The CCA Voice - Fall/Winter 2016 - (Page 21)

T H E M E: 5G: T H E N E X T G E N E R AT ION 5G Is Here (If You Want It) By Ed Gubbins Senior Analyst, Wireless Infrastructure, Current Analysis I got an email the other day from a major mobile network infrastructure vendor inviting me to meet with their "Head of 5G Global Sales." Before even responding, I thought, "Wait - 5G networking solutions aren't expected to be commercial for years. So what does a 'Head of 5G Global Sales' do all day (I mean, aside from meeting with me)?" Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised. After all, lately there's been a surge of operators and equipment vendors demonstrating what they're calling 5G technologies, despite the fact that 5G hasn't exactly been clearly defined yet. In the U.S. alone: * AT&T claimed to have demonstrated 10 Gbps speeds with networking equipment in its labs; they're also testing millimeter wave gear, which operates at a higher frequency than today's LTE networks. * Verizon recently touted 1.8 Gbps speeds using point-to-multipoint networking in the 28 GHz band. * Sprint demonstrated multiple "5G" technologies, including 2 Gbps speeds and "low millisecond" latency in 73 GHz spectrum, beam switching (selecting the best antennas for particular user devices) and Dynamic TDD (adjusting TD-LTE network capacity in real time). A fair question is, "What makes these 5G technologies?" A fair answer is: the marketing organizations of the companies involved. 5G isn't yet defined or standardized by the telecom industry. A long list of entities (5GPPP, METIS, the 5G Forum, NGMN, IMT-2020, etc.) have been hard at work in this area for some time now, aided by research from major universities (Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, etc.) and a host of equipment vendors and operators working in smaller, more direct collaborations (Ericsson and LG U+, Huawei and Telefonica, Nokia and du, etc.). Thus far, a sort of laundry list of disparate capabilities is often thrown around to describe what 5G may be able to do - things like higher capacity (e.g., data speeds up to 10 Gbps), submillisecond latency, device battery preservation, etc. - as well as a similar laundry list of use cases - things like connected cars, remote-controlled robots, virtual reality and more. Undergirding these two lists is an attempt to discern the different network features or characteristics that are required for each use case or service and to tailor the network for each one. Software-Defined Networking - separating the data plane from the control plane - will be used to "slice" the network into essentially virtual networks with different characteristics - one slice with high capacity, one slice with low capacity but high reliability and device battery preservation - and so on. This is very different from 4G or 3G, and it's this aspect of 5G - this versatility - that is the most challenging to engineer. Naturally the pursuit of that versatility also makes it hard for a global industry to come together and agree on what 5G should be. That's especially true when you consider how much 5G is tied to specific use cases like connected cars or IoT. Market demand for these individual use cases is bound to be lumpy across THE The next few years will be filled with a variety of 5G technology demonstrations like the kind we've already begun to see. the globe, with some taking off in some regions faster than others. Plus, attitudes about specific spectrum bands (e.g., millimeter wave) are likely to differ in various regions of the globe as well. While all this is being sorted out, operators and equipment vendors alike are under competitive pressure to demonstrate that they're working on mastering 5G. And because there's no formal definition of 5G yet, these companies have a lot of room to apply the term to the technologies they're most interested in. Thus, the next few years will be filled with a variety of 5G technology demonstrations like the kind we've already begun to see. Of course, the result is bound to create a lot of confusion in the marketplace - especially among consumers, who will be the target of a lot of 5G messaging from operators. But of course, the goal of marketing efforts isn't necessarily to clarify or educate; it's to sell. Which is why, even though it's only 2016, equipment vendors that haven't already done so should probably find some hard-working professional in their ranks and demote him or her to "Head of 5G Global Sales" right away. Ed serves as Senior Analyst for Mobile Access Infrastructure in the Current Analysis Service Provider Infrastructure Group. He focuses on tracking, analyzing and reporting on developments impacting mobile infrastructure and mobile networking: 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G RAN, small cells, serviceprovider WiFi, small-cell backhaul and microwave backhaul. VOICE * * Fall/Winter 2016 21

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The CCA Voice - Fall/Winter 2016

Board of Directors/Staff
Chairman’s Letter by Slayton Stewart
A Message from the President & CEO by Steven K. Berry
CCA’s 2016 Excellence in Marketing Awards
Next-Generation IoT: Revolutionizing Mission-Critical Connectivity
What 100 Operators Really Think About 5G
5G Is Here (If You Want It)
Five Trends Shaping the Future of Spectrum
5G, A Technology Vision
Cloud-based IP: The Way to 5G and the Internet of Things
Power Outages Don’t Belong in a Connected World
The Path to 5G: Challenges, Benefits and Endless Possibilities
The Evolution to 5G: Implementing the Next Generation of Wireless Networks
New Report Details One Year of Roaming Fraud Data to Add to Industry Knowledge
Better Data for Brand Evolution
Verticals: At the End of the 5G Rainbow
Over-the-Top International Wi-Fi Calling and Messaging
SmartCom Brings 4G LTE to Belize
In the Dugout with Kevin Cundiff, Creator of Retail Moneyball
Company Profiles
Index of Advertisers.
Congressional Spotlight: Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV)

The CCA Voice - Fall/Winter 2016