Shaping the future
Elections & Technical Votes
Pre 3GPP & before ETSI’s GSM standard, the first generation of mobile networks were analogue systems, with voice encoded on toan analogue radio signal prior to digital transmission.
During the 1980s the competition to get the first mobile units into cars and briefcases was considerable. Systems in Japan, North America and the Nordic countries had a good claim on winning the contest to be first movers, but it could be said that all of the major economies had an eye on the potential benefits of the telephone going mobile - as soon as it could be achieved.
Capacity limitations, quality issues and the potential duplication created by having national mobile standards led to the development of 2G, at a time when the entire system was to go digital.
The ETSI Technical Committee SMG picked up the development of the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) standard, that soon became an enormous success – in parallel with rival systems developed in Asia and in North America. The GSM system was later adopted by 3GPP and further evolved, as the major building block of the 3G work.
The fruits of 3G – with Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (UTRA), High Speed Packet Access (HSPA), LTE and the accompanying evolution of the core network are the basis for the success that is being enjoyed by 3GPP to this day.
In 1998 the project was set up to approve and maintain specifications for GSM evolved UTRA networks. By 2000 the scope of the group was broadened to include the 'long term evolution' of the UTRA specifications, bringing the term ‘LTE’ into use – as shorthand for the system enabled by E-UTRA and the Evolved Packet Core (EPC).
LTE is often thought of as being a 4G technology, but it wasn’t until 2010 and the LTE-Advanced work that the 4G benchmark was truly etched.
The focus for 4G was again the need for speed and higher capacity. 3GPP Release10 was to provide higher bitrates in a cost-efficient way and, at the same time, completely fulfil the requirements set by ITU for systems beyond 3G. The rate at which LTE was adopted for IoT devices has been astounding and it is clear that it is a big part of the future of the Internet of Things.
The new generation isn’t just about the ‘user experience’. 5G is allowing the cellular industry to expand the capability of the network to deliver on the full promise of the Internet of Everything.
5G features fall into the Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Massive Machine-type Communications (mMTC) and Ultra-reliable and Low Latency Communications (URLLC) categories. All three are needed to develop a full set of services for transport, broadcast, critical comms, healthcare, Industry 4.0, personal area networks...and all things IoT.