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Understanding The 5G New Radio
May 17, 2017 | By Barkan Ersoy @ Vodafone UK
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We are pleased to share with you all an interesting article contributed by Barkan Ersoy. 

 
 

Barkan Ersoy

Senior Traffic & Performance Modelling Engineer

at Vodafone UK

 

All Articles by Barkan Ersoy 

 
     
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The Telecom industry is certainly very eager to deploy 5G services with the support of ultra-high capacity and very low latency next generation networks. But before we get too excited and be prepared to see some commercial availability, 5G technologies do need to be standardized. This is currently being looked after by the 3GPP. This group covers many areas such as the inter-working of 5G with different technologies, quality of service and many other low level technical topics. Although the main study items can be categorised under three branches. Radio Access, Core Transport Network and Services. In this article I will try to discuss the future outlook and look into the New Radio paradigm.

 

How Precise Can We Be On Predicting the Future Of 5G?

 

There are three major pillars we can identify today for 5G development. First is enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) which is expected to bring data connectivity to a whole new level. Second is mission critical services such as latency critical communications as well as extreme reliability apps like robots, medical technology applications. Third one is the stuff revolving around the Internet of Things where we expect a huge density of devices with potentially quite low data rate requirement. These are all very diverse types of applications and 5G will be the umbrella technology that will try to cover all.

 

As much as we can identify the areas where we can see opportunity in 5G deployment, it is also very difficult to predict precisely the future outlook and the shift in consumer behaviour in a detailed and a scientific way due to the complex nature of emerging technologies.

 

Let’s remember when the LTE standardization work had started back in 2004. It was certainly before the “smart phone era” and we only had predictions on how penetration would be and what the drivers such as the video and innovative apps evolve into and push the mobile users to consume more data. That is why we needed to be creative on putting together the principles of the next generation technology.

 

The situation I reckon looks pretty similar today. We know that we would like to go to a new level and the use cases such as the self-driving cars, autonomous transportation, medical apps, public safety etc are pretty demanding. And we also do know there is an emerging area of private IoT network where there will be massive connection requirement. For this reason, the ambition of the groups like the 3GPP is to create a very efficient environment from day-1 and cover the requirements as outlined by IMT-2020, similar to the initial phases of 3G/4G networks.

 

There was also one interesting outcome from the plenary in Dubrovnik, Croatia. 3GPP have also agreed on an item which considers the 5G operation on the unlicensed bands.

 

Can New Radio on Unlicensed Bring Something New To The Table?

 

The idea in a nutshell with 5G NR is to introduce a considerably lower cost-per-bit with new latency levels, reliability and security. The whole architecture is being designed in a way that it will be scaled to connect the massive number of IoT devices and offer innovative services not only in telecoms but also in vertical sectors such as health, automotive, public safety etc.

 

Let’s briefly look at what has been already decided in previous plenaries of the 3GPP. We know that the Release 14 will be the upcoming one and will be focusing on the enhancements such as inter-band / 4-band carrier aggregation, V2X (vehicle to everything) services. We are expecting the functional freeze dates of these to be around June 17 which is pretty soon. Then we also know that the Release 15 is ongoing and the work items have already started together with the normative work for NR. This will continue until June 18.

 

Some initial 5G NR requirements are as below.

 

 

Because of vendors’ and operators’ appetite to have some deployment as soon as possible, 3GPP have also decided to have a non-standalone operation ready around December this year, that will pretty much rely on LTE as a “control plane anchor” for the tasks like the mobility management via the existing EPC. Then the standalone will follow to realize fully the target use cases such as the eMBB and URLCC with the frequencies ranging above and below 6 GHz.

 

There is a growing interest to the unlicensed spectrum and new paradigms that may come with the NR and this is currently an open study item. The final scope of this is very broad and still TBD. Having access to the spectrum towards the unlicensed will extend the reach of the service within a particular geography because it will cover the bands from low to millimetre wave.

 

 

But the problem there in the unlicensed region is that there is no arbitration whatsoever and the utilization is far from optimal. Especially when pushed to very high loads it is extremely inefficient as the users there are treated equally. When it is not available you simply cannot access. While the licensed spectrum –obviously the best and the most expensive one to have- is fully regulated and the operator has the exclusive rights of access that no one else is allowed to get in. So the main differentiator there is the guaranteed QoS.

 

Between these 2 extremes there is spectrum sharing and actually it is historically not a new thing. We can give 2.3 GHz in EU and 3.5 GHz in the US as examples to this. There are now ways with the new paradigms and features to bring QoS also to the shared spectrum. One interesting example as discussed in one of Qualcomm’s NR webinars by Juan Montojo would be a type of an “vertical sharing” which would always favour the high priority operator but at the same time allow an opportunistic access to the secondary one for the leftover resources. Another model would be the “horizontal sharing” where everyone is same like in the Wi-Fi but sme particular types of devices in the shared spectrum are targeted. So some QoS considerations may be applied.

 

So the initial impression is that as we improve the QoS gap, with the combination of the two models explained above and the innovative and creative approaches, shared spectrum can actually have potential to bring something new to the table.

 

When combined with technologies like CoMP where all cells cooperate in the transmission creating a joint force, the potential gain would be even more attractive. It is exciting that the 3GPP is considering NR in unlicensed spectrum and I believe it will bring wide range of opportunities.

 
     
Suman (Tata Communications) via LinkedIn 2017-06-11 20:31:02

Nicely presented.. 
Good info..

Marcos (Huawei) via LinkedIn 2017-06-11 20:32:23

I think not only the Telecom industry but also the whole world is certainly too eager to deploy it across multiple areas of the human knowledge.

Oussama (GET WIRELESS) via LinkedIn 2017-06-11 20:33:43

Sound great. Thnk u very much

Carlos (Vodafone) via LinkedIn 2017-06-11 20:34:46

Very interesting article about what we can expect from 5G in the close future

Mahmoud (Wadi.com) via LinkedIn 2017-06-11 20:36:33

V.good demonstration article

Susan (Repsol) via LinkedIn 2017-06-11 20:38:14

Good summary. Thanks for sharing!

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