5G Technology Overview (5G FAQ) - Tech | 5G, SDN/NFV & Edge Compute


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

5G Technology Overview (5G FAQ)

If you are in the technology industry, you would've heard this term 5G, at least a few times in the last one year. 5G is getting a lot of traction across the globe. If you are trying to learn about 5G, this blog post provides a quick 5G technology overview.

What is 5G?

5G is the next generation wireless technology, which provides higher speed and lower latencies.

What is the speed of 5G?

5G currently supports 1 Gbps network throughput (with a promise of reaching upto 10 Gbps network speed). With such high speeds, you should be able to download a HD movie in a fraction of a second.

Read: What makes 5G networks faster?

How much latency does 5G provide?

5G supports sub-millisecond latencies. Hence, 5G enables use cases like Autonomous Cars, Robotic Surgeries etc.,

How is 5G able to support low latency?

5G network infrastructure is able to offer low latency, through a number of mechanisms:

  • Radio’s frame structure is redesigned to reduce transmission times for all types of traffic and to increase scalability.
  • Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) will reduce the distance between the applications and the users/devices, by bringing content and compute infrastructure closer to the end user/device.
  • Network Slicing enables creating virtual slices that provide dedicated path for applications that require low-latencies.

What is millimeter wave & why is that important for 5G?

5G supports a wide range of spectrums from low bands below 1 GHz, to mid bands from 1 GHz to 6 GHz, to high bands 24 / 30 GHz to 300 GHz (also, known as millimeter-wave).

Lower frequencies typically travel long enough and can propagate deeper than higher frequencies. Lower frequencies offer a better coverage. Higher frequencies will travel short distance, however can offer higher bandwidth. 5G has to offer both better coverage and higher speeds - and hence, millimeter wave is very important for 5G to offer higher speeds.

What are the differences between 4G & 5G technologies?

Fundamental difference between 4G and 5G networks is the speed. 4G offers roughly 100 Mbps speed and 5G offers 10 times more speed. 4G's latency is 50 ms which makes it ideal for use cases such as video streaming, web browsing, online gaming etc., On the other hand, 5G's latency is 1 - 2 milli seconds, which makes it ideal for use cases like Autonomous Cars and Robotic Surgeries.

What are the 5G use cases?

Some of the popular 5G use cases are Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Fixed Wireless, Robotic Surgery, Autonomous Cars, Live TV, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Private Wireless Network and Holographic Calls. Learn more about 5G use cases here

What are the commercial 5G deployments, so far?

So far, 5G is rolled out by Verizon in US, AT&T in US, EE in UK, SK Telecom in South Korea and Deutsche Telecom in Poland. Learn more about the First 5G Cities.

Why is there a lot of hype around 5G?

Unlike the previous wireless technologies (such as 2G, 3G and 4G), 5G does not just provide an incremental improvement to speeds. 2G, 3G and 4G were focused on mobile devices. 5G's use cases are mostly non-mobile and enterprise use cases. 5G opens up a lot of opportunities for service providers to establish newer revenue streams.

What is network slicing in 5G?

5G network slicing allows operators to divide a single physical network (all the way from the radio to the core network) into multiple virtual networks. Each network slice can have different speed limits, different latencies and different quality of service configuration.

How are service providers planning to monetize 5G?

Most service providers are looking at Enterprise and IOT use cases for 5G. Traditionally, wireless services were monetized based on the speed offered by the service provider and the bandwidth consumed by the user. With 5G, network latency can be monetized through network slicing. The same radio network can be sliced to offer differential services to various customers. Customers can be charged based on their service tier. (Read: Eight 5G Currencies)

Who creates 5G standards?

3GPP defines 5G standards. 5G NR (New Radio) is the new 5G standards. Service providers and network equipment vendors have to comply with this standard to support interoperability.

What are some of the popular test tools for 5G?

There are a number of vendors offering testing tools for 5G such as Anritsu, Spirent, Viavi and Keysight. Refer to 5G Testing Tools for more details.

What are the 5G challenges?

5G requires service providers have to do "network densification" (i.e., deploy a large number of cell phone towers aka "small cells") to provide uninterrupted roaming experiences to the customers. It is not only capital intensive, but also forces the service providers to work with government agencies to get permits. 

Are 5G mobile phones available in the market today?

5G based mobile services are expected to be launched only in 1H 2019. However, multiple equipment vendors claim support for 5G mobile devices/cell phones. You can find more information at 5G technology enabled mobile / cell phones - What, When, Who and Where ?

Is 5G technology dangerous?

No study has proved so far that 5G wireless technology and radiations emitted by 5G towers are dangerous.

What are the common misconceptions about 5G?

There are a lot of misconceptions about 5G technology. Some of them are:
  • 5G is dangerous
  • 5G is for mobile 
  • 5G would drain batteries fast
  • Internet of Things (IOT) relies heavily on 5G
How much does it cost to deploy a 5G cell site?

According to the research firm iGR, it would cost approximately $35,000 for the service provider to deploy a cell site. (which includes the cost of acquiring the site, equipment, power, and backhaul necessary for a mmWave small cell transmitter) 

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