Telecoms.com periodically invites expert third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Sandeep Raina, Product Marketing Director at MYCOM OSI looks at the current state of play in the development of 5g technology.
The birth of 5G was inevitable with the recent unprecedented, exponential take-up of data and video services, fuelled by social media proliferation and the widespread availability of smartphones.
Video today forms more than half of data transferred over 3G/LTE networks and is expected to scale upwards in the future. Mobile operators are grappling with the technical challenges of 3G and 4G (LTE) networks and while LTE held the promise of higher upload and download speeds, these proved to be insufficient for the growing demands of social media and video-centric services.
A new radio access technology coupled with multi-layered networks that can work in conjunction to handle high throughputs and increased data volumes at very low latency are defining 5G. Latency as low as 1 ms and throughputs up to 10 Gigabits/s are expected.
5G was born not only because of the user applications demanding low latency and high throughputs, but also the immensely popular trends of sensor based, connected smart devices that will flood global markets in the future.
The latest developments in the evolution to 5G include:
The growth of smart devices – 5G use cases are being driven by low latency and high reliability requirements of sensor based, connected devices of IoT but IoT traffic will not have the same bandwidth requirements and because of little human interaction, the reliability and availability expectations of IoT networks is high.
With the increase in wearable technology, motion based sensors, voice command and eye movement sensors, new devices and applications will emerge, adding to data traffic. As a result, the transactions between connected objects will be enormous resulting in 5G networks requiring extreme scalability, simplified operations and high reliability with effective feedback/corrective systems.
New breed of customers – 5G network operators will be challenged by a new set of customer groups – those that deliver hyper-sensored automotives, distant healthcare, smart city development etc. These consumers of digital network services will have high expectations of quality and push higher levels of SLAs and policy control. Parts or layers of the 5G/IoT network will need to be dedicated to these customers leading operators to use cloud based networks.
What technological developments are taking place?
5G infrastructure companies are collaborating with communication service providers and research organizations to define the new standards for 5G based on the above-mentioned use cases. These developments include:
- Radio access – 5G is initially eyeing higher and widely available spectrum bands (5 GHZ – 60 GHz) which offer very short wavelength that can accommodate the implementation of extreme MIMO (Multiple Input – Multiple Output) techniques
- In order to support IoT, the 5G network is expected to support multiple radio interfaces including low power narrow-band radio interfaces dedicated to connected objects. To reduce the latency to lower than 1ms, the radio processing stack will be simplified into the connected devices.
- Because of the short range propagation of higher spectrum bands to be used initially, it is expected that the design will involve ultra-dense heterogeneous networks that will be orchestrated in real-time by automated systems to manage the end-to-end service performance.
- The overall network will be simplified, with many functions disappearing. Backhaul and Core Network will likely merge, reducing existing difficulties in correlating data from disparate sources, but troubleshooting quality of service issues might become more complex.
- 5G promises to help communication services providers evolve into digital services providers. Digital experience will be key and can only be achieved through extreme reliance on real-time analytics.
Importance of assuring reliability in 5G networks
Reliability is vital in 5G/IoT networks. The acceptable level of service assurance for the above-mentioned critical applications is 100% but current management of mobile networks does not assure this high level of reliability. Many operator processes will need closed-loop automation to achieve this level.
Insights-driven, automated customer-centric, service level assurance will play a big part in ensuring reliability and the promise of 5G networks. MYCOM OSI is an active partner at 5GIC, offering its 5G and IoT performance validation tool to 5GIC, which uses tools that monitor and optimize the evolving network for indoors and outdoors coverage and performance. This includes network assurance systems that monitor and analyze critical design parameters like throughput, latency, volumes of data transferred, and other key evolving 5G design parameters.
By checking the performance of the 5G network and IoT network in near real time, the tool validates the design parameters of the developing 5G network. MYCOM OSI’s service assurance system detects the swings in design parameters and their impact on the reliability of service through bespoke, specific algorithms after deep inspection/ interaction within the network layers.
5GIC – leading global research in next generation telecoms
The 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey, launched in September 2015, is the largest European academic research centre dedicated to the development of the next generation of mobile and wireless communications. Bringing together leading academic expertise and key industry partners in a shared vision, the 5GIC will help to define and develop the global 5G infrastructure.
The University of Surrey is well placed to lead the development of 5G with a rich heritage within communications technologies, and was instrumental in the development of previous generations of communications infrastructure from GSM to 4G. Its core strength is its 5G Testbed, a unique live outdoor and indoor facility with a fully-functioning advanced 4G network which, over time, will be upgraded to a fully-fledged 5G system. The testbed covers 4km2 comprising indoor and outdoor environments and supports broadband mobile and IoT applications.
Research at 5GIC is conducted in close collaboration with its members, who represent all aspects of the mobile communications domain, and include the major telecom service providers, infrastructure vendors and device manufacturers. Their collaborative efforts to provide cutting edge research in technology and network management is unique in the creation of a world standard for 5G, which has the benefits of both lab based research and real network validation. The early results of outdoor 5G speeds attained at the 5GIC indicate the success of this collaborative centre.
Sandeep Raina leads Product Marketing at MYCOM OSI focusing on service assurance, analytics and automation in new technology networks. Sandeep is an experienced senior director in the mobile telecom industry for over 23 years, having worked 10 years with mobile operators and over 12 years with OSS vendors. He has directed product marketing and business development at Tektronix Communications, UK for Network Management, CEM and Analytics, supporting many global projects over 8 years. As OSS Product Director at Aircom International, UK, Sandeep designed one of the first CEM/SQM systems in the industry, and as Strategic Consultant at Telsim Turkey, introduced new mobile technologies and value added services. As GM-Network Planning at Essar-Swisscom India, he designed and operated India’s first 4 mobile networks. He has also worked at C-DOT, HP and Apple.