3GPP Greenlights 24 New Projects for 2020 to Advance 5G

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is the organization responsible for global standardization of 3G, 4G and, now, 5G. The group considers the cellular technology innovations of many companies to create features that work across various networks and phones. The 3GPP just approved 24 new projects to advance 5G, which are targeted to go online in the second half of 2021. The projects will commence their work in early 2020. 3GPP’s Release 15, approved in mid-2018, enabled early 5G to use 4G as a foundation.

VentureBeat reports that 3GPP’s next step, Release 16, also known as 5G Phase 2, is “currently underway, with a freeze on changes scheduled for March 2020 and standard completion slated for June.” Release 16 “focuses on creating a complete end-to-end 5G system and setting the stage for cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) communications.”

Release 17, which the 3GPP plans to debut by September 2021, “will address a number of third-phase expansions of the standard … such as improvements to boost speeds and power efficiency, including enhanced dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS), dual 5G and 4G-5G simultaneous connectivity, millimeter wave beamforming, and delivery of service from multiple transmission points.”

Release 17 will also “increase location accuracy down to centimeter level and address multi-SIM support for the first time” as well as offer NR-Light, a version of 5G that will work on wearable and Internet of Things (IoT) devices that need “access to high cellular bandwidth without the power drain of full 5G implementations.” NR-Light will provide 100Mbps downloads and 50Mbps uploads using just 10-20MHz of bandwidth, “which will be enough for video cameras, many wearables, and industrial IoT sensors.”

The 3GPP is also working on 5G Massive IoT, which will permit “existing IoT sensor platforms to support satellite transmissions.”

VB notes that Release 17 will “increase supported 5G spectrum into the 60GHz band — frequencies that have previously been used, lightly, by 802.11ad and 802.11ay Wi-Fi devices such as virtual reality headsets.” Release 17 will also “add support for public safety multicasting and venue-casting, enabling large numbers of users in specific geographies to simultaneously receive warnings or other notifications.”

The group is also working on “extending C-V2X to enable ‘sidelink’ — direct vehicle-to-vehicle/device communications — to pedestrians, bicyclists, and users of other small vehicles, both for direct-from-vehicle and relayed communications.”