The International Telecommunications Union has set up a working group to help lay down standards for next generation superfast mobile networks.
The group will bring together industry leaders and experts from across the world to help identify requirements for the development of 5G wireless networks, which are expected to offer speeds and reliability so far only achievable through fibre-optic infrastructure.
“Air interfaces and radio access networks are progressing rapidly, but there is a need to devote more attention to the networking aspects of IMT-2020,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, who was referring to the International Mobile Telecommunication programme for 2020 and beyond (IMT-2020), outlined by the Geneva-based body in 2012.
“Wireline communications will transform significantly in support of IMT-2020, and the coordination of ITU’s standardisation and radio-communication arms will ensure that the wireline and wireless elements of future networks develop in unison.”
The 5G wireless networks, sometimes referred to as the ‘tactile Internet’, are expected to fully unlock the potential of the Internet of Things, facilitating new applications in industrial automation, healthcare and virtual reality and fully enabling existing cutting-edge concepts such as automated driving.
The bandwidth and speed of those networks will enable reducing latency to as little as one millisecond, allowing truly real-time control of connected devices.
“Today’s network architectures cannot support the envisaged capabilities of IMT-2020 systems,” said Chaesub Lee, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (ITU-T). “Innovation in standardisation is essential across core networks, access networks, virtualized data clusters and masses of smart networked units. Moving beyond convergence, the concepts underlying networking must evolve to support the development of integrated fixed-mobile hybrid networks.”
Wen Tong, head of 5G research Huawei said cooperation between various stakeholders in the information and communication technology sector will be crucial for realising the 5G potential.
“5G will power a wide range of new user experiences, but the bottleneck remains the speed of the network,” Tong said.
“Everyone in the ICT ecosystem needs to work together. This is the most important condition for us to realise 5G, and this is the reason Huawei is contributing to ITU’s efforts to consider what the road to 5G demands of all parts of the ecosystem.”
The focus group, which is open to participation by any interested party will provide the launching point for ITU-T’s contribution to IMT-2020 standardisation. The group will follow an intensive work plan to complete its study prior to the December meeting of ITU’s standardisation expert group responsible for future networks, cloud computing and network aspects of mobile communications.