New book discusses LTE-Advanced Pro and the path to 5G

By: , Posted on: October 12, 2016


We sit down with the authors of 4G, LTE-Advanced Pro and The Road to 5G, to find out more about the 3rd Edition of their best-selling book.

What have been the key developments in LTE-Advanced Releases 12 and 13 (LTE-Advanced Pro) that Engineers need to know about?

The development of LTE can be seen as taking place in two different dimensions.

In the first dimension we have the introduction or extension of features targeting generally enhanced performance and user experience for current services and use cases. This includes the introduction of full-dimension MIMO, so-called small-cell enhancements and dynamic TDD (eIMTA), possibility of FDD+TDD aggregation, and support for dual connectivity.

In the second dimension we have the introduction of features targeting completely new use cases or completely new types of deployments. Examples in LTE release 12 and 13 are the enhancements of the radio access technology targeting so-called Machine-Type Communication (MTC), support for direct device-to-device communication (D2D), and possibility for LTE to be deployed in unlicensed spectrum. The latter is also referred to as Licensed Assisted Access or LAA.

What impact will these have on the industry? 

Introducing enhanced support for new use cases such as MTC and D2D obviously opens up for many new types of services providing benefits for society as well as new sources of revenue for the operators. New types of services include for example remote control of machinery, cargo tracking, fleet management, remote reading of utility meters, and home automation just to mention a few examples where connectivity for machines and other “things” are beneficial. In essence, anything that can benefit from a connection will be connected, realizing the vision of the networked society. The MTC enhancements in LTE will help realizing such services in a cost-efficient manner. D2D communication will also have a profound impact. Public safety, for example firemen communicating in a rescue mission, and vehicular-to-vehicular communication for traffic safety are perhaps the two most common examples.

Full-dimension MIMO and the various small-cell enhancements will result in higher capacity and higher data rates for general use cases, which will be needed in order to meet the ongoing traffic explosion. Spectrum is a scarce resource for most operators and for them it is important to use their assets in an as efficient manner as possible. LAA will also help meeting the increased demand for capacity and data rates by exploiting unlicensed spectrum as a complement.

In the book, you outline the path to 5G. Can you indicate your view on the general direction 5G will take?

Although 4G/LTE is already taking the first steps in extending the use cases for mobile communication, this trend will really take off as part of the step into 5G. While 4G was primarily designed, at least initially, as a tool to provide high-quality mobile broadband, 5G will already from the beginning target a very much wider range of use cases. Enhanced mobile broadband will continue to be important and will drive the need for even higher data rates and even higher system capacity. However, 5G will already from its foundation target different use cases with a wider range of characteristics and requirements, including the need for very low latency and ultra-reliable communication.

Another distinguishing factor of 5G is the expansion to much higher frequency bands. Every generation of mobile communication has extended the range of frequencies used for communication, from below 1 GHz for the first generation analog systems to beyond 3 GHz for LTE.

For 5G, an even bigger step will be taken by extending the range of frequencies at least up to 30-40 GHz and with frequencies up to 86 GHz being studied. This will enable much higher data rates and a more massive system capacity.

There is a lot of interest and speculation about 5G. What will be key characteristics and technologies for 5G, in particular for the New Radio Access?

As already mentioned, the support of new use cases and an extension to higher frequency bands are important characteristics of 5G radio access. Other key characteristics include ultra-lean design, Massive MIMO, high degree of flexibility to support the new frequencies and use cases, multi-site connectivity for higher reliability, and novel ways of providing system information and handling mobility for new deployment scenarios. Forward compatibility is also very important in order to be able to cater for future, yet-not-known use cases in an efficient manner. This has a major impact on the overall 5G design, where the need for ultra-lean design is one example.

Your book in this edition has had a major overhaul with several new chapters. Can you explain what this edition’s contains as new content?

In addition to the chapters on the new radio access, there are chapters for the new developments in MTC, D2D and LAA, small cell enhancements, and dual connectivity. There are also expanded information on several topics in new chapters, including carrier aggregation, channel state information and FD-MIMO and a more comprehensive chapter on spectrum and regulation. In addition, all other chapters are updated with the latest developments.

For readers new to the book, how would you summarize its key objectives?

The objective is to give an extensive insight into LTE technologies and standards, including the ongoing developments into the 5G era for both LTE Evolution and the new radio access. The book gives insights in the latest developments for people in standardization, development as well as academia.

4g LTE-advanced pro and the road to 5g

4G, LTE-Advanced Pro and The Road to 5G, 3rd Edition is available now on the Elsevier Store. You can save up to 30% on your own copy. Enter STC215 at the checkout!

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