This is part 2 of the blog series "5G and NFV." Catch up on Part 1: Rethinking the Mobile Infrasturcture if you missed it.
Specifications groups and technologists are defining the key objectives, demands and features of 5G based on new applications and services intended to be supported. So what does 5G enable that we don’t have today?
With fast download rates and low latency, innovative and highly-valued applications delivered over mobile networks are now supported, for example: autonomous driving, tactile Internet, virtual and augmented reality, multi-person video conferencing, real-time gaming and remote control.
While not comprehensive, the list below from the ATIS 2015 5G Symposium cites some fundamental capabilities for 5G that are challenging network architects:
- The Infinite Internet: 5G must give users a perspective of "infinite Internet". The network should have enough capacity and flexibility to meet the needs of services requiring extremely low latency. This implies providing a network infrastructure with an “always available coverage” characteristic and end-to-end latency that gives the user an “immediate response” sensation. For example, monitoring and sensor type services that depend on almost spontaneous feedback to signal /activate dynamic changes will require extremely low latency response times (< 1ms). The network must also appear as an ultra-reliable communications infrastructure that is secure and provides dependable Internet access with a “zero perceived” downtime for provisioned services.
- Super-fast ubiquitous network access: Users should expect to access 5G networks at 10 times greater data rates at anytime from anywhere. Target access rates are projected as follows:
- 10GB/s peak data rate ( for static users)
- 1GB low mobility users and a minimum 100MBs in urban areas
5G Use Cases: Source GSMA Intelligence: Understanding 5G: Perspectives on future technological advancements in mobile
The coverage objectives that 5G networks are required to support (anytime, anywhere) mandates utilizing network densification techniques and other approaches like dynamic selection of different radio frequencies and alternative access methods. These techniques will play a vital role in meeting the coverage expectations of 5G. They not only address the demand for mobility and access, but also meet the demand for significant increases in device battery life. The closer the device is to the access point, the less energy is required, thus improving battery life. 5G has targets to allow on average a 10 year battery life for Machine-to-Machine type devices (e.g. embedded smart meters and monitoring applications).
- New Services and business models: A wide range of applications will place significant capacity demands of 5G networks. It is anticipated that new types of services and business models such as the “Internet of Things” (IoT), Device-to-Device and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) will result in 10 to 100 times more devices accessing the network. IoT alone is expecting to introduce a billion new devices such as remote sensors that will connect millions of smart devices that intermittently send/receive data at very low rates (e.g. Intelligent Traffic Systems such as Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V), Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) and Self-driving cars)
- Scalability: 5G is being defined to handle 10,000 times more traffic than what is presently supported by 4G systems. In order to support new services that leverage cloud based resources scalability is critical for 5G networks. Demand for such services will dynamically increase or decrease network resource based on usage. Additionally the expansion of users and the associate volume of traffic (signaling, data, and 3D video) will require an elastic 5G networks that can dynamically shrink or expand its resources to accommodate changing network service demands.
- Heterogeneous Network Access: 5G will usher in new wave forms for Radio Access Technology (RAT), various antenna systems access techniques and additional radio spectrum to address the tremendous capacity growth needs of accessing devices. New business models will require an architecture that supports many flavors of small cells as well as macro cells resulting in a hyper densification of the air interface. Thus, it is envisioned that 5G networks will consist of complex Hetnets that use multiple-antenna system techniques (e.g. Massive MIMO, Co-operative multiple antenna, Non Line Of Sight), waveforms (single and multi-carrier), new frequency bands (i.e. Extremely High frequency radio frequencies - e.g. mmWave), and frequency context aware methods (e.g. cognitive radio sensing) that dynamically select radio resources to efficiently re-use the radio spectrum when possible.
Speed, low latency and mobility will be three critical ingredients to delivering next generation transformational services. Are the current networks architected to cost effectively to enable the transition to 5G? In part 3 of this 4-part blog will look into that. Let us know what you think by tweeting us at @Dialogic