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1 day / Level 2

Course summary

The first release of LTE was frozen in 2009. With new generations of mobile communication technology appearing every ten years or so, and network operators struggling to meet their users’ demands for bandwidth, the standardisation process for 5G is already well under way.

The demands on 5G networks will be severe: network traffic is forecast to increase by a factor 1,000 over the next 10-12 years, while the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) may potentially result in very large numbers of connected devices. At the same time, the network’s energy efficiency must increase enormously so that it can meet those demands with a power consumption and cost that are no greater than those of today.

The underlying technologies for 5G have already been defined. The need for higher data rates is driving a move to millimetre wave communications, to exploit the unused spectrum at frequencies up to 100 GHz. Massive MIMO will lead to base stations with tens or hundreds of antennas, while network function virtualization and software defined radio will bring many of the base station’s functions back into a centralized radio access network.

The specification process for 5G is being driven by the International Telecommunication Union under the name IMT-2020, and by the Third Generation Partnership Project. The 3GPP specifications are being written in two phases, with the first focussing on the most important use cases, and the second meeting all the requirements of IMT-2020. Some radio spectrum is already available, with additional spectrum due to be released by the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2018-19.

This timely briefing will explain the key concepts of 5G, and the overall design of the 5G network and air interface.

Who would benefit

This course would be suitable for anyone with a keen interest in the developments of 5G technologies.


An understanding of mobile communications and LTE technologies in particular would be desirable but there are no essential prerequisites for this course.

Topic areas include

  • What are the requirements and capabilities of 5G?
  • What is the expected usage of radio spectrum?
  • What are the key technology areas for 5G?
  • What is the standardisation process and the role of the different industry bodies?
  • What is the design of the 3GPP air interface for 5G?
  • What is the 3GPP network architecture for 5G?

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