What are the hot topics in research for 5G?


Virtual Reality games, drones, medical and wearable devices will all use cellular networks to connect with one another, interacting with end-users to provide a series of innovative services such as smart homes, smart cities, smart cars, advanced security , and  telesurgery.

Clearly, in order to serve such a massive number of terminals, future networks will have to drastically increase the provided capacity compared to present standards. It is estimated that the traffic volume in 5G networks will reach tens of Exabytes (10006 Bytes) per month.

This requires the data provided by 5G networks to be 1000 times higher than in present cellular systems. However, in order to satisfy this requirements in the most efficient way, new developments are needed in the physical and network layers:

Physical Layer:

  • Concurrent multi-band PA: there is a motivation to develop multi-band power amplifier (PA) in order to reduce cost and physical size. Multi-band power amplifiers can support signals of multiple band frequencies simultaneously, therefore all wireless functions can work at the same time. Among the PA architectures developed, the most popular ones are parallel single-band PAs and concurrent multi-band PAs.
  • High efficiency PA: linear radio frequency PAs play a major role in terms of base station energy consumption and heat dissipation. More efficient base station PAs are a crucial factor in the evolution of mobile systems. Reducing the energy consumed by radio base stations will also reduce the environmental impact of the radio access network.
  • New waveforms: The limitations of OFDM-based waveforms were identified as a research topic for future 5G waveforms. One aspect is the requirement for much shorter latency to enable new services and applications like autonomous driving and telesurgery that demand an ultra-low latency and a highly resilient communication link. Another approach is to make the cyclic prefix optional and make the frames work with shorter symbol durations. All this has led to several candidate waveforms, such as Generalized frequency division multiplex (GFDM), Filter bank multicarrier (FBMC), Universal filtered multicarrier (UFMC), Filtered OFDM (f-OFDM) that are being tested and analysed at present.


  • Software Defined Networking (SDN): this is a new architecture that has been designed to enable more agile and cost-effective networks. It allows dynamic reconfiguration of the network by taking a new approach to the network architecture. A traditional network device, like a router, contains both the control and data plane. The control plane determines the route that traffic will take through the network, while the data plane is the part of the network that actually carries the traffic (data). By separating the control and data plane, network equipment can be externally configured through independent management software and has the potential to transform the network from a closed to an open system

Network Layer:

  • Energy Efficiency: After a decade of intense research, motivated by both economic and operational considerations, and by environmental concerns, energy efficiency has now become a key pillar in the design of communication networks. With the advent of the fifth generation of wireless networks, with millions more base stations and billions of connected devices, the need for energy-efficient system design and operation will be even more compelling. The efficient of the power at the base station is one of the key research topics.

  • Small cells: the purposes of this technology are increasing the capacity in areas with high user densities. It improves the coverage and available data rates and extends the phone battery life by reduced power consumption. At present, there are three main types of small cells: femtocells, picocells and microcells. By 2020, it is expected that dense deployments of small cells will take place.
  • Massive MIMO (MMIMO): this candidate for 5G technology promises significant gains in wireless data rates and link reliability by using significantly more antennas at the base transceiver station (BTS) than in present wireless technologies . The BTS architecture of current standards uses up to eight antennas in a sectorized topology. With hundreds of antenna elements, MMIMO reduces the radiated power by focusing the energy to targeted mobile users. It uses precoding techniques. At the same time, interference to other users decreases.
  • mmWaves: the millimeter wave spectrum is the band of spectrumbetween 30 GHz and 300 GHz. High-speed wireless communications use this chunk of the spectrum, as seen with the latest 802.11ad Wi-Fi standard (operating at 60 GHz). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and researchers considered as the way to bring 5G into the future. It allocates more bandwidth to deliver faster, higher-quality video, and multimedia content and services.



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