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 isn’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