3GPP chat underlines need for speed and open minds on the 5G core

Video offers insight into demands placed on core network by cellular IOT and by 5G. Will network slicing demand a complete core network rethink? Maybe, if we knew what the industry meant by the term.

This is an interesting conversation, that actually has a little more in it than the edited transcript that you can read here – so is worth a look. It’s between Georg Mayer and Adrain Scrase, both wearing their 3GPP hats here, and was filmed at a plenary meeting in Sitges held late in 2015.

It’s very acronym heavy (for instance you have to know that CT group in 3GPP stands for Core network and Terminals).

But the key points are that work on Mission Critical Push to Talk (MC-PTT) will finish by March, although it will take a lot of work.

Secondly, cellular IoT will take some support from the CT group, although it is at the study phase at the moment with specification at 0%. Most of the current requirements are happening in other groups (such as the RAN group) but the core network elements will have to be specced in one short burst.

Scrase, pushing on the need for network slicing, asks if that would bring a complete rethink of the core? Mayer says “it might” but it’s still not clear what slicing will mean and how it will be done.

As for the way in which the core will evolve to support a next generation 5G access, here things get interesting. Georg Mayer, 3GPP CT Chair, says that talking about 5G requirements involves “largely speculation”, but there are some indicators from current work. One is mobile service steering, and another dedicated networks.

Scrase, pushing on the proposed need for network slicing in 5G, (to deliver hooked-up service quality and parameters on a per-service basis) asks if that would bring a complete rethink of the core? Mayer says “it might” but it’s still not clear what slicing will mean and how it will be done.

“We need a bit of clearer guidance” he says.

Scrase asks if slicing and 5G requirement definitions will be driven by the radio network and then the core aligns with that, or do we need a more “top down” view? Mayer says that on low latency the radio aspect will lead, but on IoT and critical comms we can start with the application and look at those requirements, although this is already being done in Stage 1.

“Are delegates in CT sufficiently open-minded to have a radical rethink about the core network?” asks Scrase. Mayer says he thinks so, yes. Interesting question to have asked, though, in an public capacity.

Sticking to his role as devil’s advocate, 5G’s 2020 deadline will mean not just an open mind but some expediency, Scrase proposes. “I agree,” Mayer says. “It’s an enormous goal to have this by 2020. On the other hand we will not have a different chance”. The speed of evolution in IoT and connected cars, and the needs of the outside world, mean we have to be the enabler, says Mayer.

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