Following the current trends on 5G Air Interface research, the 5TONIC Open Innovation Laboratory will incorporate the latest technologies for testing and demonstrating the next generation of physical and MAC layer improvements. The choice of technologies for 5TONIC will mainly consider two of the key scenarios driving the 5G development:

  • The densification of the access network (and the increased capillarity of the transport network required to feed the dense RAN).
  • The importance of IoT and prevalence of Machine Type Communications.

These two scenarios do not only require higher bitrates, but they also open a new set of challenges coming from the density of users or points of attachment, such as the interference cancellation, beamforming, etc.

Considering the above scenarios, 5TONIC will include the means to trial and demonstrate:

Development of air technologies above the 6 GHz band. Understanding the indoor and outdoor behavior of bands above 6 GHz.

Spectrum sharing mechanisms, enabling the dynamic operation on different frequency bands and under different licensing schema.

Validation of scenarios with hundreds to thousands of users/cells and machine type communication.

Analysis of the application of mmWave technologies to both access and front/backhauling.

Design of new cell approaches, such as user devices acting as cells or relays, small cells scenarios including caches, application of functional split into small cells, multiple attachment of users to different cells effectively creating the concept of single cell networks, etc.

Flexible split of the radio access, building on top of the C-RAN concept but extending it to consider other functional split configurations, considering different functional decompositions per node and the transport requirements for each specific functional split.

Massive MIMO: Introducing large number of antennas (in the range of hundreds to thousands depending on the frequency) to aggressively use MIMO and beamforming. This technology is especially interesting for high frequencies, including mmWave technologies operating in the range of 60 GHz and above.

Designing novel techniques for the next generation PHY layer, including techniques for latency reduction, increase efficiency by multiplexing users without assuming orthogonality in their transmissions, investigate on techniques for full duplex wireless transmission (e.g., as discussed in IEEE 802.11ax) or the use of new coding technologies such as network coding.

Inter-node coordination approaches, less stringent on resources than CoMP but able to take advantage of scenarios based on flexible functional splits. Approaches for offloading capacity to other stations in the vicinity will also be studied.

The proposed set-up has the potential to help Telefonica and other interested companies to carry evaluations about the feasibility and costs of a given technology, analyzing hidden deployment costs, complexity of the solutions, regulatory aspects to tackle, etc. In this way, this Laboratory will help interested industry to perform a realistic evaluation of technology choices, together with the latest innovations in the core network.

It is also important to highlight the technological requirements that internet of things, and relevant vertical application areas may have on the radio interface. Within vertical sectors, we can cite manufacturing, transport, public security, entertainment and health as very relevant (among others) within the scope of radio requirements. Internet of things and M2M areas are quite tangled with verticals, as on some of them the said areas are particularly strong and are expected to impose specific requirements. Simplified authentication and encryption, lightweight protocols, simple signal processing, low delay (on some cases), and definitively low energy consumption are some of the relevant aspects that may be mentioned.

Spectrum Licensing

The required spectrum licensing will be managed with Spanish regulatory authorities. This is always a sensitive issue, but preliminary discussions allow us to believe that it can be solved satisfactorily.