The 5G Advanced Release 19 is poised to usher in a series of advancements, building on the foundation laid by the inaugural 5G Advanced standard, 3GPP Release 18.
Juan Montojo, Vice President of Technical Standards at Qualcomm Technologies, outlined the promising prospects of Release 19 in a recent blog post, highlighting its pivotal role in driving system enhancements and broadening the scope of new use cases while laying the groundwork for the future 6G technology.
The 5G infrastructure market size is expected to reach $140.7 billion by 2032 with a CAGR of 32.2 percent from $8.7 billion in 2022, according to DataHorizzon Research.
Technical Foundations of 5G Advanced Release 19
Release 19 will concentrate on pivotal improvement areas crucial for the sustained commercialization of 5G. Focused on leveraging insights from deployed networks and devices, these enhancements aim to fortify the technology foundation. Key highlights encompass:
Enhanced Uplink and Downlink MIMO Evolution: The evolution of 5G massive multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) capabilities will prioritize uplink performance and beam management for reduced latency. The initiative targets supporting an increased number of CSI-RS ports and refining operations for Coherent Joint Transmission (CJT) under non-ideal conditions. Moreover, a tailored non-coherent UL codebook design will be specified.
Device Mobility Enhancements: Efforts are directed at improving lower-layer triggered mobility, including support for inter-CU Layer 2 mobility and conditional Layer 2 mobility. A new Study Item aims to enhance device mobility with wireless AI/ML.
Advanced Network Topology: Studies will delve into Wireless Access and Backhaul (WAB) concepts and 5G femto-cells to formulate specifications supporting diverse 5G deployments. The analysis will address missing functionalities for efficient 5G femto-cell support in Release 19.
Additional System Enhancements: A project on enhanced self-organizing networks (SON)/minimization of drive tests (MDT) aims to address mobility-related enhancements. Several smaller projects will focus on improving performance and efficiency across various aspects, driven by commercial needs and Release 19 progress.
Further Diversification of Use Cases
Release 19 is set to bolster new and expanded use cases beyond conventional mobile broadband and vertical services. Specific areas of focus include:
Ambient IoT: Scaling down 5G IoT support to accommodate extremely low-complexity devices without energy storage is a prime goal. Exploration will cover scenarios where gNB directly communicates with Ambient IoT tags.
Enhanced Boundless XR: Building on previous XR enhancements, Release 19 will further optimize traffic scheduling, device power efficiency, and latency, aiming to enhance user experiences.
Evolved 5G Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN): Enhancements are planned for both IoT-NTN and NR-NTN, focusing on uplink capacity, downlink coverage, and added support for regenerative payload.
New Advanced Capabilities
Release 19 is anticipated to introduce transformative capabilities shaping the 5G end-to-end system:
Wireless AI: Building on prior studies, Release 19 will support AI/ML for air interface and specific use cases such as beam management and positioning. It will also deepen the understanding of channel state information enhancement.
Network Energy Savings: Specifications will aim to reduce energy consumption, including techniques like on-demand SIB1 and SSB transmissions for UEs in various modes. Low-Power Wakeup Receiver (LP-WUR): Supporting efficient signaling for very low-power IoT cases will be a key focus.
Setting Foundations for 6G
While Release 19 is the final dedicated “5G only” release before 6G exploration begins, it lays the groundwork for key enablers anticipated in 6G.
Duplexing Evolution: Standardization support for subband full duplex communication will be a highlight of Release 19.
New Spectrum Bands: Exploring the characteristics of the upper midband spectrum for wider coverage capacity is on the agenda.
Integrated Sensing and Communications: Initiatives to integrate RF sensing with wireless communications to enable new use cases are underway, with studies focused on object sensing.
The comprehensive advancements in 5G Advanced Release 19 and its early explorations into 6G technologies promise a significant leap forward in wireless communications and pave the way for groundbreaking innovations.
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