Review Date: 04 March 2021
A nice 5G book with lots of valuable information
Earlier this year (2021), I received a review copy of this recently published book. Here is my unbiased review.
The book is over 400 pages and is written by experts who are involved in the 3GPP standardization process, so they clearly know what they are talking about. This book is intended for a technical audience with a good understanding of earlier generations of mobile technology or techies who are involved in the day-to-day activities of mobile technology.
What I really like about the book is that there is a great deal of information about Architecture as well as why certain decisions were made and what are the challenges. The interfaces, the protocol stack and the physical layer all occupy a small section in chapter 3 which I am assuming is present for completion. Some readers may want to become familiar with them before proceeding further.
I believe that most people will find chapter 4 extremely valuable as it is 111 pages long and details the NG-RAN Architecture, looks at the CU-DU split, including signaling messages, then looks at Dual-Connectivity, CUPS, SDN, Lower-layer split (LLS), Fronthaul interface, OAM, Small cells, etc.
Chapter 5 is about the NG-RAN Evolution and looks at Relaying using Integrated Access and Backhaul (IAB) and Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN). An idea for future revision would be to include the details on Wireless Wireline Convergence (WWC) here. Chapter 3 covers the Non-3GPP interface briefly, but this topic deserves a bit more detail in this chapter. Personally, I believe WWC has a potential to change the way mobile communications have typically worked, especially indoors.
Chapter 6 covers Enabling Technologies, which are outside the scope of 3GPP and includes topics like Virtualization, Open Source (I prefer to call them Open Networks as TIP and O-RAN are not really open source), MEC, OAM, SON, Transport Network, etc. These are all very important topics and many people working in R&D may not have encountered them in their day-to-day work.
The final chapter covering NG-RAN Deployment Considerations is authored by couple of people with extensive real life deployments experience, having worked at leading MNOs.
It is worth pointing out that while different parts in this book have different authors, as with many books in advanced fields, the editor, Sasha Sirotkin, has done a fantastic job in making them consistent whenever possible. There are references at the end of each section which I find quite handy. It allows me to quickly jump to a specification if I need to look at a topic in detail.
Here is a video that Sasha Sirotkin recorded for our channel