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Reimagine what 5G can do

Reimagine what 5G can do

Explore the breathtaking possibilities of tomorrow’s 5G Advanced networks

5G Advanced

5G Advanced unleashes new powerful network features and capabilities that makes it possible to automate, innovate, and monetize with 5G in entirely new ways. Below, we break down everything you need to know about 5G Advanced networks, including key technologies, emerging market possibilities and the pathway to 6G.

5G Advanced explained

5G Advanced delivers a new paradigm of 5G connectivity, bringing significant enhancements to network performance, sustainability, and intelligence.

5G Advanced makes it possible to address new applications and use cases, bringing new features and AI-based capabilities to 5G RAN, Core and operations domains. This includes high-precision positioning, improved mobility and time-critical support, enhanced Massive MIMO, and enhanced support for network slicing and exposure. In doing so, this will redefine what’s possible across market segments such as extended reality (XR), industrial automation, 5G devices, and many more.

Commercial 5G Advanced begins with 3GPP Release 18. This release, considered the first phase of 5G Advanced, builds on the existing 5G standard defined in Releases 15, 16, and 17. 5G Advanced will continue to evolve through Release 21, expected in 2028.

Frequently asked questions

The first 5G standard arrived in early 2019 with 3GPP Release 15. Since then, each new 3GPP release has added new capabilities to 5G networks. The significant enhancements introduced as part of the latest 3GPP Release 18 mark the start of a new 5G Advanced era.

The first 5G wave lay the basis for coverage buildout and exploratory steps into new market segments. 5G Advanced, on the other hand, enables the capacity, mobility, and differentiated connectivity needed to unlock new market opportunities on a much bigger scale. Sustainable network design and the introduction of new AI capabilities are also cornerstones of the 5G Advanced system.

3GPP is the main standardization forum for mobile communications systems and defines 5G Advanced standardization as ”an important step in the evolution of cellular wireless access towards 6G”.

According to 3GPP, Release 18 is considered the “mid-point of 5G standardization” and ”is branded as 5G Advanced for its significant improvements [and…] major enhancements in the areas of AI and XR that will enable highly intelligent network solutions that can support a wider variety of use cases than ever before.”

3GPP has defined many exciting use cases and applications that will be enabled and enhanced through 5G Advanced, such as:

  • Enhancements for XR, including real-time media, remote control, industrial control, and mobility automation
  • RedCap related use cases, including wearables, industrial wireless sensors, video surveillance, and smart grids
  • Application of AI/ML to the air-interface, including channel state information (CSI) feedback enhancement, beam management, positioning accuracy enhancements for different scenarios including beyond-visual-line-of-sight operations
  • New Radio (NR) sidelink positioning and relay (coverage extension) enhancements, including vehicle-to-anything, public safety, industrial IoT, and positioning integrity for mission critical services
  • Unmanned aerial vehicle NR improvements for uplink and downlink interference and aerial mobility
  • Enhancements of NR multicast and broadcast services
  • Vehicle mounted relay related use cases, including extending coverage in and around vehicles which follow a certain schedule
  • Further enhancement of data collection for Self-Organizing Networks

The development of 5G Advanced is considered an important step in the evolution of cellular wireless access toward 6G.

This Ericsson 5G Advanced white paper points to several 5G Advanced technology components serving as precursors to fundamental 6G building blocks. For example, XR will gradually evolve into immersive communication for human-machine interaction which may pose new requirements on 6G to provide an even better experience. In the area of machine-type communication, a new and improved LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) solution is expected in the early phase of 6G. This will be complemented by zero-energy devices, a class of devices harvesting energy from the surroundings and providing input to digital twins. AI/ML will also play an important role in the fully data-driven architecture of 6G and the intelligent network platform of the future.

3GPP Release 21, expected in 2028, will lay the early groundwork for future 6G systems. This will also be the final release that concludes the evolution of 5G Advanced.

5G first wave

5G first wave

5G Advanced

5G Advanced

Key benefits unwrapped

More performance

5G Advanced shifts 5G network performance into a new gear. Enhancements to Massive MIMO raise system capacity with improved data rates in both uplink and downlink, while the introduction of new handover procedure enables shorter interruption times for more seamless mobility. Other key performance enhancements include high-precision positioning and enhanced support for time critical applications such as XR.

More service innovation

5G Advanced makes strong headway into new applications and device types through advanced positioning, mission- and time-critical, air-to-ground, and railway communication capabilities. In the consumer and enterprise space, 5G Advanced will drive a new wave of commercial opportunities across XR, remote control, mobility automation, and Reduced Capability (RedCap) devices. Enhanced RAN slicing and network exposure also bring new, exciting innovation possibilities to the 5G era.

Less network energy usage

5G Advanced enhances 5G’s lean RAN design through new energy-saving features. This includes enhanced capabilities to reduce energy in cells and beams that serve limited traffic, as well as enhanced dynamic port and power adaption to reduce base station power. These features are supported by new intent-based AI capabilities that serve defined intent, while optimizing network utilization and maximizing MIMO sleep.

Intelligent intent-based networks

5G Advanced levels up RAN intelligence and automation through new architectural enhancements and standardized AI solutions. This includes new AI features to enhance network energy efficiency, load balancing, mobility management, and network management through intent-based capabilities.

Listen to Sibel Tombaz, Head of cloud & purpose-built 5G RAN, sharing her thoughts on the difference between 5G and 5G Advanced.

*Source: Telecom TV

5G Advanced takes us closer to future 6G

Read the view from Ericsson on emerging 5G Advanced systems

Read the whitepaper

5G Advanced for consumers

5G Advanced delivers enhanced time-critical- and mobility support for high-rate media applications such as XR and cloud gaming. Through enhanced support for RedCap devices, a new wave of affordable consumer wearables and devices is also expected in coming years, offering low complexity and low battery consumption.

Enhanced XR

In the 5G Advanced era, time-critical, high-rate media applications such as XR will use application awareness to address resource management – improving the latency, system capacity and device energy efficiency of XR apps.

This is facilitated through a range of new features including application rate adaption using the Low Latency, Low Loss system and Scalable Throughput (L4S) feature, as well as XR-specific traffic handling based on packet periodicity, jitter, size, and latency requirements.

Combined with a solid slicing and QoS framework, this lays a powerful platform for XR evolution in coming years.

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RedCap devices

5G Advanced builds on the introduction of RedCap support for industrial wireless sensor networks, wearables, and wireless cameras in 5G first wave with improved support for new applications and new devices. 5G Advanced specifies support for positioning and further reduction of device complexity, with reduced peak data rates as low as 10 Mbps enabling complexity on par with LTE Cat-1 devices.

In later stages of 5G Advanced, RedCap support for satellite communication is expected, enabling truly ubiquitous 5G New Radio IoT coverage.

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5G Advanced for enterprises and public safety

5G Advanced introduces enhanced support for indoor positioning, time-critical communication, and mobility, as well as intent-based network performance. This will fuel new possibilities within the space of mission-critical and industrial control market segments, providing enhanced support for applications such as connected vehicles, XR, and more.

Indoor positioning

By introducing support for AI in established cellular positioning, 5G Advanced introduces high-precision indoor positioning accuracy that can enable and enhance innovative services in factories, warehouses, and offices. 5G Advanced-enabled indoor positioning will serve as a valuable complement to outdoor GNSS services.

This also lays the early steps toward 5G Advanced-era Integrated Sensing and Communication, bringing together AI, communication, positioning, and sensing capabilities enable powerful future use cases such as advanced traffic monitoring of vehicles and pedestrians to the generation of digital twins.

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Time-critical services

5G Advanced delivers enhanced support for time-critical applications, such as Industrial IoT, that demand bounded low-latency IP communication.

5G Advanced builds on first wave 5G support for time-sensitive communication by introducing deterministic networking for application areas requiring not only bounded low latency for IP, but also low delay variation and extremely low loss.

Together with enhanced support for device agnostic indoor- and outdoor positioning, as well as intent-based slicing and RedCap device support, 5G Advanced will unleash the revolutionary power of industrial 5G platforms in coming years.

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New performance enhancements

5G Advanced will significantly improve RAN performance in coming years, enabling higher uplink and downlink data rates and more seamless mobility. This is delivered through enhanced 5G multi-user-MIMO, as well as a new handover procedure that enables beam-based mobility across cells, delivering shorter interruption times and applicability across all frequency bands including carrier aggregation setups.

To increase the quality of service for mobile users, the MIMO framework is improved to cater for adaptations between beamforming methods depending on the user’s mobility, while signal quality is also improved by enabling coordinated operation across distributed transmitters.

Future 5G Advanced is also expected to support massive MIMO on even larger and more distributed antenna arrays, giving higher gains and a higher level of beamforming flexibility.

Energy efficiency features

Energy efficiency remains a pillar of 5G Advanced evolution. Since the very first release, 5G has been designed to meet increasing traffic demands while limiting the power consumption of mobile networks, and 5G Advanced takes that a step further.

It introduces a new network power consumption evolution methodology that will make future 5G evolution lean and sustainable, with a new range of energy-saving features already identified. This includes:

  • energy savings in cells/beams that serve limited traffic
  • dynamic RX/TX port and power adaption to reduce base station power consumption

In addition to specific network energy saving items, 5G Advanced also introduces enhanced AI capabilities to support network energy savings, such as defining inter-node energy efficiency prediction signaling based on RAN interface data and AI procedures.

5G Advanced and energy efficiency

AI features: reimagining intelligence

AI and machine learning (ML) is crucial to the ongoing evolution of mobile networks, enabling enhanced performance, intent-based automation, and new innovation possibilities in market segments such as XR, RedCap devices, and others.

While Ericsson 5G networks already support AI/ML and XR use cases in an energy-efficient manner, 5G Advanced offers standardized solutions for enhancing performance and network management, as well as enabling new types of applications.

AI-powered RAN performance

By supporting increased AI/ML functionality in the RAN, 5G Advanced introduces enhanced support for AI-powered network energy savings, load balancing, and mobility optimization. The selected use cases are supported by signaling enhancements to current NR interfaces such as the UE to gNB radio interface and the inter-gNB Xn interface.

Getting physical with AI

5G Advanced provides support for AI enhancements of the physical layer, including lifecycle management (LCM) such as performance monitoring and testing, as well as AI-based 5G air interface functionality. 5G Advanced Release 18 lays the early groundwork for standardized AI support to enhance positioning, beam management, and channel state information feedback. This is expected to be finalized in Release 19 and beyond.

Intelligent RAN automation

Through architectural enhancements to support intelligent network automation, including RAN management, analytics, and AI/ML model life-cycle management, 5G Advanced introduces a new level of RAN intelligence and automation powered by AI/ML. 5G Advanced features include standardized data collection interfaces (with proprietary automation implementation for full flexibility), as well as new support for intent-based network management.

Ericsson 5G Advanced: an important step towards programmable networks

Programmable networks are mobile networks with enhanced and new capabilities that allow CSPs to create new business models, more efficient operations, and more agility to launch new services.

The three fundamental new capabilities are intent-based networks, differentiated connectivity and APIs for exposure.

With 5G standalone, network slicing, time critical communication, and new 5G Advanced performance and automation CSP can achieve the differentiated connectivity and network programmability to introduce performance-based business models.

5G Advanced is an important step towards high performing programmable networks for CSP to capture the value of 5G networks, through committed SLA and network API exposure.

Ericsson 5G Advanced: An important step towards programmable networks

5G Advanced timeline

3GPP Release 18 marks the start of 5G Advanced, and builds on the 5G baseline defined by 3GPP in earlier 5G releases.

The next stage of 5G Advanced begins with 3GPP Release 19, where enhanced performance will remain in focus, together with the 5G system’s evolving ability to meet critical needs in commercial deployments.

5G Advanced will continue to evolve within 3GPP during this decade and, in parallel, early 6G standardization is expected to commence in Releases 20 and 21 starting from 2025.

3GPP: 5G Advanced timeline and evolution to 6G

Network evolution

By 2030, limitless connectivity will be anywhere—and the global mobile network will be the critical infrastructure of digital society. Learn how the evolution of 5G Advanced takes us a step closer to our vision for 2030.

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6G networks

5G Advanced delivers a steppingstone to future 6G networks, a world where ever-present intelligent communication can contribute to a more human-friendly, sustainable and efficient society. Learn more about our ongoing research journey to future 6G networks.

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