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What is 5G and Why does 5G matter?

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1. What is 5G?


In telecommunications, 5G is the 5th generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks. It delivers ultra high data speed, ultra low latency and massive network capacity. 5G is designed to connect everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices. The previous generations of mobile networks are 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G. 1G, the first generation of telecom networks delivered analog voice, let us talk to each other, 2G introduced digital voice, let us send messages, 3G brought a better mobile internet experience. 4G brought all-IP services (Voice and Data), a fast broadband internet experience.



2. The technical characteristics of 5G


2.1 Millimeter Waves

For a long time, we mainly use IF~UHF for mobile phone communication. For example, the frequently mentioned "GSM900" and "CDMA800" actually mean GSM with a working frequency band of 900MHz and CDMA with a working frequency band of 800MHz. As the development of 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G, the frequency of radio waves used is getting higher and higher. This is mainly because the higher the frequency is, the more abundant frequency resources can be used, which can realize more higher transmission rate.


Higher frequency → more resources → faster speed

High-band 5G operates in the 25-39 GHz range, here let’s take 28 GHz as an example, according to the formula: λ = C / f = 299,792,458 (m/s) / 28,000,000,000 Hz = 10.7 mm


Where

λ (Lambda) = Wavelength 

c = Speed of Light (299,792,458 m/s) 

f = Frequency (MHz) 

This is known as "millimeter wave" spectrum and delivers gigabit speeds.


2.2 Smaller Cells for Next-Generation Networks

Small cells are key to the functionality of 5G networks because they provide the increased data capacity that 5G demands. They help providers reduce costs by eliminating expensive rooftop systems and installation costs. Users can expect improved performance and battery life of mobile handsets since less power is required to transmit data to something nearby. 


Small cells will also be important to the workability of 5G in the millimeter wave spectrum. At these mmWave frequencies, signals have trouble getting through walls.


2.3 Massive MIMO

MIMO is "Multiple-Input Multiple-Output" (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output), multiple antennas for transmission and multiple antennas for reception. In the LTE era, we already have MIMO, but the number of antennas is not too large, and it can only be said that it is the primary version of MIMO.


In the 5G era, MIMO technology continued to be carried forward, and now it has become an enhanced version of Massive MIMO.



2.4  Applications of Device-to-Device Communication in 5G Networks

In the 5G era, if two users under the same base station communicate with each other, their data will no longer be forwarded through the base station, but directly from the mobile phone to the mobile phone. Hence is expected to solve part of the network capacity issue as 5G promises more devices to be connected in faster, more reliable networks.


3. What changes will 5G bring to us in the future ?


Healthcare

Hospitals will not only be able to remotely diagnose a patient’s complaints, but they will also have the ability to remotely perform surgeries and other hands-on procedures using digital avatars.


Manufacturing

Industry 4.0 and end-to-end automation, are tremendously promising areas of 5G application.


Smart cities

IoT sensors will monitor and collect data on everything from air quality, to energy use, to traffic patterns. 5G IoT gateway will be able to use artificial intelligence to analyze the massive amounts of data being collected to automate processes that are currently done manually.


Transportation

The march toward self-driving vehicles is already well underway. The ability to communicate in real-time with other nearby vehicles and with fixed roadway infrastructure will be essential to its success, and 5G vehicle gateway will be embedded in all of them. 

 5G is destined to be huge — profoundly impacting every human activity.  It will accelerate innovation, connect communities and help secure our world.


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