To implement the NGMN vision and accomplish the overall objectives of NGMN, a comprehensive Work Programme has been set up within the NGMN Alliance. The NGMN Work Programme covers key aspects that need to be addressed in order to develop a fertile next-generation mobile broadband ecosystem.
The NGMN work programme is a collaborative work programme in which all NGMN Partners (Mobile Network Operators, Vendors/Manufacturers and Research/Academia) contribute to agreed project objectives and deliverables on a voluntary basis at their own costs.
The NGMN work programme is governed by a tollgate process to initiate, approve and finalise projects and a deliverable process to produce, approve and disseminate/publish NGMN deliverables which are required to achieve the NGMN objectives. NGMN projects are created at the direction of the NGMN Board and supervised by the NGMN 5G Board Committee. Projects are led by a representative of one of the NGMN partner companies.
Participants of projects may adopt different roles such as lead, contributor, or reviewer. In addition, the NGMN Programme Office is supporting the projects in the areas of programme and process management, tools, electronic communication and workplace facilities, as well as administrative matters. Projects are organised as virtual distributed teams which make extensive use of electronic communications and teleconferencing, but also conduct regular physical meetings and workshops.
In general, work within the work programme is contribution-driven, i.e. depends largely on the active involvement and contributions from the individual partners. Decision making and the creation, review and agreement of deliverables are generally based on a consensus principle. All deliverables require final approval by the Board.
Objectives and Status
In its projects, task-forces and workshops, the NGMN Alliance:
- establishes clear functional and non functional requirements for mobile networks of the next generation
- lays out scenarios for effective spectrum utilisation
- shares operational experience in up and running networks
- gives input to standards developing organisations
- identifies and removes barriers to successful implementation of attractive mobile services
- provides a networking platform to assess and to address technology challenges
- evaluates and drives technology evolution towards 5G
E2E Architecture Framework
- Sebastian Thalanany, US Cellular
- Srisakul Thakolsri, NTT DOCOMO
The purpose of this project is to develop a high-level framework of architecture principles and requirements with building blocks that provide guidance and direction for NGMN partners and standards development organisations in the shaping of the 5G suite of interoperable capabilities, enablers, and services. It builds on the architectural concepts and proposals implied by the NGMN White Paper and subsequent deliverables published by NGMN.
The elements of functional virtualisation, shift of computing to the edges of the network, and leveraging of spectrum distribution and flexibility, are among the dominant themes that shape the 5G ecosystem. Optimisation of operational and performance efficiencies, while creating and delivering an exceptional and customisable user experience is of paramount significance.
The development of the E2E Architecture Framework phase 3 document has been initiated with the establishment of a draft working outline. The content of the document is based on, and extends the concepts introduced in the E2E architecture framework phase 2 document, which was published in September 2019. The E2E architecture framework phase 2 document was shared with 3GPP and other forums in the industry to promote and advocate the collective perspectives of service and equipment providers.
The phase 3 document is slated to contain forward-looking directions, emerging enablers, use cases, and high-level end-to-end considerations in the evolution of an evolving 5G ecosystem.
RAN Convergence 5G/Wi-Fi Convergence (Joint project with WBA)
- Kevin Holley, BT
The project performed an assessment of the work already done and available in the industry, related to the use of Wi-Fi with 5G (including WBA, 3GPP and other relevant forums). A gap analysis was done and action plans identified on how to solve the identified gaps (including, identifying the forums which are well positioned to address the gaps). The team considered testing or trials to validate the appropriate performance and use-case requirements (including field trials using available equipment). The project closed with publication of the White Paper which can be downloaded here.
RAN Convergence – 5G Home Gateway
- Christian Gallard, Orange
Mobile Network Operators experience a “reverse offload” effect, which is causing an unexpected increase of traffic load on macro cells. NR-unlicensed technology is foreseen as a potential radio candidate for providing connectivity in 5G small cells at home. This will provide up-to-date performance in terms of coverage and capacity. The inherent ability of NR-U to connect to 5G core networks should enable operators to optimize the use of radio resources. After achieving all milestones and publishing a White Paper the project closed in 2019.
Extreme Long Range Communication for Deep Rural Coverage
- Sebastien Jeux, Orange
The purpose of this project is to explore technologies that could provide internet and mobile broadband services, similar to a conventional cellular network, in areas such as deserts, mountains, forests, and coastline. 5G direct satellite access to conventional smartphones was highlighted as a promising solution in a previous project deliverable to provide ubiquitous coverage to users in deep rural areas without having to deploy traditional ground-based RAN Equipment.
Aware of the value non-terrestrial networks (NTNs) can provide to mobile network operators (MNOs) in extending the reach of their services, NGMN entered into collaboration with the EMEA (Europe, Middle-East and Africa) Satellite Operators Alliance (ESOA) to promote complementarity between terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks and encourage the development of coverage-extending solutions.
The position paper was started in August 2019 and ESOA members have been lead contributors to this document through this cooperation. It gives an overview and analysis of non-terrestrial cellular technologies that can provide coverage to remote areas.
The main content includes:
- Mobile Network Operators requirements for space-based systems to guarantee smooth integration and complementarity with existing terrestrial networks especially in regions that are not easily accessible by conventional deployments.
- Provision of link budget assessment for the feasibility of service transmission of 3GPP Class 3 UE by NTN platforms GEO, NGSO (LEO, MEO) or HAPS. In addition, several use cases including GEO fixed IoT direct connectivity, NGSO cellular backhaul, GEO maritime and connected cars with VSAT in Ku/Ka bands are addressed.
- Demonstration that non-terrestrial networks (NTN) can provide direct mobile broadband access to Class 3 UE, VSAT UE and IoT devices.
This document has been presented to 3GPP TSG meeting#86 for information sharing that a space-based system could provide viable solutions for rural coverage area. It is designed to help decision making on 3GPP Rel.17 content. The White Paper can be downloaded here.
RF Cluster Connector Task Force
- Tomas Sedlacek, Deutsche Telekom
- Henk Tubbe, Orange
In phase one the project was targeting the early 5G 8T8R deployment with time to market as key driver. In phase 2 the project team is putting the high priority focus on port mapping and then focus on other scope (FDD specifications etc.). The definition of cluster connector spectifications for FDD through multiple vendors measurements of commercial cluster products is also part of phase two of the project.
5G Security Competence Team
- Minpeng Qi, China Mobile
- Focus on 5G security related topics raised by other NGMN
- In addition working on security of network capability exposure in 5G
- Revising and updating deliverables produced by the previous security work stream
5G Trial and Testing Initiative
- Philippe Besson, Orange
- Enabling a global collaboration on testing activities
- Consolidating contributions and report on industry progress
- Testing future 5G use-cases with industry stakeholders (e.g. from vertical industries)
in order to
- Support an efficient, successful, and in-time 5G technology and service introduction
- Ensure the development of globally aligned 5G technology and service solutions
- Identify and promote new business opportunities
All leading global Operators, Vendors and Research Institutes involved in a 4 phases endeavour. The activities are conducted autonomously by the Partners. The Trial Initiative make them consistent e.g. by common test specifications and by comparison and sharing of the results.
Base Station Antenna Standardization (Passive Antennas)
- Hans Obermaier (Huawei)
- Jürgen Rumold (Ericsson)
- Roberto Vallauri (TIM)
The result of the project on Base Station Antenna Standards is an Implementation Recommendation which helps the telecommunication industry to establish industry-wide accepted antenna standards for the benefit of its customers.
The scope of the project is to:
- Collect existing base station antenna standards
- Develop specific recommendations on standards
- Update the currently existing Whitepaper
Base Station Antenna Standardization (Active Antennas)
- Bruno Biscontini (Huawei)
BASTA Active Antennas helps operators toselect, evaluate, deploy & operate active antennas and work on topics that are not covered by the Passive Antenna project or 3GPP.
Release one of the White Paper currently being developed will focus on the following topics:
- Electrical & mechanical key performance parameters
- Digital data exchange of specifications
- EMF exposure mechanisms to monitor & control RF power
- Specification & testing of mixed passive-active systems using mechanical integration kit
Phase two if the project will in addition cover the testing of active antenna systems.
- Stephan Apetrei, Orange
Providing continuous contributions to international fora and groups regarding NGMN spectrum requirements, in order to ensure the allocation of sufficient spectrum for future 5G services.
The project is currently in dormant mode.
5G IPR Forum
- Serge Raes, Orange
- The NGMN IPR Forum is a unique platform to engage with relevant industry partners in order to discuss present-day licensing practices and related issues across different industry segments. The IPR Forum is focusing on the development of 5G and beyond
- to promote a licensed 5G ecosystem,
- to improve the transparency of Standard Essential Patents (SEP) declarations to 5G SDOs,
- to build trust on essentiality checks in Standard Essential Patents (SEP) declarations to 5G SDOs,
- to adapt and expand the patent pooling, and
- to address the emerging need for software licensing in the mobile industry and, in particular, as regards Open Source.
- The work is done in consensus with operators, contributors and advisors.
Service Based Architecture (Phase 3)
- Dan Wang, China Mobile
- Hans Einsiedler, Deutsche Telekom
The purpose of SBA phase 3 is to further explore SBA technologies to achieve open and agile smart networks. The project investigates network technologies supporting for MEC, service based UPF and super slice.
In phase 3 of the project the main topics are:
- Investigate the service based interface between control plane and user plane. Extending service concept to user plane can help whole 5G core network to achieve high flexibility, efficiency and programmability.
- User plane function modularization. UPF service with finer granularities and independent modules can help to take advantage of cloud-native, programmability and flexible deployment.
- How SBA could better support MEC in 5G. like flexibly reconfigure the service routing, to enable service termination in MEC and other related mechanisms for lifecycle management. SBA will play a key role in these mechanisms.
- Agile and customized 5G network based on SBA. Flexible and customized 5G network could be designed, demonstrated and managed based on the requirements of verticals.
- Super slice which is a pool of resources for fast and effective service provisioning. We will investigate the concept and use case of super slice.
RAN Functional Split
Richard MacKenzie, BT
This project looks at the opportunities and challenges around having a disaggregated 5G RAN. As well as understanding the various RAN functional splits, the project aims to understand the transport requirements to support the various deployment options. As a wide number of industry activities are related to this subject, the team also looks to encourage industry alignment.
The first deliverable in early 2018 provided an overview of industry activities, and identified common terms, which have in general being adopted by the wider industry. In April 2019 a second deliverable gave a review of the various transport options that might be considered in a disaggregated RAN, reviewed the 3GPP F1 higher layer split specification (including a detailed security review), and highlighted the latest developments in the recently published O-RAN fronthaul interface.
The current activities are focussed on providing more detailed deployment recommendations for various transport options, based on the selection of RAN functional split. As the O-RAN fronthaul interface is now more mature, the project is also conducting a review of security considerations.
Devices and Chipsets for 5G
- Camillo Carlini, Telecom Italia
- Xize Wang, China Mobile
The project’s main objectives can be structured in four lines of actions:
- to systematically collect and communicate info on 5G status (conformance testing, field tests), test platform validation, availability of certified devices, 5G field test qualified (FTQ) operators live networks
- to discuss, aggregate and prioritize operators technical requirements for 5G devices, based on different UE types (eMBB, IoT, URLLC, Industrial…) and degree of maturity of targeted features (with regards to 3GPP Release: 15, 16…)
- to discuss test methodologies and benchmarks to evaluate over-the-air performance of 5G commercial devices; this may include a part on 5G devices power consumption performances
- to analyse and define way-forward on how to handle, in real deployment scenarios, the coexistence between legacy devices, 5G NSA devices and 5G SA devices
The purpose of the deliverable from phase 1 is to provide a use-case based categorization of 5G devices implementing 3GPP Rel-15 relevant technical specifications.
In particular, 5G devices coming to market between 2H 2019 and 1H 2020 are addressed.
For each 5G devices category (among eMBB, Fixed Wireless Access and Industrial), a set of mandatory and recommended features is defined.
Verticals URLLC Requirements
- Lei Cao, China Mobile
The project’s objective is to identify and evaluate realistic end-to-end 5G network deployment configurations that can potentially deliver the 5G URLLC services for Verticals. Also, the project elaborates on a description of 5G URLLC technology enablers which make it possible to serve several new vertical use cases.
The document “5G E2E Technology to Support Verticals URLLC Requirements” was approved and published in October. It focuses on three items:
- URLLC use case and requirements summary
- 5G URLLC technical enablers
- 5G URLLC reference architecture
The published White Paper is available for download here.
Spectrum & Deployment Efficiencies
- Steve Babbage, Vodafone
Identify and assess different approaches to small cell cost sharing
The project looked at the various ways that the economics of small cell deployment – particularly very small mmWave cells – can be improved through some form of cost sharing arrangement. Economic aspects and arrangements as well as technical ones were looked at. The team produced two external reports: a full report, and a shorter one (aiming for a wider audience) that focuses only on the key recommendations. These external reports have been published and are available for download following the links.