Highlights of IEEE Globecom: Dec 8-12, 2014 in Austin, TX

Here are selected highlights of IEEE Globecom 2014:

1. 5G cellular:  5G is still in the development stage and not yet standardized by ITU-R.  However, there was lots of discussion about what it is and when it might come on line.  The consensus seems to favor millimeter wave bands (28, 38 and 72 GHz) using small cells and massive multi-user MIMO.  But as they say, the devil is in the details.  There is still lots to do in defining, developing and deploying 5G.  A good guess is that we won’t see this until 2020 and beyond.  Most carriers haven’t even started LTE Advanced which is the true ITU-R complaint 4G RAN.

2. Heterogeneous networks and small cells:  The small cell movement has been around a while but few have been deployed.  It is finally happening but there apparently are lots of options and some critical issues to solve.  Self-organizing networks (SONs) are a part of that effort.

3.  Internet of Things (IoT):  This mega-trend is already gaining market traction in many forms- mostly industry verticals.   Yet there is still some confusion over multiple standards.  Many wireless technologies are used including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, ISM band and others.  The new Bluetooth 4.2 and ZigBee 3.0 standards will boost their use.

4.  Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV): Multiple sessions attempted to define each and show how they will impact all future networks.  SDN/NFV seems to be one solution to the security problem as well as implementing 5G.  The transformation is just beginning but this appears to be a major shift in networking.  A fully programmable network is in our future.  Some other topics with multiple sessions were cognitive radio, Wi-Fi, sensor networks and fiber optics.

5.  Best Paper Award:   A team of researchers from Texas A&M University at Qatar, Texas A&M University and the University of Waterloo received a best paper award for “Semi-distributed V2V Fast Charging Strategy Based on Price Control.”  


There were few exhibits with only a few companies participating.  National Instruments of Austin, TX  made a significant announcement at the conference. NI introduced their LabVIEW Communications System Design Suite.  Dr. Truchard, NI CEO briefed the audience on this amazing new development platform uses a combination of hardware and software for prototyping software-defined radios and other new wireless systems.  It is already being used to test new modulation algorithms, 5G approaches and large MIMO systems.  Look for it to expedite 5G in the future.


IEEE GLOBECOM 2014 Industry Program Overview