5G Direct Mode, MCPTT Items Advance During March 3GPP Meetings in China
Tuesday, April 30, 2019 | Comments

Movement to develop a 5G-based direct mode vehicle-to-everything (V2X) New Radio sidelink continued at the latest Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) meetings in Shenzhen, China, in March, according to attendees.

Work is ongoing to develop the New Radio (NR) sidelink — a 5G-based direct-mode V2X — as part of the NR V2X study in the RAN plenary. The system and protocol level work will be followed up in Release 17 from the Service and System Aspects (SA) and Core Network and Terminals (CT) plenaries, said Ed Diaz, Verizon director, advanced technology planning and standards, who attended the March meeting in China.

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) presented a contribution titled “Mission-Critical Services and NR V2X” in the Radio Access Network (RAN) plenary at the last 2018 3GPP meeting.

The Mission Critical Applications Working Group has already been working on V2X services in the context of mission-critical services (MCS) under the work item application layer support for V2X services (V2XAPP) in Release 16. This study is documented in TS 23.286. It is expected that additional working groups will begin studying impacts of the public-safety direct-mode capabilities in 5G in Release 17, leveraging the ongoing V2XAPP work from Release 16.

RAN working groups conducted the feasibility study on NR V2X and concluded that it is feasible to support advanced V2X services using the technical solutions identified during the study. Solutions defined for V2X can also be used for public safety when the service requirement can be met.

While the New Radio sidelink (5G direct mode) study currently focuses on V2X use cases, there is also a goal of developing general proximity services (ProSe) for 5G. There is potential that ProSe may also be considered for mission-critical services and public safety in Release 17, Diaz said.

Teams are also working on mission-critical push to talk (MCPTT) architectural requirements and application layer interworking enhancements around information flows, procedures and parameters. Stage 3 protocol-level technical specifications for mobility layer procedures and interfaces for mission-critical communications interworking are still on track for September as well.

3GPP has completed all the requirements of MCPTT, mission-critical Data (MCData) and mission-critical video (MCVideo) for deployment. Enhancements for further refinement and optimizations are on track for completion in June. The industry trend is to adopt 3GPP’s MCPTT, MCData and MCVideo standards to achieve the interoperability across multiple networks.

“Enabling the successful integration of MCPTT services across multiple LTE networks represents the biggest interoperability challenge,” Diaz said. “It is necessary for network operators, MCPTT client application providers, device manufacturers and app developers to adopt open standards to achieve interoperability at scale.”

Separately, a work item focused on Long Term Evolution (LTE) interworking with LMR system is making continued progress toward a June completion. This will bring enhancements to interconnection subscription updates — for example, group management configuration subscriptions between systems — location features, analog FM and conventional identities interworking.

“The inclusion of 5G multimedia broadcast multicast services (MBMS) capabilities is a possible feature being considered for Release 17,” said Diaz. “If the 5G MBMS feature is included in Release 17, the mission-critical services use cases are highly likely.”

Officials from the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and AT&T did not attend the latest 3GPP standards meetings, according to sources. A FirstNet spokesperson didn't respond to a request for comment by press time. 

Diaz said the mission-critical applications working group is a highly collaborative group of professionals who understand the importance of these services. The items brought forward in the Shenzhen plenary meeting were all approved without contention.

“The current political climate that has an impact on global telecom standardization is very unfortunate,” said Tero Pesonen, who attended the Shenzhen meetings for TCCA’s Critical Communications Broadband Group (CCBG). “If this situation continues where different parties cannot participate in meetings based on the venue location, it will in the longer term cause difficulties in meeting arrangements as well as in the work progress. The greatest difficulty for mission-critical services will be in the working groups where the hard labor is done with relatively few specialized expert participants. In the plenary level, there are more possibilities for mission-critical community stakeholders to provide mutual support and aid.”

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