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The Evolution of 5G Networks

Networks Wireless Engineering

January 12, 2017

5G Offers Enormous Potential for Businesses and Consumers

Providing better speed than existing technologies, 5G offers enormous growth potential for both businesses and consumers. This 5G technology is believed to lead to a ‘hyper’ connected society where mobile devices will become integral to our lives.

5G wireless networks can support over 100 billion device connections and are capable of extremely low latency. The advent of 5G technology signifies the wave of ‘highly inter connected’ digital society.  Presently accessing the internet with mobile devices is becoming a common scenario around the world. Consumers are now able to conduct operations across physical and geographical boundaries, something that inhibited growth in the past decades.

The growing dependence on the internet and cloud based services is paving way for new kinds of wireless engineering technologies and intelligent analytics. Not only 5G is believed to be increasingly effective, but it is also now believed to be a precursor of economic and technological growth. Experts suggest that 5G technology will be a major breakthrough in the ICT network infrastructure.

5G Key Challenges

From consumer point of view, the fundamental requirements for building 5G networks are:

  • Battery consumption alleviation
  • Improved coverage range
  • Higher mobile data range
  • Support for interactive media including voice, video, Internet and other broadband services
  • Capability for supporting massive capacity and massive connectivity
  • Customer support for increasingly diverse of applications, users and services
  • Improved security features and better cognitive Software development radio

5G and Smart Cities

The development of 5G technology has paved the way for the ‘Smart Cities’ of the future. As the name suggests, these ‘smart’ cities will take the performance of mobile networks and their capabilities to the next level.

As previously stated, highly reliable network systems with low latency are prerequisites for mobile automation, vehicular connectivity and a number of other mobile applications. Highly sensitive application like smart sensors require volume applications that require very low data rates and the network should not be sensitive to latency.

An increasingly diverse network such as 5G faces significant design and implementation challenges to simultaneously meet all the following service requirements:

  • At least 1GB/s or more data rate for uninterrupted HD (high definition) video and virtual reality applications
  • At least 10GB/s data rate to support uninterrupted mobile cloud services
  • Minimum response time and zero latency to support highly advanced mobile control apps and communications
  • The minimum switching time between different radio access technologies should be less than 10 ms – This is to ensure consistently seamless delivery of services.

If 5G network is to be used on a large scale, current mobile network systems need to expand to support billions of users, several billions of machines and an overwhelming number of mobile applications. One of the biggest concerns of massive capacity and always on network is that energy per bit usage should be reduced.

Spectrum Impact in Different Network Deployment Scenario

To efficiently maximize spectrum efficiency, spectrum bands availability by region as well as the local locals that govern the usage of spectrum bands needs to be harmonized. Precisely how available IMT bands and new bands will be utilized to deliver 10 GB/s for an individual user remains a major challenge for companies working on 5G systems.

5G Technology Drivers and Innovation

Previously, wireless networks featured fixed radio parameters and spectrum blocks. 5G however will be able to utilize any spectrum to deliver best services to businesses and consumers and this is not all. The innovative 5G system could also access every technology that will ensure the best timely delivery of services.

If 5G comes into effect, all air interface and RAN system require a major redesign. This is needed to accommodate the large number of users and applications as well as ultra-fast network speeds.

The good thing about 5G is that it will feature support for new kinds of network deployments and technology. This includes ultra-dense radio networking, device to device communication, radio access infrastructure sharing and dynamic spectrum re-farming.

Evolution in Terms of Service and Performance

The recent transition from 3G and 3.5G services to 4G offers lower latency rates and faster data speeds to internet users. This is one of the reasons people prefer to access and use the internet on their mobile devices.

Studies show that the monthly amount of data consumed by 4G customers is almost double the monthly amount of data used by non 4G users.  Increasing levels of video streaming by customers on high-speed 4G networks is often cited as a reason for this.

The progress from initial 2G and 3G networks to mobile broadband technology has changed the entire dynamics of our society and the business industry. If 5G becomes a reality, you can expect even greater levels of transformation. A good number of engineering R&D services companies have made considerable inroads into 5G application development.

When Will 5G Happen?

When will this next frontier of innovation for entire mobile industry be available for consumers and businesses? Well, presently 5G is still in research stages. Major work has already been done for 4G implementation and this is believed to take us to 1Gbps. However, it could take another 2 to 3 years for the ground left to be covered and more importantly, for wireless carriers and applications to experience using 5G.

How will 5G technology perform? This is something only time will tell.

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