'Lot to learn before 5th gen network is launched'

Dr Henning Schulzrinne, Levi Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University and former CTO and current technical advisor to the US Federal Communication Commission, on Monday said that there was a lot to learn from the previous four generations of network and communications before the fifth generation got under way.

He was delivering a public lecture on the topic “5G: What can we learn from the previous four generations” at the International Institute of Information Technology in the City.

Professor Schulzrinne, who is credited with co-developing many of the various multimedia Internet protocols, indicated that the fifth generation (5G) networks of the future would have a simplified layered architecture that could support ubiquity, a wide range of applications, including the multimedia video on one end and the Internet of Things on the other.

Professor Schulzrinne observed that while the previous generation networks demanded a significantly increased technology complexity, the future generation networks warrant a revisiting of some of the assumptions behind these and also for reducing the operational complexity of the overall system.

‘Make things simple’

Schulzrinne also indicated that telecom carriers should be cognizant of the fact that they are just one part of the ecosystem which will otherwise comprise infrastructure providers, application and content providers and hence need to make their part of the network simple with reduced complexity and improved interoperability.

This, in turn, should lead to a reduction in operational costs, which form a bulk of the carriers’ expenditure at present, the professor observed.

Professor Schulzrinne also mentioned that the fifth generation (5G) networks will work seamlessly on multiple frequency bands catering to a variety of requirements, including the short and long-haul access, and the differing quality of service requirements.

Expected in 2020

Network services will be provided over cellular, Wi-Fi, wired broadband and satellite networks seamlessly with little lock-in to any specific type of network. Schulzrinne expects that the year 2020 may be the time for the commercial rollout of such fifth generation networks.

Schulzrinne also mentioned that some of the 5G network characteristics were encapsulated in eduroam (education roaming: https://www.eduroam.org/), the secure, worldwide, roaming access service developed for the benefit of the international research and education community.

Having started in Europe, eduroam has gained momentum throughout the research and education community. It is now available in 74 territories.

Wide reach

With eduroam, one can get Internet access not only through your institution’s wireless network, but also when visiting other participating universities, colleges, research centres and libraries.

In India, the Education and Research Network is the nodal agency for promoting eduroam (http://eduroam.ernet.in/).

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