Kevin Linehan, Vice President, Chief Technology Officer
The roll-out of any new generation of mobile network technology is never as simple as flicking a switch. Much of the current discussion around 5G is about its definition. But 5G won’t truly happen until it can actually happen in the network. Like all grand designs, obstacles need to be overcome in order to achieve that goal.
Like other industry commentators, my fundamental viewpoint is that 5G will be a “network of networks.” Network densification involving macro sites, in-building wireless, metro cells and small cells will continue on the way to 5G. This densification adds more complexity to wireless networks and demands ever more sophisticated infrastructure solutions. Managing these multiple network layers efficiently is becoming ever more important to deliver 5G speeds and throughput.
This guest post was written by Mike Hooper, Head of Sales at Eirteic
June is typically a very busy month, with a number of exhibitions to be attended. This year Eirteic attended TM Forum Live! in Nice and LTE World Summit in Amsterdam. The events created some interesting thoughts about how things are progressing around subjects such as: SDN, NFV, SON and 5G.
Mike Hooper, Head of Sales, Eirteic
Given that we are 5 years since the first 4G rollout and 5 years from a 5G roll out, it got me thinking about how we are progressing with the management of LTE. The rollout is happening but how are we managing it? Service Providers are still using legacy platforms such as IBM Netcool and HP TeMIP.
So as we progress toward 5G, how is this going to really change? How do we manage legacy 2G, 3G services whilst maintaining LTE and assuring future 5G services.
Can we really do this using 20 year old platforms?
Ahead of the 5G World Summit 2015, taking place on 24-25th June in Amsterdam, Mikio Iwamura, Director NTT DoCoMo & NGMN Work Stream lead, gives us his current views on the requirements of 5G networks and the services enabled by it!
Here is what Mikio says ““5G” seems to encompass different aspects and you will probably get ten different answers if you talk to ten different people. “5G” is a convenient term and everyone wants to talk about it, but after all, it will just be a marketing term. Companies will use the term “5G” to encompass whatever they want to call “5G” when the time comes.
I think it is about time the industry needs to define concrete terms that represent different components of “5G”. For example, 3GPP will need to define a term that represents a new radio access technology, that will potentially have access to the IMT-2020 spectrum, once approved by ITU-R. This will be a 5G equivalent of “LTE” or “E-UTRA/ E-UTRAN”. 3GPP may also need to think what they will call LTE enhancements, beyond Rel-13. Another aspect is the future core network. Including NGMN, various consortia and companies are promoting the “network slicing” concept, that brings along more cost efficient and agile ways of provisioning services with disparate requirements by use of NFV and SDN technologies. The industry will need a new name to address the system that has this capability. This will be like “EPC” or “EPS”, but I think “packet” will not be the keyword here. Something along the lines of “poly-morphic system” seems to better describe the concept.
Don McCullough, Director Strategic Communications, Ericsson
Ericsson made a splash at Mobile World Congress, describing and demonstrating their vision for 5G, and all the different use cases they envision for the technology.
Ahead of 5G Forum USA in Palo Alto in a couple of weeks, we had the opportunity to catch-up with Don McCullough, Director of Strategic Communications at Ericsson. During the interview, Don shared Ericsson’s work in innovating and defining the 5G landscape, their objectives and likely use cases for this next generation.
The 5G World Alliance is partnering with Informa to promote Best Practices in Palo Alto 5G Forum USA 14-15th April 2015 and in the upcoming 5G World Summit 24-25th June, Amsterdam.
The world’s first global organisation dedicated to the development and delivery of the Next Generation Worldwide Wireless Internet – known as 5G – was officially launched at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in March.
The 5G World Alliance (5GWA) is to take a holistic, integrated approach across all technologies in order to gain support for seamless worldwide networking interoperability – empowering the end user through a truly end-to-end experience.
Aslam Hasan, VoLTE/HD Consulting Program Manager, AT&T Mobility
What is the current status of VoLTE deployments globally and how do operators see this long awaited service impacting the market? To find out I spoke to LTE MENA speaker and VoLTE/HD Consulting Program Manager for AT&T Mobility, Aslam Hasan.
“VoLTE deployments are now picking up around the globe” he said “and South East Asia is leading the way. Countries like Korea and Japan have had VoLTE deployed for almost a year; whereas in North America all the major carriers introduced the service in summer last year. Carriers in Latin and South America are still yet to announce the introduction of the service. However, with the launch of iPhone 6 and more VoLTE devices we will be expecting more deployments this year and beyond in almost all regions.”
It’s no secret that mobile networks are under tremendous stress, and data capacity is at an all-time high. Consumers want and require constant connectivity and the standards have become very high, making operators play catch-up with the higher set of expectations from customers.
Take airport Wi-Fi as an example…just a few years ago it did not even exist, and today, customers are outraged when it is not available or it is of poor quality. The feeling has become that Wi-Fi, cellular connectivity and the ability to connect is no longer a service, but a common human right.
While 4G is reaching maturity as a technology the industries great minds are already turning their thoughts to 5G. Ahead of the LTE World Summit and the co-located 5G Summit taking place at the Amsterdam Rai in the Netherlands next week on the 23rd-25th June 2014, we gather together the opinions on 5G from some of the speakers appearing at the event.
We asked each of the speakers the same question: compare and contrast their responses below.
“What, in your opinion, will truly define 5G?”
Yousef Abu-Mutawe , CTO, Zain, Jordan
As Zain in Jordan prepares to launch LTE, its CTO Yousef Abu-Mutawe is already considering the impact that 5G will have in the future. To hear more from Abu-Mutawe be sure to attend the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 23rd-26th June 2014, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. At the conference he will be speaking in a keynote panel session discussing the path to 5G on Day One of the conference.
Zain is launching LTE later this year. What have been the main challenges leading up to this?
Growing the data network is a necessity in order to maintain revenues. Maintaining the value of the company require us to move to LTE. While voice revenues are shrinking, demand for data is increasing. In fact, data is becoming the main selling point and customer retention factor. Additionally, there is the need to eliminate infrastructure bottlenecks to ensure massive capacity and massive connectivity.
Corbett Rowell is Research Director for China Mobile, the world’s larger operator. Come to the LTE World Summit, taking place on 23rd-26th June 2014, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands to hear him speaking on the subject of “Towards Green & Soft: A 5G Perspective”.
Ericsson has said that China is set to dominate the amount of LTE traffic worldwide. Is China Mobile ready and prepared?
China Mobile is on track for deploying over 500,000 base-stations by the end of 2014.
Paul Ceely, head of network strategy, EE
Want to find out more about what comes after 4G? Paul Ceely, head of network strategy at EE is speaking on the subject of evolving beyond LTE on Day One of the 10th annual LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 23rd-26th June 2014, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. In this interview we find out his views on the impact new technology such as NFV will make and how the carrier plans to maintain its 4G leadership.
Do you feel any pressure for EE to be leaders in terms of network technology?
Our ambition and vision is to build the best network and best service so our customers trust us with their digital lives. And to this end we see network technology and more specifically LTE and LTE-A as a way to maintain network leadership. Technology is evolving increasingly quickly, both on the user device side and the network, and so to maintain network leadership we must maintain technology leadership.
Robindhra Mangtani, Principal Advisor- Mobile, Strategy & Technology Group, Ofcom, UK
To hear first-hand about overcoming spectrum challenges, come and hear Robindhra Mangtani, Principal Advisor- Mobile, Strategy & Technology Group, Ofcom, UK, who is taking part in a panel discussion on the subject on Day Two of the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 23rd-26th June 2014, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands.
What are the main practical challenges of making effective use of shared -spectrum?
The benefits of spectrum sharing have in the past been constrained by the difficulty associated with managing interference between services, which can limit the overall range and quality of service that can be achieved. Technology developments will include the use of databases and cognitive sensing to help devices decide which frequencies and time slots to use, based on a better understanding of how other are using the same spectrum band in their location. These approaches have the potential to improve the quality of service that can be provided by the different services sharing spectrum and are sometimes collectively referred to as Dynamic Spectrum Access (DSA) technologies.
Dr Shahram G Niri, General Manager, 5GIC (5G Innovation Centre), University of Surrey
Dr Shahram G Niri, is general manager of the 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey. We find out more what this institute is about, what he believes the main challenges will be in reaching a 5G standard. Dr Niri is speaking on Day One of the inaugural 5G World Summit is taking place on the 23rd-26th June 2014, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands.
Please tell me more about the 5G Innovation Centre? What are its aims and how it came to be based at the University of Surrey?
The 5GIC (5G Innovation Center) programme is the result of a successful funding bid made by the University of Surrey in 2012 to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), under the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF) for the creation of a sustainable and specialised 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC). The 5GIC is the world’s first dedicated 5G programme and an international hub for telecommunication research and innovation with a unique large scale 5G test-bed for network testing. The centre collaborates with key telecom service providers, network and device manufacturers and test equipment solution providers to create a facility that develops solutions and standards for 5G networks worldwide and generates significant downstream benefits for parties involved, the wider economy, and the community.
Senior Conference Researcher for the LTE World Summit, Informa Telecoms & Media
Although 5G is still just a vague concept, the hype around this next generation technology continues with EE and NTT DoCoMo both recently in the news showcasing their activities in this space.
Last week, NTT DoCoMo announced their plans for major 5G trials in an attempt to demonstrate the potential of 5G mobile technologies at frequency bands above 6GHz. The operator plans to collaborate with six of the industry’s leading equipment vendors – Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Fujitsu, NEC, Nokia and Samsung – each running in parallel on a specific trial as part of an overall proof of concept.
Furthermore, here in the UK, although we’re only just getting to grips with 4G (with even this being a long way off for most), EE have already shown signs that they’re already on the countdown to 5G.
Kamran Etemad, Senior advisor, FCC
Kamran Etemad, Senior advisor, FCC is speaking at the inaugural 5G World Summit, taking place on the 23rd-26th June 2014, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Here we find out about his views on making the best use of spectrum and the challenges and opportunities therein.
Unlicensed LTE: surely a contradiction in terms? How does this work and how what problems could it solve?
LTE-U is not a contradiction but a different way of using a technology that is primarily designed to be controlled/managed, in order to leverage the significant amount of unlicensed spectrum, to address exploding demand for mobile data capacity. Depending on how the solution is approached the added complexity may be limited, or large.
Perhaps the simplest and least intrusive way to allow LTE-U operation is to use it as a supplementary carrier to opportunistically expand the effective user plane bandwidth of a licensed primary LTE carrier, which may more predictably carry control plane signaling. The LTE-U supplementary carrier may be configured/activated dynamically through primary carrier for use as a downlink only, uplink only and TDD mode, in an unlicensed or shared spectrum. Some companies are proposing concepts aligned with this approach, while some may be considering a more Wi-Fi-like operation, which requires more changes.
Senior Conference Researcher for the LTE World Summit, Informa Telecoms & Media
5G is fast becoming one of the key talking points dominating the telco space and was one of the major themes to come out of this year’s MWC. Despite the fact that 5G dominated numerous discussions at MWC, there is indeed still much uncertainty over what 5G actually is.
Many argue that 5G is just a buzzword, however the level of debate around 5G at MWC indicates that it is no longer just a marketing ploy but is moving towards becoming something much more substantial with a growing number of associations and research institutions paving the way from LTE to 5G.
Narothum Saxena, Vice President, Advanced Technology & Strategy US Cellular
Narothum Saxena, Vice President, Advanced Technology & Strategy US Cellular, USA is taking part in a keynote panel discussion on LTE Advanced on Day One of the LTE North America conference, taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Ahead of the show he explains what the key aspects of LTE Advanced are and why the technology is so important to operators.
What are operators getting so excited about LTE-Advanced, and in particular Carrier Aggregation?
Carrier aggregation allows the operators to increase the bandwidth by aggregating different blocks and sizes of contiguous or non-contiguous spectrum which could be intra-band or inter-band. It allows for efficient management and utilisation of spectrum. For example, if a carrier has 10MHz of AWS (Band 4) and 10MHz of lower 700MHz (Band 12) spectrum they can operate two independent LTE networks, but with carrier aggregation these two different bands can be aggregated into one 20MHz downlink pipe. It’s a more effective use of spectrum that potentially increases throughput. From an operator’s perspective, this provides many benefits such as supporting higher number of users and apps of the future that demand increased bandwidth.
The LTE North America conference is taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Click here NOW to download a brochure for the event.