How 5G standards are formulated

The 5G standard consists of many technologies, and coding is a very basic technology. In 5G-related standards, the major camps in the world once argued fiercely about channel coding standards. In 2016, Polar, which was pushed by Chinese communication companies, became the control channel code. This is China’s first breakthrough in the field of channel coding, which has laid a foundation for China to fight for more speaking rights in the 5G standard than before. “From this perspective, China can be said to be among the best in the world to a certain extent.”

From May 21st to 25th, the 3GPP working group of the International Mobile Telecommunications Standardization Organization held the last meeting of the first phase of 5G standard development in Busan, South Korea. It is reported that this meeting will determine the entire content of the 3GPP R15 standard. It is expected that in the plenary meeting to be held in the United States next month, 3GPP will announce the standard for the first phase of 5G. So, what kind of organization is 3GPP responsible for the development of telecommunications standards? How are 5G standards that have attracted much attention? How much power do Chinese companies have in the 5G standard formulation process? With these questions, reporters from Beijing Youth Daily interviewed people in the industry.

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5G independent networking standards expected to be released next month

At this 3GPP Busan conference, all working groups that develop 5G wireless technologies will consolidate at this conference and finally determine the relevant standard technologies for the commercialization of 5G RAN.

At the conference, there will be about 1500 standard experts from chipset, mobile phone and equipment suppliers, mobile operators, etc. to participate in the conference to complete the first phase of 5G standards. These include 5G wireless access technology that provides ultra-high-speed data and ultra-low latency, and conformance testing methods for 5G terminals. In short, after the Busan conference, the independent networking standards in the first phase of 5G have been released.

A number of Chinese companies including Huawei, OPPO, VIVO and other communication equipment and mobile phone manufacturers also participated in the meeting to discuss and submit proposals. Yang Chaobin, president of Huawei’s 5G product line, said that according to the plan, the conference will complete standard technologies related to 5G independent networking (SA). After review and approval, it will be officially announced at the US plenary next month, and Huawei has also prepared proposals. After the standard is determined, equipment companies can use commercial equipment based on standards.

Prior to 3GPP, 5G standardization was divided into two phases: the first phase started R15 as a 5G standard, which was completed in June 2018; the second phase started R16 as a 5G standard, which was completed in December 2019. The 5G Phase 1 standard will be finalized at a 3GPP conference in the United States next month.

Explain doubts

How many 5G standards are there?

Some readers can’t help wondering. Didn’t you say that 3GPP has determined a 5G standard last year? Why do you decide again now? Why are there claims that the final standard will wait until 2019 or even 2020?

“The last time was a non-independent networking standard, this time it will be a 5G independent networking standard.” Xiang Ligang, a senior communications observer, pointed out in an interview that, in simple terms, non-independent networking is not an independent 5G. The network needs to be integrated with other things, such as 4G or even 3G; 5G independent networking means a completely established 5G network without 4G.

“In non-independent networking, what is 5G used for? 5G is used as a supplement. The large network is 4G, but in some hot areas, such as the Olympic venues, CBD, etc., these local areas increase hotspots to increase network speed through 5G. And users perceive and experience, but the entire large-scale network is still not using 5G. In contrast, 5G independent networking means that the entire network is completely covered with 5G. “Xiang Ligang further explained.

“The establishment of independent networking standards means that the deployment standards of the entire 5G network have become more perfect.” Xiang Ligang said that non-independent networking takes hot spots as the core and solves the problem of local hot spot coverage in a small area; now it is independent Under the networking standards, 5G comprehensive network coverage can be solved. Therefore, the establishment of this standard is very important. It can be considered that the 5G standard is further and more complete.


What kind of organization is 3GPP?

3GPP is an organization currently developing 5G communication standard technology, with more than 550 companies participating as member companies. It consists of 16 working groups that are responsible for formulating standard specifications for terminal, base station and system end-to-end technology. It can be seen from the naming that the organization was established in the 3G era. In 1998, a number of telecommunications standards organization partners signed the “3rd Generation Partnership Project Agreement” and formulated global applicable technical specifications and technical reports in the 3G era. Since then, 3GPP has continued into the 4G era and then into the 5G era.

Independent analyst Fu Liang told Beiqing Daily that the 3GPP’s right to speak is determined based on the contribution of the company’s history to the organization. Several major equipment vendors, Qualcomm, Intel, etc. have a larger right to speak, and they will serve as the group’s chairman and vice-chairman. Position. At present, the major communication equipment vendors include Huawei, ZTE, Nokia, Ericsson, etc.

The China Wireless Communication Standards Research Group joined 3GPP in 1999. Since then, with the development of Chinese manufacturers and operators, China has become more and more important. According to statistics, dozens of companies or institutions in China have become 3GPP partners, including equipment vendors Huawei, ZTE, Datang, Putian, Xinwei, chip manufacturers Hisilicon, Spreadtrum, etc., mobile phone manufacturers VIVO, OPPO, Nubia, Coolpad, Xiaomi, operators China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom, and China Information and Communication Technology Academy.


How is the 5G standard established?

According to the 5G network standard development process previously announced by 3GPP, the entire 5G network standard is completed in several stages. In the R15 phase, it is expected that by June 2018, the 5G standard (SA) for independent networking will be completed, which supports enhanced mobile broadband and low-latency high-reliability Internet of Things, and completes network interface protocols. The R16 phase is expected to complete a complete 5G standard that meets all the requirements of the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) in December 2019. The entire 5G standard was fully adopted at the ITU meeting, and it is expected that it will not reach 2020.

According to some vendors, the working method of 3GPP is to reach consensus. The only requirement for a proposal to pass is that no companies object, not how many companies agree. Based on the patent reserves and profit considerations of various manufacturers, each proposal was initially opposed by many companies, and the proposal rarely passed intact. Therefore, many proposals need to be left to the next meeting to continue discussions. It is also necessary to continuously deny and amend some proposals in order to achieve the result of unanimous adoption by enterprises with a large say.

According to people familiar with the matter, during the two meetings, manufacturers with important patents will fight for and mediate, such as reducing some patent licensing fees for the other party, in order to “draw votes.” Therefore, each company may update its position based on the maximization of its own interests and vote for different schemes in the next ballot. It is also in this process that the final unified plan.

Why is it related to ITU’s approval? In this regard, Xiang Ligang explained that as an international standardization organization that promotes 5G standards, most of 3GPP members are composed of professional associations and enterprises, and global enterprises can apply to join. It promotes the repeated in-depth development of industries, enterprises, and experts. Discuss based on technical standards reached. After the 5G technical standard is determined by 3GPP, it will also be recognized by the ITU International Telecommunication Union. “To a certain extent, the representatives of ITU members are their countries and government positions. The adoption of ITU meetings is, to a certain extent, equivalent to the” stamp “determination. The recognition of a standard scheme as the final official result also means that The formal determination of this international standard, “Xiang Ligang said.


How much voice do Chinese companies have in 5G standards?

In the process of promoting 5G standards, what kind of status does China and Chinese enterprises have and what role can they play? Professionals point out that 5G standards are composed of many technologies, and coding is a very basic technology. In the 3G and 4G era, although China has dominated the TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE standards, it still does not have much say in coding. The channel coding of 3G and 4G still uses Turbo codes. In 5G-related standards, the major camps in the world once argued fiercely about channel coding standards. In 2016, LDPC, which was supported by many U.S. operators and enterprises, became the data channel code, and Polar, which was pushed by Chinese communications companies, became the control channel code. This is China’s first breakthrough in the field of channel coding, reflecting China’s strength, and laying a foundation for China to fight for more voice in the 5G standard than ever before.

“From this perspective, China can be said to be among the best in the world. But we also need to understand that the so-called forefront of the world does not mean permanent transcendence and that countries will not adopt Chinese-led technologies. After all, the 5G standard is international. Standards, every country in the world has a voice. “Professional analysis points out.

Xiangli Gang also said that taking the 3GPP standard discussion as an example, the establishment of a standard is difficult to measure how much weight one or some of the enterprises participating in the discussion and voting occupy. Because there are many factors involved in achieving the final result, it is not a simple accumulation of votes, but an extensive discussion of the various technical groups, the results of multiple rounds of voting, etc. by the entire standard assessment organization, and the comprehensive consideration of the expert chair team.

However, in general, the industry generally believes that including the United States, China and the European Union are currently an important force to promote 5G and 5G standards. “In the promotion of 5G and the establishment of international standards, China has become one of the important players,” Xiang Ligang said.


The key to 3GPP conference is the right to speak for patent rights

The right to speak in 5G is the number of core patents that are finally approved. Liu Qicheng, the editor-in-chief of the communications world ’s total media, said that 3GPP has researched and unified relevant standards, which have been recognized and promulgated by the International Telecommunication Union, and have become the only standards in the international 5G field. Subsequently, manufacturers around the world are required to perform equipment production, networking, and terminal access in accordance with this standard. However, the patent rights under the standard are in the hands of a few manufacturers, so other companies need to obtain patent licenses from manufacturers with core patents, some using patent cross-licensing, and some using money to buy.

Patent cross-licensing means that both parties open each other’s right to use the patented technology of equal value and the right to sell related products to achieve sharing. Generally, large enterprises will adopt the method of cross-licensing patents, and some will also compensate the other party based on the difference in the value of the patent portfolio; small enterprises can only obtain patent licenses by purchasing.

Last year, Qualcomm announced a 5G patent charging plan, charging 2.275% to 5% for each mobile phone using its patent. In other words, most Android manufacturers in China need to pay Qualcomm a patent fee of 68 to 150 yuan for each mobile phone that sells for 3,000 yuan. Qualcomm has occupied a favorable position in communication technology patents since the 3G era. Its “standard-essential patents” occupy the first place in the 3GPP standards in the 4G era with a 10.5% share. In other words, as long as it is a 3G / 4G / 5G mobile phone, it will inevitably use Qualcomm’s patents, and it needs to pay patent licensing fees or obtain patent cross-licensing.

In fact, manufacturers have already started to deploy 5G and applied for corresponding patents. ZTE claims that in the field of 5G, ZTE has accumulated more than 1,500 patent applications and has repeatedly achieved technological breakthroughs. The first Pre5G Massive MIMO base station has achieved large-scale commercial use in China and Japan. Samsung claims that Samsung is a leader in 5G. As of this month, with 1254 patents, Samsung Electronics ranked first in the list of 3GPP member companies that have applied for 5G standard patents to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). Huawei released the first 3GPP standard 5G commercial chip and terminal at the beginning of the year and achieved multiple 5G deployments at home and abroad.

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