5G Huddle

5G as catalyst for digital transformation

The 5G Huddle 2020 conference started today in New Delhi. The theme of the conference is: 5G as a Catalyst for Digital Transformation.

The conference is hosted by the Wireless World Research Forum (WWRF), in partnership with Broadband India Forum (BIF), the ITU-APT Foundation of India and the Telecommunications Standards Development Society, India (TSDSI).

Nigel Jefferies, Chairman, WWRF, said: “We will see at the outcomes of 5G networks, and also look at its future. We will also study the case studies of 5G for rural and urban environments. WWRF has been at the forefront since 2001. We have a long engagement with India.”

Accelerating maturity of 5G apps
Ashwani Kumar, VP Standards & Industry, Huawei read a presentation by Zukang Shen, Head of Huawei Wireless Standards Department. The industry did Rel 15 with 3GPP. Rel 16 has some enhancements like massive MIMO enhancement, network slicing, etc. Rel 17 has broadcasting through 5G NR. There are NR IoT devices types. The coverage enhancement is also supported, besides side-link relay.

China established the IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group in 2013. There were operators, network vendors, chipset and terminal vendors, etc. 5G technology trials were started in early 2016, in phases 1-4. Phased 5G trials accelerated the maturity of network equipment and materials. Phase 1 was meant to carry out test and verification for potential key technologies for 5G. The development of key technologies was promoted. The RAN had massive MIMO, new multiple access, new waveform, channel slicing, etc.

In phase 2, the solutions were evaluated. Parameters were developed to benchmark the solutions. In phase 3, there was end-to-end system integration. A central lab was created in the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), besides the MTNet Lab and HuaiRou Field Lab. In phase 3, there was system integration of core networks. The base stations now supported Standalone (SA) vs Non-Standalone (NSA), as did the chipsets. Phase 4 saw interoperability testing. There were 4 chipset vendors, 6 vendors, 2 network architectures, and 2 bands, etc. The testing was done in the lab and field.

Next, the focus was on accelerating the maturity of 5G applications. Smart life, smart industry and digital governance were considered. Industrial Internet, smart grid, etc. were developed. Many of the concepts are now part of 3GPP. There is a need to promote technology enhancements through global specifications, promote a healthy 5G ecosystem, and accelerate the maturity of 5G apps.

India has unique challenges
Pamela Kumar, DG, TSDSI added that India has unique challenges. We need to leapfrog and embrace the emerging technologies. There is a Smart City Mission that has taken up 99 cities. There are challenges such as rural broadband for fiber-to-panchayat, diversity, greenfield deployment, and leapfrog technology solutions. We need to think uniquely and try to solve these challenges. We want a good quality of life. Technology is the answer! We need to develop the relevant technology for the rural areas. We also need to address the last-mile diversity. We have a unique opportunity to use new technology. There is a dilemma for the smart city Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) today — network, device, business, etc.

India is probably the world’s most fertile market for 5G adoption. Most of the BTSs in India are operating at 80-90% capacity, for Reliance Jio, BSNL, Airtel, etc. Internet penetration in India should be 829 million or maybe 1 billion by 2021.

So far, 99 smart cities have been selected and are to be allocated Rs 2.04 lakh crores. There is a quest for standards-driven development based on an interoperable common services platform. Is oneM2M an answer? TSDSI has proposed this solution.

The purpose and goal of oneM2M is to develop technical specifications, which address the need for a common M2M Service Layer that can be readily embedded within various hardware and software, and relied upon to connect multiple devices in the field with M2M application servers worldwide.

She added: “There is a huge, latent demand out there. We want to deploy 5G and do trials, do use cases, etc. We need to influence the direction of the new technology. We need to understand our own use cases, and take those requirements to standards, etc.”

The NDCP 2018 has specific goals to connect, propel and secure India. There is a 5G India 2020 High-level Forum. The Use Case Lab has already been set up. $35 million has been ear-marked for India’s collaborative testbed. LMLC is a mandatory test configuration for IMT-2020 technical performance requirements. LMLC is the ITU-R WP5D for rural broadband.

Bharat Bhatia, President ITU-APT Foundation of India, noted that people have come from all over the world to attend the 5G Huddle conference in Delhi. India is now moving from being an importer to a nation that is now trying to develop some technology. India can learn a lot from China in 5G. He added that Pamela Kumar had set the stage for 5G Huddle.

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