Industry Specification Group (ISG) on Millimetre Wave Transmission (mWT)

Chair: Renato Lombardi, Huawei Technologies (UK)

Facilitating the use of the 6 - 42 GHz and 50 - 300 GHz bands for large volume backhaul and fronthaul applications to support mobile network implementation, wireless local loop and other services that benefit from high speed wireless transmission.

The deployment of 4G, the future needs of 5G and the number of connections required for massive machine-type communications in the Internet of Things are making unprecedented demands on radio access networks and backhauling.

Millimetre wave bands (30 - 300 GHz) offer enormous amounts of under-utilized bandwidth – as well as more spectrum for radio transmission than lower bands, and wider channel bandwidth, with fibre-like capacity. As a source of largely untapped spectrum resource, millimetre wave technologies are expected to be a major enabler of future mobile communications.

Our Industry Specification Group on millimetre Wave Transmission (ISG mWT) provides a platform for stakeholders in the microwave and millimetre-wave value chain to exchange technical information, increasing the awareness and confidence of operators worldwide in the use of microwave and millimetre-waves.

The increase in capacity needed for 5G backhaul, and the importance of microwave/millimetre wave as a backhaul medium, demand innovative ways to harness the use of spectrum for fixed services. As mobile networks evolve from 4G to 5G, a key challenge is providing increased capacity, with a consequent need for more spectrum and its more efficient use. Our work in ISG mWT therefore aims to remove bottlenecks in releasing new spectrum, and to change spectrum licensing rules to make microwave and millimetre-wave wireless backhaul practical in the medium/long term for 5G operators.

In parallel, we continue to explore how current mWT technology and its evolution can satisfy future applications – such as 5G and Fixed Wireless Access – in the timeframe beyond 2020. This considers new mobile and fixed access requirements in terms including topologies, data rates, latency and range.

In 2019 ISG mWT published a Group Report [GR mWT 018] that presents an analysis of spectrum, license schemes and network scenarios in the W-band. This report follows a previous study on the D-Band, on which it has been given priority by industry. The report provides an overview of possible applications and use cases, assessing the technological state of the art at such high frequencies, as well as exploring possible channel arrangements including the so called ‘duplexer-free’ scheme. The report analyses technical propagation characteristics of the W-band, and identifies applications for future high capacity backhaul networks or similar applications.

Work began this year on a GR considering FS (Fixed Service) RF frequency ranges above 174.8 GHz. The report will address the current status of standardization activities and regulatory framework; it will also track potential applications, expected industry trends and activities.

A further work item was launched to define a Wireless Transport Profile for Standard SDN Northbound Interfaces. This profile will be used in conjunction with the IETF Data Models used to implement SDN. A mmW/microwave profile for SDN standard models is useful to facilitate interoperability and technical requirement specification. It is also an essential tool for practical implementation of SDN, since mmW and microwave usually require a small subset of some large, general-purpose models and have specific attributes that may lead to multiple interpretations.

During the year ISG mWT members contributed to a White Paper on mWT E-Band (71 - 76 and 81 - 86 GHz). This aims to track the evolution of E-Band regulation and deployment worldwide, and to make an analysis of provisions given today by WW regulations.

In April ISG mWT member companies participated at the ITU-R SG5 Plenary workshop, presenting industry’s view on the Evolution of Fixed Service in Backhaul support of IMT 2020/5G.

Look out for in 2020 – ISG mWT work in progress

  • Group Specification (GS) on Wireless Transport Profile for Standard SDN Northbound Interfaces (NBI) - defining a Wireless Transport NBI profile to be used in conjunction with IETF data models to simplify and promote interoperability of SDN solutions
  • Group Report (GR) on FS RF frequency ranges above 174.8 GHz
  • GR on wireless backhaul/X-haul network and services automation wireless backhaul SDN - description of use cases under a ‘close-to-implementation’ approach for wireless backhaul networks
  • White Paper on E-band (71-76 and 81-86 GHz) worldwide deployments and regulatory status