IEEE Standards Projects on 5G

Besides boosting speed, they’re likely to simplify network operations and increase flexibility

20 March 2017

Technology for fifth-generation wireless communications is expected to significantly increase speed and data rates, and support the connection of billions of devices through the Internet of Things. Here are several 5G standards projects under development by IEEE working groups.


“Recommended Practice for Network Reference Model and Functional Description of IEEE 802 Access Network” is designed to support heterogeneous networks in a single terminal—which might include multiple network interfaces, network access technologies, and subscriptions. The recommended practice covers the design and deployment of access networks based on IEEE 802 technologies, and specifies their functions.

IEEE P1903.1

“Standard for Content Delivery Protocols of Next Generation Service Overlay Network (NGSON)” will enable network operators as well as service and content providers to offer their services through such networks. This standard will allow for context-aware, dynamically adaptive, and self-organizing networks. It also will provide inter­operability protocols to support advanced content delivery, including caching, transport, and storage management.

IEEE P1914.1

“Standard for Packet-Based Fronthaul Transport Networks” will allow for the implementation of critical 5G technologies, including massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO), as well as coordinated multipoint transmission and reception. The standard aims to simplify network design and operation, increase flexibility, and lower costs by applying Ethernet technology to support synchronization and data security. The project also expects to improve bandwidth efficiency and network scalability. In addition, it specifies the architecture for the transport of mobile traffic as well as the requirements and definitions for the network.

IEEE P1918.1

“Tactile Internet: Application Scenarios, Definitions and Terminology, Architecture, Functions, and Technical Assumptions” will facilitate the advancement of the tactile Internet as a 5G-and-beyond application by defining a framework. Such an Internet will combine low latency, short transit, and reliability with a high level of security, and encompass mission-critical applications in manufacturing, transportation, health care, and mobility, as well as noncritical applications such as edutainment and events.The tactile Internet is a new type of network designed to operate in virtual haptic environments that call for sensitive touch and precision, and when reaction time must be no more than a millisecond. In medicine, the tactile Internet could be used in telesurgery and exoskeleton control, and to assist with the precise movements of remotely controlled robots. 

This article is part of our March 2017 special issue on 5G wireless networks.

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