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Network Transformation

Network Transformation

5G is expected to meet an important challenge: it will provide an end-to-end network and cloud infrastructure using network slicing. Among the network’s attributes are mobility, data speed, latency, and reliability. Each attribute applies to different areas and applications from the most elementary IoT to the sophisticated, such as Augmented/Virtual Reality.

Among 5G’s immediate apps that will run on a newly transformed network are radio networks using a licensed and/or unlicensed spectrum, small cells, macro LTE eNodeBs, fiber, microwaves, leased Ethernet, and satellite backhaul to name a few.

The following is a general and well-accepted grouping of use that will be supported by 5G:

1. Enhanced Mobile Broadband (Hot Spots/Broadband access in dense areas, General Broadband Everywhere, Public Transport, Smart Office, Specific Events, etc)
2. Connected Vehicles (Vehicle to Everything Communication, a sophisticated framework that targets security and accuracy based on ultra-low latency, speed, and higher data rates to promote high mobility, reliability, and scalability features)
3. Enhanced Multi-Media (to target users of Media downloads, PayTV in 8K or 3D and in general all Broadcast, mobile TV, On-Demand, Live, etc)
4. The Massive Internet of Things (targets the LowPowerWideArea of massive IoT apps for extended coverage and long-lasting battery life – this category comprises sensors, actuators, cameras, etc.)
5. Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Applications (automated Factories, Tactile Interaction, where humans wirelessly control real and virtual objects, Emergency Disaster and Public Safety, Urgent Care/Remote Surgery and others)
6. Fixed Wireless Access (Early 5G Deployments) will integrate FO for enhanced speed

The new 5G architecture brings improved radio units with a much faster air interface when compared to LTE and a new Service Based Architecture for the Core.

Network transformation

3GPP 5G Standards Group shows the roadmap:

The first phase of 5G NR will focus on Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) and Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communications (URLCC) use cases with the introduction of extremely short Transmission Time Internal (TTI), enabling basically 1 ms or less radio layer latency.

The use case with massive Machine Type Communication (mMTC) is foreseen in a later phase due to the recently introduced NB-IoT and LTE-M.

The 5G-RAN will include both a 5G New Radio (currently being called a gNB) and/or LTE Radios (eNBs) connected to the Next Generation 5G Core (NG Core).

There were Core Network Functions defined as well as Core Interactions and other Interworking Variants with Legacy Network such as LTE. That is additional to Network Slicing that has been made possible through Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Virtualization.

How will future networks provide people and enterprises with the right platform, with just the right level of connectivity?

Through flexibility and elastic connectivity. Technologies like SON (Self-Organizing Networks) and virtualization are enabling a change to take place in network architecture, allowing traditional structures to be broken down into customizable elements that can be chained together programmatically to provide just the right level of connectivity, with each element running on the architecture of its choice.

RAN technology will include (within itself) the Slicing, Cloud RAN and Radio Resource Control section.

Some examples of RAN network slices may include:

  • MTC - Machine Type Communication
  • Real-time local video (possibly handled by Mobile Edge Computing)
  • Public Safety
  • Mobile Health

5G system architecture has to be highly adaptable to meet the performance expectations in order to serve new and legacy use cases, services, business models, infrastructure usage approaches and radio access needs that will emerge with 5G.