The new ITU-T Focus Group on network aspects of IMT-2020 (‘5G’) will meet for the first time in San Diego, 8-9 June, to launch its analysis of how emerging 5G technologies will interact in future networks. We are looking for strong technical contributions to this analysis, whether they are models, simulation studies or any other tangible means of demonstrating the issues at play.
I gave my views on the 5G vision and the objectives of the new Focus Group in a recent ITU interview.
5G won’t be any one technology or set of technologies. The 5G vision is the idea of extending wireless communications to people all over the world, right across the bandwidth spectrum. It’s about enabling the next generation of applications, not just for people to communicate, but for communication between our vehicles, healthcare devices, wearable technologies and the rest of the machinery that makes up our modern lives.
Thinking of the technology composition of 5G systems, some technologies will see a continued evolution, but we can also expect to see a fair amount of revolution. The Internet and its constituent technologies will evolve, and innovations in the wireline sphere will build on existing networking technologies. But when it comes to the wireless elements of the network, we are certainly on the verge of a revolution, one so pronounced that we will likely need entirely new equipment.
The biggest challenge for an operator is to figure out how all the pieces of the 5G puzzle will fit together, and here ITU can offer some very valuable guidance to the industry.
Many engineers are working on the various components of 5G, but how will the sum of these components best be exploited? How will the wireline and wireless elements of the network mesh together most effectively?
We will move closer to answering these questions with this new ITU Focus Group.
The Focus Group is open to participation by any interested party. We aim to gather a group of influential experts from service providers, vendors, standards communities and research institutes to work in collaboration, in view of the entire 5G ecosystem. This is our most important goal. With the right collection of experts, working in unison to analyze problems top-to-bottom, the Focus Group can guide the industry towards the cohesive model of behaviour required to build the 5G ecosystem.
I look forward to meeting you in San Diego to refine my analysis of what our priorities should be on the road to year 2020.
Peter Ashwood-Smith is a Huawei Senior Researcher and Technical VP-Optical, and has just been nominated to chair ITU-T’s fixed-line 5G Focus Group. He has worked on the design, standardization, implementation, deployment, and large-scale support of many modern transport networking protocols which have been deployed worldwide in hundreds of networks. Peter’s recent work revolves around Transport SDN/NFV and the complex traffic engineering problems and high-speed architectures required to support them. He also currently works on CPRI transport challenges over packet networks for next-generation 5G front-haul. Peter currently holds nearly 100 patents in networking and related fields including the basic design of GMPLS. He holds BSc and MSc degrees in Computer Science.