Enhanced Remote Areas Communications: the Missing Scenario for 5G and Beyond 5G Networks. Luciano Mendes, Calos Salle Moreno, Maria Valéria Marquezini, André Mendes Cavalcante, Peter Neuhaus, Jorge Seki, Nathália Aniceto, Heikki Karvonen, Iván Vidal, Francisco Valera, Priscila Solis, Marcos F. Caetano, Wheberth Dias and Gerhard Fettweis. IEEE Access. December 2020
The next generation of mobile communication system will allow a plethora of new services and use cases. By offering support for high throughput connections, low latency response and massive number of connections, the fifth generation of the mobile network will trigger applications unseen in any other network. However, one important application scenario is not being properly addressed by the players responsible for the mobile networks’ standardization, that is the remote and rural areas network. This scenario requires large cells with high throughput, flexibility to opportunistically exploit free bands below 1 GHz and spectrum agility to change the operational frequency when an incumbent is detected. Incipient actions are being considered for the Release 17 but based on the new radio specification as starting point. The limitations imposed by orthogonal waveforms in the physical layers hinder the exploitation of vacant TV channels in rural and remote areas. 5G-RANGE, a Brazil-Europe bilateral cooperation project, aims at conceiving, implementing and deploying an innovative mobile network, designed to provide reliable and cost-effective connection in these regions. This network can be seamlessly integrated with the other 5G scenarios, closing the connectivity gap between the urban, rural and remote areas. Hence, 5G-RANGE network is an interesting complementary solution for beyond 5G standards. This paper presents the major achievements of the 5G-RANGE project, from the design of the physical, medium access control and network layers, to the field demonstrations. The paper also covers the business models that can be used to make the deployment of this technology a reality.