3GPP Release 16 Roadmap

Even though, 3GPP Release 15 is complete. But 5G development is not finished. Release 16, sometimes referred to as “Phase 2” of 5G on ITU timelines, will contain standardization for a lot of use cases and scenarios not addressed in Release 15.

Release 16 will wrap up at the end of 2019. The three key 5G features are enhanced mobile broadband, eMBB), massive machine-type communication, (mMTC), and ultra-reliable low-latency communications, (URLLC). Release 15 focused on the eMBB use case. Release 16 will focus more on URLLC.

Frequencies above 52.6 GHz

  • Not in demand from Industry so slow progress
  • Up to 2 GHz bandwidth available, more than double the 800 MHz from Release 15

  • Identification of Target band ranges, use cases, and deployment scenarios

URLLC Applications

  • Release 15 basic URLLC features not developed enough beyond the typical cellular use case

  • Focus on Improvements in the protocol and physical layer
  • Data duplication enhancements to improve reliability (especially L1)
  • Enhancements for Time Sensitive Networking, including wireless Ethernet, accurate reference timing, and Ethernet header compression

5G for Non-Terrestrial Communications

  • To use commercial 5G networks to communicate with satellites
  • Features include physical layer control procedures, uplink timing advances, retransmission schemes and handover

  • Doppler Effect is different from a traditional mobile cellular communications application

V2X Communication

  • Focus on the continuance of LTE’s cellular V2X and advanced use cases like vehicle platooning

  • Enhanced vehicle to infrastructure features
  • Extended sensors
  • Advanced driving (to enable semi automated or full-automated driving), and remote driving.

  • Plan to address both low and high bands. Low band is a higher priority

Access to Unlicensed Spectrum

  • Create a single global solution for NR-based access to unlicensed spectrum in a stand-alone manner without assistance from a licensed carrier for bands both below and above 6 GHz.

  • Coexistence methods need to be established within NR, between unlicensed and LTE-based LAA, with other incumbent Radio Access Technologies (RATs)

Integrated Access and Backhaul (IAB)

  • Support for wireless backhaul and relay links
  • Critical for mmWave Base stations need to be deployed very densely for mmWave, but linking fiber to all the new installations is not viable from a cost or an installation perspective. IAB also adds flexibility to NR cells and avoids densifying the transport network proportionately.

  • Both in-band and out-of-band relaying options for indoor and outdoor scenarios under consideration

Interference Mitigation

  • Interference from remote base stations for semi-static uplink/downlink configurations

  • Cross-link interference
  • Network coordination mechanisms for uplink/downlink configurations

Software-Defined Network (SDN) and Big Data

  • Adding machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Collections of RAN-centric data for self-optimizing networks (SONs), RAT optimization, load sharing, and mobility optimization.

Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO) Enhancements

  • Multiuser MIMO
  • Multi Pseudo-Random Postfix (PRP)

Location and Positioning Enhancements

  • More accurate set of positioning techniques for both indoor and outdoor, with a particular focus on higher frequency bands

  • Not expected to be complete by the end of Release 16

Power Consumption Improvements

  • Examination of the Radio Resource Control (RRC) connected state to make devices less power hungry.

  • Adding Radio Resource Management (RRM) measurements in devices

Dual Connectivity Enhancements

  • Carrier aggregation
  • Dual connectivity with fast line sharing service (LSS)

Device Capabilities Exchange

  • Mechanisms that detect a device’s capabilities ( for example mmWave Support) are under consideration

Nonorthogonal Multiple Access (NOMA

  • Being evaluated for its usefulness

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