SAN JOSE, Calif. — The European Commission officially formed the 5G Public-Private Partnership Association (5GPPP), aiming to accelerate work on fifth-generation cellular networks for 2020 and beyond. The effort follows the footsteps of the 3GPP, a de facto standards group that develops the specifications for today's Long-Term Evolution (LTE) nets.
5GPPP is not the only group expected to work on standards for next-generation cellular networks, but it could become one of the most influential. For example, China successfully led a global effort to develop a variant of LTE after marginal success creating a version of 3G cellular.
Earlier this year a forerunner of Europe's new 5GPPP group published a draft proposal for 5G. It laid out a broad vision and research agenda for next-generation cellular networks.
A group of 24 carriers, system makers, and research groups worked on the draft proposal. They included Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, France Telecom, Huawei, Intel, Nokia Solutions and Networks, and Telecom Italia.
They envisioned a future network that blends elements of wireless nets and cloud computing datacenters. The report described the end result:
Ten years from now, telecom and IT will be integrated towards a common infrastructure massively based on general purpose and programmable hardware that will offer resources for transport, routing, storage and execution. Network equipment will become 'computing equivalent' equipment that gathers programmable resources based on virtualization technologies. [These nets will] embed computing and storage resources in a converged infrastructure to orchestrate the delivery of IT and network services"
The draft said 5G nets should provide 1,000 times higher capacity that 2010 networks, presumably 3G, while consuming only 10 percent of the total energy per network service. It also recommended using emerging techniques in software-defined networks and network-function virtualization so new services can be created in minutes rather than hours.
The draft called for research across a spectrum of wireless, optical, and software technologies including new air interfaces that will be 80 percent more efficient. It identified the need for new radio technologies in channel modeling, access, and interference handling as well as advances in use of multiple antennas and sharing non-contiguous blocks of spectrum.
Officially forming the 5GPPP to carry on this work "is an important milestone towards an industry-wide agreement on use cases, requirements, and technologies for 5G," said Werner Mohr, who will chair 5GPPP.
"LTE and its continuous evolution will be sufficient until the end of the decade. However, after 2020 a new generation of technologies will be needed to address market demands," said Mohr who also serves as head of research alliances at NSN.
— Rick Merritt, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, EE Times