Ιn this review article, a comprehensive study is provided regarding the latest achievements in simulation techniques and platforms for fifth generation (5G) wireless cellular networks. In this context, the calculation of a set of diverse performance metrics, such as achievable throughput in uplink and downlink, the mean Bit Error Rate, the number of active users, outage probability, the handover rate, delay, latency, etc., can be a computationally demanding task due to the various parameters that should be incorporated in system and link level simulations. For example, potential solutions for 5G interfaces include, among others, millimeter Wave (mmWave) transmission, massive multiple input multiple output (MIMO) architectures and non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA). Therefore, a more accurate and realistic representation of channel coefficients and overall interference is required compared to other cellular interfaces. In addition, the increased number of highly directional beams will unavoidably lead to increased signaling burden and handovers. Moreover, until a full transition to 5G networks takes place, coexistence with currently deployed fourth generation (4G) networks will be a challenging issue for radio network planning. Finally, the potential exploitation of 5G infrastructures in future electrical smart grids in order to support high bandwidth and zero latency applications (e.g., semi or full autonomous driving) dictates the need for the development of simulation environments able to incorporate the various and diverse aspects of 5G wireless cellular networks.
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