Introducing 5G networks – Characteristics and usages


 

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The next generation telecom networks (5G) will hit the market by 2020. Beyond just speed improvements, 5G is expected to unleash a massive IoT ecosystem where networks can serve communication needs for billions of connected devices, with the right trade-offs between speed, latency and cost. The following Q&As will give you a good introduction to 5G: how does is differ from today’s 4G LTE, what are the new IoT uses cases and how will MNOs benefit from it.

What is (and what is​​n’t) 5G, and what is the difference between 4G / LTE and 5G?

The next (5th) generation  wireless network will address the evolution beyond mobile internet to massive IoT (Internet of Things) for the horizon 2020. The main evolution compared with today’s 4G and 4.5G (LTE advanced) is that beyond data speed improvements, new IoT and critical communication use cases will require new types of improved performance.  For example “low latency” is what provides real-time interactivity for services using the cloud: this is key for the success of self-driving cars for example.   Also, low power consumption is what will allow connected objects to operate for months or years without the need for human assistance.

Unlike current IoT services that make performance trade-offs to get the best from current wireless technologies (3G, 4G, WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, etc…), 5G networks will be designed to bring the level of performance needed for massive IoT.    It will enable a perceived fully ubiquitous connected world.

5G technology is ​driven by 8 specification requirements

  • Up to 10Gbps data rate  - > 10 to 100x improvement over 4G and 4.5G networks 
  • 1 millisecond latency
  • 1000x bandwidth per unit area
  • Up to 100x number of connected devices per unit area (compared with 4G LTE)
  • 99.999% availability 
  • 100% coverage 
  • 90% reduction in network energy usage 
  • Up to 10-year battery life for low power IoT devices
5G Technology is driven by 8 sepcification requirements
  • 5G Networks Q & A

    Introducing 5G networks – Characteristics and usages

    The fifth generation networks (5G) is currently under development and will hit the market at the horizon 2020. Compared with the current 4G LTE technology, 5G is targeting to reach both high speed (1 Gbps), low power and low latency (1ms or less), for massive IoT, tactile internet and robotics.

    Introducing 5G networks – Characteristics and usages

An introduction to 5G - Questions & Answers

  • What are the real 5G use cases?

    Each new generation wireless network came with all new set of new usages. The next coming 5G will make no exception and will be focused on IoT and critical communications applications 

    • 5G networks expand broadband wireless services beyond mobile internet to IoT and critical communications segments
    • 4.5G (LTE advanced) networks doubled data speeds from 4G
    • 4G networks brought all-IP services (Voice and Data), a fast broadband internet experience, with unified networks architectures and protocols
    • 3.5G networks brought a true ubiquitous mobile internet experience, unleashing the success of mobile apps eco-systems.
    • 3G networks brought a better mobile internet experience but with limited success to unleash massive data services adoption
    • 2.5G networks brought a slight improvement to data services with Edge
    • 2G networks brought digital cellular voice services and basic data services (SMS, GPRS) – as well as roaming services across networks
    • 1G networks brought mobility to analogue voice services

    Some key applications like self-driving cars require very aggressive latency (fast response time) while they do not require fast data rates.  

    Conversely, enterprise cloud base services with massive data analysis will require speed improvements more than latency improvements.

    Virtual networks (5G Slicing) tailored to each use case:

    5G will be able to support all communication needs from low power Local Area Network (LAN) – like home networks for example, to Wide Area Networks (WAN), with the right latency/speed settings.  The way this need is addressed today is by aggregating a broad variety of communication networks (WiFi, Z-Wave, LoRa, 3G, 4G, etc…) 5G is designed to allow simple virtual networks configurations to better align network costs with applications needs.   This new approach will allow 5G Mobile Network operators to catch a larger piece of the IoT market pie by being able to deliver cost effective solutions for low broadband, low power applications. 


  • When is 5G coming? Where is 5G technology in terms of standardisation and how long will this take?

    • ITU-R launched “IMT for 2020 and beyond” in 2012, setting the stage for 5G
    • Japan and Korea started to work on 5G requirements in 2013
    • NTT Docomo did first 5G experimental trials in 2014
    • Samsung, Huawei and Ericsson started prototype development in 2013
    • South Korean SK Telecom plans to demo 5G in 2018 at the Pyeongchang winter Olympics
    • Ericsson and TeliaSonera plan to make commercial service available in Stockholm and Talinn by the end of 2018
    • Japan target is to launch 5G for the 2020 Tokyo summer Olympics

  • How fast will 5G take-up be?

    The projected adoption rate for 5G differs drastically from all previous generation networks (3G, 4G): While previous technology where driven by mobile internet usage and the availability of “killer apps”,  5G is expected to be mainly driven by new IoT usages, such as connected and self-driving cars for example. 

    Given that new perspectives of usage for broadband connectivity, some equipment suppliers such as Ericsson predict more than 150 Million 5G connected devices in less than 12 months after network launch

    For traditional mobile internet usage, combining all LTE networks coverage, GSMA is forecasting the following penetration rate for 2020.  


  • What are the implications of 5G for mobile operators?

    • 5G is still a cellular broadband technology and is a network of networks.  MNOs expertise and knowledge in building and operating networks will be key for the success of 5G.
    • Beyond providing network services, MNOs will be able to develop and operate new IoT services.
    • The implementation of 5G networks while keeping 3G and 4G networks operational will likely trigger a new challenge for MNOs regarding the ability of frequencies in the spectrum (especially if the forecasted massive volume on IoT occurs).   MNOs will need to require then operate new spectrum in the 6 to 300 GHz range, which means massive investments in the network infrastructure.  
    • To reach the 1ms latency goal, 5G networks imply connectivity for the base station using optical fibers.
    • On the cost savings side, 5G networks are planned to be capable to support virtual networks such as low power low throughput (LPLT) networks for low cost IoT.   Unlike today where LORA networks address that need, separately from 4G. 

  • Will 5G technology be secure?

    4G networks today use the USIM application to perform strong mutual authentication between the user and his/her connected device and the networks. The entity hosting the USIM application can be a removable SIM card or an embedded UICC chip. This strong mutual authentication is crucial to enable trusted services.   Security solutions today are already a mix between security at the edge (device) and security at the core (network). Several security frameworks may co-exist in the future and 5G is likely to re-use existing solutions used today for 4G networks and for the cloud (SEs, HSM, certification, Over-The-Air provisioning and KMS)

    The standard for strong mutual authentication for 5G networks is not finalized yet.  The need for security, privacy and trust will be as strong as for 4G if not stronger with the increased impact of IoT services.   Local SEs in devices can not only secure network access but also support secure services such as emergency call management and virtual networks for IoT


  • 5G what does it mean for consumers?

    5G for consumers means not just faster mobile internet, but mainly internet connectivity in many more objects than what you see today in 2016.   The car and the house are two examples of the big IoT revolution coming ahead, supported by 5G networks


  • How will 5G technology accelerate the commercialisation of IoT devices relying on cellular rather than Wi-Fi technology?

    Wi-Fi wireless is a “Local Area Network” technology, limited in operation range and very limited in both speed and latency.   Many IoT services are demanding more ubiquity, more mobility, and more performance speed-wise and response time-wise.   5G will truly unleash a true IoT eco-system 


  • How will 5G networks / use cases change the world?

    The “perception” of speed, instantaneous response time and performance for IoT will become a reality thanks to 5G.  As an example, the well expected success of self-driving cars will only be possible when 5G networks are available.