Airtel and Reliance Jio has recently made an announcement to deploy advanced Massive MIMO(Multiple Input Multiple Output) pre-5G networks at IPL 2018 stadiums in Mumbai and Delhi. While these telecom giants are all set for such pre-launch programmes and are claiming to offer three times faster speed than the current 4G network, some of you might be little unclear about this next generation technology. So, in this post, we will explore what exactly is 5G and how it is going to change our future.
What is 5G and Technology Behind it?
It basically stands for the fifth generation, which is a combination of wireless broadband technologies based on IEEE 802.11ac standard. It is primarily built using technologies that include, Millimeter wave bands, Massive MIMO, Low band and Mid band 5G. While the millimeter wave systems are designed to offer performance as high as 20 gigabits per second. The Massive MIMO uses 64 to 256 antennas in the median bandwidth range of 3.5 GHz-4.2 GHz.
5G technology is mainly perceived to be driven by specifications such as 1 millisecond latency, 100% coverage, 90% reduction in network energy usage, 99.999% availability. Also, it has up to 10 ten year battery life for low power machine type devices. With all such specifications, it is expected that beyond just speed improvements, this technology will unleash a new IoT ecosystem. An ecosystem, where networks can serve communication needs for billions of connected devices that are based on user experience, improved services and system performance.
How 5G is Different from Current 4G Technology?
In contrary to 4G, the next generation 5G network is the newest, but, yet to be released. This technology is going to be an enormous improvement over 4G. One fundamental difference between 5G and 4G is the use of unique radio frequencies to achieve the huge capacity for super fast data.
As 5G technology uses shorter wavelengths, so the antennas employed can be much smaller in size than the existing antennas while still also rendering the precise directional control. It’s capacity to utilize even more directional antennas at one base station clearly dictates that this technology will be able to support over 1000 more devices than what’s supported by 4G.
While 4G fails to fulfill all the data needs to a growing number of mobile devices, 5G will address the evolution beyond the mobile internet to massive IoT like connected wearables, wireless sensors, smartphones, car-to-car communication and immersive gaming.
4G was developed on the similar infrastructure as 3G and nothing new was introduced in terms of infrastructure. Whereas in 5G networks, a new architecture consisting Cloud RAN and virtual RAN will be used to facilitate a more centralized network establishment.
5G has a peak download speed of 10 Gbps. 4G on the other hand, at just 1 Gbps. These speeds aren’t usually referred as normal speeds that devices experience, as there are often several other variables that affect bandwidth and hence speed. Only realistic speeds, or the average measured bandwidth should be the important considerations.
As 5G is designed from the very core to support machine type communications devices, it provides universal connectivity irrespective of the location. But because of the raw bandwidth, in 4G, there are chances that of losing connectivity when at unusual areas like the basement, underground or at the top of a skyscraper.
Explore New Growth Opportunities with 5G
Given the stark differences in how 4G and 5G works, it’s crystal clear that 5G will pave the way to a new world of lightning fast video downloads, self-driving cars and hopefully a slew of innovative devices with applications for communication requiring the type of connectivity only 5G can offer.
Due to the 5G’s speed and connectivity, we’ve already started seeing a huge growth in IoT and smart devices. And this is an indication of the even more rapid arrival of our connected future.
Be it videos streaming, browsing the internet, phone calls or sending text messages, everything in regards to the internet will just be improved. Plus, since 5G uses greater bandwidth to carry data at a faster rate, there will be no more possibilities to see raw, uncompressed data transfers.
5G at home will let us connect to more of our devices like smartphones, laptops, virtual or augmented realty headsets, smart door knobs, wireless security cameras, etc. to the same router without any need to worry about how they all will function properly at one time.
My Take on India’s readiness for a 5G Future
As of July 2017, there were 150 million 4G users in India, which currently places India behind China and US. Driven by alluring offers and explosive growth in data usage, India is expected to grow at a faster pace and displace the US as the second largest market of 4G users. On the flip side, the pathetic condition of India’s 4G infrastructure has positioned the country at 74th position in the list of 75 countries with 4G connectivity. Moreover, as per open signal’s latest report, the average 4G speed in India has now declined to 6.07 Mbps from 6.13 Mbps. The figure shows that our government and Telecom operators have failed to deliver on their commitment of providing high speed Internet.
Despite failing to keep up on 4G deployment, we’re ready to adopt 5G with a promise that it will roll out commercially by 2020. This at least what the Indian government would have you believe. But, is it even possible?
According to a report by TRAI, while urban India has 61.9 Internet subscriptions per 100 people, rural India has just 13.7. This yawning gap reveals that 5G in India is still a possibility as long as the technology and network infrastructure outside the cities is beefed up.
However, our government and as well as private sectors are on the job, there is a need to prepare for automation of 5G operations as the abundant opportunities and complexities will need a much higher degree of automation, auctioning right spectrum and set of right regulations.
Thus, we may conclude that India is indeed on the route to achieving 5G deployment by 2020. And that’s true, but only when 5G becomes a mainstream affair.