Advanced Television

Study: 5G brings enhanced connectivity to XR

November 18, 2022

Extended Reality (XR), an umbrella term for Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR), will be the next-generation computing platform which aims to create virtual experiences indistinguishable from reality, according to a study, Extended Reality and 3GPP Evolution, from trade body 5G Americas.

“XR will greatly influence the way people play, work, learn, and connect,” predicts Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas. “Its use cases have broad impact on the enterprise, institutions, education, emergency response and in manufacturing.”

There are numerous XR experiences with applications in a variety of scenarios. Additional VR applications may include online gaming, virtual event participation, and educational experiences, while mobile AR use cases may include video gaming, mission critical services, online shopping, spatial-audio multiparty calls and conferences, and digital co-design.

5G New Radio (NR) developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is designed to support emerging XR uses cases that require rigorous key performance indicators. Specifically, low latency, high reliability, lower power consumption, and high capacity are key requirements for the success of XR. Such demands may include quasi-periodic traffic in large chunks, irregular intervals, and variable size, as well as high data rates including uplink (UL) for AR services, simultaneous transmission of 3D video stream, and control data over the same end-to-end connection.

While 5G benefits XR, emerging use cases will require further end-to-end optimisations and potential enhancements for 5G networks, which continue to evolve with each new 3GPP specification release. Rel-15 and Rel-16 offer a decent foundation for XR, but they were not specifically designed or optimised for XR support. Potential enhancements in 3GPP Rel-17 and Rel-18 are expected to optimise XR support including XR awareness, power optimisations, and capacity enhancements.

The study explores the following key topics:

  • Evolution of XR
  • XR key facilitators and use cases
  • VR use cases
  • AR use cases
  • XR service characteristics and delivery requirements
  • XR key enablers
  • XR in 3GPP standards

“High-quality XR is becoming increasingly accessible and continues to evolve,” notes Orlett Pearson, Senior Specialist Standardization at Nokia and leader of the 5G Americas working group for the study. “Digital Twins, AI/ML, IoT, are integral to the evolution and implementation of XR, which may usher in virtually unlimited possibilities.”

“In addition to advancements in XR technologies like optics, projectors, display systems, graphics, audio, tracking, and AI, 5G standards with XR-specific enhancements and distributed computing architectures can enable boundless XR and provide photorealistic visuals,” adds Diana Maamari, Staff Engineer at Qualcomm, and co-leader of this 5G Americas working group. “Future advances in beam perception and artificial intelligence can bring further communication benefits and make boundless XR a reality at scale.”

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