IEEE 802.11ay: 1st real standard for Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) via mmWave

From December 2017 IEEE Communications Magazine (IEEE ComSoc members have free on line access)

IEEE 802.11ay: Next-Generation 60 GHz Communication for 100 Gb/s Wi-Fi

Abstract: The IEEE 802.11ad amendment to the 802.11 standard ratified in 2012 created the first multi- Gb/s Wi-Fi technology by using the large swath of unlicensed spectrum at the mm-Wave band. While enabling multi-Gb/s wireless local communications was a significant achievement, throughput and reliability requirements of new applications, such as augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR) and wireless backhauling, exceed what 802.11ad can offer. For this reason, building upon IEEE 802.11ad, the IEEE 802.11 Task Group ay has recently defined new PHY and MAC specifications that enable 100 Gb/s communications through a number of technical advancements. In this article, we identify and describe the main design elements of IEEE 802.11ay, including MIMO, channel bonding, improved channel access, and enhanced beam forming training. For each of these elements, we discuss how their design is impacted by mm-Wave radio propagation characteristics and present enabling mechanisms defined in IEEE 802.11ay.

Discussion:

IEEE 802.11ay, the next-generation Wi-Fi standard for the 60 GHz band (considered start of mmWave spectrum) increases the peak data rate to 100 Gb/s through supporting multiple independent data streams and higher channel bandwidth, among other advancements, while ensuring backward compatibility and coexistence with Directional Multi-Gigabit (DMG) stations (STAs). We use the terms DMG and Enhanced DMG (EDMG) stations to refer to devices that can support features of IEEE 802.11ad and IEEE 802.11ay standards, respectively.

Channel Bonding and Aggregation

The band allocated to unlicensed use around 60 GHz has approximately 14 GHz of bandwidth, which is divided into channels of 2.16, 4.32, 6.48, and 8.64 GHz bandwidth. The channel center frequencies for the 2.16 GHz channels are: 58.32, 60.48, 62.64, 64.80, 66.96, and 69.12 GHz for channel numbers 1 through 6, respectively [3]. Unlike IEEE 802.11 ad, which only allows for single (2.16 GHz) channel transmission, 802.11ay includes mechanisms for channel bonding and aggregation. In channel bonding, a single waveform covers at least two contiguous 2.16 GHz channels, whereas channel aggregation has a separate waveform for each aggregated channel. IEEE 802.11ay mandates that EDMG STAs must support operation in 2.16 GHz channels as well as channel bonding of two 2.16 GHz channels. Channel aggregation of two 2.16 GHz or two 4.32 GHz (contiguous or non-contiguous) channels and bonding of three or four 2.16 GHz channels are optional.

IEEE 802.11ay Physical Layer (PHY) Overview

Building upon the DMG PHY, IEEE 802.11ay defines a new PHY specification that includes both single carrier (SC) and orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) modulations. As described in this section, to support MIMO transmissions and channel bonding while guaranteeing backward capability, a new packet structure is defined in IEEE 802.11ay. The EDMG packet contains new fields necessary to support the additional capabilities defined for EDMG stations, as well as a redefined training (TRN) field that is more flexible and efficient than the one defined in IEEE 802.11ad.

EDMG Packet Format

A single packet format is defined for the three EDMG PHY modes: SC, OFDM, and control. This packet is shown in Fig. 1 with all of its possible fields. Not all fields are transmitted in an EDMG packet; fields are included depending on whether the packet is used for single channel or channel bonding operation, for SISO or MIMO transmission, and if it is used for beamforming training/tracking.

Figure 1

Figure 1.  IEEE 802.11ay packet structure.
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Project Goals (derived from IEEE 802.11ay PAR)

Task Group ay is expected to develop an amendment that defines standardized modifications to both the IEEE 802.11 physical layers (PHY) and the IEEE 802,11 medium access control layer (MAC) that enables at least one mode of operation capable of supporting a maximum throughput of at least 20 gigabits per second (measured at the MAC data service access point), while maintaining or improving the power efficiency per station. This amendment also defines operations for license-exempt bands above 45 GHz while ensuring backward compatibility and coexistence with legacy directional multi-gigabit stations (defined by IEEE 802.11ad-2012 amendment) operating in the same band.

Timeline

Project Authorization Request approved March 2015
Initial Task Group Meeting May 2015
Draft 1.0 of the amendment November 2017
Draft 1.2 of the amendment April 2018
Draft 2.0 of the amendment July 2018
Final 802.11 Working Group approval September 2019
Final 802 EC approval November 2019

 

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Editor’s Note on Different BWA proprietary specs based on mmWave spectrum:

A few of the recent high speed fixed wireless broadband access technologies- many are not referred to as “5G”:

1. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and Facebook announced they are working together to deliver high-speed internet connectivity with Facebook’s Terragraph technology through the development of a multi-node wireless system based on 60GHz technology from Qualcomm Technologies. Working with leading operators and manufacturers, this terrestrial connectivity system aims to improve the speed, efficiency and quality of internet connectivity around the world at only a fraction of the cost of fiber deployments. Qualcomm Technologies will integrate its QCA6438 and QCA6428 family of pre-802.11ay chipsets with Facebook’s Terragraph technology. This effort will help enable manufacturers to build 60GHz mmWave solutions using the unlicensed 60GHz spectrum and provide Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) to offer consumers in urban areas access to high-speed broadband connections. The companies expect to begin trials of the integrated solution mid-2019. It’s based on a pre-standard version of IEEE 802.11ay, which is described in this article.

IEEE 802.11ay: Enhanced Throughput for Operation in License-Exempt Bands above 45 GHz – Sept 2019 approval is expected by the IEEE 802.11 WG.
http://www.ieee802.org/11/Reports/tgay_update.htm

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2. Verizon 5th Generation Radio Access; Physical layer AKA V5G.201 V1.0:
The radio interface described in this specification covers the interface between the User Equipment (UE)
and the network. The radio interface is composed of the Layer 1, 2 and 3. The TS V5G.200 series
describes the Layer 1 (Physical Layer) specifications. Layers 2 and 3 are described in the TS V5G.300
series.
http://www.5gtf.org/V5G_201_v1p0.pdf
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3. Huawei’s “5G” BWA Terminal (announced at MWC 2018):
Huawei’s 5G customer premise equipment (CPE) is developed based on the 3GPP standards and chipset architecture. It is compact in size, low in power consumption, and highly portable. As the smallest 5G commercial terminal in the world, it supports C-band and mmWave. In Seoul and Canada, there have been the world’s first wave of 5G subscriber who use Huawei’s commercial 5G terminals. Based on 3.5 GHz and mmWave spectrum, users can enjoy a fiber-like experience of wireless home broadband services with the rate exceeding 2 Gbps.
http://www.huawei.com/en/press-events/news/2018/2/Huawei-Launches-Full-Range-of-5G-End-to-End-Product-Solutions

Dr. Wen Tong, Huawei Wireless CTO said: “The high mmWave technology can achieve unprecedented fiber-like speed for mobile broadband access. This trial has shown the capabilities of E-band combined with MIMO technology to deliver exceptional user experience in a full multi-call campus environment. With customer-centric innovation in mind, Huawei will continue to push the technology envelope jointly with our customer to deliver best-in-class advanced wireless solutions.”
http://www.huawei.com/en/press-events/news/2018/2/DectschTelckom-5G-High-mmWave-Technology

Finally, Huawei’s 5G BWA terminal (using mmWave spectrum) will be deployed by GlobeTelecom in the Philippines as per this article.

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BWA and 5G/Network Slicing:

Finally, it’s important to note that BWA is NOT a use case for IMT 2020 (standardized 5G).  That means that the candidate RIT specs do NOT have to meet any criteria for BWA send/receive or frequency spectrum used.

One IEEE member pointed out that with “network slicing” any high speed application can be a 5G use case.  The problem with that is there is no official standard for how 5G/IMT 2020 network slicing is supposed to work.  Yes, we know that ITU-T SG13 is working on the non radio aspects of IMT 2020, including network slicing.  But it’s from a reference architecture and functionality perspective, not a detailed spec for interoperability.

Here is IEEE’s position on 5G network slicing. and a survey article I put together.

One thought on “IEEE 802.11ay: 1st real standard for Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) via mmWave

  1. Too many different versions of millimeter Wave Broadband wireless access none of which should be called 5G

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