There is a number of important standardisation activities happening around localization and the LOCUS project has managed to contribute to many of them. These activities range from the planned activities in 3GPP which aim to enhance localization accuracy for enabling 5G vertical applications to the new efforts in ETSI related to track and trace applications as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The open standards, particularly O-RAN and OAI, are looking at supporting localization applications in a more virtualized and open manner. The project is closely following these developments and will contribute to these where possible.
Details of the first-year activities in these fronts are provided in the sections below.
1.1. Monitoring and Contribution
With localization related topics in 3GPP 5G-NR standardisation, there is a clear emphasis to improve the localisation accuracies and other KPIs from the levels required for traditional outdoor and indoor emergency use cases to more commercial applications in 5G verticals. In this regard, there is a number of related activities in the RAN and SA working groups.
In RAN (mainly in RAN1), the NR-positioning study and work items in release 16 defined the simulation parameters and the basic positioning signals of PRS (positioning reference signal for downlink) and SRS (sounding reference signal for uplink) respectively. In the subsequent NR-positioning enhancements study item in release 17 (https://www.3gpp.org/ftp/TSG_RAN/TSG_RAN/TSGR_86/Docs/RP-193237.zip), the high precision localization for Industry IoT applications is studied. In RAN2 of NR Rel.17 work, it is the first time that the topic of positioning integrity is being discussed and studied. While until now, 3GPP has been mainly focusing on positioning accuracy, currently in Rel.17 both latency and integrity are being also studied, together with other KPIs. Ericsson on behalf of LOCUS has been contributing to the integrity topic in RAN2 and the following contributions are with respect to the work carried in LOCUS:
- R2-2006954, “Positioning integrity KPIs”, RAN2 Contribution, Ericsson.
- R2-2006955, “Factors impacting RAT dependent positioning integrity”, RAN2 contribution, Ericsson.
- R2-2006957, “LPP signaling for integrity support”, RAN2 Contribution, Ericsson.
The figure below shows the 3GPP positioning anatomy history for RAN1 and RAN2 positioning study items and work items throughout different releases.
3GPP positioning anatomy
During the first year, the LOCUS project actively contributed to various standardization activities in ETSI. The partner Samsung was the one leading this activity, and this encompassed the following groups:
- ETSI Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Technical Committee
- ETSI Europe For Privacy-Preserving Pandemic Protection (E4P) Industry Specification Group
3. FiRa consortium
Recently, Ultra-Wideband (UWB) based positioning has gained much attention due to the very high accuracy levels it can provide (up to 10 cm accuracy). The FiRa (or Fine Ranging) consortium  promotes the use of UWB for a number of localization applications and has seen a rapid growth of its membership over the past year. It develops specifications for the higher management and application layers but uses the specs of IEEE 802.15.4z for the PHY and MAC layers of the UWB based localization solutions. Samsung is a member of the FiRa consortium and will closely follow its developments. If there is an opportunity, Samsung will contribute, citing the LOCUS project, from the T3.2 UWB based study.
4. Open-Source Contributions
This section presents a brief introduction of some existing open standards emphasizing on their compatibility to the LOCUS project. It also shows how the work carried out within the LOCUS project can contribute to these standards.
4.1. O-RAN Alliance
The Open-Radio Access Network (O-RAN) alliance is a community of network operators, vendors, and research institutions working on the RAN industry . The main focus of the O-RAN alliance is to build the virtualized RAN on open hardware and cloud, with embedded AI-powered radio control. To this aim, an O-RAN architecture is conceived, based on standards defined by the alliance itself, which are aligned and complimentary to standards promoted by 3GPP and other industry standards organizations.
Orange is a founding member of O-RAN and is actively involved in the definition and standardization of several use cases. In this context, the Orange division involved in LOCUS is focusing on data enrichment for use cases involving geolocation data. These can include geolocation, user context information for mobility management, application layer data etc. The work performed in WP4, i.e., the use of geolocation for smart network management, will be exploited for contributing to location-based use cases in O-RAN standardization. The selection of LOCUS outcomes to be proposed in O-RAN is under discussion within WP4 and led by Orange and VIAVI. Based on such discussion, specific contributions will be agreed with the consortium at the beginning of the second year of the project.
- ETSI TR 103 300-1 ‘Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS); Vulnerable Road Users (VRU) awareness; Part 1: Use Cases definition; Release 2’ V2.1.1 (2019-09)
- ETSI GS E4P-006 ‘Device-based mechanisms for pandemic contact tracing systems’
- Kaltenberger F, Silva AP, Gosain A, Wang L, Nguyen TT. OpenAirInterface: Democratizing innovation in the 5G Era. Computer Networks. 2020 May 1:107284.
- ETSI Open-Source MANO, https://osm.etsi.org/
- Fira consortium, https://www.firaconsortium.org/
- O-RAN Alliance, https://www.o-ran.org/about