5G Technology: Everything you need to know
5G – Is it truly disruptive or just a few Mbps faster than the current network? After a while lost in bringing life to the idea that existed only in theory years ago, 5G is finally here! The inception of ubiquitous 5G, an evolution of wireless 4G LTE, has left the entire telecom world buzzing about the revolution that is ahead of us.
According to sources, by the end of 2023, this revolution in the telecommunication industry will be deployed on a societal and commercial basis. GSMA estimates the U.S. alone will have 100 million 5G connections by 2023 and 190 million by 2025.
5G will be defined by the seamlessly connected society with advancements in artificial intelligence, autonomous IoT (Internet of Things), Massive Machine-Type Communication, big data analytics and augmented/virtual reality backed with high speeds, secure connectivity and a host of other factors, listed below:
Reliability: With 5G, high-speed data transmission would not just depend on location, be it basements or coffee shops. Consumers will be able to enjoy super high speeds with reliability and consistency, even indoors or in overcrowded areas.
Bandwidth: Imagine sensors on almost everything! A huge number of connected devices will be the base feature of this future network. Ericsson has forecasted 1 billion 5G subscriptions by the end of 2023.
Latency: The annoying lag our smartphones experience while the network takes too much time to respond. We just sit there after requesting a website to open or play the video we clicked on. God knows how bad these operators had been cursed. But with 5G, it’ll be reduced to 1 millisecond. That is 400 times faster than the blink of the eye. It would be so fast, some companies are viewing it as an onset of a new future, with endless possibilities, including remote surgery.
This is the first part of our massive 8500+ words research report on 5G technology. In case if you’re in a hurry, you can download the entire report as a PDF and save it for offline reading or sharing with your colleagues, using this tiny form below:
This is just the scratch of the surface. 5G technology is capable of a lot more. Want to know the deets?
If yes, join us to take a brief look at the capabilities of 5G technology, its application areas in a host of niches ranging from healthcare to automotive industries, and what could you expect from 5G in future. Scroll down for more.
Why is 5G a big deal?
The disruption of 5G is expected to bring massive waves to telecom surfing. The anticipated capabilities of 5G will be able to provide widespread access to an extensive range of applications and services. Eliminating the subsequent concerns, it will have increased resilience, continuity, and much higher resource efficiency. All this with a significant decrease in energy consumption.
Typically, for the deployment of services like 3D TelePresence in mobile devices, data rates in the order of 10 GB/s as the crests are required. 5G will be efficiently delivering the outputs here with improved capacity and boosted user data rates. In addition to this, the security and privacy of data will be strengthened by the 5G services. On a particular level, for a concert with 25,000 devices relaying Justin Bieber’s “baby” in social networks at 50 MB/s, a capacity of 10 TB/s/km² will be required. Also, reduced end-to-end latencies of the order of 5ms are needed to support interactive applications and ensure ultra-responsive mobile cloud-services.
The infrastructure of 5G is expected to target 30-50 MB/s for a single transmission, before channel coding, in the near future. For adaption of the data stream with “zero latency”, a majority of the light-field and sound-field processing will be performed in the network. The download speeds are expected to increase tenfold as compared to 4G and if we dare to put the true 5G standards in light, it’ll get close to a hundred-fold. Easing it out for you, if the HD movie you like takes 6 minutes to download in 4G, it will become a matter of seconds with the fifth generation.
Apart from the human-centric benefits you just read, 5G is going to create a room for advancements in the Internet of Things (IoT), Massive Machine-Type Communication (M-MTC), and Ultra-Reliable Machine-Type communication (U-MTC) by the end of 2020. 5G, in order to fulfill the upcoming needs of IoT verticals, might need to restructure the key architecture of the mobile systems.
What Can We Expect from 5G?
Increased data volume: Without any performance impact, a transaction involving massive devices and people, sending/receiving large files across a wireless connection must be done smoothly and quickly. With 5G, it is expected to increase by 1000 times the current volume.
Low latency: Transit time will be reduced to one fifth. The low-latency requirement of as little as 1ms (in a few cases) end-to-end round trip is intended to enable real-time control applications to run across the 5G network. A few have identified a round trip of 5ms as a goal.
Faster data-transfer speed: Every new generation of wireless networks has been characterized by improved bandwidth. The goal of 5G is to support 1-10 Gbps connections to endpoints in the field and 10-100 times higher speeds are estimated as of now.
More devices: 10-100 times more connected devices. 5G intends to increase the number of supported devices in a given area by a factor of 10 to 100 times, thereby enabling IoT.
Energy efficiency: Battery lives will be extended by a factor of 10. 5G aims at reducing the core network consumption by 90%
High availability: The aspirational goal of 5G is to create the perception of five-nines availability, achieved through distributed loads and redundancy.
100% coverage: The ability to provide good coverage in all areas is another aspirational goal of 5G. This is also aimed at areas not falling under the preset ideal conditions.
Rapid service deployment: One goal is to meet all the challenges research teams are stuck at. Rapidly reducing the time it takes to deploy 5G network connections, using self-organizing network technology is another.
Truth be told, 5G still is stuck with a few unbeatable challenges (which we would discuss later in this article) that are yet to be surpassed in the current technology and infrastructure. The in-demand superpowers of 5G, therefore, need huge research efforts invested by the academia and industry.
Application Areas of 5G
Ericsson recently, in one of its reports, predicted USD 76 Billion as the revenue opportunity in 2026 for companies working on healthcare transformation with 5G. It will open its doors to many healthcare models like value-based care, which will be brought to existence using 5G’s reliable connections: Massive MIMO (multiple input multiple output) and signal amplitude. These two factors are vital for achieving the desired data speed and capacity demands for IoT devices.
5G will introduce the world of health to a new face of the medical industry with advanced devices and upgrade the healthcare experience with these three elements:
IoMT – Massive Internet of Medical Things
A collection of medical devices and applications that are connected to healthcare IT systems through online computer networks are called IoMT (Internet of Medical Things). Widespread implementation of IoMT will be vital to doctors as these instruments can be relied upon for instantaneous capturing, collecting and through various electronic means getting the medical data of a patient.
Deploying this will make easier determining physical activity and other vital health signs. Not just this, a check on prescriptions being taken on time or not can also be made using this. The global annual income of IoT in healthcare is estimated to cross $27 billion by 2025 (Goldman Sachs, 2017).
Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB)
Say goodbye to the tiring trip to your doctor. With this advancement in the medical industry, the doctor will come to visit you now. Those who hate making time out of their busy schedules for visiting their doctors, there’s a big relief. 5G will use high connectivity and substantially enhanced data rates which will allow a doctor to simultaneously study and analyze medical data of more than one patient. The doctors will be the one bidding high for specific patients now.
Still confused with the application process? It will be done through 3D/UHD video telepresence. In a similar way, training can be offered to medical students especially in the areas of physiology and diagnosis of stroke with the help of 5G.
Data exchange or mission-critical services
5G can enter the zone of authorizing the devices and network communication, and protection of highly crucial messages. The 5G New Radio unified air interface is tailored to deliver deep and redundant coverage to connect medical sensors across some network nodes.
Why is it needed? It boosts reliability. For example, only one out of 100 million packets would get lost, or in simpler words, latency would get reduced to as low as one millisecond. Transmissions of critical issues such as medical emergencies will be prioritized over other broadcasts. By allowing doctors to remotely serve medical help, 5G mission-critical services in healthcare will be able to save thousands of lives.
With communicating home appliances, superfast connection speed, self-driving cars and Virtual reality stealing the thunder, the future of consumer electronics will bring ease to almost every move an individual can think of making.
Integrated networks, with the help of wireless technology, have become a reality. A few changes in the core of telecommunications and data networking has changed the way we see the world. What shouldn’t catch you in shock is knowing that 40% of the world’s population has internet access today which is a huge leap from the 1% in 1995. With the wireless trend, people are able to connect with each other even in remote or rural areas.
The CEO of ZTE, at CES (Consumer Electronics Show), told Bloomberg News that 5G enabled smartphones by the company will be ready to enter the selling stage in the U.S. by the end of 2018 or by early 2019.
What do you think your home wearing the crown of 5G will look like? Well, according to Intel, with 5G, almost everything you see around you will be connected.
“We’re not just going to be connecting 6 or 7 billion people, we’ll be connecting tens of billions of things,” said Asha Keddy (heading Intel’s IoT project). “It will be phones, lights, cars, buildings, appliances, you name it.”
Home should be the place to begin with. We have seen app-controlled door locks, smart cameras and at Las Vegas Convention Center halls we now can even see internet-connected fridges. Experts have realized that, with the deployment of 5G, the number and types of devices connected are going to increase way beyond expectations. Gartner predicts 20.4 billion connected “things” will be online by 2020.
Just imagine everything working on its own. Smart lights communicating with the electricity grid, and showers with a sensor to monitor water usage. Imagine connected cameras scattered through your home. Life will be good with 5G.
5G network standards in 2020 will have the potential to drive game-changing advancements to customer shopping journeys by harnessing the potential of Virtual reality, AI Learning and wearable technologies.
Enhanced Virtual Reality
5G’s ultra-fast speeds are going to offer smoother and lesser annoying VR experiences as buffering and lags, in features and content, will be eliminated. No need to spend hours figuring out what purchase to make at the store. VR will have it covered for you, just sit on your couch and use the virtual store to browse, save, purchase and receive notifications on products you are interested in. Can’t wait to shop with 5G!
5G has also proposed to extensively improve the quality of the VR content. Japanese telecommunications firm NTT DoCoMo successfully trialed live streaming an 8K video of 48 Gbps with Nokia. Retailers that use VR to showcase their products in a virtual store will get benefited with this, as consumers will be able to view displayed items more clearly.
Improved AI learning Capabilities
Retailers today are armed with AI tools such as Chatbots and Virtual Personal Assistants that are uplifting the services and generating huge revenues for them. 5G will help them take a leap forward in the same direction. Now, buyers will be able to connect, receive and download information (obtained online, for example, nearest store location) from the store’s AI assistants at amazingly high speeds.
As more people will start using their tools, retailers will also benefit from the data and preferences the system would collect. The results generated by the assistant will gradually improve and accurate insights, with personalized filters, will be recommended in the future.
Greater Wearable Device Capabilities
Wearables will automatically connect with stores that utilize beacon technology allowing consumers to receive push notifications with personalized deals, which will boost sales and make store visits more tailored to their needs.
In addition, with the development of indoor navigation apps that utilize computer vision technology to precisely track users’ movements, super-fast download speeds will mean shoppers will also be able to use their wearables to navigate across large stores or malls.
Most analysts agree that smart manufacturing is likely to represent the biggest portion of market revenues for the Internet of Things (IoT) in the near future. Smart manufacturing is dependent on industrial automation, which relies heavily on the use of robots and machine intelligence. The factory of the future will be realized through the digitization of the manufacturing process and plants, which will be enabled by 5G networks and all their building blocks.
5G in collaboration with industrial automation will enhance the interactions between human and robots, robots and robots and even between machines. High reliability and low latency in 5G will bring the transformation in the manufacturing industry from mass production to mass customization through digitized factory operations.
Intelligent Buildings and Infrastructure
Honestly, buildings that aren’t “Smart”, as in “internally connected”, are the buildings that existed decades ago. Agree? They used to serve our basic necessities: shelter, temperature control, and safety being efficiently for years. But buildings we have today, or older structures that have now been converted to smart buildings, are constantly changing. They have become living organisms, connected to the network of smart and adaptable software.
If you are wondering what intelligent buildings actually are, here’s a brief definition.
An intelligent building is a structure that utilizes automated processes extensively to automatically manage and handle the operations of a building.
Everything starting from heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, to security and other systems are taken care of without human help in a smart building. Such buildings use sensors, actuators, and microchips to collect data and necessary information that is vital for managing the building’s functions and services.
These infrastructures help the owner, operator, and facility manager monitor performance and find factors that further help improve asset reliability. Further, it reduces energy use, optimizes how space is used and minimizes the environmental impact of buildings.
Energy & Utility
Undoubtedly, 5G is more cost effective and energy efficient when compared to generations of wireless technologies that existed to date. It will create its own definition of the contribution it is going have in energy savings. Another step towards the smart city would be the next beneficiary of 5G, Smart lights that will control themselves will surely have its impact on energy.
Knowing when to dim the light and when to increase its intensity, by sensing the number of pedestrians present on the road, smart lights will not just save power but also decrease light pollution, while keeping the neighbors safe.
Smart lights have already been rolled out in cities such as San Diego and Barcelona. Through this system, San Diego is expected to save an estimated $1.9m annually with the installation of these power saving street lights. If implemented successfully across the US, using this approach the potential savings are estimated to go beyond $1bn per year.
Smart lighting connected to a city’s broadband network can also help in monitoring the quality of the local air. Having this level of connectivity with smart LED lighting, the maintenance costs of lighting systems can also be reduced.
Finally, utilities will also support the deployment of 5G. 5G will be deployed in the form of small cell format. It will be as small as a typical shoe box, as a complement to the traditional mobile towers. Further, to achieve the necessary density and extent of coverage, utility poles will serve as the best solution.
Talking about application areas of 5G, how can we not mention what we read almost every day about – Autonomous cars. 5G is an important technology if we talk about the automotive industry as big firms are researching and investing in cars, more than ever before. Strengthening of this trend will be observed if we keep on moving towards an autonomous driving environment. 5G will be the green flag in success for connected cars and autonomous vehicles as they will be able to almost instantaneously communicate with each other, the buildings, infrastructure around them and the world traveling along.
As autonomous cars will free the driver and people inside the car from checking on the road, more network bandwidth will be required as passengers would have more free time to pass. Hence, demand for network bandwidth for activities like watching movies, playing games, chatting with friends, etc. will enter the picture.
Additionally, 5G can add many more services, new apps, and functions inside the car that will help automotive industry capitalize on new value-added services and simultaneously will make the journey of a passenger better and pleasurable.
Public Safety & Surveillance
Security industry will have a new array of opportunities with the deployment of 5G. Faster and more robust network security means more connected autonomous devices and systems backed with images having better quality and videos with faster streaming.
All the equipment for surveillance, in the era of the internet of technology, is going to be interconnected which will give security firms more data to analyze and take decisions on. This, further, will lead to strategy making through data analysis.
5G Wireless Networks – City Surveillance
Challenges involved in the deployment of fiber optic cable are well known. Be it the budget constraints or the difficulty in excavating especially in downtown areas, wireless being the only solution here will be wished for. Besides, this can be installed quickly and with minimal disturbance.
The World Economic Forum describes 5G as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Qualcomm claims that 5G will be bigger than electricity and their prediction says by 2035, it will be worth $13 trillion of goods and services industry.
5G is going to generate billions of dollars through unrealized revenue streams. All the telecom giants are motivated to get a hold on the upcoming wave. A lot of public/private partnerships have already been witnessed and a lot more are impending. We have covered all of these partnerships and M&A details in an upcoming post, the second part in the 5G series. If you’d like to be notified about the post before anyone else, subscribe to the blog today.
Authored By: Vipin Singh, Research Analyst, Market Research, and Neha Tanwer, Research Analyst, Market Research