New York -- Building America's 5G Ecosystem -- There might be some small measure of consensus emerging around what will constitute one of the building blocks of 5G.
5G is the specification behind the next generation of wireless technology, which is expected to start being deployed in the summer of 2020. The basic aim of the development work is getting a multi-megabit capable mobile network that can also support extremely low latency human and machine-to-machine (M2M) -- or Internet of Things (IoT) -- applications on the new networks. (See 5G: Generation Gap.)
One of the first things that has to be agreed on is what air interface should be used for the new specification. The air interface technology specifies the method for transmitting information over the air between the radio network and mobile devices. (See Mobile Wireless Air Interface Technologies.)
Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) is now talking about an ambitious "unified air interface" for 5G that would scale up to high-speed services as well as support less demanding IoT services.
"The core of this air interface in our view is OFDM, OFDMA-based, but it needs to be tweaked," Qualcomm's Senior Director of Technical Marketing Rasmus Hellberg said at the Light Reading event on Tuesday morning. (See Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM).)
Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) splits the data stream into narrowband channels at different frequencies to increase data rates. It is already used for WiFi and 4G LTE, which opens up the possibility of some level of compatibility between the network.
Talking to Light Reading on Friday at the Brooklyn 5G Summit, Lauri Oksanen, vice president of research and technology at Nokia Networks , agreed that 5G on low frequency spectrum will require an air interface modulation scheme "similar to OFDM."
That gets more complicated as the radio access networks (RANs) get up into the millimeter waves at 30GHz and 300GHz. Nokia's Oksanen says that a single carrier (band) scheme may be better. "For millimeter wave, relatively simple modulation would be good," he says.
Oksanen adds that there a lot of different proposals currently on the table for air interface modulation schemes. Work to standardize 5G will begin in earnest early next year.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading