Telecom is at an interesting juncture, with advanced networks that are reliable, secure, and capable, but still require manual configuration. In the future, networks will behave like an organism that can evolve, learn, and adapt to new situations, challenges, and opportunities. Network resources will be optimized and moved between different parts of the network as needed, while cells and services will work in harmony. Although this vision is yet to be fully realized, the first steps toward it have already been taken.
The next wave of 5G – 5G Advanced and beyond
Get ready for more sustainable and intelligent mobile networks and enhanced support for services and applications such as the metaverse, industry wireless sensors, and accurate positioning virtual reality. And that’s not all. This wave of 5G will be followed by another one. 6G is also approaching the shore.
The next wave of 5G involves the ongoing development of 5G new radio (NR) and 5G core (5GC) in 3GPP toward 5G Advanced and is poised to unlock new opportunities for service providers. This evolution is designed to solidify the success of 5G systems worldwide and expand the usage of 3GPP technology to support a wider range of use cases and verticals.
With AI/ML as a key component, in addition to other technologies, 5G Advanced systems will enable support for cutting-edge technologies such as extended reality (XR) and reduced capability (RedCap) devices, while enhancing network energy efficiency.
Ericsson's 5G networks have already demonstrated support for AI/ML and XR use cases, but by improving the 5G standards to allow for better device-network cooperation, the full potential of 5G Advanced can be realized. This next step in the evolution of cellular wireless access is set to open up new possibilities for service providers, paving the way for 6G.
What is 5G Advanced?
The 5G evolution starting with Release 18 is called 5G Advanced. The 5G Advanced standardization is an important step in the evolution of cellular wireless access towards 6G.
Immersive user experiences
5G Advanced will strengthen 5G support for extended reality (XR), that covers cloud gaming, virtual reality, and augmented reality. XR services require a challenging combination of bounded latency and high data rates.
5G Advanced continues the work to enable new applications and to connect new device types. In Release 18 support for further reduced complexity and power efficiency is in the scope together with positioning.
5G Advanced follows the principles of a lean and power efficient RAN design established in 5G. Release 18 will develop a detailed network power consumption evaluation methodology.
Intelligent RAN automation
5G Advanced will enable a new level of RAN intelligence and automation through standardized support for AI/ML. Release 18 will use AI to enhance network energy efficiency, load balancing and mobility management.
What’s in it for CSPs?
The next wave of 5G aims to help CSPs to grow consumer business and enable new industry applications while improving system performance and energy efficiency. CSPs must continuously invest on network capabilities to seize the opportunity.
One 5G network will be able to manage more use cases and user demand by providing more network capacity. At the same time the network will generate a lower carbon footprint and consume less energy with AI/ML as a key component.