Possible Directions for 5G

Daniel Weibel
Created 17 Mar 2016

Brief overview of the possible directions of a future 5G mobile network, from the point of view of the year 2016.

Basic design principle

Not just more of the same (e.g. more coverage, capacity, data rate, availability than LTE), but tailored solutions to specific problems/requirements.

For example:

  • High-definition TV, other data-centric applications $\longrightarrow$ massive data rates
  • Internet of things, M2M $\longrightarrow$ low battery usage
  • Self-driving cars, tactile Internet $\longrightarrow$ ultra-short latency, high data rates

Key dimensions for requirements

  • Data rate
  • Latency
  • Energy consumption and cost
  • Number of connected devices

Design choices

  • Wave form (multiple access and signalling) (alternative to OFDM and SC-FDM)
  • Modulation (alternative to QAM)

Since 5G approaches different problems with different requirements, there will probably be a palette of technologies (e.g. a range of different wave forms) from which one is selected on a case-by-case basis.

Possible new technologies

  • Millimetre waves (30–300 GHz)
  • Massive MIMO
  • Densification

Further new techonologies/directions

  • Flat architecture, move logic to network edge, get rid of core network
  • Software-defined networking (SDN)
  • Network function virtualisation (NFV)
  • Cloud radio access network (C-RAN)
  • Self-organising network (SON)
  • Machine-type communication (MTC)
  • Device to device communication (D2D)
  • Mobile edge computing (MEC)
  • Cognitive radio (CR)
  • Energy efficiency
  • Full duplex