5G technology explained here. Let’s learn how it works, why it is important and how it’s changing the world.
What is 5G?
5G is the 5th generation mobile network. It is a new global wireless standard after 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G networks. 5G enables a new kind of network that is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together. This including machines, objects, and devices.
Who invented it?
No one company or person owns it. There are several companies within the mobile ecosystem that are contributing to bringing it to life.
What underlying technologies make up 5G?
It’s based on OFDM (Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing), a method of modulating a digital signal across several different channels to reduce interference. 5G uses a 5G NR air interface alongside OFDM principles. 5G also uses wider bandwidth technologies such as sub-6 GHz and mmWave.
Like 4G LTE, 5G OFDM operates based on the same mobile networking principles. However, the new 5G NR air interface can further enhance OFDM to deliver a much higher degree of flexibility and scalability. This could provide more 5G access to more people and things for a variety of different use cases.
This will bring wider bandwidths by expanding the usage of spectrum resources, from sub-3 GHz used in 4G to 100 GHz and beyond. 5G can operate in both lower bands (e.g., sub-6 GHz) as well as mmWave (e.g., 24 GHz and up). This will bring extreme capacity, multi-Gbps throughput, and low latency.
It is designed to not only deliver faster, better mobile broadband services compared to 4G LTE. This will also expand into new service areas such as mission-critical communications and connecting the massive IoT. This is enabled by many new 5G NR air interface design techniques, such as a new self-contained TDD subframe design.
What are the differences between the previous generations of mobile networks and 5G?
The previous generations of mobile networks are 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G.
First-generation – 1G
The 1980s: 1G delivered analogue voice.
Second generation – 2G
In the early 1990s: 2G introduced digital voice (e.g. CDMA– Code Division Multiple Access).
Third generation – 3G
In the early 2000s: 3G brought mobile data (e.g. CDMA2000).
Fourth-generation – 4G LTE
The 2010s: 4G LTE ushered in the era of mobile broadband.
1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G all led to 5G, which is designed to provide more connectivity than was ever available before.
With high speeds, superior reliability and negligible latency, 5G will expand the mobile ecosystem into new realms. It will impact every industry, making safer transportation, remote healthcare, precision agriculture, digitized logistics — and more — a reality.
How is it better than 4G?
There are several reasons that it will be better than 4G:
• 5G is significantly faster than 4G
• 5G has more capacity than 4G
• 5G has significantly lower latency than 4G
• 5G is a unified platform that is more capable than 4G
• 5G uses spectrum better than 4G
It is a unified platform that is more capable than 4G.
While 4G LTE focused on delivering much faster mobile broadband services than 3G. 5G is designed to be a unified, more capable platform that not only elevates mobile broadband experiences. It also supports new services such as mission-critical communications and the massive IoT. 5G can also natively support all spectrum types (licensed, shared, unlicensed) and bands (low, mid, high), a wide range of deployment models (from traditional macro-cells to hotspots), and new ways to interconnect (such as device-to-device and multi-hop mesh).
It uses spectrum better than 4G.
Designed to get the most out of every bit of spectrum across a wide array of available spectrum. Regulatory paradigms and bands—from low bands below 1 GHz to mid bands from 1 GHz to 6 GHz to high bands known as millimetre wave (mmWave).
Faster than 4G.
Can be significantly faster than 4G, delivering up to 20 Gigabits-per-second (Gbps) peak data rates and 100+ Megabits-per-second (Mbps) average data rates.
Capacity more than 4G.
Designed to support a 100x increase in traffic capacity and network efficiency.
It has lower latency than 4G.
It has significantly lower latency to deliver more instantaneous, real-time access: a 10x decrease in end-to-end latency down to 1ms.
How and when will 5G affect the global economy?
Fifth Generation is driving global growth.
• $13.2 Trillion dollars of global economic output
• 22.3 Million new jobs created
• $2.1 Trillion dollars in GDP growth
Through a landmark 5G Economy study, we found that its full economic effect will likely be realized across the globe by 2035. Supporting a wide range of industries and potentially enabling up to $13.2 trillion worth of goods and services.
This impact is much greater than previous network generations. The development requirements of the new 5G network are also expanding beyond the traditional mobile networking players to industries such as the automotive.
The study also revealed that the 5G value chain (including OEMs, operators, content creators, app developers, and consumers) could alone support up to 22.3 million jobs, or more than one job for every person in Beijing, China. And there are many emerging new applications that will still be defined in the future. Only time will tell what the full “5G effect” on the economy is going to be.
How will it affect me?
For example, with 5G, you can access new and improved experiences including near-instant access to cloud services, multiplayer cloud gaming, shopping with augmented reality, and real-time video translation and collaboration, and more.
How do consumers use 5G?
The average consumer is expected to go from being able to consume 2.3 GB of data per month today to close to 11 GB of data per month on their smartphone in 2022.2 This is driven by explosive growth in video traffic as mobile is increasingly becoming the source of media and entertainment.
4G completely changed how we consume information. In the past decade, we have witnessed leaps and bounds in the mobile app industry around services such as video streaming, ride-sharing, food delivery and more.
How cities use 5G?
Smart cities could use 5G in a variety of ways to transform the lives of people living in them—primarily providing greater efficiencies like more connectivity between people and things, higher data speeds, and lower latency than ever before in areas like automotive safety, infrastructure, VR, and entertainment.
How fast is it?
Fifth-generation is designed to deliver peak data rates up to 20 Gbps based on IMT-2020 requirements. Qualcomm Technologies’ flagship 5G solutions, the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X55 and Snapdragon X60 Modem-RF Systems, are designed to achieve up to 7.5 Gbps in downlink peak data rates.
But it’s about more than just how fast it is. In addition to higher peak data rates, 5G is designed to provide much more network capacity. By expanding into new spectram, such as mmWave.
How does it work?
Like 4G LTE, 5G is also OFDM-based (Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing) and will operate based on the same mobile networking principles. However, the new 5G NR (New Radio) air interface will further enhance OFDM to deliver a much higher degree of flexibility and scalability.
5G will not only deliver faster, better mobile broadband services compared to 4G LTE, but it will also expand into new service areas. Such as mission-critical communications and connecting the massive IoT. This is enabled by many new 5G NR air interface design techniques, such as a new self-contained TDD subframe design.
Does it change my home internet service?
Changing home internet service with 5G by providing a wireless modem alternative to existing wires. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can now serve customers using 5G infrastructure – making the coverage, performance and deployment flexibility of a compelling backhaul alternative to fibre, DSL or cable solutions.
Is it available now?
Yes, It’s already here today, and global operators started launching new 5G networks in early 2019. In 2020, many countries expect nationwide 5G mobile networks. All major Android phone manufacturers are commercializing 5G phones. And soon, even more people may be able to access 5G.
We are seeing a much faster rollout and adoption compared with 4G. Consumers are very excited about the high speeds and low latencies. But it goes beyond these benefits by providing the capability for mission-critical services, enhanced mobile broadband and massive IoT. That’s why it’s hard to predict when everyone will have access to 5G. We are seeing great momentum of 5G launches in its first year. We expect more countries to launch their networks in 2020 and beyond.
As of June 2020, 5G was available in:Insights from the first Fifth-Generation phone and network
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
- Virgin Islands, U.S.
- New Zealand
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- Puerto Rico
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- South Korea
When 5G will be available to more people?
Will take time to proliferate the new 5G network. In the meantime, 4G LTE will continue to grow and serve as the anchor of the 5G mobile experience for many years to come.
Do I need a new phone if I want it?
If you want to be able to use the network, you will need to get a new smartphone that supports 5G.
There are several new mobile phones available that are designed to support 5G. Multiple carriers across the world support the 5G wireless network. As the 5G rollout timeline progresses, more smartphones and carrier subscriptions will become available.