Intel discusses 5G on the road to WRC-19

-January 24, 2017

This year I attended the Radio & Wireless Week (RWW) 2017 for the first time thanks to a ‘heads up’ from my colleague Martin Rowe. I was so very pleasantly surprised about the variety of relevant topics that spanned from distinguished lecturer’s talks, workshops, demo tracks, a student paper contest, and last-but-not-least an elementary school science project presentation. This conference, RWW2017, highlights the recent hardware and system solutions that will help facilitate the upcoming deployment of 5G.

Intel’s plenary session

Two major efforts are presently underway in the International Telecommunication Union - Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R). First, ITU-R Working Party 5D (WP 5D) is undertaking a wide range of tasks culminating in the development of the specification(s) for IMT-2020. The second major effort revolves around spectrum access. Demand for mobile broadband spectrum continues to grow due to an increasing number of users (approximately 3.6 billion mobile broadband subscriptions in 2016) and more bandwidth-intensive traffic such as video.

The presenter of the plenary session was Intel’s Executive Director of Communications Policy, Jayne Stancavage, who gave an extremely educational and informative talk regarding the ITU-R sector development of a specification for IMT-2020 which will be the ‘sandbox,’ as Stancavage calls it, for the industry in which they can create a successful 5G system. As part of the ITU-R, a global radio spectrum management and radiocommunication standardization team, Stancavage is a member of a diverse team charged with this task.



A detailed investigation of the main elements of IMT-2020 has been in progress using a strong partnership the ITU-R has with the mobile broadband industry and the many 5G community stakeholders. Stancavage explained that the ITU is a United Nations (UN) agency on IT and communications. Here is what the ITU is prioritizing:

  1. Specification development
  2. The technical basis for radio communication conferences
  3. A handbook

The IMT-2020 standardization process has much work ahead, but has already completed the first part of this effort:


Stancavage also discussed the new spectrum bands being studied for the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19):


We were told that WP 5D studies are due in March 2017. WP 5D is responsible for the overall radio system aspects of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) systems, comprising the IMT-2000, IMT-Advanced, and IMT for 2020 and beyond. It is the job of WRC to review, and, if necessary, revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum.

Stancavage said that the ITU is trying to improve energy efficiency in wireless communications for 5G. They need to determine what metrics are important: battery life is a big factor, but there is always a trade-off. There are proposals right now for IMT-2020 looking for ways to determine how to quantify improvements in energy efficiency.

Stancavage’s company, Intel, has an interesting end-to-end 5G plan. 5G will transform the way we think of communications and the way we live. The world around us will be seamlessly interconnected via 50 billion devices.

(Image courtesy of Intel)


5G will be comprised of a heterogeneous network of wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, mmWave, LTE-Advanced, and so many more. Autonomous automobiles, delivery drones, the IoT, and virtual reality will emerge and be a part of our everyday lives.

There will be more information about 5G this year as we approach the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan. The 5G technology presented in the 2018 Olympics will be pre-standard. Everyone wants to show their solutions first, especially on a world stage. With 3.5 billion people watching the Olympics, this marketing opportunity has certainly had a part in driving the schedule for 5G deployment.



Here are 5G plans for a select group of telecom providers (Image courtesy of GSMA Intelligence).


So what types of innovations will 5G bring the sports world audience? Possibly a high-speed, low-latency mobile connection will give a spectator a view of an event from different vantage points, such as the ability of switching between a camera mounted on a player’s helmet, to a birds-eye view, and then to a conventional side-on viewpoint. Operators may be able to transmit enough data to enable viewers to watch 3D holograms or 360-degree aspects of the sports action. Viewers can conceivably be equipped with a virtual reality headset, moving their head around to watch different aspects of the event. How about being able to find your way to the stadium, then be guided to your seats, and order and pay for food and beverages via your smart phone?

What are your thoughts on the future of 5G?

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