Highlights from the IET Conference: The Advent of 5G

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The 6th IET conference, The Advent of 5G, explored technologies and applications for the benefit of society. Some of the UK's best minds gave great insights into how they and their teams are pushing the envelope on 5G. Here's a wrap-up from the event from critical communications expert, Peter Clemons, Chief Designer at Quixoticity Index.

First up, BT's Principal Network Architect Andy Sutton told the story of the mobile communications industry's remarkable journey from 2G all the way to 5G, an incredible journey from voice/messaging-based (GSM) to the 5G converged platform, all in the space of 3 decades. 

  • Evolution of the network architecture from generation to generation: bandwidth, redundancy, reliability and security for diverse services have called for the introduction, removal or re-location of various network nodes, protocols, transmission mechanisms and interfaces. 
  • Putting theory into practice: a look at how BT is getting ready to deliver the next-gen of services from early 2019 on. 
  • The high-profile demo set up by BT in London's financial district, Canary Wharf, last year was not only an attraction for techies but also financial institutions, keen to find out how 5G could change their industry. 

Next up, Dimitra Simeonidou, Director of University of Bristol Smart Internet Lab, highlighted the need for radical new approaches to the design, implementation and monitoring of next-gen networks. 

  • 5G must deliver valuable, meaningful services to real users, and time is of essence. It calls for hard work, great ideas and new business models that could challenge both the legacy world and its incumbents as we see more rising stars emerge. 
  • Slowly but surely, brand-new service/solution providers are emerging from various research programmes driven by universities and research centres, Governments, vendors, operators & key verticals in laboratories, fields, roads, stadiums, factories & on roof-tops around the world. Europe's 5G public private partnership (5G PPP) is an excellent example of collaboration, as testified in our Verticals Cartography
  • Bristol's Smart Internet Lab has on show new end-to-end architecture based on software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualisation (NFV), including open source. This new vision is already being put in practice by Nokia and Zeetta Networks (NetOS). 
  • Welcome to the world of 5G, where the timely delivery/exchange of mission-critical and non-mission-critical requires tight control, monitoring, automation and or orchestration of end-to-end service platforms, splicing and slicing radio access, core, packet and fixed transport (optical) networks, with full scaling of cloud/edge capacity with full CP/UP separation. 

One of the 5G world's true rock stars, Prof. Mischa Dohler from King's College London, took us through some cool demos during his keynote, with examples spanning life-saving applications.

  • The use-case trial on ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC) between BT, Ericsson, King's College London and Verizon featured a drone flying in central London that could be controlled remotely from the other side of the Atlantic. 
  • This has a clear potential for life-saving applications in Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR). 5G will bring major benefits for emergency serrvices and critical users, helping them carry out vital jobs with new power tools. Both The Critical Communications Association (TCCA) and Public Safety Communications Europe (PSCE) are both working closely with the main industry standards body, 3GPP, to make sure 5G delivers on core requirments. First responders must have the same, if not better, technology than criminals, and rich information capabilities to help find people lost during a forest fire or after an earthquake. This is where the Quixoticity Index also comes into play, by developing a common framework for nations & companies to understand critical communications goals & deployments.

Sources:  Peter Clemons, Chief Designer at Quixoticity Index



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