IEEE wants to collaborate with 3GPP on 5G

The IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee (IEEE 802) wants to collaborate with the 3GPP toward support of IMT-2020 and next-generation networks, according to a letter to 3GPP from the chairman of the IEEE 802 Local and Metropolitan Area Network Standards Committee (LMSC).

IEEE 802 LMSC Chairman Paul Nikolich sent a letter to 3GPP PCG Chair Zhiqin Wang with a detailed proposal on how the two groups could work together. “We propose some collaborative approaches and request the 3GPP Project Coordination Group (PCG) to suggest further details consistent with its goals and operating procedures,” the letter stated (PDF). The letter emerged as the subject of a tweet by industry engineering consultant Steve Crowley last week.

IEEE suggested the two begin collaboration by developing a common understanding of the role of interworking with IEEE 802 networks in meeting the IMT-2020 requirements.

“We also believe it would be helpful for our organizations to identify mutually agreeable collaboration mechanisms that take into account the existing procedures of each organization,” Nikolich wrote. “Note that the IEEE-SA has mechanisms to enable IEEE 802 to share its working drafts with external organizations for comment and, where necessary, to establish memoranda of understanding (MOU) with external organizations to enable productive cross-organization collaboration.”

This isn’t the first time the desire for closer collaboration has been raised. The IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN (WLAN) Working Group sent a liaison to 3GPP TSG RAN and TSG SA in September requesting opinions on the desirability of improving WLAN aggregation and integration and the potential of the inclusion of WLAN in an IMT-2020 submission. The liaison also asked for suggestions on how the 802.11, RAN and SA groups can work together to improve overall network.

Working together, the IEEE group hopes to agree on mechanisms, aligned with 3GPP aims and operating methods, for 3GPP and IEEE 802 to work together, enabling, among other things, representation of 3GPP in IEEE 802 and IEEE 802 in 3GPP.

Representatives of 3GPP are invited to attend an upcoming IEEE Plenary Session, the next of which takes place Nov. 6-11 in San Antonio, Texas. IEEE 802 also said alternative approaches to initiating collaboration are also welcome if the 3GPP wants to suggest something.

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The outreach on the part of the IEEE group is notable given the two entities have different approaches to standardization. They were able to reach consensus, however, unlike stakeholders in the LTE-U debate, which has been decidedly more contentious. For example, IEEE started collaborating with 3GPP on LAA more than a year ago, and Nikolich told FierceWirelessTech back in August 2015 that he was pleased with the degree of cooperation that was occurring at that time.

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One of the reasons Wi-Fi activists were so concerned about LTE-U’s impact on Wi-Fi users is it was developed outside the usual standards process, unlike LAA, which has been going through the 3GPP rigors. Last month, the Wi-Fi Alliance delivered the coexistence test plan that it had promised, and while stakeholders from both the Wi-Fi and LTE communities were not 100 percent satisfied with the results, representatives from Verizon and T-Mobile said they expected to use the test plan before deploying LTE-U equipment.