Evolution Toward 5G Mobile Networks - A Survey on Enabling Technologies
In this paper, an extensive review has been carried out on the trends of existing as well as proposed potential enabling technologies that are expected to shape the fifth generation (5G) mobile wireless networks. Based on the classification of the trends, we develop a 5G network architectural evolution framework that comprises three evolutionary directions, namely, (1) radio access network node and performance enabler, (2) network control programming platform, and (3) backhaul network platform and synchronization. In (1), we discuss node classification including low power nodes in emerging machine-type communications, and network capacity enablers, e.g., millimeter wave communications and massive multiple-input multiple-output. In (2), both logically distributed cell/device-centric platforms, and logically centralized conventional/wireless software defined networking control programming approaches are discussed. In (3), backhaul networks and network synchronization are discussed. A comparative analysis for each direction as well as future evolutionary directions and challenges toward 5G networks are discussed. This survey will be helpful for further research exploitations and network operators for a smooth evolution of their existing networks toward 5G networks.