European 5G partnership hits the ground running
The European 5G public private partnership is now well and truly underway following the launch of its first raft of projects, in which Huawei is playing a major role
Europe’s €3.5 billion 5G Public Private Partnership launched its first phase of projects in July, the first step to providing the communications infrastructure to cope with the massive wireless demand forecast for 2020.
The new infrastructure will have to cater for 1000 times greater wireless capacity to handle billions of small devices using the Internet of Things and huge amounts of Big Data generated by consumers, businesses and public administrations.
Huawei to lead research work
The first 5G PPP call for projects, held at the end of 2014, resulted in 19 projects being selected. These address a rich cross-section of the research challenges leading to a 5G infrastructure by 2020. Huawei is leading work packages in four of the five projects it’s participating in, collaborating with major vendors and telco operators within strong international consortia. Partners include Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia, Intel, Samsung, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica and Telecom Italia, as well as key research institutes.
Perhaps the best-known project Huawei is involved in is METIS-II, which is designing an overall radio access network for submission to the regulatory and standardization bodies. The network is built on holistic spectrum management architecture that seeks to resolve the spectrum crunch which, if not dealt with adequately, will result from the massive uptake in 5G technologies.
5G will have to cope with a high degree of variety in mobile services (broadband, massive machine, mission-critical, broadcast, multimedia and vehicular communications), device classes (low-end sensors to high-end tablets), deployment types (macro and small cells), environments (low-density to ultra-dense urban) and mobility levels (static to high-speed transport). This is where the FANTASTIC-5G project comes in, developing a new multi-service Air Interface (AI) for below 6 GHz. Huawei will play its role here in helping advance the technical side of the work, from flexible waveform design and scalable multiple access procedures to multi-cell radio resource management, integrating them all into an overall framework.
The mmMAGIC project will develop and design new concepts for mobile radio access technology for millimetre-wave band deployment. This will enable ultrafast broadband services for mobile users, supporting UHD/3D streaming, immersive applications and ultra-responsive cloud services, and be used as a foundation for global standardization.
Then there is 5G-Xhaul, a three-year project to develop small cells, cloud-radio access networks (C-RAN), software defined networks (SDN) and network function virtualization (NVF), key enablers in providing low-cost and flexible solutions. 5G-Xhaul technologies are to be integrated into a city-wide testbed in Bristol in the UK.
The final 5G PPP project in which Huawei is playing a significant role is called 5Gex, or 5G Exchange, developing a unified infrastructure service market in Europe, integrating multiple operators and technologies in different countries to build a stronger European economy based on economies of scale.
These will be followed by a second phase of 5G PPP projects, building on their work, due to be called for in 2016 and launched in 2017.
Elsewhere, Huawei is forging ahead with other European 5G initiatives, conducting, for example, a joint research programme with the University of Surrey's 5G Innovation Centre in the UK, and plans to invest £5 million in 5G research and a testbed there by 2018.
Together with its European partners, Huawei has also launched the 5G Vertical Industry Accelerator (5G VIA) in Munich, targeting a large-scale 5G testbed to simulate real-world scenarios with the involvement of vertical industries.