Mobile Connected Devices 5G is coming but will it get here in time?

Smart Communication

Mobile Connected Devices 5G is coming but will it get here in time?

5G was the big topic at this year’s edition of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. But how will the fifth generation of mobile technology meet the demands and business issues by the time it is officially launched in 2020? Connected Devices 5G: And what will it mean for the future of real-time applications and IoT?

by Gerhard Kafka

Today’s mobile networks are designed primarily to provide mobile broadband. However they were not engineered to support the expected growth in demand for digital content and machine connectivity in comming years. Volker Held, head of 5G Market Development at Nokia, thinks that demand will far outstrip supply in terms of capacity and connectivity. “At the current rate of adoption, 3G, 4G/LTE, small cells, and Wi-Fi-like technologies will only satisfy about 81 percent of the conservative demand forecast by 2020,” he maintains. If more disruptive predictions are true, Held believes operators will only be able to meet about 75 percent of total market demand. Bell Labs predicts a global average increase in usage of 30 to 45 times from 2014 levels — with some markets experiencing as much as a 98 times jump over the same period.

Demand will far outstrip supply in terms of capacity and connectivity.

Volker Held
Qhead of 5G Market Development at Nokia


Connected Devices 5G Mobile Technology - Volker Held Nokia

5G is all about anytime, anywhere support for: massive broadband that delivers gigabytes of bandwidth on demand, for critical Machine-Type Communication (MTC) that requires immediate, synchronized eye-to-hand feedback for virtual reality applications that will allow users to remotely control robots, creating the tactile Internet, as well as for massive MTC that connects billions of sensors and machines, from watches to refrigerators, parking meters, and cars.
In February 2015 the NGMN Alliance, which currently consists of 89 partners from the telecommunications industry and the research community, including 28 mobile network operators (“Members”), 36 vendors/manufacturers (“Contributors”), and 25 universities or non-industrial research institutes (“Advisors”), published a 5G white paper laying out a comprehensive vision for the next generation of mobile communications.

What is 5G?

“5G is an end-to-end ecosystem to enable a fully mobile and connected society”, the report states. “It empowers value creation towards customers and partners, through existing and emerging use cases, delivered with consistent experience, and enabled by sustainable business models.”
There will be a large number of new use cases ranging from delay-sensitive to ultra-low latency applications, and from best effort applications to reliable and ultra-reliable ones such as health and safety. NGMN is focusing on eight families of use case:

  • Broadband access in dense areas – pervasive video
  • Broadband access everywhere – 50+ Mbps in all areas
  • Higher user mobility – high speed train communications
  • Massive Internet of Things – sensor networks
  • Extreme real-time communications – tactile Internet
  • Lifeline communications – natural disaster
  • Ultra-reliable communications – ehealth services

5G also will expand to new business models to support different typesof customers and partnerships. Operators will be able to support vertical industries by configuring individual networks to actual user requirements. Furthermore, 5G will use new network technologies and infrastructures to provide the actual capacities needed to humans and machines.

Connected Devices 5G : Infographic From1G to 5G

As this illustration shows, a new mobile technology enters the markets about every ten years on average. If this cycle repeats itself, 5G should be ready by the year 2020. That is also the timeline of the various organizations involved in the development and standardization of 5G.

In addition, 5G services will complement and largely outperform the current operational capabilities for wide-area systems, reaching high-performance indicators: such as guaranteed user data rate everywhere of 50 Mbps, aggregate service reliability of at least 99,999 percent, and the ability to serve over 7 billion people. Other benchmarks include:

  • Mobility support at speeds ≥ 500 km/h for ground transportation
  • Airplane connectivity – 80 per plane,60 airplanes per 18.000 sqkm
  • Accuracy of outdoor terminal location of less than one meter

This makes clear that 5G is not just another generation of mobile networks; it represents a whole new network concept that will enable ubiquitous access for cooperative, cognitive, and heterogeneous wireless resources, with fixed optical access reaching at least the 10 Gbps range. In addition it will make possible new functions and functionalities that will allow simplified and unified control. There is a shared awareness among stakeholders that the development of new communication networks will depend on the emergence of globally accepted standards for interoperability, offering economies of scale with affordable cost for system deployers and end users.

Standardization: work in progress

In early 2012 the International Telecommunication Union Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) embarked on an ambitious program to develop “IMT (International Mobile Telecommunication) for 2020 and beyond”, setting the stage for 5G research activities that are currently underway around the world. Through its Working Party 5D, ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector has finalized its view of a timeline towards IMT-2020. The first 5G standard isn’t expected before the year 2020. The detailed investigation of the key elements of 5G are already well underway, once again utilizing the highly successful partnership ITU-R has with the mobile broadband industry and the wide range of stakeholders in the 5G community. In September 2015, ITU-R finalized its vision of the 5G mobile broadband connected society. This view of the horizon for the future of mobile technology will be instrumental in setting the agenda for the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019, where deliberations on additional spectrum are taking place in support of the future growth of IMT.

The 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership, in short 5G PPP, has been initiated by the EU Commission, vendors, telecommunications operators, service providers, SMEs and researchers. The 5G PPP will deliver solutions, architectures, technologies and standards for the ubiquitous next generation communication infrastructures of the coming decade. The challenge for the 5G PPP is to secure Europe’s leadership in the particular areas where Europe is strong or where there is potential for creating new markets such as smart cities, e-health, intelligent transport, education or entertainment & media. The Architecture Working Group of 5G PPP is working on a White Paper with focus on the design of the architecture for the 5G era, which should be available in June 2016.
The current vision is that in ten years from now, telecom and IT will be integrated towards a common very high capacity ubiquitous infrastructure, with converging capabilities for both fixed and mobile accesses. 5G PPP has defined 19 projects in Phase 1. The core project Euro-5G coordinates an effective and efficient cooperation and integration between all projects of the 5G PPP, the European Commission, the 5G-Infrastructure Association, Networld2020 ETP, related projects from EUREKA, and related national initiatives to maximize the European momentum towards, and benefits from, the future 5G integrated, ubiquitous and ultrahigh capacity networks. The Euro-5G project will

  • Drive the 5G PPP goal to maintain and enhance the competitiveness of the European ICT industry in the 5G domain
  • Ensure that European society can enjoy the economic and societal benefits of these future networks through promotion of uptake and stimulating adoption and use
  • Monitor and analyze international 5G activities and will facilitate respective activities such as meetings, workshops etc.
  • Launch and maintain a comprehensive communications and dissemination program emanating from a lively and continuously updated 5G PPP.eu website including various social media tools as appropriate

The call for Phase 2 has just been opened with a deadline in November 2016 and will focus on a model addressing 5G Infrastructure PPP Strategic Objective, research and validation of critical technologies and systems, convergent technologies such as ubiquitous 5G access leveraging optical technologies, and Next Generation Communication Networks (NGCNs).

Connected Devices 5G: Ensuring the Technologies are mature

A consultation for the targets of Phase 3 (2018 – 2020) was already undertaken and was closed in April 2016. NGMN has defined a 5G roadmap that shows an ambitious time-line with a launch of first commercial systems in 2020. At the same time it defines what experts consider a reasonable period for all the industry players to carry out the required activities, such as standardization, testing, trials ensuring availability of mature technology solutions for the operators, and attractive services for the customers at launch date. The key milestones are:

  • Commercial system ready in 2020
  • Standards ready end of 2018
  • Trials start in 2018
  • Initial system design in 2017

The launch of 5G will occur on an operator-specific and individual country basis. Some operators might plan to launch in 2020 – others will plan for a later deployment. The first public trial of a 5G system is expected to be in operation for the Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea in February 2018. SK Telecom is planning the first network test as early as in 2017.

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Connected Devices 5G Mobile Technology

5G will build on earlier generation mobile technologies and will bring additional capabilities. Spectrum
bands already licensed to mobile network operators will form an essential foundation for 5G mobile services.
It is therefore important to allow operators to “re-farm” existing spectrum bands to 5G technology according to their deployment strategy. This will enable improvements in spectrum efficiency to be achieved and new capabilities to be introduced. Some of the described 5G features will require very wide channel bandwidths that can only be accommodated in bands above 6 GHz. The proposed frequency bands to be further studied include 6 – 20, 20 – 30, and 30 – 86 GHz.

Connected Devices 5G -CeBIT

At CeBit 2016: Prof. Dr. Gerhard Fettweis (center), Vodafone Chair Mobile communications Systems TU Dresden and Dr. Hannes Ametsreiter (right), CEO Vodafone Germany demonstrated the real-time capability of 5G with an artificial hand capable of remote control ling operations in contaminated areas. such as nuclear reactors.

Following the growing demand for spectrum for mobile broadband services, the World Radio Conference 2015 (WRC-15) identified frequency bands in the L-band (1427 –1518 MHz) and in the lower part of the C-band (3.4 – 3.6 GHz). WRC-15 took a key decision that will provide enhanced capacity for mobile broadband in the 694 – 790 MHz frequency band in ITU Region-1 (Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia) and a globally harmonized solution for the implementation of the digital dividend. The final assignment of the 5G frequency spectrum is expected during the next WRC in 2019.

Software Will manage Services

Software Defined Networking (SDN), Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), and Self Organizing Networks (SON) will be implemented thus employing software to manage services, hardware and infrastructure in an orchestrated and automated manner. Smart antennas with MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) and beam forming will ensure efficient usage of the available frequency spectrum. Small cells will help to increase the capacity. A completely new feature called “Network Slicing” allows operators to define a collection of 5G network functions and specific radio access technologies (RAT) settings that are combined together for the specific use case or business model. Thus, a 5G slice can span all domains of the network: software modules running on cloud nodes, specific configurations of the transport network supporting flexible location of functions, a dedicated radio configuration or even a specific RAT, as well as configuration of the 5G device.

With the present hype around 5G businesses should not lose sight of what’s possible with existing and advanced 4G networks. LTE advanced (LTE-A) will address specific applications such as e-health, IoT, and autonomous vehicles by meeting the special requirements such as low latency and high speeds. That means you can already design your 5G services today by using LTE-A features and migrate step-by-step to 5G when available.

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