What is 3GPP Release 18?

1 Answer
Can you answer this question?

- everything RF

Jan 9, 2022

While the 3GPP Release 17 specifications are being finalized, 3GPP has already started to lay the foundations for the next version, Release 18. 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is expected to publish the initial set of guidelines for 3GPP Release 18 in December 2021. They expect to have a complete standard published by March 2024. Although Release 18 is at a very early stage, it is expected to mainly focus on Advanced 5G. The preliminary submissions would cover three key proposal types:

eMBB (enhanced Mobile Broadband)-driven functional evolution: Release 18 would be focussed on three of the eMBB use cases: MIMO, Mobility Enhancements, and Network Power Savings. In Release 18, significant improvements will be made in uplink MIMO and enhancements related to fixed-wireless access applications. To increase network efficiency for the transition from 4G to 5G, further enhancements are envisaged, such as improved NR performance when the number of LTE User Equipments (UEs) decrease gradually, and reduced impact on NR performance due to interference from LTE broadcast signals.

Non-eMBB-driven functional evolution: Significant enhancements are being considered for non-eMBB applications as well, such as new or existing verticals, include RedCap, XR (extended reality), and national security and public safety (NSPS). In Release 18, the 3GPP RAN group would investigate traffic management for resource-efficient and low-latency radio resource allocation, mobility support with consistent data rates, UE energy-efficient operation compatible with XR traffic and latency requirements. RAN enhancements for the remote control of drones and rogue drone detection would also being considered. 

Cross-functionalities for both eMBB and non-eMBB evolution: These include use cases from both eMBB and non-eMBB such as AI (artificial intelligence)/ML (machine learning) for physical layer (PHY) enhancements, AI/ML for RAN enhancements, and full duplex. In Release 18, enhancement for some selected use cases from Release-17 would be worked upon such as efficient traffic steering and load balancing. The focus will be on enhancements to current interfaces in the existing architecture. 

The 3GPP Release 18 will include multiple updates that include:

  1. Low-Power, High-Accuracy Positioning for Industrial IoT
  2. 5G Timing Resiliency System
  3. Enhanced Access to and Support of Network Slice (EASNS)
  4. Advancements on the Release 17’s RedCap NR
  5. Enhancements for Residential 5G

Low-Power, High-Accuracy Positioning for Industrial IoT

Some industrial areas have “danger zones” in which energy efficient IoT devices are required to be used frequently at precise locations. This update aims at specifying requirements for such high-accuracy and low-power positioning services for industrial IoT scenarios. 

5G Timing Resiliency System

This update will introduce additional 5G system requirements for timing resiliency. This aims to enable the use of the 5G system combined with other timing technologies as a resilient timing source for end-users to complement/back-up/alternate to GNSS services.

Enhanced Access to and Support of Network Slice (EASNS)

This enhancement would aim at specifying requirements related to supporting UE’s (user equipment) access to a network slice when different types of restrictions are applied (restrictions related to frequency bands, radio resources, etc.).

Enhancements to the Release 17’s RedCap NR 

The 3GPP group is considering adding new features to NR RedCap. Enhancements are expected to be made for a higher data transmission rate as compared to the data rate specified in Release 17, improvements in positioning i.e., location-based service applications (e.g., asset tracking) and support for unlicensed spectrum bands.

Click here to visit the official 3GPP Release 18 page.

Click here to learn more about the 3GPP Release 17.