ZTE unveiled details of a new 5G access network architecture based on dynamic mesh networking and IP backhaul. The move comes despite no formal industry definition of 5G being anywhere near confirmed.
“In 5G networks there could be many types of base station including UDN [user densification network], massive MIMO [multiple-input multiple-output], traditional macro, and D2D,” said ZTE in a statement. “These various base stations will coordinate with each other horizontally more often than they do in 4G networks, and so will require a dynamic and adaptive wireless mesh network.”
ZTE claims such an approach will make it possible for 5G networks to implement highly-effective SDMA (space-division multiple access) and expressed hope that this area would become the “next telecoms industry hotspot for 5G technology research”.
ZTE has already ploughed resources into SDA (software defined air-interface) technology – research began in 2009 – which it claims would help support a flexible 5G access network.
“ZTE’s 5G SDA solution allows self-adaptation of the air interfaces, so that in the same network, a network element can supporting a variety of services, and the SDA can allow multiple wireless access technologies for optimal adaptation, maximising air interfaces efficiency,” said ZTE’s Xiang Jiying. “At present, SDA technology is a key research area for 5G.”
For base station collaboration technology, ZTE said it had already developed its Cloud Radio solution, which lays a “solid foundation for partially-dynamic 5G mesh networks”.
ZTE’s announcement comes only days after Europe and South Korea announced a pact to jointly develop 5G technology. A definition of what 5G actually means is targeted for the end of 2015.