Industry Specification Group (ISG) on Millimetre Wave Transmission (mWT) Activity Report 2022

Chair: Renato Lombardi, Huawei Technologies, UK

Facilitating the use of microwave and millimetre-wave spectrum 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.

Widescale deployment of 4G/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.

Spectrum in the traditional microwave (6-42 GHz) and millimetre-wave (50-300 GHz and above) ranges offers enormous amounts of under-utilized bandwidth, providing more spectrum for radio transmission than lower bands with a wider channel bandwidth and fibre-like capacity. These frequencies are a major enabler for the evolution of mobile communications, including 5G and machine-type communications on a massive scale in the IoT that will make unprecedented demands on radio access networks and backhauling.

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

The group’s work 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, the group continues to explore how current mWT technology and its evolution can satisfy future applications – such as 5G and Fixed Wireless Access services in the timeframe beyond 2020. This considers new mobile and fixed access requirements in terms of topologies, data rates, latency and range.

ISG mWT publications continue to draw the attention of the global telecoms industry and are widely used as reference by other industry organizations and standardization bodies.

In March 2022 the group published a new Group Specification GS mWT 024 ‘Definition of a Wireless Transport Profile for Standard SDN Northbound Interfaces’. Intended to be used in conjunction with IETF Data Models used to implement SDN, this Profile recommends which models to use from the vast library available from IETF, and also the selection of YANG sub-trees within such models that are necessary to manage microwave and millimetre-wave networks. The ultimate goal of this Profile is to simplify and promote interoperability of SDN solutions based on IETF NBI standards. 

Further progress was made during the year on three new Group Reports, addressing:

  • Use of innovative antenna systems (integral and separated TX/RX antennas) within millimetre wave transmission, and impacts on standards and regulations
  • Definition of KPIs for planning microwave and millimetre-wave backhaul networks
  • Coexistence between FS and other services

During the year planning progressed for the 4th mWT Plugtests event that is scheduled to take place in February 2023. Conducted in the premises of ETSI, this edition will focus on proving the ability of Software Defined Network (SDN) to operate from an end-to-end service point of view. Building on the previous three editions which focused on a standard Northbound Interface (NBI), this 4th event examines the Southbound Interface (SBI). See more information at: 

Development meanwhile continued on a new ETSI Whitepaper titled ‘Worldwide analysis and proposals to promote and facilitate the wireless transport network as the key enabler for fast 5G deployment.’ Publication is scheduled in Q1 2023.

During the year ISG mWT continued its regular liaison with ETSI’s Technical Committee ATTM TM4 on antenna and equipment, in particular for systems operating in the so-called D-Band frequency range (130-174,8 GHz) and W-band frequency range (92−114,25 GHz). 

Relevant activities within CEPT ECC (WG SE, SE19, SE21, SE40), ITU-R WP5C and GSMA continued to be monitored.

See the full list of ISG mWT Work Items currently in development here.