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Optical networks underpin 5G

The European Commission has put optical networks at the core of its research programmes for 5G networks. Pauline Rigby reports


n 22 February, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, 5G PPP, the public-private partnership between the European Commission and the

European industry and research community, released a vision paper – describing how 5G network infrastructures will lead to ‘a new industrial revolution’. Te paper, titled 5G Empowering Vertical

Industries, considers the application of digital technologies to the most important vertical sectors in Europe – including manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, energy, and entertainment – and how their requirements will shape 5G system design. An analysis of the design requirements for this diverse group of industry verticals

identified several performance targets that they have in common: latency of below 5ms, high reliability (the network must be operational for at least 99.999 per cent of the time) and extreme density (able to connect up to 100 devices per square metre), along with tight constraints on territory or population coverage. Tese are the most important performance

targets that 5G needs to achieve if it is to support all possible services in the five sectors that have been investigated (see box, page 14). Meanwhile, mobile broadband at peak data rates of up to 1Gb/s must be supported concurrently on the mobile network alongside the specific applications of the industry verticals. Te Commission says it will refer to this

white paper when it takes part in international negotiations on spectrum and standards for 5G. Te aim is to involve all sectors in these discussions ‘so that Europe is among the first continents to deploy “true” 5G connectivity’. Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society,

commented: ‘We are trying to develop not only a communication network to connect people, but rather one that will deliver the Internet of Tings, connecting anything that can be connected and delivering innovation on top of connectivity.

Many hands make light work As 2020 draws closer, delivering on the 5G vision will require a concerted and coordinated effort between end users, telecom operators, equipment and components manufacturers, research institutions and academia. Recognising early on that the vision would require unprecedented levels of cooperation, the European Commission became involved. Originally announced at Mobile World

Congress in 2013, the 5G PPP was created by the European ,Commission in partnership with industry, to make 5G mobile technology a reality in Europe by 2020. Te ambitious programme aims to deliver architectures, technologies and standards for the communications infrastructures of the coming decade.

Representatives of the European Commission and the 5G Infrastructure Association at the launch of the 5G PPP White Paper 5G Empowering Vertical Industries at Mobile World Congress 2016


FIBRE SYSTEMS Issue 11 • Spring 2016

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