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. In terms of agenda, we can mention the following uses cases:
- Fixed wireless access (from 2018-2019 onwards).
- Enhanced mobile broadband with 4G fall-back (from 2019-2020-2021).
- Massive M2M / IoT (from 2021-2022).
- Ultra low-latency IoT critical communications (from 2024-2025).
What's the main difference between 5G and the previous mobile generations?
- 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 and 2.75G networks brought a slight improvement to data services, respectively with GPRS and EDGE.
- 2G networks brought digital cellular voice services and basic data services (SMS, Internet WAP browsing) – as well as roaming services across networks.
- 1G networks brought mobility to analog 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 standardization 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 Tallinn 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.
5G will reach 40 percent population coverage and 1.5 billion subscriptions by 2024, making it the fastest generation ever to be rolled out on a global scale.
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 has been finalized in 2018. 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. The car and the house are two examples of the big IoT revolution coming ahead, supported by 5G networks.
Samsung and other Android OEMs plan to introduce the first 5G smartphones in 2019.
5G SIM cards will make their debut in 2019.
How will 5G technology accelerate the commercialization 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.
How will 5G impact roaming?
While traveling abroad, 5G users will be able to seamlessly enjoy 5G roaming experience on visited networks. Fall-back to 3G-4G will be guaranteed.