What industrial IoT URLLC enhancements are in Release 17?
Enhanced support for Industrial IoT in Release 17 covers enhancements for 5G to enable support for Time Sensitive Communications
Given that 5G is seen as key to realizing the goals of the industrial IoT, recent upgrades better tailor the air interface to use in vertical industries. The primary aim of Rel-17 is to improve 5G’s performance, support new use cases and verticals, and provide ubiquitous connectivity in different deployment conditions and scenarios.
Ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC) has been a key enabler for 5G to enter various verticals. URLLC has been introduced in 5G New Radio for new applications that have strict reliability and latency requirements such as augmented/virtual reality, industrial automation and autonomous vehicles.
Rel-15 established a solid foundation, and Rel-16 introduced further enhancements by the 3GPP’s System Architecture (SA) and RAN groups to better serve various industry verticals such as factory automation, the transport industry and electrical power distribution. These enhancements included various user-plane redundancy schemes as well as enhancements to improve reliability, reduce latency and support time-sensitive communication (TSC), according to a recent article by Ericsson Technology Review.
The Ericsson article noted that the expected enhancements in Rel-17 aim to improve spectral efficiency and system capacity, support URLLC in unlicensed spectrum environments and strengthen the framework to support TSC. They include Hybrid Automatic Repeat Request-Acknowledgement (HARQ-ACK) enhancements, CSI enhancements, intra-UE multiplexing, time-synchronization enhancements and service survival time as an extension to TSC assistance information.
According to an article published by IT systems integrator Grandmetric, ‘Enhanced Support for Industrial IoT’ in Release 17 covers enhancements for the 5G System (5GS) to enable support for Time Sensitive Communications and deterministic applications. “Those incorporate: enhanced support for integration with IEEE Time Sensitive Networking (TSN), including support for UL synchronization with 5GS, support for multiple clock domains connected to UE; enhanced support for deterministic applications, including UE-UE TSC communication via the same UPF and exposure of NW capability to support TSC, like deterministic services and time sync,” according to Grandmetric article.
Enhancements on Industrial IoT and URLLC communications will boost 5G industry automation as they will guarantee compatibility with unlicensed bands, traffic handling and prioritizing with advanced QoS mechanisms, and synchronization.
A report by 5G Americas, noted that the study on enhanced support of Industrial IoT-URLLC enhancements in the 5G System aims at enhancing support of IEEE Time Sensitive Network and enhancements for Time Sensitive Communication to support deterministic applications related to the following aspects: Uplink Time Sync with TSN GrandMaster (GM) being the device, support for PTP time sync for regular ETH and IP applications, UE to UE TSC communication with optimized routing, exposure of TSC QoS and Time Synchronization service enabling activation/deactivation, and introduction of “Use of Survival Time for Deterministic Applications in 5GS”.