5G and AI Integration – A Research Project Launched in 3GPP


At the RAN (#88e) plenary meeting from 29 Jun to 3 July 2020, 3GPP approved the project for New SID (Study Item Description): Study on Further Enhancement for Data Collection, marking the official start of research on the integration of wireless network and AI.


The newly-approved project led by China Mobile is a further enhancement of the R16 standardisation project “wireless data collection and application”, aiming to build a smart wireless network enabled by AI technologies based on big data. In the follow-up of the project, with a focus on 5G’s typical demands for energy efficiency, load balancing, mobility management and coverage optimization, efforts will be made in studying the general principle and functional framework of AI-based 5G wireless network, data input and output through AI models, and the transfer process between wireless nodes and functional modules. The project is a solid foundation for the deep integration of 5G wireless network and AI (RAN+AI).

Prior to this, 3GPP has already initiated its research on the need for better transmission of AI services in 5G systems. In Nov 2019, 3GPP SA1, the working group responsible for the research, approved the project “Study on Traffic Characteristics and Performance Requirements for AI/ML Model Transfer in 5GS” led by OPPO. The project studies ways to better support AI/ML (machine learning) services such as image recognition, speech recognition, robots and smart vehicles. Main application scenarios include split AI/ML operation, AI/ML data and model distribution and sharing, federated learning and distributed learning.

As for 3GPP SA2, the working group responsible for network architecture, its main work about AI is to introduce the 5G Network Data Analytics Function (NWDAF). At the SA2 (#121) meeting in Apr 2017, The project “enabler of Network Automation for 5G” (eNA) led by Huawei was launched, giving a systematic review of 5G smart network architecture and application scenarios. At the SA2 (#133) meeting, the second stage of eNA was initiated, led by China Mobile and Huawei, in order to further enhance smart architecture, to expand application scenarios, and to support the comprehensive commercial deployment by major operators. The project has motivated the whole industry to think about and actively participate in areas from multiple-instance NWDAF deployment to distributed architecture.


In addition, China’s IMT-2020 (5G) promotion group also established a task force for research on 5G and AI integration (hereinafter, the “task force”). The task force will systematically study and promote the integrated development of 5G and AI, facilitate the use of AI technologies in 5G, and strengthen 5G’s support for AI, so that the 5G network and applications will be more intelligent, efficient, coordinated and friendly. The successful establishment of the new 3GPP RAN project is due to the joint effort of members of the task force. In the future, the task force will carry out various research on topics such as the introduction of 5G network into AI, the support of the 5G network for AI algorithms and applications, and 5G in AI-enabled vertical industries, on the basis of multiple 3GPP projects, in order to promote the deep integration of 5G and AI.


Original source: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/LFviDUM1QTyuTCBsWdiMlw