The 5G Revolution
5th generation wireless systems or 5G systems are the latest revolutions in wireless networking. It is expected to offer up to 20 gigabits per second and offers performance up to 100 times faster than current 4G networks. They are expected to be faster, more efficient, reliable and cheaper than ever before.
Use of 5G technology is expected to be commercially available by 2020. As of 2017 however, its development has already begun. Countries like South Korea, China, Japan and the U.S. are expecting to release 5G networks by the end of 2018. At the recent, 2018 Winter Olympics, South Korea demonstrated 5G for the visitors. Several companies are racing to lead this revolution, including Samsung, Intel, Huawei, Qualcomm, and others.
AT&T is ready to launch its 5G Evolution technology
AT&T (formerly known as American Telephone and Telegraph Company) the second largest telecommunications company in the U.S. on 20th April released a press release stating “AT&T continues to build on our 5G foundation by launching our 5G Evolution technology in parts of 117 new markets today. By launching 5G Evolution in 117 new markets today, we’re bringing consumers and businesses one step closer to standards-based 5G in 141 total markets.”
In March 2017 the first “5G New Radio (NR)” was approved at the 3GPP’s RAN Group committee for “enhanced Mobile Broadband” use. It will be based on existing LTE (4G mobile communication standards) radio and core networks. And during its development, there will be equal efforts to spend resources on developing and enhancing LTE and its features too. Also, the schedule has been accelerated so trails can be employed by 2019, originally expected in 2020.
The first 5G phones are expected to be released in 2019
The first 5G phones are expected to be released in 2019 with Samsung and Apple leading the way. On 3rd January 2018, Samsung announced that it will supply commercial 5G Fixed Wireless Access to Verizon. And people in the U.S. will be among the first to experience its services. Apple is also working on bringing a new iPhone X successor based on 5G networks.
Information about 5G networks Spectrum, Frequencies, and power management
However, these companies have their work cut out for them, as the question of where the spectrum will lie. The frequency range for 4G networks isn’t exactly the same everywhere. South Korea provides frequencies of around 5MHZ to 20MHZ, while the U.S. provides up to 28GHZ. So companies have to come up with a solution to incorporate this entire range into their 5G networks for worldwide use. This same problem was faced by the first 4G phones. New devices specifically built to house 4G technology were bulky at first, had poor battery life and overheated quickly. It took time to get used to and fix up those rough patches with new mobiles released later on. AT&T Chief Technology Officer Andre Fuetch said that there will initially be phones built on 5G technology specifically and “The first generation will come with its challenges”.
5G networks will also face the problem of power management, as new systems will require boosted signals to track amplifiers, and will require a constant supply of power and high end-cutting tracking technologies. A recent project SERENA launched in Europe has started working on this problem. They are working on optimizing power efficiency and cost of mm-wave multi-antenna array systems to improve high-speed wireless systems and low energy consumption.
Another problem is that due to higher frequencies which travel faster, signals will have a shorter range and can be easily disrupted. As a result, antennas will be required which will cost a lot. The total upgrade cost to 5G isn’t exactly known but is estimated to be around $200 Billion a year. Will it be worth it?
Qualcomm study says 5G could create 22m jobs and produce $12.3 trillion of goods and services by 2035.
But putting that aside, the benefits of 5G cannot be ignored. CEO of Sprint, Marcelo Claure says “5G can perform up to ten times faster than the current 4G networks and enable a tremendous boost in data speed, meaning content that takes minutes to download now will be available in a matter of seconds.”
According to Dino Flore, vice-president of technology at Qualcomm, “set to arrive within the next three years, 5G could account for as many as 1.4 billion connections by 2025. By then, 5G networks are likely to cover one-third of the world’s population.” He added that 5G provides lower latency and lower cost-per-bit – significantly lower than today’s networks, to efficiently support cost-effective data plans.
Qualcomm study says 5G could create 22m jobs and produce $12.3 trillion of goods and services by 2035. The total infrastructure spending on 5G might exceed $326 by 2025, according to analysts. The top benefactors will be companies like Qualcomm, Dell, and Intel in the lead while Datacenter component suppliers are also expected to benefit with the upgrade. As of now, technologists are designing 5G networks and solving the problems they might bring with it.