5G at MWC: a preview of who is doing what in 5G at MWC

MWC 2015 will take place between 2-5 March

Like it or not, and many don’t, 5G is going to be a major theme at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week. Time will tell if the demos we will see will be justified headliners or merely attempts to be seen to be doing something relevant to 5G. But with the event just days away, ‘Inside5G’ takes a look at what 5G demos and news we can expect to see at Mobile World Congress.

Gathering of the clans – industry bodies announce

One event that will generate some noise will the NGMN‘s release of its full white paper looking at 5G use cases. The organisation is holding a press conference on Tuesday morning.

5G-PPP will also be releasing a white paper and boasting initial 5G technologies coming from their collaborative research, while the METIS project will also be busy screening a video on the gains that nomadic nodes can achieve and showing a flexible Filter-Bank Multi-Carrier air interface testbed for 5G.will be releasing a white paper and boasting initial 5G technologies coming from their collaborative research, while the METIS project will also be busy screening a video on the gains that nomadic nodes can achieve and showing a flexible Filter-Bank Multi-Carrier air interface testbed for 5G.

As if that weren’t enough, there will be another 5G alliance on the blocks, as the 5G World Alliance, an organisation dedicated to ensuring IPv6 is fully taken care of within 5G development, will be formally announced.

mmWave and new things on the air interface

“Nokia isn’t alone in its experiments with mmWaves”

We already know that Nokia will really be leading the way by showcasing its prototypes of ‘5G radio equipment.’ The millimetre and centimetre wave bands to achieve high capacities and new frame structures to bring latency down to a single-digit millisecond are impressive features which suggest 5G is, at least, somewhat demonstrable.

But, of course, Nokia isn’t alone in its experiments with mmWaves. SK Telecom will exhibit multi-Gigabit ultra-high-speed and ultra-low-latency data transmission using mmWave spectrum, whilst Huawei will be discussing new waveforms to support spectrum flexibility.

Huawei says that it will be demonstrating a conceptual prototype of candidate 5G waveforms – namely the non-orthogonal access technology based on Sparse Code Multiple Access (SCMA), and Filtered-Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (F-OFDM). The company will also be showing its 5G air interface architecture, a duplex mechanism that it says is able to improve spectral efficiency by 200%, laying a potential foundation for future unification of TDD and FDD spectrums.

Samsung will be demonstrating ‘3D Beamforming’ in millimeter-wave frequency bands, in another joint demo with SK Telecom. 3D Beam Forming is intended to reduce the propagation loss you get at those frequencies, by forming a pencil-think beam. The companies say they will be achieving throughput speeds of 7.55Gbps.

National Instruments and Anritsu Co. both claim they will be displaying experimental 5G waveforms throughout the event whilst Project MIWEBA will present its investigation into how millimetre-wave technology can be a ‘solution’ for the evolution of backhaul, fronthaul and access links.

“architecture with integrated backhaul provides an ideal platform for operators to support their business today and on the road to 2020”

Ericsson says it will be demonstrating “two new technology milestones“. These are 5G-LTE Dual Connectivity, which is about giving devices simultaneous 5G-LTe connectivity, and 5G Multipoint Connectivity, which is about connecting devices to multiple downlink streams.

Ericsson will also be tackling backhaul with its high-capacity ‘Router 6000 series’, designed to meet the demands of 5G and machine-to-machine evolutions and will launch a modular radio network system at the event. Arun Bansal, senior vice president, claims the ‘architecture with integrated backhaul provides an ideal platform for operators to support their business today and on the road to 2020, laying the foundation for 5G.’

Alcatel-Lucent and its research arm Bell Labs are also in on the action. They have announced that they will be presenting a blended traffic demo in association with 5GNow, and will no doubt look to show off the ‘universal remote node’ which was released jointly with Freescale Semiconductor last week.

Operator action: South Korea out in front?

“South Korea’s mobile carriers are going to come out fighting”

Claudia Nemat of Deutsche Telekomrecently claimed ‘it is vital for Europe to be deeply involved in the next stage in mobile communications – 5G.’ But whilst the European players are very much in the game, according to the ‘Korea Herald’, South Korea’s mobile carriers are going to come out fighting at MWC.

As already mentioned, SK Telecom will present demos with both Nokia and Samsung. A spokesman for the carrier has argued ‘nearly any MWC theme or message can be relevant to 5G’, which will sound alarm bells in the heads of those wary of tech being given a 5G rebadge. Alongside its 5G network, SK Telecom will showcase service platforms such as IoT and location-based services, but it remains to be seen how convincingly it can link these to the next generation.

Domestic rival, KT, is very much in the mix. The company’s 5G strategies will be unveiled in a keynote speech and supported by a ‘5G Infra Zone’ which will display a network technology dubbed ‘5G Ultra Dense’, helping users to enjoy faster networks in ‘traffic jam’ areas.

KT also brings a ‘5G Access Zone’ where it will demonstrate 1Gbps download speed by using an integrated nine-band carrier integration.

“LG Uplus are yet to say too much in terms of demos but there will certainly be pressure on it to keep up”

Fellow South Korean carrier LG Uplus are yet to say too much in terms of demos but there will certainly be pressure on it to keep up. ‘The Korea Herald’ reports that it will hold a press conference to unveil its vision and discuss partnerships with the likes of Samsung, Huawei and Nokia.

Japanese operator NT DoCoMo will also look ahead to the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo by showcasing a 5G mobile network. The company have been conducting 5G experimental trials with blue-chip ICT vendors and will share the latest results.

Having recently announced heavy investment in the area, Chinese corporation ZTE is wedging its foot in the door at MWC by offering its ‘Pre5G’ roadmap and an update on it ‘Pre5g’ massive MIMO base station launch, but the fact it is labelling these efforts ‘Pre5G’ suggests it could be a stretch to really think of them as next-generation.

Cisco states that it will be hosting a 5G demo via which it can enable the “reinvention of information architectures while leveraging an automated, orchestrated virtualised cloud network using Information–Centric Networking”.

A 5GIC representative will be on hand at the Cobham Wireless (formerly Aeroflex) booth as it demonstrates 5G technology enabled by its test systems as part of 5GIC’s R&D.

Add to all this a host more panel discussions, keynote speeches and press conferences and you can be sure that the term ‘5G’ will never be far from conversation. The challenge will be to filter between technology which genuinely leads us to the next generation and that which has had a 5G tag slapped on it as companies strive to show they are keeping up.

WHAT HAVE WE MISSED?
If we have missed your 5G news or demo at MWC, let us know and we will update this article.

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