Device-to-device communication in 5G cellular networks

Device-to-device (D2D) communication commonly refers to a type of technology that enable devices to communicate directly with each other without communication infrastructures such as access points (APs) or base stations (BSs). Bluetooth and WiFi-Direct are the two most popular D2D techniques, both working in the unlicensed industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) bands. Cellular networks, on the other hand, do not support direct over-the-air communications between users and devices.

However, with the emergence of context-aware applications and the accelerating growth of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) applications, D2D communication plays an increasingly important role. It facilitates the discovery of geographically close devices, and enables direct communications between these proximate devices, which improves communication capability and reduces communication delay and power consumption. To embrace the emerging market  that that requires D2D communications, mobile operators and vendors are accepting D2D as a part of the fourth generation (4G) Long Term Evolution (LTE)-Advanced standard in 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Release 12.