Glossary

Learn about advanced telecom and cloud-based networking functions and technologies that are enabling the latest wave of innovations in the telecom industry.​

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The fifth-generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks, which cellular phone companies began deploying worldwide in 2019, and is the planned successor to the 4G networks which provide connectivity to most current cellphones.

Like its predecessors, 5G networks are cellular networks, in which the service area is divided into small geographical areas called cells. All 5G wireless devices in a cell are connected to the Internet and telephone network by radio waves through a local antenna in the cell. The new networks have higher download speeds, eventually up to 10 gigabits per second (Gbit/s).

In addition to 5G being faster than existing networks, 5G has higher bandwidth and can thus connect more different devices, improving the quality of Internet services in crowded areas. Due to the increased bandwidth, it is expected the networks will increasingly be used as general internet service providers (ISPs) for laptops and desktop computers, competing with existing ISPs such as cable internet, and also will make possible new applications in internet-of-things (IoT) and machine-to-machine areas.

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Enables authentication of devices in the network. Protects networks and revenues against the use of stolen and unauthorized devices.

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3GPP developed a new radio access technology (RAT) for the 5G. It was designed to be the global standard for the air interface of 5G networks. As with 4G, it is based on OFDM. The 3GPP specification 38 series provides the technical details behind 5G NR.

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The sixth generation mobile system standard currently under development for wireless communications technologies supporting cellular data networks. 6G networks are expected to be even more diverse than their predecessors and are likely to support applications beyond current mobile use scenarios, such as virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), ubiquitous instant communications, pervasive intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT). 6G is expected to be available 2030.

6G is predicted to operate in higher frequencies–the terahertz (THz) spectrum–with lower latency than 5G. Because transmitting in the THz frequencies is best for short ranges only, cellular networks might become mesh networks using multiple base stations and smaller inexpensive antennas to create microcells that can be accessed concurrently by 6G devices, or by relying on smart devices and smart surfaces (internet of everything) as networking elements to create microcells, or some combination, leading to ambient connectivity. Mobile edge computing and core computing will certainly be completely integrated. 6G networks are expected to support data rates of 1 terabit per second (Tbps), that’s 1,000,000 Mbps.

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The anchor function in the HPLMN that generates the key material to be used between the UE and the AF and maintains UE AKMA contexts.

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One of the control plane network functions of the 5G core network. It is an evolution of the 4G MME that handles connection and management of mobility tasks. As the AMF performs the role of the access point to the 5G core, terminating the RAN control plane and UE traffic originating on the N1 or N2 reference interfaces, it is responsible for NAS ciphering and integrity protection algorithms.

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The transmission speed, in bits per second, of the physical access circuit between the end user and the network.

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A functional layer in the 3G and 4G protocol stacks between the radio network and user equipment. It is responsible for transporting data over the wireless connection and managing radio resources.

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The ratio of power between the main channel and those channels around the main channel.

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A measure of a receiver’s ability to receive a signal at its assigned channel frequency in the presence of a strong signal in the adjacent channel.

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