Start the Clock: It’s the Final Countdown to the 5G Standard

By Reza Arefi, Director, Spectrum Strategy, Next Generation and Standards Group, Intel Corporation

In the last weeks before the 5G Standalone (SA) New Radio (NR) global standard is finalized, the wireless industry stands on the brink of a massive technological transformation.

5G will take the industry beyond communications— bringing together wireless, computing, and the cloud to create a unified technological basis for a scalable global marketplace.

The promise of 5G is undeniable. More than just the next generation of communications—5G will usher in the next Industrial Revolution, unleashing new human and technological possibilities, and fueling business and financial opportunities. 5G will take the industry beyond communications— bringing together wireless, computing, and the cloud to create a unified technological basis for a scalable global marketplace. At the heart of that transformation sit standards-based technologies, perhaps the most crucial of which is nearing finalization—5G SA NR.

Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with the Telecommunications Industry Association to discuss the standard, and the impact it will have on 5G as a whole.

You can watch this video, which not only discusses this momentous milestone but also provides context on the importance of 5G.

Reflect for a moment on the imminent impact of 5G, and think of where we stood (with brick phone in-hand) just four decades ago. The speed of innovation is accelerating, and now we find ourselves at a critical point that will determine the trajectory of technology to come. From connected cars and immersive media experiences to drones, AI-enhanced industries and smart cities, we are just beginning to scratch the surface of what we can accomplish with 5G.

Indeed, this is precisely why Intel is so proud to be at the center of this innovation. Intel participates well over 300 standards and industry groups worldwide, holding leading positions in the ITU, 3GPP, and IEEE, among others. With the vast applications of 5G, it’s important that the industry work collaboratively to find solutions that meet the varied performance requirements of 5G use cases.

One great example of this is the 5G SA NR Standard that can meet many of the wide-ranging requirements of 5G–from speed and throughput, to latency and reliability, to range and more. The 5G SA NR standard will create a universal technological foundation, ensuring global interoperability for users, and helping manufacturers achieve economies of scale.

Intel has been uniquely positioned at the forefront of these conversations—providing technological leadership and leveraging global partnerships to push testing and implementation of standards-based technologies. Common connectivity methodologies among the countless endpoints to data centers and beyond is a necessity, which is why Intel has immersed itself in solving advanced challenges and advocating for industry standards that promote best practices in the interest of all. So, how are we approaching the standards challenge?

Back in early 2017, Intel came together with other industry leaders to develop an accelerated path to 5G standardization. Because of the magnitude of work required to implement 5G, Intel and other industry leaders decided to introduce a midpoint release (Non-Standalone 5G NR) in December 2017 that would use 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) as its anchor. The goal was to provide immediate industry guardrails for transition to 5G while providing time to set the pieces in place for operation independent of LTE (Standalone 5G NR).

In June 2018, the industry will make the heavily-anticipated shift, enabling the necessary infrastructure and silicon improvements to fulfill the profound requirements of 5G. With the official, set standard for 5G SA NR, the work to drive us into the next generation continues, faster than ever before.

By partnering with manufacturers to develop prototypes and test global interoperability, Intel is translating the 5G SA NR standard into technical realities, which are essential milestones in reaching functional 5G by 2020. The work is challenging, and the scope is immense, but inspiration is at an all-time high. With a constant eye to the future and feet planted firmly on the ground, Intel is dedicated to bringing to life the ambitious vision for a 5G-powered world.

To learn more about Intel’s role in driving 5G standards, watch the video collaboration with TIA NOW.

Reza Arefi is the Director of Spectrum Strategy at the Next Generation and Standards (NGS) Group of Intel Corporation. An accomplished engineer, with more than 20 years of experience in his field, Arefi has made critical contributions to the development of 5G standards and technologies. He holds several wireless communications patents in the areas of mmWave technologies and spectrum sharing – advancements that have proven mission-critical to the realization of 5G. Arefi is presently focused on identifying optimal spectral vehicles and the related regulatory developments to enable the next generation of 5G use cases, including drones, autonomous vehicles, and smart cities.