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IEEE 2061-2024 Standard

3rd July, 2024

IEEE 2061-2024 Standard

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  • In rural areas, lower income levels hinder widespread cellular network adoption, making mobile services unaffordable for many.
  • Addressing this challenge, the IEEE-2061 standard suggests deploying multi-hop wireless middle-mile networks to extend connectivity in regions lacking optical-fibre infrastructure.


  • An important factor impeding the deployment and/or use of cellular networks in rural areas is the relatively lower income of the people here, with a significant portion of the rural population finding mobile services unaffordable.
  • The IEEE-2061 standard addresses this challenge by proposing the use of a multi-hop wireless middle-mile network to extend connectivity to areas where optical-fibre links are not available.
  • If adopted, IEEE 2061 has the potential to significantly enhance affordability and accessibility of connectivity for rural populations. Its innovative features, such as the CN bypass and integrated AN control, not only aim to improve current network efficiency but also lay groundwork for scalable mobile network solutions in the future.
  • Developed under the guidance of Professor Karandikar’s lab at IIT Bombay, IEEE 2061-2024 follows IEEE 1930.1-2022, both standards incorporating pioneering research ideas, marking significant strides in advancing wireless network technologies beyond traditional limits.


  • Mobile devices have become an integral part of our lives. We use them to communicate with our friends and family, conduct financial transactions through UPI, connect to the Internet, etc.
  • The connectivity for these devices is enabled via a cellular (mobile) wireless network.
  • A cellular network, such as a 5G network, includes a set of network equipment connected by communication links. They work together to move data between different devices and to other networks such as the Internet.
  • A cellular network can be divided into two sub-networks: the Access Network (AN) and the Core Network (CN).

Access Network (AN)

  • The Access Network (AN) in a cellular network consists of base stations strategically placed across a region to provide wireless connectivity to mobile devices within their coverage areas.
  • These base stations are typically visible as towers equipped with antennas, which transmit and receive signals to and from mobile devices.
  • The primary function of the AN is to establish and maintain the wireless connection between mobile devices and the cellular network infrastructure.


  • AN base station covers specific geographical areas known as coverage areas.
  • Each base station serves mobile devices within its coverage area, ensuring that users have access to voice and data services wherever they are within that area.


  • Base stations are equipped with antennas that transmit and receive signals to and from mobile devices.
  • They are often mounted on towers or buildings to maximize coverage and signal strength.


  • The AN play a crucial role in providing direct connectivity to mobile devices, enabling them to access voice calls, text messages, and mobile data services.
  • It forms the first link in the chain that connects mobile devices to the broader cellular network.

Core Network (CN)

  • The Core Network (CN) of a cellular network serves as the central hub that facilitates connectivity between the Access Network (AN) and external networks, such as the Internet and other cellular networks.
  • Unlike the AN, which consists of distributed base stations, the CN operates from centralized locations and manages the routing and transfer of data between different networks and mobile devices.


  •  The CN contains essential equipment and infrastructure that manage and control the flow of data within the cellular network.
  • It ensures that data from mobile devices can reach their intended destinations, whether it's another mobile device within the same network or an external service like the Internet.

Backhaul Connectivity:

  • Data from mobile devices first travels through the AN's base stations to reach the CN.
  • This connection between the base stations and the CN is facilitated by optical fibre links known as backhaul connections.
  • These connections ensure that data transfer between the AN and CN is fast and reliable, supporting the seamless operation of mobile services.

Optical Fibre Communications Link

An optical fibre communications link consists of the following elements: an electro-optical transmitter, which converts analog or digital information into a modulated beam of light; a light-carrying fibre, which spans the transmission path; and an optoelectronic receiver, which converts detected light into an electric current.

Support for Mobility:

  • One of the core functions of the CN is to support user mobility within the cellular network.
  • As mobile devices move from one location to another, they may switch between different base stations within the AN.
  • The CN manages these handovers and ensures continuity of service, allowing users to maintain connectivity without interruption.

Connectivity to External Networks:

  • In addition to managing internal connections within the cellular network, the CN also acts as the gateway to external networks.
  • It enables mobile devices to access services and resources available on the Internet and facilitates communication between users on different cellular networks.

Challenges Impeding Rural Connectivity in Cellular Networks

Economic Factors

  • Affordability: Lower income levels in rural areas make mobile services financially burdensome for many residents.
  • Digital Divide: Disparity in tele-density between urban (127%) and rural areas (58%) underscores economic barriers to connectivity.

Geographic and Demographic Challenges

  • Population Density: Rural areas often exhibit lower population density, reducing the economic viability of network deployment.
  • Geographical Spread: Villages are dispersed over large areas, complicating infrastructure expansion to remote locations like the Himalayas.
  • Remoteness: Accessing remote areas poses logistical challenges, making it costly and impractical to extend fibre-optic infrastructure.

Research and Development Focus

  • Urban Bias: Existing cellular networks, like 5G, prioritize high-speed, low-latency services for urban populations, neglecting rural connectivity needs.
  • Limited Research: Insufficient research into technologies and systems optimized for rural areas hampers effective communication coverage.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

  • The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is a globally renowned professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.
  • Founded in 1963, IEEE today is the world's largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity's benefit.
  • IEEE serves over 420,000 members in more than 160 countries. Membership is open to engineers, scientists, and allied professionals interested in the IEEE's mission.
  • IEEE is known for developing standards that often-become benchmarks in various industries. These standards ensure interoperability, reliability, and quality for technology products and services.

What is the IEEE 2061-2024 Standard?

  • The IEEE 2061-2024 standard defines a wireless network architecture specifically designed to provide affordable broadband access in rural areas.
  • Developed under the leadership of Professor Abhay Karandikar at IIT Bombay, this standard was approved by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) on June 6, 2024.

Network Architecture

  1. Cellular Network (CN) and Access Network (AN) Structure:
    • The IEEE 2061 network architecture includes a CN and AN similar to traditional cellular networks.
    • However, the AN in IEEE 2061 is heterogeneous, featuring different types of base stations coexisting:
      • Macro-BS: Base stations covering large coverage areas, supporting various cellular technologies.
      • Wi-Fi: Base stations deployed within villages to provide high-speed connectivity.
  2. Comparison with 5G Networks:
    • Unlike 5G networks where the AN is homogeneous (comprising base stations of the same type with smaller coverage areas), IEEE 2061 AN's heterogeneity allows for a mix of macro-BS and Wi-Fi.

Key Features

Seamless Connectivity:

  • Devices in the IEEE 2061 network can seamlessly transition from Wi-Fi-based connectivity within villages to macro-BS connectivity without service disruption.
  • This capability is enabled by integrated AN control functionality, ensuring continuity of service across different types of base stations.

Technology Integration:

  • As wireless technologies evolve, IEEE 2061 supports a mix of legacy and new technologies including 4G, 5G, 6G, and Wi-Fi.
  • This heterogenous network approach allows these technologies to complement each other, optimizing coverage and data rates based on the location and user requirements.


Avoiding Service Issues:

  • The integrated AN control functionality in IEEE 2061 helps in avoiding issues such as call drops by managing the handover and connectivity transitions between different types of base stations.

Middle-Mile Network in IEEE 2061-2024 Standard

  • In addition to its innovative access network architecture, the IEEE 2061-2024 standard introduces the concept of a middle-mile network to efficiently extend connectivity to rural and underserved areas.

Middle-Mile Network

  • Definition: A multi-hop wireless network that bridges the gap between last-mile access networks (AN) and the broader internet backbone.
  • Purpose: Provides cost-effective connectivity over long distances where optical fiber infrastructure is impractical or economically unfeasible.

Technological Implementation

  • Multi-Hop Wireless: Utilizes multiple wireless hops to relay data across significant distances.
  • Flexibility: Can employ satellite links, long-range Wi-Fi, or other technologies suitable for middle-mile connectivity.

Advantages Over Traditional Networks (4G/5G)

Direct Internet Connectivity

  • IEEE-2061 AN Capability: Offers direct and alternate paths to the internet, bypassing the centralized component network (CN) used in traditional cellular networks.
  • Efficiency: Eliminates the need for all traffic to pass through a central CN, improving efficiency and reducing latency, particularly beneficial in rural settings with predominantly stationary users.

Localized Communication

  • Direct AN-to-AN Communication: Enables direct communication between nearby users within the access network (AN), enhancing efficiency by avoiding unnecessary detours through a central CN.
  • Example: Facilitates direct communication between nodes in nearby rural towns like Belagavi to Hubballi, analogous to direct routing, instead of routing through a central hub like Bengaluru in traditional networks.


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