While the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) covers a lot of territory in its new white paper, "5G Reimagined: A North American Perspective," one thing is clear: There's a lot of life left in LTE systems, and 5G is going to have to be tightly integrated with LTE and LTE Advanced.
Given that there's a lot more LTE deployed in North America than pretty much anywhere else, the importance of a smooth and linear evolution is greater than it is in some other markets that may potentially leapfrog 4G and go straight to 5G, according to ATIS Senior Technical Consultant Jim McEachern. In addition, North America may set itself apart from other regions of the world due to things like public safety regulatory requirements that may lead the world in terms of defining things like 911.
The white paper notes that it should be economically attractive to deploy LTE and 5G side-by-side in the same cell. "It should be possible for one user to access a combination of LTE and 5G bearers efficiently. Services may be handed over between LTE and 5G in either direction without noticeable interruption," the paper states.
The white paper is designed to provide the ICT industry with the definitions and requirements to advance the 5G network. The paper contains use cases describing several deployment scenarios for new networks, building on baseline requirements, but then it goes beyond that to consider disruptive services and user expectations.
In one case study, the paper describes how the sensors on a first responder must be able to detect the environmental threats and send relevant data, along with the responder's health information, to a central command center where the data will be analyzed and potential alerts are sent to all the responders. That will require very low latency, high reliability and secure and high throughput communication.
While many wireless vendors and operators are members of ATIS, the scope of the use cases is not limited to just the wireless network. McEachern said it was important to make sure the network of the future supports not just wireless access but also wired, cable and even fiber in a coherent way. Many of the use cases also consider more cohesiveness between content providers, for example, and service providers.
"We wanted to step back and we wanted to look at this more from a breakthrough perspective," or a competitive or new entrant perspective -- someone who doesn't have to deal with the large deployed networks and is coming at it with fresh eyes, he explained. That could include an incumbent looking at its network in a new light.
Meanwhile, ATIS is moving on to the next stage of analysis where it's looking at more details around the 5G core network and how to get from the existing 4G network to that 5G core network. "We need to do the next level of analysis around that," he said, so another white paper may arrive in the first quarter of next year.
Coincidentally, 4G Americas is hosting a 5G summit in Dallas this week. In August, 4G Americas published a 5G white paper that outlined the challenges and implications of different frequency ranges, various licensing aspects and potential technology enhancements to enable access to new spectrum. The group said action is needed by regulators to ensure that new spectrum needs are addressed for the evolution of 4G and to address the timely introduction of 5G by identifying new spectrum ranges for study.
- see the press release
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