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.
This is to be followed by the Stage 3 freeze (RAN2, RAN3 and RAN4) by March 2022 and the ASN.1 freeze and the performance specifications completion by September 2022 – On the timeline agreed back in December 2019.
This staggered timeline has been made achievable with careful planning and management, demonstrated to the webinar viewers via a complex planning schedule, with a slide showing the array of Plenary & WG meetings and Release landmarks - Interspersed with a series of planned periods of inactivity, to allow delegates some relief from 3GPP discussions.
Wanshi Chen noted that the efficiency of e-meetings has not been comparable with physical meetings, in terms of getting everything done. To compensate for that, the companies involved have planned two RAN1 meetings in 4Q21 and two meetings for each of the RAN working groups in the 1Q22. He observed: “We will monitor Release 17 RAN progress closely and take the necessary actions to make sure we can get the release completed on time.”
Release 18 Planning
Looking forward to Release 18 and the start of work on 5G-Advanced, Chen outlined the schedule for an online RAN workshop from June 28 – July 2, to define what will be in the release. The workshop will set the scene for email discussions about the endorsed topics for consideration. The work will culminate with Release 18 Package Approval, at the December 2021 Plenary (RAN#94).
The high-level objective of the workshop will be to gather company proposals in three areas:
- eMBB driven work;
- Non-eMBB driven functionality;
- Cross-functionality for both.
Wanshi Chen concluded that during the Release 18 planning process, some capacity must be kept in hand; keeping around 10% of WG effort in reserve, for workload management and to meet late, emerging critical needs from commercial deployments.
The full webinar is online, including a detailed Q&A session between Wanshi and Adrian Scrase, ETSI CTO & Head of 3GPP MCC …here
Q&A topics covered:
- The effect of the pandemic and eMeeting management schedules and tools (19.25).
- Balance between commercial needs and societal needs, emergency services, energy efficiency, sustainability (21.20).
- The importance of the verticals in the second phase of 5G – With 5G-Advanced. How will this Rel-18 workshop compare in scale with the 5G Phoenix workshop in 2015? (23.00)
- The job of the Chair is to be impartial…but Wanshi guesses that Antennas, MiMo enh., Sidelink, Positioning, xR, AI machine learning…. could come up in Rel-18! (26.15)
- Will 5G-Advanced have a strong identity & support? (30.05)
- The potential for hybrid meetings – No clear answers yet, but we have learnt a lot in the past year.(34.35)
- The link between gathering new requirements and use cases in SA1 and RAN work and RAN1’s role in focusing these needs for radio work. (40.10)
- Software-ization of the RAN. Do you see more open RAN work coming to 3GPP? (44.18)
- Machine type communications and IoT – Where is IoT going in 3GPP RAN? (47.01)
- Some thoughts on Spectrum usage from a 3GPP point of view, is that difficult to fathom for non-experts? (52.00)
- Can Standards writing become more agile, less linear? (54.00)
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