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What Is 5G? How Does 5G Work?

Everything you need to know about the upcoming 5G networks and how its going to impact our lives.

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“The world is shrinking” quote has never felt as real as it does today. Before we answer what is 5G, let’s acknowledge internet growth. Fantastic internet abilities have led to seamless communication across the world between people and devices. Moving out of local comfort zones, people and businesses have headed towards the global market in stride. 

It is the developing infrastructure of the internet and machines that have made communication so much easier. Video conferencing, screen sharing, emailing documents and setting up virtual meetings is what doing business looks like today. Families that stay apart are able to communicate, send gifts and documents, stay connected all day because of the internet. 

A huge debt is owed to the internet but not just yet. The internet has more to offer. 

Imagine a world where a surgeon in London is operating on a patient in India via Robotic surgery and all being controlled via the Internet, Critical patient data is being sent in real-time to the Doctor, along with a live video of the patient area that is being operated upon, micro stitches, delicate procedures everything is being controlled via the Internet.  

In another corner of the world, in Japan, a drone is on its way to deliver packages ordered online by the shopper, and it makes a precise doorstep delivery of the same! While in the USA a Tesla car on Autopilot is driving it’s passengers safely back home from work! 

Read: 5G Will Drive Edge Computing, IoT In India In 2020

5G is making this and a lot more possible, with cheap, affordable and available technology to the end consumers. After being introduced in 2018 and now rising expectations of its deployment in 2019, here is everything you need to know about 5G. 

What is 5G?

The 5th generation of connectivity for mobile phones and beyond is what 5G will be bringing to the world. It is a cellular mobile network with a major performance upgrade that will give connection to other objects and devices as well. A giant leap in data speed is its most defining feature. 

Wifi connections will be threatened by 5G speeds which are expected to be 50 Mbit/s and going up to over a gigabit. Along with speed, 5G will also reduce latency levels to 8-12 milliseconds. The connection will be coming through the air rather than wires owing to which 5G is able to manage high-speed levels. 

Autonomous vehicles and healthcare equipment would thrive with this superior level of connectivity as they heavily rely on data to make decisions. Any situation that floats on real-time data processing and information can turn to 5G for help. 

5G’s penchant for creating super connectivity is met with a tiny inconvenience. People across the world would have to switch to a 5G enabled handset to enjoy better 5G services. 4G infrastructure will initially support 5G but eventually, there will be a need for a shift. 

Nevertheless, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association has already identified 129 vendors who will be coming up with 5G devices. The shift to 5G handsets won’t seem so stressful, after all!

How does 5G work?  

Similar to its prequel 4G, it will function on similar networking principles but there will be one major difference- Air interface. 5G’s New Radio air interface will work on multiple technology platforms and indulge in new industries. The IoT dream of connecting all devices and sparking an interaction between them will be realized by 5G. 

There will 6 innovations that will support 5G infrastructure: 

  • Millimeter waves will provide extremely high levels of frequency beginning from 6 gigahertz. They travel through a line of sight paths that are obstructed by buildings, trees, etc. 
  • To overcome this problem, the second innovation is Small Cell Networks. They will be set up across town along with the main tower. This will improve interaction as these small towers will boost signals. 
  • The third and fourth innovation of Massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) and 3D Beamforming will support cell towers by reducing interference and elevating capacity. MIMO will add additional antennas to towers and beamforming will help navigate waves in multiple directions. 
  • Once this is in place, the 4th and 5th innovation: Network slicing and Full duplex
  • Network slicing- By slicing 5G intends to create separate wireless networks on the cloud so they can enjoy a customized internet experience. 
  • Full-duplex- The existing infrastructure allows a one-way trip of data i.e the antenna sends data and then receives it. With full-duplex, this will happen in synchrony.

5G vs 4G vs 3G

It all began with 1G bringing us the analog voice and later 2G upgrading it to a digital voice. By 2001, the mobile network made a huge leap with 3G giving access to the internet with mobile data. People gradually moved and embraced the idea of the internet and soon began to want more. To validate this, a 4G network was built which really birthed the era of mobile internet. 

The cellular network has propelled from generation to generation and when we zoomed in on advancement, this is what we found: 

Comparing 5G vs 4G vs 3G

Comparison 3G 4G 5G
Year of introduction 2001 2009 2018
Speed 42Mbps 1Gbps 10Gbps
Latency 100-500 ms 50-100 ms 1-10 ms
Internet Service Broadband Ultrabroadband Wireless World Wide Web
Use cases TV on mobile, Location tracking High-speed apps, wearable devices  Robots, Automatic cars, High-resolution video

(data used from Whistleout- link

Also Read: Huawei Gets Approval To Take Part In 5G Trials In India

What does the future hold?

There is already a lot going on in the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning space and with 5G rolling out this year, its presence around you will become evident. With the promise of high speeds and latency, it might just give birth to new applications along with autonomous ones. There are so many business and social opportunities in 5G which will surface eventually and bring about some change to the IT ecosystem. It might take a while to come to India

Read more: Nokia Signs 63 Commercial 5G Deals Globally

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