On 15 December 2020, the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) held the “Symposium on ICT In-Depth Observation Report”, during which the 2020 White Paper on China’s 5G Development and Economic and Social Impact was released.
The White Paper provides an overview of the latest achievements of China’s 5G standards development. In general, China’s 5G standards are developing continuously towards enhancing technical capabilities and supporting 5G application in vertical industries. Significant progress has also been made in standards for 5G enhancement, end-to-end network slicing technology, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology.
Specifically, in terms of standards for 5G enhancement, in June 2020 the 3GPP Release 16 standards were officially completed. Compared with the Release 15 standards, R16 ones have improved significantly in key performance, application capacities, and underlying network services. During the standardisation process of R16, enterprises in China submitted more than 21,000 drafts related to wireless and network, accounting for 35% of all 3GPP papers.
The overall architecture of end-to-end network slicing technology has also been completed. Slicing technology is the key core function of 5G. Organizations including 3GPP, IETF, ITU, ETSI, and CCSA, have all been working on the standardization of this technology; however, the standardization of cross-domain and cross-manufacturer communications still lags far behind their commercialization trends. For this reason, CCSA set up the End-to-End Network Slicing Project Group to plan the overall architecture of end-to-end network slicing technology, categorise existing standards, and organize research and testing of common standards. At present, the establishment of the overall architecture of end-to-end network slicing technology has been finished: it covers the overall technical requirements for 5G end-to-end network slice, the 5G network slicing technical requirements for end-to-end interworking based on slicing packet network (SPN), and the 5G network slicing technical requirements for end-to-end interworking based on IP carrying network. This achievement was complemented by the formulation of test methods for end-to-end network slicing technology by the IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group. Finally, based on these efforts, main equipment manufacturers have finished inter-domain tests for sub-slices from the same manufacturers, and are currently working on cross-domain tests for different manufacturers.
Finally, research on VPN standards in the 5G industry has been promoted. The 5G Applications Industry Array has established the 5G Industry VPN Research Group, with the aim to promote technological research and standards development. In terms of network architecture, according to different application scenarios, geographical locations and service scopes, the group defined the wide area VPN (WAN), and local area VPN (VLAN), and the classified deployment architecture will contribute to an effective distribution of resources in 5G core networks, at the same time safeguarding businesses security. Concerning services capacity, the development of standards in the framework, functions and interfaces of industry-oriented service platforms has been promoted, so as to facilitate the joint management of 5G networks by network operators and manufacturers in different industries. Efforts have also been made in developing standards for lightweight UPF functions and interfaces for enterprises, thus ensuring the distribution of VPN resources with low costs. On top of this, research and development of key technologies for the interoperability between 5G and industrial LAN continues to occupy a central role in the agenda, especially 5G LAN function, interoperability between the two networks, and operation support.
The Symposium on ICT In-Depth Observation Report is an annual conference held by CAICT, a major event during which research results, analyses and forecasts of the development trends of innovation and integration of the ICT industry are shared. In 2020, the conference focused on the 5G+ industry, computing infrastructure, artificial intelligence, and connected vehicles. Specifically, it provided an overview of the state of play of industrial technologies, both domestically and internationally, and outlined ten potential trends of ICT industry development. During the event, several reports were also released for the first time, including: the 2020 White Paper on China’s 5G Development and Economic and Social Impact; the Global Digital Governance White Paper (2020); the Internet of Things White Paper (2020); and the Digital Twin Cities White Paper (2020).