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Application Enablement Standards in 3GPP

By Suresh Chitturi, 3GPP Working Group SA6 Chair  - Article first published in HIGHLIGHTS Issue 03, Oct. 2021.

With the most recent 5G standards (Release 15 to Release 17), and the advent of the industry 4.0 revolution, there has been a greater emphasis within 3GPP to develop features that go beyond typical end-consumer expectations (e.g. higher speeds, better coverage), and towards capabilities that can enhance the communications for vertical industries such as public safety, automotive, drones, factories of the future, IoT… and in a manner that such capabilities are natively available within the 5G system.

While radio and core network standards are essential to the robust functioning of 3GPP networks, application enablement standards have been receiving significant attention in the recent years. With the help of these standards, it is now possible for 3rd party application developers and vertical specific application providers to seamlessly integrate and leverage the underlying capabilities of the 3GPP system to its full potential.

Within the 3GPP Technical Specification Group Service and System Aspects (SA), TSG SA WG6 (SA6) is the application enablement and critical communication applications group for vertical markets. The main objective of SA6 is to provide application layer architecture specifications for 3GPP verticals, including critical communications applications, service frameworks and vertical application enablers.

And the winner is… 3GPP

February 7, 2022

The Tech Emmy® is awarded for the development of technologies that either represent so extensive an improvement on existing methods or are so innovative in nature that they have materially affected television production. On January 26, 2022, The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) announced the 73rd Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy® Award winners and for the first time 3GPP is a recipient.

For the work on “Standardization of HTTP Encapsulated Protocols”, 3GPP proudly shares the honors with colleagues from the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG), for specifications on Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) and with colleagues from Apple and MLB Advanced Media for HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) work.

A predecessor of the DASH specification was originally developed in 3GPP Rel-9 in 2009 under the acronym 3GPP Adaptive HTTP Streaming (AHS). In July 2010, 3GPP members responded to MPEGs Call for Proposals on HTTP Streaming and 3GPP AHS was selected as the baseline for MPEG DASH specifications.

In tremendous efforts, MPEG and 3GPP jointly developed DASH and published dual specifications in 3GPP TS 26.247 and ISO/IEC 23009-1. The beauty of the technology results from its simplicity to permit seamless media streaming experiences over the Internet and mobile connections to any device without complex QoS provisioning.

Telco Edge Computing - Mapping requirements to standards

January 26, 2022

A workshop organised by the GSMA Operator Platform Group (OPG) has gathered inputs from 3GPP and ETSI to help the Association to compile a mapping of specifications for enabling Telco Edge Computing platforms - that meet the requirements of their new Operator Platform API Group (OPAG).

Prior to the January 21 workshop, the 3GPP Technical Specification Group Service and System Aspects (TSG SA) reviewed the OPAG API work categories and initial mapping. TSG SA concluded that the 3GPP work was not yet fully reflected in the GSMA’s early output, necessitating a 3GPP liaison statement (SP-210003) towards GSMA OPAG.

During the workshop, the 3GPP presentation by Suresh Chitturi, the 3GPP WG SA6 Chair, provided more detailed references to 3GPP specifications and additional comments from the working groups, for discussion. He told the workshop attendees (Over 100 delegates) that Edge computing has been a major focus in 3GPP Release 17, with four key groups in TSG SA carrying out studies and normative work:

  • SA2: System Architecture enhancement for supporting Edge Computing.
  • SA3: Security aspects for supporting SA2 and SA6 architectures.
  • SA5: Management & Charging aspects on Edge Computing.
  • SA6: Edge Enabler Layer architecture, and deployment scenarios.

A Tribute to Donald E Zelmer

January 7, 2022

Don Zelmer, a friend and main mover in 3GPP has passed away on January 6, following a short illness.

Don served in 3GPP TSG RAN as Vice-Chair for a number of years and participated in 3GPP since its creation in 1998. His attendance at well over 600 technical meetings and as a lead delegate to the Project Coordination Group of 3GPP has been characterised by his ability to ask the tough questions, with a civility that was both charming and sincere - always accompanied by his familiar ‘Don Zelmer, AT&T’ introduction.

In addition to his leadership and mentorship in 3GPP, Don served the ATIS Wireless Technologies and Systems Committee (WTSC), which is one of the primary North American drivers into 3GPP. He was Chair of a WTSC subcommittee, and has also served multiple terms in the role of WTSC Chair and Vice Chair.

Merging 5Gi and 3GPP specifications

December 17, 2021

A plan of action was agreed at the 3GPP TSG RAN plenary (RAN#94-e) this week, to allow the merger of 5Gi into 5G, with specific milestones set for both 3GPP and TSDSI.

With broad support from many TSDSI member companies, as well as global cellular vendors and multiple operators, TSG RAN contribution (RP-213532) outlines the framework and steps to be taken to facilitate the intended merger.

From the 3GPP side, two Rel-17 Change Requests (CRs) clarifying the specification of the Pi/2-BPSK modulation scheme - to support low peak-to-average-power ratio (PAPR) transmissions – have been technically endorsed. In addition, the objectives of the RAN WG4-led Rel-17 work item along with a recent way forward for the same project have been amended.

In turn, TSDSI has committed to the merger of 5Gi into 3GPP along with a roadmap of pursuing merged 3GPP 5G specifications in India with no further 5Gi updates in ITU-R. The merger of the 5Gi standard into 3GPP, enables a single common specification going forward, as well as creating a single radio access proposal for the ‘IMT.2020’ 5G family of standards (ITU-R).

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