The road to 5G

5G promises all kinds of new options – using your mobile to pick up a phone call coming in on a landline, or using a tablet to finish a live show you started watching on TV.

Samih Elhage, president of Nokia Mobile Networks, recently said that the world will witness immense changes over the next five years. Broadband traffic will continue to surge as people go beyond video and take advantage of augmented reality and other emerging technologies.

To meet this new demand, Nokia envisions 5G as a system providing scalable and flexible services with a virtually zero latency gigabit experience when and where it matters.

In addition, 5G will provide at least a ten-fold improvement in the user experience over 4G, with higher peak data rates, improved “everywhere” data rates and a ten-fold reduction in latency.

5G is not just a question of installing more base stations and on the big day switch on a 5G network, explained Jan Liebenberg of Nokia.

To ensure everyone benefits from the full potential of 5G services in the next decade, the ICT industry needs to embark on a road to achieve 5G.

It is not just about new and many more base stations, but a process that has to involve and include many other systems from data centres to extensive fibre and point-to-point radio systems.

A fundamental rethinking of the mobile network is required to support all use cases and all requirements.

The network architecture must shift from the current network of entities to a network of capabilities architecture. Network models must shift from the current network-for-connectivity to a network-for-services model.

Network slicing offers an effective way to meet all of the diverse use case requirements and exploit the benefits of a common network infrastructure.

It enables operators to establish different capabilities, deployments, and architectural flavours for each use case or service group and run multiple network instances in parallel.

Software-defined networking and network function virtualisation will play an important role in this shift.

Virtualisation will enable separation of the software from the hardware and offer the possibility to instantiate many functions on a common infrastructure. With this approach, the infrastructure can be shared by different tenants and provide different services.

The 5G network slices must be designed from the ground up to offer and support classes of services.

This is a paradigm shift from past networks, which were primarily built to offer connectivity.

With this approach, the 5G network slices will have unique capabilities that are required for the supported group of services. Moreover, the capabilities of each slice can be dynamically optimised to meet the specific needs of individual services.

With LTE, mobile broadband has changed the way people use smartphones.

The Nokia evolution path from LTE to 5G outlines a three-step roadmap to improve many more aspects of our lives with enhanced mobile broadband and efficient and reliable connectivity for the internet of things.

4,5G, 4,5G Pro and 4.9G allow an evolution that protects investment for mobile operators.

These evolution steps are based on continued evolution of standards-compliant functionalities of long term evolution (LTE)-Advanced and LTE-Advanced Pro in 3GPP Releases 12, 13, 14, 15 and beyond.

Each evolution step enables not only incremental performance enhancements, but also new applications in areas such as entertainment, road traffic, public transport, energy and water supply, and public safety.

While many of these new services and applications are often considered as enabled by 5G, the development of viable business models and supporting ecosystems is a process of continuous improvement.

Piloting applications beyond smartphone-centric mobile broadband is enabled by 4,5G, 4,5G Pro and 4,9G.

This allows operators to start the digitisation process now and maximises the utility of existing LTE infrastructure and spectrum allocations.

By 2020, LTE coverage is expected to reach more than 60% of the global population.

In other words, it will have taken about ten years from first commercialisation to global reach. With that in mind, for many rural but also urban areas, it is important to get as close as possible to the 5G experience and performance with 4,9G, which uses existing LTE spectrum and network assets.

State-of-the-art communication networks are of vital importance for the sustainability and economic competitiveness of urban and rural areas.

To allow operators of public networks, enterprises and governments to create maximum benefit for customers’ lives, productivity and public safety, the journey to 5G can and needs to start now.

Last year the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s engineering department initiated an informal 5G forum which many industry players believe should be formalised with all industry players, government and regulators.

In a recent video produced by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, it is claimed that right now engineers do not know exactly what 5G is but millimetre waves, massive MIMO, full duplex, beamforming, and small cells are just a few of the technologies that could enable ultrafast 5G networks.

Source: EngineerIT 

Now read: Don’t believe the 5G hype

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The road to 5G