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5G: What it is and how it will transform the world

Make way for 5G

5G has been making rounds in the daily news and has been the hot topic for quite long. Unlike the internet we know today, 5G will allow all kinds of devices to communicate without interruption, and perhaps most importantly, will function as a central nervous system for the Internet of Things, so things can, if necessary, operate without wires. Every significant technological advancement in the 20th century had some connection to wireless communication, so we can say with certainty that the next few decades will be defined by yet another one. 4G was fast enough to support telemedicine and mixed reality. It was even fast enough for multiple users of artificial intelligence and self-driving cars. 5G will go even further, it’s designed just for those things and, ultimately, all the mind-blowing technological advances we haven’t had time to think about yet.

5G will disrupt everything from commerce and trade, to education and medical care, and will offer the potential for profound innovation in engineering and science. It will usher in a new era in which virtually unlimited bandwidth and low-latency connectivity promise to fuel new ideas and make all kinds of businesses more fluid.

Evolution of cellular network

1st Generation- 1G mobile networks pioneered the evolution of mobile phone coverage, and paved the way for future generations. It was based on a technology known as Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS), and these systems became popular in the US in late-1980. 1G was able to produce much faster data traffic than telex or even two-way radios because it could transmit speech and text messages between people over distance, and thus was used heavily in enterprise and government networks where there is a need for prompt group coordination.

2nd Generation- The stage where the 1G network was still dominant but 2G networks started to emerge is seen as the most lucrative period in the telecom industry. This is when dual technology came into play, with some operators utilising both analog and digital telecommunication networks. 2.5G was introduced after the constant improvements in Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM). It consolidated packet switching in the form of GPRS and also EDGE technology. 2.5G enabled data-rates up to 144kbps, enabling users to send and receive e-mail messages and browse the web.

3rd Generation- The 2000 arrival of 3G marked a shift in the way mobile phones were used, moving away from voice calls and focusing more on social connectivity. Based on GSM, the main aim of 3G was to support high-speed data. The original 3G technology allowed data rates up to 14Mbps. 3G enabled users to make video calls, surf the web, share files and play online games. It also allowed users to watch TV over the internet. In comparison to 2G networks which took 6-9 minutes to download a 3-minute song, a file would take 11-90 seconds to be downloaded on a 3G network.

4th Generation- The introduction of 4G cellular technology was a major milestone in mobile networking. The first generation to use Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology, provided users with theoretical download speeds between 10Mbps and 1Gbps, offering end users better latency (less buffering), improved voice quality, instant messaging services and social media, quality streaming and faster download speeds. As with many inventions, the idea of a 4G network was developed over a number of years. In fact, it took several years before the first 4G-capable phone was introduced. And even then, the technology had some shortcomings that needed to be worked out before it could be fully implemented into society. Driven by emerging technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), autonomous vehicles and the exponential growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), global demand for mobile bandwidth is growing at an explosive rate.

5th Generation- The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has created a specification for 5G. The goal is to make significant improvements over 4G networks by addressing the needs of emerging technologies. 5G aims to satisfy the growing hunger for bandwidth by offering throughputs up to 10 Gbps (100 times faster than 4G networks). Latencies of 1 millisecond (compared to 30 – 50 milliseconds for 4G) will enable near-real time response rates, and connection densities of 1000 devices per square kilometre (100 times more than 4G) will support the growing numbers of IoT devices and sensors. The ITU has completed the 5G specification, and has delegated the technical details to another organization called 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). 3GPP is a global cooperation of independent standardization committees (ARIB, ATIS, CCSA, ETSI, TSDSI, TTA, TTC) that began in 1998. It’s responsible for defining wireless standards since the introduction of 3G. 3GPP prioritises specifications and groups them into releases based on the sequence in which new functionality will be deployed. It is predicted that all of the capabilities defined in IMT-2020 will require implementation of totally new networks, significant investments by operators and considerable elapsed time to enable a full roll-out.

Some areas where 5G will be implemented

Autonomous Vehicles: The technology behind autonomous vehicles is advancing rapidly to support this future. Onboard computer systems are evolving with levels of computing power previously only seen in data centres. We hear about autonomous vehicles today, and many people wonder what the barriers are to making this future technology a reality. Today, many people are aware of autonomous vehicles. We wonder what the barriers to this technology actually are. Many different developments in vehicle technology, network speed, data throughput and machine learning must come together for the fully autonomous vehicle future to materialize.

Internet of Things (IoT): In the 5G era, IoT devices will connect at higher speeds and reach new dimensions in all aspects of life. In the future, a home may be able to unlock doors just by scanning your face, automatically adjust lighting and temperature, and monitor chronic diseases 24-7. Accidents would become a thing of the past. The 5th generation of wireless technology will not only create a faster network but also form a new standard for the future. It will allow you to redefine your network and use it in more ways than you could imagine. This is a good investment for the future as it will also help establish IoT and revolutionize technological growth.

5G and AR/VR: 5G will allow for significant innovation in the fields of AR, VR, and mixed reality. The high speed of the network will allow consumers to navigate virtual realms on their own and seamlessly shift VR environments on the fly. Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies will grow as a result of this new innovation and introduction of 5G wireless speeds. 5G will offer the requisite bandwidth, latency, mobility and low-power requirements for AR/VR applications. It will additionally be game changing in another important way: 5G-enabled AR/VR (yes, VR with none of the nausea effects associated with it) also will act as an accelerant for the global gaming market, which Mordor Intelligence forecasts will reach $296 billion by 2026 – with an increasing share going mobile.

A deeper dive into the features if 5G

 It is expected that the new frequency bands provided by the 5G technology will be able to provide 100 times more data volume flow with a very wide spectral bandwidth, going from 1 gigabit per second to 10 gigabits per second. This would make possible to create new products and services with a very high bit rate. In addition, this new technology will also facilitate the distribution of multimedia content through diverse networks, streaming high-quality multimedia contents at a fraction of time it may take until now. 5G can provide network to end-users with the smallest delay (latency), high transmitting power, high security, lower power consumption and clustering, low system complexity. Service providers can apply new 5 g products into their fields in this era where the data traffic is increasing significantly.

Features of 5G-

  • Response time if faster
  • Speed up to 10Gbps
  • Higher device capacity
  • Ubiquitous connectivity
  • 100 times more devices
  • Lower latency

 

What is private 5G?

A private 5G network is a WLAN that uses 5G-enabled technologies to create a network with bandwidth and infrastructure available exclusively to one company. Private 5G networks are an alternative to carrier-based networks, and can be deployed with dedicated spectrum, circuit level firewalls, self-organizing network capabilities and support for small cells. Companies can establish their own wireless system with the help of a private 5G network, that allows a dedicated bandwidth that can meet the specific needs of the company. This is where 5G thrives, because it is capable of transmitting speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G LTE, giving it an advantage in providing companies with new security and automation services.

A private 5G network allows organizations to optimize their network for a predictable user experience and increase the efficiency of bandwidth management. The highly volatile nature of public networks prohibits use cases such as real-time, remotely performed surgery from being performed well, as it does not allow for the necessary level of reliability.

 5G benefits for business:

Studies on 5G consistently show that due to its lower latency and better bandwidth, it is vital for both technological advancements and future economic prosperity. Several early adopters have expressed excitement for the possibility of greater collaboration across multiple time zones. For example, delays won’t be a problem for people who use video conferencing to communicate from 12 hours away. The possibilities are endless with 5G, but only time will tell if its appetite for data usage is detrimental or beneficial to business operations.

 As with all new technologies, 5G hardware will be more expensive than 4G. Due to the business world’s competitiveness this requires that before a full-scale launch, businesses need 5G-ready equipment on hand and ready to go. 5G networks will be heavily reliant on connected devices and connected machines, as well as analytics tools. To this end, companies need to invest in analysts that can understand how data is generated and what it means. Artificial intelligence and a robust analytics infrastructure for data-driven decision making will provide a significant competitive advantage going forward. 

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