5G must-reads this week: (1) Facebook adds Voyager cost-effective backhaul, full OpenCellular specs, global innovation accelerators to Telecom Infra Project; (2) CEVA reports a 5G NR design win for a tier-one smartphone OEM; (3) Important updates from IETF, ETSI and 5G-PPP related to their 5G programs and spec work; (4) In Singapore, StratHub and Nokia lab trial of cmWave ; and (5) China Unicom reported a platform-driven virtual reality demo.
Weekly 5G business, technology & market updates – Nov 4, 2016
Facebook Adds Voyager Backhaul, OpenCellular Specs & Accelerator to TIP
The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) is Facebook’s approach to develop new technologies and rethink global infrastructure for emerging 5G networking, for IoT and for virtual reality. The project’s first summit [Nov 1-2, 2016] reports that TIP has over 300 member organizations, and starting in 2017 it will also count with a network of global acceleration centers. On the technical side, there were two major announcements at the summit. One of them was the Voyager Platform, and the other was the availability of full OpenCellular specs. Facebook contributed to TIP with Voyager, a scalable cost-effective platform to support fiber-based backhaul transport as well as switching and routing. Voyager is based on Facebook Open Packet DWDM architecture and implements industry’s first white-box transponder with an IP/MPLS networking solution. Voyager’s design is available to the TIP community to facilitate disaggregation of the hardware and software components of the network stack. The first version of Voyager leverages the data center technologies that Facebook uses in OCP’s Wedge top-of-rack switch. Finally on the wireless access front, Facebook announced that OpenCellular designs and schematics are now fully open source within TIP. At the summit Facebook reiterated that it sees this as instrumental to accelerate the industry’s ability to provide wireless access in remote areas.
Read more: TIP Summit Report
CEVA reports DSP Design Win with Tier One Handset OEM’s 5G NR Platform
Only days after Qualcomm made its 5G chipset announcement, CEVA reports a design win with a tier one handset OEM for a 5G NR chipset solution. The CEVA product, part of X2 and it is designed for specific LTE-Advanced-Pro and 5G use cases where the emphasis is PHY control processing. During the 3Q2016 quarterly conference call, CEVA’s management confirmed this new DSP agreement saying it was with “…a tier-one handset OEM customer for is 5G New Radio (NR) platform… This together with our recent 5G basestation design win, position us and the only end-to-end DSP provider for 5G.” CEVA is a licensor of signal processing IP. Together with semiconductor companies and OEMs creates power-efficient, intelligent and connected devices for a range of end markets, including mobile, consumer, automotive, industrial and IoT. Their ultra-low-power IPs for vision, audio, communications and connectivity include comprehensive DSP-based platforms for LTE/LTE-A/5G baseband processing in handsets, infrastructure.
IETF, ETSI, 5G-PPP Report Milestones in Their 5G Work
New specifications, R&D program updates and new communication protocol proposals are the milestones that IETF, ETSI and 5G-PPP have been reporting in recent dates. IETF issued new documents in the areas of network virtualization, slicing and ID location split in 5G Networks. The new version of IRTF network virtualization describes how network virtualization is a more complex problem than generic virtualization, i.e. cloud computing; it goes on to describe current research challenges including guaranteeing QoS, performance improvement, multi-domain support, network slicing, service composition, device virtualization, privacy and security. Another important document recently released by IETF is a locator ID split in 5G networks; according to contributor Huawei, this is needed because currently the IP address indicates both the identity and location of the end host, and does not support mobility and multiple accesses naturally. The last of IETF Drafts is an architecture for real view of deployment of mobility and multicast functions in 5G core network via slicing.
ETSI’s Next Generation Protocol (NGP) group released GS NGP 001 with the key scenarios to evolve the current Internet Protocol (IP). It contains a total of 51 use cases — referencing 3GPP TR 22.891 as well as inputs from other standard bodies. The use cases address security, mobility, context-awareness, performance improvement and content enablement as well as multi-access, Internet of Things (IoT), virtualization, mobile edge computing and energy savings to shape their protocol evolution for 5G systems.
5G PPP released its annual 5G Journal with a progress update of the 17 R&D projects funded under EU’s Horizon 2020 program. The journal also describes the four “industry vertical” use cases of 5G: automotive, energy, factories and e-Health. It discusses technical developments in radio access network design, NFV network slicing, system architecture, security, energy efficiency. Regarding spectrum, the journal lists primary allocations bands for 5G mobile service [24.25-27.5 GHz – 37-40.5 GHz – 42.5-43.5 GHz – 45.5-47 GHz – 47.2-50.2 GHz – 50.4-52.6 GHz – 66-76 GHz – 81-86 GHz], candidate bands for additional allocations [31.8-33.4 GHz – 40.5-42.5 GHz – 47-47.2 GHz], and also mentions LSA/ASA spectrum sharing schemes aiming at trials in some markets.
StarHub 5G cmWave Trial with Nokia Hits 4.3 Gbps, 1 Millisecond Latency
Nokia and Singapore’s StarHub demonstrate 4.3Gbps and 1 milli-econd latency 5G centimeter wave (cmWave) frequencies. Centimeter wave refers to carrier frequencies between 3-GHz and 30-GHz, which compares to millimeter wave frequencies above 30-GHz. These higher-band frequencies are being discussed as a key component of future 5G networks. The demo was supported by Nokia’s AirScale platform. This platform promises 60% lower energy consumption and a smaller physical footprint compared to previous generation radio access technologies. The 5G trial was conducted at StarHub’s headquarters as part of the operator’s ongoing trials into future technologies to facilitate emerging use cases such as virtual and augmented reality streaming and e-health applications. Starhub Head of Engineering highlights their user-oriented approach saying that they are “…exploring how we can use 5G technologies to enrich the lives of our customers.”
China Unicom Showcases Virtual Reality Mobile Edge Computing Connectivity
China Unicom’s Network Technology Research Institute is working on a future use case and calls it “panoramic virtual reality streaming of live video using drone technology.” It involves capturing video streaming from drones equipped with 360-degree HD cameras and providing it real-time to users. Users will be able to manipulate their perspective in real time for an immersive real-time VR experience. To enable this use case, China Unicom is partnering with small cells provider Baicells and with Artesyn who is providing Embedded Technologies’ MaxCore Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) acceleration platform. Reportedly, this MEC platform combined with LTE/5G transmission will provide fluent, interference-free, high-speed transmission of the video data.
Artesyn’s press release highlights that this is a prototype VR-enabled live video platform that harness MEC to achieve the low latency where “MEC provides a distributed computing environment for application and service hosting, bringing cloud technologies closer to the RAN [Radio Access Network] and ultimately, closer to consumers”.
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