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What’s cooking in 5G labs with Nokia and 4 leading universities?

Twitter: @V_Held


Research on 5G is progressing at lightning speed with the target to have THE 5G standard in place by 2019 and meeting all the KPIs that have been defined to make the services of the 5G era a reality. From extreme broadband with Gbps throughput over super reliable and rapid connectivity for machines to cost efficient networking for all the smart tiny sensors and helpers around us. To achieve this, 5G networks will combine revolutionary technologies and existing mobile generations into a new system.

That’s a lot of innovation and not a lot of time. That’s also why Nokia is working closely together with leading research universities around the world and sponsoring various 5G related research programs and chairs at e.g. Technical University of Kaiserslautern, 5G Lab Germany at Technical University Dresden, Aalborg University and New York University. The collective research efforts will address the technical implications as well as the environmental and business challenges of implementing 5G. Nokia researchers will collaborate intensively with these universities to study the changes that are required in 5G radio and architecture. Here are just a few examples from a very impressive list.

New York University

Nokia Networks started its partnership with Dr. Ted Rappaport of New York University (NYU) Wireless back in 2012 and has been an affiliate sponsor and member of the board of NYU Wireless since 2014. Dr. Rappaport is a pioneer in the fields of radio wave propagation for cellular and personal communications, wireless communication system simulation, analysis and design, and broadband wireless communications circuits and systems at millimeter wave frequencies. Fierce Wireless has rated NYU as #1 in the top 5 universities doing 5G research, with a specific focus on combining wireless engineering, computing and medical applications. Nokia has been sponsoring NYU Wireless to do RF propagation and modeling research at mmWave bands, specifically at 73 GHz for both outdoor and indoor environments in New York City. Nokia also has access to raw channel measurement data at low and high mmWave frequencies (e.g. 28 GHz, and 73 GHz) performed by NYU, which has been very useful in understanding the channel modeling at mmWave bands.

NYU wireless is collaborating with the NYU School of Medicine to follow their highly successful work on the biological effects of mmWave, and has begun a new project in wireless applications in hospital and operating rooms.

Nokia and NYU have jointly published major papers in various IEEE journals and conferences on channel models at mmWave, which have been cited extensively, and hired NYU summer interns who have contributed significantly to channel modeling and ray tracing work. Nokia and the NYU WIRELESS research center are also behind the high profile Brooklyn 5G Summit industry collaboration, which  focuses on the hot 5G technology topics like channel modeling, spectrum regulation, 5G system design, massive MIMO technologies to name a few. It has also attracted a renowned roster of speakers from industry, academia and regulatory bodies from across the world.

Watch this video to get a taste of NYU Wireless campus and Brooklyn 5G summit visit.


Technical University of Kaiserslautern

The Technical University of Kaiserslautern (TUKL) and the research group led by Prof. Hans D. Schotten have been working on 5G design since its inception and have been involved in fundamental research projects like 5G NORMA and METIS I and II. Research involved virtualization, software defined networking (SDN), network function virtualization (NVF), security in industrial settings (Industry 4.0) and Internet of Things (IoT). The group is also collaborating extensively with a number of industries that are keen to develop 5G use cases for their business, with a specific focus on automotive, industrial automation, and broadband access in specific mobility scenarios. Virtualization and new concepts for flexible adaptability of network functions are a fundamental part of the research as they are seen as important enablers for 5G.

According to Prof. Schotten: “5G has the potential to become a key driver for the transformation of several major industries. The automotive and the automation industries are just two examples that will benefit significantly. In collaboration with Nokia, we are able to contribute to this process and to become part of this exciting story.”

Technical University of Dresden

The Technical University of Dresden (TUD) features the unique “5G Lab Germany”, in which Nokia, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and 16 professors collaborate with an interdisciplinary team of over 500 scientists to advance research on the key technologies for 5G and its applications. Examples here include Tactile Internet applications enabled by the low latency of 5G such as autonomous driving, robotic-aided tele-surgery, as well as new learning and training methods with special tactile-to-visual feedback.

To achieve this goal, researchers in the 5G Lab Germany are addressing the whole value chain: from the semiconductor chips across wireless data transmission, networking and mobile edge clouds to Tactile Internet applications. In bilateral collaborations with industrial leaders, TUD studies highly reliable connections for mission-critical applications. The studies investigate how network capacity and reliability could be enhanced by connecting a device to multiple radios simultaneously.  This is especially crucial for applications where disruption to the network would cause a failure in operations, such as traffic jams or production downtimes.

Nokia and 5G Lab Germany are investigating solutions to achieve high reliability in future 5G networks and enable 5G use cases like automotive and factory automation. Prof. Gerhard Fettweis and Prof. Frank Fitzek emphasize that: "The collaboration between Nokia and the 5G Lab Germany is a fertile ground to discuss novel ideas and carry out world class research with disruptive application fields enabling new products in a timely fashion!"

Aalborg University

Aalborg University has made significant contributions to wireless communications research from the early definition of GSM in the 1980’s to today’s 5G technologies – with almost 3000 publications. Their research contributions include: radio propagation and channel modeling, antenna design and Over-the-Air measurements, radio system design and network optimizations. The wireless communication research is headed by professors Gert F. Pedersen and Preben E. Mogensen, who have spearheaded cooperation with Nokia since 1995 and helped fuel many contributions to IPR, standardization, and product enhancements. The current research collaboration between Nokia and Aalborg University for 5G includes:

  • Radio propagation measurements from sub-1 GHz for massive machine type communication, and up to 30 GHz mm-wave frequency for extreme broadband services.
  • Flexible radio interface design for scalability to a variety of cell ranges, carrier frequencies and use cases e.g. massive number of low cost, low power terminals and the mission critical use case demanding ultra low latency and ultra high reliability.
  • Operator specific network evolution studies towards 2025 considering growing traffic and user data rate requirements.

According to Professor Mogensen: “These are just examples of the forward looking 5G research conducted in collaboration with Nokia, which also includes innovative aspects of Full Duplex, Network Coding, cellular network optimization for drones as well as demonstrating the future vision of V2X by building a micro-city with self-driving Lego Mind Storms cars.”

The energy surrounding 5G development with these and many other institutions is truly exciting. I look forward to reporting back on other impressive collaborations in a future blog.

In the meantime, check out our latest whitepaper to learn more about 5G system architecture and visit our 5G webpage.

Have you heard?  Nokia Networks, China Mobile sign MoU to cooperate on 5G development

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Volker Held

About Volker Held

At Nokia, Volker is combining the technology and business side of innovation. He is a 5G veteran and the co-author of the famous 5G triangle with the three 5G use cases. Volker was leading Nokia’s 5G market development activities for several years. Right from the early days of 5G he has been advocating for the transformative benefits of the technology for enterprises.

Tweet me at @v_held

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