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5G and Beyond Mobile Wireless Technologies

(Northwestern University - ROC (Taiwan) Student Association at Northwestern)

- 5G - A Whole New Revolution of Telecom Network Infrastructure

Mobile is the largest technology platform in human history. The incredible demand for wireless data bandwidth shows no sign of slowing down in the foreseeable future. At the same time, the mobile data experience for users continues to expand and develop, putting an increasing strain on network use of available wireless spectrum. 

5G is about more than fast data rates and greater capacity. It's about the seamless, real-time interaction between humans and billions of intelligent devices. The wireless 5G technology is going to make the new ultra-fast, reliable, and ubiquitous networks possible. This high degree of ubiquity and speeds will boost the explosion of new connected IoT (Internet of Things) devices. 

4G turned mobile phones into movie-streaming platforms, but 5G promises more than speedy downloads. One day, intelligence will be integrated into infrastructure. Cars will drive themselves, houses will be self-cleaning, agriculture will work sustainably, electrical grids will respond automatically to fluxes in energy demands. It could pave the way for surgeons operating remotely on patients, and events that can be vividly experienced from thousands of miles away. Simply put, we’ll live in a smarter, more connected world.

A big game-changer for 5G is the parallel emergence of virtualization trends such as SDN, NFV, Distributed Cloud, and Network Slicing. With these powerful leverage, the entire wireless network infrastructure will need to change from the core to the edge and from proprietary hardware/software components to virtual network functions. 

- The Core Technologies of 5G and Beyond

5G networks use many core technologies, including: 

  • Software-defined networking (SDN)
  • Cloud computing
  • Nanotechnology
  • Machine-to-machine (M2M)
  • Network slicing
  • Mobile edge computing
  • Millimeter wave
  • Full-duplex systems
  • Het Net
  • D2D communication
  • Wave networks function virtualization (NFV)
  • Massive MIMO

5G networks are designed to provide high-speed data transfer, low latency, and massive connectivity. They use advanced technologies such as: MIMO, Beamforming, Network slicing, Edge computing. 

5G is based on OFDM (Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing), a method of modulating a digital signal across several different channels to reduce interference. 5G also uses wider bandwidth technologies such as sub-6 GHz and mmWave.


- The 5G mmWave Spectrum

The high-frequency bands in the spectrum above 24 GHz were targeted as having the potential to support large bandwidths and high data rates, ideal for increasing the capacity of wireless networks. 

These high-frequency bands are often referred to as “mmWave” due to the short wavelengths that can be measured in millimeters. Although the mmWave bands extend all the way up 300 GHz, it is the bands from 24 GHz up to 100 GHz that are expected to be used for 5G. 

The mmWave bands up to 100 GHz are capable of supporting bandwidths up to 2 GHz, without the need to aggregate bands together for higher data throughput.

Underlying the basic 5G mmWave technology is a new air interface based on time-division duplexing and robust orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) methods similar to those as used in LTE and Wi-Fi networks. With peak throughput speeds of 10 Gbps or more and the ability to support a huge number of devices, 5G mmWave has performance targets that will deliver a transformation in how wireless communications are utilized. 

[Paris, France - world_walkerz]

- 5G Standards Are Not Yet Finalized

5G has set a new standard for wireless, opening up the spectrum above 6 GHz that has been previously unusable by cellular services. The new mobile network technology has already begun using the current architecture of LTE to support non-standalone 5G, on the way to full standalone infrastructure that does not rely on 4G. 

The radio access technology (RAT) developed for 5G by 3GPP includes two frequency ranges: FR1, which operates below 6 GHz, and FR2, which includes bands above 24 GHz and into the extremely high frequency range above 50 GHz. 3GPP has dubbed 5G’s new air interface 5G NR (New Radio). 

Like LTE (long term evolution), the term describes a group of technologies that enable a range of speeds and capacities. The first 5G NR specifications were part of 3GPP’s RAN Evolution of LTE documented in Release 14, begun in June 2016.

5G standards are not yet finalised and the most advanced services are still in the pre-commercial phase. 5G needs spectrum within three key frequency ranges to deliver widespread coverage and support all use cases. 

The three ranges are: Sub-1 GHz, 1-6 GHz and above 6 GHz. - Above 6 GHz is needed to meet the ultra-high broadband speeds envisioned for 5G. Players (AT&T, Verizon, ..) in the (U.S.) national wireless industry are developing their 5G networks and are working to acquire spectrum.

5G will achieve speeds of 20 gigabits per second, fast enough to download an entire Hollywood movie in a few seconds. It also will reduce latency - the measure of how long it takes a packet of data to be transmitted between two points - by a factor of 15. 5G networks will combine numerous wireless technologies, such as 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, and millimeter wave technology. 5G will also leverages cloud infrastructure, intelligent edge services and virtualized network core. 


- 5G Will Drive Edge Intelligence 

With the 5G network infrastructure creating a completely new layer of “fog,” 5G will allow companies to feel more secure within their own private networks. In the same way that cloud virtualization transformed existing business systems over the past decade, the combination of network performance and edge compute capabilities will result in an “edge virtualization” that will change the way IoT operates.

5G and edge compute are tightly intertwined. Edge compute is a system function that provides the ability to perform digital computation in devices that exist at the edge of the IoT stack. 

Three key attributes will drive the transformation in edge intelligence: ultra-dense network node deployment, increased bandwidth from the higher frequency spectrum; private instances enabling interoperability; and choice between public and private networks. 

As the 5G network must deploy many network nodes, as many as one every 50m2, massive new amounts of edge compute are going to emerge near the edge of IoT.  


- 5G Networks and Nodes

5G networks are made up of nodes that work together to provide reliable, low-latency, and high-speed communication services. These nodes are spread out across the network and perform specific functions to ensure seamless connectivity.

5G networks are built on small cell site technology with antennas as close as 500 feet apart. 5G towers are often smaller than 4G towers, with a distance of 150–300 meters. 5G nodes are much smaller than old cell towers and are easier to hide in urban areas on micro-real estate. 

5G nodes deliver high frequency electromagnetic waves that are required for high speed data transfer to the newest generation of smart phones and tablets. 

5G networks can support up to 1 million connections per square kilometer. This means that within that amount of space, the network is capable of connecting a million or more devices to the internet at the same time.

[More to come ...]




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