Piecing Together the 5G Big Picture

Ray Le Maistre

To enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) and beyond!
The 5G noise has been building to an almost deafening crescendo for several years and we're about to hit the first phase of significant service launches in major markets.

The first year (or even first few years) will be a public relations battle, but the early action will largely revolve around the delivery of enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), which in itself will be a step forward and, in fixed wireless scenarios, likely to shake up the broadband services market in general. In time it will also enable emerging services such as augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) and 8K video to mobile devices -- and that will be a significant challenge in itself.

Such services require, at the very minimum, network upgrades in the radio access network (RAN) and supporting "anyhaul" (fronthaul and backhaul) packet and optical transport networks that carry video and data traffic to and from end-user devices. These launches do not require a full 5G Big Picture deployment.

But enhanced Mobile Broadband is just one of the now familiar three points of the 5G services triangle, a version of which you can see below.

Moving anticlockwise from eMBB we have the massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC) that will be enabled by an extensive Internet of Things (IoT). All those billions of devices -- 20 billion by 2023, according to a forecast from Ericsson -- will need to be managed and while some of them will require very little in the way of data traffic flows, either to or from, some will put strain on networks, especially once high-resolution streaming video surveillance cameras become the norm in smart cities. These mMTC applications will require a significant number, but not the full suite, of elements.

But the major challenges come down the line when autonomous vehicles are let loose on the roads, and when the range of services dubbed Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC) -- aka "Critical Communications" -- including industrial robot automation and remote surgery are launched: That's when all the puzzle pieces need to be in place.

So let's take a look at the 5G Big Picture piece by piece...

Next page: Piecing 5G together.

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11/3/2018 | 5:34:56 AM
Re: And the spectrum sharing?
Connect Your Roku Streaming Stick to your choice Choose your wireless business from the list of networks that are available and enter your password and go to office.com/setup.
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9/12/2018 | 3:16:53 AM
Re: And the spectrum sharing?
Tks galarcon

Yes, that is deliberate.

In this 5G Big Picture puzzle I have tried to show that 5G network architecture considerations go far beyond the RAN and handsets -- to show how many technologies and processes need to be considered by operators as the foundation of their 5G plans and that each of these is important and many are inter-related. So the focus in this Big Picture is on the technologies and processes that will enable an operator to execute a 5G strategy.

Spectrum sharing is a strategic decision and something that can be enabled by the deployment of a set of technologies. Likewise, I have not included network slicing -- that is an important capability that looks likely to be broadly deployed by operators and an important part of 5G strategies, but is also enabled by the underlying technology.

Regulation will, of course, have a massive impact on 5G and one of the most important considerations for operators, alongside business case, competitive threats, market trends, service demand etc but it is not a foundational technology or associated process, hence its omission. 

I hope that makes sense!
9/11/2018 | 2:41:37 PM
And the spectrum sharing?
In your 20 elements I did not saw neither Spectrum Sharing nor Regulation