With 5G, there will likely be several network-design challenges. For instance, how will 5G NR be deployed in low and high frequencies and how will those be managed? There are mMIMO and 3D beamforming performance challenges, as well those related to throughput and latency performance.
Randeep Raina, CTO, Nokia India, tries to tackle these, and many more. Excerpts from an interview:
V&D: 5G NR deployments in low and high frequencies, come with various scopes and challenges. How will these be managed?
Randeep Raina: 5G offers unique opportunity for operators to build their networks to cater for the target use-cases. Through the flexibility and options of various spectrum bands, operators can choose to address need of specific use-cases. 3GPP specification and global ecosystem has been very mindful of the coverage challenges that comes from operating on high spectrum bands.
Hence, there are specific provisions to ensure existing 4G networks are leveraged to benefits the maximum. Small cells will play big role in leveraging best out of mmWave-based 5G networks. The government and the regulator need to consider suitable regulations and provisioning to allow wide scale small-cell deployments for densification of the networks which is critical for 5G deployments.
V&D: How will operators handle mMiMO/3D beamforming performance challenges?
Randeep Raina: The mMIMO and beamforming are integral part of the 5G ecosystem. They are going to bring significant performance gains while also limiting complexities for the operators. Combination of AI and ML which enables extreme automation for smooth deployment of the mMIMO to accommodate varying traffic pattern. Nokia Future-X vision has massive access networks build on the fundamentals of AI and ML to reduce complexities of the network for operation.
V&D: What are the throughput and latency performance challenges?
Randeep Raina: Consistency of desired throughput and latency would have various dependencies like coverage capacity and architecture. The 5G networks offer service-based architecture, whereby, the different needs of applications will be fulfilled by offering network slicing-based SLAs. Network slicing will minimize the throughput and latency challenges for operators.
Imagine the 5G network not as static, but a dynamic entity, which can change its resources as per the demand, and all this is happening without any manual intervention. In addition, cloudification at the core and the edge further creates the efficiencies that improve both the throughput experience and latency.
V&D: How crucial is the testing of the 5G networks?
Randeep Raina: There are already >50 commercial networks deployed globally. Operators have strict measures and validation processes in place to ensure smooth introduction of new technologies. India introduced 3G and 4G successfully in past 10 years. All those learnings and experience will ensure smoother introduction of 5G networks as well.
Nokia brings all the global learnings for our customers to ensure we don’t re-invent the wheel, and hit the ground running in ensuring the best performance of 5G networks, and having a time to market advantage for rendering the 5G services to consumers and the society at large in India. We do feel that every market has different use case requirements. Hence, the focus should be on the development and integration of use cases specific for India.
V&D: How will spreading out access to rural areas will be a challenge?
Randeep Raina: 5G is ideally a good combination of low-, mid- and high-band spectrum. Rural areas can be served with low bands most effectively. The government and the regulator need to consider low band as enabler of rural digitization and plan the availability of spectrum accordingly.
The fixed-wireless-access concept allows larger distance with mid-band. However, we must not compromise in quality of services that we offer to rural subscribers hence besides focus of coverage, capacity/experience must be primary focus.