We got the official 5G logo earlier this month. Earlier this week the International Telcommunication Union (ITU) released a new report to confirm minimum requirements related to technical performance for IMT-2020 or 5G radio interface(s) which support the new capabilities of systems beyond IMT-2000 and IMT-Advanced. This outlines 13 specs that will need to be met for networks to call themselves 5G.
The minimum requirements for peak data rate, peak spectral efficiencies and target values for the user experienced data rate (in the Dense Urban – eMBB test environment):
- Downlink peak data rate is 20 Gbit/s
- Uplink peak data rate is 10 Gbit/s
- Downlink peak spectral efficiency is 30 bit/s/Hz
- Uplink peak spectral efficiency is 15 bit/s/Hz
- Downlink user experienced data rate is 100 Mbit/s
- Uplink user experienced data rate is 50 Mbit/s
5G must support at least 1 million connected devices per square kilometre (0.38 square miles). Similar to LTE and LTE-Advanced, the 5G spec calls for base stations that can support everything from 0km/h up to “500km/h high speed vehicular” access (i.e. trains).
Under ideal circumstances, 5G networks should offer users a maximum latency of just 4ms, down from about 20ms on LTE cells. It also calls for a latency of just 1ms for ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC).
Traffic channel link data rates normalized by bandwidth
|Test environment||Normalized traffic channel link data rate (Bit/s/Hz)||Mobility (km/h)|
|Indoor Hotspot – eMBB||1.5||10|
|Dense Urban – eMBB||1.12||30|
|Rural – eMBB||0.8||120|
The IMT-2020 standardization process shows the process to turn the 5G draft spec into real technology that stretches till 2020. The ITU’s draft report is likely to be finalized in November 2017, and we might not see any significant changes to these figures. The main theme of the MWC 2017 is 5G. Intel, Qualcomm, Nokia, Samsung and others have already revealed some details about their 5G plans.