Standards that are anything but standard – 5G

Way back in 2010 and 2011, our researchers had a clear vision of what 5G could become. They threw themselves into their work, creating 5G testbeds with leading operators around the world. Without their passion for technology and its advancement, we wouldn’t be telling such a compelling 5G story today.

A man in a lab coat examines an object in a test lab environment with a light box. Description: A man in a lab coat examines an object in a test lab environment with a light box
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After years of hard work, the first release of 5G from 3GPP came late last year, which is significant because the first release of a completely new standard only happens every 10 years. Fittingly, many of the articles in our latest issue of Ericsson Technology Review relate to what we think is most important in 5G and how to address the new opportunities that 5G entails.

5G is inherently complex. But to gain penetration, it has to be easy to use, adopt and scale. Mobile technology is the fastest scaling technology ever, but 5G will be more complex than previous generations since there are more use cases, more complex technology and alternative business models. To get it to scale fast we need to untangle and simplify.  Global standards are fundamental to building this ubiquitous connectivity in the ICT industry.

Key focus of first 5G standards

Defining New Radio (NR) was a key focus in the first release of 5G. While the development of the radio for a new generation has traditionally focused on the introduction of a new modulation and coding scheme, the main focus this time has been on flexibility to support a large range of devices and services with vastly different characteristics, different types of deployments and frequency allocations that range from below 1 GHz well up into the mmWave bands.

To support the expected growth in data volumes, innovative technologies in the area of massive antenna systems, beamforming and energy efficiency have been introduced. We see three other core areas within 5G standardization.  They are:

  • security with improved subscriber untraceability, protection of subscriber privacy, and flexible identity management
  • 5G sustainability with a fundamental change of design principles from “always on” to “always available” for high energy savings
  • 5G core with the concept of network slicing and distributed cloud for business environment that is significantly different from that of today

One of the key reasons for the flexibility provided in 5G is the desire to support industries to use connectivity, virtualization, machine intelligence and other technologies to change their processes and business models as part of the next industrial revolution.

It is therefore a pleasure to be able to include an article in this issue that we have co-written with Comau and the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies on the topic of industrial automation.  It’s an exciting look at the combination of robotics, machine intelligence and 5G networks.

Our demo at Mobile World Congress with Comau on the “future factory,” was one of the highlights of our show, and you can read a post on it by our Roberto Sabella or see it in action on Facebook.

industrial automation

Why 5G marks a new era in mobile

With the first 5G standard released and commercial deployments starting this year, we are entering a new era of mobile communications with the potential to profoundly change the way that many businesses and industries operate. This change may well be similar to the way that the introduction of mobile phones changed the way people interact both with each other and with different applications. If we want our industry to be at the forefront of the next generation of technology, we have to make exceptional innovation the standard for all, regardless of whether or not that gives our competitors an advantage

If we want our industry to be at the forefront of the next generation of technology, we have to make exceptional innovation the standard for all. That is why standards and open innovation are so important. By equipping the entire industry, consumers and enterprises, with the most advanced technology in the 5G platform we enable other industries to transform and stay competitive for years to come!

Explore Ericsson Technology Review

You can explore our full issue of ETR, or you can check out individual articles.  The latest issue includes articles on:

  • intelligent transport, describing a transport network solution that connects all the pieces of the RAN and the mobile core network, and where high levels of intelligence, flexibility and automation are used to provide optimal performance for a variety of different 5G scenarios.
  • end-to-end (E2E) security management for the Internet of Things (IoT).
  • Standardization of a model for measuring viewing quality, which we present here in an article about video QoE (Quality of Experience).
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