Effective communication of information has been extremely important at all stages of human development. Telecommunication is especially important as it allows information to be transmitted at insane speeds. In the 21st century, our world is already so dependent on fast real-time connections that the collapse of communication networks will have very serious and unpleasant consequences on a global scale.
Progress in this area is critical. Currently, only a very narrow-minded and limited person can say: the speed of 4G networks is enough for us, we no longer need it. As long as different countries and their governments compete for military, political, and economic influence until then they will try to overtake their competitors in every way.
If you follow the news from the world of phones or technology even a little, you could not help but notice that the news about the introduction of 5G is literally overwhelming. For new smartphones, 5G support is called an important advantage, and all operators report on the timing of the introduction and expansion of coverage with 5G networks. But what does this all have to mean for the common user? In short, now this question is relevant only for those who live in not so large areas of coverage with these networks. These lucky ones get faster and more stable access to the network, provided they have the right equipment. The situation is changing quite quickly, so you can look at the picture of 5G implementation in the United States to understand what may await us in the near future.
In the context of mobile communication with 5G, the Internet speed ranges from 10 to 25 Gbps with minimal signal transmission delays (only 1-2 ms). At this speed, you can download all seasons of Game of Thrones in a minute. This opens up a huge field of opportunities: new services, services, and whole business models that were not possible in 4G networks. For the mass consumer, the most demanded area of 5G application is virtual and augmented reality.
This is a new generation of mobile communications with a number of fundamental advantages over 4G:
Higher data transfer rate;
Low signal latency;
The ability to connect more devices;
High energy efficiency;
Dramatically increased throughput;
High user mobility.
Another important difference of 5G deserves attention – large-scale virtualization. New technology goes beyond hardware solutions alone. Many functions in it are implemented not at the physical infrastructure level, but in software.
The key aspect of the technology, along with the parameters of the network capacity, is the product approach. Frequency ranges, design features of stations, and software components will be adapted to the needs of various categories of consumers – from gadget users to industrial enterprises, and urban infrastructure.
Previously, each generation of mobile communications was ahead of the previous one mainly in terms of physical characteristics. 5G expands the context by offering a new understanding of technology: an innovative platform on the basis of which many industries will immediately receive additional impetus for development. This means the emergence of completely new services, business models, types of interactions between devices, production chains, and infrastructure.
Application Case Of 5G
5G is associated with high-speed internet, AR / VR, smart home, unmanned vehicles. But apart from consumer use, technology also has an industrial aspect. Moreover, the main customer of the new generation of communications is precisely the corporate sector. The most rapid growth in the volume of transmitted data and the number of devices is shown by the segment of the Internet of things, including industrial.
The commercial sector will also be able to take full advantage of the new network. Low latency and high speed, while increasing network bandwidth, will allow, for example, virtual reality glasses and smart devices to work in production halls with thousands of employees at the same time.
5G will also be useful in cases where sensor systems need to be used, for example, in the agricultural sector. They will be able to track the condition of the substrate on an ongoing basis, such as the presence of pests or the appearance of diseases and the use of pesticides at a specific point, rather than for entire fields. The days of autonomous cars that will move around the streets are also getting much closer to us. And the more sensors and sensors they use, the safer their work will be. And all of this data needs to be transmitted over fast and reliable mobile networks.
As the world experience of the commercial launch of 5G networks has shown, the number of subscribers with 5G terminals is growing several times faster than it was in 3G and LTE networks. For example, in 3G networks, the time when the base reached 500 million users were 10 years. The same number of users in 4G networks has appeared in 5 years. According to analysts, in 5G networks, this threshold will be reached in 3 years.
More than enough has been said about 5G applications – this is a popular topic, and you can easily find the details of interesting cases. Let’s list the main ones.
Internet of Things (IoT)
This includes the concept of a smart home, manufacturing and computing power, and smart city infrastructure. Devices and systems are combined into a common network with remote control and monitoring with minimal latency. In the first case, it can be household appliances, climate control, emergency warning systems. In industrial facilities, 5G will provide fast, high-quality communication between machine tools, instrumentation, and data centers. Residents of cities will be able to take advantage of uninterrupted operational access to various services: centers of public services, public transport, and many more.
The number of devices that can be connected to the IoT is constantly growing: these are “smart” bulbs, sockets, speakers, cameras, locks, and much more. In order for a large number of things to “communicate” with each other quickly and without interruptions, a connection is needed that provides a high data transfer rate. 5G technology can solve these problems while improving home security and energy savings. For example, there are video surveillance systems that transmit a signal with a delay of only a few milliseconds. An IoT system can also include smart meters that transmit readings on their own to management companies, thermostats that regulate energy, and gas meters that can detect leaks.
Autonomous cargo transportation, city taxis, agricultural machinery – many types of transport can be switched to the unmanned mode in order to ensure greater accuracy, reliability and safety of processes.
The next generation wireless network will help the development of unmanned vehicles due to the high data transfer rate. According to PwC’s forecast, fully unmanned vehicles will appear in the world’s largest cities by 2040. 5G will give autonomous vehicles the ability to interact with roads, traffic lights, street signs, and parking lots. All data from connected cars and IoT sensors will be transferred to cloud storage and processed. Based on this, the traffic flow will be monitored in real-time, the routes of urban transport will be optimized, the priority of special transport (ambulance, fire service, traffic police, Ministry of Internal Affairs, road and repair services) will be ensured, and violations will be recorded. 5G will play an important role in the safety of self-driving cars due to its low signal latency: if necessary, the dispatcher can take emergency control of the car.
Data storage, instant loading and calculations. Cloud applications, which previously required on-premise installation will become widely applicable. Thanks to high-speed data transfer, users and developers will be able to perform operations requiring high hardware power, having only the mobile Internet at hand.
High-quality communication with remote regions will provide high-quality support in case of emergency. During complex operations or diagnostics, using 5G video stream will provide high speed and resolution. Also, with the help of fitness trackers, users will be able to transfer their biometric parameters in a continuous mode for storage and processing.
Thanks to 5G, a patient who needs immediate help will no longer need to travel to a clinic or hospital. New technologies allow transferring a huge amount of data without delay and are in demand in pediatrics, psychotherapy, dermatology, neurology, and even in intensive care: if a patient cannot be transported to another clinic, an urgent video call to a more competent specialist can save lives. A highly qualified surgeon, through a 5G video session, can remotely observe what is happening during the operation and correct the actions of colleagues, or control auxiliary devices.
A delay of 1 millisecond will allow doctors of the near future to perform complex and accurate operations remotely, using robots. The doctor will be able to operate on patients on the other side of the world in almost real-time.
Telemedicine is one of the most promising and fastest-growing segments of healthcare in the world. According to Global Market Insights, the global telemedicine market will amount to $ 38.3 billion in 2019, and will more than triple by 2025, to $ 130.5 billion.
Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR / AR)
It’s not just about entertainment, but also about quite responsible use – interactive learning systems, navigation systems, complex engineering processes, and even the tactile Internet.
If you look into the more distant future, then with the advent of 5G, such “smart” systems as home, city, and manufacturing will actively develop. The trend for the use of voice assistants should be noted separately. In addition, with the proliferation of 5G, artificial intelligence will receive a second life and will become available to a much larger number of users.
Thanks to 5G, the global entertainment industry is expected to increase revenue by more than $ 1 trillion. High data transfer rates and low latency will lead to a breakthrough in cloud gaming.
The thing is that a special server takes over the processing of complex 3D graphics, and the resulting image is transmitted over the 5G network with minimal delays to the most ordinary laptop. As a result, the game runs at the same speed as on a powerful gaming computer, which is now completely optional. And you can launch the game not only from home but from anywhere with 5G coverage – even if you are sitting with a computer on a park bench. 5G will also enable you to download a full-length movie in seconds rather than minutes and access streaming media almost instantly.
Data traffic is growing like never before
While 5G adoption rates remain high, the technology itself is not quite what people expect. 5G means not just fifth-generation communications, but also the transition to new data transmission frequencies from the communication tower to the subscriber’s phone.
Technically speaking, 5G is the next generation of mobile communications. So far, it is basically nothing more than an addition to the existing 4G LTE network, making it possible to increase network capacity in places where it is needed. There are three categories of 5G based on the frequency used for the connection. These are the low-frequency and mid-frequency ranges, as well as the millimeter-wave range (mmWave). In this case, the use of low-frequency and mid-frequency ranges is called sub-6 5G. This means that this connection is less than 6 GHz.
With any 5G connection, you will get high data rates, but only using high-frequency millimeter wave will really make a significant difference from previous generations of networks. In mmWave networks, speeds will be maximum, but the coverage of such networks is very limited. Sub-6 5G boasts much more coverage, comparable to LTE networks, but the speeds in it will be at the level of the maximum achievable in 4G LTE.
In the United States, all major carriers have opted for a strategy of combining all three 5G bands to create a single network in which differences will be based on building density, number of subscribers, and other geographic factors.
The growth in the volume of information transmitted requires an increase in connection speed, which means that only 5G has the potential to meet the future demands of smartphone owners. In addition to legal challenges in implementing 5G, operators face technical challenges. Therefore, operators in the United States are choosing the simpler low-frequency sub-6 5G option, which is seen as a more reliable LTE connection option. And a bright future will come only when all possible 5G bands are used.
The advantage of already existing 5G networks is that they provide higher speeds in comparison with LTE with an increase in the number of connections. Thus, it turns out to be easier for operators to provide high-speed connections, even without large-scale construction of new networks, but by updating the equipment of base stations, to which a fairly wide fiber-optic channel is connected. Now in the US, 5G is only slightly faster than LTE networks, speeds will increase only as new infrastructure is built.
Boris Kisov, IT expert & Project Manager. Member of Australian Computer Society (ACS). I am a telecommunications and IT innovation professional, with more than 10 years of initiating and delivering sustained results and effective change for companies across a wide range of industries including innovation, enterprise software, digital marketing, start-ups, advertising technology, e-commerce and government. Major experience lies in strategizing and leading cross-functional teams to bring about fundamental change and improvement in strategy, process, and profitability – both as a leader and expert consultant.
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