5G: Base stations everywhere. Yes, everywhere.

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Today while the world is still struggling with the LTE deployment, there are people and organizations already thinking on what’s next.

METIS (Mobile and wireless communications Enablers for Twenty-twenty (2020) Information Society) is a project is an Integrated Project under the Seventh Framework Programme for research and development (FP7) co-funded by the European Commission. The project will provide an important platform for a European-led early global consensus on fundamental questions connected to the development of the future mobile and wireless communications system, and pave the way for future standardisation.

In a few years, mobile networks will have to deal with a thousand times more the traffic they have to today. One possible solution is to place small base stations in our homes or cars. This is one of several proposals being examined at Chalmers University of Technology, in the work being performed for the next generation wireless system – 5G.

“We see that traffic capacity in the long term needs to increase a thousandfold to meet this rapid development. Theoretically, we could provide the capacity by increasing the number of big base stations, but this option is not economically viable,” says Associate Professor Tommy Svensson at Chalmers University of Technology.

Chalmers University is examining the possibility of densifying the cellular network by supplementing the infrastructure with simple, low power and small base stations. These can be positioned, for example, next to lampposts, facades and in indoor environments. Another proposal is to place small mobile base stations in vehicles, such as cars, trucks, buses and trains.

With these additions to the mobile network, data transfer from big base stations will become ​​more efficient, and the distance to users will decrease – which will benefit high speed data traffic and result in increased battery life for mobile devices. When small base stations are located closer to users, radio signals can be used more efficiently and thereby be transmitted with less power, which means exposure to radiation from mobile communications can be reduced.

Placing base stations in vehicles can offer smart and flexible densification, which partially addresses the current problem of mobile access in crowded areas – where there are many people, there are generally also vehicles.

According to the METIS 2020 Project, mobile data traffic is expected to be 12 times higher by the end of 2018. The project is working on five 5G scenarios  that reflect the future challenges and will serve as guidance for further work:

  1.  “Amazingly fast”, focusing on high data rates for future mobile broadband users;
  2.  “Great service in a crowd”, focusing on mobile broadband access even in very crowded areas and conditions;
  3.  “Ubiquitous things communicating”, focusing on efficient handling of a very large number of devices with widely varying requirements;
  4.  “Best experience follows you”, focusing on delivering high levels of user experience to mobile end users; and
  5.  “Super real-time and reliable connections”, focusing on new applications and use cases with stringent requirements for latency and reliability.

What do you think?

For more info check: Chalmer’s press release.

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