5G update: New ITU standards for network softwarization and fixed-mobile convergence
ITU has reached first-stage approval (‘consent’) of three new international standards defining the requirements of IMT-2020 (5G) systems as they relate to network operation, softwarization and fixed-mobile convergence.
The standards were developed by ITU’s standardization expert group for future networks, ITU-T Study Group 13.
The first-stage approvals come in parallel with Study Group 13’s establishment of a new ITU Focus Group to study machine learning in 5G systems.
End-to-end flexibility will be one of the defining features of 5G networks. This flexibility will result in large part from the introduction of network softwarization, the ability to create highly specialized network slices using advanced Software-Defined Networking (SDN), Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and cloud computing capabilities.
The new standard ITU Y.3101 “Requirements of the IMT-2020 network” describes the features of 5G networks necessary to ensure efficient 5G deployment and high network flexibility.
ITU Y.3150 “High-level technical characteristics of network softwarization for IMT-2020” describes the value of slicing in both horizontal and vertical, application-specific environments.
ITU Y.3130 “Requirements of IMT-2020 fixed-mobile convergence” calls for unified user identity, unified charging, service continuity, guaranteed support for high quality of service, control plane convergence and smart management of user data.
ITU support for cohesive 5G innovation
ITU’s programme on “International Mobile Telecommunications for 2020 and beyond (IMT-2020)”defines the framework and overall objectives of the 5G standardization process as well as the roadmap to guide this process to its conclusion by 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) is playing a similar convening role for the technologies and architectures of the wireline elements of 5G systems.
ITU standardization work on the wireline elements of 5G systems continues to accelerate.
ITU-T Study Group 15 (Transport, access and home) is developing a technical report on 5G requirements associated with backbone optical transport networks. ITU-T Study Group 11 (Protocols and test specifications) is studying the 5G control plane, relevant protocols and related testing methodologies. ITU-T Study Group 5 (Environment and circular economy) has assigned priority to its emerging study of the environmental requirements of 5G systems.
ITU-T Study Group 13 (Future networks), ITU’s lead group for 5G wireline studies, continues to support the shift to software-driven network management and orchestration. The group is progressing draft 5G standards addressing subjects including network architectures, network capability exposure, network slicing, network orchestration, network management-control, and frameworks to ensure high quality of service.
5G wireline standards developed by ITU-T Study Group 13 and approved in 2017 include:
ITU Y.3071 “Data Aware Networking (Information Centric Networking) – Requirements and Capabilities” will support ultra-low latency 5G communications by enabling proactive in-network data caching and limiting redundant traffic in core networks.
ITU Y.3100 “Terms and definitions for IMT-2020 network” provides a foundational set of terminology to be applied universally across 5G-related standardization work.
ITU Y.3111 “IMT-2020 network management and orchestration framework” establishes a framework and related principles for the design of 5G networks.
ITU Y.3310 “IMT-2020 network management and orchestration requirements” describes the capabilities required to support emerging 5G services and applications.
Supplement 44 to the ITU Y.3100 series “Standardization and open source activities related to network softwarization of IMT-2020” summarizes open-source and standardization initiatives relevant to ITU’s development of standards for network softwarization.