MWC-2015: applicants for the role of 5G and a number of interesting innovations

    We are always interested in news and trends in the field of cellular communications - and the topic of 5G, by itself, is one of the highest priorities in terms of the development strategy of the telecom industry. We have repeatedly written in the blog about what features should be inherent in 5G, what may be the features of technical implementation . At the recent MWC-2015 exhibition, a number of companies presented their developments, claiming the role of the future 5G. Of particular interest is the fact that this is not theoretical reasoning, but rather specific experimental solutions. Some of them may very well turn into a new industry standard in a few years. We share with you the translation of a short review of technologies claiming to be 5G.

    This year at the exhibition quite often there were demonstration stands with the inscription 5G. Many tried to pass off their decision as the “heir” of 4G or LTE, as if this was already a resolved issue. This situation indicates the genuine interest of the industry, and demand creates supply from manufacturers. An inexperienced visitor might even have the feeling that a little more - and 5G would be put into commercial operation. Alas, this is not so.

    Formally, the requirements for 5G technology will be developed by ITU (International Telecommunication Union) no earlier than 2017. And it is unlikely that the final specification, like the first network that satisfies it, will appear before 2020. All technologies presented at the exhibition are more likely to pretend to become only part of 5G or some kind of transitional option. This includes the use of unlicensed parts of the spectrum (for example, the millimeter range), and the aggregation of licensed and unlicensed ranges, and LTE-Advanced with Wi-Fi, and all kinds of ways to increase the intelligence, reliability and security of the network.

    Meanwhile, the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) alliance published the “5G White Paper” document, which highlights various features of the future technology that many manufacturers want to implement. And apparently, much of what is described in the document begins to take on its first shape.

    The most interesting technologies demonstrated at the exhibition were presented by major manufacturers of network infrastructure: Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Nokia. Almost all vendors are unanimous in the assumption that 5G will provide a thousandfold increase in network bandwidth, so that you can connect 1000 times more devices. Of course, this does not mean that users will be able to download information 1000 times faster than today, but in general, the mobile Internet should become much faster. The process of establishing a connection should also be significantly accelerated. The idea is that the device quickly receives information, and then disconnects from the network.

    Such a solution will probably require a denser placement of cells and new network configurations. A number of companies, including Intel, have shown their options for increasing network density.

    A group of other technologies involves the use of a wider frequency range. Manufacturers offer to use both licensed frequencies, where LTE and previous technologies already "live", as well as unlicensed ones. For example, frequencies from the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, often used in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It is often proposed to capture the 6 GHz band (centimeter). Such solutions have been proposed by all major radio equipment manufacturers and even research groups like IMEC.

    The vast majority of players agree that in 5G a transition between licensed and unlicensed spectra will be imperceptible to the user. For example, the Wireless Broadband Alliance introduced Next Generation Hotspot (using Wi-Fi Aliance Passpoint certification). Visitors to the exhibition who had SIM cards of certain networks could even connect to these access points. At the same time, there was a “seamless” switch between LTE and Wi-Fi.

    SK Telecom has demonstrated a new radio access technology that delivers a peak performance of 7.55 Gb / s at 28 GHz.

    A company representative said that they focus on frequencies above 6 GHz, because this part of the spectrum is already used by WiGig, and the underlying frequencies are scheduled according to 3GPP requirements. According to SK Telecom, the key feature of 5G will be the use of a wide continuous frequency range. However, high frequencies have worse permeability and coverage compared to 4G, so it will be necessary to use relatively low frequencies.

    The company plans to focus on seamless switching between LTE-Advanced and any other new technology. Most likely, for the sake of better network management, they use the capabilities of NFV (Network Function Virtualization) in their solution. SK Telecom also plans to build a test network based on the 5G prototype in 2018, and the final launch of the technology is scheduled for 2020.

    Nokia swung as much as a 10,000-fold (!) Increase in network performance. Their technology involves the use of three levels of cells: macro cells, then a denser level and finally ultra-dense, probably using microcells. For the most part, the 6 GHz band is used here. According to Nokia, during the emulation a transfer speed of “several gigabits per session” was achieved.

    Also at the Nokia booth, a system based on a phased array was demonstrated using the 70 GHz band. An antenna with a high directivity coefficient simultaneously held 64 beams, each 3 degrees wide. It was very interesting to observe the movements of the structure.

    Ericsson showed a number of interesting exhibits. For example, you could see how a mobile device downloads data at a speed of 5 Gbit / s through a promising base station that uses the formation of wave beams. According to a company representative, 5G will not be some kind of new “explosive” technology. Rather, it will be a combination of various solutions implemented in stages. For example, LTE will be part of 5G, as well as technologies that use unlicensed parts of the spectrum.

    An important driving factor, according to Ericsson, is the increased use of M2M technology (machine-to-machine) and the evolution of the Internet of things. Their implementation will require a large amount of analytics and behavioral forecasting, increasing the reliability, adaptability and coverage of networks, as well as reducing delays. This is very important for tasks such as ensuring the performance of robotic vehicles, remote surgery and other remote work.

    Curiously, Qualcomm did not stick the 5G nameplate on the exhibits. They explained this by the fact that many of their new solutions could be a further development of LTE. In particular, the company is evaluating options for using both traditional licensed spectrum bands and unlicensed (LTE-U), as well as combining LTE and Wi-Fi bands, planning to use all these features in its future LTE-Advanced modems. Qualcomm also believes that 5G will be introduced gradually and in stages, and as a result we will come to a unified platform that includes new varieties of LTE, Wi-Fi and 5G itself. The platform will also include the use of both traditional base stations and a large number of small cells.

    Qualcomm also believes that it is necessary to focus on a wide range of possible applications, and not just on increasing network bandwidth or capacity. With the development of the Internet of things, 5G will have to provide the simultaneous operation of a huge number of devices, support new services and enterprises. The concept of “infinite network” also deserves interest, when user devices using cognitive technologies or machine learning choose from many possible connection methods.

    Interesting technology and innovation

    At the exhibition, many interesting gadgets and technologies were presented. We liked some so much that we decided to mention them in this post.

    Unlocking the smartphone with a look. Fujitsu managed to make a very compact iris scan module that allows you to unlock your smartphone just by looking at it. You do not need to bring the device close to your face, just the usual distance is enough. The recognition process itself takes one second. The primary scan procedure, when the device “remembers” the retina pattern, lasts about 10 seconds, and an LED and an infrared camera are activated. The technology is intended not so much to increase security (although why not?), But for greater user comfort. For example, so as not to remove gloves in the winter or in other cases when, for some reason, manually unlocking is inconvenient.

    The watch from which the child can call in case of trouble. This idea will be appreciated by all parents: a wristwatch with a cellular module, from which you can call up to five phone numbers simply at the touch of a button. The device is called FiLIP, it is able to use GPS, Wi-Fi and base stations to determine their location, so that parents can track their child on the map on their smartphone.

    Handwriting recognition by mobile gadgets . Qualcomm’s Zeroth project is to use “deeply trained neural networks” to teach mobile devices to “think” in a non-linear, vague way people do. In short, based on several key characteristics, the system tries to describe something in its entirety. And then they are interpreted to restore the image described.

    As you can see, there is no consensus in the industry regarding the future technology / technology package, which in the future will acquire the 5G nameplate. There are not even established leaders about whom it would be possible to say that one of them will “settle down” in our smartphones in five years. Yes, and the rush in development, at first glance, is also not observed. We will monitor the development of the situation and inform you about interesting news.

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