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23 May - 24 May 2023

Discover the 5G MENA Glossary


5G is the term used to describe the next-generation of mobile networks beyond LTE mobile networks. According to ITU guidelines, 5G network speeds should have a peak data rate of 20 Gb/s for the downlink and 10 Gb/s for the uplink. Latency in a 5G network could get as low as 4 milliseconds in a mobile scenario and can be as low as 1 millisecond in Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communication scenarios.  Not only will people be connected to each other but so will machines, automobiles, city infrastructure, public safety and more.


In telecommunication, Long-Term Evolution (LTE) is a standard for high-speed wireless communication for mobile devices and data terminals.


3G, short for third generation, is the third generation of wireless mobile telecommunications technology. It is the upgrade for 2G and 2.5G GPRS networks, for faster internet speed

Mobile Broadband

Instead of using cables like fixed-line broadband, mobile broadband connects to a mobile network to send data via 4G or 3G services in a more convenient and portable way. Mobile broadband can be accessed as follows:

  • A dongle, which can be plugged into a USB port for internet connectivity
  • Mi-Fi is a personal Wi-Fi router that can connect to a 4G network and act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for your personal devices
  • In-car Wi-Fi plugs into a car, which is ideal for streaming your favourite music on your smartphone during long journeys or commutes
  • Data-only SIM cards for your phone, iPad or tablet and are limited to data allowance, excluding calls or texts.

LTE A/ Pro

LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) is one generation beyond Long Term Evolution (LTE). It is a standard for 4G or fourth generation mobile communication. Whereas LTE Pro, released by 3GPP, is the next-generation cellular standard, supporting 3 Gbit/s data rates and License Assisted Access (LAA) to allow licensed and unlicensed spectrum sharing.

Small Cells

Small cells are low-powered cellular radio access nodes that operate in licensed and unlicensed spectrum that have a range of 10m to a few km. Recent FCC orders have provided size and elevation guidelines to help more clearly define small cell equipment.


4.5G or 4.5G LTE was formerly LTE-Advanced Pro (LTE-A Pro) and is only given a 0.5 increase because the technology is a ‘soft upgrade’ and has not experienced an entire overhaul. Therefore, devices only require minor software or hardware changes, which are based on the 4G evolution.


The Radio Access Network (RAN) has been in use since the beginning of cellular technology and has evolved through the generations of mobile communications (1G through 5G). Components of the RAN include a base station and antennas that cover a given region depending on their capacity.


Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) moves the computing of traffic and services from a centralized cloud to the edge of the network and closer to the customer. Instead of sending all data to a cloud for processing, the network edge analyzes, processes, and stores the data. Collecting and processing data closer to the customer reduces latency and brings real-time performance to high-bandwidth applications


This is designed to be the global standard air interface for 5G networks. 5G NR (New Radio) technology was developed by 3GPP to enable a wide range of speeds and capacities, as well as determining a high-quality wireless connection.

Network Densification

Network densification is a term commonly heard in the wireless industry. Thanks to smartphones and tablets, wireless subscribers are using more network resources than ever before—and that amount of consumption continues to rise. Operators need to add more capacity to their networks to continue handling all the traffic while providing the network speeds those users expect. Network densification is a means for doing so.

Wi-Fi Offloading

This is a technique used by wireless carriers to basically reduce usage of their cellular networks by having you use your home or free local Wi-Fi hotspots for your smartphone's data connection.


NarrowBand-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) is a radio access, Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technology, standardised by 3GPP for mobile wireless communication. It is designed to improve power consumption, system capacity and spectrum efficiency, especially for devices in challenging radio environments.


The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of mechanical or digital devices and machines with unique identifiers, which can autonomously transfer data over a network without any human interfacing required.

Cloud Computing

It’s not a physical entity – it is a network connected to create a single ecosystem, whilst delivering a range of services via the Internet. These services include data storage and networking, across remote servers, databases and software applications.


A Software-Defined Wide-Area Network (SD-WAN) is a technology applied to WAN connections, like broadband internet, 4G, LTE or Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS). An SD-WAN connects enterprise networks across large geographic areas, such as offices and data centres.

Network Architecture

Network architecture is the design of a computer network. It is a framework for the specification of a network's physical components and their functional organization and configuration, its operational principles and procedures, as well as communication protocols used. In telecommunication, the specification of a network architecture may also include a detailed description of products and services delivered via a communications network, as well as detailed rate and billing structures under which services are compensated.

Network Interoperability

Network Interoperability is the continuous ability to send and receive data among the interconnected networks, providing the quality level expected by the end user without any negative impact to the sending and receiving networks.

Network Evolution

Evolving networks are networks that change as a function of time. They are a natural extension of network science since almost all real-world networks evolve over time, either by adding or removing nodes or links over time.

Edge MEC

Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) is a network architecture which moves cloud computing and other services to the edge of the network. To keep closer to the customer, the MEC network processes and stores data instead of sending the data to the cloud for processing.


In a hierarchical telecommunications network, the backhaul portion of the network comprises the intermediate links between the core network, or backbone network, and the small subnetworks at the edge of the network.


The fronthaul portion of a Cloud Radio Access Network (C-RAN) telecommunications architecture comprises the intermediate links between the centralized radio controllers and the radio heads (or masts) at the "edge" of a cellular network. In general, it is coincident with the backhaul network, but subtly different. Technically in a C-RAN the backhaul data is only decoded from the fronthaul network at the centralised controllers, from where it is then transferred to the core network.


Software-Defined Networking (SDN) technology is an approach to network management that enables dynamic, programmatically efficient network configuration in order to improve network performance and monitoring making it more like cloud computing than traditional network management. SDN is meant to address the fact that the static architecture of traditional networks is decentralized and complex while current networks require more flexibility and easy troubleshooting.


Network Function(s) Virtualization (NFV) is a network architecture concept that uses the technologies of IT virtualization to virtualize entire classes of network node functions into building blocks that may connect, or chain together, to create communication services. NFV relies upon, but differs from, traditional server-virtualization techniques, such as those used in enterprise IT. A VNF may consist of one or more virtual machines running different software and processes, on top of standard high-volume servers, switches and storage devices, or even cloud computing infrastructure, instead of having custom hardware appliances for each network function.

Network Slicing

5G network slicing is a network architecture that enables the multiplexing of virtualized and independent logical networks on the same physical network infrastructure. Each network slice is an isolated end-to-end network tailored to fulfil diverse requirements requested by a particular application. For this reason, this technology assumes a central role to support 5G mobile networks that are designed to efficiently embrace a plethora of services with very different Service Level Agreement (SLA). The realization of this service-oriented view of the network leverages on the concepts of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) that allow the implementation of flexible and scalable network slices on top of a common network infrastructure.