The Lowdown on 5G Implementation
The 5G revolution is around the corner and in just three years will render 4G archaic. This 5th generation mobile network is the super high-speed Wi-Fi service that heralds the IoT (Internet of Things) era. A massive infrastructure overhaul is underway by carriers across the world to accelerate its birth date. This new information conduit has evolved due to the need for reliable connectivity for devices like self driving cars, delivery drones, virtual reality headsets and the personal IoT needs inside the home. This epic upgrade allows for billions of devices to be connected with fast, stable and versatile signal. It is estimated that 20.8 billion devices will require connectivity by 2020 compared with the 6.4 billion currently in use. There will be no need for home Wi-Fi networks as it offers faster speeds and superior coverage.
High Speed, Fast Lane
In three years (2020) this wireless broadband technology will see us experiencing speeds of up to 10 Gbps for tens of connections (or tens of Mb/s for thousands of connections). Some carriers in the mobile market predict 5G will offer speeds 100X faster than 4G LTE. Carriers have been testing their 5G technologies and all agree that it is essentially a wider pipeline with faster lanes. It will offer a lower latency in network communications that will allow innovations like the autonomous car industry to flourish as there will not be any signal problems. There will also be lower battery consumption for more effective implementation of the Internet of Things (the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction).
Evolution of Data Speeds
Each generation mobile network has been defined by their data transmission speeds. With each new new generation came a break in encoding methods which meant you required new devices that were compatible with the latest innovation. The evolution went from 1G – analog cellular in the 1990’s followed by 2G which was the first digital generation of cellular technology. (GSM, TDMA and CDMA). 2G allowed us to send text messages between two cellular devices. 3G saw speeds of 200kbps to a few megabits per second (HSPA, UMTS and EVDO). 3G allowed for internet browsing from our mobile devices. Our current 4G LTE (long term evolution) solution currently scales up to hundreds of megabits and gigabit level speeds, which allows us to download and upload video files quickly.
5G and IoT Connectivity
5G has emerged in answer to our multi-device lifestyles. We have gone far beyond needing connectivity for smartphone and computer alone. We are now needing signal for our security camera, door locks, home lighting and audio systems, medical devices that are all reliant on a stable Wi-Fi connection.
5G will supply a 6Ghz signal and along with the attribute mentioned above, will boosts capacity by four times over current systems by leveraging wider bandwidths and advanced antenna technologies. The high speeds will be on par with Googles Fiber fixed line connections offering 20 Gbps speeds and 1ms latency (you could download an HD film in seconds). The term “buffering” would become obsolete as it will never be experienced again. There will be Improved spectral and signaling efficiency with a radically increased network expandability (literally hundreds of thousands of connections). It also enables the evolution of pervasive computing and the Internet of Things.
Going Higher Up
The 5G network is currently in its testing phase but should operate in a high-frequency band between 30 GHz and 300 GHz. The current spectrum we use is between 30 MHz and 3 GHz and is clogged with TV broadcasts, radio and cellular communications. It’s too full to be able to support the rise in device usage. So 5G will move higher where it’s quieter and less crowded. In the past people thought that this ultrahigh frequency was not conducive for great mobile connectivity but have realized that this is not the case. This wireless spectrum is known as the millimeter wave spectrum which is able to transfer enormous amounts of data at very high speeds. These same waves don’t travel far on the lower-frequency as they have difficulty getting around obstacles.
Large Cell Towers Disappear
The major difference between 4G and 5G is the size of the antennas. You will no longer see large cell towers but thousands of smaller antennas in a lot more places. They still require a line of sight between the access point and the device. We will see tiny access points everywhere as they will be no bigger than an average sized smoke alarm. There will now be millions of points of presence instead of one tower covering an entire neighborhood. As you can imagine this will be a costly initiative which will further invigorate the connectivity business.
Zoning and Permits
Along with the new infrastructure requirements you will see active participation from Government agencies who will have to work out the zoning am permits for these access points in every conceivable location. In the US the National Science Foundation (NSF) spearheaded the Advanced Wireless Research Initiative with $400 million funding for four testing sites. They are going to be testing to see how 5G technology will operate in densely populated urban areas.
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