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Expert group identifies emerging demands of ‘5G’ to fuel ITU standardization

Open-source communities to join ITU study of networking innovations

Geneva, 17 December – The ITU-T Focus Group on network aspects of IMT-2020 (‘5G’) has received an extension to its lifetime, with a mandate to undertake in-depth studies into areas such as ‘network softwarization’ and slicing, emerging networking technologies, mobile backhaul and fronthaul, and end-to-end quality of service (QoS). New Terms of Reference call for the group to engage open-source communities, influencing and taking advantage of their work by introducing them to the challenges that telecoms players must overcome in the development of the 5G ecosystem.

The Focus Group’s vision of the 5G era is of a highly dynamic information and communication technology (ICT) industry characterized by the entrance of new players to the networking business and new opportunities for telecoms companies. The approach to year 2020 will play host to the emergence of new business models capitalizing on the transformative effects of softwarization and the associated convergence of open-source and telecoms communities.

The Focus Group was established in May 2015 to analyse how emerging 5G technologies will interact in future networks as a preliminary study into the networking innovations required to support the development of 5G systems. The group took an ecosystem view of 5G research of development, identifying 85 ‘gaps’ in existing standards to be addressed in the approach to year 2020, and published the analysis in its Report.

“The analysis of emerging demands on networking carried out by ITU’s Standardization Sector is a valuable complement to the 5G standardization programme overseen by ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “The road to the 5G era will see the ICT industry undergo significant transformation, and I am pleased to see ITU members creating an open platform to build greater cohesion in 5G innovation.”

The Focus Group’s Chairman Peter Ashwood-Smith outlines ambitions for 2016 in an interview. “Telecoms companies are calling for more softwarization,” says Ashwood-Smith, Huawei Senior Researcher and Technical Vice President. “Standards development for network-function virtualization and software-defined networking has received strong support from telecoms players hoping to introduce more softwarization and benefit from the use of general-purpose, ‘white-box’ hardware.” Read more

In 2012, ITU established a programme on “International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) for 2020 and beyond (IMT-2020)”, providing the framework for 5G research and development worldwide. Recommendation ITU‑R M.2083‑0 defines the framework and overall objectives of the future development of IMT for 2020 and beyond. The ITU Radiocommunication Assembly held in Geneva, 26-30 October 2015, endorsed Resolutions ITU-R 65 and 56-2 that establish the roadmap for the development of 5G mobile and the term that will apply to it: “IMT-2020”..   

ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) is coordinating the international standardization and identification of spectrum for 5G mobile development. ITU’s Standardization Sector (ITU-T) will play a similar convening role for the technologies and architectures of the wireline elements of 5G networks.  

“The work of the ITU-T Focus Group on network aspects of IMT-2020 has met the high expectations of the ITU membership,” said François Rancy, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau. “ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector welcomes the decision to extend the Focus Group’s lifetime, and we look forward to building on the results to emerge from the next phase of the group’s study.”

“5G research and development is being driven by a great number and diversity of industry players, research institutes and standardization bodies,” said Chaesub Lee, Director of the ITU Standardization Bureau. “Our Focus Group on network aspects of IMT-2020 is analysing how all the elements of the 5G ecosystem will work in harmony, a welcome contribution to the multifaceted 5G preparations being undertaken worldwide.”

The Focus Group, which is open to participation by any interested party, has provided the launching point for ITU-T’s contribution to 5G standardization. The group’s initial findings have been presented to ITU’s standardization expert group responsible for future networks, cloud computing and network aspects of mobile communications, ITU-T Study Group 13.

In extending the Focus Group’s lifetime, ITU-T Study Group 13 granted the group a new mandate, outlined by the following Terms of Reference:

  1. Explore demonstrations or prototyping with other groups, notably the open-source community
  2. Enhance aspects of network softwarization and information-centric networking
  3. Continue to refine and develop the IMT-2020 network architecture
  4. Continue to study fixed-mobile convergence
  5. Continue to study network slicing for the fronthaul/backhaul network
  6. Continue to define new traffic models and associated aspects of QoS and operations, administration and management (OAM) applicable to IMT-2020 networks

ITU-T standardization activity based on the findings of the Focus Group will prioritize the alignment of 5G deliverables with those of ITU-R, ensuring that standardization work on the network aspects of 5G is informed by the progression of its radio-transmission systems.

Note to the editor: ITU-T Focus Groups are formed in response to immediate ICT standardization demands, charged with laying the foundations of subsequent standardization work in membership-driven ITU-T Study Groups. Focus Groups are open to organizations outside ITU’s membership and they are afforded greater flexibility in their chosen deliverables and working methods.    

For more information, please contact:

Sanjay Acharya
Chief, Media Relations & Public Information
ITU
tel +41 22 730 5046
mobile +41 79 249 4861
tel sanjay.acharya@itu.int

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