5G Americas, the industry trade association and voice of 5G and LTE for the Americas, announced the publication of Wireless Technology Evolution Towards 5G: 3GPP Release 13 to Release 15 and Beyond which outlines the progress and evolution of LTE technology and the developing 5G standards. With the U.S. approaching 90 percent penetration of LTE [Ovum] the stage is being set for a new technology frontier with the fifth-generation wireless technologies.
“Dozens of 5G trials are occurring around the world, and the process of information gathering by leading operators and manufacturers to feed into the 3GPP standards process is underway,” commented Vicki Livingston, Head of Communications, 5G Americas and a contributing writer to the report. “Both LTE and 5G will work together to form our connected future.”
3GPP’s strong history of standardizing the technologies that drive the largest mobile wireless ecosystems from GSM to LTE and now to 5G creates the backbone for this whitepaper by 5G Americas. LTE is expected to be the dominant mobile wireless technology well into the next decade with LTE-Advanced Pro in Rel-13 completed in 2016. The 5G Americas white paper provides a detailed discussion on the key feature enhancements that were included in 3GPP Rel-13, such as:
Enhancements to support Active Antennas Systems (AAS)
- Licensed Assisted Access (LAA)
- Aggregation of LTE and WLAN (LWA and LWIP)
- Low power / wide area coverage for IoT applications through Cellular-IoT
- Enhancements to previously introduced LTE technologies
- Advanced Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antennas
- Self-Organizing Networks (SON)
- Carrier Aggregation (CA) and Dual Connectivity (DC)
- Proximity Services and Device-to-Device Communication for Public Safety (ProSe/D2D)
The white paper also provides a detailed discussion of the LTE enhancements being worked on as part of Rel-14 including further MIMO enhancements, CA enhancements, enhanced LAA (eLAA), enhanced LWA (eLWA), Voice over LTE (VoLTE) enhancements and enhancements to ProSe/D2D.
Jim Seymour, Principal Engineer, Mobility CTO Group, and co-leader of the 5G Americas report explained, “3GPP Releases 13 and 14 provide additional innovative technical enhancements for the evolution of LTE as the 5G and LTE standards develop in parallel at 3GPP.”
Rel-14 and Rel-15 represent the first phase of work in 3GPP towards 5G standards with Rel-14 focused on the study items towards 5G and Rel-15 on the first phase of normative specifications for 5G. One of the requirements for 5G is the ability to optimally support a wider range of frequency bands in 5G, and in particular millimeter (mm)Wave bands. Given that radio accesses like LTE and HSPA were not designed to be optimized for mmWave frequency bands, 3GPP agreed that Rel-14 and Rel-15 will introduce a New Radio (NR) access technology for 5G that will be flexible enough to support not only frequency bands below 6 GHz but also mmWave bands up to 100 GHz.
The 5G Americas whitepaper provides details on 3GPP Rel-14 studies of the New Radio access technology, including Channel Modeling, RAN requirements, RAN technologies and potential solutions that meet a broad range of use cases. The RAN study item on requirements aims to identify typical deployment scenarios for next generation access technologies and the required performance and main functional capabilities:
- A range of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and their target requirements
- Several target deployment scenarios, covering enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC), massive Machine-Type Communications (mMTC), and also enhanced Vehicle to Everything (eV2X)
- Other requirements, e.g., covering architecture, services and operation
The studies, explained in the whitepaper, focus on four main RAN specification areas: 1) Physical layer aspects; 2) Radio interface protocols and procedures; 3) Radio Network architecture, interfaces and protocols/procedures; and 4) Radio Frequency (RF) and performance requirements. At the service requirements level, the 3GPP studies include over 70 use cases for new opportunities in the next generation of telecommunications systems.
The IMT-2020 process is in part driving the work in 3GPP to define a 5G technology which consists of a two-phased approach with Phase I focusing on 5G New Radio and Next Generation System Architecture studies (Rel-14) and normative specifications (Rel-15) by 2018, and Phase II including everything needed to meet IMT-2020 requirements in Rel-16 by the end of 2019.
Wireless Technology Evolution Towards 5G: 3GPP Release 13 to Release 15 and Beyond was written by members of 5G Americas and is available for free download on the 5G Americas website. Co-leaders of the white paper working group are Betsy Covell, Nokia Bell Labs Standards Manager, Jim Seymour, Principal Engineer, Mobility CTO Group, Cisco and Vicki Livingston, Head of Communications at 5G Americas.
To highlight the importance of the 3GPP 5G standard, 5G Americas has partnered with FierceWireless for a luncheon event on February 27 at the Mobile World Congress. 5G Evolution: Transitioning from Fixed to Mobile will be the topic of discussion by expert panelists from Qualcomm, Deutsche Telecom and Verizon joined by Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas. The FierceWireless event is available for registration.
About 5G Americas: The Voice of 5G and LTE for the Americas
5G Americas is an industry trade organization composed of leading telecommunications service providers and manufacturers. The organization's mission is to advocate for and foster the advancement and full capabilities of LTE wireless technology and its evolution beyond to 5G, throughout the ecosystem's networks, services, applications and wirelessly connected devices in the Americas. 5G Americas is invested in developing a connected wireless community while leading 5G development for all the Americas. 5G Americas is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington. More information is available at www.5gamericas.org.