Into the tech frontier: delving into 5G Advanced and the latest in 3GPP technology trends
The air crackles with anticipation. Not just from the latest superhero flick, but from the cutting-edge advancements brewing in the world of mobile technology. 5G Advanced, the evolution of today's lightning-fast networks, is on the horizon, and the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is diligently paving the way. So, buckle up, tech enthusiasts, because we're about to take a deep dive into the transformative trends shaping the future of wireless communication.
Every 3GPP release advances the capabilities of wireless networks. This inexorable march which began in 1998 and has created a global ecosystem that counts 8.5 billion mobile connections as of 2023!
Now, we are moving beyond the initial 5G releases and looking ahead to 6G. Releases starting at 18 will mark 5G Advanced. As 5G evolves to 6G, the wireless network is adding capabilities that will optimize the network for use cases like the Metaverse at one end, and low cost, low power IoT devices at the other end.
Recently, Ericsson was a lead in a new 5G Americas paper reviewing the key 3GPP technologies and trends in the journey towards 5G Advanced and 6G. This blog will cover some highlights. To get more details please visit 5G Americas Whitepaper: 3GPP Technology Trends - 5G Americas
Beyond speed: A multifaceted evolution
While enhanced data rates remain a key aspect of 5G Advanced, it's about much more than just downloading movies faster. The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the industry consortium driving 5G standards, is focusing on five core pivotal technology areas.
- Unleash the metaverse: Prepare to transcend physical limitations and dive into immersive Extended Reality (XR) experiences. 3GPP is sculpting networks that cater to XR's demanding needs, ensuring ultra-low latency, seamless connectivity, and efficient resource allocation. XR-aware RANs, power-saving techniques, and capacity enhancements for XR are seamlessly integrated into the 5G Advanced framework.
- Embrace the RedCap revolution: Envision a world where low-power, compact devices discreetly monitor our surroundings, from smart homes tracking our sleep patterns to industrial sensors optimizing factory processes. RedCap technology, introduced in Release 17 and enhanced in Release 18, is the engine powering this connected future, supporting wearables, industrial sensors, video surveillance, and expanding into new use cases, including the smart grid.
- Bridge the gap with Integrated Sensing and Communication (ISAC): In the realm of 5G Advanced, forget passive communication networks; embrace the full-sensory experience with ISAC. Devices not only send messages but also sense their surroundings, repurposing legacy base stations for RF sensing over expansive areas. The amalgamation of AI, communication, positioning, and sensing capabilities bridges the physical and digital worlds, enabling innovative services. Key technologies facilitating Integrated Sensing and Communication include Service-Based Network Architecture, Standardized Waveform and Reference Signals, and Advanced Signal Processing. This transformative evolution in network capabilities, seamlessly integrating communication and sensing, holds the potential to revolutionize various applications, from utilizing the cellular network for advanced traffic monitoring of vehicles and pedestrians to generating digital twins of physical areas.
- Embrace the ambient IoT revolution: Picture a world where everyday objects seamlessly communicate. Ambient IoT devices do not need a power source, but rather harvest power from their environment (examples include radio waves, light and vibrations). There are many applications for such technology including inventory management in warehouses, object tracking and sensors across rural and urban environments. Two pivotal technologies will enable this future: energy harvesting and storage and backscattering. These technologies unlock a truly interconnected world, where misplaced keys send personalized location alerts, and smart appliances coordinate to optimize energy consumption.
- Unleash the power of AI/ML: In the realm of 5G Advanced, the progress goes beyond typical hardware upgrades—it's a fundamental shift toward intelligent software architecture. Starting with network automation in Release 15, 3GPP has been integrating AI and ML into network standards. Moving forward, artificial intelligence and machine learning will seamlessly integrate into the very fabric of future networks, orchestrating optimal performance, predicting user needs, and customizing digital experiences. From self-healing networks that preemptively address issues to dynamic resource allocation ensuring seamless connectivity, AI/ML becomes the driving force behind this transformative era. As we delve deeper, venturing into the realm of 3GPP Technology Trends and releases from 18 onwards, the integration of AI/ML extends beyond the higher layers to permeate the critical physical layer. This influence is particularly profound in use cases like Channel State Information (CSI) prediction, precise positioning, and efficient beam management. This forward-looking integration isn't a one-time accomplishment but an ongoing process, marked by dedicated efforts in feature development, meticulous model training, functionality registration, and vigilant monitoring. The adaptive nature of ML solutions ensures they seamlessly adjust to diverse scenarios and configurations, marking a pivotal aspect of managing the AI/ML lifecycle. Simultaneously, the commitment to trustworthy AI in mobile networks stands as a cornerstone, emphasizing transparency, fairness, and robustness throughout the AI framework. This commitment becomes indispensable as AI/ML applications proliferate across various facets of the ever-evolving mobile network landscape.
3GPP: Charting the course for a brighter future
The telecommunications industry's paramount focus must be on a globally unified and harmonized standard, and the3GPP stands as the linchpin in this endeavor. As a global consortium of industry leaders, the 3GPP is tirelessly defining standards and specifications for the evolution of 5G Advanced, addressing crucial aspects such as global interoperability, security, and spectrum allocation. Their dedicated efforts are pivotal in ensuring a smooth and efficient rollout of transformative technologies, shaping the future of telecommunications on a global scale.
More than technology, a sustainable future
5G Advanced isn't merely about speed and connectivity; it represents a pivotal shift towards building a smarter, greener future. The current paradigm of standardization now places sustainability at the forefront rather than as an afterthought. In this era of technological evolution, Ericsson, a frontrunner in shaping 5G's trajectory, stands unwavering in its deep commitment to sustainable development. See more about Ericsson’s advances in sustainable networks.
Get the full paper
This is just the beginning of the 5G Advanced story. Feel free to join the ongoing conversation and explore the comprehensive 5G Americas white paper on 3GPP Technology Trends in 5G Advanced, co-led by Ericsson’s Dr. Christina Chaccour, Network Solutions Manager.
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