5G-Advanced Starts Without a Killer Feature in R17, but R18 Will Implement the Full 5G Vision

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4Q 2021 | IN-6393


Release 18 Approved by 3GPP in December 2021


3GPP just approved the package of Release 18 (R18) in December 2021, which initiated the second phase of the 5G era as “5G-Advanced”. The commercial launch of R18 is estimated round 2025 by ABI Research, following the publication of the standard in December 2023. As with all other 3GPP releases, R18 will introduce enhancements for cellular networks in the core, system, radio, and device domains and the current development effort covers twenty-eight approved work/study Items. Included in these are:  

  • Evolution in NR-MIMO: Enhancements for downlink/uplink throughput, coverage, lower power consumption, and size/weight.
  • Mobility enhancements: Reducing handover latency from improving layer one and layer two based inter-cell mobility.
  • AI/ML in the end-to-end 5G system: Applying Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML) to optimize the deployment decision making, network energy saving, CSI feedback, beam management, and positioning.
  • Network energy savings: Defining network energy consumption model, evaluation methodology, Key Performance …

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