The Anite-led task group within the METIS project recently published the first channel models for 5G. An essential step towards further development of candidate 5G technologies, the interim channel models were co-authored by eight METIS partners and approved by other key members for publication.
The technical requirements for 5G will be very challenging, thus testing the radio channel is even more important compared to 4G or 3G. It is expected that 5G will adapt to various radio channel conditions in a more efficient way, utilising all dimensions of the radio channel such as delay, frequency, time, location, elevation and polarization.
James Goodwin, Director of Product Management at Anite expects that more will be squeezed out of the LTE standard by improving the air interface with the use of more complex MIMO and even massive MIMO, as well as by allocating new spectrum.
James Goodwin contends that 5G will only be addressed properly at the mmWave level with new modulation schemes. In order for this to progress it is essential that the real-world channel between the radio and mobile device are well understood. As part of the METIS project Anite is building tools to evaluate such channels with different modulation schemes and is leading channel model research in this area
For 5G to go global one key issue is the need for a unified spectrum. James Goodwin adds that with 5G it is very difficult to do a multi-frequency mobile device at 30 GHz. A lot of people are skeptical whether mmWave will be a practical answer, but mmWave is beginning to appear in Wi-Fi products and costs are expected to drop, while R&D accelerates.
Anite is also a member of Project Virtuoso, an Intel-led industry project that is researching testing environments to accelerate 4G and 5G technology development and testing. Within this project, Anite aims to enhance its Virtual Drive Testing Tools (VDT) to utilise data measured in the field to “virtually” recreate the field test environment in a laboratory.
According to Janne Kolu, Director, Channel Emulator Products at Anite, by using a variety of tools to take in-field measurements, the data collected can then be used to simulate the environment in the lab. By replaying this data in the lab it is currently possible to accurately simulate power level requirements. The next steps are to implement fast forwarding, multipath and spatial radio channel requirements. By the time the project ends in 2018 some 5G topics will have been addressed.
To conclude, for 5G to start happening a frequency plan needs to be specified followed by a definition of the air-interface. A modulation scheme will need to be adopted, as has been the case for every wireless generation. In general, 5G will need to deliver a peak data rate of round 10 Gbps with a cell edge rate of around 100 Mbps, along with latency of under 1-ms to warrant being the next generation wireless standard. This might seem a tall order, but 4G in the form of LTE and LTE-A will continue to evolve over the next few years.
Gain early access to 5G capabilities
5G research and trial investments to hit $5 billion by 2020
Agilent and China Mobile to collaborate on 5G wireless
National Instruments joins CROWD for 5G wireless networks research
Tiny, cheaper radio wave circulator could double the useful bandwidth
The battle for the future and viability of 5G is in R&D