Industry Insights

MWC 2019 – What Does Mr. Gaudí Have to Do with 5G?

2019-02-27  |  5 min read 

About a year ago, I was in Barcelona, Spain, at Mobile World Congress (MWC) on a quest to find out where the industry stood with 5G and hoping to check out the city’s most famous architectural work by Mr. Gaudí while I was there. His imagination has led to the creation of some of the city’s most original and emblematic buildings, although many did not recognize his genius at the time. Can we draw any parallels between Mr. Gaudí’s work and 5G? Certainly.

Firstly, many people had doubts about the technology initially, but they have melted away with the milestones achieved by the standard in the past two years. In research since 2010, 5G started to show its true colors in 2017 with the approval of Release-15 non-standalone (NSA) mode and quickly reached another milestone in June 2018 with the approval of the standalone (SA) mode. 2019 will record new achievements from a standard standpoint, including that of Release-16, but perhaps more importantly, the first 5G network deployments will take place.  

Yes, 5G is well on its way to consumers. Mobile World Congress (MWC) announcements from Day 1 and 2 of the conference are here to prove it. Just as predicted in my earlier blog, 5G officially made the leap from chipsets to devices, with smartphone announcement galore from Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, and Oppo among others. Much of it is the result of collaboration efforts with Keysight around network and channel emulation and will spark 5G commercialization and the 5G network rollout. "Keysight's end-to-end 5G test solutions have accelerated the development and validation of our new 5G designs across the workflow, from early prototyping to design validation and manufacturing," said Woonhaing Hur, vice president of System LSI Protocol Development at Samsung Electronics. Similarly, Levin Liu, global vice president and head of the OPPO Research Institute at Shenzhen, China recognized the key role played by Keysight in its 5G R&D progress recognizing "Keysight's close relationships with (its) 5G chipset and operator partners.”

Network trials are multiplying. “As of today, we’re approaching 100 5G trials (…) with more coming even this week,” pointed out Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri during his keynote. While the first 5G use cases will focus on enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), ultra-reliable low-latency (URLLC) and massive machine-type communication (mMTC) are not far away. Ericsson, for example, has been working with Vodafone on 5G for automotive applications in Germany. “The high-capacity and low latency characteristics of 5G will be the cornerstones of vehicles and transportation,” declared Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm in his keynote.

Like Park Güell and La Sagrada Familia, 5G is also the culmination of a myriad of pieces. With the goal to deliver the high bandwidth and innovative services consumers are waiting for, and the new revenue streams service operators desperately need, 5G technology concepts are many and complex and include massive multiple input multiple output (mMIMO), beamforming, the use of millimeter-wave (mmWave) frequencies, and network slicing among others.

One major difference between 5G and Mr. Gaudí’s work though is the pace of evolution. Despite the tremendous engineering challenge at hand, it won’t take decades to complete (construction of La Sagrada Familia started in 1883 and its completion is scheduled for 2026). As impressive to the wireless communications industry as La Sagrada Familia is to the world of art, 5G is on a much more accelerated path.

Learn more about how Keysight is accelerating 5G innovation across the mobile ecosystem here.