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0.5 day / Level 2

Course summary

It is now seven years since LTE was standardized and six years since the launch of the first LTE networks. With new generations of mobile communication technology appearing every ten years or so, and network operators struggling to meet their users’ demands for bandwidth, research 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) implies that the number of connected devices may reach 50 billion by 2020. 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 technologies for 5G have not yet been defined, but we can still see some likely trends. The need for higher data rates is driving a move to millimetre wave communications, to exploit the unused spectrum at frequencies up to 300 GHz and allow greater frequency reuse with ever smaller cells. Massive MIMO will lead to base stations with several hundred 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. Radio spectrum is being released by the World Radiocommunication Conferences in 2015 and 2018-19, with the requirements for 5G expected in 2017 and the specification process completing in 2019-2020. This timely briefing will explain the key concepts of 5G, and the changes that we can expect in mobile telecommunication networks in the years to 2020 and beyond.

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 likely 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 are the latest developments on the road to 5G?

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