5G: Advancing the World of Connectivity
15 February 2017 |
Reading Time: 3 minutes
The Main Drivers for 5G Connectivity:
5G wireless technology has many hopes and promises associated with it, including delivering up to 10 Gbps of throughput per user with much denser networks and super-low latency speeds.
Although not expected to be standardized until 2018, 5G is clearly transitioning from an industry vision to a tangible, next-generation mobile technology.
In fact, some network operators have already announced 5G trials and pre-standard deployments of 5G technology.
The main drivers for 5G adoption are:
- Subscribers demanding more bandwidth as streaming video, augmented reality, peer-to-peer gaming, and other bandwidth-intensive services come to prominence.
- Mobile network operators (MNOs) seeking new ways to profit from their networks— and 5G opens up the capability to offer new applications and services.
- A new generation of applications—from the Internet of Things (IoT) to self-driving cars to virtual reality—that are, or soon will be, in use.
Rising data demand will continue to drive 5G requirements, as will demands for more ubiquitous coverage. Millennials, who will overtake the number of Baby Boomers in the U.S. workplace by 2018, expect to be able to use their mobile devices anywhere, anytime, with high bandwidth and low latency.
Like all of the network generations that have preceded it, the first and most essential step to defining and ultimately rolling out 5G connectivity will be ensuring it can accommodate mobile broadband growth. But, in order for 5G to be a success, it must also deliver on the vision to efficiently enable the wireless interconnection of machines to the cloud.
In addition, the need to support low-latency use cases will help shape the architecture to push capability closer to the edge, balanced with the need for greater efficiency, which is best when the capability is centralized. Striking the balance between these two competing needs is key to making the 5G standards work.
Three use cases for 5G
The wireless industry has coalesced around three primary use cases for 5G:
- Enhanced mobile broadband — 5G will strive for a significant improvement in the mobile user experience over 4G. Although it promises up to 10 Gbps per subscriber, it is likely the typical rate per subscriber under 5G will be from 1–7
Gbps, and that there will be 10 to 100 times as many connected devices as 4G.
There will also be much lower latency—less than 5 milliseconds, which is 5 percent of 4G’s latency. Large venues like stadiums and airports may be some of the first places 5G networks are implemented.
Companies constructing new buildings should be planning to support not only today’s mobile demand but deploying the network infrastructure that will support 5G connectivity in just a few years.
- IoT – Gartner predicts there will be more than 20 billion “things” on the IoT by 2020 —everything from consumer applications that allow wireless control and monitoring of lighting, heating, and appliances to “smart city” applications that monitor traffic, sprinklers, lighting and other aspects of city operations. The IoT will drive several orders of magnitude more connections and it will have a significant impact on the network. CommScope anticipates that one goal of 5G will be to deliver 1,000 times more bandwidth than 4G in any given area and that the location density of 5G cell sites will be five times that of 4G. 5G networks are being designed to support a diverse set of IoT use cases by implementing a configurable, virtualized core that will be radio technology agnostic.
- High-reliability, low-latency networks – This case imagines the wireless network of the future: a vision of entirely new possibilities. Potential applications include self-driving cars, whose collision avoidance systems will require one- millisecond latency. It’s unclear how much a self-driving car will rely on the network versus on-board processing, but navigation and remote diagnostics will certainly rely on the network. Another application is in augmented reality and virtual reality—the amount of information delivered may be more like advanced mobile broadband, but it will have to be very low latency to enable those applications. Remote surgery, drones, and public safety are other applications that require ultra-low latency and high reliability.