5G – Network of the Future

5G is short for “fifth generation mobile networks”. And that’s literally what it is – the fifth generation of mobile network that lets you call, text and get online from your smartphone.

Wireless Technology: Timeline

First Generation/1G Network: Analogue/Only Voice (the 1980s)

Second Generation/2G Network: Digital/Voice, Text Messaging/Pictures (the 1990s)

Third Generation/3G Network: Video Calling, Mobile Data (the 2000s)

Fourth Generation/4G Network: Higher Data Speed for Video Streaming/Gaming (2008)

Fifth Generation/5G Network: Intelligent, Flexible data speed (2019)

Unlike those previous generations of mobile networks, 5G is unlikely to be defined by any single form of technology.

It’s usually referred to as “the network of networks” for the method it’ll bind along multiple existing and future standards, including current advanced LTE (4G) networks.

On a general level, however, it will increasingly be defined by the use of higher radio frequencies. Compared to the current 4G mobile network, 5G is set to be far faster and more reliable, with greater capacity and lower response times. The US and South Korea were racing ahead to claim themselves as “The World’s First” in launching 5G services. If the media reports are to be believed, the US carrier “Verizon” has launched its 5G services in two cities: Chicago and Minneapolis, a week earlier than its scheduled launch on April 11th, 2019. South Korea’s telecom major SK Telecom, however, is reported to have claimed as the first, launching their 5G services a few hours earlier than their scheduled launch set on April 5th, 2019. China and Japan are in close heels with the US and SK. In the U.S., carrier Verizon plans to expand its services to 30 cities by the end of 2019.

5G is predicted to be able to reach speeds in far more than 1Gb/s (1000Mbit/s) quite well in its early stages. Many specialists expect that it’ll be able to hit speeds of 10Gb/s (10000Mbit/s) eventually – that’s one hundred times quicker than customary 4G.

There’s a latency of around 65ms (milliseconds) with 3G and around 40ms for advanced 4G. This “latency” will be lowered when it comes to 5G with a potential for a near instantaneous 1ms. 5G will also have greater capacity than ever before, with access to more and higher frequencies – most notably millimeter wave, which is the band of spectrum between 30Ghz and 300Ghz. This means that networks will be able to cope better with many high-demand applications all at once.

5G is an intelligent, flexible network. With a technique called network slicing, it will enable distinct virtual networks to be carved out within the physical network environment. However, one question that comes to anyone’s mind when considering the launch of 5G is “Which device is capable of supporting such a high-level network specification?” Samsung and Motorola are in the lead in that aspect with Apple having decided on entering the 5G smartphone market at a slower pace. Just hours before drafting out this blog post, Motorola is said to be re-launching its flagship “Moto Z3” (released last August) equipped with a 5G Moto Mod, beating Samsung’s scheduled launch of Galaxy S10 5G by 2 days. Another South Korean electronics leader LG is said to be launching their “LG V50 ThinQ” smartphones by the end of April 2019.

“The 5G technology can offer 20-times faster data speeds than 4G long-term evolution (LTE) networks and better support for artificial intelligence and augmented/virtual reality with low latency. It is said that in time, 5G will be able to offer up to 100-times faster speeds.”

5G once launched at its full capacity will be a major boost for the driving forces of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – Blockchain, XR, IoTQuantum Computing being the key beneficiaries. This aspect will be discussed in another blog post in the coming days.

Stay tuned to TA

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