Understanding 5G In Perspective of Industry Specific Trends

By Saurabh Verma from Fundarc-Comm (xgnlab).

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Like 2G, 3G and 4G, 5G is not a distinctive sliver, it is a landscape altogether. 5G is essentially about a vision that techno savvy people have in combination, for the uses of currently evolved technologies for the better applicability on most modernize applications. In that sense it is not another cellular system only, or a wireless broadband connectivity system only, but definitely a communication system, which includes them but have far larger perspective.

The sequential term 5G has comes through to address the ‘International Telecommunication Union – Telecom’ (ITU-T) IMT2020 recommendation for the next gen communication system to cater the need of upcoming applications, the improvements over ITU-T advance recommendation for 4G. Mostly these recommendations caters, spectrum efficiency, high data rates, low latency, High subscriber density, power efficiency, flexibility, fast deployment etc.

But industry is not limited to these and have taken a larger perspective, 5G is being seen to enable smart cities, connect vehicles, automate industry, create and analyze Bigdata for better efficiency, use more spectrum, provide ultimate flexibility, adaptable to applications, quickly deployable, cater ‘Internet of Things’ or Internet of Everything’ (IOT/IOE), must survive with massive devices connectivity, apply to high density populations etc. etc.

That has turned 5G to go beyond cellular, and entice a never ending brain storm to talk about it, and discuss on it, about the possible architecture and respective use cases. People have also putting their specific doubts about ‘what to be’ and ‘what not to be’ kind of discussions. Some are taking selective approaches to put the thing on ground and materialize the talks in discussions. Industry analyst ABI Research is forecasting that mobile broadband operators will generate $247 billion in 5G revenues in 2025.

3GPP officially stamped on ‘Non Stand Alone’ (NSA) mode ‘New Radio’ (NR) standardization, Industry has taken some major steps towards 5G by the end of 2017.

Those are like, Verizon is providing home broadband using 5G fixed wireless networks, an effort of replacing fiber, Massive MIMO (Multi Input Multi Output) touches the ground – VERIZON, ERICSSON and Qualcomm Technologies claim that they have completed the first ever FDD MIMO fully compatible customer service. South Korea mobile carrier KT begins installed 5G network in PyeongChang, Olympic in 2018. SK Telecom has plan for 2019 and it created task force of 200 experts to move on 5G (a much appreciated move). AT&T also has put its plan to bring 5G by end of 2018, hand set devices are also gearing up for early devices in market, by 2018.

Although, there would be much pace to adopt 5G in this year- 2018 and coming one, but true 5G will take due time to emerge due to much required deliberation and maturity of technical advances. The real start could be anticipated from 2020 which will be settling to maturity by 2025.

Most important part of talks and discussions is about 5G monetization and plausible use cases, in one of the webinar we attended people voted as below for the possible 5G uses cases, though it’s a small lot of people, but of industry experts, seems to be giving a reflection of current perception for 5G technology in general.

Our interest being with, that almost 50% have voted for all of above option, and we radically proclaim that’s the reality here, relatively shown in vertical bars.

5G is not yet well defined term, and also being hyped to certain extent. This hype is definitely not exorbitant rather this is the much necessity, because it is based on well-grounded though not yet matured technologies. This blurred vision has not yet induced the confidence to ‘Telecom Service Providers’ (TSPs) on part of business decisions, use cases, investment plan etc. but there is a definite eye on the progress of their development and adaptation and industry is taking a selective approach so far.

Broadly, the vision for 5th generation wireless networks (5G) is to enable readiness for applications and use cases for the society of 2020. This would be done by enhancing network throughput by 10x, network scale and traffic capacity by 100x at network efficiency that is 100x better than 4G. Higher spectrum utilization, specifically millimeter bands, is in focus for boosting network throughput by 10x with the goal of supporting 10-20Gbps peak data rates and 100-50Mbps downlink and uplink sustained traffic. A much needed throughput for high density requirements like 1 million devices per km2 area.

Key technology for improving spectrum utilization is to use a large number of antennas at the radio, also called Massive MIMO, for beamforming to allow simultaneous sharing of the spectrum resources in both time and frequency domain among users. 100x improvements in network scale and traffic capacity is needed to support massive Machine Type Communication (mMTC) that will enable connectivity for anything that can be connected.

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