The 5G World Summit, along with the LTE World Summit, was held in Amsterdam on June 24th and 25th. It was a great opportunity to learn about the current status and plans of almost all the key stakeholders in the telecom ecosystem, including standardization bodies (3GPP), consulting companies (BCG), silicon chip providers (Qualcomm), telecom vendors (Ericsson, Huawei), R&D projects (METIS), and operators (NTT Docomo, SK Telecom). The summit also gave us the chance to interact with current and potential partners and clients. Nutaq is a key partner for industry leaders and academia working on 5G as it provides the most advanced 5G testbeds, including ones for massive MIMO and mmWave technology.

In this blog post, I cover some of the presentations delivered during the 5G World Summit.

Key enabling technologies

Let me start with presentation by Dr. Shahram G Niri, General Manager of the 5G Innovation Center. Dr. Shahram G Niri listed some of the key enabling technologies for 5G:

1. New air Interfaces (small cells)

  •  New waveforms
  •  New duplexing
  •  New medium access control (MAC)
  •  Higher order modulation
  •  Multi-cell cooperation
  •  Interference cancelation / utilization
  •  Massive and distributed multiple-input/multiple-output (MIMO)
  •  Multi-user (MU) 3D beamforming

2. Radio frequency

  • Millimeter wave
  • New licensing regime
  • Licensed & unlicensed band operation
  • Spectrum sharing
  • Indoor-outdoor operation

3. New network architecture

  • Mixed cell and heterogeneous network (HetNet) management
  • Centralized and cloud radio access networks (RAN)
  • Software-defined radio (SDR) / software-defined networks (SDN)
  • Separation of data and control planes
  • Integrated network (mobile + broadcast / multicast)
  • Network sharing

4. Intelligent and adaptive networks

  • Cognitive radio and network
  • Opportunistic and adaptive use of resources
  • Spectrum sensing
  • Automated networks / plug and play
  • Lower and smarter use of energy

Pre-5G trials

From JinHyo Park, SVP, Head of Network Technology R&D Center at SK telecom, we learned that two pre-5G trials have been conducted in June 2014:

  • Nokia: ultra-wide band (200 MHz) and high-order MIMO, FDD-TDD LTE-A Carrier, 3.8 Gbps aggregation
  • Ericsson: Super High Frequency (SHF) band (15 GHz) with advanced beam-forming technology

Full duplex radios appear to be key enablers for 5G. Kuma Networks, one of the pioneers in this field, was represented by Sachin Katti, Chief Scientist at Kuma Networks and a professor at Stanford University. Sachin said that until recently, radios could not transmit and receive at the same time on the same channel. Additive self-interference is billions of times stronger than the received signal. Sachin claims that Kumu radios can transmit and receive on the same channel. With self-interference cancellation techniques, we can achieve full-duplex transmission, thus doubling spectral efficiency when compared to currently available radios. All of this is achievable, thanks to a cancellation front-end from Kumu Networks, which can be added to the front-end of any radio.

Standardization directions

Mr. Dino Flore, Chairman of 3GPP RAN shed some light on standardization directions from a 3GPP perspective, mainly on Rel-12 and beyond. Some of the important directions include:

– Physical layer enhancement for small cells:

  • Higher order modulation, i.e. 256-QAM for downlink
  • Radio interface based inter-cell synchronization
  • Interference management and traffic adaptation for TD-LTE

– New protocol/architectural enhancements for small cells:

  • Dual connectivity
  • Mobility and self-organizing network (SON) enhancements

– Carrier aggregation advancements  (paired, unpaired, FDD/TDD, contiguous and non-contiguous)

– LTE-WiFi radio interworking in idle and connected mode

– LTE in unlicensed spectrum (for Rel-13)

– Low-cost machine-type communication (MTC), new low data-rate user equipment (UE) category (approx. 1 Mbps max throughput)

– Device-to-device (D2D) to enable proximity services for public safety and consumer use cases

Multi-antenna technology advancements

Very important from the perspective of Nutaq’s clients is the multi-antenna technology advancements, with massive MIMO and the use of higher frequencies as prominent examples. Nutaq recently published a dedicated whitepaper about its 100×100 Massive MIMO Testbed (you can download it from here).

Prospective 5G technologies

Dr. Mustafa Ergen, CTO, Turk Telekom Group – Argela, within its “Strategic path to 5G” presentation, lists prospective 5G technologies, such as:

  • Non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA)
  • Filter bank multicarrier (FBMC)
  • Millimetre frequencies / waves
  • 3D massive MIMO
  • Cognitive radio and spectrum sensing
  • Super wideband spectrum
  • Small cells and ultra dense HetNets
  • Multi-technology carrier aggregation

Moving forward

As stated on my first blog post about 5G, for R&D people like us, 5G IS the current technology, one that stimulates our intellect on a daily basis. Feel free to drop me an email to discuss potential cooperation on 5G: Moreover, to discuss your ideas and be up-to-date with the latest 5G developments, join the Towards 5G LinkedIn group, a group dedicated to professionals involved in the research of post-4G wireless systems.