5G Americas, a prominent advocate for 5G and future technologies, has published a white paper titled ‘3GPP Technology Trends.’ This document offers an in-depth exploration of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and its progression towards 5G-Advanced, commencing with Release 18 (NR Rel-18).
Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas, emphasized the significance of the enhancements introduced in 3GPP Release 17, including improved uplink coverage, precision positioning, and robust power-saving features.
Chris Pearson noted that these advancements signify more than mere technological progress; they represent a significant stride towards a future where connectivity seamlessly integrates into daily life.
The white paper on 3GPP Technology Trends sheds light on the transformative effects of NR Rel-17 on cellular networks and the broader technology landscape. It lays the foundation for a deeper exploration of 5G-Advanced, marked by groundbreaking applications like the metaverse (including extended reality (XR) and digital twins), Reduced Capacity (RedCap), integrated sensing and communication (ISAC), and ambient IoT. Furthermore, the document underscores the pivotal role of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) in facilitating the transition from 5G-Advanced to the emerging era of 6G.
Dr. Christina Chaccour, Network Solutions Manager at Ericsson and co-leader of the white paper’s working group, stated, “5G Advanced, heralded by 3GPP Release 18 and beyond, marks a pivotal moment in mobile communication, initiating the seamless convergence of digital and physical realms. This transformative era witnesses the convergence of XR, Integrated Sensing and Communication, and the profound influence of AI and ML on networks, sparking innovation and redefining connectivity.”
The white paper emphasizes the current trends and technologies that position 3GPP to define and enhance features shaping the way we live, work, and connect. The metaverse is highlighted as holding vast potential to augment human experience, impacting various sectors such as social interactions, healthcare, education, gaming, and creating new business avenues through virtual economies and currencies.
As technology evolves, enhancements to 3GPP RAN for XR will play a crucial role in optimizing radio resources, allowing for more efficient resource allocation and management. The integration of AI/ML in the air interface domain aims to establish a generalized machine learning framework, expanding to the air interface, radio access network (RAN), and overall system architecture. This expansion ensures versatility for accommodating additional use cases in future releases, including the evolution to 6G.
In Release 20, the study of 6G technology takes center stage, with AI and ML seamlessly integrated into the system’s core. Advanced technologies such as distributed learning, working in harmony with AI embedded in both network infrastructure and user devices, are expected to significantly enhance overall performance and user experience.
The white paper introduces specific frequency range designations for the newly defined 5G-Advanced spectrum, ensuring a commitment to meeting the evolving demands of the industry. The extension of the operational spectrum of NR, enabling operation above 52.6 GHz up to 71 GHz, is now included in 3GPP specifications, unlocking new licensed and unlicensed frequency bands for greater spectrum availability in 5G deployments.
In summary, 3GPP’s commitment to advancing telecommunications is evident in its pursuit of faster, more reliable, and versatile networks. The evolution from 5G to 5G-Advanced promises groundbreaking improvements, including reduced latency and enhanced reliability. Milestones in Rel-17, such as MIMO and Non-Terrestrial Networks, set the stage for comprehensive 5G development.
Rel-18 explores cutting-edge areas like the metaverse and Redcap devices, highlighting the pivotal role of AI and ML in shaping the future of wireless communication. The journey continues into Rel-19 and Rel-20, focusing on expanding AI/ML use cases and exploring 6G possibilities. 3GPP’s adaptability to evolving industry demands underscores its commitment to a sustainable and interconnected world. In closing, the white paper invites readers to explore the extensive version for comprehensive insights into 5G-Advanced and the corresponding 3GPP Technology Trends.