5G is about to Change the Way We Live
A new technology was introduced in 2018 that is about to change worldwide telecommunications. It is the fifth-generation cellular technology hence its name 5G. It is also known as 5G NR (5G New Radio). Not only will it be much faster, but latency time will be dramatically shorter. Initially data communications will start in the 300 to 500 Mb per second range and grow to the 10 Gb per second and then 20 Gb per second speeds will become normal.
Some of the 5G benefits that have been talked about in common discussion points:
Because 5G virtually eliminates latency means that a surgeon may not have to be in the same room as a patient in the future.
Ericsson Company says: “Inspired by the benefits of 5G technology, Ericsson is collaborating with King’s College London to form exciting industry partnerships with the view to improve quality of life and work in society through technology innovation. Carefully chosen partners are enabling compelling research into key technological fields, dreaming up new applications and services to influence a variety of industries and disrupt our preconceptions.
The 5G research being undertaken in the fields of medicine, education, gaming and culture is expanding the limits of technological imagination, whether it’s by using the internet to facilitate surgery on the other side of the planet, drastically reducing latency for truly immersive mobile gaming experiences, making expert skills and knowledge available to anyone through remote transfer, or allowing musicians scattered across the globe to play together in harmony.”
Tim Baxter, President Samsung US has said: “The key to realizing 5G is finding the right match between network capabilities and use cases. Such a formula creates flexibility that will allow different applications, each with their different demands, to thrive. While some 5G applications will require a national ecosystem – an ubiquitous network and devices that can access and utilize that network – others will thrive when powered by small scale networks that operate at a local or even venue level.
In our neighborhoods, 5G will bring broadband-level data speeds via easily-installed Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) points that enable connected home solutions such as 4K streaming, wireless gaming and security, and IoT solutions. For businesses, the high speed and low latency of 5G via FWA will enable venue-based service and hospitality platforms that enhance guest experiences using video, photo, augmented reality, and crowd management services.
On the other hand, regional corridors of 5G connectivity between urban centers will enable a different set of use cases for applications where constant connectivity is critical, but the services are only required in a somewhat restricted geographic area.
This type of network will turn trains and buses and roadways into 5G-powered environments, enabling passengers to access enhanced services while they ride, powering connected driving experiences, smart traffic lights and roadways and eventually autonomous vehicles. 5G corridors will provide backhaul to other wired and wireless networks – enabling further broadband access and completion — and they will enable enhanced fleet management and emergency services as trucks and ambulances better navigate cities and traffic.”
According to SRI International drones can:
Save Lives. In natural and man-made disasters drones can be positioned to survey damage, locate stranded and injured victims, and access ongoing threats without risking the safety of rescue teams and first responders.
Support law enforcement. Because drones can access harsh environments where people have difficulty, they can be used to search for lost individuals, support law enforcement with tactical surveillance and tracking, facilitate accident investigations, and monitor crowds.
Make infrastructure maintenance safer. Difficult facilities such as the underside of a bridge or the top of the skyscraper are no longer dangerous to the inspectors because quadcopters with high definition cameras allow engineers to safely find and design fixes for the facilities.
Agriculture management. For 30 years, farmers have been utilizing GPS and satellites to help plan and manage farmlands. Now, instead of the cost of satellite time farmers are able to use drones to look for pests and disease as well as identify natural problems such as flooding.
The September 6, 2019 Kiplinger Letter writes extensively about technology that is reshaping agriculture including drones with longer battery lives that will allow farmers to monitor their fields, steer their tractors, precisely applied fertilizer, water and other inputs increasing the efficiency and profitability of agriculture.
Give media access to almost anywhere. Many would be unhappy with this solution because they feel that the media no longer respects individual privacy. But in reality, it is a real benefit to news organizations.
With chip advancements from companies such as Qualcomm, high-bandwidth low latency makes 5G accessible to even the remotest of locations.
SRI International is working on improving image quality and video transmissions with drones. As result, between 2015 and 2018 the industry is projected to have generated $13.6 billion and by 2025 will add more than $82 billion in annual revenue.
How 5G Works
As introduced above, 5G is the fifth generation of cellular communications.
The main standard bearer or you might say traffic cop for cellular, fiber-optic, and Internet of Things (IoT) is the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Prior to the ITU it was CCITT. While CCITT was headquartered in France the ITU is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
The primary benefit of having telecommunications standards is the ability to have connectivity among various products and services. Without standards, communications breakdown.
The ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) is one of the three sectors (divisions or units) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and is responsible for the radio communication portion of 5G.
Its role is to manage the international radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbit resources and to develop standards for radio communication systems with the objective of ensuring the effective use of the spectrum. ITU-R has defined three main uses for 5G. They are Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLCC), and Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC).
Enhanced Mobile Broadband uses 5G as a progressive step from 4G LTE with faster connections, higher throughput, and more capacity.
Ultra Reliable Latency Communications is a service category 5G to accommodate emerging services and applications having stringent latency and reliability requirements.
Massive Machine-Type Communications (uMTC) are used to connect to a large number of low power low cost devices that have high scalability and increased battery lifetime in a wide area.
According to Qualcomm, 5G New Radio (NR) is the global standard for a unified, more capable 5G wireless air interface. It will deliver significantly faster and more responsive mobile broadband experiences, and extend mobile technology to connect and redefine a multitude of new industries. And Qualcomm is the R&D engine at the center of the mobile ecosystem—making 5G NR a commercial reality.
The 5G NR speed and the sub-6 gigahertz bands can be slightly higher than 4G with a similar number of spectrum and antennas.
The 5G spec calls for eventual latency of 1 ms. Currently however releases the 5G equipment operate in the 8 to 12 ms range.
When is it available and where is it available?
5G is in an early state of implementation and activation. PC Magazine has been doing a good job of tracking what companies, when, and where 5G is being implemented. You can find it here.
On April 3, 2019 Verizon announced that Minneapolis and Chicago were the first cities in the world to get 5G enabled smart phones connected to a 5G network. I live in a suburb of Minneapolis so needless to say I was very happy to see that.
Verizon customers using their 5G Ultra Wideband network in Chicago and Minneapolis can get speeds of up to 1 Gb per second.
As I pointed out before both to my family and on Facebook, 5G is going to take time to become pervasive. In addition to get the high-end gigabit type speeds is going to take longer because there are so many different kinds of customers with different levels of technology on the premises that it becomes fairly complex.
I will provide future articles about how to handle some of the diverse and complex situations from both a business and personal usage level. So what you should do is allocate some entry budgets knowing that this whole process is evolutionary and be prepared to start spending more seriously and 18 to 24 months. For instance from a personal standpoint you may want to hold off buying a new cell phone for now and save some money by buying a later model renewed phone and then when 5G shows real capabilities you can then get the current phone or equipment with your saved money.
From a business standpoint it is important to put 5G into your business plan. The ability to act faster than your competitors can make the difference between being a market leader and just another market follower. By starting your plan now, you can have the personnel and the money in place to give you the win. Speed will become only more important in the future.