In this 5G Fireside chat series, Hema Kadia from TeckNexus discusses with Ben Cheung, Ph.D. Systems Architect at Nokia and ONAP RAN Architecture, 5G key concepts. In this 5G introduction chat, we cover - what is 5G, the 3 key 5G concepts i.e. enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), massive machine type communications (mMTC) and ultra reliable low latency communications (URLLC), high level 5G architecture and key technologies (including those we plan to cover in future 5G Fireside chat series).
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    What is 5G?

    Hema Kadia  –  What are the key 5G concepts (eMBB, mMTC, URLLC), related use cases & specturms?

    Ben Cheung  –  The three big ideas of 5g you know what makes 5g unique and different than 4g and what the future hopes to bring to the wireless industry. If you walk away with nothing, but these three big ideas, I think I’ll have done my job.

    So 5g, the three big ideas are enhanced mobile broadband eMBB, massive machine type communications mMMTC and ultra reliable low latency communications URLLC. So, I know each of those is a mouthful and that’s it’s a lot of big long acronyms, but let me see if I can try to break it down. And again, those are the really the big key ideas and if you if you take away some, some basic core concepts behind those ideas, I think that that is really the the main principal concepts that make 5g unique and different from 4g. 


    Enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB)

    So enhanced mobile broadband – the idea is that it will have a new and increased spectrum, improve spectral efficiency and the ability to really have much higher data rates than we did in 4g. So it has 100 fold the amount of data transfer rates, peak data rate of 5G for download link of 20 gigabits/sec and 10 gigabits per second for uplink rate versus hundred megabits per second.

    It will support high mobility up to 500 kilometers per hour or 310 miles per hour. Which is, you know, 50% more than than 4g was was able to deliver and a much higher area traffic capacity. So 100 megabits per second per per square foot.  Now 5g, it has quite a broad variety of spectrum that will be available to it from the standards described 0.45 gigabits up to 52 gigabits per gigahertz frequencies.

    Europe is currently looking at opening up spectrum in the ranges of 3.6 to 26 gigahertz and the USA’s FCC Federal Communication commission is looking at opening up spectrums into the 14 gigahertz ranges.

    And it’s also split into high band mid band and low band with low band in the 700 ish megahertz, which is comparable to 4g performance, but where 5g really shines and what’s very different and unique is when it gets into the 25 and above gigahertz, the millimeter wave range. And that allows for these really high high data rates.

    So what does that mean to you as a user, that means media anywhere, a broadband experience everywhere, anytime and augmented reality and virtual reality experiences. So a lot more of the same but but with much greater capability. 

    With enhanced mobile broadband, the ability have, you know, much higher access rates and transferred rates. So in the day, you would have been able to, it would have taken hours to download a movie, right, in 3g, 20 plus hours, right. So movies like 4.4 gigabytes, right, and at 384 kilobits per second, in the early 2000s, it would take about 20-25 hours to download a movie. In 4g where you have 100 megabits per second, right around 2010 or so, it would have taken about 6 minutes, you know, 5 to 6 minutes to download a movie. With 5g with 10 gigabits per second, you’ll download a movie in under four seconds, so it’s about three and a half seconds. So you know that that gives you a sense of of the power of 5g with enhanced mobile broadband.


    Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC)

    Next is massive machine type communications. So massive machine type communications, one of the key things that is presented there is the Internet of Things.

    So one of the things that characterizes 5g that makes it very different than when through 4g is really the ability of machines to talk to machines. So 1g, and 2g was all about people talking to people. And then in 3g and 4g, we start having data and people interacting more with machines, streaming services and video and audio.

    But we never really focused on this new unexplored space of machines talking to machines and 5g caters to that with the, the mMTC concept. So you have connectionless radio access battery saving modes, specific standards to have machines talk to machines.

    And one of the one of the interesting things is that 5g promises to support connection densities of 1 million connections per square kilometer or two and a half million connections per square mile. So that works out to I kind of did a back of envelope thing about one connection per square foot, right.

    So you’ll have that’s 100 fold the amount of Connection density that 4g has. Now the concept of IoT isn’t new it goes back to 1982 actually were CMU Carnegie Mellon University, first connected a coke machine to the internet that was the first connected internet appliance. And in and in 2008, we that was a tipping point where basically there were more things connected to the internet than people. So, but those things are are not necessarily talking to each other in any meaningful way.

    And 5g is one of the gateway technologies which will open up a whole new world of smart devices and devices that can be aware and talk to each other. So IoT is actually split into kind of a sort of four big categories.

    One is Consumer IoT where vehicles, smart homes, wearable technology, connected health and appliances are talking to each other.

    And then there’s things called Commercial IoT. So where you have like medical devices, transportation type systems, vehicles, and buildings talking to each other.

    Then there is Industrial IoT also known as IIoT, So, there you have like sensing, processing information actuators and things and now farming things and industry talking to each other.

    And then finally, Infrastructure IoT, where you have devices on bridges, devices and rail trains, all monitoring and, and and talking to each other.

    So, massive machine type communications, really is you know, massive lots of connected devices machine type meaning machines talking to machines, and a communication through 5g. 

    And again, just, you know, the massive machine type communications with a million devices per square kilometer, it’s estimated you’ll have 10 to 100 devices per person. And though they’re all talking to each other, so not just your appliances like radio, and car and refrigerator, but also in a factory where you have, we could have lots of devices and sensors all over a city, I can tell you, you know, where there’s danger or where there’s to help you find your way and things like that.


    Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC)

    Finally, URLLC – Ultra reliable low latency communications, so one of the key things that you should also take away from this talk is that the latency of 5g is one millisecond round trip time.

    That’s the promise of 5g, right. So there’s lots of things that there’s lots of technologies and lots of that you’ll hear about in a future fireside chats, which we’ll talk about how we can achieve that super low latency. And that super low latency, though, is, you know, what does it mean to you, right.

    Well, in 1g to 2g to 3g, or we have about 150 millisecond latency, your ear can detect a difference of about, you know, about that range, right about, so at 150 milliseconds, if I were to skip an audio, you could tell that difference or you could hear that difference below 20 five milliseconds, or you wouldn’t be able to tell.

    But then we go into, say 4g, where we have 90 millisecond differences. And there your sense of sight can can tell, right. So, you know, why is refresh rate of screens at 60 hertz, right. So, each frame on a screen is on the screen for about 17 milliseconds or so. And, and there you know, your your vision, your sense of vision can sense that difference.

    When we come down to 5g with the one millisecond round trip time,  that’s haptic right your ability, your sense of touch, can detect that difference. So we’ve really come to that super fast round trip time opens up all sorts of interesting applications, the ability to remotely control devices, and there’ll be lots of things that contribute to what’s called industry 4.0.

    You’ll see in a lot of white papers and Things talk about industry 4.0 we’re really we’re talking about like smart factories and devices that can also make use of the massive broadband, slicing, and Internet of Things, to have all sorts of smart things in factories.

    You’ll also see lots of there’s there’s hundreds of applications if you look online for 5g, some simple ones are like remote surgery and examination where a doctor can, you know, can look at a patient in a battlefield situation halfway around the world, or smart infrastructures in smart cities where buses can know where to go or driverless vehicles can navigate a city smartly, or where some something can tell you where there’s no parking space open dynamically.

    And smart automated vehicle control so the ability to be able to use him those things that you see in movies where like James Bond is driving a car through cellphone, you could actually do that. Not that you would do that. But think about this, what about a first responder who wants to drive a robot into a fire without risking himself to save somebody, you know, that kind of thing is possible with 5g.

    URLLC will open up a huge avenue of new applications, which will allow people to control things at that haptic level. 


    High level 5G standards architecture

    Hema Kadia  –  Can you eleborate on key elements of the high level 5G architecture?


    5GPPP – 5G Architecture


    Source: 5GPPP – 5G Architecture white paper, Feb 2020


    Ben Cheung  – Yeah, so this diagram kind of shows you sort of three levels, the service level, the network level, and then the resources and functional level of a 5g network. At the service level, basically, a service provider will be creating an end to end service and end to end service operations. And they’re trying to determine the optimal way to set up a network.

    And at the network level, one of the interesting things that 5g brings is this concept of slicing. Now slicing existed in 4g, but it was manual and fairly limited. In 5g, it promises to be much more dynamic. So, a slice basically allows you to set up a communication link with a group of users for a specific data flow, differentiating quality of service, giving priority between these types of flows.

    For example, like you could have public safety slice which would give higher priority to to first responders and fire you know, firemen, dedicated network functions and segmentation. And then basically, it takes in input things like throughput and latency, reliability, and security. And it can look at those requirements on a particular kind of slice and define or tailor things to use that slice.

    So some examples here are where vehicles are talking to each other the concept of platooning we’re pods of vehicles are traveling together. And smart utilities are a connected city where basically you might have an IoT slice.

    In fact, if you want to read more, it’s in 3GPP, TS 23.501. The 3GPP standards actually defines three basic slices. And you can imagine those three basic slices are no surprise, eMMB, mMTC and URLLC. 

    So I could have a slice just for people talking or you know, doing their things with it that they normally would do with their smartphones, a massive machine type slice where basically I have a slice dedicated to Internet of Things devoted to things that are communicating, not so often on the network to preserve battery life and their devices talking to each other who have special needs. And then, as you can imagine, a slice relay related to ultra low liability, low latency communication, somebody controlling, you know, a robot, let’s say, far away.

    So now those licensed basically are controlled through the the SMF the session management function the UPF the user plain function, the AMF the access management function and the UPF is basically can select a policy it has it works with the unified data management and also interfaces with the online charging systems.

    The user plane function basically defines connection points and routes packets and forwards information and can detect a service data flows and handles per annum per flow, quality of service and traffic usage reporting. And the access management function is all about basically keeping track over your mobile is you can register it makes sure that the UE makes sure that the UE is always reachable and establishes and releases, you know, control plane signaling and handles your mobility.

    So in 4g, we had the the mme and the serving gateway. Those are essentially replaced by these, by these AMF, UPF and SMF functions that dynamically allow you to control slices. And then finally at the resource and functional level, we see on the left here, basically the mobile devices and it could be lots of different kinds of things, you know, cars talking to the network or phones talking to our smartphones or things in a factory, so the little factory arm there, and so they’re basically talking to mobile and the showing towers there.

    But basically in 5g, depending on at the at those low bands, you might have towers, right, you might have a reach of mile or miles or more. But when you get to millimeter wave communications, you know 24.25 to 52.6 gigahertz those towers are going to look like little radio heads, basically, and they only have a reach of 50 to 100 meters.

    So they’re going to look a lot more like the router in your house, right. That’s maybe on an antenna or a telephone pole. So, those connect to an edge cloud. And the concept of an edge cloud is to basically, because in order to achieve that sub millisecond latency, you’re going to have to bring some of the computing closer to the end user, right. And that’s what the edge cloud tries to do. It tries to reduce the latency.

    One way to reduce the latency is just have all that computing power that has to do the modulation demodulation, all those baseband processing type stuff closer to the end user. And that’s what the concept the edge cloud is. And then of course, you go through the backhaul, the wider transport network that allows it to connect to the central core, which which has all those, the switching things that gets the data packets and to where it needs to go. 

    And then on the far right you see the management domain of resources and functions. So and the assurance fulfillment orchestration. So basically what there will be certain kinds of quality of assurance that has to be fulfilled based on what you’re trying to do. So certain slices will have different needs.

    And then the orchestration layers, what they do is they, once you figure out what you need, they’re responsible for allocating a certain amount of resources. It says, I need this much computing power, I need this much resources in order to accomplish a slice that I’m trying to set up.

    So there’s you’ll see RAN orchestration, Core orchestration, Transport, NFV, and MEC and infrastructure orchestration, those are all geared to basically trying to set up the right resources dynamically for the kind of thing you’re trying to do. So so there’s lots of that you can look up a service base architectures that there’s lots of things that describe how to orchestrate those resources in order to achieve what you, you know, in order to come together to achieve what you need to do. So that’s the basic.

    And you see, it’s also, you see at the top, upper left there is called a recursive model. And that basically means that you can set up something and it can dynamically scale, you can use it again, in a smaller, localized thing, or at a much larger scale and it and it scales easily. That’s the that’s the basic concept there. 


    ONAP – 5G Architecture

    Hema Kadia  – Can you provide perspective from ONAP RAN architecture?

    Ben Cheung  – Yeah, sure. So ONAP is stands for open network, automated platform. And it’s really a collaboration of Oh gosh, dozens of companies coming together. I’m working And it’s one of my primary things that I’m working on now.

    It first started with AT&T open sourcing their ECOMP platform. And the basic idea behind ONAP is to provide a network management layer, or an smo in RAN terms in order to basically allow for a management at that service level to manage a whole network from disparate vendors and on a single common platform.

    It’s a really, truly a platform just like your laptop is a computing platform, right. What do you what could you do on your laptop, you can do any almost anything, right. It’s just whatever you want load on your computer. And so ONAP is sort of similar and that concept. It’s a platform that you can also upload analytics.

    You can add a new microservices to perform analytics, machine learning, AI and so forth. But it also has basic network management functions to be able to perform lifecycle management operations, to orchestrate and to get a real time dynamic view of your network through the active and available inventory.

    And, we are working together with the O-RAN standards and 3GPP in order to have common FCAPS type functionality to allow devices to register to ONAP automatically. And it really is an open source project, so lots of vendors coming together to create this common platform that in the end will make it much easier for service providers to manage their network without having to have you know, different EMS/NMS box for that particular vendors devices.


    5G Key Technologies | Watchout for future fireside chat series

    Hema Kadia  – Let me briefly also cover a few points from our future session’s perspective. There are a number of technologies that come across  to deliver 5G use cases. 

    If you look at the 5g core and the foundation technologies, the network slicing, 5g service modeling, 5g service orchestration, the edge computing, SDN, NFV, and also support for the physical networks from the legacy perspective, and overall assurance become the key technolgoies that needs to be supported across the use cases.

    When we also look from 5g RAN perspective, then the 5g new radio, the advanced beamforming, as well as a different spectrum bands, which Ben also covered earlier, will need to be drilled down.

    Beyond the mentioned technologies, we need automation, security, IoT, artificial intelligence and machine learning, of course, augmented reality and virtual reality – all come together to support the end to end use cases.

    And so as a part of a future sessions, what we plan to do is take an individual topic from the 5g technologies, define specific aspects of that technology, how it is being used to deliver specific use cases, whether they are in progress, or are the future use cases that we plan to cover.

    Additionally, we would also focus on how exactly the 5g ecosystem can be integrated. So watch out for our following 5G  fireside chat series, where we plan to cover these key technologies.

    Ben Cheung, Ph.D

    Systems Architect at Nokia and ONAP RAN Architecture

    Author of 5 books including: 32 Innovation Factors and The Four Elements of Thinking. His book, Renewable Energies in 90 minutes, can be found in the Library of Congress. Ben has been published in the Bell Labs Technology Journal.

    He holds three patents: 7443804B2, 8755805B2 and 9918232. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, American Sign Language and English. He was the Heroclix (Chess like game) World champion in 2008. He has been to 30 countries around the world on 6 continents.

    Ben holds a Master of Electrical Engineering degree from Purdue University and Ph.D. in Operations Research from Walden. He worked at General Electric Medical systems in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as a development engineer working on calculations software for ultrasound Systems. In 1996, he joined Lucent Technologies in Whippany, New Jersey working on wireless cell phone systems, TDMA (2G), as a development engineer.

    Then, he became a systems architect engineer and was promoted to a distinguished member of the technical staff. Lucent merged with Alcatel in 2007 and then Nokia in 2016. He is currently a systems architect working on 5G and ONAP in Murray Hill (NJ), where Bell Labs is headquartered.

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