“In 5G networks there could be many types of base station including UDN [user densification network], massive MIMO [multiple-input multiple-output], traditional macro, and D2D,” said ZTE in a statement. “These various base stations will coordinate with each other horizontally more often than they do in 4G networks, and so will require a dynamic and adaptive wireless mesh network.”
ZTE claims such an approach will make it possible for 5G networks to implement highly-effective SDMA (space-division multiple access) and expressed hope that this area would become the “next telecoms industry hotspot for 5G technology research”.
ZTE has already ploughed resources into SDA (software defined air-interface) technology – research began in 2009 – which it claims would help support a flexible 5G access network.
“ZTE’s 5G SDA solution allows self-adaptation of the air interfaces, so that in the same network, a network element can supporting a variety of services, and the SDA can allow multiple wireless access technologies for optimal adaptation, maximising air interfaces efficiency,” said ZTE’s Xiang Jiying. “At present, SDA technology is a key research area for 5G.”
For base station collaboration technology, ZTE said it had already developed its Cloud Radio solution, which lays a “solid foundation for partially-dynamic 5G mesh networks”.
ZTE’s announcement comes only days after Europe and South Korea announced a pact to jointly develop 5G technology. A definition of what 5G actually means is targeted for the end of 2015.