Introducing 5G technology and networks (definition, characteristics, 5G vs 4G and use cases)

What is 5G? Do you want to know more about 5G technology? Then you are in the right place.

Qué es el 5G? - Iconnect | Tu tienda de telefonía en Dénia
What is 5G?
What is 5G?

5G technology is a watershed.

The next generation of telecommunications networks (fifth generation or 5G) has started to hit the market in late 2018 and will continue to expand worldwide.

Beyond speed improvement, 5G is expected to unleash a massive IoT ( Internet of Things ) ecosystem where networks can meet the communication needs of billions of connected devices, with the right tradeoffs between speed, latency and cost.

5G technology is driven by 8 specific requirements:
  • Up to 10Gbps data rate -> 10 to 100 times better than 4G and 4.5G networks 
  • 1 millisecond latency
  • 1000 times faster broadband per unit area
  • Up to 100 more connected devices per unit area (compared to 4G LTE networks) 
  • 99.999% availability
  • C overture 100%
  • R eduction of 90% in power consumption of the network
  • Up to 10 ten years of battery life on low-power IoT (Internet of Things) devices

How fast is 5G?

5G reaches a maximum of 10 gigabits per second (Gbps). 5G is 10 x100 faster than you can get with 4G.

4g vs 5g.jpg

What makes 5G faster? Good question!
The use of shorter frequencies (millimeter waves between 30GHz and 300GHz) for 5G networks, is the reason why 5G can be faster.

According to communication principles, the lower the frequency, the greater the bandwidth.

But here is the part where you understand that 5G is much more than that.

What is "low latency 5G"?

5G technology offers an extremely low latency rate (the delay or delay between sending and receiving information). From 200 milliseconds for 4G, we went down to 1 millisecond (1 ms) with 5G.
Just think about this for a moment.
A millisecond is 1/1000 of a second.

The average human reaction time to a visual stimulus is 250 ms or 1/4 second. People have a limit of around 190-200 ms with good training.

Now imagine that your car could react 250 times faster than you. Imagine that you could also react to hundreds of incoming data, and you can also communicate your reactions to other vehicles and road signs, all in milliseconds.

At 100 km per hour, the reaction distance is approximately 30 meters before applying the brakes. With a reaction time of 1 ms, the car would only have rolled a little over an inch (less than 3 centimeters).

5G vs 4G - what's the difference?

The fifth generation of wireless networks addresses the evolution beyond the mobile internet towards the massive IoT (Internet of Things) from 2019/2020 onwards.
  • The main evolution compared to today's 4G and 4.5G (Advanced LTE) networks is that, beyond data speed improvements, new IoT and critical communication use cases will require a new level of improved performance.
  • For example, low latency is what provides real-time interactivity for services using the cloud - for example, this is the key to driverless car success.
  • 5G vs. 4G also means at least x100 connected devices. 5G must be capable of supporting 1 million devices in 0.386 square miles or 1 km2.
  • Furthermore, low power consumption is what will allow connected objects to function for months or years without the need for human assistance.
  • Unlike current IoT services that make performance tradeoffs to get the best of today's wireless technologies (3G, 4G, WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, etc.), 5G networks will be designed to provide the level of performance necessary to the  massive IoT.
It will allow the perception of a fully connected ubiquitous world.

In short, this is what makes 5G  transformational.

5G and previous mobile generations at a glance

In the past four decades, mobile phones, more than any other technology, have silently changed our lives forever.

Do you remember how much you loved your 2G Nokia 3310?
  • 1G, the first generation of telecommunications networks (1979), let's talk to each other and be mobile
  • 2G (1991) digital networks allow us to send messages and travel (with roaming services)
  • 2.5G and 2.75G brought some improvements to data services (GPRS and EDGE)
  • 3G (1998) brought a better mobile internet experience (with limited success)
  • 3.5G brought a true mobile Internet experience, freeing the ecosystem of mobile applications
  • 4G networks (2008) brought fully IP (Voice and Data) services, a fast broadband Internet experience, with unified network architectures and protocols.
  • 4G LTE , as of 2009, doubled data rates.
  • 5G networks expand wireless broadband services beyond mobile Internet to IoT and critical communications segments.
Virtual networks (5G cut) adapted to each use case

5G will be able to support all communication needs from low power local area networks (LANs), such as home networks, for example, to wide area networks (WAN), with the correct latency / speed settings.

The way to address this need today is by adding a wide variety of communication networks (WiFi, Z-Wave, LoRa, 3G, 4G, etc.)

And 5G is smarter.

5G is designed to allow simple virtual network configurations to better align network costs with application needs.

This new approach will enable 5G mobile network operators to capture a larger slice of the IoT market by being able to offer cost-effective solutions for low power, low bandwidth applications.

What are the actual 5G use cases?

Each new generation wireless network comes with a new set of new uses.
The next 5G will be no exception and will focus on IoT (Internet of Things) and critical communications applications.
  • In terms of the agenda, we can mention the following use cases over time:
  • Fixed wireless access (from 2018-2019 onwards)
  • Enhanced mobile broadband with 4G support (from 2019-2020-2021)
  • Massive M2M / IoT (from 2021-2022)
  • Critical Ultra Low Latency IoT Communications (2024-2025)
Some key applications like driverless cars require very aggressive latency (fast response time) while not requiring fast data rates.

On the other hand, cloud based enterprise services with big data analytics will require speed improvements rather than latency improvements.

When will 5G arrive?
Where is 5G technology in terms of implementation, standardization and how long will this take?
  • ITU-R launched "IMT for 2020 and beyond" in 2012, setting the stage for 5G.
  • Japan and Korea started working on 5G requirements in 2013.
  • NTT Docomo conducted the first 5G experimental trials in 2014.
  • Samsung, Huawei and Ericsson started prototyping in 2013.
  • South Korea SK Telecom demonstrated 5G in 2018 at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
  • Ericsson and TeliaSonera made commercial services available in Stockholm and Tallinn in 2018.
  • North America 5G is available in some locations in 2019. It won't take off in most areas until 2020.
  • Deutsche Telekom started 5G in Berlin, Darmstadt, Munich, Bonn, and Cologne in September 2019.
  • In the UK , many cities will see 5G in 2019 and more in 2020. EE, Vodaphone and O2 have been actively implementing 5G since mid-2019.
  • India eyes 2020 for 5G launch
  • Japan's goal is to launch 5G for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.
  • China Unicom has established 5G at some locations in 2019. GMSA expects 460 million 5G connections in China by 2025.
How fast will 5G be?
The projected adoption rate for 5G differs dramatically from all previous generation networks (3G, 4G): while previous technology was fueled by mobile internet usage and the availability of popular applications, 5G is expected to  be fueled mainly due to new uses of IoT , such as connected and autonomous cars, for example.

According to an Ericsson report from  June 2019, 5G will reach 45% population coverage and 1.9 billion subscriptions by 2024, making it the fastest generation to deploy globally.
5g 2.jpg

What are the implications of 5G for mobile operators?

5G is still a cellular broadband technology and is a network of networks.

The experience and knowledge of mobile network operators in the construction and operation of networks will be key to the success of 5G.

Beyond providing network services, MNOs will be able to develop and operate new IoT services.

The implementation of 5G networks while keeping 3G and 4G networks operational will likely unleash a new challenge for MNOs regarding the capacity of frequencies in the spectrum (especially if the massive volume expected in IoT occurs).

Mobile network operators will then need to operate a new spectrum in the 6 to 300 GHz range, which means massive investments in network infrastructure .

To achieve the 1 ms latency target, 5G networks involve connectivity to the base station using fiber optics.

On the cost-saving side, 5G networks are planned to be capable of supporting virtual networks such as low-performance, low-performance networks (LPLT) for low-cost IoT. Unlike today, where LORA networks address that need, separately from 4G.
What does 5G mean for consumers?
5G for consumers means not only faster mobile internet, but mainly internet connectivity on many more objects than you see today.

The car and the house are two examples of the great IoT revolution that is coming, backed by 5G networks.

Samsung and other Android OEMs plan to unveil the first 5G smartphones in 2019.

5G SIM cards will debut in 2019.

Will 5G technology be safe?

Today's 4G networks use the USIM application to perform strong mutual authentication between the user and their connected device and the networks.

The entity hosting the USIM application can be a removable SIM card or a built-in UICC chip.

This strong mutual authentication is crucial to enable reliable services. Today's security solutions are already a combination of edge (device) and core (network) security.

Various security frameworks may coexist in the future and 5G is likely to reuse existing solutions used today for 4G and cloud networks (SE, HSM, certification, over-the-air provisioning, and KMS).

The standard for strong mutual authentication for 5G networks was finalized in 2018.

The need for security, privacy and trust will be as strong as for 4G if it is not stronger with the greatest impact of IoT services. Local SEs on the devices can not only ensure network access, but also support secure services like emergency call management and virtual networks for IoT.

How will roaming impact 5G?

While traveling abroad, 5G users can easily enjoy the 5G roaming experience on visited networks. And compatibility with 3G-4G networks will be guaranteed.

How will 5G drive the commercialization of IoT devices that rely on cellular technology instead of Wi-Fi technology?

Wi-Fi wireless connection is a "Local Area Network" technology, limited in the operating range and very limited in both speed and latency.

Many IoT services demand more ubiquity, more mobility, and more performance in terms of speed and response time. 5G will truly unleash a true (connected) IoT ecosystem.
5g 3.jpg

How will 5G networks and use cases change the world?

Speed ​​"insight", instantaneous response time and IoT performance will come true with 5G.

As an example, the expected success of driverless cars will only be possible when 5G networks are available.

Now it's subtle. What do you think about 5G networks?

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More resources on 5G technology

Check out our three related whitepapers, videos, blog posts, and press releases below.

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