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ITU Begins to Build Future Standard for 5G Mobile Broadband Tech

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 (8:33 am) - Score 448
5g uk mobile broadband

The International Telecommunication Union has started a new Focus Group, which will help them to identify the network standardization requirements for future 5G based Mobile Broadband technologies. Related services are due to surface around 2020 and often tout peak data speeds of anything from 10Gbps to 100Gbps (Gigabits per second).

At present multiple teams around the world are all vying to be the first to bring to market a mobile friendly 5G network solution, which will need to operate in both the familiar low frequency bands (e.g. 800MHz to 2.6GHz) and be able to harness the performance of higher frequency ranges (e.g. 6GHz to 100GHz) for ultrafast data speeds.

But as yet nobody is quite sure what form the final technology will take and the complications of trying to harmonise related spectrum across so many countries, each with different spectrum rules, allocations and regulations, means that the target date of 2020 (commercial launch) could easily slip.

Never the less the ITU’s new focus group has decided to reference the future standard by its predicted launch date and called it IMT-2020 (note: 3G is known as IMT-2000 and 4G by IMT-Advanced) and they’re already indicating that at least one of 5G’s standards should be to ensure 1 millisecond end-to-end latency times. The ITU’s standards are also important as they help to avoid potential interference with other wired and wireless network solutions.

Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary-General, said:

Air interfaces and radio access networks are progressing rapidly, but there is a need to devote more attention to the networking aspects of IMT-2020. Wireline communications will transform significantly in support of IMT-2020, and the coordination of ITU’s standardization and radiocommunication arms will ensure that the wireline and wireless elements of future networks develop in unison.”

The ITU has actually been considering 5G solutions since as far back as 2012, although the establishment of a Focus Group represents a major shift towards actually developing a formal standard. It’s anticipated that the first formal standard for 5G could be proposed by the ITU as early as the end of 2017.

But gaining a standard does not mean that the commercial launch will actually be able to deliver upon what is promised in the text. Indeed it usually takes several years before a technology reaches its stated potential and some never get that far before they’re superseded.

For example, true 4G connectivity under IMT-Advanced requires an LTE-Advanced network that can deliver speeds of 1Gbps (1000Mbps) in low mobility environments, yet at present we’re only just now approaching being able to deliver half that.

Similarly when the first 5G services launch they’re unlikely to blow people aware with their early performance and indeed the nature of some 5G proposals suggests that the performance gap between rural and urban mobile networks may even widen (i.e. operators prefer the slower low frequency bands for best rural coverage).

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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