Unpacking 5G (.PDF Download)

July 6, 2017
Unpacking 5G (.PDF Download)

Today, 5G is a catchall for the next generation(s) of cellular networks.  What makes 5G unique is that unlike the previous generations it has two aspects. The first deals with the evolution of mobile broadband, which 25 or so years ago started out with voice applications transforming to voice and text, followed by the addition of emails and then multimedia. Now these are full-blown mobile computing platforms. The other is that 5G will bring gigabit speeds to handsets.

Now let’s talk revolutionary…

Once network speeds reach gigabit downloads, cellular will be in direct competition with cable and DSL as it will be able to enter markets dominated today by the traditional internet service providers (ISPs)—that’s reasonably straightforward. Many wireless operators are already in trials.

But 5G will also have provisions for ultra-reliable and low-latency connectivity that will enable real-time applications such as vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-everything (V2X), industrial automation, remote robotic surgeries, and others commonly classified as critical machine-type communications (cMTC)

At the same time, the standard will also enable low-energy, low-bit-rate, seamless connectivity for billions of new IoT devices that will need to be supported on the network, too. These can range from monitoring pumps on a remote oil rig to a pacemaker installed in a patient’s heart.

Again, this is why some call 5G a catchall. The standards will be released in multiple phases. The first one, due to arrive by the end of 2018, is expected to address enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB). That will be followed by releases for MTC.


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