What is 5G connection and how it works
The use of mobile data has skyrocketed in the last five years. In 2015 alone, the increase was 74% and the global figure is already around 3.7 exabytes per month. Mainly due to the increase of streaming services, both audio and video; And the increased use of mobile applications. This increase poses a huge challenge for mobile companies, since everyone, as users, wants our connection to work seamlessly at all times, even if we are not connected to any Wi-Fi. In the coming years, the problem could be further aggravated by the advent of emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles, virtual and augmented reality or the Internet of Things. And that’s where the 5G connection comes in, which in the future promises to offer ultra high-speed wireless connections.
Today, the 4G connection is becoming a global standard for our immediate future, at least in developed markets.
However, it will eventually be replaced by the 5G that is in development. But … What exactly is the 5G connection and how is it different from its predecessors? What are the advantages of arriving to consumers? And when will the transformation take place? In this article we explain everything you should know about the connection of the future.
5G Connection Promises
- It will provide much faster wireless connections, similar to those achieved by the Google Fiber cabling system.
- It will address the growing demand for mobile data by providing more capacity.
- It will reduce latency, making wireless communications serve everything from online gaming to medical devices.
When will the 5G connection reach consumers?
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission voted in mid-July to expand a significant portion of the wireless spectrum above 24GHz, in order to move from the 4G era to the 5G. And the next day, the White House introduced the Advanced Wireless Research Initiative, a $ 400 million investment plan led by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which will fund research and other projects related to the implementation of The 5G connection.
On the other hand, operators like Verizon and AT & T have promised to already offer some of the capabilities of the 5G connection next year. Verizon has been the first operator to publish details of its specification for the 5G connection at the beginning of July and Verizon and AT & T have announced that they will begin testing the new technology in 2017.
As for other countries:
In Japan, NTT DoCoMo made its first test of 5G technology at the end of last year, reaching speeds of 3.6 Gbps.
In South Korea, KT Corporation, which is working collaboratively with Verizon, has announced that it plans to introduce its 5G technology in time for the Pyeongchang Olympic Games in 2018.
In China, the Telecommunications Research Academy has set up a research program to experiment with the 5G connection.
In the UK, the government has announced plans to release 750MHz of public spectrum for the use of next generation telecommunications used in 2022 and has reserved funding for the research and development of 5G technology.
In addition, the University of Surrey has opened an Innovation Center specialized in 5G and the University of Cambridge has just published the first complete book on the subject, entitled “5G Mobile and Wireless Communications Technology”.
However, it should be noted that any initiative that is currently taking place will be doing away with the standard, which is still under development.
The International Telecommunication Union has been working on the standardization of the 5G connection for years and does not plan to complete its work before 2020. It will be around that date and, of course, once the standard is completed, when the 5G connection is implemented in all the world.
According to Ovum figures, published in June of this year, there will be 24 million subscribers to 5G by the end of 2021 between cable and mobile broadband services. Of these, more than 40% of global subscriptions to 5G will be in North America and Asia, notably the United States, Japan, China and South Korea, where operators have already revealed quite demanding deadlines for the launch of the 5G services. Then there will be Europe, with about 10% of subscriptions, followed by the Middle East and Africa.
Ovum estimates that by the end of 2021, 5G services will be available in more than 20 markets worldwide and will have hit the four major regions of the world.
The main stumbling block could be in Europe, where regulation of net neutrality could slow down investment. In fact, 20 telecommunications companies, including Nokia, Vodafone, BT and Deutsche Telekom, have already indicated that they are willing to invest in 5G technologies in time for 2018, but only if they are limited net neutrality laws . Basically, companies are concerned about reduced return on their investment in 5G technologies as a result of neutrality regulations, so depending on how the European Commission decides to handle the situation, the 5G connection could come much later to the countries European countries.
Main difficulties for the implementation of the 5G connection
Unlike its predecessors, the 5G connection needs more than just a broadening of the frequency spectrum to start working. The reason is mainly that the 5G connection is not a single technology with a single wireless frequency range, but a combination of several technologies with different frequencies, licensed and unlicensed. Among them, some already exist and others more innovative that require new types of infrastructures, in some cases, quite expensive.
1. New frequency ranges that need new infrastructures
For example, the 5G network will include parts of the ultra high frequency spectrum that until recently were considered unsuitable for mobile data connections. However, these frequencies require a direct line of sight between the user’s device and the access point and that means having to replace the large current wireless connection towers by small access points well located and distributed everywhere, with the consequent Cost that supposes. In addition, many of these access points will need to be connected by cable through backhaul links to an operator’s network and the installation of all that new infrastructure can become extremely costly.
A possible solution to avoid the need for all that wiring could be the Terragraph Terrap project Facebook that allows access points to connect to each other, can supply connectivity to an entire city with hardly any cables.
2. New needs for legislation
The incorporation of new technologies will require the adaptation of existing legislation or regulations or the creation of new standards, both at the state and local levels, since governments will have to deal with more than the location of the towers or the granting of Permissions for installation.