5G for Ubiquitous Connectivity
Recently, the more cold resistant part of cellular industry and academia gathered for the 1st International Conference on 5G for Ubiquitous Connectivity in Levi, Finland hosted by University of Oulu.
Levi is a good 150 km north of Rovaniemi, where Santa Claus is supposed to be busy these days, so white winter had already arrived. The conference had an encouraging number of presentations with “Energy Efficiency” in the title. A sign that network energy performance and a strive toward low energy consumption is becoming an integrated part of the necessary performance aspects of future cellular systems. However, on one hand, the connection between ubiquitous connectivity and coverage and, on the other hand, energy consumption is not yet generally understood. So Ericsson used the participation in the panel discussion to highlight not only the demanding peak performance requirements, but also that most places have considerably lower traffic most of the time. This is the true challenge of a cellular system and the sweet spot when striving to reduce energy consumption in cellular networks. Legacy standards are very much designed with equipment that is “always on” in mind.
However, for some years we have worked on concepts and products more adapted to be “always available.” The latter has resulted in that Ericsson has recently released two new features with their roots in our work in the EU EARTH project, Micro Sleep Tx and MIMO Sleep Mode. However, the focus of this conference was 5G which is rather connected to “always optimized” and the possibility to integrate energy performance considerations from the beginning in this standard. Always optimized could be the result from 5G “lean transmission” with a minimal static control plane and full multi-antenna optimization for massive beam forming and massive MIMO only when required.
Ylva Jading Ericsson Research