IEEE ComSocSV/SCU SoE New Event (free): Inside a Telecom Chip Start-up and its 4G+5G Base Station SoC

Date & Time: May 30th, 2:30pm to 5pm
Venue: Santa Clara University – SCDI 1308

Register at: https://events.vtools.ieee.org/m/421628

Agenda/Timeline:
⦁ 2:30pm-3pm Registration & Networking
⦁ 3pm Opening Remarks
⦁ 3:05pm-4pm Presentation
⦁ 4pm-4:30pm Panel Discussion/Conversation
⦁ 4:30pm-4:50pm Audience Q & A
⦁ 4:50pm-4:55pm Closing Remarks & Acknowledgements

Abstract:
As 5G evolves for both public and private networks, edge demands will impact the fluidity and constructs of 5G infrastructure. Mobile network operators (public 5G) and enterprises (private 5G) are confronted with a daunting fundamental challenge:

How to deploy a wireless infrastructure that can effortlessly scale across all future upgrades (e.g. 5G Advanced) and demands, without incurring the traditional capital and operating expense of a system redesign and rip-and-replace costs?

This talk will cover the starting point of all wireless infrastructure – the 4G+5G baseband System on a Chip (SoC). We will discuss: how a”soft modem” can scale with evolving infrastructural demands across small cells and macro cells, new application use cases, emerging megatrends (such as 5G non-terrestrial networks), market fundamentals impacting 5G deployments, and personal insights into the starting and evolution of a 5G semiconductor startup company in the era of AI.

About EdgeQ:

Five years in the making, EdgeQ emerged in 2018 as one of the very few semiconductor startups [1.] focusing on 5G wireless infrastructure. Led by executives from Qualcomm, Intel, and Broadcom, EdgeQ is pioneering converged connectivity and AI that is fully software-customizable and programmable. The company has raised multiple financing rounds, backed by world-renowned investors across all major continents.  See below for awards EdgeQ has received.

Note 1. There’s been a significant decline in funding for semiconductor startups over the past 10 years due to a maturing industry, high capital requirements, and fewer exits. In 2021, chip startups globally raised $8.3 billion in 263 deals, but in 2023, U.S. startups have only raised $262 million in 17 deals. There have been EVEN FEWER semiconductor startups focusing on wireless telecommunications as EdgeQ has done.

Speakers and Panelists:

  • Adil Kidwai, Head of Product Management, EdgeQ
  • Edward Wu, Head of Marketing & Market Development, EdgeQ

Moderator:  Alan J Weissberger, IEEE Techblog Content Manager, SCU SoE Scholar in Residence, IEEE GCN North American Correspondent

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EdgeQ Awards:

2023 GLOMO Award Winner

References:
https://www.edgeq.io/edgeq-debuts-worlds-first/
https://techblog.comsoc.org/2024/03/03/edgeq-demos-massive-state-of-the-art-o-ran-based-mimo-solution-at-mwc-2024/
https://techblog.comsoc.org/2021/08/19/edgeq-samples-worlds-1st-software-defined-5g-base-station-on-a-chip/

SNS Telecom & IT: Private 5G Network market annual spending will be $3.5 Billion by 2027

SNS Telecom & IT’s new “Private 5G Networks: 2024 – 2030” report exclusively focuses on the market for private networks built using the 3GPP-defined 5G specifications (there are no ITU-R recommendations for private 5G networks or ITU-T recommendations for 5G SA core networks). In addition to vendor consultations, it has taken us several months of end user surveys in early adopter national markets to compile the contents and key findings of this report. A major focus of the report is to highlight the practical and tangible benefits of production-grade private 5G networks in real-world settings, as well as to provide a detailed review of their applicability and realistic market size projections across 16 vertical sectors based on both supply side and demand side considerations.

The report states report that the real-world impact of private 5G networks – which are estimated to account for $3.5 Billion in annual spending by 2027 – is becoming ever more visible, with diverse practical and tangible benefits such as productivity gains through reduced dependency on unlicensed wireless and hard-wired connections in industrial facilities, allowing workers to remotely operate cranes and mining equipment from a safer distance and significant, quantifiable cost savings enabled by 5G-connected patrol robots and image analytics in Wagyu beef production.

SNS Telecom & IT estimates that annual investments in private 5G networks for vertical industries will grow at a CAGR of approximately 42% between 2024 and 2027, eventually accounting for nearly $3.5 Billion by the end of 2027. Although much of this growth will be driven by highly localized 5G networks covering geographically limited areas for Industry 4.0 applications in manufacturing and process industries, sub-1 GHz wide area critical communications networks for public safety, utilities and railway communications are also anticipated to begin their transition from LTE, GSM-R and other legacy narrowband technologies to 5G towards the latter half of the forecast period, as 5G Advanced becomes a commercial reality. Among other features for mission-critical networks, 3GPP Release 18 – which defines the first set of 5G Advanced specifications – adds support for 5G NR equipment operating in dedicated spectrum with less than 5 MHz of bandwidth, paving the way for private 5G networks operating in sub-500 MHz, 700 MHz, 850 MHz and 900 MHz bands for public safety broadband, smart grid modernization and FRMCS (Future Railway Mobile Communication System).

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Private LTE networks are a well-established market and have been around for more than a decade, albeit as a niche segment of the wider cellular infrastructure segment – iNET’s (Infrastructure Networks) 700 MHz LTE network in the Permian Basin, Tampnet’s offshore 4G infrastructure in the North Sea, Rio Tinto’s private LTE network for its Western Australia mining operations and other initial installations date back to the early 2010s. However, in most national markets, private cellular networks or NPNs (Non-Public Networks) based on the 3GPP-defined 5G specs are just beginning to move beyond PoC (Proof-of-Concept) trials and small-scale deployments to production-grade implementations of standalone 5G networks, which are laying the foundation for Industry 4.0 and advanced application scenarios.

Compared to LTE technology, private 5G networks – also referred to as 5G MPNs (Mobile Private Networks), 5G campus networks, local 5G or e-Um 5G systems depending on geography – can address far more demanding performance requirements in terms of throughput, latency, reliability, availability and connection density. In particular, 5G’s URLLC (Ultra-Reliable, Low-Latency Communications) and mMTC (Massive Machine-Type Communications) capabilities, along with a future-proof transition path to 6G networks in the 2030s, have positioned it as a viable alternative to physically wired connections for industrial-grade communications between machines, robots and control systems. Furthermore, despite its relatively higher cost of ownership, 5G’s wider coverage radius per radio node, scalability, determinism, security features and mobility support have stirred strong interest in its potential as a replacement for interference-prone unlicensed wireless technologies in IIoT (Industrial IoT) environments, where the number of connected sensors and other endpoints is expected to increase significantly over the coming years.

It is worth noting that China is an outlier and the most mature national market thanks to state-funded directives aimed at accelerating the adoption of 5G connectivity in industrial settings such as factories, warehouses, mines, power plants, substations, oil and gas facilities and ports. To provide some context, the largest private 5G installations in China can comprise hundreds to even thousands of dedicated RAN (Radio Access Network) nodes supported by on-premise or edge cloud-based core network functions depending on specific latency, reliability and security requirements. For example, home appliance manufacturer Midea’s Jingzhou industrial park hosts 2,500 indoor and outdoor 5G NR access points to connect workers, machines, robots and vehicles across an area of approximately 104 acres, steelmaker WISCO (Wuhan Iron & Steel Corporation) has installed a dual-layer private 5G network – spanning 85 multi-sector macrocells and 100 small cells – to remotely operate heavy machinery at its steel plant in Wuhan (Hubei), and Fujian-based manufacturer Wanhua Chemical has recently built a customized wireless network that will serve upwards of 8,000 5G RedCap (Reduced Capability) devices, primarily surveillance cameras and IoT sensors.

As end user organizations in the United States, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and other countries ramp up their digitization and automation initiatives, private 5G networks are progressively being implemented to support use cases as diverse as wirelessly connected machinery for the rapid reconfiguration of production lines, distributed PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) environments, AMRs (Autonomous Mobile Robots) and AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles) for intralogistics, AR (Augmented Reality)-assisted guidance and troubleshooting, machine vision-based quality control, wireless software flashing of manufactured vehicles, remote-controlled cranes, unmanned mining equipment, BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight) operation of drones, digital twin models of complex industrial systems, ATO (Automatic Train Operation), video analytics for railway crossing and station platform safety, remote visual inspections of aircraft engine parts, real-time collaboration for flight line maintenance operations, XR (Extended Reality)-based military training, virtual visits for parents to see their infants in NICUs (Neonatal Intensive Care Units), live broadcast production in locations not easily accessible by traditional solutions, operations-critical communications during major sporting events, and optimization of cattle fattening and breeding for Wagyu beef production.

Despite prolonged teething problems in the form of a lack of variety of non-smartphone devices, high 5G IoT module costs due to low shipment volumes, limited competence of end user organizations in cellular wireless systems and conservatism with regards to new technology, early adopters are affirming their faith in the long-term potential of private 5G by investing in networks built independently using new shared and local area licensed spectrum options, in collaboration with private network specialists or via traditional mobile operators. Some private 5G installations have progressed to a stage where practical and tangible benefits – particularly efficiency gains, cost savings and worker safety – are becoming increasingly evident. Notable examples include but are not limited to:

  • Tesla’s private 5G implementation on the shop floor of its Giga-factory Berlin-Brandenburg plant in Brandenburg, Germany, has helped in overcoming up to 90 percent of the overcycle issues for a particular process in the factory’s GA (General Assembly) shop. The electric automaker is integrating private 5G network infrastructure to address high-impact use cases in production, intralogistics and quality operations across its global manufacturing facilities.
  • John Deere is steadily progressing with its goal of reducing dependency on wired Ethernet connections from 70% to 10% over the next five years by deploying private 5G networks at its industrial facilities in the United States, South America and Europe. In a similar effort, automotive aluminum die-castings supplier IKD has replaced 6 miles of cables connecting 600 pieces of machinery with a private 5G network, thereby reducing cable maintenance costs to near zero and increasing the product yield rate by ten percent.
  • Lufthansa Technik’s 5G campus network at its Hamburg facility has removed the need for its civil aviation customers to physically attend servicing by providing reliable, high-resolution video access for virtual parts inspections and borescope examinations at both of its engine overhaul workshops. Previous attempts to implement virtual inspections using unlicensed Wi-Fi technology proved ineffective due to the presence of large metal structures.
  • The EWG (East-West Gate) Intermodal Terminal’s private 5G network has increased productivity from 23-25 containers per hour to 32-35 per hour and reduced the facility’s personnel-related operating expenses by 40 percent while eliminating the possibility of crane operator injury due to remote-controlled operation with a latency of less than 20 milliseconds.
  • The Liverpool 5G Create network in the inner city area of Kensington has demonstrated significant cost savings potential for digital health, education and social care services, including an astonishing $10,000 drop in yearly expenditure per care home resident through a 5G-connected fall prevention system and a $2,600 reduction in WAN (Wide Area Network) connectivity charges per GP (General Practitioner) surgery – which represents $220,000 in annual savings for the United Kingdom’s NHS (National Health Service) when applied to 86 surgeries in Liverpool.
  • NEC Corporation has improved production efficiency by 30 percent through the introduction of a local 5G-enabled autonomous transport system for intralogistics at its new factory in Kakegawa (Shizuoka Prefecture), Japan. The manufacturing facility’s on-premise 5G network has also resulted in an elevated degree of freedom in terms of the factory floor layout, thereby allowing NEC to flexibly respond to changing customer needs, market demand fluctuations and production adjustments.
  • A local 5G installation at Ushino Nakayama’s Osumi farm in Kanoya (Kagoshima Prefecture), Japan, has enabled the Wagyu beef producer to achieve labor cost savings of more than 10 percent through reductions in accident rates, feed loss, and administrative costs. The 5G network provides wireless connectivity for AI (Artificial Intelligence)-based image analytics and autonomous patrol robots.
  • CJ Logistics has achieved a 20 percent productivity increase at its Ichiri center in Icheon (Gyeonggi), South Korea, following the adoption of a private 5G network to replace the 40,000 square meter warehouse facility’s 300 Wi-Fi access points for Industry 4.0 applications, which experienced repeated outages and coverage issues.
  • Delta Electronics – which has installed private 5G networks for industrial wireless communications at its plants in Taiwan and Thailand – estimates that productivity per direct labor and output per square meter have increased by 69% and 75% respectively following the implementation of 5G-connected smart production lines.
  • An Open RAN-compliant standalone private 5G network in Taiwan’s Pingtung County has facilitated a 30 percent reduction in pest-related agricultural losses and a 15 percent boost in the overall revenue of local farms through the use of 5G-equipped UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), mobile robots, smart glasses and AI-enabled image recognition.
  • JD Logistics – the supply chain and logistics arm of online retailer JD.com – has achieved near-zero packet loss and reduced the likelihood of connection timeouts by an impressive 70 percent since migrating AGV communications from unlicensed Wi-Fi systems to private 5G networks at its logistics parks in Beijing and Changsha (Hunan), China.
  • Baosteel – a business unit of the world’s largest steelmaker China Baowu Steel Group – credits its 43-site private 5G deployment at two neighboring factories with reducing manual quality inspections by 50 percent and achieving a steel defect detection rate of more than 90 percent, which equates to $7 Million in annual cost savings by reducing lost production capacity from 9,000 tons to 700 tons.
  • Dongyi Group Coal Gasification Company ascribes a 50 percent reduction in manpower requirements and a 10 percent increase in production efficiency – which translates to more than $1 Million in annual cost savings – at its Xinyan coal mine in Lvliang (Shanxi), China, to private 5G-enabled digitization and automation of underground mining operations.
  • Sinopec’s (China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation) explosion-proof 5G network at its Guangzhou oil refinery in Guangdong, China, has reduced accidents and harmful gas emissions by 20% and 30% respectively, resulting in an annual economic benefit of more than $4 Million. The solution is being replicated across more than 30 refineries of the energy giant.
  • Since adopting a hybrid public-private 5G network to enhance the safety and efficiency of urban rail transit operations, the Guangzhou Metro rapid transit system has reduced its maintenance costs by approximately 20 percent using 5G-enabled digital perception applications for the real-time identification of water logging and other hazards along railway tracks.

Some of the most technically advanced features of 5G Advanced – 5G’s next evolutionarily phase – are also being trialed over private wireless installations. Among other examples, Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor is using an indoor 5G Advanced network for time-critical industrial control within a car roof production line as part of an effort to prevent wire abrasion in mobile application scenarios, which results in production interruptions with an average downtime of 60 hours a year.

In addition, against the backdrop of geopolitical trade tensions and sanctions that have restricted established telecommunications equipment suppliers from operating in specific countries, private 5G networks have emerged as a means to test domestically produced 5G network infrastructure products in controlled environments prior to large-scale deployments or vendor swaps across national or regional public mobile networks. For instance, Russian steelmaker NLMK Group is trialing a private 5G network in a pilot zone within its Lipetsk production site, using indigenously built 5G equipment operating in Band n79 (4.8-4.9 GHz) spectrum.

To capitalize on the long-term potential of private 5G, a number of new alternative suppliers have also developed 5G infrastructure offerings tailored to the specific needs of industrial applications. For example, satellite communications company Globalstar has launched a 3GPP Release 16-compliant multipoint terrestrial RAN system that is optimized for dense private wireless deployments in Industry 4.0 automation environments while German engineering conglomerate Siemens has developed an in-house private 5G network solution for use at its own plants as well as those of industrial customers.

The “Private 5G Networks: 2024 – 2030 – Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies & Forecasts” report presents an in-depth assessment of the private 5G network ecosystem, including the value chain, market drivers, barriers to uptake, enabling technologies, operational and business models, vertical industries, application scenarios, key trends, future roadmap, standardization, spectrum availability and allocation, regulatory landscape, case studies, ecosystem player profiles and strategies. The report also presents global and regional market size forecasts from 2024 to 2030. The forecasts cover three infrastructure submarkets, two technology generations, 16 vertical industries and five regional markets.  The report comes with an associated Excel datasheet suite covering quantitative data from all numeric forecasts presented in the report, as well as a database of over 7,000 global private cellular engagements – including more than 2,200 private 5G installations – as of Q2’2024.

The key findings of the report include:

  • SNS Telecom & IT estimates that annual investments in private 5G networks for vertical industries will grow at a CAGR of approximately 42% between 2024 and 2027, eventually accounting for nearly $3.5 Billion by the end of 2027. Much of this growth will be driven by highly localized 5G networks covering geographically limited areas for high-throughput and low-latency Industry 4.0 applications in manufacturing and process industries.
  • Sub-1 GHz wide area critical communications networks for public safety, utilities and railway communications are also anticipated to begin their transition from LTE, GSM-R and other legacy narrowband technologies to 5G towards the latter half of the forecast period, as 5G Advanced – 5G’s next evolutionarily phase – becomes a commercial reality.
  • As end user organizations ramp up their digitization and automation initiatives, some private 5G installations have progressed to a stage where practical and tangible benefits are becoming increasingly evident. Notably, private 5G networks have resulted in productivity and efficiency gains for specific manufacturing, quality control and intralogistics processes in the range of 20 to 90%, cost savings of up to 40% at an intermodal terminal, reduction of worker accidents and harmful gas emissions by 20% and 30% respectively at an oil refinery, and a 50% decrease in manpower requirements for underground mining operations.
  • Some of the most technically advanced features of 5G Advanced are also being trialed over private wireless installations. Among other examples, Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor is using an indoor 5G Advanced network for time-critical industrial control within a car roof production line as part of an effort to prevent wire abrasion in mobile application scenarios, which results in production interruptions with an average downtime of 60 hours a year.

In addition, against the backdrop of geopolitical trade tensions and sanctions that have restricted established telecommunications equipment suppliers from operating in specific countries, private 5G networks have emerged as a means to test domestically produced 5G network infrastructure products in controlled environments prior to large-scale deployments or vendor swaps across national or regional public mobile networks. For example, Russian steelmaker NLMK Group is trialing a private 5G network in a pilot zone within its Lipetsk production site, using indigenously built 5G equipment operating in Band n79 (4.8-4.9 GHz) spectrum.

To capitalize on the long-term potential of private 5G, a number of new alternative suppliers have also developed 5G infrastructure offerings tailored to the specific needs of industrial applications. For example, satellite communications company Globalstar has launched a 3GPP Release 16-compliant multipoint terrestrial RAN system that is optimized for dense private wireless deployments in Industry 4.0 automation environments while German engineering conglomerate Siemens has developed an in-house private 5G network solution for use at its own plants as well as those of industrial customers.

Spectrum liberalization initiatives – particularly shared and local spectrum licensing frameworks – are playing a pivotal role in accelerating the adoption of private 5G networks. Telecommunications regulators in multiple national markets – including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Bahrain, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia and Brazil – have released or are in the process of granting access to shared and local area licensed spectrum.

By capitalizing on their extensive licensed spectrum holdings, infrastructure assets and cellular networking expertise, national mobile operators have continued to retain a significant presence in the private 5G network market, even in countries where shared and local area licensed spectrum is available. With an expanded focus on vertical B2B (Business-to-Business) opportunities in the 5G era, mobile operators are actively involved in diverse projects extending from localized 5G networks for secure and reliable wireless connectivity in industrial and enterprise environments to sliced hybrid public-private networks that integrate on-premise 5G infrastructure with a dedicated slice of public mobile network resources for wide area coverage.

New classes of private network service providers have also found success in the market. Notable examples include but are not limited to Celona, Federated Wireless, Betacom, InfiniG, Ataya, Smart Mobile Labs, MUGLER, Alsatis, Telent, Logicalis, Telet Research, Citymesh, Netmore, RADTONICS, Combitech, Grape One, NS Solutions, OPTAGE, Wave-In Communication, LG CNS, SEJONG Telecom, CJ OliveNetworks, Megazone Cloud, Nable Communications, Qubicom, NewGens and Comsol, and the private 5G business units of neutral host infrastructure providers such as Boldyn Networks, American Tower, Boingo Wireless, Crown Castle, Freshwave and Digita.

NTT, Kyndryl, Accenture, Capgemini, EY (Ernst & Young), Deloitte, KPMG and other global system integrators have been quick to seize the private cellular opportunity with strategic technology alliances. Meanwhile, hyperscalers – most notably AWS (Amazon Web Services), Google and Microsoft – are offering managed private 5G services by leveraging their cloud and edge platforms.

Although greater vendor diversity is beginning to be reflected in infrastructure sales, larger players are continuing to invest in strategic acquisitions as highlighted by HPE’s (Hewlett Packard Enterprise) acquisition of Italian mobile core technology provider Athonet.

The service provider segment is not immune to consolidation either. For example, Boldyn Networks has recently acquired Cellnex’s private networks business unit, which largely includes Edzcom – a private 4G/5G specialist with installations in Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Among other examples, specialist fiber and network solutions provider Vocus has acquired Challenge Networks – an Australian pioneer in private LTE and 5G networks, while mobile operator Telstra – through its Telstra Purple division – has acquired industrial private wireless solutions provider Aqura Technologies.

The report will be of value to current and future potential investors into the private 5G network market, as well as 5G equipment suppliers, system integrators, private network specialists, mobile operators and other ecosystem players who wish to broaden their knowledge of the ecosystem.

About SNS Telecom & IT:

Part of the SNS Worldwide group, SNS Telecom & IT is a global market intelligence and consulting firm with a primary focus on the telecommunications and information technology industries. Developed by in-house subject matter experts, our market intelligence and research reports provide unique insights on both established and emerging technologies. Our areas of coverage include but are not limited to 5G, LTE, Open RAN, private cellular networks, IoT (Internet of Things), critical communications, big data, smart cities, smart homes, consumer electronics, wearable technologies and vertical applications.

References:

https://www.snstelecom.com/private5g

What is 5G Advanced and is it ready for deployment any time soon?

Nokia and Kyndryl extend partnership to deliver 4G/5G private networks and MEC to manufacturing companies

https://www.kyndryl.com/us/en/about-us/news/2024/02/it-ot-convergence-in-manufacturing

India Telcos say private networks will kill their 5G business

WSJ: China Leads the Way With Private 5G Networks at Industrial Facilities

SNS Telecom & IT: Q1-2024 Public safety LTE/5G report: review of engagements across 86 countries, case studies, spectrum allocation and more

 

 

China Mobile & ZTE use digital twin technology with 5G-Advanced on high-speed railway in China

ZTE, along with China Mobile’s Yunnan Branch, have created an accurate 3D model of the lineside infrastructure along the KunchuDali railway in China and used it to improve network performance.  The companies introduced 5G-Advanced digital twin technology to build two core capabilities of digital site twinning and wireless channel twinning.

KunchuDali high-speed railway involves a large number of network planning challenges such as cross-bridge coverage, tunnel coverage, mountain-splitting area shielding, and abundant vegetation.  It forms a vital segment of the China-Myanmar International Railway and the Trans-Asian Railway west line, connecting the key cities of Kunming, Chuxiong, Dali, and Lijiang in Yunnan Province. Serving as the backbone of the region’s transportation infrastructure, this route facilitates the daily movement of approximately 61,000 passengers, earning its reputation as the “golden tourism route.”

However, the railway’s construction and operation face formidable obstacles due to the rugged terrain characterized by fluctuating mountain ranges, perilous topography, and dense vegetation. Notably, a significant portion of the route traverses areas with a high concentration of bridges and tunnels, accounting for 64% of its total length. Moreover, many construction sites are situated in abnormal mountain zones, posing challenges to the efficiency and quality of surveying efforts.

China Mobile’s Yunnan Branch and ZTE introduced the 5G-Advanced digital twin technology to build two core capabilities of digital site twinning and wireless channel twinning. The 3D site twinning is achieved through UAV automatic flight control acquisition, thus implementing inspection survey of engineering parameters and AI identification of antenna assets, and guaranteeing engineering implementation quality with high efficiency and high quality.

  • In June 2022, China Mobile unveiled a 6G network architecture which creates a virtual twin through digital means to realize a digital twin network architecture (DTN) with network closed-loop control and full lifecycle management; The service defines the end-to-end system to realize the full service system architecture (HSBA); In the group network, the Distributed Autonomous Network (DAN) with distributed, autonomous and self-contained features is implemented, which supports on-demand customization, plug and play and flexible deployment.
  • ZTE’s RAN digital twin leverages digital twin, big data and artificial intelligence technologies, drastically enhancing network deployment and operation efficiency by minimizing resources and time needed for trial-and-error procedures of radio network deployment and optimization, making them more versatile, flexible and autonomous.

In addition, channel twinning is built in mountainous areas to achieve coverage prediction and optimization. The optimization elements required for mountainous areas, namely the azimuth, downtilt, power, and beam weights of antennas, are twinned and optimized beforehand. In this way, with the first-in-place construction of the pre-planning, the construction quality of the high-speed railway network is guaranteed faster and better, and the optimization period is shortened. Before the Spring Festival of 2024, the KunchuDali high-speed railway fully achieved the target of high-quality lines, with a coverage rate of 98.5% and a 5G download rate of more than 300Mbps. Compared with traditional planning and optimization methods, the KunchuDali high-speed railway saved more than RMB1.6 million and shortened the optimization period for nearly one month.

During the Spring Festival, China Mobile’s Yunnan Branch ensured an excellent internet experience for users with its high-quality high-speed railway network. The implementation of digital twin technology for high-speed railways enables efficient site surveys and coverage optimization to achieve higher efficiency and quality. This advancement fosters the deep integration of various industries with digital twin technology, paving the way for new industries, ecosystems, and operational modes. Furthermore, it lays a solid digital foundation for the future evolution towards 6G.

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According to Gartner, global digital twin revenues are expected to reach $183 billion by 2031. And when it comes to adoption, railway operators are at the forefront, using these virtual models to improve real-time asset management, reduce delays, and improve journey times.

In the UK, Transport for London (TfL) in 2022 announced plans to roll out a digital twin of the London Underground network so it can virtually monitor tracks and tunnels. Network Rail also offers a catalogue of training simulations built on digital twin technology.

According to an article in Mobility Innovators, bullet train operator JR East has deployed digital twins to monitor tracks, bridges and tunnels to enable predictive maintenance, while Hong Kong’s MTR (Mass Transit Railway) uses them to improve scheduling.

 

 

UAV automatic flight control acquisition implements 3D site twinning along the KunchuDali railway.  Photo Credit: ZTE

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ABOUT ZTE:

ZTE helps to connect the world with continuous innovation for a better future. The company provides innovative technologies and integrated solutions, and its portfolio spans all series of wireless, wireline, devices and professional telecommunications services. Serving over a quarter of the global population, ZTE is dedicated to creating a digital and intelligent ecosystem, and enabling connectivity and trust everywhere. ZTE is listed on both the Hong Kong and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges. www.zte.com.cn/global

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https://www.zte.com.cn/global/about/news/china-mobile-zte-revolutionize-high-speed-railway-with-5g-a-digital-twin.html

https://www.zte.com.cn/global/about/news/china-mobile-zte-revolutionize-high-speed-railway-with-5g-a-digital-twin.html

https://www.zte.com.cn/global/solutions_latest/5g-advanced/digital_twin.html

https://www.telecoms.com/5g-6g/china-mobile-zte-use-digital-twin-to-improve-lineside-5g

China Mobile unveils 6G architecture with a digital twin network (DTN) concept

Huawei pushes 5.5G (aka 5G Advanced) but there are no completed 3GPP specs or ITU-R standards!

What is 5G Advanced and is it ready for deployment any time soon?

ZTE and China Telecom unveil 5G-Advanced solution for B2B and B2C services

 

Huawei pushes 5.5G (aka 5G Advanced) but there are no completed 3GPP specs or ITU-R standards!

During MWC 2024, Huawei held a new product solution launch event, where George Gao, President of Huawei Cloud Core Network Product Line, released the 5.5G (aka 5G Advanced) intelligent core network solution.

Huawei claims 2024 is the first year for commercialization of 5.5G (this author strongly disagrees- 3GPP 5G Advanced specs are not nearly complete and ITU-R standards work hasn’t even started yet).

“The first year of commercial use of 5.5G has officially arrived, and the commercial rollout of 5.5G is accelerating worldwide,” the China based vendor said.  “While Middle Eastern operators have achieved scaled 5.5G commercialization, operators across Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America are verifying 10 Gbps [1.], preparing for 5.5G commercialization in 2024,” Huawei added.

Note 1. CCS Insight wrote last month, “operators are deploying greenfield networks in new cities, such as STC in Bahrain and Zain in Saudi Arabia, both of which have achieved 10 Gbps downlink speeds on their 5G-Advanced test networks.”

The company says announced their 5.5G intelligent core network as an important part of 5.5G, incorporating service intelligence, network intelligence, and O&M intelligence.

The claim is that 5.5G technology will improve both business value and development potential.  We seriously doubt that!

Service Intelligence Expands the Profitability of Calling Services:

In 2023, New Calling [2.] was put into commercial use for serving up to 50 million subscribers across 31 provinces in China. It has also been verified in EuropeLatin America, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific, and is set to be commercialized in these regions in 2024.

Note 2. New Calling essentially combines voice calls with other elements – fun calling with avatars, for example, or calling with real-time translation or speech-to-text. It is backed by the GSMA (which is NOT a standards body), but to date has been deployed only in China.

As stated by George, the industry’s first New Calling-Advanced solution launched by Huawei embraces enhanced intelligence and data channel-based interaction capabilities.  Huawei says that will take us to a multi-modal communication era and helping operators reconstruct their service layout. In addition, Huawei also introduced the Multi-modal Communication Function (MCF) to allow users to control digital avatars through voice during calls, delivering a more personalized calling experience. An enterprise can also customize their own avatar as an enterprise ambassador to promote their branding.

Network Intelligence Enables Experience Monetization and Differentiated Operations:

For a long period of time, operators have strived to realize traffic monetization on MBB networks. However, there are three technical gaps: not assessable user experience, no dynamic optimization, and no-closed-loop operations. To bridge these gaps, Huawei has launched the industry’s first Intelligent Personalized Experience (IPE) solution, aiming to help operators add experience privileges to service packages and better monetize differentiated experiences.

In the industry, the user plane on the core network usually processes and forwards one service flow using one vCPU. As heavy-traffic services increase, such as 2K or 4K HD video and live streaming, microbursts and elephant flows frequently occur. It is, therefore, more likely that a vCPU will become overloaded, causing packet loss. To address this issue, Huawei releases the Intelligent UDG. According to George, this is the industry’s first Intelligent UDG product that can deliver ubiquitous 10 Gbps superior experiences.

O&M Intelligence Achieves High Network Stability and Efficiency:

Empowered by the multi-modal large model, the Digital Assistant & Digital Expert (DAE) reduces O&M workload and improves O&M efficiency. It reshapes cloud-based O&M from “experts+tools” to intelligence-centric “DAE+manual assistance”. With DAE, 80% of trouble tickets can be automatically processed, which is much more efficient than 100% manual processing as it used to be. DAE also enables intent-driven O&M, avoiding manual decision-making. Before, it usually took over five years to cultivate experts in a single domain, however, the multi-modal large model is now able to be trained and updated within just weeks.

Huawei published eight innovation practices which cover key 5.5G technology areas, including antenna evolutions, mmWave bandwidth, network intelligence in the RAN, and energy efficiency. The full list is here, along with details of Huawei’s proposed 5.5G offerings.

With the 2024 commercial launch of 5.5G, Huawei is collaborating with wireless network operators and partners around the world to pursue exciting new innovation in networks, cloud, and intelligence. Huawei plans to drive its 5G business and foster a thriving industry ecosystem, creating a new era for intelligent digital transformation.

For more information, please visit: https://carrier.huawei.com/en/events/mwc2024.

Closing Comments:  

This author feels it’s extremely dangerous to announce any IMT products in advance of 3GPP specifications and ITU-R standards. It unrealistically raises expectations and of course there’s no interoperability without specs/standards.

References:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/mwc-2024–huawei-launches-the-worlds-first-5-5g-intelligent-core-network-advancing-towards-an-intelligent-world-302072688.html

https://www.huawei.com/en/news/2024/2/5ga-practices-multipath

What is 5G Advanced and is it ready for deployment any time soon?

https://www.qualcomm.com/news/onq/2023/01/how-5g-advanced-will-deliver-the-next-big-boost-to-mobile-broadband-experiences

Nokia plans to investment €360 million in microelectronics & 5G Advanced/6G technology in Germany

Nokia exec talks up “5G Advanced” (3GPP release 18) before 5G standards/specs have been completed

 

What is 5G Advanced and is it ready for deployment any time soon?

The 3GPP roadmap (see figure below) is continuously evolving to fulfill the larger 5G vision. In this initial 5G wave that began in 2018, 3GPP has completed three major releases (new releases every 1.5 to 2 years): 15, 16, and 17.

Release 17 is included in the ITU-R M.2150-1 recommendation which is the only standard for IMT 2020 RIT/SRIT (i.e. 5G RAN interface).  3GPP contributes its completed radio interface specifications to ITU-R WP5D via ATIS where they are discussed and approved for inclusion into the next version of the ITU-R M.2150 recommendation.  The same procedure is likely for IMT 2030 RIT/SRIT (i.e. 6G RAN).

3GPP Release 18 and beyond (often referred to as 5G-Advanced or 5.5G) involve gradual technology improvements aimed at elevating 5G to the next level, creating a foundation for more demanding applications and a broader set of use cases. In addition to performance improvements and support for new applications, sustainability and intelligent network automation are also important building blocks in the broader 5G-Advanced vision (source: Ericsson).

The scope of 5G Advanced in Release 19 was approved at the December 2023 3GPP Plenary Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland. Release 19 builds on Release 18 and focuses on enhancing 5G performance while expanding the capability of 5G across devices and deployments. In addition, it will establish the technical foundations for 6G and will include preliminary work on new 6G capabilities. Release 19 will be followed by Release 20, the first 3GPP release for 6G studies.

5G Advanced continues to push the spectral efficiency limits and coverage in both sub-7GHz and millimeter wave spectrum. In addition to continued enhancements to massive MIMO radios and mobility, 3GPP Release 19 provides advancements for new use cases such as XR and Non-Terrestrial Networks.

  • Massive MIMO Radio – Release 18 introduced improvements to massive MIMO uplink and downlink throughput. Release 19 will boost capacity further by improving multi-user MIMO, which enables more UEs to share the same time and frequency resources.
    Release 19 will also enable the cost-efficient realization of distributed transmitters and receivers, thus improving signal quality. This is an important step towards enabling fully distributed MIMO (D-MIMO) systems. Other enhancements include 5G beam management with UE-initiated measurement reporting, thus resulting in faster beam selection.
  • Mobility – 5G Advanced introduces a new handover procedure known as low-layer (i.e. L2) triggered mobility (LTM). In Release 18, LTM is supported between cells served by the same gNB. In Release 19, the LTM framework will be extended to support handover between cells served by different gNBs.
  • XR and the Metaverse – Release 19 builds on the low latency and power saving features of Release 18 by enabling higher XR capacity by adding improved uplink and downlink scheduling using packet delay information.
  • Non-Terrestrial Networks – 5G Advanced combines terrestrial and satellite communications under one standard for the first time. Release 19 will build on the enhancements introduced in Release 18 with a focus on increasing satellite downlink coverage, introducing UEs with higher output power and providing Redcap device support. It will also investigate whether additional support is required for regenerative payloads.

Current priorities for 5G-Advanced include:

  • More capacity and better performance. Some estimates suggest that MIMO enhancements, better beam management, and full duplex technologies taken together with other advancements, including multi-band serving cell (MB-SC) and Extremely Large Antenna Array (ELAA) will deliver another 20% of efficiency improvements relative to today’s 5G. Enhanced uplink (UL) and multi-cell UL improvements could pave the way for greater data rate and latency improvements in the UL. For reference, Huawei defines 5G-Advanced as a site that can support at least 10 Gbps of cell capacity. ZTE is also targeting 10 Gbps+ with 5G-Advanced.
  • Expanded coverage. In addition to MIMO and IAB coverage enhancements, 5G-Advanced includes Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) connectivity improvements, building on the NR/LTE-based NTN support that was introduced with Release 17.
  • More intelligence. Releases 15-17 already include some AI/ML features. 5G-Advanced will offer AI/ML enhancements in the RAN (including the air interface) and the management layers. In addition, Intelligent RAN and AI-powered analytics will help operators to improve the performance and proactively address network issues before they become a problem.
  • Energy savings. Release 18 includes a confluence of static and dynamic power-saving enhancements for the radios and the overall RAN. Also, the specification is targeting to define a base station energy consumption model with various KPIs to better evaluate transmission and reception consumption/savings.
  • Flexible spectrum (FD, DSS, CA). NR is currently based on TDD or FDD spectrum. Full duplex (FD), a 5G-Advanced contender, improves spectrum utilization by allowing UL and DL to share the same spectrum (FD should improve capacity and latency, especially in the UL). Release 18 also includes DSS capacity enhancements (increasing PDCCH capacity by allowing NR PDCCH to be transmitted in symbols overlapping with LTE CRS). Other spectrum-related upgrades with 5G-Advanced include multi-carrier enhancements and NR support for dedicated spectrum bandwidths below 5 MHz.
  • Critical IoT. 5G-Advanced includes multiple industrial and IoT related advancements. Release 17 included support for Time Sensitive Networking (TSN), which will be expanded in 5G-Advanced to support Deterministic Networking (DetNet).
  • RedCap IoT. 5G NR-Light or Reduced Capability (RedCap) was introduced with 3GPP NR Release 17. 5G-Advanced will introduce lower-tier RedCap devices, seeking to find a better set of tradeoffs between cost, performance, and power consumption.
  • Ambient IoT. Passive IoT, sometimes referred to as Ambient IoT, will allow devices/objects to connect without a power source.
  • Sensing. Harmonized communication and sensing (HCS) is a Release 19 study item.
  • Positioning. Positioning is already supported in Release 16/17, though 5G-Advanced is expected to improve positioning accuracy and power consumption (Nokia has said sub-10 cm positioning is doable). In addition, Release 18 will include support for RedCap devices.

Role of AI/ML in 5G Advanced:

AI/ML will become a key feature of 5G networks with numerous applications ranging from network planning and network operations optimization to full network automation. Another important application is the use of AI/ML to improve the performance and functionality of the 5G air interface.

3GPP studied the use of AI/ML in the air interface in Release 18 and defined three use cases: channel state feedback (CSF) information, beam management and positioning. Based on the conclusions of Release 18 studies, Release 19 will specify a general AI/ML framework, i.e. actual specifications to support the above three use cases as well as specific support for each individual use case. Release 19 will also explore new areas in the AI/ML air interface such as mobility improvement and AI/ML-related model training, model management and global 5G data collection.

AI/ML is another major focus for Qualcomm. The company has dedicated significant technical resources to develop full-scale demonstrations of the three Release 18 defined use cases. For example, it recently demonstrated CSF-based cross-node machine learning involving E2E optimization between devices and the network. This reduces device communication overheads resulting in improved capacity and throughput. Qualcomm has also demonstrated the use of AI/ML to improve beam prediction on its 28GHz massive MIMO test network and is heavily involved in positioning technologies. For example, it has showcased its outdoor precise positioning technology, which uses multi-cell roundtrip (RTT) and angle-of-arrival (AoA) based technologies, as well as its RF finger printing technology operating in an indoor industrial private network.

Over the next few months, 3GPP will continue exploring the applicability of AI/ML based solutions for other use cases such as load balancing between cells, mobility optimization and network energy savings. For example, there will be support for conditional Layer 2 mobility in Release 19 and a new study item targeting new use cases designed to improve coverage and capacity optimization, such as AI-assisted dynamic cell shaping.

Enhancing Device and Network Sustainability:

5G Advanced focuses on sustainability and introduces energy-saving features for devices and networks as well as exploring end-to-end energy saving opportunities that benefit devices. There are also improved features for RedCap and the study of ambient IoT as a new device type.

  • Power-optimized devices – Releases 18 and 19 build on existing energy saving features, for example, a new low-power wakeup signal (LP-WUS). A low-complexity, power-optimized receiver is specified to monitor low-power wake-up signals from the network which only wakes-up the main radio when data is available at the device. This avoids the significant power consumption required to keep the main radio monitoring control signals from the network.
  • Ambient IoT – enables new use cases enabled by very-low power devices that harvest energy from the ambient environment, for example, RF waves. Release 19 will investigate new architectures for ambient IoT devices and will include the development of a harmonized specification. Numerous use cases will be studied, including smart agriculture, industrial wireless sensor networks, smart logistics, warehousing, etc.
  • Network energy savings – 5G Advanced reduces network energy consumption by dynamically adjusting the network’s operation based on feedback from the device, i.e. shutting down parts of the network when idle and transmitting less power depending on the overall traffic load or using more efficient antennas.

Dell’Oro’s Stefan Pongratz says “one fundamental aspect of 5G-Advanced will be to support more demanding consumer MBB applications. The days of exponential data traffic growth are clearly in the past; however, global mobile data traffic is still projected to increase threefold over the next five years, reaching 0.5 ZB/month by 2028 (mobile plus FWA). While operators are currently in a fairly good position from a capacity perspective, especially those not aggressively pursuing FWA, some of the technology improvements with 5G-Advanced can help to address capacity limitations in hotspot areas.”

Omdia (owned by Omdia) expects leading network service providers in Asia and Oceania are expected to launch 5G-Advanced between 2024 and 2025.  They aim to leverage the new capabilities and features offered by 5G-Advanced to enhance their network infrastructure and offer innovative services to their customers.  These advancements include enhanced performance metrics such as higher data rates, lower latency, improved reliability, and greater network efficiency.

During the next few years, 5G Advanced will continue to evolve within 3GPP while the specification of 6G officially starts to ramp up in parallel, leading to the ITU-R IMT 2030 standard.

Setting The Stage For 6G:

Although Release 19 will be the last release focused on 5G, it will also include some longer-term technologies that will become the foundation of 6G, thus setting the direction for Release 20. For example, Integrated Sensing and Communications (ISAC), which combines wireless communications with RF sensing, will enable a raft of new position-based use cases. Release 19 will study channel characteristics suitable for the sensing of various objects, including vehicles, UAVs and humans. Full duplex, another 6G technology, allows  transmitters and receivers to operate simultaneously on the same frequency, potentially resulting in a doubling of network capacity. Release 19 will study sub-band full duplex, a type of full duplex, which will improve capacity and latency, particularly for the uplink. Release 19 will also include channel model studies for the upper mid-band spectrum (7-16GHz), which will be supported by “Giga-MIMO” in the 6G timeframe, in order to enable wide-area coverage in this higher band.

Whereas AI/ML is a key pillar of 5G Advanced, it will be a core foundational technology of 6G and will underpin the key features that will make 6G revolutionary. For example, 6G will start to move away from the traditional, model-driven approach of designing communication systems and transition towards a more data-driven design. Indeed, it is likely that the 6G air-interface will be designed to be AI-native from the outset, thus signalling a paradigm change in the way communication systems are designed.  An AI-native air interface could offer many benefits. For example, it could refine existing communication protocols by continuously learning and improving them, thereby enabling the air interface to be customized dynamically to suit local radio environments.

References:

https://www.counterpointresearch.com/insights/3gpps-release-19-continues-5g-advanced-standardization-sets-the-stage-for-6g/

5G Advanced – How will it impact the RAN Market?

NGMN issues ITU-R framework for IMT-2030 vs ITU-R WP5D Timeline for RIT/SRIT Standardization

Nokia plans to investment €360 million in microelectronics & 5G Advanced/6G technology in Germany

ZTE and China Telecom unveil 5G-Advanced solution for B2B and B2C services

ABI Research: 5G-Advanced (not yet defined by ITU-R) will include AI/ML and network energy savings

Draft new ITU-R recommendation (not yet approved): M.[IMT.FRAMEWORK FOR 2030 AND BEYOND]

 

Nokia plans to investment €360 million in microelectronics & 5G Advanced/6G technology in Germany

Nokia plans to invest €360 million (US$391 million) on the development of energy-efficient software, hardware and high-performance microelectronics for use in future mobile communications systems based on future 5G-Advanced and 6G specs from 3GPP and ITU-R standards.

Nokia wrote that “3GPP Release 18 will mark another major evolution in 5G technology that will lead the industry into the 5G-Advanced era. 5G-Advanced is set to evolve 5G to its fullest, richest capabilities. It will create a foundation for more demanding applications and a wider range of use cases than ever before with a truly immersive user experience based on extended reality (XR) features. It will also introduce AI and ML enhancements across the RAN, Core, and network management layer for improved performance, network optimization, and energy efficiency.”

Source: Nokia

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Editors Note:  3GPP Release 18 is scheduled to be completed in June 2024

Source: 3GPP

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The project will focus on the integrated development of software, hardware and high-performance systems-on-chips based on a digital twin. These will be used in radio and optical products in future mobile communications systems based on the 5G-Advanced and 6G standards. Nokia is further expanding its extensive experience in chip design and strengthening the European value chain.

This development work will be carried out at Nokia’s Ulm and Nuremberg sites in Germany, and will be funded by Nokia, the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection and the German states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria.

Another focus area is on the energy efficiency of the systems to support European climate targets under the Green Deal. Nokia is closely cooperating with research institutes and universities to achieve this objective.This cooperation will be strengthened by the long-term IPCEI investment and funding.  The microelectronics systems developed as part of the project will help to make networks more energy-efficient and more powerful at the same time.

Nokia hopes that the project will strengthen Europe’s competitiveness, especially in the field of microelectronics for nascent technologies such as 6G and artificial intelligence.

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said:

“This important funding will support our efforts to advance the telecommunications industry in Germany and in Europe, helping to drive innovation and strengthen competitiveness. In particular, it will help our research into microelectronics that will power future technologies such as 6G, artificial intelligence and the metaverse as well as develop networks that are more energy-efficient and powerful. Germany is an important market for Nokia, and we look forward to working with the government to produce cutting-edge technology that is ‘Made in Germany’.”

References:

https://www.nokia.com/about-us/news/releases/2024/01/17/nokia-plans-eu360-million-investment-in-microelectronics-and-communications-technology-in-germany/

https://www.nokia.com/about-us/newsroom/articles/5g-advanced-explained/

https://www.3gpp.org/specifications-technologies/releases/release-18

Nokia exec talks up “5G Advanced” (3GPP release 18) before 5G standards/specs have been completed

Nokia and du (UAE) complete 5G-Advanced RedCap trial

ZTE and China Telecom unveil 5G-Advanced solution for B2B and B2C services

ABI Research: 5G-Advanced (not yet defined by ITU-R) will include AI/ML and network energy savings

Nokia will manufacture broadband network electronics in U.S. for BEAD program

IEEE 5G/6G Innovation Testbed for developers, researchers and entrepreneurs

Courtesy of IEEE member David Witkowski (see his bio below the article):

For companies and entrepreneurs working on 5G and 6G innovations, the IEEE now offers a cloud-based network emulator. This might be something your Techblog readers can benefit from.
The IEEE 5G/6G Innovation Testbed is a cloud-based, end-to-end 5G network emulator that enables testing and experimentation of 5G products and services.
Built by IEEE with the goal of promoting collaborative experimentation, the Innovation Testbed brings together operators, equipment vendors, application developers, and academic institutions while supporting a wide range of industry applications.
The Testbed can also be used for academic research and educational purposes, giving students visibility inside a functioning network and enabling research groups to conduct experiments that advance technology across the 5G/6G ecosystem.
https://futurenetworks.ieee.org/topics/5g-testbed
About David Witkowski, Founder & CEO of Oku Solutions:

David’s career began in the US Coast Guard where he led deployment and maintenance programs for mission-critical telecom, continuity of government, and data networking systems. After earning his B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from University of California @ Davis, he held managerial and leadership roles for high technology companies ranging from Fortune 500 multi-nationals to early-stage startups.  

David serves as Executive Director of the Civic Technology Program at Joint Venture Silicon Valley, Senior Advisor for Broadband at Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, and is a Fellow of the Radio Club of America and a Senior Member of the IEEE. He previously served as as Co-Chair of the GCTC Wireless SuperCluster at NIST, on the Board of Expert Advisors for the California Emerging Technology Fund.

David’s IEEE activities include:

 

Nokia and du (UAE) complete 5G-Advanced RedCap trial; future of RedCap?

Nokia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) telco du announced the conclusion of what it claimed to be UAE’s first 5G-Advanced 5G Reduced Capability (RedCap) trial over a commercial network.  Nokia  said that this recent trial showcased the readiness of du’s 5G network for innovative use cases in areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables and Industry 4.0 to address 5G monetization challenges.

RedCap, sometimes referred to as (3GPP) 5G NR Light, is a reduced set of 5G capabilities intended for devices like wearables and low-cost hotspots that have low battery consumption, lower costs and lower bandwidth requirements. Introduced with 3GPP Release 17, 5G RedCap is designed for devices currently served by LTE CAT-4 but provides equivalent or better in performance with up to 150 Mbps theoretical maximum downlink throughput. This technology helps reduce the complexity, cost and size of 5G devices. The RedCap specification will be included in ITU-R M.2150-1.

 

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The trial participants used MediaTek’s T300 series RedCap test equipment in du’s 5G Standalone (SA) Radio Access Network (RAN) built with Nokia’s AirScale radio products, leveraging the existing mid-band Spectrum. This will follow extending RedCap over low band frequencies, ensuring extreme coverage and connectivity. Notably, the low band in 600MHz, is a vital connectivity band currently under discussion at the World Radio Conference WRC-23 taking place in Dubai.

With RedCap devices expected to be commercially available from 2024, it will significantly augment du’s diversified use case portfolio to include cost-efficient 5G home wireless, wearables, video surveillance, and wireless industrial sensors.

5G devices commonly feature intricate hardware and energy-intensive capabilities, resulting in higher cost, size, and power consumption. RedCap technology is dedicated to streamlining 5G devices, specifically targeting compact IoT devices like wearables and health trackers, as well as ruggedized routers and sensors for environmental or condition-based monitoring. These devices exhibit lower demands for battery life and reduced bandwidth requirements. RedCap ensures they sustain performance while optimizing their power efficiency. Nokia has been instrumental in driving the evolution of RedCap IoT functionality in collaboration with the telecommunications industry.

Saleem Alblooshi, Chief Technology Officer at du, said: “This collaboration introduces the revolutionary 5G-Advanced RedCap functionalities, enabling seamless connectivity of RedCap devices to cutting-edge 5G networks. Nokia’s unparalleled innovation simplifies and pioneers the development of 5G devices, particularly wearables and small IoT devices, significantly enhancing LTE-CAT4 performance and optimizing energy efficiency. These remarkable technological advancements are pivotal in propelling Industry 4.0 revolution.”

Mikko Lavanti, Senior Vice President at Nokia MEA, said: “This new collaboration between du and Nokia represents not only a significant step forward in the monetization of 5G technology but also solidifies the UAE’s position as a pioneer in the evolution of 5G use cases for society and enterprises. As the collaboration progresses, both companies are poised to revolutionize the way we experience and interact with 5G technology, unlocking unprecedented possibilities for innovation and connectivity.”

Dr. Ho-Chi Hwang, General Manager of Wireless Communication System and Partnerships at MediaTek, said: “It’s essential to bring new capabilities of 5G to the UAE, and this trial is an important step in that direction. We are proud to have provided our RedCap devices to further develop the ecosystem for 5G monetization. We hope, by pioneering the technology in the Middle East and Africa region, MediaTek will be able to assure our customers of more innovative 5G products and services coming their way.”

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Future of RedCap:

Counterpoint Research expects that 5G RedCap modules will make up 18% of total cellular IoT module shipments by 2030—what it describes as “significant market potential, particularly in developing nations where the cost is key to wide technology adoption for digital transformation.”

“If we want to tackle some of these interesting business cases and really get the price point so the business can take off, then we need to provide the right types of options,” said Paul Harris, principal architect in the Office of the CTO at Viavi Solutions. “People don’t want to be paying for chipsets that are too performant in the wrong types of devices.” Harris also noted that standards work on RedCap continues, with a series of recommendations on reducing RedCap’s performance even further with support of just five megahertz of bandwidth, even lower data rates and reduced peak data rates as well as additional power savings in the form of Extended Discontinuous Reception (allowing longer periods during which a device can power off). While that work on “eRedCap” is still taking shape in Release 18 and additional features may be available to scale down RedCap further in Release 19. “It’s still kind of a moving target and probably will continue to be, but there will probably be different categories that get introduced of RedCap as it goes on,” he said. Harris goes on to offer up a potential vision of a RedCap market where there is a gradual progression into some parts of the market addressed with the initial Rel. 17 RedCap options, and that by Rel. 19, a scaled-back RedCap market could open up for even lower-complexity, lower data-rate devices that then leads to an explosion of 5G sensor devices.

“5G is absolutely the directional technology,” said Bill Stone, VP of technology development and planning at Verizon. “I do think it’s inevitable that we’ll be seeing all of IoT evolve over time, and it’s going to be starting as soon as next year. We’re going to see all of the IoT device community moving over to 5G, because that’s where—with 5G NR SA—we’re going to see the potential for much longer lifecycles [and] the ability to support that, to make commitments for longer-term support of IoT devices.”

References:

https://www.nokia.com/about-us/news/releases/2023/12/07/nokia-and-du-to-lead-in-uae-with-5g-advanced-redcap/

Standards leadership in action: How Nokia convinced the 5G world that less is more

Nokia and du complete 5G-Advanced RedCap trial

 

What will drive RedCap adoption? A carrot and a stick

Ericsson, Vodafone and Qualcomm: 1st Reduced Capability 5G data call in Europe

https://www.3gpp.org/technologies/redcap

ITU-R M.2150-1 (5G RAN standard) will include 3GPP Release 17 enhancements; future revisions by 2025

 

 

 

T-Mobile and Google Cloud collaborate on 5G and edge compute

T-Mobile and Google Cloud announced today they are working together to combine the power of 5G and edge compute, giving enterprises more ways to embrace digital transformation. T-Mobile will connect the 5G Advanced Network Solutions (ANS) [1.] suite of public, private and hybrid 5G networks with Google Distributed Cloud Edge (GDC Edge) to help customers embrace next-generation 5G applications and use cases — like AR/VR experiences.

Note 1. 5G ANS is an end-to-end portfolio of deployable 5G solutions, comprised of 5G Connectivity, Edge Computing, and Industry Solutions – along with a partnership that simplifies creating, deploying and managing unique solutions to unique problems.

More companies are turning to edge computing as they focus on digital transformation. In fact, the global edge compute market size is expected to grow by 37.9% to $155.9 billion in 2030. And the combination of edge computing with the low latency, high speeds, and reliability of 5G will be key to promising use cases in industries like retail, manufacturing, logistics, and smart cities. GDC Edge customers across industries will be able to leverage T-Mobile’s 5G ANS easily to get the low latency, high speeds, and reliability they will need for any use case that requires data-intensive computing processes such as AR or computer vision.

For example, manufacturing companies could use computer vision technology to improve safety by monitoring equipment and automatically notifying support personnel if there are issues. And municipalities could leverage augmented reality to keep workers at a safe distance from dangerous situations by using machines to remotely perform hazardous tasks.

To demonstrate the promise of 5G ANS and GDC Edge in a retail setting, T-Mobile created a proof of concept at T-Mobile’s Tech Experience 5G Hub called the “magic mirror” with the support of Google Cloud.  This interactive display leverages cloud-based processing and image rendering at the edge to make retail products “magically” come to life. Users simply hold a product in front of the mirror to make interactive videos or product details — such as ingredients or instructions — appear onscreen in near real-time.

“We’ve built the largest and fastest 5G network in the country. This partnership brings together the powerful combination of 5G and edge computing to unlock the expansion of technologies such as AR and VR from limited applications to large-scale adoption,” said Mishka Dehghan, Senior Vice President, Strategy, Product, and Solutions Engineering, T-Mobile Business Group. “From providing a shopping experience in a virtual reality environment to improving safety through connected sensors or computer vision technologies, T-Mobile’s 5G ANS combined with Google Cloud’s innovative edge compute technology can bring the connected world to businesses across the country.”

“Google Cloud is committed to helping telecommunication companies accelerate their growth, competitiveness, and digital journeys,” said Amol Phadke, General Manager, Global Telecom Industry, Google Cloud. “Google Distributed Cloud Edge and T-Mobile’s 5G ANS will help businesses deliver more value to their customers by unlocking new capabilities through 5G and edge technologies.”

T-Mobile is also working with Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Ericsson on advanced 5G solutions.

 

References:

https://www.t-mobile.com/news/business/t-mobile-and-google-cloud-join-5g-advanced-network-solutions

https://www.t-mobile.com/business/solutions/networking/5G-advanced-solutions

 

AT&T touts 5G advances; will deploy Standalone 5G when “the ecosystem is ready”- when will that be?

Backgrounder -5G SA Core Network:

5G SA core is the heart of a 5G network, controlling data and control plane operations. The 5G core aggregates data traffic, communicates with UE, delivers essential network services and provides extra layers of security, and all 3GPP defined 5G features and functions.  There are no standards for implementation of 3GPP defined 5G SA core network architecture, which is said to be a service based architecture, recommended to be “cloud native.”  Here are the key 3GPP 5G system specs:

  • TS 22.261, “Service requirements for the 5G system”
  • TS 23.501, “System architecture for the 5G System (5GS)”
  • TS 23.502 “Procedures for the 5G System (5GS)”
  • TS 32.240 “Charging management; Charging architecture and principles”
  • TS 24.501 “Non-Access-Stratum (NAS) protocol for 5G System (5GS); Stage 3”

A 5G NSA network is a LTE network with a 5G NR, i.e. the 5G NR Access Network is connected to the 4G Core Network.

AT&T Yet to Deploy 5G SA Core Network but is “charging forward to advance 5G SA ecosystem readiness:

It’s been a long wait for AT&T’s 5G SA core network, which is required to realize ALL 5G functions defined by 3GPP, including network slicing, network virtualization, security, and edge computing (MEC).

  • The U.S. mega network operator initially said they would  launch 5G SA core network in 2020 but that never happened.
  • On June 30, 2021, AT&T said their mobile network traffic will be managed using Microsoft Azure technologies. “The companies will start with AT&T’s 5G core, the software at the heart of the 5G network that connects mobile users and IoT devices with internet and other services.”  Almost two years later, that hasn’t happened either!
  • In an April 18, 2022 blog post on the company’s website, AT&T now says they are “Taking 5G to the Next Level with Standalone 5G.”  AT&T has said that they “plan to deploy Standalone 5G when the ecosystem is ready, and AT&T is charging forward to advance 5G SA ecosystem readiness. Businesses and developers will be some of the first to take advantage of the new technologies standalone 5G enables as we continue to move from research & development to their deployment.”

However, AT&T did not provide a date or even a timeframe when its 5G SA core network would be deployed.  Instead, the telco lauded several 5G advances they’ve recently made.  Those include:

1.  Completed the first 5G SA Uplink 2-carrier aggregation data call in the U.S. 

Carrier aggregation (CA) means we are combining or “aggregating” different frequency bands to give you more bandwidth and capacity. For you, this means faster uplink transmission speeds. Think of this as adding more lanes in the network traffic highway. 

The test was conducted in our labs with Nokia’s 5G AirScale portfolio and MediaTek’s 5G M80 mobile test platform. AT&T aggregated their low-band n5 and our mid-band n77 spectrum. Compared to the low-band n5 alone, AT&T realized a 100% increase in uplink throughput by aggregating the low-band n5 with 40MHz of AT&T’s mid-band n77. Taking it a step further, AT&T achieved a 250% increase aggregating 100MHz of n77. The bottom line: AT&T achieved incredible upload speeds of over 70 Mbps on n5 with 40MHz of n77 and over 120 Mbps on n5 with 100MHz of n77.

2. Using a two-layer uplink MIMO on time division duplex (TDD) in our mid-band n77. MIMO combines signals and data streams from multiple antennas (“vehicles”) to improve signal quality and data rates. This feature will not only improve uplink throughput but also enhance cell capacity and spectrum efficiency.

3. Last fall, AT&T completed a 5G SA four component carrier downlink call by combining two FDD carriers and two TDD carriers.  These capabilities allow AT&T devices to aggregate our mid-band n77 in the C-Band and 3.45GHz spectrum ranges. Compared with low band and mmWave spectrum, mid-band n77 provides a good balance between coverage and speed. This follows the 5G SA three component carrier downlink feature that we introduced last year to 2022 AT&T Flagship devices which combines one frequency division duplex (FDD) carrier and two TDD carriers.

4. In the coming months, AT&T will enable 5G New Radio Dual Connectivity (NR-DC), aggregating our low and mid-band spectrum with our high-band mmWave spectrum on 5G SA.  Our labs have achieved 5G NR-DC downlink throughput speeds of up to 5.3Gbps and uplink throughput speeds of up to 670Mbps. This technology will help provide high-speed mobile broadband for both downlink and uplink in stadiums, airports, and other high-density venues.

5. Here are some features that are on the horizon for 5G SA (how far away is the horizon?):

  • Specialized Network Services – think network slicing, precision location, private routing, etc. – for tailored network solutions to meet specific user requirements;
  • Non-terrestrial network solutions to supplement coverage in remote locations ; and
  • Reduced capability 5G (RedCap) for a new generation of 5G capable wearables, industrial IoT or wireless sensors and other small form factor consumer devices.

In conclusion, AT&T’s Jason Sikes wrote, “The 5G SA ecosystem is rapidly evolving, with new technologies and capabilities being introduced to set the foundation for next generation applications and services.”  Yet no information was provided on the status of AT&T’s 5G SA network running on Microsoft Azure cloud technology!

AT&T to run its mobility network on Microsoft’s Azure for Operators cloud, delivering cost-efficient 5G services at scale.

Image Credit: Microsoft

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In the U.S., T-Mobile launched 5G SA core network nationwide last year, while Verizon began shifting its own traffic onto its 5G SA core in 2022. More recently, Verizon officials have begun hinting at interest in selling SA-powered network slices to public safety customers and others.

At the close of 2022, Dell’Oro identified 39 MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) that have commercially launched 5G SA eMMB networks.  “Reliance Jio, China Telecom-Macau, and Globe Telecom were new MNOs added to the list of 39 MNOs launching 5G SA eMMB networks in the fourth quarter of 2022. Reliance Jio has announced a very aggressive deployment schedule to cover most of India by the end of 2023. In addition, AT&T and Verizon plan large expansions to their 5G SA coverage in 2023, raising the projected Y/Y growth rate for the total MCN and MEC market for 2023 higher than 2022,” said Dave Bolan, Research Director at Dell’Oro Group.

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References:

https://www.lightreading.com/5g/atandt-to-launch-standalone-5g-later-this-year/d/d-id/764109

https://about.att.com/blogs/2023/standalone-5g-innovations.html

https://about.att.com/story/2021/att_microsoft_azure.html

AT&T to run its mobility network on Microsoft’s Azure for Operators cloud, delivering cost-efficient 5G services at scale

AT&T 5G SA Core Network to run on Microsoft Azure cloud platform

https://www.lightreading.com/5g-and-beyond/atandt-touts-progress-on-path-to-standalone-5g/d/d-id/784422?

Dell’Oro: Mobile Core Network & MEC revenues to be > $50 billion by 2027

 

 

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