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Industrial 5G

September 3, 2021

Enhanced support of Industrial IoT in the 5G System (Rel-17)

By Devaki Chandramouli, Work Item Rapporteur

In Release 17, the 5G System expands the support for Time Synchronization and Time Sensitive communications for any application. The 5G System architecture enables any Application Function (AF) - in the same or different trust domain - to provide its requirements for QoS, traffic characteristics for QoS scheduling optimization, time synchronization activation and deactivation.

If the AF is in a different trust domain from the 5G System, then it provides input via exposure framework, NEF API. If the AF is in the same trust domain as the 5G System, then it provides input directly via the Time Sensitive communication Time Synchronization function (TSCTSF).

The Functional Architecture is shown in the figure below:


Advanced plans for 5G

July 6, 2021

The past few days (June 28 – July 2, 2021) have seen the first internal 3GPP workshop on the radio specific content of Release 18, reviewing over 500 company and partner organization’s presentations, to identify topics for the immediate and longer-term commercial needs for*:

  • eMBB (evolved Mobile BroadBand);
  • Non-eMBB evolution;
  • Cross-functionalities for both eMBB and non-eMBB driven evolution.

The workshop is the start of a process that will be completed at the December Plenaries, with cross-group Rel-18 Package Approval (note: WG RAN4 - Radio Performance and Protocol Aspects - package approval is set to follow, in March 2022).

The time duration for the release in RAN is tentatively set at 18 months, with the final decision on that to be confirmed in September 2021, following TSG RAN#93-e.


Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

By Gino Masini, Yin Gao, Sasha Sirotkin (Article first published in HIGHLIGHTS Issue 02, March 2021).

Title: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in NG-RAN: New Study in RAN3.

5G brings more stringent requirements for Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like latency, reliability, user experience, and others; jointly optimizing those KPIs is becoming more challenging due to the increased complexity of foreseen deployments. Operators and vendors are now turning their attention to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) to address this challenge. For this reason, following RAN plenary approval, 3GPP RAN3 has recently started a new Release-17 study on the applications of AI/ML to RAN.


Release 17 Update from SA2

By Puneet Jain, 3GPP Working Group SA2 Chair (Article first published in HIGHLIGHTS Issue 02, March 2021).

Technical Specification Group SA Working Group 2 is in charge of developing the Stage-2 specifications of the overall system architecture - including the main functions and entities of the 3GPP network, how these entities are linked to each other and the information they exchange.

The group defined the 5G system architecture as part of 3GPP Release-15 and has continued its progress with the Release-16 work - focusing on following key focus areas:


Evolution towards 5G-Advanced

May 11, 2021

Following his appointment to the RAN Chair, Wanshi Chen has laid out his immediate priorities for the year and for meetings well into 2022 - In a recent ETSI webinar. He has also unveiled the preliminary topics of a June 2021 Workshop on Release 18 – With submissions to be divided into three areas (preliminary agenda): eMBB driven work, Non-eMBB driven functionality and Cross-functionality for both.

The webinar, recorded on May 5, 2021, is now available on the 3GPP Vimeo site: https://vimeo.com/548457634 (no registration required).

Release 17 on time

Wanshi Chen acknowledged that Release 17 - the third release of 5G specifications - has been under pressure due to COVID-19 restrictions, but despite making the move to e-meetings, he reported that the group’s experts have managed to ensure positive progress towards the freeze of the RAN1 physical layer specifications on schedule, by December 2021.


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