Mar 19, 2020
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What’s next in 5G: Future of 5G
Feb 25, 2020 | 2:37
Just 10 years ago, the world was getting its first taste of mobile broadband. Now in 2020, we are no longer just talking about the feasibility of 5G — we’re driving global commercial deployments and preparing its expansion into new devices, services, and industries.
At Qualcomm Technologies, we see 5G as the mobile innovation platform for this decade and beyond. That compels us to lead the 5G evolution, building upon the solid foundational technologies that we established in 3GPP Rel-15. The following discusses the progress our advanced 5G R&D teams have made in the past year toward realizing our 5G vision. You can also learn more in a series of videos that can be found here.
Advanced wide-area 5G massive MIMO OTA test network
One year ago at MWC 2019, we first announced our standalone end-to-end over-the-air test network operating in 3.5 GHz in San Diego. This year, we have enhanced the capability of this multi-cell, multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) network to reach 16 total layers with spectral efficiency of 50 bits/s/Hz, translating to a cell capacity of more than 5 Gbps over its 100 MHz bandwidth. From a user’s perspective, our test network can sustain a downlink throughput of ~1 Gbps at over 2000 feet from the cell site. In Rel-17, we have successfully initiated the 3GPP study of 5G support and optimization of cloud gaming, VR, and AR; and this test network is also used to prototype boundless augmented reality (AR) that is designed to deliver a more immersive user experience. In this demo, a user experiences outdoor video streaming, mobile cloud gaming, and real-time manipulation of a high-quality 3D massive MIMO antenna model — all with a tethered AR goggle powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 mobile platform with a Snapdragon X55 5G modem-to-RF system. To see this demonstration, watch this video.
Wide-area 5G technology evolution
Our R&D team continues to focus on longer-term 5G technology innovations; for this year, we have two system simulations that showcase future 5G capabilities and efficiencies. The first is a 5G network supporting sub-band full-duplex massive MIMO operations, which allows simultaneous transmit and receive. This is not only designed to improve the overall system flexibility and spectral efficiency, but also delivers lower latency. The second system simulation showcases new Rel-16 5G positioning techniques, combining multiple roundtrip time (multi-RTT) and angle of arrival (AoA) for more accurate wide-area outdoor positioning use cases. Of course, our 5G system research expands beyond air interface design, and we will share our vision for a new end-to-end data management paradigm that is essential for the future expansion of 5G-connected IoT. Click here to watch the technology evolution demo; click here to see the 5G data management demo.
Advanced 5G mmWave OTA test network
Like our 5G wide-area test network, we have also expanded the capabilities of our outdoor 5G mmWave test network in San Diego. This end-to-end system, operating in the 28 GHz band, now features a deployment with distributed remote radio-heads (RRHs) and repeaters to further improve mobility and coverage. In this demonstration, we are showcasing robust handheld usage with virtually seamless handoffs among mmWave beams and RRHs. To push 5G mmWave mobility testing to the extreme, we attached a mobile test device, based on Snapdragon X50, to a drone, flew it around our campus, and saw that the mmWave connectivity was robust even at high speeds and elevations. Lastly, we are also showcasing boundless Virtual Reality (VR) that utilizes edge cloud processing for sustained ultra-low latency and high throughput. To see this demonstration, watch this video.
5G mobile mmWave technology evolution
5G mmWave technologies continue to improve, bringing more efficient deployment, enhanced mobility, and better energy efficiency. To demonstrate, we have completed three system simulations. The first showcases more cost-efficient mmWave densification for coverage expansion with integrated access and backhaul (IAB). The second simulation showcases the benefits of multiple transmission points (multi-TRP), which allows the device to simultaneously connect to multiple cell sites, improving link reliability and performance. The last simulation examines the new device power-saving features, such as wakeup signals and reduced signaling that can extend the battery life of 5G mobile devices. To see this demonstration, watch this video.
5G time-sensitive networking
As 5G expands to new industries, it needs to support new capabilities such as time-sensitive networking (TSN) required by many real-time industrial 4.0 use cases such as factory automation. To address this, 3GPP Rel-16 added native support for TSN over 5G, which delivers precise time synchronization between 5G-connected devices. This complements the added support in Rel-16 of private networking and enhanced ultra-reliable, low-latency communication (eURLLC) that can deliver up to 99.9999% reliability with low and deterministic latency (e.g., 1ms). In this demo, we are showcasing our live TSN OTA network in San Diego of an emulated production line. To see this demonstration, watch this video.
5G precise indoor positioning
Another important new capability that is coming with 3GPP Rel-16 is enhanced 5G positioning to benefit a wide range of new vertical use cases. Staying with the theme of industrial IoT in an indoor environment, this live over-the-air demonstration showcases how 5G can provide sub-meter 3D positioning for various applications, such as asset tracking and AGV control, utilizing multiple transmission points to measure time difference of arrival. To see this demonstration, watch this video.
5G Cellular-V2X evolution with reliable multicast
Last year, we showcased that 5G C-V2X cannot only make our roads safer, but also help enable advanced use cases to bring lower energy usage, faster travel, and higher situational awareness. This year, we are demonstrating some of the benefits that reliable multicast communication can bring with distance-based groups and sensor sharing introduced in Rel-16. We are showing both an interactive simulation and an OTA prototype in a scenario, where a vehicle approaching an intersection can be notified of crossing vehicles that are not slowing down, both with and without C-V2X, in a timely manner considering both speed and distance. Click here to watch the OTA demo; click here to see the simulation demo.