The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) says it has formed a key group to study the network standardization requirements of ‘5G’, generally considered to be future steps in mobile technology evolution.
ITU, the UN specialisd agency that oversees the global ICT industry says the new Focus Group will identify the network standardization requirements for the ‘5G’ development of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) for 2020 and beyond.
ITU says the buzz in the industry on future steps in mobile technology — “5G” — has seen a sharp increase, with attention now focused on enabling a seamlessly connected society in the 2020 timeframe and beyond that brings together people along with things, data, applications, transport systems and cities in a smart networked communications environment.
“In this context, ITU and its partners, sharing a common community of interest, have recognized the relationship between IMT — International Mobile Telecommunication system — and “5G” and are working towards realizing the future vision of mobile broadband communications”, according to ITU.
Under the plan, the network studies of the new group will be hosted by ITU’s Standardization Sector (ITU-T), benefiting from the strength of ITU-T standardization in wireline communications.
“These “IMT-2020” systems will enable wireless communication to match the speed and reliability achieved by fibre-optic infrastructure. The potential application fields of IMT-2020 systems, in addition to voice and video, span from healthcare to industrial automation, virtual reality, automated driving, and robotic systems controlled with an imperceptible time lag. One-millisecond end-to-end latency is necessary for technical systems to replicate natural human interaction with our environment, a goal that experts say should be within reach of future networks”, ITU adds.
The new Focus Group, which is open to participation by any interested party, will provide the launching point for ITU-T’s contribution to IMT-2020 standardization. The group will follow an intensive work plan to complete its study prior to the December meeting of ITU’s standardization expert group responsible for future networks, cloud computing and network aspects of mobile communications, ITU-T Study Group 13.
In 2012, ITU established a programme on International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) for 2020 and beyond, which provides the framework for IMT-2020 research and development worldwide. ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) is coordinating the international standardization of IMT-2020 systems. ITU-T is expected to play a similar convening role for the technologies and architectures of wireline networks.
“Air interfaces and radio access networks are progressing rapidly, but there is a need to devote more attention to the networking aspects of IMT-2020. Wireline communications will transform significantly in support of IMT-2020, and the coordination of ITU’s standardization and radiocommunication arms will ensure that the wireline and wireless elements of future networks develop in unison”, Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of ITU says.
According to François Rancy, Director of the ITU Radiocommunications Bureau, “Following on from the successful development of IMT-2000 and IMT-Advanced, the standards for all of today’s 3G and 4G mobile systems, the work to be carried out by ITU-T on the network aspects will be an important complement to the activities undertaken by ITU-R in developing the radio interface standards for IMT-2020.”
Chaesub Lee, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau adds that, “today’s network architectures cannot support the envisaged capabilities of IMT-2020 systems. Innovation in standardization is essential across core networks, access networks, virtualized data clusters and masses of smart networked units. Moving beyond convergence, the concepts underlying networking must evolve to support the development of integrated fixed-mobile hybrid networks.”
On his part, Wen Tong, Head of 5G Research and Development at Huawei, says that “5G will power a wide range of new user experiences, but the bottleneck remains the speed of the network. Everyone in the ICT ecosystem needs to work together. This is the most important condition for us to realize 5G, and this is the reason Huawei is contributing to ITU’s efforts to consider what the road to 5G demands of all parts of the ecosystem.”
IMT-2020 research and development is underway in a wide range of industry and public sector bodies. The Focus Group’s scope of activity will be concentrated in identifying the standardization needs of the wireline elements of 5G networks, building on an analysis of IMT-2020 studies being undertaken by other entities.
ITU-T standardization activity based on the findings of the Focus Group will prioritize the alignment of its IMT-2020 deliverables with those of ITU-R, ensuring that standardization work on the network aspects of IMT-2020 supports the further evolution of IMT.