Qualcomm touts advances to wide-area 5G system foundation

For MWC 2021, Qualcomm Technologies showed off its latest advancements to wide-area 5G prototypes and system simulations meant to boost efficiencies in the 5G wide-area system foundation.

For MWC 2021, Qualcomm Technologies showed off its latest advancements to wide-area 5G prototypes and system simulations meant to boost efficiencies in the 5G wide-area system foundation. The company demonstrated technology improvements across key wide-area 5G research topics including subband half-duplex, wide-area 5G positioning, cross-node machine learning, 5G NR-Light evolution with sidelink, and 5G device disaggregation.

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In its demo focused on 5G NR-Light, also known as RedCap in 3GPP, Qualcomm illustrated how a gNodeB could provide wide-area 5G IoT coverage to devices in range that experience difficulties communicating to the wide-area 5G network due to power limitation and penetration loss.

For example, Qualcomm said the introduction of sidelink to 5G NR-Light is allowing sensors to communicate directly to a relay on a truck at a much lower transmit power and achieve extended coverage. The reduced transmit power also leads to improved device power consumption, Qualcomm said. Looking ahead, Qualcomm said the evolution of NR-Light in release 18 will support lower complexity IoT devices and usher in additional benefits including power enhancements and range extension through sidelink.

On the topic of wide-area 5G positioning, Qualcomm said it used cross-node machine learning to send explicit channel feedback back to the gNodeB base station, which has allowed for customized lower overhead feedback based on individual device channel condition and delivered more efficient multi-user multiplexing. 

"Machine learning can bring better performance and efficiency to the 5G system by exploiting a new data-driven design approach for the air interface," said Tingfang Ji, senior director of engineering for Qualcomm. "And we are excited to be driving the complementary evolution of 5G and AI into future standards as well as real-world, end-to-end system implementations." 

In another demo focused on the disaggregation of the 5G device stack, Qualcomm looked at the use of 5G network disaggregation, device disaggregation, and device-as-a-network capabilities. Qualcomm said device stack disaggregation offers a range of benefits and creates a more open and interoperable network that can deliver enhanced performance and efficiency. 

The concept of device disaggregation is to split the protocol stack layers across devices so that multiple device subscriptions can be supported via a single physical connection. Qualcomm said disaggregation also supports 5G end-to-end security and optimized QoS for tethered devices, 5G session continuity and seamless mobility, and enhanced user experience for services hosted on tethered devices.