-RAN.
We tested a Tier One MNO C-RAN implementation — it went like this: We tested and validated a MNO’s passive C-RAN network. Here are some examples of what we found: fibre connectors did not pass the automated fibre inspection probe (FIP) test based on the IEC standard; a fibre interconnection was missing due to mislabelling; bad splicing; and an optical transceiver was inserted into the wrong port. All of these issues were having an impact on real world performance until they were identified using our comprehensive fronthaul test solution. “Without EXFO’s fronthaul test solution, our RAN team would have spent hours — even days — troubleshooting the issues we encountered during this field trial,” stated the senior manager from the MNO RAN team.
EXFO’s 7-step approach to ensure accurate construction & maintenance of fronthaul networks To overcome the challenges previously mentioned, installation and verification teams require optimised solutions that facilitate a best practice test and measurement approach to validating mobile fronthaul networks, including C-RAN. Solution set to test optical fronthaul network: 1. Fibre connector inspection (with FIP) 2. Common fibre link characterisation (with iOLM) 3. BBU CPRI optical link validation (at BBU site) 4. RRH CPRI optical link validation (at RRH site) 5. C omprehensive CPRI, RRH and antenna test (from BBU hotel site) 6. RRH and antenna RF tests (at RRH site) 7. Interference hunting and CPRI link monitoring
To read more about this, we have a full case study outlining how all 7 steps were implemented in the test and measurement process EXFO has produced a fuller case study, providing depth on the steven-step approach . It should be recommended reading for anyone transitioning, or considering the transition, to a C-RAN architecture.
Read the complete case study which further outlines how EXFO’s 7-step approach was used to facilitate the troubleshooting and accelerate the installation process of this C-RAN deployment. Scan here to register to download the case study:
What could be wrong in your network? How will you make sure you get it right? TMNQUARTERLY 23
FEATURE: TESTING 5G
There are two sides to 5G test. First, there are the test providers that are providing systems right now to aid 5G R&D in labs and field trials. These test providers are being tasked to come up with simulators and analysers that can support much greater bandwidth across a much greater range of frequencies, and that can enable manufacturers to test the operation of new advanced antenna technologies such as beam-forming and massive MIMO. The challenge is to do this in a prestandards environment, simulating
TEST’S KEY QUESTION: HOW WILL NETWORKS WHERE FUNCTIONS ARE VIRTUALISED, WHERE OPERATION IS PROGRAMMABLE AND OFTEN AUTOMATED, WHERE SERVICE QUALITY PARAMETERS ARE EXTREME, BE TESTED AND VERIFIED? 24 TMNQUARTERLY
FEATURE: TESTING 5G
user demand where end user devices are still nascent, and signal protocols are still unformed. One approach has been to model devices as they might appear in a 5G network. For example. Cobham Wireless’ TM500 system provides operators and network equipment manufacturers with a system to test network performance as experienced by end users. The TM500 5G test solution simulates multiple devices connecting to a 5G network, modelling real world conditions. According to Cobham, “Our 5G test solution directly addresses the immediate KPIs for 5G, helping the industry accelerate the development and deployment of next generation mobile and broadband services.” The test solution is capable of verifying networks operating across multiple radio frequencies in the mmWave and sub-6GHz bands. “We have demonstrated test downlink and uplink data rates of up to 10GBps” says Dr Stamatis Georgoulis, Product Director, Cobham Wireless. “The solution is in use today and our team is constantly working to advance our solutions to support the profiles of evolving technologies, providing a future-proof means of testing 5G networks.” One of the earliest set of “5G” specifications came from outside the standards bodies — the 5GTF specs from Verizon and KT, designed to support fixed wireless access at 28GHz. One company addressing
this area of activity is Keysight. Keysight’s latest release of SystemVue 2017 Electronic System Level (ESL) simulation software enables 5G link level validation with RF phased array beamforming in mmWave channel environments. The SystemVue’ 5G Verification library incorporates Verizon and KT 5G wireless standards with 100GHz mmWave channel model and adaptive beamforming needed for designing 5G cellular base stations and handsets. Systems architects who need to finalise 28GHz mobile phone system designs to satisfy Verizon and KT 5GTF specifications can integrate a 5G compliant baseband modem, reference 28GHz RFIC architecture and MIMO phased array in simulation to quickly iterate and validate their designs. To support device development, in May 2017, Keysight Technologies announced the industry’s first 5G protocol test solution designed to support leading chipset and device manufacturers developing the next generation of cellular devices. Keysight’s 5G Protocol R&D Toolset allows testing of advanced 5G features, including beamforming at mm-Wave frequencies as well as protocol testing with full access to layer 1 and layer 2 parameters. The builtin protocol state machine enables developers to create and execute test cases, debug errors, and analyse results, which is intended to help streamline the 5G device workflow. Moving up the bands to mmWave, Rohde & Schwarz demonstrated 5G antenna testing up to mmWave frequencies in a portable shielded chamber at the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona. The R&S ATS1000 antenna test system supports 3D antenna characterisation, beamforming testing as well as near-field to far-field transformation. The system also enables far-field measurements for 5G frequencies such as 28GHz and 39GHz in a compact setup.
“AS WELL AS SUPPORTING TESTS FOR NEW FREQUENCIES AND ANTENNA TECHNIQUES, THE TEST METHODOLOGY ITSELF IS CHANGING.” Antenna technology with adaptive beam steering and tracking in order to deliver robust mobile broadband communications in the mm-Wave frequency range in mobile environments is one of the key ingredients of 5G technology. A joint proof-of-concept demonstration of MediaTek and Rohde & Schwarz employed a hierarchical beam architecture for coarse and fine beams and MediaTek’s proprietary calibration and characterisation techniques for beamforming optimisation. The 5G mm-wave signals at 28 GHz were created via an R&S SMW200A vector signal generator and MediaTek’s mm-wave prototype platform. The signal can be received and analysed by the R&S FSW signal and spectrum analyser. As it expands its frequency support, Rohde & Schwarz is expanding the internal analysis bandwidth of its R&S FSW high end signal and spectrum analyzer to 1.2 GHz by introducing the new R&S FSW-B1200 option. This test solution enables R&D users to analyze wideband signals in detail. No other instrument is needed as an external digitiser, and the 1200 MHz bandwidth enables research and development for next generation mobile standards, especially in the 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands for 5G, as well as characterization of wideband amplifiers for 5G. As well as supporting tests for new frequencies and antenna techniques, the test methodology itself is changing to reflect the new user environment in 5G. Cobham Wireless has announced
FEATURE: TESTING 5G
“IT SOUNDS LIKE A SETUP TO A JOKE. HOW DO YOU PROBE A VIRTUAL NETWORK? WITH VIRTUAL PROBES, OF COURSE.” it will demonstrate the industry’s first software-defined 5G user equipment (UE) simulator, based on Verizon’s open 5G standard, which can test downlink throughput of 10Gbps. The company also has an IoT proof-of-concept (PoC) solution, which is able to emulate up to one million 5G IoT devices, validating network performance in preparation for IoT connectivity. The software-defined 5G test UE simulator enables the development of a virtualisable test solution, supporting a Lab-as-a-Service model for 5G testing towards a Virtual-Radio Access Network (V-RAN) architecture. The second side to 5G test is to ask how operators will test 5G networks, and the performance of services that run over them, in an ongoing way. It sounds like a set-up to a joke. How do you probe a virtual network? With virtual probes, of course. But it’s true. And for a while now assurance and monitoring companies have been putting their probes — previously sold
as hardware appliances — into software, and then ensuring that software can operate as virtual instances on top of COTS servers. This capability will be crucial as networks transition to supporting 5G services. But the critical aspect of this is that it will require systems to sift through, analyse and take action upon huge amounts of data in real time. It won’t be possible to do this with the sort of post-processing, data analysis techniques that operators have employed to date — where they mine through data lakes to generate findings related to network optimisation and subscriber and user experience. Instead a group of companies are individually coming up with solutions that will enable much more active testing of the network. An additional factor is that the network itself will be very different. One solution is to embed visibility into the actual virtualised functions themselves. Some virtual network function providers are building their own probes into the functions themselves. Affirmed Networks’ Angela Whiteford said that the company has an integrated vProbe (in this case with embedded DPI from Rohde & Schwarz Cybersecurity) in its vEPC to feed out data to analytics systems. A company such as Accedian embeds test agents, which can themselves be virtualised, into the network elements across a network. These can be instructed by an orchestrator to conduct one way tests across a network, producing insight into factors such as delay, jitter and bit error rates. Patrick Ostiguy, CEO, said, “Virtualised instrumentation closes the self optimisation loops of these networks.
These loops are essential, we think, to machine learning and will be essential to 5G, which will be more virtualised, more dynamic, and much more complex to manage. Plus there will be very tight performance specs pushing the limits of granularity and accuracy of characterisation of performance.” Having an ear that can hear very small level network events will be vital, Ostiguy says. Very small level impairments can have a big impact. For instance, Accedian has found that even a 2% packet loss on a key interface can cause 80% drop in end user throughput. A 6ms latency introduction can cause an end user thoughput drop of 40%. Being able to pick up that level of variation performance in near-real time, or as close to real time as possible, is the aim of the virtualised test infrastructure. The ability to gain a live view of network performance continues to have impact in the industry. One recent example was the announcement by EXFO that it bought Ontology Systems. Ontology provides visual maps of network topologies in great detail. The aim is to tie this capability with EXFO’s active analytics, to provide a much more active test and monitoring environment, tied to highly accurate and dynamic network inventories. In this way network changes made by automated functions such as NFV Orchestrators and SDN Controllers can be verified and assured. The virtual network itself becomes virtually assured. Without that, the hopes that 5G will be able to, automatically and dynamically, support and almost infinite variety of applications and use cases, will be dashed.
Will 5G require active and ongoing test? If so, are present systems up to the job? Join the conversation
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SING I N G O REC ING T O M O AND PR T IN NETWORK S THE BE ION T A V O INN RLD O W N Following the success of previous AT RA
THE RANNYS 2017, PRODUCED BY AVREN EVENTS IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE MOBILE NETWORK, WILL REWARD OPERATORS THAT HAVE TAKEN THE INITIATIVE TO PUSH TECHNICAL BOUNDARIES IN RADIO ACCESS NETWORKS.
RANNYs — with winners including AT&T, SK Telecom, China Mobile, Swisscom and MBNL— we are delighted to announce that entries for the RANNYs 2017 are now open. This is a rare opportunity to recognise some of the most innovative developments in radio access network technologies. The awards will be judged by an independent panel of leading analysts; chaired by The Mobile Network, the panel includes recognised experts from Senza Fili, Mobile Experts, EJL Wireless, Rethink Research, Real Wireless and Strategy Analytics. Many awards exist simply as a fundraising adjunct to a conference or exhibition, but the RANNYs are different in that they only serve to act as a showcase
and a platform for the best work done in creating the best mobile networks. The RANNYs will be awarded during RAN World in Barcelona on 19-20 September. The event prides itself on being a highly regarded, impartial gathering of senior decision makers responsible for meeting the needs of today’s network, and shaping plans for tomorrow’s RAN. This year’s detailed agenda will be led by Enrique Blanco, Global CTO of Telefόnica Group, with representations from the likes of EE, Softbank, ETSI and many more. Winners will also receive extensive press coverage recognising their achievements. TMN are pleased to support RAN World and the RANNYs thanks to its focus on operator-led technology and RAN innovation, a clear emphasis on discussing the real issues of today, and bringing a high calibre audience together in a unique event format. Make sure you register online today for a free operator pass, and enter your work for the chance to win at the RANNYs! The great work transforming the network deserves a showcase, so don’t miss the chance to either enter your work, or witness the latest in network innovations.
VISUAL: SPLIT SCREEN
5G HAS BECOME A CATCH-ALL TERM FOR ANY TECHNOLOGY THAT MIGHT BE DEPLOYED IN A NETWORK FROM NOW ON. IT’S TIME TO GET PURITANICAL AND PLAY THE GAME… 5G OR NOT 5G?
MASSIVE MIMO Ah now. How massive? If you are doing dozens or hundreds of element arrays, you need to really be doing this in the higher frequencies where the channels are closer together physically. That means heading to the mmWAVe. For us, that’s a 5G play. So, although MIMO is of course widespread in 4G, truly massive MIMO gets under the 5G bar.
or. . .
A new waveform simply has to be 5G. You want to be able to slice a radio network through the same interface, you need a different waveform. Filtered OFDM is one of those waveforms. It’s 5G, it’s in.
So you can provide a slice to a specific use case? Can’t you do that in 4G? In theory, but end to end including the radio? That’s going to require 5G radio. Somewhat controversially, perhaps, Slicing is 5G.
TRUE CLOUD Now we’re beginning to annoy people. There’s cloud without 5G, but there’s very unlikely to be 5G without cloud. One reason, pulling huge data loads across the network won’t be possible. Hence the need for edge cloud, and why it’s 5G.
FLEXIBLE FRAME STRUCTURE Again, another key element. You want very short TTIs and wake up times for sensors, again across the same air interface as high bandwidth services, you need a funky new frame structure. It’s 5G.
MMWAVE AND OTHER NEW BANDS Look — of course spectrum is neutral and a physical asset that has no intrinsic “G” of its own. But if it’s spectrum that is being used to deliver services that could not be supported over LTE, then it is de facto 5G spectrum. What about re-farmed bands, you ask? Well, once they’re refarmed, they’re 5G spectrum too. See? Easy.
VISUAL: SPLIT SCREEN
MEC Yes, MEC will be something that enables certain 5G features, such as hosting very low latency apps. But MEC is an architecture that can be deployed with any G. It’s not 5G.
Transmitting and receiving in the same channel. We all love a bit of interference self-cancellation action. Full duplex may yet be used in some 5G in band backhaul type applications. But of itself, it’s not 5G.
Ooh-er now we’ve upset the principles of the principals. Surely 5G is all about network slicing? Yes it is. But network slicing as a concept is not... oh what the hell. 5G can have this one. Who’s got time to argue?
Separating the control plane from the forwarding path may be very exciting, but is it “5G”? Nope.
3D MIMO Using the spatial multiplex horizontally and vertically. It’s enough to turn any radio engineer giddy with excitement. It increases average throughput and reduces a cell edge issue. Is it 5G? Well, it will certainly be deployed in 5G but… operators are doing it now in LTE, ergo — Not 5G. Sorry
Everyone loves a virtual network function. vEPC, vRNC — great. But not 5G. 5G networks will, of course, rely on a great deal of virtualisation. But in itself, not 5G.
NB-IoT is not 5G, LTE-M certainly isn’t 5G (the clue is in the name). There’s a danger that 5G and IoT get merged as almost interchangeable terms. Well, not on our watch. It’s not helpful, and it’s not accurate. 5G IoT — ultra dense, ultra reliable, ultra secure — will be a specific subset of IoT, let’s keep it that way.
... Agree, disagree? Have we called our 5G or Not 5G right? Join the conversation
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FEATURE: FIXED WIRELESS ACCESS
ONE OF THE EARLIEST 5G SERVICES TO MARKET WILL BE USING 5G TECHNOLOGIES TO PROVIDE FIXED WIRELESS ACCESS SERVICES TO HOMES AND SMALL BUSINESSES. WHY?
Fixie /’fɪksi/ noun A single-gear bicycle that has no freewheel, so that its wheels cannot move unless power is applied to the pedals.
F XIE F XATION
Origin: Early 21st century, from fixed-wheel bicycle or fixed-gear bicycle.
When Verizon said it would be launching 5G services in late 2017, it was a bit of a head scratcher. When it said it would be launching its own 5G acceleration project to get a move on with defining 5G specifications, it became clear that the operator was moving ahead down a path of its own making. When it formed the 5G Technical Forum (5GTF) it lead several vendors — Cisco, Samsung, Ericsson and Nokia — and a couple of operators in Korea telecom and KDDi up that path. Why? Well, the reason is that Verizon, which has the spectrum available at 28 and 39GHz to support large scale bandwidths — up to 1GHz — sees the potential to provide home broadband services without having to roll out fibre to the home or kerb. Instead, it can take fibre only as far as a mmWave access point that has been kitted out with the latest Massive MIMO and beam forming technology and provide fibre-equivalent service to, perhaps, dozens of homes, from the one access point. If it works, then Verizon thinks it could be onto a cheaper way to provide in-home super fast broadband. Is it 5G? In the sense that it uses a combination of new techniques — massive MIMO, mmWave support — that will also likely be deployed within a 5G New Radio interface, then yes it is 5G. But of course it is not mobile — the beams formed by antenna elements are essentially static once targetted to their receiver. In a mobile deployment these beams would need to track users as they moved around an area of coverage, and hand a user over to a neighbouring access point. It’s also not “5G” in the sense that the specifications being used by Verizon to form 5GTF do not form any part of the “official” 3GPP work on 5G New Radio. This has caused confusion in the industry, as other players see danger in Verizon a) launching early with FWA and b) being able to claim that as 5G. In return, these operators have called for 3GPP
FEATURE: FIXED WIRELESS ACCESS
to speed up its own process in bringing one format of 5G New Radio to market. Nokia announced the first platform built to 5GTF specifications in February 2017. Simultaneously, a group of operators and vendors — but notably not including Nokia, Samsung or Verizon — called for 3GPP to accelerate its timetable for specifying one aspect of 5G New Radio. So a schism was in danger of opening up around competing ways to launch “5G” to market before 2020, which for a long time has been the accepted launch date for standardised, commercial 5G services. As we know, 5GTF and Verizon’s approach sees the development of Fixed Wireless Access services using beam forming and massive MIMO on the radio to be able to direct very high bandwidth links to houses and offices. Meanwhile, 3GPP continues its work to define the 5G New Radio interface that will provide mobile 5G services. Operators with the spectrum to deploy fixed wireless access services — say at 28GHz, are more interested in using that to go to market with FWA “5G”. Those that don’t have that opportunity, say AT&T, are committed instead to the purist 3GPP approach — and urge the industry not to “fragment” 5G standards. The problem for the 3GPP purists is that it is going to take time — 3GPP is not scheduled to freeze work on 5GNR until 3Q 2018 — and in the interim operators with a more laissez faire approach (and appropriate spectrum) will already have deployed networks they can badge as 5G. In Summer 2016, at a 3GPP meeting, a group of operators pushed for there to be a two phase approach to standardising specifications of 5G New Radio. This would see Phase One incorporate a mode known as Non StandAlone (NSA) — where the control of the 5G radio service is “anchored” in the LTE Evolved Packet Core. This phase would close in late 2017 while the second phase would then see a StandAlone mode, with 5G radio networks anchored by new 5G cores, come along in 2018. Splitting the standards freeze into two stages would mean that it would be possible to deploy “5G” services earlier than if vendors and device manufacturers had to wait for the full specs to be frozen. Initially, 3GPP chose to stick to its approach to freeze both 5G New
Radio modes at the same time — in 3Q 2018. But following increased pressure in late 2016, the decision was made to adopt a twostep approach, with NSA operation being finalised before SA. What this means is that the first services we are likely to see come to market that bear the name 5G will not be mobile, and will use only a small slice of the overall 5G technical capabilities. They may not, probably will not, rely on a new 5G core, or signalling architecture, or next generation protocol or any of the other surrounding 5G architectural components. Instead, users will see a super-fast wireless connection, within which users cannot move around. The question is, does it matter? Will this fixie fixation spur on 5G investment, or will it act as a brake? Verizon itself is fairly coy about how much of 5GTF will be useful in delivering fully mobile 5G services. The vendors themselves all claim that 5GTF is not a dead end and will spur 5GNR development. Others say that 5GTF can only impede efforts to concentrate on 3GPP specs. Still others point out that as the eventual freeze date for 3GPP standards has not changed, there can be no harm in 5GTF.
5GTF The world’s first 5GTF connection took place in a laboratory environment in Oulu, Finland, on 23 December, 2016, using Nokia’s AirScale radio access with the Nokia AirFrame data center platform running on Intel architecture, together with the Intel 5G mobile trial platform as an end-user device.
THE 5GTF SPECIFICATIONS The Verizon 5G Technology Forum (V5GTF) was formed in late 2015 in cooperation with ecosystem partners Cisco, Ericsson, Intel, LG, Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung. The V5GTF has created a common and extendable platform for Verizon’s 28/39 GHz fixed wireless access trials and deployments.The 5G radio interface is composed of Layers 1, 2 and 3 and defines the interfaces between the User Equipment (UE) and the network. These specifications promote interoperability among network and UE/chipset manufacturers. 5GTF has validate operation over up to 1GHz bandwidth, with intended end user rates of mutiple gigabits per second.
FEATURE: INTERNET OF THINGS
WH AT I S A N Y W AY ? What does 5G IoT mean? Right now, we have non-cellular IoT connectivity designed to provide low power operation to enable deep coverage and long device battery life — the likes of SigFox and LoRa. We also have the 3GPP LTE and GSM IoT standards, such as LTE-M, and NB-IoT, which are designed to offer similar properties but in licensed spectrum. NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT) will not be in most markets until 2018, and some operators will put its launch back much further, as they leverage a combination or LoRa and LTE-M. That puts NB-IoT well into the same time frame as we are expecting to see 5G deployments, raising the prospect of operators being faced with 5G IoT investments
THE ADVENT AND APPARENT SUCCESS OF LOW POWER, DEDICATED IOT NETWORK TECHNOLOGY, PLUS THE INHERENT CAPABILITIES OF LTE-BASED IOT, MAY TAKE MANY “NORMAL” IOT FUNCTIONS A LONG WAY INTO THE FUTURE. WHAT DOES THAT LEAVE FOR 5G?
at the same time as rolling out NBIoT. Some have already said that they won’t do that: they will want to extract maximum usage from NB-IoT before committing to 5G IoT. So what, then, is 5G IoT for? What IoT applications and services will 5G networks enable, that cannot be met by these other technologies. Most answers to that question focus on the extreme parameters that 5G is being designed to meet — in terms of latency, support for device density, reliability and availability. Recently TMN has heard several operators propose the long life existence of NB-IoT, with IoT networks connected to 5G access types really only deployed for the most ultra-reliable or massively dense environments. So for example, industrial process automation and remote surgery are examples of use cases that will be possible only in future 5G systems. These are mission-critical use cases and they require communication with very high reliability and availability, as well as very low end-to-end latency. This category is known as ultra reliable low latency communications, or URLCC. While massive machine-type communication (MMTC) is about connectivity for large numbers of low-
DELIVERING MISSION CRITICAL MTC
FEATURE: INTERNET OF THINGS
cost and low-energy devices, missioncritical MTC is designed to enable realtime control and automation of dynamic processes in areas such as industrial process automation, manufacturing and intelligent transport systems. MMTC is already being specified within 3GPP and IEEE but Mission-critical MTC is still in the early-development phase. The requirements of mission-critical MTC have to be fulfilled in three dimensions: latency, reliability and availability. Reliability requirements vary among different mission-critical MTC services, but as an example, in industrial automation, only one message in one billion data transfers may be lost or delayed within the given latency budget. If you want to address all the potential use cases of mission-critical MTC, the radio technology should scalable for these stringent requirements. To enable the lower delays and higher reliability, Ericsson has modelled certain use cases, and has identified a number of modifications to LTE that would be needed: • R educed transmission time intervals, e.g., down to 100 μs, and shorter OFDM symbol durations enabling fast and efficient data transmission • R edesign of physical channels allowing early channel estimation • U se of convolutional codes (e.g., for data channels) and block codes (e.g., for control channels) providing fast and reliable decoding
“MOBILE OPERATORS HAVE A SHODDY RECORD OF UNDERSTANDING, AND DEALING WITH, ENTERPRISE NEEDS. WHY SHOULD 5G MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE?”
• Implementation of high diversity levels improving the reliability of signal detection and decoding, as well as availability Ericsson modelled a simulation scenario based on a factory floor layout with the industrial application requirement dictatiny one message in one billion data transfers may be lost or delayed within a 100 µs air interface delay. The vendor said that a simulation result showed that the missioncritical MTC system is able to support thousands of industrial automation machines spread out in a factory floor. So, in Ericsson’s view, a modified waveform with flexible frame rates can support the sort of densities required, with the requisite failover. Others see that meeting such requirements will require a more architectural shift. Applications like remote robotics or remote surgery or hazardous environment may well require enhanced capabilities not just on the radio link but at the edge of the network. One reason for that is the volume of IoT data may grow exponentially faster than the ability of the network to process it within the latency boundaries that are required. That may require pushing compute resources out to the edge. Another potential shift is that 5G will see the convergence of wired and wireless providers, introducing a combination of different access technologies, but requiring common data analysis platforms. Take the example of remote monitoring for failures in a refrigeration unit, then using edge intelligence to predictively identify compressor failure. With that that extra bandwidth
— you can bring big data up to the cloud, analyse it, look for those signatures of a failure, then push down that algorithm back to the edge. These edge platforms may not, or need not be, deployed by the mobile operator.
MARKET A final query arises over 5G IoT — the assumption that it will be telcos, specifically mobile operators, that take industrial and ultra-reliable, mission critical IoT services to market. Mobile operators have a shoddy record of understanding, and dealing with, enterprise needs. Why should 5G make any difference? With private LTE-A networks and next generation WiFI protocols, enterprises and their service providers can get a long way to meeting their IoT needs without the need to interface with a 5G network and its mobile operator-owned core. So the question of what, really, is 5G IoT, is one that will take 10 more years to answer.
EXTREME VARIATION OF 5G REQUIREMENTS Ultra-high reliability
Ultra-low energy Ultra-low cost
WIDE AREA IOE
Deep coverage Ultra-high capacity Extreme broadband
ENHANCED MOBILE BROADBAND
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FEATURE: 5G NEW RADIO
WH AT WE ABOUT ALTHOUGH THE COMMITTEES AND WORKING GROUPS ARE IN STUDIES ALL THIS YEAR, HERE’S WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR ABOUT WHERE 5G NEW RADIO IS HEADED.
WHEN IS IT? At the March 2017 3GPP RAN plenary meeting a way forward (WF) was presented with an accelerated schedule for the release of 5G New Radio (NR) — to develop a Non Standalone version of the standard — i.e. where the control is rooted in the LTE core — earlier than final standardisation. But the overall finish date for NR is the same — September 2018. NR is intended to cover all applications and all frequency bands, including the three main application key performance indicators for 5G put forth by the ITU: enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC), and Massive Machine Type Communications (MMTC). That means that the physical layer needs to be flexible enough to generate significantly higher data throughput while allowing for hundreds of times more devices to connect to the network for Narrow Band IoT (NBIoT). The PHY also needs to be reliable enough with low enough latency to be used in self-driving cars. This is no easy task, and the standards that are being proposed for NR are significantly complex. Certain aspects like adding beam management are similar to LTE-A PRO, but NR will incorporate 36 TMNQUARTERLY
KNOW WHO IS MAKING IT? HUAWEI With a prototype, Huawei was the first to pass the recent field performance tests of 5G New Radio (NR) technology in the 3.5GHz band. The field tests were conducted as part of the second phase of 5G trials in China and were led by the IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group.
ERICSSON both slow and fast beam management. NR will also leverage LTE as much as possible, but it uses different sample and subcarrier rates. Despite the buzz around NR and a desire to finalise the standard earlier than initially planned, not much data has been published about the performance of the specification. The limited trials at 28 GHz have focused more on channel sounding than demonstrating the feasibility of the NR specification. By early 2018, we will likely have an answer to “What is 5G?” Based on the accelerated schedule presented at the March 2017 3GPP RAN plenary meeting, the physical layer and MAC layer for NR will be settled by the end of 2017. Frequency selection does not have a strict deadline, but operators are pushing technology forward to get 28GHz hardware deployed in 2017 field trials. By the second quarter of 2018, South Korea will have demonstrated its 5G technology preview. The full standardisation process will not be complete yet, but a clearer picture of what 5G is will begin to emerge. The race to define 5G may be ending, but the process to design and deploy 5G technology is just beginning.
Trial 5G NR Prototype now entering field deployments. Supports 5GTF and has demonsytrated interoperability with Intel device prototype.
NOKIA Nokia’s 5GFIRST launch was also based on 5GTF specifications, upon its AirScale platform, and it also expects to develop 5GNR support from within the same platform.
SAMSUNG Samsung has a 5G Radio Base Station that supports 28GHz mmWave spectrum — and is capable of providing up to 10Gbps. Samsung’s current 5G technology is designed to meet the current 5GTF specifications set by Verizon and Korea Telecom, but the vendor is also developing a range of frequency options, as well as support for 3GPP NR.
ZTE In its prototype at the Sub-6GHz field, ZTE has launched a new 3.5GHz NR pre-commercial base station. The RF bandwidth of the base station reaches 200MHz. ZTE has been most active in the government-sponsored and controlled trials of 5G in China.
FEATURE: 5G NEW RADIO
FREQUENCIES WHAT IS IN IT?
Europe 3.4GHz – 3.8GHz (awarding trial licenses)
Modified version of OFDM, with a “scaleable” numerology to allow for E2E network slicing within the same radio interface. Today, LTE supports carrier bandwidths up to 20MHz with a mostly fixed OFDM numerology of 15kHz spacing between OFDM tones (often called subcarriers). With 5G NR, we have introduced scalable OFDM numerology to support diverse spectrum bands/types and deployment models. For example, 5G NR must be able to operate in mmWave bands that have wider channel widths (e.g., 100s of MHz). Our design introduces OFDM subcarrier spacing that is able to scale with the channel width, so the FFT size scales such that processing complexity does not increase unnecessarily for wider bandwidths. 3GPP has recently decided on scalable OFDM numerology with 2N scaling of subcarrier spacing in the 5G NR Release 14 study item.
FRAME STRUCTURE: FLEXIBLE WITH SHORTER TTI Another key component of the 5G NR design is a flexible framework that will allow network operators to efficiently multiplex the envisioned (and unforeseen) 5G services on the same frequency. A key component of the design for this 5G NR framework is the self-contained integrated subframe. Lower latency is achieved by enabling the data transmission and its acknowledgement post-decoding to be
contained within the same subframe (e.g., a TDD downlink-centric subframe). With the 5G NR self-contained integrated subframe, each transmission is a modular transaction (e.g., DL grant > DL data > Guard Period > UL Acknowledgement) that is completed within a time period. Beyond lower latency, this modular subframe design enables forward compatibility, adaptive UL/DL configuration, advanced reciprocity-based antenna techniques (e.g., downlink Massive MIMO [multiple input, multiple output antenna aarrays] steering based on fast uplink sounding) as well as additional use cases enabled by adding subframe headers (e.g. contention resolution headers for unlicensed spectrum) — making this invention a key enabler to meeting many of the 5G NR requirements.
CODING Although Turbo codes have been well suited for 3G and 4G, Qualcomm Research has demonstrated that low-density parity check (LDPC) codes have advantages from both complexity and implementation standpoints when scaling to very high throughputs and larger block lengths. In addition, LDPC coding has been shown to be an ideal solution for wireless fading channels, which need an efficient hybrid ARQ scheme. As a result, 3GPP has recently decided on advanced LDPC as the coding scheme for the eMBB data channel.
China 3.3GHz – 3.6GHz (ongoing trial), 4.4GHz – 4.5GHz, 4.8GHz – 4.99GHz Japan 3.6GHz – 4.2GHz and 4.4GHz – 4.9GHz Korea 3.4GHz – 3.7GHz USA 3.1GHz – 3.55GHz (and 3.7GHz – 4.2GHz)
26/28GHZ - 42GHZ USA 27.5GHz – 28.35GHz and 37GHz – 40GHz pre-commercial deployments in 2018 Korea 26.5GHz – 29.5GHz trials in 2018 and commercial deployments in 2019 Japan 27.5GHz – 28.28GHz trials planned from 2017 and potentially commercial deployments in 2020 China Focusing on 24.25GHz – 27.5GHz and 37GHz – 43.5GHz studies Sweden 26.5GHz – 27.5GHz awarding trial licenses for use in 2018 and onwards EU 24.25 – 27.5GHz for commercial deployments from 2020
Credit: Excerpted from “Making 5G NR a reality”, Qualcomm.
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FEATURE: PROTOCOL & ARCHITECTURE
WHY 5G NEEDS A NEXT G E N E R AT I N PROT C L ETSI said that the Next Generation Protocols Industry Specification Group (NGP ISG) has been set up to, “provide a forum for interested parties to contribute by sharing research and results from trials and developments in such a way that a wider audience can be informed. An action plan to engage other standards bodies will be developed so that parallel and concerted standardisation action can take place as a further step in the most appropriate standards groups.”
“IF NGP DOES NOT SUCCEED, MANY OF THE BENEFITS OF 5G RADIO ACCESS TECHNOLOGY WILL BE WASTED IN THE SUPPORTING ACCESS NETWORK.” ETSI expects to see its proposals develop alongside, or in some cases within, bodies such as the IETF that are also looking at developing or enhancing protocols that are more optimised to mobile networks.
The issue is that some think that current protocol stacks, notably TCP/IP, will not be sufficient to meet 5G network latency and throughput demands. ETSI’s release put it thus: “The telecommunications industry has reached a point where forward leaps in the technology of the local access networks will not deliver their full potential unless, in parallel, the underlying protocol stacks used in core and access networks evolve. The development of future 5G systems presents a unique opportunity to address this issue, as a sub-optimal protocol architecture can negate the huge performance and capacity improvements planned for the radio access network.” The underlying reliance of mobile access networks on TCP for the delivery of data across the network is something of a historical accident, and one that means that capacity and throughputs can often be strangled because of incompatibilities between TCP and the mobile network. In other words, even where cellular conditions may be acceptable for transport, kinks in the way the protocol responds to errors mean that performance
A NEW WORKING GROUP HAS BEEN SET UP WITHIN ETSI TO PROVIDE A CENTRAL REPOSITORY AND THOUGHTSPACE FOR THOSE WHO THINK THAT 5G WILL REQUIRE NEW PROTOCOLS THAT ARE MORE OPTIMISED TO THE PROPERTIES OF CELLULAR NETWORKS.
and user experience suffers. ETSI’s NGP ISG has been assembled to try and find the best way of overcoming these issues. It will look at areas such as addressing and security as well as requirements from use cases such as ultra low latency, video and content distribution. It will also encompass requirements from network operators, including challenges with encrypted content. Andy Sutton, Chair of NGP ISG said, “The TCP/IP protocol suite has undoubtedly enabled the evolution of connected computing and many other developments since its invention during the 1970’s. NGP ISG aims to gather opinions on how we can build on this momentum by evolving communication systems architectures and networking protocols to provide the scale, security, mobility and ease of deployment required for the connected society of the 21st century.”
SO WHY DOES 5G NEED A NEW GENERATION PROTOCOL? TMNQUARTERLY 39
FEATURE: PROTOCOL & ARCHITECTURE
5G NEXT GENERATION PR TOC LS
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH HOW THINGS ARE DONE NOW? USER PLANE 1. User IP is tunnelled from UE to SeGW/ PGW using 2x GTP bearer tunnels 2. There is no inherent User Plane (UP) security 3. There is no user level IP routing over cellular access 4. GTP tunnels have to be updated every mobility move
SECURITY There is no inherent user User-Plane Network access security over the Mobile Internet! SSL, TLS and HTTPS solve the wrong problem: • O ne size fits all security that is not needed for many applications and services • Only provides encryption and is only ETE • Adds overhead to all packets
ETE UP has many protocol Bridges & Gateways adds delay & processing cost
Today users are much more discerning: • U sers are not ‘one size fits all’ • Banking, IoT, Browsing all have different security needs, some at App level and some at network • All need basic user plane authentication of some kind but this does not need to be centralised all the time
CONTROL PLANE 1. IP Packets can’t flow between Mobile & Internet until NAS/ EPS Control Plane (CP) bearer setup signalling is completed 2. EPS bearer setup needs a separate control protocol, GTP-C 3. There is mandated fixed CP security (Authentication, Encryption Integrity)
Security Authority should not be a gateway but peered stakeholder security according to scope and resolution of the communication. We need Flexible, Scalable, Multi-Homing network security.
ETE CP bearer setup of the UP adds user experience latency adds delay & processing cost
PROBLEMS WITH IPv6 Massive IPv6 header unnecessary for most sessions.
KEY REQUIREMENTS OF A NEXT GENERATION PROTOCOL EFFICIENCY: Smaller Headers, Scalable protocol structures SECURITY: Native, Scalable, Association and Stakeholder based ADDRESSING: Location, Network Address separation and ID separation TRANSMISSION: Flexible, Efficient, Context-Aware and Profile based MOBILITY: Native, Scalable, Context-Aware
No inherent user network Security (attach or association). GTP overheads inefficient and tunnelled not routed TCP/ QUIC Transmission is inflexible and designed for fixed networks so that: • Latency is poor for todays internet • And unlikely to be able to support AR/VR demands over cellular Cost: Inefficient use of Air interface, Inefficient use of transmission. Perpetuates many security issues in UP, includes costly IPsec tunnels over RAN-CN I/F Inefficient processing, now one of largest costs of cellular Infrastructure performance limited with current algorithms and likely to remain for 5G… difficult to tune to work well with access technologies.
Excerpted and edited from an original presentation by ETSI NGP ISG Chair, Andy Sutton.
FEATURE: PROTOCOL & ARCHITECTURE
The work to redefine the network protocols used in 5G goes alongside work to redefine the overall architecture. 5G may require a “disruptive”, revolutionary cellular network architecture, according to 5G research institute, 5GIC. 5GIC has outlined the capabilities of a new network architecture — termed the Flat Distributed Cloud (FDC) architecture — intended to provide the foundation for contextaware networks that provide a user experience that is perceived as always sufficient. The architecture invokes a “horizontally distributed cloud model that relies on new user and control plane protocols allied to the implementation of NFV and SDN, with all network nodes equipped with service compute power and storage as well as communications processing”. The paper said this combination
THE NEXT GENERATION MANIFESTO EFFICIENCY Need much smaller headers over Access Technologies, for NGP packets to maximise access efficiency, in particular spectrum efficiency for radio technologies. Security needs to be native & scalable. ADDRESSING Scalable protocol addressing and location, network address and ID separation. Latency should be dynamically configurable according to context. Add Controls for Congestion Avoidance rather than congestion management.
would allow networks to gain access to, and act upon, new context information as well as to apply new QoS controls.
USER PROFILE INTERACTING WITH THE NETWORK Context aware networking means that user profiles provide full “5W” (what, when, where, who, why) to the network, with user profiles being selectively enabled for application/ network usage using secure certificates issued by the user. It is proposed that each user will have a User Profile (Upr) that will be extensible in a negotiable manner to provide information keys into new applications and network SON algorithms to improve the network and user experience.
MULTIPLE (FIXED/MOBILE) RESOURCE CONNECTION FDC also proposes extending the current RRC (Radio Resource Protocol) into an Common Resource Connection Protocol, CRCP, allowing multiple bearer types from multiple technologies to be combined to support one common, dynamic, virtual connection from a device towards the FDC network. The FDC also proposes a contextaware user plane protocol (UPc) that allows bearer class negotiation by service description and user context rather than by QoS class request. To do this whilst also also maintaining control of functions such as charging, policy and lawful intercept, the FDC would include a new protocol called the MetData Protocol (MDP). The paper said that to date, “QoS controls have been seen as either too complex or insufficiently supported on an end to end basis to be workable”. In 5G, a RAN level integration (along the lines proposed above) would go far beyond the existing interworking
CONTEXT AWARE Built-in, to enable intelligence to be added and to drive scalable mobility and transmission.
between access technologies. That would means that different accesses would, instead of being allied to specific core networks as now (PSC, EPC etc) could benefit from common 5G core network functions and therefore from a common core network/RAN interface. METIS-II labels this new interface S1*. It will have to support: • E nd-to-end (E2E) Network Slicing where each slice may have its own set of core network functions • New 5G services with diverging requirements where core functions can be optimised for a specific service • Enhanced multi-RAT integration with common core network functions where some could be designed to be independent of the access • Potentially new User/Control Plane splits in the 5G core network (designed to follow an SDN/NFVnative architecture) • A new “Connected Inactive” state, optimised for battery savings but enabling a fast transition to connected state Aside from integration within the 5G air interface, another evolved interface may emerge to facilitate the integration of new 5G air interfaces with evolved LTE-A. Within the RAN, METIS-II initially envisions a new inter-node RAN interface, called X2*. This interface would provide features such as: • Inter-node multi-connectivity and mobility among the multiple carriers (such as mmWave and lower frequency variants • Inter-node multi-connectivity and mobility among the new 5G air interface and LTE-A evolution
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ALMOST AS SOON AS IT STARTED LOOKING AT WHAT IT REQUIRED OF 5G AND THE 5G ECOSYSTEM, THE OPERATOR ASSOCIATION NGMN SAID THAT IT WANTED TO SEE A DIFFERENT PATENT LANDSCAPE FOR 5G TECHNOLOGY THAN THAT WITHIN WHICH IT HAD OPERATED IN 3G AND 4G.
POOLS & PATENTS
FEATURE: 5G IPRS
One thing that NGMN, the body that sees itself as leading on operators’ requirements on 5G, would like to see happen differently in 5G compared to 4G is the patent regime. The operators involved would like to see 5G act as an enabling technology for other industries, and avoid being seen as too expensive. The organisation has said that it would like to improve Standard Essential patent declarations “in order to improve transparency and limit abusive patent declarations related to 5G standards”. It would also like to see independent assessment prior to licensing, and that it would like to “explore and establish” a patent pool framework. The attraction of a patent pool is that developers don’t have to chase “IPRs”, or see themselves being mugged by undeclared IPRs. It’s early days, though, with NGMN just starting to talk to industry to develop plans for a 5G IPR ecosystem. The group set up an IPR team to engage with relevant industry partners to develop implementation plans for the 5G IPR recommendations. It aims to improve 5G Standard Essential Patent (SEP) declarations, which are already in use, and to establish independent 5G SEP assessments. Furthermore, NGMN recommends to explore and to establish an appropriate 5G patent pool framework. In addition the IPR team will also address the emerging need for software licensing in the mobile industry and, in particular, as regards Open Source. It said, “With reference to IPR, NGMN is developing recommendations and an implementation strategy supporting a more transparent and predictable IPR eco-system for 5G Standards Essential Patents (SEP) across industries that will support sustainable implementation of 5G technologies
FEATURE: 5G IPRS
and ensure that innovation is stimulated and innovators appropriately rewarded.” One of the business objectives is to make 5G accessible for all types of devices from high-end smartphones and tablets down to low-end MTC (Machine Type Communication) devices such as smoke detectors and sensors. So far very few companies have made any public comment about their plans for how they will license technology they develop for 5G. However, there is one major exception. Ericsson has said that it expects to receive between $2.5 and $5 in royalties for every device that is compliant with 5G New Radio standards. The company released a statement outlining what it intends to ask of device manufacturers to access its Standard Essential Patents under FRAND terms. As the first standards for 5G new radio are not due to be frozen into 3GPP’s R15 until mid-June 2018, Ericsson’s announcement is an unusual one. It may be that the decision to announce these terms publicly is an indication that Ericsson is looking to avoid the fate of some mobile wireless chip makers, which have come under fire in recent months for their own licensing practices. As Ericsson noted, it wants to ensure that its licensing framework operates with a good deal of transparency and establishes predictable licensing terms. The framework establishes a maximum royalty of $5 per 5G/NR multimode compliant handset which practices the technology covered by Ericsson’s SEP portfolio. Ericsson is also offering rates as low as $2.5 per 5G/NR handset to license the SEPs for the sale of handsets in market segments which have low average sales prices for the handsets. Is it for a patent pool? TMN asked: “Is Ericsson involved in any efforts to put together a patent pool for 5G IPR — as proposed as a preferred path by operator group NGMN?” Ericsson would say only: “We are part of this
discussion in the IPR group of NGMN.” However, Nokia told TMN that it was not in favour of patent pools:” Nokia is a leading contributor to the development of 5G, for which the standard has yet to be finalised. The details of our future licensing programs for 5G, including whether to make any public announcement of royalty rates, are still under consideration. As to the question of pools, we generally manage our own licensing programs for standardised technologies and we believe that this will continue to be the best approach for us in future.” When you put a patent in a pool, that comes with a certain amount of responsibility. You can’t use that patent against any of the other members in the pool. It also simplifies the distribution of licenses. Instead of having to go to 100 different sources and patent owners to say I have something I’d like to put on a market, I need a license from all of you, you can go to a single source and they will say we’re going to charge you a flat licensing fee for the entire standard and you’ll be protected, nobody who owns patents in that pool will come after you. The funds are redistributed based on the agreement in the patent pool. How that happens is, they set a number of dates and with each milestone, the amount of money you get from the pool decreases as the standard gets more refined. The guys who were there at the start of the standard get a bigger cut, and as we move towards revisions of the standards where we’re really talking about minor refinements, the people who are coming up with intellectual property there and submitting it are getting a smaller cut. Patent attorney Denis Keseris, Partner at Withers Rogers, says, “It could be beneficial to 5G. One of the keys
“IT IS LIKELY THAT 5G IS GOING TO GROW VERY MUCH IN THE SAME WAY THAT 4G GREW.”
to a successful patent pool is getting a bunch of really big players at the start. Getting three or four really major players who who pretty much own all the intellectual property from the start who say “we’re going to create a standard”. That is easier to do when you are working in a vacuum, where interoperability is not an issue. “Because there is so much up for grabs, it may be that the big guys just compete and let ETSI continue to be the steward and evolve into 5G in a piecemeal fashion, which is pretty much what happened between 3G, 4G and LTE in incremental steps, and may very well be the case for 5G as well.” “Doing it that way does not have the benefits of the patent pool because you’re signing up to ETSI’s FRAND agreement and most companies have different versions of FRAND. They see FRAND as different and there’s no worldwide definition although some companies are trying to push for that.”
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