Wireless communications have come a long way since electromagnetic waves were discovered by Rudolf Hertz in 1887. Guglielmo Marconi deployed first wireless communication system in 1898 to communicate the Britain royalty, and subsequently in transatlantic communications for ships such as the Titanic. After those events, wireless communications were improved and employed only for government or wealthy people.
In the 1970s generation 0 of wireless communication achieved maturation to became mobile and focused on people communication, but User Equipment was heavy. In 1980s, generation 1 was launched and since then each wireless communications generation has evolved approximately ten years in steps called generations.
Generation 5 started in 2019 with the deployment of non-standalone (using Legacy LTE Core networks) 5G networks and then standalone 5G networks all around the world in an accelerated way. Simultaneously, improvements started generation 6 which is expected to be a revolution by enabling the hyperconnectivity of everything all around the world in 2030s.
Wireless networks evolved to include standardized technology advances were integrated to boost and optimize data rates, frequency efficiency, power consumption, quality of service (QoS), coverage, latency, handover and more.
5G cellular networks integrated technologies such as OFDMA, MIMO, network slicing, numerologies, dual connectivity, full-duplex, spectrum sharing, carrier aggregation, small cells, cloud and edge computing, microservice orchestration, artificial intelligence and machine learning among others.
This is evolved further to harmonize with open-source software employing general purpose processors, open interfaces, and radio units in new mobile network operator trends called commoditization, containerization, and Open RAN to focus more on software innovation than hardware and promote new flexible services with stringent requirements to adapt wireless technologies to continuously changing people needs.
To add to this complexity, standardized wireless technologies can now choose between unicast, broadcast, and multicast transmissions in order to boost spectrum efficiency that depends on the user’s service selection.
A plethora of technologies is being integrated to have wireless 5G and beyond to enable hyperconnectivity and deliver value with scalability and security.
Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access helps organize the spectrum in time (subframes) and frequency (subcarriers) to share the channel for many users at the same time.
Multiple Input Multiple Output uses multiple antennas to increase linearly the capability of the network, and to focus beams toward users.
This overlays multiple virtual networks on top of a shared network infrastructure.
This enable private or public clouds for centralized and next-to-user applications.
A big monolithic application is divided into microservices that are connected between them to foster scalability, efficiency, flexibility, security, and self-healing.
These algorithms are employed for wireless systems to learn network behavior and enable forecasts based on learned information.
Combines different carriers to widen the bandwidth and improve the data rate or throughput.
A radio access network capability to connect users to concurrent eNBs or between eNB/gNBs. This allowed the easy initial deployment of non-standalone 5G networks.
This refers to subcarrier spacing employed to reduce the latency or control the phase noise.
Dynamically manages the available spectrum between two generation of cellular networks and allocated bandwidths that depends on the user demand.
Since generation 0, wireless systems such as PTT (Push to Talk), MTS (Mobile Telephone System), IMTS (Improved Mobile Telephone Service), AMTS (Advanced Mobile Telephone System), OLT (Norwegian for Offentlig Landmobil Telefoni, Public Land Mobile Telephony) and MTD (Swedish abbreviation for Mobile Telephony system D) drove the architecture of wireless communications. It has since been dispersed over various countries and organizations
1980s - Generation 1: Technology was replaced by the standards such as USA AMPS and C-450
1990s - Generation 2: GSM developed by ETSI and deployed in more than 212 countries
2000s - Generation 3 was based on the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) under the International Mobile Telephone 2000 (IMT-2000).
2010s - Generation 4 saw a dispute between, two standards 3GPP and IEEE with the winner as 3GPP had the ITU IMT Advanced plan to deploy LTE technology
2019s - Generation 5 was launched in the world and Generation 6 started to define specifications, both under 3GPP
There are no standards for cloud-native implementations other than implementations that are emerging as de-facto standards and all of them depend on their context. The user can run solutions under proprietary, open-source, or a mix of both umbrellas. We recommend the usage of concepts such as containerization, orchestration, dynamic management, microservices, and automation.
Companies must define their own path toward the cloud-native transformation, and this will take time, effort, and a culture change.
IDTOLU has created a research, development, and testing platform, and facilities to foster next-generation telecommunications systems in the Global South. This is designed to accelerate the innovation and deployment of new wireless technologies and services.
IDTOLU has built and is continuing to expand its innovation hub ecosystem by increasing the footprint of the shared infrastructure, as well as its city-scale and country-scale deployments of standardized wireless networks
It enables testing and deployment acceleration of new use cases motivated by the Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) program founded by The National Science Foundation (NSF), the UK Telecoms Innovation Network (UKTIN), and 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership (5GPPP).
It has motivated the creation of a multi-organization-based ecosystem with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) manufacturers, telecommunications operators, service providers, startups, and research Institutions. Its first such ecosystem is in Colombia where IDTOLU created the “Sucre Investiga” ecosystem joined by universities, countries and Sucre local governments, industry, and society.
The IDTOLU R&D platform is founded on the reference architecture shown in the accompanying figure. It is composed of a private cloud in the middle, that manages the IDTOLU inventoried infrastructure composed of a data center, a sub 6Ghz anechoic chamber, and the Smallville-scale testbed in Santiago de Tolu, Colombia
Future stakeholders’ infrastructure of the “Sucre Investiga” ecosystem will co-join their infrastructure as micro-clouds to the central cloud located in the IDTOLU laboratory. This is used to deploy real use cases of next-generation cellular networks with big footprints.
All the infrastructure is orchestrated from the cloud, and applications consumed by mobile users are deployed using microservices and containerized dynamically based on the load of the system. Further, some parts of the cellular network such as the core network are orchestrated from the shared cloud infrastructure to enable use cases such as network slicing and introduce the concept of virtual mobile operators.
The infrastructure with its automation and orchestration is also offered as a Lab as a Service (LaaS) to the world for those who would like to test and deploy new use cases rapidly. This is possible with the support of IDTOLU engineers. Organizations can monitor resources, visualize statistics, log important events, and trace events necessary to further their products and services.
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