Full-duplex will increase spectral efficiency by a factor of 2 which essentially means that our current frequency spectrum can support double the number of devices. This technology is very powerful because not only can it be applied to fifth-generation mobile devices, but to newer 4G devices as well.
Now as I stated earlier the technologies will improve upon many aspects of current-generation technology, but we’ll focus on four: speed, latency bandwidth and energy consumption.
Let’s start with speed. The standards to define the speed of a fifth-generation mobile network are 10 gigabits per second translating to a 100 fold increase from current maximum speeds. However, many tests for 5G are constantly working on pushing this boundary even further.
Nokia has demonstrated speeds up to 20 gigabits per second in practical scenarios and Huawei claims to have reached speeds of 70 gigabits per second in testing scenarios. In the more real-world, scenarios such as driving Samsung and Ericsson have both demonstrated gigabit level speeds of up to five gigabits per second in motion.
Almost, if not more important than speed is latency. Latency is the time it takes for an action to be executed following instruction, I’m sure many of us have experienced latency issues when gaming before. In wireless networks, this translates to, how long of a wait until a response is received from a sent transmission.
In current 4G networks latency ranges from anywhere between 50 milliseconds up to 100 milliseconds. 5G networks will reduce this latency down to just 1 millisecond, making accessing cloud data and virtual experiences seamless.
This clip from Nokia will provide a better representation of how powerful this reduced response time is in applications such as robotics: So in this demonstration here today we have this camera, which is recording the position of this ball on this plate and then this position is recorded by a mobile edge cloud computing environment, that then is intelligently controlling these robots sending them the commands across the network to balance this ball on the plate.
In this first demonstration you can see on the screen here behind me we’re showing the current latency of what would be a 4G network, which is around 90 to 100 milliseconds and on the right-hand side, you’ll be able to see this line move as we move the ball on the plate.
So what I’m going to do is move this ball right now and we can see the oscillations here track on this graph and how long it takes for the robots to collaborate with each other to get the information they need to balance the ball on the plate.
And then we’re going to switch into 5G mode and we can see on this graph here that we’ve now gone from around 90 milliseconds to around 3 milliseconds so much lower latency in the network and I’m going to do exactly the same again – and we can see that we only took one oscillation there to correct the position.
The increases in bandwidth due to the frequency spectrum opened up by millimetre waves and better spectrum utilization will allow the expandability of billions even trillions of connected sensors and mobile devices.
They will also enable support of up to 1 million devices per square kilometre with no impact on connectivity, opening up the realm for smart cities, shared augmented experiences and much more. Due to the efficiency of beamforming, only sending data when and where it is needed will have a significant impact on energy consumption.
For consumers, this equates to longer battery life for our devices with 5G requiring 90% less energy than 4G.
A 4G network requires a 1 mill joule of energy to transfer a 1,000-bit packet of data, a 5G network will be able to do the same transfer in just 01 mill joules. One important topic not covered in this section was improving the sub-6 gigahertz spectrum utilization of 5G.
This will be discussed in the next section, as it is an important factor in the transition from fourth-generation networks. Also, as we’ll discuss in the next section, it is important to keep in mind that 5G standardization is in its infancy, and as such the technologies that will enable the next generation of mobile speeds will be constantly evolving as well.
The transition to 5G won’t be instantaneous, in fact, it has been going on from as early as 2011 – the commercial inception of 4G networks.
4G is a true mobile broadband solution, which provides the foundational infrastructure for 5G to build upon. 3GPP is the organization that has been defining global standards for mobile networks since 2G. During the lifespan of a mobile generation, multiple evolutions are undergone, which 3GPP set standards for in the form of releases.
They also named 4G LTE, which stands for long term evolution and recently, 5G NR which stands for new radio. It’s poetic in the sense that 4G is the long term revolution towards the new radio. Standards for the fourth generation of mobile networks began being set as early as 2007 up to 2010 with releases 8 and 9, with 4G infrastructure being deployed for use commercially in 2011.
This was the first phase of 4G known simply as LTE. Releases 10, 11 and 12 from 2011 to early 2015 were about creating the standards for a true 4G mobile network with LTE-Advanced. With LTE. We see the beginnings of core 5g technologies such as small cell deployments and MIMO.
Before we begin discussing releases 13 onwards to 16, the start of the true transitory releases to 5G, it is worth spending some more time on understanding why 4G speeds have sucked up until now.
LTE advertised speeds up to 100 megabits per second and LTE-A with speeds up to 1 gigabit per second, however for the lifespan of 4G thus far, speeds for the majority of people have averaged only between 10 to 50 megabits per second.
The primary reason why speeds have been so atrocious is that 3G and the initial standards for 4G weren’t designed with a mobile future in mind. The amount and the rate of growth of devices have outpaced the technological ability to support them.