5G will be a hot topic this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The next generation of cellular technology will improve on 4G’s transmission time, security and efficiency. Recent publications in IEEE Xplore touch on some of the latest 5G advances. Get up to speed on this cutting-edge research in our 5G round-up:

Low-Energy Amplifiers Increase Battery Life Without Increasing Size
Cloud-based services, social networks, and multimedia streaming have rapidly increased the demand for high-bandwidth mobile communications. In addition, consumers also expect long battery life from mobile devices. One solution may be a low-energy amplifier prototype developed by European researchers to prolong battery life for 5G communication.

5G wireless broadband will provide bandwidth of multiple gigabits per second, requiring wider bands at higher frequency ranges than today’s communication systems use. Multi-standard amplifiers can be used to manage bandwidth in devices equipped with different 5G applications such as GPS, WiFi and broadband. The low-energy amplifier in this study allows phones to manage bandwidth demand more efficiently while using only a small amount of additional energy. The researchers are also looking to decrease the size of their prototype to fit into phones of different sizes.

Improving IoT Systems in 5G Networks with Multiband Spectrum Sensing and Resource Allocation
Along with energy efficiency for 5G devices, researchers are also looking to improve resource allocation in IoT systems. IoT systems enabled with 5G are expected to provide flexible delivery of broad services and robust operations under constantly changing conditions. One research team from Carleton University recently presented a multiband cooperative spectrum sensing and resource allocation framework for IoT in cognitive 5G networks. A multiband approach can significantly reduce energy consumption for spectrum sensing of radio signals compared to traditional single-band schemes. To pair with the sensing scheme, the researchers proposed a cross-layer reconfiguration scheme for dynamic resource allocation in IoT applications with different quality-of-service requirements, including data rate, reliability, economic price and environment cost.

The proposed framework still needs to be applied to sensors in IoT systems for real-world testing, as the researchers contend with weaknesses in wireless channels (i.e. when the IoT system experiences too many connections at once or encounters bad weather). However, once complete, the two schemes will work in tandem to ensure IoT networks efficiently sense 5G wireless signals through multiband sensing and quality resource allocation for any situation.

Optimizing Information Caching in 5G Device-to-Device Communications
As 5G advances, transmission rates are another important focus. Device-to-Device (D2D) communications are a prominent feature of 5G systems. D2D provides a direct link between devices in mobile environments rather than connecting to a mobile network, and as a result, leads to faster transmission speeds. A team of researchers from the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Information Engineering College and DEI created an optimized model for content distribution with D2D technology, based on Information Centric Networking (ICN) principles. ICN architectures pair well with D2D requirements because they provide seamless support to mobile services and are able to separate information from mobile devices. To this end, the research team’s model catches the interplay between ICN functionalities, D2D requirements and 5G specifications.

To test their model, the researchers are working to implement the optimal caching control in realistic environments such as vehicular networks. The researchers are also optimizing their model to deal with the information load of a 5G network. Once instituted, the improved D2D communication could reduce transmission time and save on energy costs.

Developing 5G Network Security with a Physical Security Layer
While increasing the efficiency of 5G devices and networks is important, maintaining the security of the data transferred over 5G networks is another critical issue. Researchers have found the security architecture currently used in a 4G network is insufficient for the needs of 5G. The solution to this issue could be a more flexible hierarchical security architecture that can adjust to the needs of different 5G application scenarios. Under this architecture, the researchers introduce a cross-layer lightweight authentication scheme and a novel physical layer with a security-assisted encryption scheme for 5G networks.

The architecture has performed well in simulations, but still needs to be tested in real world situations. Once the architecture is finalized, it will be a useful measure to secure 5G communication.

For more information on 5G networks, visit the IEEE Xplore Digital Library.