5G in WNCG

01 Jul 2014

With LTE-based cellular networks now in wide deployment and the standard reaching maturity, it’s natural to ask “what’s next?” This is a pressing question, given that mobile data traffic is roughly doubling annually. No one knows for sure what will come next, but WNCG is at the forefront of 5G research, and working closely with our affiliates and others to imagine the future.

WNCG’s vision is that 5G will be a paradigm shift that includes very high carrier frequencies with massive bandwidths, extreme base station and device densities and unprecedented numbers of antennas at base stations and on devices. But unlike the previous four generations, 5G will also be highly integrative: tying any new 5G air interface and spectrum together with LTE and WiFi to provide universal high-rate coverage and a seamless user experience. To support this, the core network will also undergo a major evolution, reaching unprecedented levels of flexibility and intelligence. Spectrum regulation will need to be rethought and improved, and energy and cost efficiencies will become even more critical considerations.

To enable these unprecedented objectives we also envisage possible changes in network architecture that leverage current trends in cloud computation and services as a means to also deliver cost and energy efficient network densification as well as enable new forms of coordinated resource allocation, e.g., scheduling. We see a role for Cloud RAN, for the integration of D2D connectivity with infrastructure based “cellular” connectivity, and possibly even a break with the cellular way of thinking towards extreme densification where base stations are virtualized and/or users’ associations to network infrastructure are dynamic and flexible.

WNCG’s vision and tutorials on 5G:

1. “What will 5G be?” is an article headlining the first IEEE JSAC special issue on 5G, in July 2014. It is authored by Prof. Jeff Andrews, WNCG alumnus Wan Choi, recurring WNCG visitor and collaborator Angel Lozano, Huawei Affiliate Anthony Soong and Samsung Affiliate Charlie Zhang, as well as Stefano Buzzi and Stephen Hanly.

2. “Five Disruptive Technology Directions for 5G” appeared in the IEEE Communications Magazine in Feb. 2014. It is authored by Federico Boccardi (Vodafone), Prof. Robert Heath, WNCG visitor and collaborator Angel Lozano (Universitat Pompeu Fabra), Thomas Marzetta (Alcatel-Lucent), and Petar Popovski (Allborg University).

5G Research Thrusts at WNCG include:

  • Millimeter Wave Cellular Systems, including Performance Prediction and 1-bit A/D.
  • Small Cells and Heterogeneous Networks, including optimal and near-optimal offlloading and D2D
  • 5G Network Architectures: CRAN, D2D Integration and Extreme Densification