5G calls for silicon in 2017

Physical and MAC layer standards for 5G should be complete by December.

January 27, 2017

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Physical and MAC layer standards for 5G should be complete by December.

Mike Murphy, chief technologist for Nokia in North America. Source: EE Times

2017 will be a big year for 5G cellular. Engineers will start silicon development in earnest and pick architectures to support massive MIMO antenna technologies, according to Mike Murphy, chief technologist for Nokia in North America, in an interview with EE Times.

Carriers will continue to explore virtualized radio access networks or RANs and expand work in hot frequency bands such as 3.5, 28, 37, and 39GHz. Separately, operators will turn on LTE-based Category M and Narrowband IoT services, said Murphy, who meets a few times each year with executives from his carrier customers.

Among the hot topics in those meetings, "5G is certainly at the top; virtualization of the RAN has become a hot topic recently; and Wi-Fi/cellular integration with Licensed Assisted Access will be important in 2017," he said.

The 3GPP group is expected to finish the physical and MAC layer standards for 5G in December. So, silicon designs will begin in earnest "a small number of months before that" when engineers decide the specs are "solid enough to go ahead," he said.

Nokia is among the top three companies making network infrastructure gear such as base stations. All use a combination of off-the-shelf chips and their own ASICs, a trend that Murphy expects will continue.

To read the full article, go to EETimes.

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