Challenges being faced by the Indian networks ahead of the new era of 5G

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Stepping towards the Internet of things era and 5G, the Indian telecom industry needs to bring about drastic developmental changes in its technologies to facilitate the 5g technology.  Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have joined forces to establish a prvong ground for the conception of 5G  after being funded by the government with an amount of INR2224 crore. Indian telcos such as Airtel and Vodafone have already started examining multiple- input multiple- output and carrier aggregation by expanding them for spectral efficiency and viability by the former telecom service provider.  With the 5G standardization process strengthening and the 5G new radio and non- stand alone standard receiving approval last December, more set of standards might be declared later this year itself.

5G will require far more intensive changes in the existing networks than any other mobile network technologies that preceded it.  The impact of 5G will not be limited to mere speed boost but to an entire change in our lifestyle from the core level.  5G will capacitate virtual reality, India’s smart City initiative and remote surgery to list a few possibilities. The demand of an extensive preparation level required by the networks is consequential.

The different networking requirements of 5G are based on the fact that it will cater to multiple traffic types unlike its predecessors. Each of these traffic types such as the Internet of things, mission critical services etc. will have different prerequisites from the 5 G network. Service providers will have to bring fundamental changes in the designing and management of network.

For the mobile networks of the future to be more flexible, centralized and virtualized Radio Access Networks (RAN) architectures will assume a pivotal role, in turn impacting the network connection between radios and baseband units called fronthaul. Therefore, to complement these virtualized architectures, a modified and standardized fronthaul interface is imperative.

Implementation of the latest and standard based fronthaul transport namely IQ data packetization  over IEEE 802.3 is vital for 5G as it requires synchronized existence of  macro, micro and small cells for superior scalable and flexible network, which cannot be provided by the existing Common Public Radio Interface which is the prevalent standard for fronthaul transport for 4G network.

Network slicing is the concept that gives high capacity, low dormancy and prioritization of services. The Indian telecom industry needs to intelligently exploit the principles of virtualization to bring about network slicing that entails slicing one physical network into multiple slices that are virtual and use them with varied performance specifications.

Indian service providers have a lot of preparation in store for them for 5G. Up gradation of backhaul network to fiber from microwave will be a huge task as studies reflect that fibred base stations in India are not more than 15 %.  With the increase in data requirements, more cell sites will need to be set up which will be connected to fiber and Ethernet.

Massive improvements are required in the current network architecture to support the long and exciting journey of 5G in India. It can only be achieved with the right balance of intelligence, scalability and automation.

 

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