3GPP Rel-18 is the first release of the 5G-Advanced standard. On the 17th of December 2021, 3GPP TSG RAN plenary (3GPP RAN TSG #94e) approved 28 Release-18 projects (i.e., Study- and Work-Items, SI/WI) with the following split among RAN groups: 12 RAN1-led projects, 10 RAN2-led projects, 5 RAN3-led projects, and 1 RAN4-led project. Those topics include AI/ML for NR and NG-RAN, NTN and MIMO enhancements, evolution for sidelink, UAV, RedCap, SON, QoE, XR services, to name a few. In this post, we elaborate on each of the approved projects entering 5G-Advanced standardization.
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RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) is to enable abstracting out part of functionality from the eNB or gNB that was traditionally hosted at the base station in the form of xApps or rApps in the O-RAN architecture. The functions, to which we relate here in the RAN domain include e.g., mobility management or interference management. The decisions are made in the xApps, and RIC then enforces policies towards the RAN elements and controls them using the open interface, namely E2. In this post, we elaborate on the RIC, its functional split, xApps, and rApps.
The goal of Non-RT RIC is to support intelligent RAN optimization by providing policy-based guidance, model management, and enrichment information to the Near-RT RIC function so that the RAN can be optimized. Non-RT RIC works within the management plane and operates on seconds and minutes timescale. In this post, we provide the architecture of the Non-RT RIC and discuss the example applications, called rApps.