Wednesday, 22 December 2021 12:10

How Qualcomm is pioneering and developing innovations for 5G

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2021 marked an exciting year for 5G. For semiconductor company Qualcomm, it not only saw 5G commercial launches around the world, but it noted that 3GPP continued towards completing 5G NR Release.

This week at the quarterly 3GPP RAN Plenary meeting, Qualcomm says that 3GPP reached a key milestone to realise 5G vision.

After conducting a 5G Advanced workshop in June and multiple rounds of lively e-mail discussions with a large set of participating 3GPP companies, Qualcomm has approved a Release 18 (Rel-18) package, a set of projects that aims to deliver a balanced 5G Advanced evolution, which will address the short and longer terms needs of enhanced mobile broadband and expanded vertical use cases across the end-to-end 5G system.

Qualcomm says 5G Advanced starts the second phase of the 5G decade, bringing a new wave of wireless technology innovations. It is envisioned to push technology boundaries in two broad directions: to strengthen the 5G system foundation that further improves speed, coverage, mobility, power efficiency, as well as to proliferate 5G to virtually all devices, deployments, and use cases.

Rel-18 is the inaugural standard release of 5G Advanced, and below are the key projects and the scope they entail.

Strengthen the end-to-end 5G system foundation
Advanced downlink/uplink Mimo: enhancing 5G massive Mimo performance and efficiency by delivering improved throughput, coverage, power consumption, reliability, and support for more device antennas for a wide range of use cases.

Enhanced mobility: improving mobility for devices operating in sub-7 GHz and mmWave by supporting lower handover latency and improved robustness through lower layer mechanisms (i.e., layer 1 and 2 based inter-cell mobility), and more carrier aggregation and dual connectivity operations.

Mobile integrated access/backhaul (IAB) and smart repeaters: expanding capability for IAB on cars/trains to extend 5G coverage in sub-7 GHz and mmWave deployments for users inside and outside the vehicle, as well as supporting repeaters with traffic awareness and beamforming capability via side control information in TDD spectrum for deployments at high bands.

Evolved duplexing: identifying applicable and relevant deployment scenarios and use cases on the path to full duplex operations, focusing on non-overlapping subband full duplex that can improve network efficiency, latency, and coverage in TDD deployments.

AI/ML data-driven designs: expanding wireless ML framework to optimise network energy saving, load balancing and mobility with enhanced data collection and signalling support, as well as to examine how AI/ML techniques can enable improved support of air interface functions, such as CSI feedback, beam management, and positioning.

Green networks: defining base station energy consumption model, evaluation methodology, KPIs, and power consumption reduction techniques with and without user device assistance targeting system-level studies with various scenarios, which include sub-7 GHz urban/rural macro, urban micro, mmWave beam-based, and dual connectivity deployments.

Proliferate 5G to virtually all devices and use cases
Boundless extended reality (XR): following the Rel-17 study characterising XR traffic models and evaluating how 5G NR supports XR applications aiming now at defining the KPIs and QoS requirements, as well as supporting application awareness and power and capacity enhancements tailored for improved support of XR experiences over 5G.

NR-Light (RedCap) evolution: expanding the NR-Light platform for reduced capability devices to further scale bandwidth possibly down to 5MHz and enhance low-power modes, while maintaining coexistence with Rel-17 NR-Light and other 5G NR devices.

Expanded sidelink: building upon the C-V2X and Rel-17 foundation to expand into new spectrum types and bands (i.e., unlicensed and mmWave), as well as sidelink relays that can further extend 5G coverage in challenging scenarios.

Expanded positioning: providing enhanced performance (i.e., accuracy) for positioning/ranging, including assessing techniques such as bandwidth aggregation and carrier phase measurement, as well as defining performance requirements for NR-Light positioning.

Drones and enhanced satellites: defining drone communications with 5G NR, leveraging the LTE Rel-14 drone study, defining measurement reporting and signalling design; extending 5G NR satellite support into new bands (e.g., 10+GHz), improving coverage and mobility targeting voice support over satellite for regular smartphone form factor.

Multicast enhancements: driving enhancements for 5G mixed-mode multicast, such as supporting multicast reception in inactive/idle mode and better system efficiency for multicast reception in RAN sharing scenarios.

Qualcomm says there are Rel-18 projects beyond the ones that deliver additional improvements to the 5G system. This includes enhancements to dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS), multi-SIM, in-device coexistence, small data transmission, quality of experience, carrier aggregation, and self-organising network/minimisation of drive test (SON/MDT).

Nominal work for Rel-18 will start after completing Rel-17, expected in the first half of the next year. Qualcomm says it is working on some projects that will define the future of 5G.

This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 14 December 2021.


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    Ok, so what is the new announcement?

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    “The pCell vRAN enables a new era in wireless communications, when fiber- class capacity, uniformity, and reliability are available over the airwaves. pCell vRAN delivers consistent 4K streaming in both directions, enabling a new class of applications, such as photo-realistic Extended and Augmented Reality interactively streamed to thousands of users, regardless of density.”

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    “The Artemis pCell network opens up a wide variety of novel fan experience possibilities in high-density venues,” said Jonathan Becher, President of Sharks Sports & Entertainment.

    “Attendees at live events want to stream video down and up from any location in the arena but existing cellular and Wi-Fi systems don’t deliver the uniformity of pCell coverage. The pCell network’s performance and consistency allows us to leverage new technologies like Augmented Reality to deliver compelling experiences to fans.”

    Here is the Artemis pCell SAP Center Case Study video:

    pCell technology is based on a radical new approach to wireless that exploits, rather than avoids interference, resulting in a more than 10 times increase in network capacity per MHz of spectrum, while remaining compatible with unmodified LTE and 5G phones and devices. Over 100 academic papers have been published about the underlying technology since its invention.

    “pCell is the most innovative technology I’ve seen in wireless in a very long time, upending everything we’ve been taught about wireless,” said Craig Moffett, Senior Managing Director of MoffettNathanson, “We’ve all grown up thinking that spectrum is a scarce resource, but pCell breaks that equation, delivering over 10 times the performance of existing LTE and 5G technology.”

    Federated Wireless, the leader in private wireless and shared spectrum solutions, is an emerging Artemis pCell service delivery partner. Federated Wireless specialises in design and delivery of private wireless solutions that meet unique use cases and innovation goals. Federated Wireless currently has 100k connected CBRS devices across the United States and 350+ customers including the US Department of Defense, Carnegie Mellon University, the City of McAllen, Texas and over 140 Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs).

    “We’re excited to see innovative and disruptive technologies that are adopting CBRS,” said Iyad Tarazi, CEO of Federated Wireless. “Artemis holds enormous potential for high speed, low latency use cases and we look forward to seeing their success in this rapidly growing market.”

    With Multi-Gigabit speeds in free CBRS spectrum, uniform performance, and the ability to support 10s of thousands of users, pCell catapults the Private LTE/5G market from niche use cases to major venues, campuses, enterprise and hospitals, delivering 10 times carrier-grade performance.

    “Artemis pCell is one of the largest technology breakthroughs I’ve seen in my career,” said John Sculley, former CEO of Apple and a founding investor of MetroPCS, “But Artemis’ real genius is getting around longstanding barriers to entering the market by delivering vastly higher performance at far lower TCO via Private LTE/5G in the new CBRS spectrum. For the first time, large mobile customers including venues, campuses and enterprise can choose mobile infrastructure based on performance, quality and economics, and most significantly, enabling future applications. Breakthrough technology like pCell enables entirely new media experiences like Extended and Augmented Reality that are expected to be huge growth opportunities for mobile wireless in the future.”

    pCell vRAN Private LTE/5G installations are also neutral hosts for mobile network operators seeking the same 10x performance leapfrog to their subscribers, using CBRS or their own spectrum.

    Subject to availability of components, pCell systems will be increasingly available through 2022.

    For plenty more information, here is an amazing interview that Steve Perlman generously allowed me to film with him, with a follow-up interview to come!

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