IITH pioneers 5G research
Dr. Kiran Kuchi, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering has tabled India's first set of standards essential patents (SEP) in 5G technology before the international body that sets the standards.
The patented technology was presented at a conference held in Spokane, U.S., on April 3, 2017 by 3GPP - Third Generation Partnership Project, the international body that defines global cellular radio standards including 2G, 3G, 4G and now 5G. It may take nearly a year to get the nod for 5G specifications. Once the 5G specifications are cleared, the telecommunication manufacturers will have to adhere to the specification approved by 3GPP.
The Indian delegation, led by Prof. Kiran Kuchi, Associate Professor, IIT Hyderabad, introduced an indigenously developed waveform technology that forms the backbone feature in the uplink of 5G networks. The waveform was developed by principal inventor Prof. Kuchi and co-inventor Dr. J Klutto Milleth, Chief technologist, Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT), an R&D society under IIT Madras.
These Indian organizations participated in 3GPP through Telecom Standards Development Society India (TSDSI), an Indian SDO (Standards Development Organization) backed by the Government of India. Though new entrants to 3GPP, the Indian delegation has established as a key global player in setting global 5G standards. The research was funded by Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
Explaining the importance of this patent, Prof. Kuchi said, Standards Essential Patents (SEPs) are the ones that are written in the standards that every phone/base station manufacturer has to implement in the device. The SEPs are typically owned by large telecom companies. They derive patent royalties from their portfolio of patents.
The newly introduced uplink (handset to base station link) waveform technology is expected to provide up to two-fold increase in cell coverage, significantly useful to reduce dropped calls and increase the battery life of 5G handsets, he said. Waveform changes typically happen once in decade especially when cellular technologies go through a generational change. India bagged this opportunity and started leading the development of 5G standards in a big way, added Prof. Kuchi.
India at present pays a significant amount of telecommunication product costs in patent royalties. Indigenous patent creation also helps in reducing the outflow of patent royalties drastically. Indian start-up companies, base stations and handset manufacturing industry standards will profit from the current 5G efforts in a big way.
The Indian telecommunications sector is focused on developing 5G wireless technology. Normally in wireless communication, content is converted to bits and transmitted in a waveform. This occupies bandwidth which is scarce and consumes power that is precious. Prof. Kuchi worked to overcome these limitations. The waveform titled "Generalized Precoded OFDM" synthesizes a constant envelope signal without bandwidth expansion. Typical OFDM transmission is not a power efficient method, especially for battery operated devices while the proposed waveform remove these limitations completely.
Prof. Kuchi said that the Indian team developed yet a major invention based on cloud radio access network and Massive multiple-antenna system that uses non-linearly pre-coded waveform that exploits the channel reciprocity properties of TDD frequency bands. This is expected to offer at 3-5 fold increase in network capacity over 4G LTE.
IIT Hyderabad had recently conducted the world's first successful large scale field trial demonstration of this technology that is expected to be incorporated into 5G standards shortly. This solution together with India's waveform invention will not only address India's spectrum requirements, but also aid in increasing the reach of NOFN rural broadband, a digital India initiative by the Government of India.