Our vision for 5G is vast. Much more than just faster peak rates, we envision 5G will be a unified, more capable platform that will connect new industries and devices, enable new services and empower new user experiences. A completely new kind of network that will take on a much bigger role than previous generations—creating the connectivity fabric for everything. But how will 5G achieve this lofty vision? What technology breakthroughs will be needed to scale to the extreme variation of use cases envisioned for 5G?
In our webinar today with FierceWireless, QualcommTechnologies, Inc., unveiled numerous technology innovations we are developing, in collaboration with the industry, to build the unified, more capable 5G platform. The technologies featured a new OFDM-based unified air interface that can scale to support the radically diverse 5G requirements. Qualcomm Research, the R&D division of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., has been working for years on 5G technology innovations in parallel to continued investment in 4G LTE and Wi-Fi.
Qualcomm Research is developing 5G technologies that not only vastly enhance mobile broadband performance, but also scale to connect the massive Internet of Things and enable new types of services such as mission critical control that require new levels of latency, reliability and security. These 5G technologies are designed not only to fuel rich mobile experiences such as Ultra HD videoconferences and live streaming of virtual reality, but also to support the proliferation of connected cars, smart cities, smart homes and wearables.
As highligted in the video and detailed in the webinar, we are developing key 5G technologies across three key areas:
- Designing a unified air interface with optimized OFDM-based waveforms and multiple access with a flexible framework that can scale from low spectrum bands to mmWave, from macro deployments to local hotspots, and will support licensed, unlicensed, and shared licensed spectrum from the beginning. The new unified air interface is designed to efficiently multiplex the envisioned 5G services with various levels of data rate, mobility, latency and reliability. It is also designed to natively incorporate advanced wireless techniques such as multi-user massive MIMO for efficiently achieving higher capacity and better coverage at higher spectrum bands. Additionally, for targeted use cases such as sporadic uplink traffic from battery-powered IoT sensors, the use of non-orthogonal Resource Spread Multiple Access (RSMA) helps further reduce device complexity.
- New 5G multi-connectivity technologies that support simultaneous connectivity and aggregation across 5G, 4G LTE and Wi-Fi technologies with a multi-access 5G core network that ensures mobile operators can continue to leverage today’s investments. To efficiently support diverse network topologies, new 5G multi-connectivity technologies will also be designed for simultaneous connections across access nodes with opportunistic aggregation for enhanced performance and reliability—such as aggregating mmWave from a small cell with lower spectrum bands from a macro base station. New 5G technologies will also expand multi-connectivity to include device-to-device communications, managed multi-hop communications and relays that extend network coverage.
- Defining a flexible network architecture that will enable 5G network operators, along with over-the-top service providers, to quickly and efficiently create services tailored to meet the extreme variation of 5G use cases and scale all the way from low cost hotspots to carrier grade wide area deployments. The new architecture allows connectivity to be jointly configured end-to-end—across the unified air interface, radio access network and core network—using specialized network functions optimized for specific services. The new architecture will deliver mobility-on-demand by distributing network functions at the core or edge of the networks based on the service requirements and device context, while taking advantage of emerging virtualization technologies to generate network slices optimized for the target services or deployment types.
Qualcomm is working with the industry to standardize 5G technologies through the 3GPP standards organization, including activities such as the 5G RAN Workshop completed last month, making these new innovations available to the entire ecosystem, with expected commercial deployments around 2020. In parallel, we will continue leading advancements in 4G LTE and Wi-Fi, pioneering new technologies such as carrier aggregation, LTE Unlicensed (including LTE-U, LAA and MulteFire), LTE/Wi-Fi link aggregation, LTE D2D / V2X, narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and Wi-Fi 802.11ac/ad/ax that expand their capabilities to support many of the use cases envisioned for 5G. You can get all the latest information on 5G technologies and use cases from our website and please sign up for our newsletter to get information on our upcoming FierceWireless webinars in November and December that will go into more details on the underlying 5G technologies.