Welcome on blog YTD2525

5 Jul

The blog YTD2525 contains a collection of clippings news and on telecom network technology.


Is Mobile Network Future Already Written?

25 Aug

5G, the new generation of mobile communication systems with its well-known ITU 2020 triangle of new capabilities, which not only include ultra-high speeds but also ultra-low latency, ultra-high reliability, and massive connectivity promise to expand the applications of mobile communications to entirely new and previously unimagined “vertical industries” and markets such as self-driving cars, smart cities, industry 4.0, remote robotic surgery, smart agriculture, and smart energy grids. The mobile communications system is already one of the most complex engineering systems in the history of mankind. As 5G network penetrates deeper and deeper into the fabrics of the 21st century society, we can also expect an exponential increase in the level of complexity in design, deployment, and management of future mobile communication networks which, if not addressed properly, have the potential of making 5G the victim of its own early successes.

Breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), including deep neural networks and probability models, are creating paths for computing technology to perform tasks that once seemed out of reach. Taken for granted today, speech recognition and instant translation once appeared intractable, and the board game ‘Go’ had long been regarded as a case testing the limits of AI. With the recent win of Google’s ‘AlphaGo’ machine over world champion Lee Sedol — a solution considered by some experts to be at least a decade further away — was achieved using a ML-based process trained both from human and computer play. Self-driving cars are another example of a domain long considered unrealistic even just a few years ago — and now this technology is among the most active in terms of industry investment and expected success. Each of these advances is a demonstration of the coming wave of as-yet-unrealized capabilities. AI, therefore, offers many new opportunities to meet the enormous new challenges of design, deployment, and management of future mobile communication networks in the era of 5G and beyond, as we illustrate below using a number of current and emerging scenarios.

Network Function Virtualization Design with AI

Network Function Virtualization (NFV) [1] has recently attracted telecom operators to migrate network functionalities from expensive bespoke hardware systems to virtualized IT infrastructures where they are deployed as software components. A fundamental architectural aspect of the 5G network is the ability to create separate end-to-end slices to support 5G’s heterogeneous use cases. These slices are customised virtual network instances enabled by NFV. As the use cases become well-defined, the slices need to evolve to match the changing users’ requirements, ideally in real time. Therefore, the platform needs not only to adapt based on feedback from vertical applications, but also do so in an intelligent and non-disruptive manner. To address this complex problem, we have recently proposed the 5G NFV “microservices” concept, which decomposes a large application into its sub-components (i.e., microservices) and deploys them in a 5G network. This facilitates a more flexible, lightweight system, as smaller components are easier to process. Many cloud-computing companies, such as Netflix and Amazon, are deploying their applications using the microservice approach benefitting from its scalability, ease of upgrade, simplified development, simplified testing, less vulnerability to security attacks, and fault tolerance [6]. Expecting the potential significant benefits of such an approach in future mobile networks, we are developing machine-learning-aided intelligent and optimal implementation of the microservices and DevOps concepts for software-defined 5G networks. Our machine learning engine collects and analyse a large volume of real data to predict Quality of Service (QoS) and security effects, and take decisions on intelligently composing/decomposing services, following an observe-analyse-learn- and act cognitive cycle.

We define a three-layer architecture, as depicted in Figure 1, composing of service layer, orchestration layer, and infrastructure layer. The service layer will be responsible for turning user’s requirements into a service function chain (SFC) graph and giving the SFC graph output to the orchestration layer to deploy it into the infrastructure layer. In addition to the orchestration layer, components specified by NFV MANO [1], the orchestration layer will have the machine learning prediction engine which will be responsible for analysing network conditions/data and decompose the SFC graph or network functions into a microservice graph depending on future predictions. The microservice graph is then deployed into the infrastructure layer using the orchestration framework proposed by NFV-MANO.

Figure 1: Machine learning based network function decomposition and composition architecture.

Figure 1: Machine learning based network function decomposition and composition architecture.

Physical Layer Design Beyond-5G with Deep-Neural Networks

Deep learning (DL) based auto encoder (AE) has been proposed recently as a promising, and potentially disruptive Physical Layer (PHY) design for beyond-5G communication systems. DL based approaches offer a fundamentally new and holistic approach to the physical layer design problem and hold the promise for performance enhancement in complex environments that are difficult to characterize with tractable mathematical models, e.g., for the communication channel [2]. Compared to a traditional communication system, as shown in Figure 2 (top) with a multiple-block structure, the DL based AE, as shown in Figure 2 (bottom), provides a new PHY paradigm with a pure data-driven and end-to-end learning based solution which enables the physical layer to redesign itself through the learning process in order to optimally perform in different scenarios and environment. As an example, time evolution of the constellations of two auto encoder transmit-receiver pairs are shown in Figure 3 which starting from an identical set of constellations use DL-based learning to achieve optimal constellations in the presence of mutual interference [3].

Figure 2: A conventional transceiver chain consisting of multiple signal processing blocks (top) is replaced by a DL-based auto encoder (bottom).

Figure 2: A conventional transceiver chain consisting of multiple signal processing blocks (top) is replaced by a DL-based auto encoder (bottom).
Figure 3: Visualization of DL-based adaption of constellations in the interface scenario of two auto encoder transmit-receiver pairs (Gif animation included in online version. Animation produced by Lloyd Pellatt, University of Sussex).
Figure 3: Visualization of DL-based adaption of constellations in the interface scenario of two auto encoder transmit-receiver pairs (Gif animation included in online version. Animation produced by Lloyd Pellatt, University of Sussex).

Spectrum Sharing with AI

The concept of cognitive radio was originally introduced in the visionary work of Joseph Mitola as the marriage between wireless communications and artificial intelligence, i.e., wireless devices that can change their operations in response to the environment and changing user requirements, following a cognitive cycle of observe/sense, learn and act/adapt.  Cognitive radio has found its most prominent application in the field of intelligent spectrum sharing. Therefore, it is befitting to highlight the critical role that AI can play in enabling a much more efficient sharing of radio spectrum in the era of 5G. 5G New Radio (NR) is expected to support diverse spectrum bands, including the conventional sub-6 GHz band, the new licensed millimetre wave (mm-wave)  bands which are being allocated for 5G, as well as unlicensed spectrum. Very recently 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Release-16 has introduced a new spectrum sharing paradigm for 5G in unlicensed spectrum. Finally, both in the UK and Japan the new paradigm of local 5G networks are being introduced which can be expected to rely heavily on spectrum sharing. As an example of such new challenges, the scenario of 60 GHz unlicensed spectrum sharing is shown in Figure 4(a), which depicts a beam-collision interference scenario in this band. In this scenario, multiple 5G NR BSs belonging to different operators and different access technologies use mm-wave communications to provide Gbps connectivity to the users. Due to high density of BS and the number of beams used per BS, beam-collision can occur where unintended beam from a “hostile” BS can cause server interference to a user. Coordination of beam-scheduling between adjacent BSs to avoid such interference scenario is not possible when considering the use of the unlicensed band as different  BS operating in this band may belong to different operators or even use different access technologies, e.g., 5G NR versus, e.g., WiGig or Multifire. To solve this challenge, reinforcement learning algorithms can successfully be employed to achieve self-organized beam-management and beam-coordination without the need for any centralized coordination or explicit signalling [4].  As 4(b) demonstrates (for the scenario with 10 BSs and cell size of 200 m) reinforcement learning-based self-organized beam scheduling (algorithms 2 and 3 in the Figure 4(b)) can achieve system spectral efficiencies that are much higher than the baseline random selection (algorithm 1) and are very close to the theoretical limits obtained from an exhaustive search (algorithm 4), which besides not being scalable would require centralised coordination.

Figure 4: Spectrum sharing scenario in unlicensed mm-wave spectrum (left) and system spectral efficiency of 10 BS deployment (right). Results are shown for random scheduling (algorithm 1), two versions of ML-based schemes (algorithms 2 and 3) and theoretical limit obtained from exhaustive search in beam configuration space (algorithm 4).

Figure 4: Spectrum sharing scenario in unlicensed mm-wave spectrum (left) and system spectral efficiency of 10 BS deployment (right).  Results are shown for random scheduling (algorithm 1), two versions of ML-based schemes (algorithms 2 and 3) and theoretical limit obtained from exhaustive search in beam configuration space (algorithm 4).


In this article, we presented few case studies to demonstrate the use of AI as a powerful new approach to adaptive design and operations of 5G and beyond-5G mobile networks. With mobile industry heavily investing in AI technologies and new standard activities and initiatives, including ETSI Experiential Networked Intelligence ISG [5], the ITU Focus Group on Machine Learning for Future Networks Including 5G (FG-ML5G) and the IEEE Communication Society’s Machine Learning for Communications ETI are already actively working on harnessing the power of AI and ML for future telecommunication networks, it is clear that these technologies will play a key role in the evolutionary path of 5G toward much more efficient, adaptive, and automated mobile communication networks. However, with its phenomenally fast pace of development, deep penetration of Artificial Intelligence and machine-learning may eventually disrupt the entire mobile networks as we know it, hence ushering the era of 6G.

Source: https://www.comsoc.org/publications/ctn/mobile-network-future-already-written

How Businesses Should Prepare their IoT for the New Security Risks of 5G

25 Aug

How Businesses Should Prepare their IoT for the New Security Risks of 5G

As 5G becomes an ever-present reality, it will change the way we think about and interact with technology. We have never known internet speed like 5G, and the improvement communications will enable some exciting and revolutionary technologies. This, for all intents and purposes, will be an awakening in the possibilities of our world. It will probably change everything, including the way businesses interact with their customers and what security they use to protect themselves and their clients. Here are a few tips for how businesses should prepare for 5G and the security risks that come with it.

The Future of 5G

5G has been in development for years and its first commercial rollouts have begun. The fifth generation mobile network will inform a new generation of technology and connect people and devices that before would have been impossible or too slow to be practical. 5G will change all of this. 5G phones are already available according to the site MoneyPug, which is used to compare mobile phones. With these new advancements, comes new risks of course. 5G’s advanced network and the technology that can access it will be innovative, but so will the attacks from malicious entities.

Malicious Online Entities

Hackers, online scammers, and other malicious actors always look for new loopholes to exploit in the latest technologies. With 5G comes a whole new territory that these malicious people are learning thoroughly already. As new risks arise, your business needs to be ready for them. You should be learning about what is coming from the risks of 5G now to better understand how you can identify them and what you can do to protect yourself and your business.

Risks of 5G

There are a few key things that lie ahead. First is the end-to-end visibility for security in telecom and other networks. These increased network dynamics and the explosion of connection between devices. It will become more and more difficult to handle the amount of work that needs to be done to secure the networks, which increases human error and increases the risk of security breaches but also isolates threats. New networks come with kinks to work out, and hackers will exploit them in every way they can. The privacy and security of data is critical. In order to become a new-generation platform, networks must be built carefully, with data privacy and security as the cornerstone of their networks.

Addressing these Challenges

The demand for security management in business has gone up, and it will likely continue to rise as the risks increase. The Syniverse conference on the issue held panels on 5G risks, welcomed companies who need help with web security and those who can provide it. The solutions to these issues provide integrated security management and functionality to detect, protect, and respond to threats.

These solutions include supporting a dynamic network through defined and repetitious processes. This will secure policy automation and monitoring. Another solution is to provide enhanced visibility on known and unknown threats through analytics and enabling cognitive security. Combining both dynamic and cognitive security, as well as augmentation with threat intelligence, can create increasingly intelligent security management.

Intelligence Security Management

Contributing to the NISTA Cybersecurity Framework, intelligence security management provides defined solutions for important functions. First, the goal is to provide end-to-end visibility for business-related security risks and to focus on the risks that truly matter. Of the three main points, protecting the business can be done with automated security configurations based on industry standards. They should be continuously monitored. To detect known and unknown threats, security managers employ security analytics that are aided by machine learning and AI. Finally, responding to threats is done with automated security workflows that lead to faster incident response time.

Whatever business you’re in, you likely need to keep up the advancements of 5G and the threats that come with it. Likely it matters a whole lot to your business and will help you protect yourself for years to come. Take the future seriously, learn what you need to do to protect your specific network and your business. You won’t regret it when the unexpected strikes.

Source: https://iotbusinessnews.com/2019/08/24/60411-how-businesses-should-prepare-their-iot-for-the-new-security-risks-of-5g/

New Patent Details Future Apple Watch’s 5G Millimeter Wave And WiFi Techniques

25 Aug

New Patent Details Future Apple Watch’s 5G Millimeter Wave And WiFi Techniques Just when smartphone vendors have worked damn hard to compress 5G millimeter-wave antennas into smaller, thinner devices over the past year, Apple has already begun researching future versions of Apple Watch with millimeter-wave hardware, which is said to endorse the 5G networks or the fast variant of Wi-Fi called 802.11ad.

Apple’s millimeter-wave watch concept was revealed in a patent application filed yesterday (via Patently Apple) signifying that the company is gearing up to challenge the latest 5G miniaturization and engineering norms. But while Apple can easily add 5G support compatible with China, Europe or South Korea using a 4G-like non-millimeter wave antenna, it has not given up on the possibility of promoting the millimeter-wave and initial radiofrequency in Apple Watch.

From the patent, it envisages the installation of separate millimeter-wave and non-millimeter-wave antennas in or on the side of the watch. With directional and beamforming techniques and a mixture of multiple antennas, the radio signals will point upwards and outwards rather than pointing at the user’s wrist, and thus, enables the watch to transfer data quicker than before.The worthy of note part is that Apple did not limit the use of millimeter-wave hardware to just 5G. This patent application explicitly discusses support for the 802.11ad-based millimeter-wave standard presently used by other companies to provide high-bandwidth content for VR headsets, as well as other communication protocols such as Bluetooth in the future.

In addition, the same antenna hardware may be used for radar, enabling Apple Watch to use signal reflection to determine the magnitude of its external objects: including itself, others, animals, furniture, walls, and neighboring barriers.
Once again, patent applications can not guarantee the launch of new products, but the simple reality that Apple has been actively developing these watch technologies should reassure those who are concerned that Apple Watch will only remain on 4G technology.

Channel Coding NR

25 Aug

In 5G NR two type of coding chosen by 3GPP.

  • LDPC : Low density parity check
  • Polar code 

Why LDPC and Polar code chosen for 5G Network

Although many coding schemes with capacity achieving performance at large block lengths are available, many of those do not show consistent good performance in a wide range of block lengths and code rates as the eMBB scenario demands. But turbo, LDPC and polar codes show promising BLER performance in a wide range of coding rates and code lengths; hence, are being considered for 5G physical layer. Due to the low error probability performance within a 1dB fraction from the the Shannon limit, turbo codes are being used in a variety of applications, such as deep space communications, 3G/4G mobile communication in Universal Mobile  Telecommunications System (UMTS) and LTE standards and Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB). Although it is being used in 3G and 4G, it may not satisfy the performance requirements of eMBB for all the code rates and block lengths as the implementation complexity is too high for higher data rates.

Invention of LDPC

LDPC codes were originally invented and published in 1962.

(5G) new radio (NR) holds promise in fulfilling new communication requirements that enable ubiquitous, low-latency, high-speed, and high-reliability connections among mobile devices. Compared to fourth-generation (4G) long-term evolution (LTE), new error-correcting codes have been introduced in 5G NR for both data and control channels. In this article, the specific low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes and polar codes adopted by the 5G NR standard are described.

Turbo codes, prevalent in most modern cellular devices, are set to be replaced by LDPC codes as the code for forward error correction, NR is a pair of new error-correcting channel codes adopted, respectively, for data channels and control channels. Specifically, LDPC codes replaced turbo codes for data channels, and polar codes replaced tail-biting convolution codes (TBCCs) for control channels.This transition was ushered in mainly because of the high throughput demands for 5G New Radio (NR). The new channel coding solution also needs to support incremental-redundancy hybrid ARQ, and a wide range of block lengths and coding rates, with stringent performance guarantees and minimal description complexity. The purpose of each key component in these codes and the associated operations are explained. The performance and implementation advantages of these new codes are compared with those of 4G LTE.

Why LDPC ?

  • Compared to turbo code decoders, the computations for LDPC codes decompose into a larger number of smaller independent atomic units; hence, greater parallelism can be more effectively achieved in hardware.
  • LDPC codes have already been adopted into other wireless standards including IEEE 802.11, digital video broadcast (DVB), and Advanced Television System Committee (ATSC).
  • The broad requirements of 5G NR demand some innovation in the LDPC design. The need to support IR-hybrid automatic repeat request (HARQ) as well as a wide range of block sizes and code rates demands an adjustable design.
  • LDPC codes can offer higher coding gains than turbo codes and have lower error floors.
  • LDPC codes can simultaneously be computationally more efficient than turbo codes, that is, require fewer operations to achieve the same target block error rate (BLER) at a given energy per symbol (signal-to noise ratio, SNR)
  • Consequently, the throughput of the LDPC decoder increases as the code rate increases.
  • LDPC code shows inferior performance for short block lengths (< 400 bits) and at low code rates (< 1/3) [ which is typical scenario for URLLC and mMTC use cases. In case of TBCC codes, no further improvements have been observed towards 5G new use cases.


 The main advantages of 5G NR LDPC codes compared  to turbo codes used in 4G LTE 


  •         1.Better area throughput efficiency (e.g., measured in Gb/s/mm2) and substantially                 higher achievable peak throughput.
  •         2. reduced decoding complexity and improved decoding latency (especially when                     operating at high code rates) due to higher degree of parallelization.
  •        3. improved performance, with error floors around or below the block error rate                       (BLER) 10¯5 for all code sizes and code rates.

These advantages make NR LDPC codes suitable for the very high throughputs and ultra-reliable low-latencycommunication targeted with 5G, where the targeted peak data rate is 20 Gb/s for downlink and 10 Gb/s for uplink.


Structure of LDPC


Structure of NR LDPC Codes


The NR LDPC coding chain contain

  • code block segmentation,
  • cyclic-redundancy-check (CRC)
  • LDPC encoding
  • Rate matching
  • systematic-bit-priority interleaving

code block segmentation allows very large transport blocks to be split into multiple smaller-sized code blocks that can be efficiently processed by the LDPC encoder/decoder. The CRC bits are then attached for error detection purposes. Combined with the built-in error detection of the LDPC codes through the parity-check (PC) equations, very low probability of undetected errors can be achieved. The rectangular interleaver with number of rows equal to the quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) order improves performance by making systematic bits more reliable than parity bits for the initial transmission of the code blocks.

NR LDPC codes use a quasi-cyclic structure, where the parity-check matrix (PCM) is defined by a smaller base matrix.Each entry of the base matrix represents either a Z # Z zero matrix or a shifted Z # Z identity matrix, where a cyclic shift (given by a shift coefficient) to the right of each row is applied.

The LDPC codes chosen for the data channel in 5G NR are quasi-cyclic and have a rate-compatible structure that facilitates their use in hybrid automatic-repetition-request (HARQ) protocols

General structure of the base matrix used in the quasi-cyclic LDPC codes selected for the data channel in NR.

To cover the large range of information payloads and rates that need to be supported in 5G NR,
two different base matrices are specified.

Each white square represents a zero in the base matrix and each nonwhite square represents a one.

The first two columns in gray correspond to punctured systematic bits that are actually not transmitted.

The blue (dark gray in print version) part constitutes the kernel of the base matrix, and it defines a high-rate code.

The dual-diagonal structure of the parity subsection of the kernel enables efficient encoding. Transmission at lower code rates is achieved by adding additional parity bits,

The base matrix #1, which is optimized for high rates and long block lengths, supports LDPC codes of a nominal rate between 1/3 and 8/9. This matrix is of dimension 46 × 68 and has 22 systematic columns. Together with a lift factor of 384, this yields a maximum information payload of k = 8448 bits (including CRC).

The base matrix #2 is optimized for shorter block lengths and smaller rates. It enables transmissions at a nominal rate between 1/5 and 2/3, it is of dimension 42 × 52, and it has 10 systematic columns.
This implies that the maximum information payload is k = 3840.


Polar Code 

Polar codes, introduced by Erdal Arikan in 2009 , are the first class of linear block codes that provably achieve the capacity of memoryless symmetric  (Shannon) capacity of a binary input discrete memoryless channel using a low-complexity decoder, particularly, a successive cancellation (SC) decoder. The main idea of polar coding  is to transform a pair of identical binary-input channels into two distinct channels of different qualities: one better and one worse than the original binary-input channel.

Polar code is a class of linear block codes based on the concept of Channel polarization. Explicit code construction and simple decoding schemes with modest complexity and memory requirements renders polar code appealing for many 5G NR applications.

Polar codes with effortless methods of puncturing (variable code rate) and code shortening (variable code length) can achieve high throughput and BER performance better.

At first, in October 2016 a Chinese firm Huawei used Polar codes as channel coding method in 5G field trials and achieved downlink speed of 27Gbps.

In November 2016, 3GPP standardized polar code as dominant coding for control channel functions in 5G eMBB scenario in RAN 86 and 87 meetings.

Turbo code is no more in the race due to presence of error floor which make it unsuitable for reliable communication.High complexity iterative decoding algorithms result in low throughput and high latency. Also, the poor performance at low code rates for shorter block lengths make turbo code unfit for 5G NR.

Polar Code is considered as promising contender for the 5G URLLC and mMTC use cases,It offers excellent performance with variety in code rates and code lengths through simple puncturing and code shortening mechanisms respectively

Polar codes can support 99.999% reliability which is mandatory for  the ultra-high reliability requirements of 5G applications.

Use of simple encoding and low complexity SC-based decoding algorithms, lowers terminal power consumption in polar codes (20 times lower than turbo code for same complexity).

Polar code has lower SNR requirements than the other codes for equivalent error rate and hence, provides higher coding gain and increased spectral efficiency.

Framework of Polar Code in 5G Trial System

The following figure is shown for the framework of encoding and decoding using Polar code. At the transmitter, it will use Polar code as channel coding scheme. Same as in Turbo coding module, function blocks such as segmentation of Transmission Block (TB) into multiple Code Blocks (CBs), rate matching (RM) etc. are also introduced when using Polar code at the transmitter. At the receiver side, correspondingly, de-RM is firstly implemented, followed by decoding CB blocks and concatenating CB blocks into one TB block. Different from Turbo decoding, Polar decoding uses a specific decoding scheme, SCL to decode each CB block. For the encoding and decoding framework of Turbo.

  NR polar coding chain


Source: https://cafetele.com/channel-coding-in-5g-new-radio/

The robots are coming for your job, too

25 Aug

The robots are coming for your job, too

Long the prediction of futurists and philosophers, the lived reality of technology replacing human work has been a constant feature since the cotton gin, the assembly line and, more recently, the computer.

What is very much up for debate in the imaginations of economists and Hollywood producers is whether the future will look like “The Terminator,” with self-aware Schwarzenegger bots on the hunt, or “The Jetsons,” with obedient robo-maids leaving us humans very little work and plenty of time for leisure and family. The most chilling future in film may be that in Disney’s “Wall-E,” where people are all too fat to stand, too busy staring at screens to talk to each other and too distracted to realize that the machines have taken over.

Long the prediction of futurists and philosophers, the lived reality of technology replacing human work has been a constant feature since the cotton gin, the assembly line and, more recently, the computer.

What is very much up for debate in the imaginations of economists and Hollywood producers is whether the future will look like “The Terminator,” with self-aware Schwarzenegger bots on the hunt, or “The Jetsons,” with obedient robo-maids leaving us humans very little work and plenty of time for leisure and family. The most chilling future in film may be that in Disney’s “Wall-E,” where people are all too fat to stand, too busy staring at screens to talk to each other and too distracted to realize that the machines have taken over.

We’re deep into what-ifs with those representations, but the conversation about robots and work is increasingly paired with the debate over how to address growing income inequality — a key issue in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

The workplace is changing. How should Americans deal with it?

“There’s no simple answer,” said Stuart Russell, a computer scientist at UC Berkeley, an adjunct professor of neurological surgery at UC San Francisco and the author of a forthcoming book, “Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control.” “But in the long run nearly all current jobs will go away, so we need fairly radical policy changes to prepare for a very different future economy. ”

In his book, Russell writes, “One rapidly emerging picture is that of an economy where far fewer people work because work is unnecessary.”

That’s either a very frightening or a tantalizing prospect, depending very much on whether and how much you (and/or society) think people ought to have to work and how society is going to put a price on human labor.

There will be less work in manufacturing, less work in call centers, less work driving trucks, and more work in health care and home care and construction.

MIT Technology Review tried to track all the different reports on the effect that automation will have on the workforce. There are a lot of them. And they suggest anywhere from moderate displacement to a total workforce overhaul with varying degrees of alarm.

One of the reports, by the McKinsey Global Institute, includes a review of how susceptible to automation different jobs might be and finds that hundreds of millions of people worldwide will have to find new jobs or learn new skills. Learning new skills can be more difficult than it sounds, as CNN has found at carplants, such as the one that closed in Lordstown, Ohio.

More robots means more inequality

Almost everyone who has thought seriously about this has said that more automation is likely to lead to more inequality.

It is indisputable that businesses have gotten more and more productive but workers’ wages have not kept pace.

“Our analysis shows that most job growth in the United States and other advanced economies will be in occupations currently at the high end of the wage distribution,” according to McKinsey. “Some occupations that are currently low wage, such as nursing assistants and teaching assistants, will also increase, while a wide range of middle-income occupations will have the largest employment declines.”

“The likely challenge for the future lies in coping with rising inequality and ensuring sufficient (re-)training especially for low qualified workers,” according to a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

One Democratic presidential candidate — Andrew Yang, the insurgent nonpolitician — has built his campaign around solving this problem. Yang blames the automation of jobs more than outsourcing to China for the decline of American manufacturing and draws a direct line between that shrinking manufacturing sector and the rise of Donald Trump.

“We need to wake people up,” Yang recently told The Atlantic. “This is the reality of why Donald Trump is our President today, because we already blasted away millions of American jobs and people feel like they have lost a path forward.”

If automation takes the jobs, should all people get a government paycheck?

Yang’s answer to the problem is to give everyone in the US, regardless of need, an income — he calls it a “freedom dividend” — of $1,000 per month. It would address inequality, both economic and racial, he argues, and let people pursue work that adds value to the community.

It’s not a new idea. Congress and President Richard Nixon nearly passed just such a proposal in the early 1970s as part of the war on poverty. But now, after decades of the GOP distancing itself from social programs, the idea of a universal basic income seems about as sci-fi as the new “Terminator” movie (yes, they’re making another one) that’s coming out this year.

“Ninety-four percent of the new jobs created in the US are gig, temporary or contractor jobs at this point, and we still just pretend it’s the ’70s, where it’s like, ‘You’re going to work for a company, you’re going to get benefits, you’re going to be able to retire, even though we’ve totally eviscerated any retirement benefits, but somehow you’re going to retire, it’s going to work out,’ ” Yang said in that Atlantic interview. “Young people look up at this and be like, ‘This does not seem to work.’ And we’re like, ‘Oh, it’s all right.’ It’s not all right. We do have to grow up.”

He specifically points to truck driving as a profession that is key to the US economy today but could and may be fully automated in the very near future. Automating trucking will help the environment, save money and help productivity, he says. But it won’t help truck drivers.

On the other hand, truck driving, while honorable work, might not be many people’s life’s ambition. In this way, robots would be taking jobs that humans might not want unless they had to do them, which they currently do.

“When you accept these circumstances, that we’re going to be competing against technologies that have a marginal cost of near zero, then quickly you have to say OK, then, how are we going to start valuing our time? What does a 21st century economy look like in a way that serves our interests and not the capital efficiency machine?” he says. And that’s how he, and a lot of liberal economists and capitalists like Elon Musk, arrive at the idea of a basic income.

Yang argued at a CNN town hall this year that it’s not enough for people to organize as workers in unions to protect jobs.

“I don’t think we have the time to remake the workforce in that way,” he said. “We should start distributing value directly to Americans.”

Creating a population that can subsist on a basic income, without work, would end up reshaping how society works altogether.

“For some, UBI represents a version of paradise. For others, it represents an admission of failure — an assertion that most people will have nothing of economic value to contribute to society,” writes Russell. “They can be fed and housed — mostly by machines — but otherwise left to their own devices.”

Yang is focused more on the immediate threat he says automation poses to American jobs. And politicians aren’t talking about it honestly because they are too focused on being optimistic.

“You’re a politician, your incentives are to say we can do this, we can do that, we can do the other thing and then meanwhile society falls apart.”

What to do with our time?

Not everyone thinks society would fall apart, and there’s actually been a lot of serious concern about what people will do when productivity increases to a point where they don’t have to work as much.

In an important paper in 1930, the economist John Maynard Keynes wrote that humans would have to grapple with their leisure in the generations to come.

“To those who sweat for their daily bread leisure is a longed-for sweet — until they get it,” he wrote, later adding that “man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem — how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, which science and compound interest will have won for him, to live wisely and agreeably and well.”

Rather than grappling with the problem of leisure, automation can often lead to unforeseen problems. The cotton gin made it so slaves in the American South did not have to remove seeds from cotton, but it also led to an explosion of slavery as cotton became more easily produced.

And while it makes life easier on individual workers, managing the transition from one type of economy to the next (farmer to manufacturer, to information specialist and now beyond) has been a key long-term reality for the American worker.

Is the pace of change different this time?

No one has thought more about this than labor unions. AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler agrees with Yang that automation is one of the biggest challenges we’re facing as a country and it’s not getting the attention it deserves. But she’s not yet worried about dystopia.

“The scare tactics are a little extreme,” she said in an interview, arguing that reports of tens of millions of American jobs lost by 2030 are probably overstated.

“Every time a technological shift has taken place in this country there have been those doomsday scenarios,” she said in an interview.

It was already an issue in the 1950s, Shuler pointed out. “You have (then-United Auto Workers President) Walter Reuther testifying before Congress talking about how automation was going to change work and people were making these wild predictions that if you brought robots into auto plants that there would be massive unemployment,” she said.

Reuther’s testimony is really interesting to read, by the way. Check it out. “The revolutionary change produced by automation is its tendency to displace the worker entirely from the direct operation of the machine,” he said. He argued that unions weren’t opposed to automation but that they wanted more help from companies and from the government for workers dealing with a changing workplace.

“What ended up happening is what they call bargained acquiescence,” said Shuler, “where the unions went to the table and said ‘OK, we get it, this technology is coming, but how are we going to manage the change? How are we going to have a worker voice at the table? How are we going to make sure that working people benefit from this and the company is able to be more efficient and successful?’ ”

Yang counters that argument by noting that automation has sped up, making it harder for workers, employers and the government to adjust. “Unlike with previous waves of automation, this time new jobs will not appear quickly enough in large enough numbers to make up for it,” he said on his website.

Somewhere in the middle is where we’ll end up

Shuler said American workers need to have the conversation about the future of work more urgently today.

“We all have a choice to make,” she said. “Do we want technology to benefit working people, and our country, as a result, does better? Or do we want to follow a path of this dark, dystopian view that work is going to go away and people are going to have nothing to do and we’re just going to be essentially working at the whims of a bunch of robots?”

Somewhere in the middle, she argued, is where we’ll end up.

“We’re going to work alongside technology as it evolves. New work is going to emerge. We want to make sure working people can transition fairly and justly and responsibly and we can only do that if working people have a seat at the table.”

The long-term future

Shuler has an interest in workers and their rights today, but Russell writes that long-term, as automation of work becomes more tangible, the country will have to change its entire outlook on work and what we teach children and people to strive for.

“We need a radical rethinking of our educational system and our scientific enterprise to focus more attention on the human rather than the physical world,” he writes. “It sounds odd to say that happiness should be an engineering discipline, but that seems to be the inevitable conclusion. ”

In other words: We will have to figure out how to be happy with the robots and the automation, because they are coming.

5G is here but the challenges are just beginning

21 Aug

The long-awaited 5G roll-out has begun and it seems as if every month brings announcements of accelerated roll-out plans. In the US, AT&T and Verizon were the first to market, with both announcing 5G services in the closing months of 2018 and the remaining two major service providers committing to launches by mid-2019. In Asia, 2019 has seen 5G arrive in South Korea, Japan and China and, around Europe, the first commercial 5G subscriptions are also expected during 2019.

Implementing the full range of 5G capabilities requires significant investments by operators, representing a tricky balancing act as this cash has to be found before 5G revenues start to flow. At the same time, many operators are still building out 4G/LTE networks whilst many are seeing revenues dip as existing services become commoditised.

The path to 5G profitability, therefore, requires a strategic plan, taking account of factors such as the technology roadmap, the evolving regulatory landscape and, of course, local/regional market opportunities. This article reviews some of these factors and looks at how operators are adapting their roll-out plans to balance their investments against 5G revenue streams.

The 5G roll-out is underway

Although in the short term, 5G deployment may pose challenges to mobile operators, market demand and the consequent opportunities are driving an acceleration of global roll-out plans. From a standing start in late 2018, 5G subscription uptake is expected to be faster than any other mobile communication technology so far, with CCS Insight, a UK market research company, forecasting that global 5G connections will reach 2.7 billion by 2025, Figure 1.

Figure 1: Forecast growth in global 5G connections (Source: CCS Insight)

The term 5G Service, however, covers a wide spectrum of network capabilities, as can be seen from the International telecommunication Union’s, (ITU), requirements specification, IMT2020, Figure 2.

Figure 2: 5G performance requirements (Source: NGMN 5G White Paper)

To meet these requirements operators must invest heavily in all network domains, including spectrum, radio access network (RAN) infrastructure, transmission, and core networks. According to a study of one European country by McKinsey & Company[i], a management consultant, network capital expenditure may have to increase by 60% over the period 2020 to 2025, equating to an approximate doubling of the total cost of ownership.

It would not be surprising, given the above, to find most operators adopting an evolutionary approach to 5G roll-out, balancing investments against incremental revenues. The roadmap for global 5G service availability is therefore dependent upon how operators prioritise their investments, based on local regulatory and market conditions.

Regulatory and Technical Factors

As with any wireless networking technology, availability of spectrum is a key enabler of 5G, which will make use of frequencies ranging from 0.4 GHz up to the mmWave frequencies at 30GHz and above. The capabilities offered by 5G services will be based on the transmission frequencies used, with the “holy grail” of fast speeds and high bandwidth being unlocked by mmWave network technologies.

The design and implementation of mmWave networks are both technically challenging and costly to implement; innovative low-power RF amplifiers which can operate efficiently at these frequencies are required, and the transmission characteristics of signals at these frequencies require massive densification of networks.

Recognising these challenges, 3GPP, the global body responsible for developing 5G standards, focused on 5G NR non-Stand-Alone (NSA) technology in its first release covering 5G (Release 15). 5G NSA enables operators to leverage existing 4G/LTE infrastructure to offer services, by upgrading with massive MIMO technology.

A review of roll-out plans around the world would suggest that the majority of operators are following this approach, as illustrated by the sample summarised in Table 1. With the exception of AT&T and Verizon, who are using their mmWave spectrum to offer home broadband services in targeted cities, most other operators appear to be focusing initially on the “mid-range” sub-6 GHz frequencies, the so-called “sweet spot” for MIMO. These operators are initially concentrating on consumer offerings, working with manufacturers of mobile devices to offer faster download speeds. In the UK, EE and Vodafone have also indicated an intent to offer fixed wireless access (FWA) in rural areas.

Operator Frequencies Services
AT&T 39 GHz Home Broadband
Verizon 28/39 GHz Home Broadband
T-Mobile (USA) 600 MHz Consumer, handsets, tablets, etc.
EE 3.4 GHz Consumer, handsets, tablets, etc.
Vodafone 3.4 GHz Consumer, handsets, tablets, etc.
China Unicom 3.5 – 3.6 GHz Consumer, handsets, tablets, etc.
South Korea (all 3 operators) 3.5 GHz Consumer, handsets, tablets, etc.

Table 1: Sample launch plans

These are short-to-mid-term strategies, enabling early market entry and revenue realisation whilst delaying the investments required to build out the full 5G infrastructure. However, even though many countries are currently auctioning spectrum in the mid-range, it is a finite resource and will eventually run out, by 2025, according to McKinsey.

Two events in 2019 are likely to trigger the next wave of spectrum auctions and investments in 5G networks; In October, at its 4-yearly World Radio Conference (WRC) the ITU will finalise spectrum allocations for 5G and, by December, 3GPP is scheduled to deliver Release 16, completing the 5G specifications including the standards for mmWave 5G.

Market Drivers

Most current 5G roll-out plans can be considered to be targeting the “low-hanging fruit”, addressing consumer demand for more bandwidth whilst minimising the need to make significant network investments. The real revenue opportunities, however, will come when 5G capabilities can unlock the latent demand of a range of applications across multiple verticals. 5G will be a major enabler of digitalisation across industries such as agriculture, retail, automotive, manufacturing and energy and utilities and, according to a recent study by Ericsson and A.D. Little[ii], by enabling the use cases for these applications, operators can expect to see a revenue uplift of as much as 36% by 2026.

Needless to say, however, unlocking these revenues requires investment in the next level of 5G networks. Autonomous vehicles and cloud robotics, for example, will require the levels of latency that can only be achieved through the widespread implementation of edge computing. Likewise, the realisation of smart city applications involving thousands of sensors in a compact geographical area will require network densification. Figure 3 shows a mapping of typical use cases against ease of deployment and go-to-market challenges, proxies for investment requirements.

Figure 3: Application Growth Opportunities (Source: The Guide to Capturing the 5G Industry Digitalisation Business Potential, Ericsson)

Disruption Lies Ahead

The enhanced network performance of 5G, with its step changes in download and upload speeds, as well as ultra-low latencies, promises to be a key driver of industry digitalisation, disrupting many existing business models and creating both opportunities and threats, not just for mobile operators but for players in industries as diverse as gaming and automobiles.

Operators and equipment manufacturers in the telecoms industry are already aligning themselves, forming eco-systems to address emerging demands. The 5GAA association, for example, has evolved to ensure that the requirements of the autonomous automobile market are captured in the evolving 5G specifications. Similarly, OneM2M aims to create standards and solutions for emerging Machine-to-Machine and IoT technologies.

As 5G takes off, successful players will need to survive in and manage eco-systems of increasing complexity. To reap the benefits of industry digitalisation, for example, operators must build go-to-market partnerships with industry specialists, application developers, and systems integrators. Innovative approaches to managing investments will also be required, requiring the concept of sharing of 5G networks to be carefully explored.

As with any emerging, disruptive, technology, there will be winners and losers, with agility, innovation, and collaboration being key enablers of success.


5G services are now available in many countries but, for the most part, are being provided over enhanced LTE networks, using mid-range spectrum in the sub-6 GHz range. Whilst these services enable operators to demonstrate a 5G capability, the real opportunities will only be unlocked when the full 5G network functionality is available, requiring significant investments across all network domains. To unlock the benefits predicted from the digitalisation of industry, operators will need to carefully target investments and work within complex eco-systems to access their chosen market segments.

Source: https://www.rs-online.com/designspark/5g-is-here-but-the-challenges-are-just-beginning

An overview of the 3GPP 5G security standard

21 Aug

Building the inherently secure 5G system required a holistic effort, rather than focusing on individual parts in isolation. This is why several organizations such as the 3GPP, ETSI, and IETF have worked together to jointly develop the 5G system, each focusing on specific parts. Below, we present the main enhancements in the 3GPP 5G security standard.

Crowd crossing street

These enhancements come in terms of a flexible authentication framework in 5G, allowing the use of different types of credentials besides the SIM cards; enhanced subscriber privacy features putting an end to the IMSI catcher threat; additional higher protocol layer security mechanisms to protect the new service-based interfaces; and integrity protection of user data over the air interface.

Overview: Security architecture in 5G and LTE/4G systems

As shown in the figure below, there are many similarities between LTE/4G and 5G in terms of the network nodes (called functions in 5G) involved in the security features, the communication links to protect, etc. In both systems, the security mechanisms can be grouped into two sets.

  • The first set contains all the so-called network access security mechanisms. These are the security features that provide users with secure access to services through the device (typically a phone) and protect against attacks on the air interface between the device and the radio node (eNB in LTE and gNB in 5G)
  • The second set contains the so-called network domain security mechanisms. This includes the features that enable nodes to securely exchange signaling data and user data for example between radio nodes and core network nodes
Figure 1_Simplified security architectures of LTE and 5G

Figure 1: Simplified security architectures of LTE and 5G showing the grouping of network entities that needs to be secured in the Home Network and Visited Network and all the communication links that must be protected.

New authentication framework

A central security procedure in all generations of 3GPP networks is the access authentication, known as primary authentication in 3GPP 5G security standards. This procedure is typically performed during initial registration (known as initial attach in previous generations), for example when a device is turned on for the first time.

A successful run of the authentication procedure leads to the establishment of sessions keys, which are used to protect the communication between the device and the network. The authentication procedure in 3GPP 5G security has been designed as a framework to support the extensible authentication protocol (EAP) – a security protocol specified by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) organization. This protocol is well established and widely used in IT environments.

The advantage of this protocol is that it allows the use of different types of credentials besides the ones commonly used in mobile networks and typically stored in the SIM card, such as certificates, pre-shared keys, and username/password. This authentication method flexibility is a key enabler of 5G for both factory use-cases and other applications outside the telecom industry.

The support of EAP does not stop at the primary authentication procedure, but also applies to another procedure called secondary authentication. This is executed for authorization purposes during the set-up of user plane connections, for example to surf the web or to establish a call. It allows the operator to delegate the authorization to a third party. The typical use case is the so-called sponsored connection, for example towards your favorite streaming or social network site and where other existing credentials (e.g. username/password) can be used to authenticate the user and authorize the connection. The use of EAP allows to cater to the wide variety of credentials types and authentication methods deployed and used by common application and service providers.

Enhanced subscriber privacy

Security in the 3GPP 5G standard significantly enhances protection of subscriber privacy against false base stations, popularly known as IMSI catchers or Stingrays. In summary, it has been made very impractical for false base stations to identify and trace subscribers by using conventional attacks like passive eavesdropping or active probing of permanent and temporary identifiers (SUPI and GUTI in 5G). This is detailed in our earlier blog post about 5G cellular paging security, as well as our earlier post published in June 2017.

In addition, 5G is proactively designed to make it harder for attackers to correlate protocol messages and identify a single subscriber. The design is such that only a limited set of information is sent as cleartext even in initial protocol messages, while the rest is always concealed. Another development is a general framework for detecting false base stations, a major cause for privacy concerns. The detection, which is based on the radio condition information reported by devices on the field, makes it considerably more difficult for false base stations to remain stealthy.

Service based architecture and interconnect security

5G has brought about a paradigm shift in the architecture of mobile networks, from the classical model with point-to-point interfaces between network function to service-based interfaces (SBI). In a service-based architecture (SBA), the different functionalities of a network entity are refactored into services exposed and offered on-demand to other network entities.

The use of SBA has also pushed for protection at higher protocol layers (i.e. transport and application), in addition to protection of the communication between core network entities at the internet protocol (IP) layer (typically by IPsec). Therefore, the 5G core network functions support state-of-the-art security protocols like TLS 1.2 and 1.3 to protect the communication at the transport layer and the OAuth 2.0 framework at the application layer to ensure that only authorized network functions are granted access to a service offered by another function.

The improvement provided by 3GPP SA3 to the interconnect security (i.e. security between different operator networks) consists of three building blocks:

  • Firstly, a new network function called security edge protection proxy (SEPP) was introduced in the 5G architecture (as shown in figure 2). All signaling traffic across operator networks is expected to transit through these security proxies
  • Secondly, authentication between SEPPs is required. This enables effective filtering of traffic coming from the interconnect
  • Thirdly, a new application layer security solution on the N32 interface between the SEPPs was designed to provide protection of sensitive data attributes while still allowing mediation services throughout the interconnect

The main components of SBA security are authentication and transport protection between network functions using TLS, authorization framework using OAuth2, and improved interconnect security using a new security protocol designed by 3GPP.

Figure 2: Simplified service-based architecture for the 5G system in the roaming case

Figure 2: Simplified service-based architecture for the 5G system in the roaming case

Integrity protection of the user plane

In 5G, integrity protection of the user plane (UP) between the device and the gNB, was introduced as a new feature. Like the encryption feature, the support of the integrity protection feature is mandatory on both the devices and the gNB while the use is optional and under the control of the operator.

It is well understood that integrity protection is resource demanding and that not all devices will be able to support it at the full data rate. Therefore, the 5G System allows the negotiation of which rates are suitable for the feature. For example, if the device indicates 64 kbps as its maximum data rate for integrity protected traffic, then the network only turns on integrity protection for UP connections where the data rates are not expected to exceed the 64-kbps limit.

Learn more about security standardization

The security aspects are under the remits of one of the different working groups of 3GPP called SA3. For the 5G system, the security mechanisms are specified by SA3 in TS 33.501. Ericsson has been a key contributor to the specification work and has driven several security enhancements such as flexible authentication, subscriber privacy and integrity protection of user data.

Learn more about our work across network standardization.

Explore the latest trending security content on our telecom security page.

Source: https://www.ericsson.com/en/blog/2019/7/3gpp-5g-security-overview

5G mobile networks: A cheat sheet

17 Aug

As LTE networks become increasingly saturated, mobile network operators are planning for the 5G future. Here is what business professionals and mobile users need to know about 5G networks.

What is 5G?

5G refers to the fifth generation of mobile phone networks. Since the introduction of the first standardized mobile phone network in 1982, succeeding standards have been adopted and deployed approximately every nine years. GSM, the 2nd generation wireless network, was first deployed in 1992, while a variety of competing 3G standards began deployment in 2001. The 4G LTE wireless technology standard was deployed by service providers in 2010. Now, technology companies and mobile network operators are actively deploying 5G cellular networks around the world for new mobile devices. These 5G deployments accompany transitional LTE technologies such as LTE Advanced and LTE Advanced Pro, which are used by network operators to provide faster speeds on mobile devices.

Principally, 5G refers to “5G NR (New Radio),” which is the standard adopted by 3GPP, an international cooperative responsible for the development of the 3G UMTS and 4G LTE standards. Other 5G technologies do exist. Verizon’s 5G TF network operates on 28 and 39 GHz frequencies, and is used only for fixed wireless broadband services, not in smartphones. Verizon’s 5G TF deployments were halted in December 2018, and will be transitioned to 5G NR in the future. Additionally, 5G SIG was used by KT for a demonstration deployment during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

5G NR allows for networks to operate on a wide variety of frequencies, including the frequencies vacated by decommissioning previous wireless communications networks. The 2G DCS frequency bands, the 3G E-GSM and PCS frequency bands, and the digital dividend of spectrum vacated by the transition to digital TV broadcasts are some of the bands available for use in 5G NR.

5G standards divide frequencies into two groups: FR1 (450 MHz – 6 GHz) and FR2 (24 GHz – 52 GHz). Most early deployments will be in the FR1 space. Research is ongoing into using FR2 frequencies, which are also known as extremely high frequency (EHF) or millimeter wave (mmWave) frequencies. Discussions of the suitability of millimeter wave frequencies have been published in IEEE journals as far back as 2013.

Millimeter wave frequencies allow for faster data speeds, though they do come with disadvantages. Because of the short distance of communication, millimeter wave networks have a much shorter range; for densely-populated areas, this requires deploying more base stations (conversely, this makes it well suited to densely-populated places such as arenas and stadiums). While this would be advantageous in certain use cases, it would be a poor fit for use in rural areas. Additionally, millimeter wave communication can be susceptible to atmospheric interference. Effects such as rain fade make it problematic for outdoor use, though even nearby foliage can disrupt a signal.

Tests of early 5G mmWave networks by sister site CNET surfaced a number of performance problems, with the Moto Z3Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, and LG V50 depleting their battery faster than on 4G networks. In the case of the Moto Z3—which uses a pogo-pin connected Moto Mod add-on to deliver 5G—four hours of testing completely drained the battery in the attachment; the use of sub-6 GHz 5G networks is expected to lessen this effect. Likewise, increased efficiency in Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon X55 modem will alleviate some performance issues.

It is vital to remember that 5G is not an incremental or backward-compatible update to existing mobile communications standards. It does not overlap with 4G standards like LTE or WiMAX, and it cannot be delivered to existing phones, tablets, or wireless modems by means of tower upgrades or software updates, despite AT&T’s attempts to brand LTE Advanced as “5G E.”While upgrades to existing LTE infrastructure are worthwhile and welcome advances, these are ultimately transitional 4G technologies and do not provide the full range of benefits of 5G NR.

For an overview of when 5G smartphones are being released, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of 5G smartphones, check out TechRepublic’s cheat sheet about 5G smartphones.

What constitutes 5G technology?

For mobile network operators, the 3GPP has identified three aspects for which 5G should provide meaningful advantages over existing wireless mobile networks. These three heterogenous service types will coexist on the same infrastructure using network slicing, allowing network operators to create multiple virtual networks with differing performance profiles for differing service needs.

eMBB (Enhanced Mobile Broadband)

Initial deployments of 5G NR focused on eMBB, which provides greater bandwidth, enabling improved download and upload speeds, as well as moderately lower latency compared to 4G LTE. eMBB will be instrumental in enabling rich media applications such as mobile AR and VR, 4K and 360° video streaming, and edge computing.

URLLC (Ultra Reliable Low-Latency Communications)

URLLC is targeted toward extremely latency sensitive or mission-critical use cases, such as factory automation, robot-enabled remote surgery, and driverless cars. According to a white paper (PDF link) by Mehdi Bennis, Mérouane Debbah, and H. Vincent Poor of the IEEE, URLLC should target 1ms latency and block error rate (BLER) of 10−9 to 10−5, although attaining this “represents one of the major challenges facing 5G networks,” as it “introduces a plethora of challenges in terms of system design.”

Technologies that enable URLLC are still being standardized; these will be published in 3GPP Release 16, scheduled for mid-2020.

mMTC (Massive Machine Type Communications)

mMTC is a narrowband access type for sensing, metering, and monitoring use cases. Some mMTC standards that leverage LTE networks were developed as part of 3GPP Release 13, including eMTC (Enhanced Machine-Type Communication) and NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT). These standards will be used in conjunction with 5G networks, and extended to support the demands of URLLC use cases on 5G networks and frequencies in the future.

The ways in which 5G technologies will be commercialized are still being debated and planned among mobile network operators and communications hardware vendors. As different groups have differing priorities, interests, and biases, including spectrum license purchases made with the intent of deploying 5G networks, the advantages of 5G will vary between different geographical markets and between consumer and enterprise market segments. While many different attributes are under discussion, 5G technology may consist of the following (the attributes are listed in no particular order).

Proactive content caching

Particularly for millimeter wave 5G networks, which require deploying more base stations compared to LTE and previous communications standards, those base stations in turn require connections to wired backhauls to transmit data across the network. By providing a cache at the base station, access delays can be minimized, and backhaul load can be reduced. This has the added benefit of reducing end-to-end delay. As 4K video streaming services—and smartphones with 4K screens—become more widespread, this caching capability will be important to improve quality of service.

Multiple-hop networks and device-to-device communication

In LTE networks, cellular repeaters and femtocells bridge gaps in areas where signal strength from traditional base stations is inadequate to serve the needs of customers. These can be in semi-rural areas where population density complicates serving customers from one base station, as well as in urban areas where architectural design obstructs signal strength. Using multiple-hop networks in 5G extends the cooperative relay concept by leveraging device-to-device communication to increase signal strength and availability.

Seamless vertical handover

Although proposals for 5G position it as the “one global standard” for mobile communications, allowing devices to seamlessly switch to a Wi-Fi connection, or fall back to LTE networks without delay, dropped calls, or other interruptions, is a priority for 5G.

Who does 5G benefit?

Remote workers / off-site job locations

One of the major focuses of 5G is the ability to use wireless networks to supplant traditional wireline connections by increasing data bandwidth available to devices and minimizing latency. For telecommuters, this greatly increases flexibility in work locations, allowing for cost-effective communication with your office, without being tied to a desk in a home office with a wireline connection.

For situations that involve frequently changing off-site job locations, such as location movie shoots or construction sites, lower technical requirements for 5G deployment allow for easily set up a 5G connection to which existing devices can connect to a 5G router via Wi-Fi. For scenes of live breaking news, 5G technologies can be used to supplant the traditional satellite truck used to transmit audio and video back to the newsroom. Spectrum formerly allocated to high-speed microwave satellite links has been repurposed for 5G NR communication.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices

One priority for the design of 5G networks is to lower barriers to network connectivity for IoT devices. While some IoT devices (e.g., smartwatches) have LTE capabilities, the practical limitations of battery sizes that can be included in wearable devices and the comparatively high power requirements of LTE limit the usefulness of mobile network connectivity in these situations. Proposals for 5G networks focusing on reducing power requirements, and the use of lower-power frequencies such as 600 MHz, will make connecting IoT devices more feasible.

Smart cities, office buildings, arenas, and stadiums

The same properties that make 5G technologies a good fit for IoT devices can also be used to improve the quality of service for situations in which large numbers of connected devices make extensive use of the mobile network in densely populated areas. These benefits can be realized easily in situations with variable traffic—for instance, arenas and stadiums are generally only populated during sporting events, music concerts, and other conventions. Large office towers, such as the 54-story Mori Tower in Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills district, are where thousands of employees work during the week. Additionally, densely populated city centers can benefit from the ability of 5G networks to provide service to more devices in physically smaller spaces.

When and where are 5G rollouts happening?

Early technical demonstrations

The first high-profile 5G rollout was at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. KT (a major mobile network operator) Samsung, and Intel collaborated to deliver gigabit-speed wireless broadband, and low-latency live streaming video content. During the games, 100 cameras were positioned inside the Olympic Ice Arena, which transmitted the video to edge servers, then to KT’s data center to be processed into “time-sliced views of the athletes in motion,” and then transmitted back to 5G-connected tablets for viewing. This demonstration used prototype 5G SIG equipment, which is distinct from the standardized 5G NR hardware and networks being commercialized worldwide.

Similarly, Intel and NTT Docomo have announced a partnership to demonstrate 5G technology at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The companies will use 5G networks for 360-degree, 8K-video streaming, drones with HD cameras, and smart city applications, including “pervasive facial recognition, useful for everything from stadium access to threat reduction.”

Other 5G tests and rollouts have occurred worldwide. Ericsson and Intel deployed a 5G connection to connect Tallink cruise ships to the Port of Tallinn in Estonia. Huawei and Intel demonstrated 5G interoperability tests at Mobile World Congress 2018. In China, ZTE conducted tests in which the company achieved speeds in excess of 19 Gbps on a 3.5 GHz base station. Additionally, in tests of high-frequency communications, ZTE exceeded 13 Gbps using a 26 GHz base station, and a latency of 0.416 ms in a third test for uRLLC.

Where is 5G available in the US?

Verizon Wireless deployed mmWave-powered 5G, marketed as “Ultra Wideband (UWB),” in Chicago, IL and Minneapolis, MN on April 3, 2019; in Denver, CO on June 27, 2019; in Providence, RI on July 1, 2019; in St. Paul, MN on July 18, 2019; and in Atlanta, GA, Detroit, MI, Indianapolis, IN, and Washington, DC on July 31, 2019.

Future deployments of Verizon’s 5G services have been announced for Boston, MA, Charlotte, NC, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus, OH, Dallas, TX, Des Moines, IA, Houston, TX, Little Rock, AR, Memphis, TN, Phoenix, AZ, Providence, RI, San Diego, CA, and Salt Lake City, UT, as well as Kansas City, by the end of 2019.

Verizon Wireless started deployments of its 5G fixed wireless internet service on October 1, 2018 in Los Angeles and Sacramento, CA, Houston, TX, and Indianapolis, IN. Verizon’s initial 5G network deployments use its proprietary 5G TF hardware, though the company plans to transition these networks to 5G NR in the future. Verizon’s 5G TF network is only used for home internet service, not in smartphones.

AT&T has active 5G deployments in Atlanta, GA, Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Waco, TX, Charlotte, NC, Indianapolis, IN, Jacksonville and Orlando, FL, Las Vegas, NV, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose, CA, Louisville, KY, Nashville, TN, New Orleans, LA, New York City, NY, Oklahoma City, OK, and Raleigh, NC. Deployments have also been announced for Chicago, IL, Cleveland, OH, and Minneapolis, MN.

AT&T has deployed LTE Advanced nationwide; the company is marketing LTE Advanced as a “5G Evolution” network, though LTE-Advanced is not a 5G technology. AT&T has a history of mislabeling network technologies; the company previously advertised the transitional HSDPA network as 4G, though this is commonly considered to be an “enhanced 3G” or “3.5G” standard.

Sprint started deployments of 5G on May 30, 2019 in the Dallas / Ft. Worth and Houston, TX, Kansas City / Overland Park, KS, and Atlanta, GA metro areas. Sprint’s 5G networks run on 2.5 GHz, providing more widespread coverage throughout a region than is possible on line-of-sight mmWave connections, though with a modest decrease in speed compared to mmWave networks. Sprint activated 5G service in Chicago on July 11, 2019. The company has also announced plans to deploy 5G in Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY, Phoenix, AZ, and Washington, DC.

T-Mobile USA has active 5G services in Atlanta, GA and Cleveland, OH, with future plans to bring 5G services to Dallas, TX, Los Angeles, CA, Las Vegas, NV, and New York, NY. T-Mobile’s deployment is powered by Ericcson AIR 3246 modems, which support both 4G LTE and 5G NR. This equipment allows for 5G and LTE networks to be operated from the same equipment.

The purchase of Sprint by T-Mobile has been approved by the Justice Department, though a multi-state lawsuit is aiming to prevent the deal from proceeding. If the merger goes forward, “only the New T-Mobile will be able to deliver… real, game-changing 5G,” according to T-Mobile CEO John Legere in a June 2019 blog post. Following a merger, the New T-Mobile will have 600 MHz low-band, 2.5 GHz mid-band, and mmWave spectrum holdings, putting it at an advantage relative to AT&T and Verizon.

Where is 5G available in the UK?

EE debuted 5G services in Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, and Manchester on May 30, 2019. Availability of 5G by the end of 2019 is planned for Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, and Sheffield. Availability of 5G in 2020 is planned for Aberdeen, Cambridge, Derby, Gloucester, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Wolverhampton, and Worcester.

BT, which owns EE, is anticipated to deploy separate BT-branded 5G services in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Cardiff, and Belfast in autumn 2019.

Vodafone provides 5G services in Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bolton, Bristol, Cardiff, Gatwick, Glasgow, Lancaster, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newbury, Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent, and Wolverhampton at present, with deployments planned for Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Portsmouth, Reading, Southampton, and Warrington by the end of 2019.

Three will begin rollout of 5G services in London in August 2019, with services for Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Reading, Rotherham, Sheffield, Slough, Sunderland, and Wolverhampton expected before the end of the year.

Three and Vodafone do not charge a premium for 5G network services in the UK, compared to their rate plans for 4G.

O₂ announced availability of 5G services for Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Slough, and Leeds “from October 2019,” with plans to bring expand 5G services to “parts of 20 towns and cities, before rolling out to a total of 50 by summer 2020.”

Where is 5G available in Australia?

Optus has 100 5G-capable sites in service, and has pledged to build 1,200 by March 2020.

Telstra commenced rollout of 5G networks, starting with the Gold Coast in August 2018. Telstra services select neighborhoods in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Gold Coast, Hobart, Launceston, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, and Toowoomba.

Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) operator has declared its intent to provide 5G fixed wireless internet access in a statement to ZDNet.

Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE have been banned by the Australian government from providing 5G networking equipment to mobile network operators due to national security concerns.

Where else in the world is 5G available?

South Korea was the first country to have a commercially available 5G network, with SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus activating 5G networks on April 3, 2019, two hours before Verizon Wireless activated 5G in the US, according to ZDNet’s Cho Mu-Hyun. By April 30, 2019, 260,000 subscribers in South Korea were using 5G networks. KT, the country’s second-largest mobile carrier, is working on deployments of in-building repeaters for use in crowded buildings such as airports and train stations.

5G is also seen as vital for economic development among Gulf states, with Saudi Arabia including 5G as part of the Vision 2030 economic development plan, and Qatari network operator Ooredoo claiming “the first commercially available 5G network in the world” on May 14, 2018, prior to the availability of smartphones that can use 5G.

Ookla maintains a map of 5G network services worldwide, with networks categorized into Commercial Availability, Limited Availability, and Pre-Release to demonstrate the extent of availability for each observed deployment.

How does a 5G future affect enterprises and mobile users?

As technology advances, older devices will inevitably reach end-of-life; in the mobile space, this is an outsized concern, as wireless spectrum is a finite resource. Much in the same way that the digital switchover occurred for over-the-air TV broadcasts, older mobile networks are actively being dismantled to free spectrum for next-generation networks, including transitional LTE Advanced, LTE Advanced Pro, and “true” 5G networks.

In the US, AT&T disabled its 2G network on January 1, 2017, rendering countless feature phones—as well as the original iPhone—unusable. Verizon plans to disable its legacy 2G and 3G networks by the end of 2019, which will render most feature phones and older smartphones unusable, as well as IoT devices such as water meters. Verizon stopped activations of 3G-only phones in July 2018. End-of-life plans for the 2G networks of Sprint and T-Mobile have not been publicly disclosed.

Additionally, as 5G is used increasingly to deliver wireless broadband, wireline broadband providers will face competition as the two services approach feature parity. With many people using smartphones both as their primary computing device and for tethering a traditional computer to the internet, the extra cost of a traditional wireline connection may become unnecessary for some people, and enable those outside the reach of traditional wireline connections to have affordable access to high-speed for the first time.

Business customers may also integrate 5G technology in proximity-targeted marketing. 5G’s reliance on microcells can be used as a secondary means of verification to protect against GPS spoofing, making proximity-targeted marketing resistant to abuse.

As 5G specifications are designed around the needs of businesses, the low-power and low-latency attributes are expected to spark a revolution in IoT deployments. According to Verizon Wireless President Ronan Dunne, 5G will enable the deployment of 20 billion IoT devices by 2020, leading to the creation of the “industrial internet,” affecting supply chain management, as well as agriculture and manufacturing industries. These same attributes also make 5G well suited to use cases that require continuous response and data analysis, such as autonomous vehicles, traffic control, and other edge computing use cases.

Source: https://clearcritique.com/5g-mobile-networks-a-cheat-sheet/

Boosting smart manufacturing with 5G wireless connectivity

17 Aug

Industry 4.0 – the fourth industrial revolution – is already transforming the manufacturing industry, with the vision of highly efficient, connected and flexible factories of the future quickly becoming a reality in many sectors. Fully connected factories will rely on cloud technologies, as well as connectivity based on Ethernet Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) and wireless 5G radio.


The goal of Industry 4.0 is to maximize efficiency by creating full transparency across all processes and assets at all times. Achieving this requires communication between goods, production systems, logistics chains, people and processes throughout a product’s complete life cycle, spanning everything from design, ordering, manufacturing, delivery and field maintenance to recycling and reuse. The integration of 5G ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC) in the manufacturing process has great potential to accelerate the transformation of the manufacturing industry and make smart factories more efficient and productive.

Today’s state-of-the-art factories are predominantly built on a hierarchical network design that follows the industrial automation pyramid, as shown in Figure 1. The fourth industrial revolution will require a transition from this segmented and hierarchical network design toward a fully connected one. This transition, in combination with the introduction of 5G wireless communication technology, will provide very high flexibility in building and configuring production systems on demand. The ability to extract more information from the manufacturing process and feed it into a digital representation known as the “digital twin” [1] enables more advanced planning processes, including plant simulation and virtual commissioning. Initiatives like the 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation (5G-ACIA) [2] show that industries recognize this need for 5G technology.

Figure 1: Hierarchical network design based on the industrial automation pyramid

Figure 1: Hierarchical network design based on the industrial automation pyramid

The lower section of Figure 1 is often referred to as the operational technology (OT) part of the manufacturing plant, comprising both the field level (industrial devices and controllers) and the manufacturing execution system. The top section is the information technology (IT) part, made up of general enterprise resource planning. For connectivity at field level, a variety of fieldbus and industrial Ethernet technologies are typically used. Ethernet and IP are well established communication protocols at higher levels (IT and the top part of OT).

The OT network domain is currently dominated (>90 percent) by wired technologies [3] and is a heavily fragmented market with technologies such as PROFIBUS, PROFINET, EtherCAT, Sercos and Modbus. Currently deployed wireless solutions (which are typically wireless LAN based using unlicensed spectrum) constitute only a small fraction of the installed base; they mainly play a role for wirelessly connecting sensors where communication requirements are non-critical.

Today, the field level consists of connectivity islands that are separated by gateways (GWs), which helps to provide the required performance within each connectivity island. The GWs are also needed for protocol translation between the different industrial networking technologies. However, this segmented design puts limitations on the digitalization of factories, as information within one part of the factory cannot be easily extracted and used elsewhere.

One near-term benefit of leveraging wireless connectivity in factories is the significant reduction in the amount of cables used, which reduces cost, since cables are typically very expensive to install, rearrange or replace. In addition, wireless connectivity enables new use cases that cannot be implemented with wired connectivity, such as moving robots, automated guided vehicles and the tracking of products as they move through the production process. Wireless connectivity also makes it possible to achieve greater floor plan layout flexibility and deploy factory equipment more easily.

Key manufacturing industry requirements

The manufacturing industry has specific 5G requirements that differ significantly from public mobile broadband (MBB) services. These include URLLC with ultra-high availability and resilience, which can only be satisfied with a dedicated local network deployment using licensed spectrum.

The ability to integrate with the existing industrial Ethernet LAN and existing industrial nodes and functions is another fundamental requirement. Data integrity and privacy are also critical, as well as real-time performance monitoring. In addition, 5G capabilities in terms of positioning, time synchronization between devices, security and network slicing will also be essential for many manufacturing use cases.

Ultra-reliable low-latency communication

One of the two service categories of machine-type communication (MTC) in 5G – critical MTC (cMTC) – is designed to meet communication demands with stringent requirements on latency, reliability and availability. Intense standardization and R&D work is ongoing to ensure 5G New Radio (NR) technology is able to fully address the need for URLLC.

With NR we will see large-scale deployments of advanced antenna systems enabling state-of-the-art beamforming and MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) techniques, which are powerful tools for improving throughput, capacity and coverage [4]. Multi-antenna techniques will also be important for URLLC, as they can be used to improve reliability. The scalable numerology of NR provides good means to achieve low latency, as larger subcarrier spacing (SCS) reduces the transmission time interval.

To further reduce latency and increase reliability, several new MAC (medium access control) and PHY (physical layer) features as well as new multi-connectivity architecture options have been added to the 5G NR specifications in 3GPP release 15, and additional enhancements are being studied in release 16. The goal in release 16 is to enable 0.5-1ms one-way latency with reliability of up to 99.9999 percent. New capabilities include faster scheduling, smaller and more robust transmissions, repetitions, faster retransmissions, preemption and packet duplication [5]. All in all, they ensure NR is equipped with a powerful toolbox that can be used to tailor the performance to the demands of each specific device and traffic flow on a factory shop floor.

The achievable round-trip time (RTT) depends both on which features and spectrum are used. For example, the RAN RTT for a mid-band deployment optimized for MBB can be in the order of 5ms (FDD 15kHz SCS or TDD 30kHz with DL-DL-DL-UL TDD configuration). The corresponding RTT for a URLLC-optimized millimeter wave (mmWave) deployment (TDD 120kHz SCS, DL-UL TDD configuration) can be below 2ms, thus matching the 3GPP one-way latency goal.

There is a trade-off between latency, reliability and capacity, and different scheduling strategies can be used to achieve a certain level of reliability and latency. A packet can be encoded with a very low and robust code rate, and just be transmitted once, but if the RTT is shorter than the application latency constraint, it can be more efficient to use a higher, less robust initial code rate and perform retransmissions based on feedback in case the initial transmission fails. Thus, the shorter the RAN RTT is compared with the application latency constraint, the higher spectral efficiency (capacity) may be achieved.

Licensed spectrum for interference control

The availability of spectrum resources is key to meeting requirements on capacity, bitrates and latency. To provide predictable and reliable service levels on the factory shop floor, the spectrum resources need to be managed carefully. The achievable performance depends on several factors:

  • the amount of spectrum available
  • which spectrum is used – low band (below 2GHz), mid-band (2-5GHz) or high band/mmWave (26GHz and above)
  • which licensing regime applies
  • whether the spectrum is FDD or TDD
  • which radio access technology is used
  • the coexistence scenarios that apply for the spectrum.

Estimates of spectrum needs are in the range of tens to hundreds of megahertz. Most new mid-band spectrum that is currently being allocated uses TDD, while large parts of the spectrum already allocated to mobile operators are FDD. Latency for an FDD system is inherently lower than that of a corresponding TDD system.

Mid-band spectrum is well suited for indoor deployments since its propagation characteristics make it easy to provide good coverage with a limited set of transmission points. Coverage at mmWave is generally spottier, requiring denser radio deployment, but mmWave is still a good complement to mid-band for in-factory deployments since it enables:

  • higher system capacity, as larger bandwidths are available and as advanced antenna systems and beamforming can be implemented in a small form factor suitable for indoor deployment
  • significantly shorter latencies (even though the spectrum is TDD), as a higher numerology with shorter transmission time intervals is used
  • easier management of the coexistence between indoor shop floor networks and outdoor mobile networks, as mmWave radio signals are easier to confine within buildings.

For critical applications, there must be guarantees against uncontrolled interference, which implies that licensed spectrum is necessary. As illustrated in Figure 2, unlicensed technologies such as Wi-Fi and MulteFire cannot guarantee bounded low latency with high reliability as the load increases. This is due to the use of listen-before-talk back-off, which does not perform well during uncontrolled interference. Unlicensed spectrum may nonetheless be relevant for less critical applications.

Figure 2: Latency and reliability aspects of spectrum and technology choice

Figure 2: Latency and reliability aspects of spectrum and technology choice

Licensed spectrum can be provided by operators as part of a local connectivity solution, including network equipment. Operators may also choose to lease parts of their spectrum assets locally to industries without providing the connectivity solution. Another emerging option is for regulators to set aside dedicated spectrum for local licensing to industries, as is under consideration in some European countries such as Germany and Sweden on 3.7-3.8GHz.

Integration with industrial Ethernet and TSN

The introduction of 5G on the factory shop floor will happen in steps. When 5G is added to existing production systems, the various parts of the system will be moved to 5G connectivity at different stages, depending on the evolution plan of the production system and where the highest benefits of wireless 5G communication can be obtained. Over time, more parts of the shop floor can be migrated to 5G, in part due to the introduction of new capabilities in future 5G releases. Even in greenfield industrial deployments, not all communication will be based on 5G. The need for wireless connectivity may not be prominent for some subsystems, while others may require performance levels (isochronous sub-millisecond latency, for example) that are not currently addressed by 5G. Consequently, a local industrial 5G deployment will coexist and require integration with wired industrial LANs. To this end, the transport of Ethernet traffic is required, and Ethernet transport has been specified within the release 15 standard of the 5G system.

As part of the ongoing industrial transformation, the wired communication segments of industrial networks are expected to evolve toward a common open standard: Ethernet with TSN support [6]. Therefore, a 5G system needs to be able to integrate with a TSN-based industrial Ethernet, for which 3GPP has defined different study and work items in release 16 of the 5G standards.

TSN is an extension of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet and is standardized within the TSN task group in IEEE 802.1. A profile for TSN in industrial automation is being developed by the IEC/IEEE 60802 joint project [7]. TSN includes the means to provide deterministic bounded latency without congestion losses for prioritized traffic on an Ethernet network that also transports traffic of lower priority. TSN features include priority queuing with resource allocation mechanisms, time synchronization between network nodes and reliability mechanisms via redundant traffic flows.

5G enhancements include support of redundant transmission paths, which can be combined with the TSN feature ‘Frame replication and elimination for reliability’ (FRER) that is standardized in IEEE 802.1CB. One of the resource allocation features of TSN for bounding the latency for periodic control traffic is ‘Time-aware scheduling’ (standardized in IEEE 802.1Qbv), for which transmission queues are time-gated in every switch on the data path to create a protected connection. This requires all Ethernet switches to be time-synchronized according to IEEE P802.1AS-Rev. Features that are being developed in 5G standardization to support time-aware transmission across a mixed TSN-5G network are to time-align the 5G system with the TSN network and provide 5G transmission with deterministic latency.

Keeping things local

On top of URLLC performance and integration with industrial Ethernet networks, many manufacturers also require full control (that is, independent of external parties) of their critical OT domain connectivity in order to fulfill system availability targets. Full control can be expressed as requirements on keeping things local:

  • local data – the ability to keep production-related data locally within the factory premises for security and trust reasons
  • local management – the ability to monitor and manage the connectivity solution locally
  • local survivability – the ability to guarantee the availability of the connectivity solution independently of external factors (for example, shop-floor connectivity must continue uninterrupted even when connectivity to the manufacturing plant is down).

Additional requirements and features of interest

One 5G feature that could have significant importance for manufacturing use cases is positioning. For 3GPP release 16, the objective is to achieve indoor positioning accuracies below 3m, but NR deployed in a factory environment has the technology potential to support much more precise positioning. There are several aspects which all contribute to better positioning accuracy:

  • the wide bandwidths of mid- and high-band spectrum enable better measurement accuracy
  • beam-based systems enable better ranging and angle-of-arrival/departure estimation
  • the higher numerology of NR implies shorter sampling intervals and hence improved positioning resolution
  • dense and tailored deployments with small cells and large overlaps improve accuracy and, together with beam-based transmissions, provide more spatial variations that can be exploited for radio frequency fingerprinting.

In 5G release 16, a new requirement is being introduced, whereby the 5G system will be able to synchronize devices to a master clock of one or more time domains [8]. One reason for this is that several industrial applications require time-synchronized actions of multiple machines. This can be a collaborative common task performed by multiple industry robots, where the control of the different robots needs to be coordinated in time. NR in release 16 will supply the capability for a base station to provide precise timing references to devices down to microsecond precision. It will also make it possible to relate this time reference to the reference clocks of one or more time domains used in an industrial system. The time alignment of the 5G system with the external industrial LAN is also a basis to enable TSN time-scheduled communication over a combined 5G-TSN network.

Security in cellular networks has matured with every generation to enable confidential communication services, user privacy, authentication of users for network access and accountability, and authentication of the network so users know they are connected to a legitimate network. To address new use cases and the evolving threat landscape, 5G includes new security features that benefit industrial deployments [9]. Examples include improved confidentiality of user-plane data achieved by both the encryption and integrity protection of data to prevent eavesdropping and modification as it passes through the 5G system. With 5G, industrial networks gain additional options for device authentication supporting both SIM-based and certificate-based authentication. Lastly, 5G standards prevent IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) catching attacks, as the user’s or device’s long-term identifier is never transmitted over the radio interface in clear text [10].

5G’s network slicing capabilities enable the provision of a dedicated slice both locally and in wide area networks, enhance service differentiation including isolation of the critical traffic from other service types and enable segmentation into security zones as required for the OT domain.

5G connectivity solution for the factory shop floor

A local, on-premises 4G/5G connectivity solution that uses licensed spectrum such as the one shown in Figure 3 is the best way to meet the requirements of the manufacturing industry. This solution can support cMTC, MBB and massive MTC (mMTC) use cases, and it can easily be integrated with mobile operator-provided wide area networks.

Figure 3: 5G manufacturing solution architecture

Figure 3: 5G manufacturing solution architecture

While cMTC addresses the critical communication needs of the manufacturing industry, mMTC, also included in 5G, is ideal for sensor communication. Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) and LTE machine-type communication (LTE-M) are examples of mMTC solutions that were developed for 4G and remain well equipped to support the needs of the manufacturing industry for a long time.

MBB and mMTC based on 4G and 5G provide the shop-floor connectivity required by industrial sensors, cameras, smartphones, tablets and wearables to support use cases like data acquisition, predictive maintenance, human-machine interaction and augmented reality. Beyond factories, there are also wide-area use cases like smart logistics that will rely on the MBB and mMTC services supplied by mobile operator-provided networks.

Network operators are in an excellent position to leverage their spectrum assets, wide area network infrastructure and know-how to address the needs of the manufacturing industry. Alternatively, the solution can be deployed by the industries themselves or by third parties using leased or dedicated spectrum.

The optimal local connectivity solution requires a well-planned 4G/5G indoor radio system using licensed spectrum to enable ultra-reliable low-latency performance. The virtualization of core network (CN) functions and support of control and user-plane separation enables flexible CN deployments. The CN user plane needs to be deployed in the factory, not only to provide URLLC but also high availability, local survivability, security and privacy. The requirements on full local control would indicate that CN control functions need to be deployed on-premises, but depending on the specifics of the requirements, such as how long survivability duration is required, it may be possible to use more cost-efficient solutions where some of the control functions are provided from a central location, such as a mobile network operator’s CN.

An easy-to-use local management system is required to monitor and manage the end-to-end connectivity, including local network infrastructure and connected devices. The local management use cases include both software management and fault, performance and configuration management. The management system also needs to integrate with other elements of the OT systems and the industry IT systems. A low-latency cloud infrastructure is required both for 5G network functions and industrial applications, and all pieces need to be connected using an integrated local transport infrastructure.

The resulting solution can provide both IP and Ethernet connectivity to industrial devices and GWs on the shop floor, with performance tailored to each device’s individual needs. The integration between the 5G infrastructure and the industrial Ethernet domain extends beyond simple user-plane forwarding of Ethernet frames to include integration with the time synchronization, scheduling and resilience schemes used in the industrial Ethernet domain, using TSN features, for example.


5G is a prime enabling technology to facilitate the industrial transformation to Industry 4.0, providing wireless connectivity in and around the factory based on a global standard with global economy of scale. It can connect a variety of industrial devices with different service needs, including industrial sensors, video cameras or advanced control panels with integrated augmented reality. 5G can also provide deterministic ultra-reliable low-latency communication to bring wireless connectivity to demanding industrial equipment, like industrial controllers and actuators.

A 5G-connected factory is based on a local 5G radio network using licensed spectrum. It can either be provided as a service by a mobile network operator, or it can be operated standalone by a factory owner or system integrator in locally leased or dedicated spectrum. A local core network enables low-latency connectivity, fulfilling strict requirements on availability, local survivability, data security and privacy. The integration of a 5G system with wired industrial LAN equipment – which in future will mainly be based on TSN – is mandatory. Further 5G enhancements provide additional value to industrial services like precise indoor positioning, and time synchronization for industrial end devices.

Source: https://www.ericsson.com/en/ericsson-technology-review/archive/2019/boosting-smart-manufacturing-with-5g-wireless-connectivity

Artificial Intelligence might soon take over architecture and design

17 Aug
AI: Research and Reports

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has always been a topic of debate—is it good for us? Are we walking towards a better future or an inevitable doom? According to an on-going research program by McKinsey Global Institute, every occupation includes multiple types of activities, and each has a different requirement for automation. Almost all occupations have a partial automation potential. And so, almost half of all the work done by humans can eventually be taken over by a high intelligence computer.

According to studies, almost all professions can be automated. Photo credit Marcin Wichary / Wikicommons

AI: Architecture and Its Future

According to the Economist, 47% of the work done by humans will have been replaced by robots by 2037, even those traditionally associated with university education. Having said that, a recent study at University College London (ULC) and the University of Bangor said that although automation and artificial intelligence for the time being would not replace architects, the discipline will undergo massive transformations in the near future. Computers can replace tedious repetitive activities, “optimising the production of technical material and allowing, among other things, atomise the size of architectural offices. Each time fewer architects are needed to develop more complex projects.”

AI can replace a lot of repetitive activities. Photo credit Beaver, Brian/ Wikicommons

AI: A Boon or a Bane?

To create new designs, architects usually use past construction, design, and building data. Instead of putting their minds together to create something new, it is alleged that a computer will be able to utilise tons of previous data in a millisecond, make recommendations and enhance the architecture design process. With AI, an architect would very easily go about researching and testing several ideas at the same time, sometimes even without the need for a pen and paper. Also, an architect could pull out a city or zone-speicifc data, building codes, and redundant design data, and generate design variations. Even on the construction side, it is said that AI can assist with actually building something with little to no manpower. Will this eventually lead to clients and organisations simply reverting to a computer for masterplans and construction?
Researchers at Oxford suggest that even with AI coming into the scene, the essential value of architect as professionals who can understand and evaluate a problem and synthesise unique and insightful solutions will likely remain unchallenged.

Source: https://www.techregister.co.uk/artificial-intelligence-might-soon-take-over-architecture-and-design/

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