DALLAS — AT&T is pushing the 3GPP standards body to release the first part of its 5G Release 15 specification between December 2017 and March 2018 as opposed to the original timeline of June 2018. The portion of the 5G specification that AT&T wants released is specifically geared toward non-standalone New Radio (NR).
Speaking here at the 5G North America event, Brian Daly, director of core network and government regulatory for AT&T, said that the company is in the midst of conducting some 5G trials and wants to make sure that those trial results are part of the standards. “The early release between December 2017 and March 2018 for non-standalone NR is a critical milestone to meet to get some of the learnings from the trials and bring into the standards for silicon designs for early product releases,” Daly said.
In June, the 3GPP agreed on a working plan for Release 15 that included the development of the NR, and said it anticipated that work would continue until June 2018.
In a September interview with SDxCentral, Tom Keathley, AT&T’s senior vice president of wireless network architecture and design, said that the company believes that having this specification ready a few months early could help accelerate the deployment of 5G gear.
“In order to accelerate the actual deployment of 5G gear, it has to start with the chipsets. We have to align on specs for Layer 1 and Layer 2. We could align on those specs in December 2017,” Keathley said.
AT&T isn’t alone in its efforts. The company has formed a group to speed 5G commercialization after the 3GPP finishes the first release of the 5G spec. Partners include China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, KDDI, LG, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Qualcomm, Samsung, SK Telecom, Telstra, and Vodafone.
AT&T’s efforts, however, are at odds with competitor Verizon, which released its own early 5G specification document last summer. Verizon has said that its goal is to collaborate with vendors on some early specifications and then contribute those to the 3GPP. Verizon insists that its early release of these 5G specifications won’t create fragmentation in the industry.
5G Security Front-and Center
Daly also emphasized the need for more security to be baked into the 5G standards. Referring to Mirai, the Internet of Things (IoT) botnet that was blamed for the massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that disrupted several major Internet sites late last month, Daly said that the standards groups need to look at security at endpoints, the applications, and the network. “We have to have threat management that spans all three of those,” he said.
Daly also said that AT&T has seen a 3,198 percent increase in IoT vulnerability scans in the past three years. “We have to take security seriously as we move into 5G,” he added.