Known as Release 18, it’s the fourth standard for 5G and the first to be dubbed “5G Advanced », Release 18 can be considered a direct evolution to previous releases 15, 16 and 17 it will also establish the basis for new network capabilities.
1. Enhancements to existing 5G performance
In terms of capability enhancements, Rel-18 will keep working on New Radio (NR), Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO), mobility, Uplink (UL) coverage, Dynamics Spectrum Sharing (DSS), Integrated Access Backhaul (IAB), and sidelink improvements as a way to further developed current data throughput, End-to-End latency, coverage, use of spectrum, positioning accuracy, and service reliability.
2. Enhancements to 5G use cases
5G advanced includesl use case-based enhancements related to Extended Reality, Reduced Capability (RedCap) User Equipment, and drones by creating a deployment scenario.
-XR gaming/streaming/apps: 5G advanced will further enhance XR-specific traffic performance and power. Also, it considers enhancements on sidelink to consumer devices ( Device-to-device communication to extend coverage), which could be a great addition for peer-to-peer gaming/streaming.
-Precise positioning: In 5G advanced positioning is expected to reach real-time, centimeter-level accuracy indoors/outdoors creating use cases for new applications in industrial, drone delivery and self driving car scenarios.
3. AI/ML across the network Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) is one of the main flagship Rel-18 projects and the top category in terms of defining the “Advanced” aspect unlike Release 16 and 17 which mainly helped extend 5G to new verticals,
Release 18 includes a wider use of AI/ML for optimizing RAN and air interfaces. AI/ML will be focused on improving energy consumption, signal support, and user behavior prediction. One aspect worth mentioning is that due to the complexity of networks, Release 18 will focus on establishing a framework by specifying data collection enhancements and signal support for AI/ML-based energy saving, load balancing, mobility, Channel State Information feedback, beam management, and position accuracy cases.
4. Energy savings is a must
One of the most relevant topics in 5G advanced is energy saving as most Telco have a strategic need to have a more sustainable carbon footprint and reduce OPEX. Release 18 defines an evaluation methodology to make system-level network energy saving comparable and measurable among different scenarios.
Also, 5G Advanced aims to find a practical implementation to realize the full duplex transmission, which means data can be transmitted and received at the same time on the same frequency in the established Time Division Duplex which in theory could double the capacity.