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3GPP and its Japanese Organizational Partners TTC(Telecommunication Technology Committee) and ARB (Association of  Radio Industries and Businesses) hosted a 3GPP summit for work in 3GPP Rel-18 and its advance plans for the 5G technology. Rel-18 has evolved for a duplex mode which has the motivation of increasing the UL resources for TDD (Time Division Duplex) to reduce the latency and full-duplex mode which increases the system capacity. It has the capability to enhance the support of NPN (Non-Public networks) along with the subscriptions/credentials which are owned by the separate entity. It has the support for video, imaging, and Audio for various professional services and applications, it has the support for the IMS voice and various emergency services, and also the support for the UE onboarding and remote provisioning. 

This release is to identify various topics for the immediate and longer-term commercial needs for the eMBB (enhanced Mobile Broadband), non-eMBB solution, and various cross functionalities for both the eMBB and non-eMBB driven evolution. 

The list of topics included in this release are:

  • Evolution for the Downlink MIMO
  • Uplink enhancements
  • Mobility enhancements 
  • Additional topological improvements (IAB and smart repeaters)
  • Enhancements for XR(Xtended Reality)
  • Sidelink enhancements
  • RedCap evolution
  • NTN (Non-Terrestrial) networks evolution 
  • Evolution for broadcast and multicast services
  • Expanded and improved positioning
  • Evolution for duplex operation
  • AI (Artificial Intelligence)/ ML (Machine Learning)
  • Network energy savings 
  • Additional RAN1/2/3 topics
  • Potential RAN 4 enhancements

The various enhancements for the eMBB use cases include beamforming/MIMO, mobility enhancements, and network power savings. AAS (Advanced Antenna systems) are the main drivers for increasing the spectrum efficiency of wireless networks. Various improvements of the uplink MIMO and enhancements are related to fixed wireless access applications. Various enhancements in the non-eMBB use cases: the most notable enhancements for the non-eMBB applications include RedCap, XR, and NSPS (National security and public safety). Various RedCap UEs are expected to play an important role in many future applications. Rel-18 RedCap solutions will reduce device cost and the power consumption of the devices. 

The next use case includes the cross-domain functionalities for both the MBB and non-MBB use cases: AI (Artificial Intelligence)/ML (Machine Learning) can significantly improve physical performance of the networks. The RAN standardization will explore all the opportunities by setting up the general framework for AI/ML related PHY enhancements. 

5G Advance technology will also introduce more intelligence into the wireless networks by including suitable and verified  machine learning based techniques in different levels of the network. It has the ability to support all the use cases from one system design, it focuses on the forward compatibility while it ensures simple design.    

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