Apart from ultra high-speed Internet speed, 5G will have a big impact on segments such as smart cities, robotics, self-driving cars and healthcare.
While 5G isn’t expected until 2020, an increasing number of companies are investing now to prepare for the new mobile wireless standard. We explore 5G, how it works and its impact on future wireless systems.
5G simply stands for fifth generation and refers to the next and newest mobile wireless standard based on the IEEE 802.11ac standard of broadband technology, although a formal standard for 5G is yet to be set.
According to the Next Generation Mobile Network’s 5G white paper, 5G connections must be based on ‘user experience, system performance, enhanced services, business models and management & operations’.
And according to the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) to qualify for a 5G a connection should meet most of these eight criteria:
- One to 10Gbps connections to end points in the field
- One millisecond end-to-end round trip delay
- 1000x bandwidth per unit area
- 10 to 100x number of connected devices
- (Perception of) 99.999 percent availability
- (Perception of) 100 percent coverage
- 90 percent reduction in network energy usage
- Up to ten-year battery life for low power, machine-type devices
Previous generations like 3G were a breakthrough in communications. 3G receives a signal from the nearest phone tower and is used for phone calls, messaging and data.
4G works the same as 3G but with a faster internet connection and a lower latency (the time between cause and effect).
Key recent 5G developments
5.7Gbps speed: November last year, Ericsson conducted the first-ever live 5G end-to-end demonstration in India — recording a throughput of 5.7 Gbps and ultra-low latency of 3 milliseconds.
5G specs ratification: 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project), a global body that fixes industry standards for technologies, approved specifications for the 5G network in December last year. This paved the way for uniform 5G deployment.
5G on moving train: Samsung Electronics tested 5G network on a high-speed train travelling over 100 kmph, achieving data transmission speed of 1.7 Gbps. The companies claimed 8K-quality video was downloaded via a 5G router installed aboard.
Long distance trial: Huawei and Japanese telecom operator NTT Docomo in December announced the successful trial of 5G mobile communications over a long distance using the 39GHz Millimeter Wave (mmWave) band. Prior to the trial, wide-area coverage and mobility performance of the spectrum was considered a big hurdle.
5G NR Interoperability: Last month, Deutsche Telekom (DT), Intel and Huawei announced recording the world’s first 5G interoperability and development testing (IODT) with a commercial base station. The move enables the technology companies to commercially launch 5G and compatible devices by 2019.
Qualcomm’s 5G symposium: Qualcomm announced a grand partnership with OEMs such as Asus, Fujitsu Limited, Fujitsu Connected Technologies Limited, HMD Global (Nokia phones), HTC, Inseego/Novatel Wireless, LG, NetComm Wireless, NETGEAR, OPPO, Sharp Corporation, Sierra Wireless, Sony Mobile, Telit, vivo, Wingtech, WNC, Xiaomi and ZTE to launch 5G-enabled phones powered by the Snapdragon X50 5G modem.