Introduction. 5G communications pose certain requirements which need to be fulfilled in order to be able to provide evolved, demanding applications in a cost and energy-efficient manner. At the same time, 5G experimental facilities are essential in order to be able to test novel features prior to commercial deployment. The time is now for XIFI and its evolutions to contribute to 5G and provide useful results for European industry and beyond.
Motivation for 5G and technology trends. 5G communications are expected to be characterized by numerous devices and networks which are expected to be interconnected and traffic demand will continuously rise compared to current levels. Heterogeneity will also be a feature of the emerging wireless world as mixed usage of cells of various sizes and access points with different characteristics and technologies are necessary in order to meet 5G requirements for increased capacity and increased performance with reduced delay. Consequently, wireless networks pose specific requirements which need to be fulfilled and as a result 5G evolution will capitalize on certain technology trends.
Why experimentally-driven research is important. European industry, including network operators, service providers and equipment vendors need to contribute to 5G technical specifications and technical aspects for the creation of 5G-compliant equipment and services. At the same time, the involved stakeholders would need to validate and iterate their 5G developments in order to prove what can be achieved by utilizing the provided technological progress. As a result, a 5G experimental infrastructure would be important in order to be able to successfully handle huge amounts of traffic (e.g., 1000x more traffic compared to 2010 levels) with ultra-low latency and ultra-low downtime, by introducing denser network deployments, smaller cells, utilization of more spectrum up to mmWave bands, softwarization and virtualization of common network functions.
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