Network Giants Team Up To Define ‘Adaptive’ 5G NORMA Architecture

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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EU’s 5G group launches new project spearheaded by network firms, operators and academics to create adaptive standard for next gen mobility

A group of 13 IT firms, mobile operators and academic institutions say they will work together to create an adaptive network architecture for 5G, combining different network technologies to serve current and future applications.

The 5G NORMA (Novel Radio Multiservice adaptive network Architecture) project is part of the European Union’s (EU) 5G Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership (5GPPP) and will work over the next 30 months to help define 5G, which is currently the subject of much debate.


5G (c) StockThings, Shutterstock 2014Nokia, Alcatel Lucent, NEC, Atos, Azcom Technology, Nomor Research and Real Wireless are the IT firms participating, while operators Deutsche Telekom, Orange and Telefonica will also contribute, as will the University of Kaiserslautern, Kings College London and University Carlos III Madrid.

“5G is not only about new radio access technology, network architecture will play an important role as well,” said Werner Mohr, chairman of the 5GPPP Association. “5G networks will have to be programmable, software driven and managed holistically to enable a diverse range of services in a profitable way.

“With 5G NORMA, the consortium aims to ensure economic sustainability of the network operation and open opportunities for new players, while leveraging a future-proof architecture in a cost- and energy-effective way.”


The consortium says 5G will need to provide superfast and reliable connectivity with zero latency to support applications and the Internet of Things. It will incorporate existing mobile standards and Wi-Fi into a multi-technology network that will require flexible management.

This, it says, will be achieved by breaking away from previous “rigid’ architectures and adopting a more responsive approach that “decomposes” various network functions and redistributes them more efficiently according to the type of application and traffic demand.

5G NORMA’s “unprecedented level” of customisability will ensure performance, security, cost and energy requirements are met, say its members.


The key objectives of the project are to create and spread new concepts, which may be commercialised through products and patents or simply emerge from working groups. Members will also look to enter other partnerships and create startups.

A socio-economic analysis of the benefits will also be carried out to determine the value of 5G to the wireless industry, various sectors and consumers. Real Wireless will identify changing market drivers in a number of industries as part of this process.

A number of teams around the world are working on standardising 5G, which could be commercially available as early as 2020, according to Nokia. While various definitions are currently floating around, mobile industry body the GSMA says 5G will offer at least 1Gbps and low latency.

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