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Ericsson seeks cat-herding jacket, attempts EU 5G standardisation

METIS project is about what works, not intellectual property

Ericsson has taken on a new role as chief technology cat-herder, otherwise known as development coordinator of the EU’s new €8m METIS-II project, which will eventually recommend 5G specs.

Funded by the EU, METIS (Mobile and wireless communications Enablers for the Twenty-twenty Information Society) and now METIS II are significant in the plethora of 5G 'standards' bodies. While many of bodies might have companies from different parts of the industry, few have a good quota of competing companies.

METIS does, which helps make its recommendations more about what works, and less about who has what intellectual property.

The project will develop the overall 5G radio system design and roadmap recommendations for 5G, playing a key coordinating role within the 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership (5G-PPP) projects and bringing key players together to advance 5G system architecture.

Ericsson will also take the lead as technical coordinator of the mmMAGIC (Millimetre-Wave Based Mobile Radio Access Network for Fifth Generation Integrated Communications) project to develop a new radio interface.

“Making 5G a global standard is critical for the large scale digitalisation of industries, the Internet of Things and broadband connectivity everywhere," said Valter D’Avino, Head of Ericsson Western and Central Europe. "Continuing our leadership of METIS in METIS II we will drive innovation and pre-standards requirements as part of our strong European Research activities in 5G.”

This is expected to include duplex, which might well stretch the capabilities of current mobile phones, and may initially be of more use for backhaul than device-to-mast comms.

The project centres on an international consortium, consisting of 23 partners from all regions with strong 5G R&D initiatives – China, the EU, Japan, South Korea and the US – and involving most of the major international vendors, major operators and key researchers.

What does seem to be missing is a chip manufacturer: Intel is on the list, but in the mobile world it would help a lot to add Qualcomm, MediaTek or ARM.

Ericsson will integrate technologies into a radio access design and provide a platform for concerted action toward regulatory and standards bodies. The METIS II project will (hopefully) build upon the success of METIS, the first integrated 5G project, also driven and coordinated by Ericsson.

Quite where 5G will fall will be substantially determined by the World Radiocommunication Conference in November.

Both projects are important in preparing a pre-standardisation consensus in the mobile industry. They provide the different consortia with an opportunity to discuss and evaluate various research ideas before bringing them to the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project). ®


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