There seem to be fewer difficulties with autonomous aircraft than there are with autonomous road transport.
The second part of this month’s meeting was devoted to 5 G. The 3GPP standard called 5 G NR was finalized and released last year. NR stands for New Radio and implies two methods of implementing the technology, one being 5 G NR SA, which is a Stand Alone version for new base stations. The second is 5 G NR NSA or Non-Stand Alone, which allows for the use of the existing 4 G LTE network to simplify and speed up implementation. Two frequency bands will be used for 5 G, these are less than 6 gHz and greater than 15 gHz. The later is now called millimeter waves
We viewed a video produced by Ericsson, the well-known manufacturer of telecommunications equipment. This video showed what we might expect from 5 G
We also saw a Nokia video showing the effect of lower latency:
- eMBB which stands for enhanced Mobile Broadband (offering increased speed and throughput together with increased coverage and reliability and reduced latency. Allows coverage of 1 million users per km^2
- URLL which stands for Ultra reliability and low latency ( around 1 ms). Primarily for critical remote controlled applications in health and industry
- Massive IOT for an expected huge increased in large scale relatively low speed applications.
In all cases lower power consumption is required for both user equipment (now called Ue) and base station equipment.
The enabling technology to achieve these standards is Massive MIMO with beam forming and active antennas and precoding. We saw a video by Thomas Marzetta from the Bell Labs who was responsible for the development of these.
While Massive MIMO can be explained using elementary linear algebra, explaining how multiple interferences caused by multipath propagation from nearby buildings and even the atmosphere is a problem in radio communications, it is not easily explained how that can be turned to a huge advantage in massive MIMO without using mathematics. The best way is to let the maths flow past and look at the results. In Marzetta’s paper in the limiting case, with an infinite number of antennas, the interference and noise disappear leaving only the enhanced required signal. Massive MIMO uses hundreds or thousands of antennas depending on the frequency band. 4 G LTE uses 4 or 8.
We will finish discussion of 5G and its implementation next month.