ITU Assembly sets out broad directions for 5G and IoT policy

November 02, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
The most recent ITU (International Telecommunications Union) Radiocommunication Assembly has discussed future directions for wireless communications. Held every three to four years, the Radiocommunication Assembly deliberated the future direction of radiocommunications and reached significant decisions that will influence the future development of radiocommunications worldwide in an increasingly wireless environment.

RA-15 set future work programmes on many technical issues in the field of radiocommunications and approved worldwide radiocommunication standards (ITU-R Recommendations). Resolutions were approved to focus future studies and new radiocommunication techniques and applications while also agreeing on changes to streamline the working methods of the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R).

Among Resolutions approves was IMT-2020, paving the way for 5G mobile systems: RA-15 established the principles and processes for the development of IMT-2020 – the next-generation 5G mobile system – as an extension of ITU’s existing family of global standards for International Mobile Telecommunication systems (IMT-2000 and IMT-Advanced), which serve as the basis for all of today’s 3G and 4G mobile systems. The World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15), in session 2-27 November 2015, will address the requirements for additional spectrum to support IMT mobile broadband. The ITU’s timeline has 5G systems set to become available in 2020, that will, “usher in new paradigms in connectivity in mobile broadband wireless systems to support, for example, extremely high definition video services, real time low latency applications and the expanding realm of the Internet of Things.”

International standards for the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and its applications, including machine-to-machine (M2M) networks, smart cities and Ubiquitous Sensor Networks (USN) have been under development in the ITU Standardisation Sector (ITU-T) and other standards bodies.

RA-15 resolved to conduct studies on the technical and operational aspects of radio networks and systems for IoT in collaboration with ITU-T and relevant standards development organizations.

RA-15 recognised that the globally connected world of IoT builds on the connectivity and functionality made possible by radiocommunication networks and that the growing number of IoT applications may require enhanced transmission speed, device connectivity, and energy efficiency to accommodate the significant amounts of data among a plethora of devices.

RA-15 also examined the issues related to the growing number of small satellites (with a mass less than 100 kg), including nanosatellites (typically 1