Insight: Gearing Up for 5G

Posted by Mae Kowalke on Monday, June 01, 2015 with No comments

The UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU) recently established a 5G Focus Group, intended to identify network standardization requirements associated with the International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) 2020 initiative, Light Reading reported. The idea is that the networking aspects of IMT 2020 and 5G need more attention. 

Although there are now about 2,000 organizations, group, and associations involved with 5G in one way or another, The Register noted, ITU is the body that actually decides standards. Significant progress is expected at a meeting this month, followed by spectrum-related development at the World Radio Council in November. 

The assumption that existing network architectures aren't capable of supporting IMT-2020 capabilities, The Register added, puts pressure on standardization innovation that move beyond traditional 'convergence.' That's what the new focus groupopen to all interested parties, not just ITU members, is looking into. 

Meanwhile, Huawei thinks controlling autonomous vehicles will be a key driver (pun intended) of 5G network specifications, FierceWirelessTech said in a recent article. Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure systems, the thinking goes, will require very low latency (one millisecond) and fast speeds (10 Gigabits per second)--beyond the capabilities of existing communications infrastructure. 

FierceWirelessTech noted that, in a new report, Nokia Networks predicted that meeting future network capacity needs (beyond what LTE-based HetNets can accomplish) requires small cells using 5G frequency bands deployed with an LTE macro/HetNet overlay. 

Those requirements are part of a recent Nokia white paper covering 10 key rules of 5G deployment, which also includes recommendations like very large antenna arrays, use of cmWave and mmWave spectrum, and dedicated indoor small cell deployments. Collectively, these recommendations are intended to accomplish 1 Tbps per km2 capacity by 2030. 

All of this development points to 5G as a looming disruptor in the telcom space. Light Reading quoted Nokia North America CTO Michael Murphy as saying that the industry is at an inflection point involving video distribution, cloud services, and low-latency communications services. 

Murphy elaborated in the Light Reading article that we're experiencing a perfect storm for wireless operators to compete more effectively with cable companies and over-the-top (OTT) providers. 5G, he said, is a vector or the most direct line in sight to maximize investments made today to support the future. If it all works out as hoped, that straight line will prevent the need for other significant changes in direction over the years to come.  

What's your prediction about how 5G development and deployment will unfold?
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