5G, the next generation of Wireless Technology

5G, the next generation of Wireless Technology

5G, the latest generation of cellular mobile communications succeeds the 4G (LTE-A, WiMax), 3G (UMTS, LTE) and 2G (GSM) systems. If the first generation mobile network (1G) was all about voice; 2G was about voice and text; 3G was about voice, text, and data; 4G was all of 3G and faster; then 5G will be authoritatively faster and it will be fast enough to download a full-length HD movie in seconds.

The average 4G LTE transmission speed currently available for our smartphones for instance, is somewhere around the 10 Mbps mark, allowing us uncut music and buffer less video streaming and prompt web surfing. The 5G connection speed will manage to achieve over 10 Gbps, that is to say, between 100 and 1000 times faster. This remarkable speed is joined by a huge capability for data transmission, 10 Tbps, and a density of 1 million nodes per Km². Besides, it is expected that connection latency shrinks from 50 miliseconds to just 1 milisecond. In other words, the emergence of 5G will have major impact on how services are delivered, offering advantages such as high data rates, reduced latency, energy savings, cost reductions, and higher system capacity.

The 5G transition plan, as and when complete, would constitute an overhaul of communications infrastructure unlike any other in history. Imagine if, at the close of the 19th century, the telecom industry started a transition from feature phone to smartphone; or whats app entering the markets and taking away 90% of SMS business. That's essentially the scale of the shift from 4G to 5G. The 4G transmission scheme is approaching unsustainability faster than the industry experts predicted, and that’s one of the primary reason for this shift to make the wireless industry sustainable over the long term.

5G as an enabler for IOT and Smart Cities

The Internet of things (IoT) is an extension of Internet connectivity into physical devices and everyday objects. These devices can communicate and interact with others over the Internet, and they can be remotely monitored and controlled. It will allow us to create a true ecosystem capable of transcending the smartphone world, possibly becoming the missing piece of the puzzle to build true smart cities.

5G can certainly lay the foundation for realizing the full potential of IoT. While 5G is set for commercial availability sometime around 2020, the industry has started working to develop new global standards and pre 5G products to benefit industries globally. 5G technology will allow a delay time reduction in communications, an increase in information transfer rate, a significant improvement in mobile coverage and will allow millions of devices to be connected simultaneously. This is, in fact, one of the key factors in foreseeing that 5G technology will go far beyond the realm of smartphones. For instance, 5G will enable us to control huge number of devices remotely in applications where real-time network performance is critical, such as remote control of heavy machinery in hazardous environments, thereby improving worker safety, and even remote surgery; linking a smartphone to the security cameras, home appliances at home or the entertainment content from a far off location.

But there´s so much more to it. With 5G technology Car2Car connections could be increasingly efficient and safe, consequently allowing real time feed about traffic conditions or accidents. Same could happen with 360° virtual reality, which would likely take advantage of latency decrease and information transfer capability to generate true virtual environments.

Speaking of latency, data-based voice calls or video calls, like Skype, will be the ones to benefit the most, since they won´t experience any delay time or failure. Same will apply to mobile connectivity: with 5G technology we will be able to stream a movie while travelling by train with the same quality as if we were watching it at home. 

5G has implications for public and national security. To begin with, the extreme interconnectedness itself poses risks, making everything from individual households to energy grids more vulnerable to hackers. The 5G network will also power the development of fully autonomous weapons that make their own decisions to fire on targets, as well as the unprecedented tracking of people in public in real time using facial recognition technology.

The factory of the future will also rely on 5G to enable augmented reality, autonomous mobility, sensor networks and machine learning. The result will be “extreme automation” and dramatic advances in productivity.

5G Deployment Globally

All researches available point to 2020 as the year when 5G technology will be consolidated, although the network implementation may start in late 2019 and the majority of operators, regulatory bodies and manufacturers are currently engaged in talks to arrange a standard, as it happened before the deploy of 4G technology. In fact, Qualcomm has already developed the first 5G modem, specifically created to support this type of network, thus paving the way for the new generation of smartphones. On its part, the European Union seeks complete 5G coverage by 2025. At these rapid rate of evolution, that date is already around the corner.

As of March 2019, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GMSA) had identified 204 operators in 85 countries that are actively investing in 5G. The equivalent numbers in November 2018 were 192 operators in 81 countries. The Association released the industry’s first database identifying 23 vendors who have confirmed the availability of forthcoming 5G devices with 33 different devices including regional variants.

There have been groups which have opposed deployment of 5G citing environmental and health issues, but no hard evidence has been reported till date to prove the claim.

5G in India

According to an industry survey, India is not among top ten in terms of readiness for next-generation mobile networks such as 5G. As per some of the leading Telecom original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who are present in India and are planning to work in the 5G space, “From an Indian context, the operators come in the large part of the food chain and they are looking to adapt 5G as and when the spectrum sale and deployment happens.”

5G is all about increasing capacity and because of this there is going to be an explosion in the vertical industry in which we adopt 5G. The vertical industries will enable myriad of new services which will give birth to new business cases and new usage models. 

For now, Indian telecom operators are just readying themselves for the 5G technology but the real deployment in the 5G space should start sometime next year. Unlike 2G, 3G where India was way behind the global players, for 5G India is almost in sync in terms of deployments. The 5G spectrum allocation is expected to start somewhere in late 2019. India can expect its 5G service in late 2020.

ANBs domain experts work with cross industry organisations to help identify potential use cases and transform their businesses.


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