The road to 5G is progressing rapidly, but prototyping is essential: Page 2 of 3

September 21, 2015 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
5G networks hold a lot of promise in providing 1 to 10 Gbps throughput anywhere with complete transparency at lower power requirements than today’s networks and handsets, while offering strict levels of latency for critical applications.
The role of IP

A leading supplier of IP, Imagination Technologies has also joined the 5G Innovation Centre to collaborate in exploring, developing and defining underlying technologies that will power the next-generation 5G mobile communications network.

Richard Edgar, Director of Communications Technology at Imagination Technologies says, “We expect IP to dominate the wireless SoC market and consequently 5G. The progression at Imagination started in broadcast, then moved to short-range wireless (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) and will be followed by IoT.”

According to Richard, 5G will be comprised of many standards. The 3GPP is primarily focused on cellular and this emphasis takes less account of Wi-Fi, White Space spectrum, and the emerging IoT.

Richard adds, “At the moment there are around 29 candidate spectrum bands being considered for 5G, some old ones, others new, spanning 600 MHz to 60 GHz.”

Why spend all this energy on a modulation scheme to span 600 MHz to 60 GHz when solutions already exist as every vendor has a complete Wi-Fi stack. 60 GHz can be added to the stack as an amendment and currently 60 GHz chips are small and the antennas required are also small.

Carriers are embracing Wi-Fi as a critical addition to their networks, and though it does not have the command and control of cellular (QoS), it is getting much better. Richard expects Wi-FI to remain a useful component of 5G and expects other standards to also become part of the 5G scenario such as 15.4.

“5G will be a fully comprehensive suite of wireless technology with intelligence built into the handset. The network will be very different in design and expect IP to be the way to go for small devices.

IP will be key in providing the communications expertise to the multitude of companies that are expected to embrace the IoT, home automation, Industrial IoT and so on. IoT and 5G are also set to revolutionise medicine. The key here is the billions of sensors involved and the need to communicate. Most companies will not have RF or microwave communications expertise and IP is the best way of buying this in.

Richard comments, “Companies can either buy a wireless SoC or integrate IP into their own silicon — believe that the second choice will dominate as volume costs are very important.”

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