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Open RAN

January 20, 2021

As 5G is being deployed all over the globe, one of the new trends drawing a lot of attention is the Open RAN, which has been selected by a number of major operators for their 5G deployments.

Open RAN is made possible through standardized open network interfaces, defined in 3GPP, O-RAN Alliance, IEEE, and other SDOs and industry fora. To cater to all the diverse 5G use cases and operator’s deployment constraints, the standards define multiple NG-RAN architecture options and the associated open network interfaces. While these options are crucial in making 5G suitable to address all the requirements and challenges of the next generation mobile network, figuring out which option fits a particular practical use case is sometimes challenging. This is further exacerbated by the fact that relevant standards are scattered across multiple SDOs.

To help experts to unpack that complexity, Sasha Sirotkin, the 3GPP RAN3 Vice-chair has edited a new book ‘5G Radio Access Network Architecture: The Dark Side of 5G’, with material contributed by a number of domain experts, active in various 3GPP working groups.


Release 17 timeline agreed

December 14, 2020

PRESS RELEASE

Last week’s Plenary meetings of the 3GPP Technical Specification Groups (TSG) have resulted in joint approval of a firm Release 17 timeline. In reaching this scheduling decision, TSGs#90-e considered the effects that e-meetings in 2020 had on the work’s progress and the pressure that cancellation of all face-to-face meetings has created.

With remote working now confirmed as the norm until June 2021, the delegates took guidance from the Chairs of the Working Groups and the three TSG Chairs, that delegates participating in both the actual e-meetings and discussions in-between meetings need more time to be able to comfortably and accurately consolidate the results of their work. This guidance takes into account the fact that in the busiest groups the stream of contributions can peak at over 1000 emails a day.

At last week’s Plenary, the TSG RAN, TSG SA and TSG CT Chairs have co-proposed a new schedule for the completion of Release 17 work, based on the assumption that 3GPP will return to physical meetings for the second half of 2021.

New Release 17 Schedule:

  • Rel-17 Stage 2 Functional Freeze, June 2021 (TSGs#92-e)
  • Rel-17 Stage 3 Protocol Freeze, March 2022 (TSGs#95)
  • Rel-17 Protocol coding Freeze (ASN.1, OpenAPI), June 2022 (TSGs#96)

3GPP meets IMT-2020

November 28, 2020

Earlier this week the ITU issued a press release to publicise the move to the approval process - by the 193 member states of the Union - of their ITU-R Recommendation: 'Detailed specifications of the radio interfaces of IMT-2020.' (ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.SPECS]).

The document - due for publication in February 2021 - will be the end product of a long process, initiated in 2012, under the banner 'IMT for 2020 and beyond' where the ITU set out its agenda for a steady progression of 5G research activities that would nourish the 3GPP efforts on the new radio and 5G core specification work.

The ITU press release formally announces the radio interfaces that conform with the International Mobile Telecommunications 2020 (IMT-2020) performance requirements:

"The technologies are: 3GPP 5G-SRIT and 3GPP 5G-RIT submitted by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), and 5Gi submitted by Telecommunications Standards Development Society India (TSDSI). During the multi-year development and evaluation process by the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R), these technologies were deemed to be sufficiently detailed to enable worldwide compatibility of operation and equipment, including roaming."


Video interview - Progress on 5G in TSG RAN

November 27, 2020

In our latest video, Balazs Bertenyi tells Brian Dolby of ProactivePR how 3GPP has maintained the pace of 5G work, despite the need to suspend face-to-face meetings since early March 2020.

Bi-monthly Working Group meetings and quarterly Plenaries have moved to e-meetings, with delegates dealing with thousands of contributions over email and holding live discussions over carefully scheduled audio calls.

Live sessions have been rationed in TSG RAN meetings, in recognition of the reality that attending any more than the scheduled 3 hour long discussions on GoTo webinar are a big ask for people in many of the 14 time-zones occupied by delegates. “We try to focus those three hours on the most contentious and difficult topics. Everything else we try to solve over email.” Says Balazs Bertenyi.

Talking about the important role that cellular has played in keeping people in touch during the healthcare crisis, he congratulated the members and individual delegates on being able to keep the contributions flowing throughout.


Firm decision on Rel-17 delay in December

October 16, 2020

As cellular connectivity has become paramount in both business and everyday life during the pandemic the importance of 3GPP producing new releases of the standards, which further evolve and enrich 5G functionalities as well as access varieties, is as important as ever.

The cellular industry as well as the growing number of adjacent industries - making use of 5G - need a firm and reliable timeline for all the new features in 3GPP’s 5G standards rollout.

To this end 3GPP is taking a detailed review of the progress of its Rel-17 work program and will determine a completion schedule and all necessary means to adhere to this schedule at the upcoming TSG plenary meetings in December.


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