5G Radio Access – the next step towards mobile evolution

Ericsson 5G
Nitin Bansal, head of Network Products at Ericsson India, says 5G radio access technology will be a key component of the Networked Society.

From addressing high traffic growth and increasing demand for high-bandwidth connectivity to accelerating the development of IoT, 5G will support massive numbers of connected devices and meet the real-time, high-reliability communication needs of mission-critical applications. It will provide wireless connectivity for a wide range of new applications and use cases, including wearables, smart homes, traffic safety/control, critical infrastructure, industry processes and very-high-speed media delivery.

The overall aim of 5G is to provide ubiquitous connectivity for any kind of device and any kind of application that may benefit from being connected. 5G networks will not be based on one specific radio-access technology. Rather, 5G is a portfolio of access and connectivity solutions addressing the demands and requirements of mobile communication beyond 2020.

Fundamentally, applications such as mobile telephony, mobile broadband and media delivery are about information for humans. In contrast, many of the new applications and use cases that drive the requirements and capabilities of 5G are about end-to-end communication between machines. To distinguish them from the more human-centric wireless-communication use cases, these applications are often termed machine-type communication (MTC).The capabilities of 5G wireless access must extend far beyond those of previous generations of mobile communication. These capabilities will include:

Massive System Capacity

Traffic demands for mobile-communication systems are predicted to increase dramatically. To support this traffic in an affordable way, 5G networks must deliver data with much lower cost per bit compared with the networks of today. Furthermore, the increase in data consumption will result in an increased energy footprint from networks. 5G must therefore consume significantly lower energy per delivered bit than current cellular networks.

Very High Data Rates

Every generation of mobile communication has been associated with higher data rates compared with the previous generation. In the past, much of the focus has been on the peak data rate that can be supported by a wireless-access technology under ideal conditions. However, a more important capability is the data rate that can actually be provided under real-life conditions in different scenarios.

Very low Latency

Very low latency will be driven by the need to support new applications. To support such latency-critical applications, 5G should allow for an application end-to-end latency of 1ms or less, although application-level framing requirements and codec limitations for media may lead to higher latencies in practice.

Ultra-High Reliability and Availability

In addition to very low latency, 5G should also enable connectivity with ultra-high reliability and ultra-high availability. For critical services, such as control of critical infrastructure and traffic safety, connectivity with certain characteristics, such as a specific maximum latency, should not merely be ‘typically available.’ Rather, loss of connectivity and deviation from quality of service requirements must be extremely rare.

Energy-Efficient Networks

While device energy consumption has always been prioritized, energy efficiency on the network side has recently emerged as an additional KPI (Key performance indicator). It be an important requirement in the design of 5G wireless access.

Spectrum- One of the major requirement for 5G

In order to support increased traffic capacity and to enable the transmission bandwidths needed to support very high data rates, 5G will extend the range of frequencies used for mobile communication. This includes new spectrum below 6GHz, as well as spectrum in higher frequency bands. Spectrum relevant for 5G wireless access therefore ranges from below 1GHz up to approximately 100GHz.

It is important to understand that high frequencies, especially those above 10GHz, can only serve as a complement to lower frequency bands, and will mainly provide additional system capacity and very wide transmission bandwidths for extreme data rates in dense deployments. Spectrum allocations at lower bands will remain the backbone for mobile-communication networks in the 5G era, providing ubiquitous wide-area connectivity.

5G is the next step in the evolution of mobile communication and will be a key component of the Networked Society. In particular, 5G will accelerate the development of the Internet of Things. To enable connectivity for a wide range of applications and use cases, the capabilities of 5G wireless access must extend far beyond those of previous generations of mobile communications. These capabilities include very high achievable data rates, very low latency and ultra-high reliability.

Furthermore, 5G wireless access needs to support a massive increase in traffic in an affordable and sustainable way, implying a need for a dramatic reduction in the cost and energy consumption per delivered bit. 5G wireless access will be realized by the evolution of LTE for existing spectrum in combination with new radio access technologies that primarily target new spectrum. Key technology components of 5G wireless access include access/backhaul integration, device-to-device communication, flexible duplex, flexible spectrum usage, multi-antenna transmission, ultra-lean design, and user/control separation

Nitin Bansal, head of Network Products at Ericsson India
[email protected]