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Thursday, 17 May 2018

BT and EE show their post-merger road map with hybrid connections for all


The key message is that the company will converge their network by 2022, which will mean (it says) that "customers will never again have to think or worry about which network they are connected to". We're not sure anybody did, but hey.

Included is a 'hybrid' service which will leverage both the BT network and EE 4G cellular offering which aims to make calls and data faster and more reliable.

The result is a service called BT Plus or EE Keep Connected which will be used to ensure that you won't be waiting for ages for a fault fix or new line.

It will also guarantee your line speeds - with 100Mbps minimum speed on the Ultrafast Fibre Plus service, which will also include a 4G hub as back-up. Maxed out speeds could be as high as 314Mbps.

By 2020, all customer service calls will be answered in the UK and Ireland, whilst BT Stores will return to High Streets, presumably leveraging floor space from the extensive EE Store network.

For detail news click HERE

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

NFS (Network For Spectrum) : Rs 11,330 crore more for network for defence forces

The committee approved enhancement of budget by Rs 11,330 crore for the Network for Spectrum (NFS) project, over and above Rs 13,334 crore already approved by the Cabinet Committ​​ee on infrastructure in July 2012.

"The NFS project will boost the communication capabilities of the defence forces in major way leading to enhanced national operational preparedness," the committee said after the approval.

"The project will have forward linkages to other related industries such as telecom equipment manufacturing and other telecom related services," it added.

For more Click HERE

Google WiFi, Test your one 2 one speed on your own.


 Google has added a new feature to its Wi-Fi network technology that lets users measure how each individual device is performing on their wireless Internet network.

The new feature will basically run a speed test on each device and inform the users which devices need to be kept within a closer router range for a stronger connection.

Globally, an average of 18 devices are connected on each "Google Wifi" network.

For full coverage go HERE

Friday, 4 May 2018

Monday, 30 April 2018

T-mobile and Sprint merger- talk of town of telecom carriers


T-mobile and Sprint merger is being talked about with the asteroid falling impact on US economy and consumers, both are boasting each others with their capabilities and capacities those gonna changed the game and transform the combination to stand at 3rd largest, following Verizon and AT&T. They are going to create the 'ultimate network', based on 5G, an example of their mega plans and also to boost the confidence and showcase their strength.

The deal still awaits regulatory approval and raises plenty of questions if you pay Sprint or T-Mobile for your service, while the $26 billion deal still has to face approval from the FCC and Justice Department.

"This new company would represent more than 90 million retail wireless phone customers in the U.S., roughly one-third of the market", said research firm Recon Analytics.

With the two companies combining their networks, it's possible service on both will improve. In a joint statement, the companies promise that existing customers, with both services, will benefit from increased speeds, coverage, and performance.

There are many talks of the towns, and much expectation and anticipation, in terms of consumer benefits and economical impacts, but any naive guy who is following industry around the globe, must be understanding the emerging games , that could be for survival of industry 4.0  and upcoming technological advances as for 5G.

5G is anyway about scaling up, whatever it be, technology or its performance, capacity, throughput or data rates.. That scaling up is also for business, operation, investment, revenue, comprehensiveness in approaches etc etc.

That is need of hour, nothing to boast here, you can't move into next level of the game if you are not big enough.

Ajit Pai, current FCC chairman, rightly said it's not about number of player in the game as no one can justify whether it should be 4 or 5. The main concern is competitive environment among them and growth and sustainability in the marketplace.

Lets see how this goes up, regulatory authorities are going to be conducive but ball is mainly supposed to be hanging with department of justice.



--
Saurabh Verma
Chief Tech Consultant & Founder
Fundarc Communication (xgnlab)
Noida, India - 201301
M:+91-7838962939/9654235169

Monday, 26 March 2018

Is WiFi with WBA and WiFi Alliance sufficiently focused to come for 5G?



This is a discussion with industry experts Oscar Bexell.
Oscars Linkedin profile is - https://www.linkedin.com/in/oscar-bexell-9462922/

Q. 5G still seams to be dimensionless, where do you see Wi-Fi fitting with 5G?

A. Residential and for enterprises (how long depends on how well 11ax plays out). In the longer run, and with new types of gadgets coming in, I don't think anything LBT/CS fits the bill. CBRS will take off in the US and take the indoor enterprise space. In China the MNOs have been doing this with small cells for quite some time. In other countries there will be other approaches. Different markets will also take longer/shorter time to adopt. For many Wi-Fi system integrators and vendors, there will be market shares to take with CBRS.

Q. Wi-Fi in current wireless access technology space is on hype or settled, why?

A. I only follow them from a distance. I like the NGH initiative. I think they should get into CBRS+4G/5G. That's where the MSOs and many service providers will be able to take footprints over time. Build ecosystem and drive standardization/harmonization.

Q.How relevant Wi-Fi Alliance has been so far, and what you think about its future role should be?

A.It's probably the main factor behind the success of Wi-Fi. I see their work as critical, both for new standards, but maybe even more for driving interoperability work and harmonization of frequencies. They should keep on doing exactly this, but I also think they should drive CBRS spectrum harmonization in more markets and the ecosystems around this. That is the future for enterprise/venue in-building networks.

Q. Wi-Fi access would be catching what kind of segments of IOT?

A.It's already used a lot, especially in in-home deployments and as backhaul to many Bluetooth/Zigbee/Z-wave/gateway applications. It will play a very big role in the coming years as it's already present in most environments. I think mainly as backhaul. I'm also looking forward to see how 802.11ah takes off. I see that mainly as an in-home competitor to Bluetooth 5.0 and Zigbee.

Q.Do you feel for any need of collaboration or association for Wi-Fi ecosystem development with a fresh view (may be like use case basis/software defined/cloud based)?

A. N/A



Saturday, 24 March 2018

HEW - WiFi 802.11ax gearing up for ecosystem gain

802.11ax, also called High-Efficiency Wireless (HEW), has the challenging goal of improving the average throughput per user by a factor of at least 4X in dense user environments. This new standard focuses on implementing mechanisms to serve more users a consistent and reliable stream of data (average throughput) in the presence of many other users.


Looking beyond the raw link speeds of 802.11ac, this new standard implements several mechanisms to serve more users consistent and reliable data throughput in crowded wireless environments.


High-Efficiency Wireless includes the following key features:


  • Backwards compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

  • Increase 4X the average throughput per user in high-density scenarios, such as train stations, airports and stadiums. -Data rates and channel widths similar to 802.11ac, with the exception of new Modulation and Coding Sets (MCS 10 and 11) with 1024-QAM.

  • Specified for downlink and uplink multi-user operation by means of MU-MIMO and Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) technology.

  • Larger OFDM FFT sizes (4x larger), narrower subcarrier spacing (4X closer), and longer symbol time (4X) for improved robustness and performance in multipath fading environments and outdoors.

  • Improved traffic flow and channel access

  • Better power management for longer battery life



802.11ax provides greater Wi-Fi speed and does it through making capacity improvements in congested network environments, by supporting more users in dense networks and making more efficient use of spectrum. the difference between 802.11ax and previous Wi-Fi generations may not be very noticeable for a residential Wi-Fi user, compared to the improvements in a dense network with many users. The goal is to increase the data rate in a congested environment by 4x or more."

802.11ax also offers significant power usage improvements. Qualcomm, for instance, claims that its WCN3998 chipset reduces Wi-Fi power consumption by up to 67% compared to 802.11ac Wave 2.

The Wi-Fi technology so far has been based on one-on-one device-to-access point conversations. 802.11ax changes that to multi-user simultaneous support. The capacity increases will make for a better user experience, with 10x more users able to be supported.

802.11ac with MU-MIMO hasn't achieved its full commercial deployment potential and was based on beam-steering. In contrast, 802.11ax makes Wi-Fi more like cellular through the use of OFDM, and scheduling. The technology comes in closer to what LTE is today in competition, also same time cellular is moving to 5G, where also it [802.11ax] usher to write place.

Testing and standardization of 802.11ax

Testing 802.11ax offers up some unique challenges that Wi-Fi testing hasn't previously had to navigate. One of those is synchronization of devices in the uplink using the AP, in order to avoid interference. A trigger frame is sent from the AP to the devices and they must respond for coordination of timing, frequency and power levels. Rohde & Schwarz gives some of the basics of uplink accuracy testing.

802.11ax along with 802.11ac and previous generations, at both 2.4 and 5 GHz, means that test times "could go up dramatically."

Meanwhile, the path to a final standard for 802.11ax has been a rocky one, and the work is still ongoing. As Intel's Dan Artisu, vice president of its client computing group and GM of Intel's connected home division, noted, the standards work continues and the draft which is ultimately adopted — and on which certification is based — may differ enough from earlier drafts that product interoperability could be an issue. The next draft is expected to be voted on mid-2018.

Some in the industry believe that due to the additional complexity of the 802.11ax standard, it is important to get 802.11ax chipsets into the hands of engineers sooner rather than later to help them build devices around the new features. If an OEM does decide to hold back, their first devices integrating an 802.11ax chipset may come 6 to 18 months behind that of the competition. the question for OEMs is whether they should wait until the standard is more stable before adopting an 802.11ax-ready solution. A wait-and-see approach could arguably result in a longer lead time, and some OEMs may lose out to those who are proactive in getting their designs ready for the full version of the standard.



Huawei Showcased Innovations in Intelligent Network Maintenance at the MWC 2018

From Huawei information 

At the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018, Huawei showcased multiple innovations in intelligent network maintenance, including risk prediction and prevention, fault self-healing, and assistance for intelligent root cause locating. To address various network maintenance challenges, Huawei adopts emerging digital technologies, opening a new era for intelligent maintenance. Huawei is dedicated to helping operators build zero-outage robust networks.

Huawei robust network service solution applies big data analysis, artificial intelligence (AI), and other emerging technologies to network maintenance. This innovative solution predicts and helps prevent some faults. When a fault occurs, the solution provides self-healing and intelligent aided analysis to rapidly identify and rectify the root cause, minimizing the impact on services. Machine learning is used to process repeated and massive data analysis and greatly improves O&M efficiency. This solution intelligently analyzes various historical and live network data to identify risks from multiple dimensions, including hardware sub-health, software running status, network protection, network connection, redundancy reliability, resources and capacity, and service risks. Additionally, special service solutions can be customized based on Huawei's global maintenance knowledge base.

  • This pioneering solution uses algorithms extracted from fault models, including the feature preserving projection analysis algorithm, multi-indicator association analysis algorithm, automatic feature mining algorithm, and intelligent partitioning algorithm. These algorithms are used to complete the practice of multiple prediction and prevention subjects at the device layer, network layer, and service layer. The accuracy of predictions is over 85%, and the efficiency of troubleshooting is improved by over 60%.
  • The solution uses offline training and online learning engines to constantly optimize prediction models and algorithms and continue enhancing a comprehensive prediction and prevention system.
  • The solution implements an intelligent O&M system based on big data technologies, improving O&M and promoting network innovation. It accumulates extensive data on fault recovery experience and network data, to improve predictive and preventive maintenance and network self-healing. In addition, it analyzes the root causes of network issues, helping to constant product improvement.

Huawei's robust network service solution has been successfully implemented and explored in multiple global projects. Through joint innovation, Huawei worked with China Mobile Hainan and used this solution to build an intelligent O&M system based on self-learning to maximize the value of network big data and prioritize preventive maintenance. This project received the Editors' Choice Award 2017 (Mobile Network Innovation Award) from the People's Posts and Telecommunications News Agency in China. Huawei will explore risk prediction and prevention in more scenarios, including 5G, IoT, home broadband, and enterprise customers, and will continue enhancing capabilities in data collection and analysis efficiency, algorithm optimization, and scenario-based fault modeling.

In the future interconnected digital world, robust networks will be the basis for digital service success and a good service experience. Huawei's successful experience in developing innovations for intelligent maintenance accelerates breakthroughs in and applications of key technologies for intelligent O&M, provides a reference for the future construction of intelligent network maintenance systems.


Tuesday, 20 March 2018

WBA pushing on seamless, secure and enhanced coverage next gen WiFi hotspot.



By Tiago Rodrigues, General Manager of the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA)

This year at Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona a group of companies, many of them members of the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) together with GSMA, Fira Barcelona and City of Barcelona developed a pilot on Wi-Fi Roaming across a series of hotspots in Barcelona using Passpoint technology and WRIX standards to deliver a seamless and secure roaming service between different networks and service providers.

Project Goals

The goal of this project was to accelerate market understanding and adoption of Passpoint technology, network interoperability and Wi-Fi roaming services based on WRIX standards, creating what WBA defines as Next Generation Hotspot (NGH). This type of project falls in to the Testing and Trials programs from WBA to accelerate business opportunities and technology adoption – something WBA has been doing since 2008.

Over 2200 hotspots were made live; from Fira Gan Via and Fira Montjuic where GSMA MWC is hosted, over 300 APs across Barcelona, in some of the key tourist locations, like the Ramblas, Plaza Catalunya, Passeig de Gràcia, train stations among many other sites in the City and in El Prat Airport.

Overall the plan was to setup a wide coverage of a Wi-Fi/Passpoint/NGH network across MWC Fira Exhibition Center, transportation hubs (airport and train stations) and outdoor coverage in City center. In all these locations Passpoint technology was activated and a specific SSID was set up for the project to deliver to the end users a cellular like experience over the Wi-Fi networks, full automatic connection to the Wi-Fi hotspots – without any manual intervention from the end users.

Who was involved?

Cisco Systems played the role of major technology provider and was supported by Boingo Wireless, Unitronics, CellNex and Think Smarter for all the configurations and testing. All the hotspots where interconnected using the concept of a central roaming Hub facilitated by Boingo Wireless, BSG Wireless and Accuris-Neworks.

Additionally WBA invited service providers with commercial NGH/Passpoint services to join the project and provide roaming to their customers during the duration of MWC Barcelona. Mobile operators, cable operators, ISPs, pure Wi-Fi providers and users from enterprises that already have Passpoint deployed in their offices; all these companies came together and used all these hotspots across Barcelona for their benefit of their customers as if they were at their home network or office.

WBA and GSMA working together

This is not the first time the WBA has promoted a NGH/Passpoint network during major events like MWC Barcelona but this time four major improvements were achieved:

1. Increased coverage beyond the Fira Exhibion Center. The project included private (enterprise Wi-Fi by Fira Barcelona), Municipal Wi-Fi (by City of Barcelona) and Airport Wi-Fi (by AENA, state own company to manage the Spanish airports)

2. Mobilize enterprises users from companies that have already deployed Passpoint at their offices and headquarters, several companies got involved either directly or through iPASS services.

3. Only involved operators / carriers with Passpoint/NGH services commercially available, like AT&T, Charter Communications, Softbank or Boingo Wireless. This decision removed any on-boarding obstacles making a truly seamless experience to all users, just like cellular.

4. Generated anonymized analytics from the multiple hotspots to provide information to all venue owners participating on the project. Think Smart developed real time analytics, including flows and volumes of devices connected by location and flows of movement of those devices across and within the multiples hotspots.

Our thanks to all those who participated.

Over 25 companies participated in this project and WBA had the honor to coordinate this initiative over the last 4 months and work with some of the best industry professionals and Wi-Fi experts. Tremendous amount of data have come out of this initiative but we will leave it to project participants to provide their case studies and reports, so stay tuned.

Project participants: GSMA, WBA, Cisco, Boingo Wireless, City of Barcelona, Fira Barcelona, Unitronics, Cellnex, Think Smarter, BSG Wireless, Accuris Networks, AT&T, T-Mobile US, Sprint, Mobily, Telecom26, Softbank, Shaw Communications, Spectrum (Charter Communications), ER Telecom, iPass and several enterprises with their employees.

Over 50 people were involved on the project and we thank you all for making this happen, but I would like to point out my gratitude to Jordi Cirera and Toni Carol Vilanova (from the City of Barcelona), Alex Williams and Jon France (from GSMA), Carlos Sanchez and Xavier Michavila Asensio (from Fira Barcelona), Mir Alami and Matt MacPherson (from Cisco), Derek Peterson and Kishore Raja (from Bongo Wireless), Antoni Montis (Unitronics), Blaz Vavpetic (from iPASS), Pedro Salvatella (Cellnex) and Brendan O'Brien (from Think Smarter).

Making the vision a reality

This initiative represents somehow my vision for Public Wi-Fi with multiple venue owners working together from private, public and municipal sectors alongside of all types of operators/carriers and enterprise users – Wi-Fi is seamless, interoperable, secure and widely available – an entire ecosystem coming together and WBA and its member are making this vision a reality.

Looking forward for MWC 2019 and to take this initiative to the next level with more coverage, more services and more end users – interested in these type of initiatives? Do you have ideas to make it more valuable? You are welcome and let´s make Wi-Fi seamless, secure and interoperable across the entire ecosystem.


Saturday, 10 March 2018

Open vRAN initiatives.

Vodafone has been working on software-defined RAN for the past year, and it's now contributing the project to TIP. Vodafone and Intel will lead the openRAN group, which will develop RAN technologies based on General Purpose Processing Platforms (GPPP) and disaggregated software.
"This is the opening of a system that runs radio as a software on top of general purpose processes and interworks with independent radio," said Santiago Tenorio, head of networks at Vodafone Group. The project will work to reduce the costs associated with building mobile networks and make it easier for smaller vendors to enter the market.
Also  open RAN groups such as the xRAN Foundation, a consortium formed in 2016 to develop and promote the virtualization of the RAN and the use of open standards. 

And now with all above being there Cisco announced at MWC 2018 that it is to lead Open vRAN initiatives.

The new Cisco group has some of the same members as xRAN and OpenRAN, including Intel and Mavenir. Other vendors involved in Cisco's Open vRAN initiative include AltiostarAricent, Phazr, Red Hat, and Tech Mahindra. 

Interesting to note here that  India's Reliance Jio has also joined Open vRAN group.  While many functions of a mobile network are being virtualized, the radio access network is "one area that has been completely neglected," said Reliance Jio's Tareq Amin, SVP, technology development and automation. 

Also when asked if any U.S. telecom operators are expected to join, Jonathan Davidson, SVP and GM of service provider networking at Cisco said, "I think they are very open to the disaggregated approach and moving to more cloud native ecosystems. I imagine they will get behind it."
The goal of Open vRAN is to assemble an open and modular RAN architecture, based on General Purpose Processing Platforms (GPPP) and disaggregated software, that will support different use cases. It will develop this new architecture over the next few months.
    


Friday, 9 March 2018

Strategy : Operator's and Service Provider's interests on vendor space through open communities is remarkable

As the open communities are flourishing around, whether it be hardware or software solutions or platforms or much buzzing term framework. a much needed for the service providers or operators to cope with the disruptive environments for technological advance and selection. 

As you can find the flooded memberships and active involvement of service providers and operators on these opensource communities. Recently verizon joined the Linux foundation ONAP and almost made it universally accepted platform for future network management and orchestration, Reliance jio and many others including, no doubt, the ECOMP founder AT&T is already there. Same is true with many other such communities like ONF, TIP . Recently, as per the news from MWC 2018 Cisco issued a major announcement at MWC - Open vRAN, which brings together innovators including Reliance Jio, Intel, Redhat and Mavenir. Open vRAN refers to a shift in base station architecture away from proprietary functions running on vendor-specific base station hardware to open tech for the mobile radio access network.  

Remarkably looking Reliance jio's active interest on open communities and technological insight exploration is unveiling the operators interest into vendor space. As this could be, if not yet, may be in future, but a much needed strategy for them to cope with the disruptive trends in technological advancements. 

It will help the operators or service providers to better decide their road map and relevantly impact the technological horizon as per their need and requirements. 

Open communities also provide a low cost involvement into technology development with required pace and much required coordination too. Also there is much scope to get hands on and thoroughly decide and coordinates on issues like for interoperability and compliance's.


Saurabh Verma
Consultant & Founder
Fundarc Communication (xgnlab)
Noida, India - 201301
M:7838962939/9654235169
saurabhverma@xgnlab.com
www.xgnlab.com


Saturday, 24 February 2018

MEC Deployment challenges & scenarios - ETSI Whitepaper


ETSI has come up with its new whitepaper on MEC, a much curated technology for making 5G a true application defined network. MEC will be a consultative driven approach for selecting the right kind of scenarios and application deploment as looking obvious here below recommendations.

As per the GS MEC 011 [2] specification, a key baseline functionality of the MEC platform is to route IP packets to MEC applications which are meant to handle the traffic in the following different ways:
 In Breakout mode, the session connection is redirected to a MEC application which is either hosted locally on the MEC platform or on a remote server. Typical breakout applications include local CDN, gaming and media content services, and enterprise LAN.
 In In-line mode, the session connectivity is maintained with the original (Internet) server, while all traffic traverses the MEC application. In-line MEC applications include transparent content caching and security applications.  In Tap mode, specified traffic is duplicated and forwarded to the tap MEC application, for example, when deploying virtual network probes or security applications.
 In Independent mode, no traffic offloading function is needed, but still the MEC application is registered in the MEC platform and will receive other MEC services, such as DNS, Radio Network Information Service (RNIS), etc. Steering traffic to/from MEC applications is achieved by configuring the MEC’s local DNS and the MEC host’s data plane accordingly.

From the list above, it appears straightforward that the implementationspecific details of the data plane within the MEC host (as per the MEC architecture in GS MEC 003 [3]) and the MEC platform, which is meant to program the data plane through Mp2 interface, are impacted by the point where the MEC host is installed in the 4G architecture. Many choices are possible, but all in all they can be condensed down into some base scenarios.

Also going for 5G.

The common feature set of providing much-improved capabilities at the edge of the network, improved intelligence about resources needed at the edge, and the ability to charge for service delivered by cycles, memory, storage and bandwidth delivered, makes it very attractive to start the deployment now in early test sites, roll out to sites that show promise and need for MEC based applications, and then roll out as part of the 5G transition without losing any upfront investment from the earlier test deployments. Taking into account the above considerations, in the next sections we illustrate how MEC compatibility towards 5G networks may involve:
 Integrating the MEC data plane with the 5G system’s one for routing traffic to the local data network and steering to an application;
 An Application Function (AF) interacting with 5G control plane functions to influence traffic routing and steering, acquire 5G network capability information, and support application instance mobility;
 The possibility of reusing the edge computing resources and managing/orchestrating applications and/or 5G network functions, while MEC still orchestrates the application services (chaining). Go through Complete whitepaper of ETSI here below.
 

Industry specific verticalization through standards - 3GPP

Two important aspect of eMBMS services, setting the paradigm of verticalization in concept.

xMB interface: To simplify the access to eMBMS system functionalities content providers and broadcasters can now establish the TV service through the standardized xMB (broadcasting application programming) interface, which has two aspects: xMB-C for control, and xMB-U for delivery of media content to the BM-SC. See 3GPP TS 29.116 xMB Interface and TS 33.246 Security of Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Service (MBMS) for details.3GPP allows the inclusion of unicast distribution as a mobile system service, for example using eMBMS-operation-on-Demand (MooD) or unicast fallback (see TS 26.346 MBMS User Service Protocols and Codecs since Rel-12).

API: A new eMBMS Application Programming Interface (MBMS-API) was introduced primarily for developers of web and user applications to simplify access to complex eMBMS procedures. The API exists in the UE (the mobile system user equipment) from the eMBMS client to the Content Receiver application and is fed through xMB with relevant information to expose services to Applications (see Table 1.) This does not preclude typical mobile applications and OTT (over the top) service approaches, in which the content provider establishes a direct connection apart from any eMBMS/broadcast distribution, e.g. for service configuration and updates. Furthermore, to simplify access to the service by 3rd party applications, an MBMS URL scheme has been defined to serve as the entry point to trigger reception of an MBMS service. See 3GPP TS 26.347 MBMS APIs and URL for details.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

3GPP IOT standards

Nice summary of eMTC, NB-IOT and EC-GSM-IOT in respective of their objectives , changes in 3GPP Release 13 and 14.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Monday, 12 February 2018

Verizon, 5G industry milestone : Nokia and Qualcomm complete first call using 3GPP-compliant 5G New Radio technology

John O'Malley
T. 585.261.5899
verizon media contact.

Successful over-the-air test completed on Verizon's millimeter wave spectrum
NEW YORK – Verizon is the first network provider to conduct an over-the-air call on a 3GPP-compliant 5G New Radio (NR) system using licensed spectrum. This successful test on Verizon's millimeter wave spectrum – using Nokia 5G network technology on a 5G NR prototype device provided by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated – was an important milestone on the road to preparing Verizon's network for widespread implementation of commercial 5G mobile services for consumers and enterprises. The test was conducted this month at Nokia's facility in Murray Hill, NJ and follows prior interoperability testing between Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies. The 5G NR standard was approved by the 3GPP in December 2017.
"With this first 3GPP NR standards-based connection, Verizon continues to lead the development of 5G technology," said Ed Chan, senior vice president and chief technology architect, Corporate Network & Technology, Verizon. "By partnering with Nokia and Qualcomm to combine 5G technology with our deep millimeter wave spectrum, we're well on the way to being the first to usher in the next era of wireless communications for customers."
The test was completed over Nokia's CloudRAN solution, which is comprised of the Nokia AirScale baseband and radio, AirFrame server, and AirScale Cloud RAN running 5G NR 3GPP-compliant software. 
"Nokia's 3GPP-compliant high-capacity 5G solution supports pioneering operators like Verizon in leveraging their assets to make a true difference with 5G for their customers," said Marc Rouanne, president of Mobile Networks, Nokia. "Using the successful interoperability testing we conducted with Qualcomm as a basis, we're now applying our standard-compliant 5G technology in this trial with Verizon to push the commercialization of 5G."
The test utilized Qualcomm Technologies' cutting-edge 5G NR millimeter wave prototype device, which includes an optimized millimeter wave RF front-end design in a smartphone form factor. 
"Qualcomm Technologies is committed to supporting the launch of standard-based commercial 5G networks and products beginning in 2019," said Joe Glynn, vice president of business development, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. "The successful completion of standard-compliant 5G NR millimeter wave testing with leading mobile industry innovators such as Nokia and Verizon prove that we are well on the path to making this a reality."
Verizon's deployment of 5G technology over millimeter wave spectrum – beginning in 2018 – will provide massive bandwidth, ultra-high speed and single digit latency for emerging fixed and mobile use cases. As 5G continues to evolve, and as new use cases are developed and deployed, Verizon will be well positioned to deliver the capabilities those use cases call for to become a commercially viable solution.

3GPP - System architecture milestone of 5G Phase 1 is achieved

December 21, 2017
By Frank Mademann, 3GPP SA2 Chairman
The past two years have seen the 3GPP 5G architecture work progressing from the study period in 2016 to the delivery of a complete set of stage 2 level specifications. By achieving this milestone in 3GPP Release 15 the 5G system architecture has been defined - providing the set of features and functionality needed for deploying a commercially operational 5G system.
SA2, the 3GPP architecture working group, has now specified the overall 5G system architecture; detailing features, functionality and services including dynamic behavior defined by information flows.
This article offers a brief introduction to the 5G system architecture, highlighting some of its main characteristics. The complete description is provided by the delivered specifications TS 23.501, TS 23.502 and TS 23.503.
The 5G stage 2 level specifications include the overall architecture model and principles, eMBB data services, subscriber authentication and service usage authorization, application support in general, but also specifically for applications closer to the radio as with edge computing. Its support for IMS includes also emergency and regulatory services specifics. Further, the 5G system architecture model uniformly enables user services with different access systems, like fixed network access or WLAN, from the onset. The system architecture provides interworking with and migration from 4G, network capability exposure and numerous other functionalities.

Service Based Architecture

Compared to previous generations the 3GPP 5G system architecture is service based. That means wherever suitable the architecture elements are defined as network functions that offer their services via interfaces of a common framework to any network functions that are permitted to make use of these provided services. Network repository functions (NRF) allow every network function to discover the services offered by other network functions. This architecture model, which further adopts principles like modularity, reusability and self-containment of network functions, is chosen to enable deployments to take advantage of the latest virtualization and software technologies. The related service based architecture figures depict those service based principles by showing the network functions, primarily Core Network functions, with a single interconnect to the rest of the system. Reference point based architecture figures are also provided by the stage 2 specifications, which represent more specifically the interactions between network functions for providing system level functionality and to show inter-PLMN interconnection across various network functions. The various architecture diagrams can be found in [1].

The figure below shows one of the service based architecture figures, which is for a roaming scenario with local breakout, i.e. the roaming UE interfaces the Data Network (DN) in the visited network (VPLMN) and the home network (HPLMN) enables it with subscription information (UDM), subscriber authentication (AUSF) and UE specific policies (PCF). Network slice selection (NSSF), network access control and mobility management (AMF), data service management (SMF) and application functions (AF) are provided by the VPLMN. The user plane (UPF) is managed following a model of control and user plane separation similar to what was already introduced in the latest 3GPP 4G release. Security proxies (SEPP) protect the interactions between PLMNs. For more details and other scenarios see [1].

In the local breakout scenarios a UE receives the services of a PLMN typically completely from the serving operator's administrative domain. Home-routed data services are the alternative for roaming scenarios, which have also network functions from the home operator's administrative domain involved and the UE interfaces the DN in the HPLMN.
architecture image01v3b
Service based principles apply between the control plane network functions of the Core Network. Further, the 5G system architecture allows network functions to store their contexts in Data Storage Functions (DSF). Functionality for releasing the UE specific Access Network – Core Network transport associations from one AMF and re-binding with another AMF enables separating such data storage also for the AMF. Earlier system architectures had more persistent UE specific transport associations, which made it more complex to change the UE's serving node that compares to an AMF.  The new functionality simplifies changing the AMF instance that serves a UE. It also supports increasing AMF resilience and load balancing as every AMF from a set of AMFs deployed for the same network slice can handle procedures of any UE served by the set of AMFs.

Common Core Network

The generalised design of the functionalities and a forward compatible Access Network – Core Network interface enable the 5G common Core Network to operate with different Access Networks. In 3GPP Release 15 these are the 3GPP defined NG-RAN and the 3GPP defined untrusted WLAN access. Studies on other access systems that may be used in future releases started already. The 5G system architecture allows for serving both Access Networks by the same AMF and thereby also for seamless mobility between those 3GPP and non-3GPP accesses. The separated authentication function together with a unified authentication framework allow to customize the user authentication according to the needs of the different usage scenarios, e.g. different per network slice. Most of the other 5G system architecture functionality introduced by this article is common for different Access Networks. Some functionality provides variants that are more suitable for specific Access Networks, like certain QoS functionality described later.

Network Slicing

A distinct key feature of the 5G system architecture is network slicing. The previous generation supported certain aspects of this with the functionality for dedicated Core Networks. Compared to this 5G network slicing is a more powerful concept and includes the whole PLMN. Within the scope of the 3GPP 5G system architecture a network slice refers to the set of 3GPP defined features and functionalities that together form a complete PLMN for providing services to UEs. Network slicing allows for controlled composition of a PLMN from the specified network functions with their specifics and provided services that are required for a specific usage scenario.
Earlier system architectures enabled what was typically a single deployment of a PLMN to provide all features, capabilities and services required for all wanted usage scenarios. Much of the capabilities and features provided by the single, common deployment was in fact required for only a subset of the PLMN's users/UEs. Network slicing enables the network operator to deploy multiple, independent PLMNs where each is customized by instantiating only the features, capabilities and services required to satisfy the subset of the served users/UEs or a related business customer needs.
The very abstract representation below shows an example of a PLMN deploying four network slices. Each includes all what is necessary to form a complete PLMN. The two network slices for smart phones demonstrate that an operator may deploy multiple network slices with exactly the same system features, capabilities and services, but dedicated to different business segments and therefore each possibly providing different capacity for number of UEs and data traffic. The other slices present that there can be differentiation between network slices also by the provided system features, capabilities and services. The M2M network slice could, for example, offer UE battery power saving features unsuitable for smartphone slices, as those features imply latencies not acceptable for typical smart phone usages.
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The service based architecture together with softwarization and virtualization provides the agility enabling an operator to respond to customer needs quickly. Dedicated and customized network slices can be deployed with the functions, features, availability and capacity as needed. Typically, such deployments will be based on a service level agreement. Further, an operator may benefit by applying virtualization, platforms and management infrastructure commonly for 3GPP-specific and for other network capabilities not defined by 3GPP, but that a network operator may need or want to deploy in his network or administrative domain. This allows for a flexible assignment of the same resources as needs and priorities change over time.
Deployments of both the smaller scope of the 3GPP defined functionality but also those of the larger scope of all that is deployed within an operator's administrative domain are both commonly termed a "network". Because of this ambiguity and as the term "slicing" is used in industry and academia for slicing of virtually any kind of (network) resources, it is important to emphasize that the 3GPP system architecture specifications defines network slicing only within the scope of 3GPP specified resources, i.e. that what specifically composes a PLMN. This doesn't hinder a PLMN network slice deployment from using e.g. sliced transport network resources. Please note, however, that the latter is fully independent of the scope of the 3GPP system architecture description. Pursuing the example further, PLMN slices can be deployed with as well as without sliced transport network resources.
The next figure presents more specifics of 3GPP network slicing. In that figure, network slice #3 is a straightforward deployment where all network functions serve a single network slice only. The figure also shows how a UE receives service from multiple network slices, #1 and #2. In such deployments there are network functions in common for a set of slices, including the AMF and the related policy control (PCF) and network function services repository (NRF). This is because there is a single access control and mobility management instance per UE that is responsible for all services of a UE. The user plane services, specifically the data services, can be obtained via multiple, separate network slices. In the figure, slice #1 provides the UE with data services for Data Network #1, and slice #2 for Data Network #2. Those slices and the data services are independent of each other apart from interaction with common access and mobility control that applies for all services of the user/UE. This makes it possible to tailor each slice for e.g. different QoS data services or different application functions, all determined by means of the policy control framework.
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Application support

The basis of the application support are the data services, which offer considerably more flexibility for customization compared to earlier generations. A main part of this is the new QoS model of the 3GPP 5G system architecture, shown in the figure below, that that enables differentiated data services to support diverse application requirements while using radio resources efficiently. Further, it is designed to support different Access Networks, including fixed accesses where QoS without extra signaling may be desirable. Standardized packet marking informs QoS enforcement functions what QoS to provide without any QoS signaling. While the option with QoS signaling offers more flexibility and QoS granularity. Furthermore, symmetric QoS differentiation over downlink and uplink is supported with minimal control plane signaling by the newly introduced Reflective QoS.
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 A large part of the functionality providing data connectivity is for supporting flexible deployment of application functions in the network topology as needed for edge computing, which is supported, for example, via three different Session and Service Continuity (SSC) modes or via the functionality of Uplink Classifiers and Branching Points.
The SSC modes include the more traditional mode (SSC 1), where the IP anchor remains stable to provide continual support of applications and maintenance of the path towards the UE as its location is updated. The new modes allow for relocating the IP anchor. There are two options, make-before-break (SSC mode 3) and break-before-make (SSC mode 2). The architecture enables applications to influence selection of suitable data service characteristics and SSC mode.
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As 5G network deployments are expected to serve huge amounts of mobile data traffic, an efficient user plane path management is essential. The system architecture defines in addition to the SSC modes the functionality of Uplink Classifiers and Branching Points to allow for breaking out and injecting traffic selectively to and from application functions on the user plane path before the IP anchor. Also, as permitted by policies, application functions may coordinate with the network by providing information relevant for optimizing the traffic route or may subscribe to 5G system events that may be relevant for applications.

Continuation of the work

The delivered stage 2 level specifications define the 3GPP 5G system from an overall, architectural perspective. The related work in the RAN, security, OAM and CT working groups continues with some specific stage 2 level aspects and with delivering stage 3 level specifications until June 2018.
This article has highlighted some of the most important advances of the 3GPP system architecture introduced with Phase 1 of 5G. Further advances and enhancements will be introduced in coming releases. Studies concerning Phase 2 of 5G will begin in first quarter of 2018.

References & specifications

[1] TS 23.501 – System Architecture for the 5G System; Stage 2
     TS 23.502 – Procedures for the 5G System; Stage 2
     TS 23.503 – Policy and Charging Control Framework for the 5G System; Stage 2

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 Congratulations to SA2 on achieving this significant milestone.