5G networks, now in the final testing stage, speeds up to 50 or 100 times faster than current 4G networks and serve as infrastructure for a range of industries. small antennas and the cloud to offer data.
Ultra-fast, ultra-high capacity, low-delay and flexible
“5G” is normally associated with ultra-fast, ultra-high capacity, low delay and flexible network architecture. 5G is also a lot about improved capacity, and app coverage (improved speeds up to 1 Gbps out to the cell –edge).
The exponential rise in the mobile data traffic volumes that we have seen in the recent years and the continuing increase in the upcoming years must be addressed by the vendors and the operators.
The new radio access technologies will be defined in the first place for the new frequency bands. These access technologies are introduced to optimally support ultra-high channel bandwidths in very high frequency bands above 6 GHz, as well as lower bands down to below 1 GHz and to support advanced combination of resources from different frequency bands. The technologies also support efficient spectrum utilization for massive machine communication.
As stated previously, however, the LTE evolution will be backwards compatible in respect to the billions of LTE terminals that will be on the market in 2020 and migration of new access technologies to the LTE bands in operation in 2020 can be done at a pace reflecting the terminal fleet at any time, quite similar to today’s re-farming of the legacy GSM bands.
The 2×2 MIMO technology introduced as standard in LTE, in which two individual data streams are sent simultaneously in the same cell by two independent antennas will evolve into massive MIMO-systems including up to e.g. 32 antenna ports. Having a large number of antennas – which is more practical in the higher frequencies – also allows for intelligent multi-dimensional beam forming, where beams of power/sensitivity can be steered precisely in the directions appropriate for the target device, while avoiding, as much as possible, the directions which would result in interference to other co-scheduled devices.
The standardization of 5G is ongoing in ITU (International Telecommunication Union) and 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project). For example, the radio section of ITU, ITU-R, defines requirements that 3GPP will try to fulfill with its specifications in the 38-series (Radio Technology beyond LTE).
In the figure below, interpretations of the arrows between ITU and 3GPP: the ITU workshop 2017 creates Requirements the 3GPP Study Item will create Concepts the NR ph 2 will create Specifications NGMN milestones are included as reference/proof that the ITU and 3GPP activities are in line with the operator’s expectations/needs.
Other milestones are the Olympic winter games in PyeongChang 2018 and summer games in Tokyo 2020, when both trial and (pre-)commercial systems are planned to be launched.
The ITU requirements IMT2020 will most likely be fulfilled by 3GPP specifications and approved as IMT2020 specifications.