What is 5G?
Fifth-generation wireless (5G) is the latest iteration of cellular technology, engineered to greatly increase the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks. With 5G, data transmitted over wireless broadband connections can travel at multigigabit speeds, with potential peak speeds as high as 20 gigabits per second (Gbps) by some estimates. These speeds exceed wireline network speeds and offer latency of below 5 milliseconds or lower, which is useful for applications that require real-time feedback. 5G will enable a sharp increase in the amount of data transmitted over wireless systems due to more available bandwidth and advanced antenna technology.
5G networks and services will be deployed in stages over the next several years to accommodate the increasing reliance on mobile and internet-enabled devices. Overall, 5G is expected to generate a variety of new applications, uses and business cases as the technology is rolled out.
How does 5G work?
Wireless networks are composed of cell sites divided into sectors that send data through radio waves. Fourth-generation (4G) Long-Term Evolution (LTE) wireless technology provides the foundation for 5G. Unlike 4G, which requires large, high-power cell towers to radiate signals over longer distances, 5G wireless signals are transmitted through large numbers of small cell stations located in places like light poles or building roofs. The use of multiple small cells is necessary because the millimeter wave spectrum — the band of spectrum between 30 and 300 gigahertz that 5G relies on to generate high speeds — can only travel over short distances and is subject to interference from weather and physical obstacles, like buildings or trees.
Previous generations of wireless technology have used lower-frequency bands of spectrum. To offset the challenges relating to distance and interference with mmWave, the wireless industry is also considering the use of a lower-frequency spectrum for 5G networks so network operators could use spectrum they already own to build out their new networks. Lower-frequency spectrum reaches greater distances but has lower speed and capacity than mmWave.
MmWave signals can be easily blocked by objects such as trees, walls and buildings — meaning that, much of the time, mmWave can only cover about a city block within direct line of sight of a cell site or node. Different approaches have been tackled regarding how to get around this issue. A brute-force approach involves using multiple nodes around each block of a populated area so that a 5G-enabled device can use an Air interface — switching from node to node while maintaining MM wave speeds.
How fast is 5G?
5G download speeds can currently reach upwards of 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps) or even up to 2.1 Gbps. To visualize this, a user could start a YouTube video in 1080p quality on a 5G device without it buffering. Downloading an app or an episode of a Netflix show, which may currently take up to a few minutes, can be completed in just a few seconds. Wirelessly streaming video in 4K also becomes much more viable. If on mmWave, these examples would currently need to be within an unobstructed city block away from a 5G node; if not, the download speed would drop back down to 4G.
Low band can stay locked at 5G over longer distances, and even though the overall speed of low-band 5G may be slower than mmWave, low band should still be faster than what would be considered a good 4G connection. Low-band 5G download speeds may be up to 30 to 250 Mbps.
Low-band 5G is more likely to be available for more rural locations. Midband 5G download speeds may reach up to 100 to 900 Mbps, and it is likely to be used in major metro areas.
What are the benefits of 5G?
Even though the downsides of 5G are clear when considering how easily mmWave can be blocked, or less clear considering radio frequency (RF) exposure limits, 5G still has plenty of worthy benefits, such as the following:
use of higher frequencies;
enhanced mobile broadband;
a lower latency of 5 ms;
higher data rates, which will enable new technology options over 5G networks, such as 4K streaming or near-real-time streaming of virtual reality (VR); and
the potential to have a 5G mobile network made up of low-band, midband and mmWave
5G Changing The World! Four Practical Applications Of Artificial Intelligence And 5G
he world is poised to change forever with the implementation of fifth-generation connectivity for data networks across the world. 5G has been promised to be the savior to any connectivity problems we’ve had in the past and it’s also been highlighted as a path towards a fully wireless future
Here’s a lot more to fifth-generation networks (5G) than the ability to download movies in the blink of an eye or shuttle gigabytes to and from your smartphone faster. The technology will spawn an intelligent ecosystem of connected devices, harvesting massive amounts of data that will change the way we live and work. It will be incredibly fast, stable, and versatile.
Along with data transfer speeds that are ten times faster than 4G, 5G brings reduced latency (the time it takes data to travel back and forth) and the ability to link far more people and things seamlessly at the same time.
Emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), extended reality, and blockchain will all see new uses with 5G, as well as combining in new ways, creating new value for businesses.
Practical Applications Of Artificial Intelligence And 5G
Billions of devices create enormous amounts of data, but that data is of no real use until it’s analyzed. Modern data analytics do that job, but AI will take the process to a whole new level.
In the factory, AI-powered robots will learn on the job and from each other, and will also monitor and manage their own health, ordering spare parts in advance when required, leading to higher productivity and less unscheduled system downtime.
Automation is all about reducing human error and improving network performance and uptime through activities such as low to no-touch device configuration, provisioning, orchestration, monitoring, assurance and reactive issue resolution. AI promises to deliver the “smarts” in analyzing the tasks above, steering networking to a more closed-loop process. Pairing all of this with 5G should help mobile service providers offer simpler activations, higher performance and the rapid deployment of new services. The result should be higher average revenue per subscriber (ARPU) for operators and a more reliable connection, and a better user experience.
Over time, I believe AI will evolve to enable network operators to move from reactive to proactive issue resolution. They will be able to evaluate large volumes of data for anomalies and make course corrections before issues arise. 5G should enable networks to better handle these predictive functions’ complexity and support significantly more connected devices. We’re beginning to see AI-powered predictive remediation applied to the enterprise networking sector to positive results, via some tier one carriers and 5G infrastructure providers such as Ericsson. In my opinion, one of the most significant impacts of AI in mobile networks will be the reduction of subscriber churn. That is a huge consideration — carriers are spending billions of dollars building fixed and mobile 5G networks. They must be able to add and retain customers.
Digital Transformation Acceleration
One of the pandemic’s silver linings is the acceleration, out of necessity, of businesses’ digital transformation. The distributed nature of work from home has put tremendous pressure on corporate and mobile networks from a scalability, reliability, and security perspective. Many connectivity infrastructure providers are embracing AIOps for its potential to supercharge DevOps and SecOps. AI will also help operators better manage the lifecycle of 5G deployments from a planning, deployment, ongoing operations, and maintenance perspective. For example, China Unicom leveraged AI to transform how it internally manages operations and how it interfaces with partners and customers. In 2019, the operator reported a 30% reduction in time to product delivery and a 60% increase in productivity for leased line activations.
Enhanced User Experiences
The combination of AI and 5G will unlock transformative user experiences across consumer and enterprise market segments. I expanded on this topic in my Mobile World Congress 2019 analysis, which you can find here if interested. At a high level, AI has the potential to reduce the number of subscriber service choices, presenting the most relevant ones based on past behavior. I believe the result will be higher subscriber loyalty and operator monetization.
Though AI is hyped all around, there is particular synergy with 5G. Mobile networks are no longer just a “dumb pipe” for data access. AI can improve new device provisioning, deliver high application and connectivity performance, accelerate digital transformation, and provide exceptional user experiences. For service providers, I also believe AI and 5G will result in operational expense savings and drive incremental investment in new service delivery. In my mind, that is a win-win for subscribers, operators, and infrastructure providers alike
Will 5G Bring About A New Era?
5G is a wireless network infrastructure exponentially better than anything we’ve ever seen before. Businesses will be able to have access to anything they need from a tech perspective without massive barriers to entry. 5G will allow AI and predictive learnings to thrive from anywhere, meaning predictive maintenance and truly useful IoT. 5G will likely bring about a new technological revolution for businesses.
Business benefits of 5G
Who is working on 5G?
Many of the big carriers are working on building up their 5G networks now. This includes Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. Verizon is working on implementing mmWave, and T-Mobile is working on low- and midband 5G first.
Led by T-Mobile, carriers are starting to embrace the idea of a multi-tier 5G strategy, which includes the use of low-band, midband and mmWave frequencies. T-Mobile has started to launch 5G in half a dozen markets currently.
Verizon is another leader in the 5G market and is currently focusing on the implementation of mmWave 5G. In addition, Verizon created an investment fund named Verizon Ventures. Verizon Ventures aims to invest in areas that would benefit from 5G, such as augmented reality, IoT and artificial intelligence.