5G broadband: challenges and opportunities for the
Telco & Media industry

Reply Practice - 5G

INTRODUCTION TO 5G MOBILE BROADBAND

One of the core features of 5G services is the enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) which focuses on the high speed of end user data and system capacity. This will impact the end user experience by enabling different business uses. The eMBB has introduced two major technology enhancements to satisfy these requirements:

• The shift of frequency spectrum to cmWave and mmWave range to achieve much higher bandwidth allocations.
• The advanced antenna array that includes tens or even hundreds of TX/RX antenna elements to enable massive MIMO(1) and beamforming(2).

THE ROLE OF ENHANCED MOBILE BROADBAND: WHAT IS IT AND WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?

According to the ITU’s IMT 2020 Vision, the need to deliver enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) is one of three distinct 5G use cases. In this vision, eMBB is a natural evolution to the data rates we enjoy today with LTE and will enjoy tomorrow with LTE-A Pro. The ultimate 5G target is to deliver up to 10-Gb/s peak throughput, 1-Gb/s throughput in high mobility, and up to 10,000X total network traffic. Although this target might seem unattainable, it’s more attainable than you might think. In fact, technologies in development today, such as millimeter waves and massive MIMO, will play a critical role in achieving the eMBB goals.

throughput throughput

eMBB is important in delivering some of the new market aspects such as:

XR — XR is seen as the sum of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and versions of reality to come. XR gaming with photo-realistic graphics, for example, will only reach its full potential with the seamless internet connectivity of 5G as well as cloud services.

Head-mounted displays — HMDs are primed to deliver AR content to consumers in contexts ranging from meal preparation to cloud gaming.

PCs — If laptops were as connected as smartphones, it would allow an improvement towards creating and editing videos whilst working collaboratively with colleagues.

Video and media consumption — Improvements in speed and capacity pave the way from watching today’s 360-degree, 4K video at 30 frames per second to enjoying tomorrow’s interactive, 3D 8K video at 90 to 120 fps.

WHICH ARE THE METHODS EMPLOYED TO ALLOW EMBB?

To meet the new market expectations, 5G needs to achieve higher throughput, lower latency, greater capacity, better uniformity and complete mobility all a lower cost to mobile operators. Here are some of the technologies built into 5G that make eMBB possible.

The Massive MIMO allows to increase cellular coverage and capacity through the use of a large numbers of antennas. Although there are limits in monitoring antennas within a mobile device, 5G is designed to support massive MIMO, using up to 256 antenna elements in the base station. That sets the stage for intelligent beamforming and beam-tracking in spectrum bands under 6 GHz.

Massive Machine-Type Communication

Device-centric mobility — Devices expend a lot of battery life monitoring and processing reference signals from all nearby cells.

Spectrum sharing — These are techniques for unlocking more spectrum and extending the 5G network. Spectrum sharing can free up frequency bands that are only lightly used by operators.

mmWave — "None of this [millimeter wave technology] should work, but it does. It’s crazy, but it works." That’s how we describe mmWave, a feature of 5G that uses some of the biggest disadvantages of mobile communication (path loss, susceptibility to blockage from physical barriers) to its advantage.

COMMERCIAL LAUNCHES OF MOBILE BROADBAND

The commercial launch varies between the different providers depending on the required use cases and can be shown as following.

commercial launches commercial launches

HOW REPLY SUPPORTED THE COMMERCIAL LAUNCH FOR PROVIDERS

Reply supported an important Telco Provider on its 5G network infrastructure (Radio Access Network) commercial launch. In this project the E2E performance analysis is achieved after live network measurements collection on air interface between 5G NR and 5G capable smartphones. The goal of the analysis and troubleshooting is to help the customer (Network Operator) to outline specific corrections and optimization strategies to increase the performance of the 5G technical enablers, in particular High Throughput and Low Latency, given the current network equipment and clients maturity status.

TERMS

(1) Massive MIMO: Massive multiple-input, multiple-output, is an extension of MIMO, which essentially groups together antennas at the transmitter and receiver to provide better throughput and better spectrum efficiency.

(2) Beamforming: a radio wave technology that is written into the next generation IEEE Wi-Fi 802.11ac standard. This technology allows the beamformer (Router) to transmit radio signal in the direction of the beamformee (Client), thus creating a stronger, faster and more reliable wireless communication.

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