How fast is 5G? This seems to be one of the most asked questions in tech forums and websites.
But before we begin, let’s have a quick look at what is 5G?
What is 5G?
5G is the Fifth Generation super-fast wireless network technology that has potential to change how we communicate with each other. There are no formal standards announced for 5G yet, but according to reports of trials done by the network operating companies,
5G network speed would be 100 times faster than 4G. Apart from high speeds, 5G would be able to handle up to 100 times more traffic than 4G (higher connection density). 5G networks would run on Ultra High-Frequency spectrums that are specially reserved for aerospace and military applications.
Now for such blazing speeds, 5G would require technologically advanced infrastructure. And to achieve this, wireless engineers are working on a completely new set of interesting technologies that would make 5G more economical and commercial.
Before we jump to our [infographic], let’s quickly understand the secret technologies that power 5G.
What makes 5G so powerful?
5G and Internet of Things(IoT)
Now you might ask what makes 5G network extraordinarily fast, highly responsive and the most energy profitable network on this planet?
It is actually set of few innovative technologies(you might have never heard of) that wireless engineers have been working on for a long time. Let’s quickly understand few of them
Ultra High Frequency:
5G networks run on Ultra high-frequency spectrums that were previously never utilised for cellular applications.
Ultra high-frequency networks have a very short millimeter wavelength (see in the image above). But the problem with Millimeter waves is that it can’t penetrate through physical objects such as buildings, tunnels, trees etc.
To Overcome this problem, Experts came up with a new theory of Small Cell Network. 5G Small cell networks solve the problem of non-penetrating millimeter waves by installing a large chain of hundreds of small cellular towers around the whole city.
5G Small cell Towers would have shorter range but their interconnection with each other would provide even better coverage than large cellular towers.
Imagine a car running at full speed on a single lane highway. Suddenly another car comes on the same highway from opposite direction. What will happen? Obviously, they will collide with each other.
This is what happens to today’s cellular networks.
Today’s Cellular networks use different frequencies to receive or transmit data. And if they simultaneously transmit and receive data on the same frequency at same timeslots massive self Interference would occur. (both cars would collide with each other)
To solve this problem, Researchers came up with a completely new technology: Full Duplex
Full Duplex technology would enable 5G networks to simultaneously transmit and receive data on the same frequency and timeslot without causing any signal interference.
With the introduction of modern noise cancellation techniques, Full Duplex would offer extreme latency of as low as 1 ms (compared to 4G that has 50 ms latency).
And this is the most interesting things about 5G i.e. extremely low Latency. This would provide great support to devices which require a real-time response such as Connected Self-Driving cars, Robotic Medical Surgeries etc.
Apart from this, Full Duplex technology would also increase spectral efficiency thus saving network operators billions of dollars!
MIMO stands for Multiple Input Multiple Output.
Previously Celluar signals were processed by using Single antennas at source and Single antenna at the destination.
But with the introduction of MIMO technology, things changed.
MIMO uses Multiple Transmitting Antennas at the source(cellular tower) and Multiple Receiving Antennas at Destination (in mobile phones) to improve the 5G network.
With the use of advanced MIMO techniques such as Bean Forming, the Speed, Range and Reliability of high-frequency 5G networks would get a great boost.
[Infographic] Difference between 4G and 5G
When will 5G arrive?
Earlier this year, Chipset maker Qualcomm announced it’s first 5G modem Snapdragon X- 50. Snapdragon X- 50 modems would power next-generation 5G smartphones.
Qualcomm has partnered with more than 20 global OEMs( Novatel, HTC, Telit, LG, Netcomm Wireless, Xiaomi etc. ) to produce phones with 5G modems.
Image Credit: Qualcomm
According to reports, commercial launches of first 5G Smartphones featuring Snapdragon X- 50 modems are expected by the end of the year 2019.
5G Smartphones powered by Snapdragon x- 50 would not only have blazing fast internet speeds but, it would also feature High-speed Cloud access, Ultra HD Voice, High Security and Low power consumption.
Apart from Qualcomm, Chinese chipset maker Huawei has announced its own 5G modem (Huawei Balong 5G01).
Intel has already announced it’ first commercial 5G modem – Intel XMM 8000-series for Notebooks and PCs.
Even network companies such as AT&T, Verizon, T-mobile etc. have confirmed to roll out their first commercial 5G services in selected Cities on an experimental basis by the end of 2018.
But the good news is that 5G has already made its public debut in recently concluded 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang which was one of the most high-tech events in history.
To summarize, 5G would not be limited to just connecting your Smartphones but it will also open the doors for the much-awaited technologies such as Smart cities, Self Driving cars, Virtual Reality, Internet of Things etc.