5G working towards minimal latency for IoT

Friday 3 July 2015 | 11:31 CET | Background

Announcements about 5G are coming in thick and fast in recent weeks. Vendors, operators, researchers and governments are all pushing for coordination of the new mobile standard, which is expected to roll out from 2020. Many are driven by economic interests and patented technology. What has been called 'pre-5G' is already being tested. In addition to increased speed and capacity, latency is gaining more attention in 5G plans. This is due to the emerging Internet of Things, in which sensitive applications such as self-driving cars will be dependent on extremely low latency in data connections. 


Higher speed and more capacity are central to the development of 5G. The ITU has launched the designation IMT-2020 for the technology, which targets speeds of 10 Gbps. Various existing technologies and frequency bands will form part of 5G. DoCoMo introduced the name 5G+ for use of the higher bands (over 6 GHz), something which should be achievable from 2022-2023.

Ericsson, SKT and Taiwan

Who are the leading players in 5G developments? According to our latest news, Ericsson, SKT and Taiwan have the most concrete plans.

Ericsson has made a number of announcements, including cooperation agreements with King's College (London), the Technical University of Dresden and an Italian university. In Sweden it's running a test with the mining industry to use 5G to remotely control a Volvo truck used for transporting ore in a mine. SK Telecom has partnered with Ericsson to develop 5G small cells.

The Korean operator is also working with Nokia on the development of transmission technology for virtualised base stations. Deutsche Telekom has set up its own research centre (5G:haus), together with a number of universities and suppliers.

The EU and Japan appear to be the most active governments on the scene. They plan to work together on developing 5G. Taiwan, the home of Asustek, Acer, MediaTek and Foxconn, has said it targets a number-two position on the market for 5G chips.


The NGMN (Next Generation Mobile Networks) Alliance is an example of the broad industry alliances taking shape. Created in 2014, the association outlined its position in a white paper in March 2015. It has now started a work programme to work out further details on the various aspects of preparing for 5G. 

The 5GPPP (Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership) has started a project running until the end of 2017. Called 5G NORMA (Novel Radio Multiservice adaptive network Architecture), the project aims to define the 5G architecture, for both the radio network (RAN) and the core network. It hopes to combine existing and new technology, with the aim of notably of reaching 'virtually zero latency'. The 13 partners in this project include operators (Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica), vendors (Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia, NEC, Atos) and institutes (King's College and the University of Kaiserslautern). Targeted applications include for example robots, sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT).

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