By Chris Pearson, President, 5G Americas
With the global pandemic underway, more people are working from home. Social distancing is in practical terms, physical distancing. Wireless networks are seeing a dramatic increase in data usage. It is clear by now that mobile connectivity will have outsized importance in our world, as friends, co-workers and families come to rely more heavily on wireless to stay connected.
Recently, AT&T reported wireless voice calls are up 33% from before the onset of the virus, with instant messaging up 63% and audio and video web conferencing minutes having spiked more than 400%. T-Mobile has reported traffic on educational apps increased up to 167%, the number of people using collaboration tools went up 137%, and MMS Messaging was up 54% for T-Mobile and 69% for Sprint overall. Video streaming for Sprint users increased 32% and Sprint users are gaming 85% more.
So if you have had some of your commute time shaved off recently, it may be a good time to find out more about how 5G and LTE networks are evolving and re-shaping our world. How are 5G and LTE networks designed and how they will continue to evolve to meet today’s growing communication demands?
Who We Are
5G Americas’ mission is to facilitate and advocate for the advancement and transformation of LTE, 5G (and beyond) wireless networks throughout the Americas. Our trade association is made up of 16 of the world’s leading wireless telecommunications firms, including:
Every year, we work with our Board of Governors to cover the most important mobile communications topics that will progress the industry in North, Central and South America. These topics range across a wide array of different ideas dealing with opportunities, challenges and ultimately recommendations for progress.
Our association provides these white papers for free because our member firms believe this information is so important to the development of 5G & LTE, that they want it freely accessible by anyone. Each white paper is the culmination of extensive research and work by some of the leading networking and engineering experts in the field and vetted by their peers. Our member companies provide expertise from some of the brightest and best minds in the field of wireless networking and their insights are truly invaluable.
A Look Back to 2019: 5G’s First Full Year of Commercialization
With wireless cellular networks, it is often thought that it takes up to a full decade to reach full maturity, as one generation evolves into the next. The year 2019 was 5G’s first full year of commercialization and we explored numerous key topics for the brand new generation of wireless cellular networking, ranging from what kind of spectrum would be needed, how would it be used in IoT and within industry verticals, the impact of cloud & edge computing, as well as evolving technology for security and advanced antenna systems.
Overall, it was quite a year! In our 2019 series of white papers, the association dove into twelve topics which continue to fundamentally re-shape our wireless cellular industry.
The 5G Evolution: 3GPP Releases 16-17 (Jan 2020) highlights specific updates in Releases 16-17 of 3GPP’s latest standards. Release 16 is an evolutionary development that will positively impact multiple industries and is expected to be finalized in March 2020. Release 17 provides additional improved radio flexibility and will be 3GPP’s focus in 2020 and 2021 with target standard finalization in July 2021.
5G and the Cloud (Dec 2019) introduces Cloud Native, ETSI-based Network Function Virtualization and Cloud Native network functions in a 5G framework, implementation, and migration strategies for a 5G Core, and presents Cloud Native problems and realities. It also identifies the rich open source-supporting ecosystem that allows for the building and running of applications that fully exploit the benefits of the cloud computing model.
5G Services Innovation (Nov 2019) presents a comprehensive introduction of the adoption and challenges in implementing 5G across different industries. It highlights detailed use cases that could serve as potential new revenue streams for enterprises and network providers. ‘5G Services Innovation’ highlights several key areas, including:
- Explaining end-to-end architectural aspects of each use case and the importance of 5G as a technology enabler
- Requirements and key performance indicators (KPIs) expected from the 5G component on each architecture
- Activities and key issues around the deployment of each use case
Management, Orchestration and Automation (Nov 2019) explains how 5G wireless technologies are expected to enable revolutionary new consumer and enterprise applications through massive data transfers at ultra-low latencies. To do so, networks require a higher level of data management details significant MANO challenges and proposed solutions for developing and operating a fully featured 5G network.
Precision Planning for 5G Era Networks with Small Cells (Oct 2019) explores the precision planning process of small cell siting and identifies how employing Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in network design can help to reduce the cost of deployments while optimizing coverage over traditional manual methods. It also examines why measurements of network quality, signal strength and quality, traffic patterns, and other topographical considerations are important for maximizing a network operators’ return on capital investment, and demonstrates how including AI and ML models in small cell design and siting efforts can provide optimal coverage and throughput with the most efficient capital investment.
5G at the Edge (Oct 2019) explores new groundbreaking possibilities emerging from the combination of Edge Computing with 5G technologies. Edge Computing refers to locating applications, general-purpose compute, storage, and associated switching and control functions that are required to run them – relatively close to end users and/or IoT endpoints. The paper supplies an in-depth view of the various industry and open source initiatives defining emerging EDGE architectures. Overall, it defines the next generation Edge reference architecture and explores future directions in networking.
Global 5G: Implications of a Transformational Technology (Sep 2019) is produced by Rysavy Research and 5G Americas technical experts, the white paper explores the intensifying role of wireless communications, the evolution of its technology, emerging services and use cases, and a timeline of future developments through 2030.
Advanced Antenna Systems for 5G (Aug 2019) investigates current trends in technology and spectrum enhancements for advanced antenna systems that will improve 5G capabilities in data speeds, coverage, and improved user experiences. The report identifies how advanced antenna systems will be commercialized, provides technical details into the increasing complexity of wireless antenna systems, and illustrates how they are central to the development and deployment of 5G networks.
Evolution of Security in 5G (July 2019) examines how 5G provides new transformational security safeguards to protect both networks and customers. The paper looks at how 5G security builds on, and is compatible with, key functions and frameworks developed in 4G and other standards, as well as surveying how modern networks experience threats from a wide variety of different sources and attack routes. The report delves into dynamic security measures that provide additional protection for network slicing and AI-based technologies.
5G: The Future of IoT (July 2019) delves into market drivers, trends and cellular technology solutions that will create our connected future. These market drivers will provide added value through connectivity of all “things” ranging from street lighting to home appliances to industrial robotics. Providing connectivity to things has become easier with improvements in the economics of end devices, large investments in IoT systems, adoption of global standards and availability of spectrum. Overall trends in information technology such as cloud computing and edge cloud, artificial intelligence and security assurance have accelerated the IoT ecosystem. The whitepaper discusses some market segments in more detail, including industrial IoT, smart cities, enterprise IoT and consumer IoT.
The Status of Open Source for 5G (Feb 2019) provides an overview of 5G architecture, with a focus on its application of open source principles, based on 3GPP Release 15-defined 5G system architecture. This paper is intended to serve as a call to action for the 5G community of operators, solution providers and developers to initiate or participate in the existing open source efforts applicable to 5G. Community involvement is important to help achieve critical backing of the projects to avoid one-off solutions.
5G Spectrum Vision (Feb 2019) brings forward pertinent industry analysis of the characteristics of a range of spectrum bands along with challenges and opportunities in using different bands for 5G. The paper identifies bands with potential to be used for 5G services and makes recommendations on mechanisms for spectrum clearing, spectrum sharing, and necessary industry and regulatory actions towards more licensed spectrum for progress of 5G technologies.
In addition to these white papers, 5G Americas also produced numerous white papers for the Latin America region in 2019. These white papers can be found at our Spanish and Portuguese sites.
What’s in store for the 2020 series?
With 5G’s commercialization underway, 5G Americas will be looking into several key areas. In our white papers for this year, we’ll lean in more heavily into topics like:
- Examining network-based projects, such as AI and ML and service-based architecture
- Analyzing new network element interoperable open architectures
- Taking a look at trends in network backhaul and transport innovation
- Refreshing our view on the newest technical standards and features from 3GPP
- Exploring more of the opportunities for 5G services and applications
- Reviewing the implications of certain spectrum capabilities and challenges
Of course, we’ll also be diving into many opportunities and issues involving the Caribbean and Latin America in 2020, such as spectrum harmonization, digital infrastructure adoption, and other areas of best practices for telecom networks. Again, these white papers are always accessible on our Spanish and Portuguese sites.
In addition to all these in-depth white papers, our 5G Americas site also offers a wide variety of other resources. You can find all kinds of up-to-date charts, tables and other data relating to 5G and LTE network deployments. Regulatory filings with the U.S. government. Our site also collects and disseminates news releases from our member companies and key announcements impacting the industry, as well as third-party opinions and insights from analysts and other influencers.
We hope you make the most of your visit to 5G Americas. We certainly love producing this content to help others understand the importance of 5G and LTE throughout the world.
Thanks for visiting.
Viewpoints are the expressed opinions of independent wireless industry analysts and stakeholders. They do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the 5G Americas association or its member companies.