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‘Quality of Experience’ a Major Focus for ETSI F5G Group

Having released its first specification for F5G Network Architecture, ETSI’s 5th Generation Fixed Network group (ISG F5G) is now focusing on “quality of experience” for users, according to group Chairman Luca Pesando.

In an interview with Light Reading about the group’s accomplishments and future plans, Pesando said ISG F5G has accomplished what it set out to do in the first two years of its mandate by releasing its first specification, ETSI GS F5G 004 and delivering several proofs of concept. The specification defines the architecture that will deliver services to residential and business customers over a single physical network.

The process of creating the specification started with the selection of use cases, followed by an analysis of the requirements to support them. Having done that, the group is now turning its attention to what is need to achieve quality of experience for users, said Pesando, who is also one of the  Standards Managers for Telecom Italia.

“Normally you hear people speaking of quality of service. But in this case, why experience? It’s because video and interactive services are what mainly need to be supported with new technologies like F5G, and that’s why we focus on the quality of experience of the end user rather than simply what more in general you could call quality of services. Here the user is central.”

ETSI formed ISG F5G to study how the fixed network needs to evolve in order “to match and further enhance the benefits that 5G has brought to mobile networks and to communications.” As part of this mission, the group is studying how the evolution of fixed networks impacts users and what challenges must be addressed.

“Reaching and better servicing the end users is the second big target of F5G,” said Pesando, adding that network operators have an obvious interest in this. The continuous evolution of fixed networks creates challenges, and operators need holistic solutions, “instead of scattered efforts that many times need extra effort to make them work together to reach a complete view. Doing it from the beginning should save time and allow for easier deployment and better service to the end users.”

Work in Progress

In addition to releasing its first specification, ISG F5G has worked on security specifications and is already in the midst of developing its second specification release, which among other things will include revisions to requirements and specifications, Pesando said.

The group also has defined a proof-of-concept framework for use cases and is accepting proposals, both from ETSI members and non-members. “We are accepting the participation of external companies so we don’t restrict arbitrarily the chance to receive good suggestions and good demonstrations of what needs to be done, how it needs to be done,” he said.

The proofs of concept serve to build commercial awareness of the F5G approach while demonstrating the viability of fifth-generation networks. Currently, Pesando said, three proofs of concept are under way, and others are in the works.

The group has a specific focus on industrial applications. “As we know, verticals are one of the major interests for the fifth-generation mobile networks. That’s the same for fixed networks, Pesando said.

While fiber connections are reaching into the industrial sector, 5G communications also are playing a big role. Fiber supports “what mobile 5G can deliver” through backhauling and fronthauling, he said.

Considering its mandate, the group of course has a keen interest in the relationship between 5G and fifth-generation fixed networks. Fixed network operators, he said, need to evolve to support advances delivered by 5G. On the other hand, mobile operators also need a fixed network to support their services, either by running it themselves or partnering with a fixed-network operator, he said.

ISG F5G also is studying how to boost the security, reliability and capabilities of fixed networks in relation to their interaction with various types of communications, including WiFi 6 and other radio technologies.

“WiFi is traditionally the solution for the final deployment in the user premises. And it has been since the beginning considered as one of the natural complementary technologies that we have to work with,” Pesando said.

Call for Participation

As ISG F5G moves forward with its work, Pesando called on the industry to get involved. “One specific message would be to not just to look at what we are doing, but come and discuss it with us. Bring your own views. Contribute.”

Even if those contributions are in the form of criticism or questioning the group’s approach, Pesando said, they are welcome. “We are happy to be able to discuss with anyone that wants to bring a contribution, even if it is starting from criticism. That’s what challenges us and makes what we do stronger.”


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