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Enabling Technologies for 5G


Creating and verifying 5G networks based on 3GPP 5G New Radio standards poses development challenges for operators, vendors, and test equipment makers that fall into six broad categories: throughput, mobility, capacity, massive connectivity, latency and reliability, and energy saving. New and developing technologies will address each category. These must be tested against target KPIs that will assure optimal network performance.

1. Throughput

Expectations for high-definition video content and cloud services on 5G networks will require huge increases in data transmission speeds. Users will expect high-throughput services to be available any time, anywhere.

Enabling Technologies:

  • mmWave
  • Massive MIMO
  • eMBB
  • Dual Connectivity

KPIs for Testing:

  • 10-20 Gbps peak rate
  • 15 Tbps/km2

2. Mobility

5G networks will need to keep up with their users, whether those users are at home or on the go. That means extending high-quality coverage to users traveling in cars, high speed trains, and even airplanes.

Enabling Technologies:

  • Dual Connectivity
  • C-Plane Improvements

KPIs for Testing:

  • Coverage for bullet trains traveling up to 500 km/h
  • Coverage for airplanes traveling up to 1,000 km/h

3. Capacity

New use cases mean that 5G networks will be transmitting and receiving even more data from even more devices. Compared to 2010, the new generation of mobile networks will need to support one thousand times the amount of traffic.

Enabling Technologies:

  • Dual Connectivity
  • Beamforming
  • HetNet

KPIs for Testing:

  • 500,000 UEs/km2
  • 10 Tbps/km2

4. Massive Connectivity

The Internet of Things and M2M communication are already creating a sharp increase in the number of connected terminals. Stadiums, events, dense urban areas, and disaster response will also require networks to support access on a massive scale.

Enabling Technologies:

  • Dual Connectivity
  • HetNet
  • mMTC

KPIs for Testing:

  • 1 million UEs/km2

5. Latency and Reliability

Developments in AR, VR, and M2M will enable new services for medical applications and real-time control of remote devices. For mobile networks to support these types of applications, they must achieve extremely low latency and maximum reliability.

Enabling Technologies:

  • URLLC
  • Mobile Edge Computing
  • Network Softwarization
  • Network slicing

KPIs for Testing:

  • 0.5 ms end-to-end latency
  • 99.99% reliability

6. Energy Saving

Making IoT devices viable means reducing the volume and complexity of required signaling as much as possible. Simplifying signaling protocols will make devices cheaper and significantly extend their battery life.

Enabling Technologies:

  • eDRX
  • Bundling
  • NB-IoT

KPIs for Testing:

  • 10-year battery life for devices