Nokia spearheading the standardization forums to unleash the full potential of connectivity
Standardized access to communication technologies plays a key role in accelerating and achieving a better and more sustainable future. Therefore, we, Nokia, believe that our success is very much tied to the success of the standardization ecosystem. In fact, it is of utmost importance for us to keep the standardization ecosystem and processes functioning well so that industry’s top innovations can thrive, and tomorrow’s networks can be built upon timely and high-quality specifications. Accordingly, Nokia takes a lead role in multiple wireless and wireline standards forums to make sure that the right steps are taken to move the industry forward. This means Nokia needs to act as a role model or, to speak plainly, as a responsible leader serving society. Fulfilling this responsibility takes immense amount of time and effort, mandating us to act as the leader across every aspect of our industry, from wireless to wireline, from 5G to 6G and from device to application.
Nokia holds more than 100 board memberships, chairs and other official positions across all key standardization and industry groups; and we are active in 300 standardization and industry organizations globally. Our internationally renowned experts lead the standardization forums by example, setting the direction that moves the industry forward and negotiating common positions in standards and technology policies where it matters. Our colleagues follow Nokia’s guiding principles “openness”, “empowerment”, and “fearlessness”, in their ways of working at external standardization meetings.
While each standards player defines a different metric to claim their standardization leadership, Nokia’s definition of leadership is comprised of four criteria that need to be fulfilled:
- Keep the standardization ecosystem and processes functioning well as a responsible leader
- Orchestrate multiple standardization forums as a thought leader unleashing the full potential of innovations
- Drive and enable essential standards innovations as a technology leader
- Lead standardization activities with a diversity of contributions, from the pre-standardization-research phase to the standard-specification phase.
Nokia has a unique position, leading the global standards organizations and projects like 3GPP, O-RAN ALLIANCE and ITU-T; pre-standardization forums such as the Next G Alliance; and collaborative research projects like HEXA-X and Hexa-X II and 6G-ANNA. While chipset vendors are typically engaged in the radio-oriented working groups, or while RAN equipment providers mainly focus on the selected standards organizations, Nokia makes sure that the specifications originating from multiple forums will unleash the full potential of tomorrow’s wireless and wireline networks and services – such as extended reality (XR) and the industrial metaverse – by providing the best possible performance in an end-to-end manner.
Our approach to standards has both breadth and depth. The breadth in our approach enables us to spearhead end-to-end standardization as can be seen in the following examples:
- 5G System (5GS) shows how we went above and beyond in multiple standardization forums. 5GS is a truly access-agnostic system that enables seamless service continuity between wireless and wireline access and a unified core. It natively supports fixed access as well as provides simultaneous multi-access capabilities to maximize data rates, increase reliability and improve user experience. Nokia has exhibited exemplary leadership in having made it happen in 3GPP and Broadband Forum (BBF), especially by steering the technical discussions, coordinating the work in multiple standards and industry forums, and contributing to the corresponding normative specifications with the aim of ensuring a feasible standard and optimal implementation of wireline-wireless convergence in the industry.
Low-Latency Low-Loss Scalable Throughput (L4S), a new standard for congestion control, demonstrated Nokia’s strong thought leadership by driving and orchestrating the needed steps in various forums, including IETF and 3GPP, from the research phase to the standardization phase. On a high level, the L4S approach can be compared to offering a priority-lane for people boarding an airplane at the airport. The queue for the priority lane is much smaller, and almost no delay is being accumulated. As a standards-enabled solution, Nokia has driven the need for Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) marking for L4S in IETF and 3GPP, and actively contributed to the technical enablers mitigating the congestion problem from access networks.
Nokia also plays a major role in the standardization of video codecs, which is the result of a collaborative effort between MPEG of ISO / IEC and ITU-T. The latest example of these standards, Versatile Video Coding (H.266 / VVC), is superior in compression, dropping bitrate to half when compared to the previous video codec generation without reducing quality. Besides, it is more flexible for different types of emerging video services, such as game streaming and immersive VR, 360-degree video streaming. H.266 / VVC is the perfect partner for 5G due to its unique features that support low end-to-end latency, and together the two enable a new era in video-based applications such as XR and the metaverse.
In 3GPP, Nokia has a leading role in the standardization of the key 5G differentiators such as Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications and the standardization of flagship 5G-Advanced items such as XR. Let us also share a few brief examples that further demonstrate the depth of our standardization leadership, especially from the device innovation perspective:
- Particularly for the smartphones, device implementations may embed the mmWave-range arrays of different sizes. Therefore, in practice, the uplink performance depends on the choice of device implementation, such as the panel design and the orientation. If the network is unaware of these dependencies, then the beam management and the device performance thereof become sub-optimal. To address such an issue, Nokia has been the central player in the 3GPP Release 17 solution on the alignment and optimization of the number of reference signal ports and the related reporting.
Due to the regulatory requirements, the handheld device must reduce its output power when it is in vicinity of a human body. If the device cannot ensure power remains below the regulatory limits, it must apply the uplink power reduction by default. Unnecessarily reducing the device output power has a large penalty on the uplink data rates. To minimize the negative performance impact, Nokia has been instrumental in enabling the 3GPP solution on the device and network interworking for enhancing the beam management and the handover.
Nokia has also been the key player in 3GPP’s 5G New Radio (NR) Radio Frequency (RF) requirement enhancements for Frequency Range 2 (FR2) that refers to the higher-frequency portion of the radio spectrum. These enhancements ensure that the future 5G NR networks better optimize the system performance, the user experience and the device power saving at the higher-frequency range.
As is obvious from our few examples, standardization leadership cannot be simply measured by just looking at the bare number of contributions, especially if no meaningful context is given. Using an analogy, having more pages in a book does not make it a better book, whereas a creative plot with a well-written storyline does. In this respect, we always refer to numbers with context in mind, as we discussed in a previous blog post. For instance, while we are one of the top-three leading contributors in 3GPP, far ahead of other players, we are often referred as “the” quality leader. This is because we always pay extra attention to bringing the best solutions with high-quality proof points – for instance, world-class simulation results – to the standards meetings. Providing quality inputs requires extensive preparations, lengthy discussions and often several iterations of alignment across different standardization domains. In this regard, the number of contributions cannot be a sole metric for the standards leadership. However, we cannot either dismiss nor disregard the fact that the diversity of contributions is an indicator for the standards player’s interest in different standardization working groups and work items. Regardless of the metrics chosen, we, as Nokia, have so much to be proud of. But what we are proud the most is our leadership in ensuring the global standardization ecosystem and its processes function at their optimum peak.