Nov. 7–8, 2019 – Berlin, Germany

5G Reality Check: State Of Play In 5G Technologies, Applications & How To Start With 5G

Dear old and new FOKUS Family Members,

The 10th anniversary FOKUS FUSECO Forum is history. Probably one of the best FFFs ever regarding sponsorships, talks, interactive panels, technical discussions, and the number of experts attending – namely again from 32 nations. So FUSECO Forum proved to be a highly international event and I guess this time we had the largest panels ever (sorry for standing in the row so long, friends). It was good to see so many good old friends, but we have also welcomed a good number of new participants joining the family. Welcome on board!

So what did we learn in these two days packed with many excellent talks and demos of 5G technologies? 5G technology is complex as it is aggregating many different enabling technologies, and on the other hand 5G is a toolbox to be customized for specific needs. So there is not one 5G for all, but 5G is many different network instantiations. Lots of trials and PoCs are now underway to better understand the limits of current standards and products, but also to learn about potential new use cases (and killer applications?). Nevertheless, there is no doubt that 5G has hit the international markets, but it is still in its infancy. 3GPP Release 15 is forming the foundation of first available products and the focus is clearly on enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) services, namely for capacity extensions and Fixed Wireless Access offers to provide coverage.

3GPP Release 16 is underway addressing the lower left and right corners of the ITU-T 5G services triangle, and thus Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC) and Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (uRLLC) are not supported yet by current vendor products. It’s also noteworthy that some key features for true real-time 5G and full IoT network integration, e.g., NB-IoT, are probably only addressed within 3GPP Release 17 due in 2022. Thus all operators are following in their rollouts a non-standalone architecture for assuring seamless roaming with 4G/LTE networks.

However, 5G campus/non-public networks seem to be a hot spot area in which vendors and network operators are currently trying to approach different industry verticals. It is obvious that these networks have to be highly customized and a strong cooperation between operators, vendors, and verticals is mandatory in order to be successful. It is important to understand the very specific needs of different industries as it also became clear through some market research reports that the future 5G market will primarily be a B2B market and the biggest revenue opportunity is in addressing these industry vertical network needs. However, in addition to operator support for campus networks real private network approaches and new business models are appearing, enabled by the use of a local 5G spectrum. We have been very happy to see, that Germany´s regulatory authority, i.e., the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur - BNetzA), released the pricing regime for local 5G frequencies in Germany (i.e., 3.7 – 3.8 GHz) in October. We also learned that Japan is heading for local private networks soon, as well as other countries in Europe and Asia. We heard interesting presentations on 5G requirements from different verticals such as Manufacturing, Automotive, and smart places like fairgrounds heading for 5G (private) campus networks soon.

Following our mission to open the eyes for upcoming things we also ran a final panel on 5G beyond/6G networks as this is a hot topic in international research calls. Of course, it sounds absurd to look at 6G while 5G is just in its infancy and many more years will have to be spent on tuning 5G to fulfill all its promises. However, besides 5G/satellite integration, terahertz communications and the application of AI/ML for networks and services, new aspects like much lower energy consumption and sustainability of future networks, but also better “health compatibility” were discussed. So let’s see how the growing society’s environmental awareness will affect 5G adoption in the mass markets over the next years.

Last but not least, we have to say that our “Let’s look above the rim” evening event at the Berliner Fernsehturm was a real highlight supporting the networking amongst our family members. We were at interesting event sites in the past, but this evening will probably be hard to top. But let’s see. ;-)

After FUSECO Forum is before FUSECO Forum. This being said, please save the date for FFF2020 themed “Understanding The Innovation Potential Of 5G Campus Networks And Emerging New 5G Ecosystems In Different Industry Verticals“ on November 5/6, 2020 in Berlin, Germany.

All the best and stay up-to-date by regularly visiting our NGNI website.

May the force be with you!

Thomas and the NGNI Team

Impressions of the 10th FOKUS Fuseco Forum


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