To enable connectivity for a wide range of new applications and use cases, the capabilities of 5G wireless access must extend far beyond those of previous generations. These capabilities include the possibility to provide very high data rates everywhere, support for very low latency and ultra-high reliability, and the possibility of devices of very low cost and very low energy consumption. Furthermore, 5G wireless access needs to support a massive increase in traffic in an affordable and sustainable way, implying a need for a dramatic reduction in the cost and energy consumption per delivered bit.
In contrast to earlier generations, 5G wireless access should not be seen as a specific radio-access technology. Rather, it is the overall wireless-access solution addressing the demands and requirements of mobile communication beyond 2020. LTE will continue to develop in a backwards-compatible way and will be an important part of the 5G wireless-access solution for frequency bands below 6GHz. In parallel, new radio-access technology will emerge, at least initially targeting new spectrum.
In order to further extend traffic capacity and to enable the transmission bandwidths needed to support very high data rates, 5G will extend the range of frequencies used for mobile communication, including spectrum in higher frequency bands above 10GHz. Such higher frequencies will serve as a complement, providing additional system capacity and very wide transmission bandwidths for extreme data rates in dense deployments. Lower frequencies will remain the backbone for mobile-communication networks in the 5G era, providing ubiquitous wide-area connectivity.
Other key technology components of 5G wireless access include advanced multi-antenna transmission, lean design, user/control separation, flexible spectrum usage, complementary device-to-device communication, and backhaul/access integration.