20 Jun How the 5G Architecture Changed the Course of the Internet
The 5th generation or the global wireless system, or 5G, is here. While it might not necessarily be available to the public just yet, the 5G architecture already exists, and we already know how to implement it. The next generation of our current wireless communication system promises a lot of things. Such as higher throughput, lower latency, and increased connection density. In other words, it will be substantially superior to our current 4G LTE systems concerning bandwidth capacity and internet speed. Some people may have already heard of the term 5G. But most probably don’t yet understand its possible impact on the internet. If and when it finally becomes commercially available worldwide.
With increased speeds and bandwidth capacities, 5G promises to revolutionize the internet itself and the types of content we consume. At the dawn of the internet, most of the material that was found online was merely text-based files. Such as eBooks, blogs, and a few images and extremely low-quality videos. After dial-up was replaced with DSL and cable, the entire internet environment completely changed. People could now upload higher quality files and websites became more user-friendly and easier to navigate.
Videos became very common on the internet as well as high-quality images and other content. It also has to be noted that with higher capacities, objects and other electronic devices started to use the internet themselves. Which eventually led to the birth of the Internet of Things, or IoT. With the implementation of the 5G architecture now just right around the corner, the potential changed and internet revolutions that will occur are limitless.
How does 5G work?
5G internet technology can perform much of its promised improvements thanks to the expanded use of the existing LTE frequency. The range has been extended to include frequencies ranging from 600 MHz up to 6 GHz. 5G wireless communications technologies also utilize a relatively new variety of frequencies called the Millimeter wave bands. These wavebands range from 24 GHz to 86 GHz. And are capable of supporting data transfer rates of up to 20 gigabits per second.
Aside from the wide band and the Millimeter wave bands, 5G internet also actively utilizes a new technology called the Massive MIMO. Which is short for Multiple Input Multiple Output. This new technique allows 5G internet connections with significantly increased network capacities. Combining all of these technologies will enable more devices to be online to a single network. While also allowing them to send and receive increasing amounts of data.
Why does it matter?
5G internet technology has mostly been developed to allow end-users to experience faster internet connections. As well as to pave the road for more IoT devices to be online. The service that will mostly be available to end-users using their smartphones, and desktop computers. Also includes other mobile devices is the enhanced Mobile Broadband, or eMBB, version of the 5G network service. Meanwhile, two different types of functions of the 5G architecture will be made available for industrial application and sensor monitoring.
Namely Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communications, or URLLC, and the Massive Machine Type Communications (MMTC). Both of these technologies will be used to expand further the capabilities of existing IoT networks. As well as systems for different industries and businesses. With the way things are now, the Internet of Things has already made quite a lot of changes in the way we live our lives to the way we do business.
With more and more devices now being able to send and receive data through the internet infrastructure. There is now a need for larger bandwidth capacities. IoT devices have already surpassed internet usage for quite some time now. And it seems like this will only increase shortly.
Majority of the bandwidth that is being used right now mostly contains sensor data and readings being collected by IoT devices. Such as signals from electronic devices, smart cars, smart homes, industrial electronic systems, and cloud computing applications. The implementation of the newer 5G network system is, therefore, a requirement. If and when IoT is ever going to be globally adopted. A good analogy for this would be our highway systems. With more cars and cargo vehicles now occupying the roads, there is a need for more full highways. In order to support the increasing number of users. The improvement of the internet and network infrastructure is therefore vital for the entire IoT ecosystem to flourish without any problems.
The development of the new 5G architecture is currently being led by corporate tech giants such as Intel and Qualcomm. These companies are working on developing improved modem and communications technologies to increase the efficiency and output of current systems.
Meanwhile, companies such as Nokia, ZTE, Ericsson, and Huawei are currently busy developing the infrastructure for the different communications hardware to work. Most of these companies do have their IoT products that range from IoT platforms to consumer IoT products. Which means that developing the roadways and infrastructure for 5G internet will be vital to the success of their different products. Numerous industries are also heavily relying on these companies to build the new technology for their advancements. IoT has had a lot of impact in the industrial sector thanks to systems that ultimately automate several previously manual tasks. This has resulted in overall increasing efficiency and productivity. Especially for a lot of companies who have already adopted the new technology.
How fast are 5G internet connections?
At the recently held 2018 Mobile World Congress event. The capability of the new 5G wireless internet was demonstrated by Samsung. The company showcased its new 5G Home Routers. Which were able to achieve blistering internet speeds that reached up to 4 gigabits per second. The download speed, calculated to be around 500 megabytes per second, is fast enough to download a 50-gigabyte file in just less than two minutes.
An ultra high-resolution 4K movie can be downloaded in less than four minutes at these speeds. In comparison, the average internet connection speeds in the United States today is somewhere around 55 megabits per second. This translates to just 6.5 megabytes per second, which is pretty slow when compared to the download capabilities of the newer 5G internet network.
Although it has to be noted that Samsung’s 5G Home Routers were placed extremely close to the 5G Radio Cell transmitter, which means that real-world use might not be as fast as it was in the demonstration. The actual speeds that users will likely be able to experience will be dependent on many real-world factors such as obstacles, interference, and network congestion. This means that the demonstrated speeds of 4 gigabits per second may only be achieved in a perfect scenario without any of those factors.
When will it be available?
It is expected that the 5G wireless network will have a worldwide commercial launch sometime in the year 2020. Different telecommunications companies such as AT&T and Korea Telecom have already started testing out the new technology is different controlled areas. In Qatar, a local operator named Ooredoo has already launched the world’s first commercial 5G network back in May 2018. The technology also premiered on the world stage at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Several telecommunications companies joined in to demonstrate the capabilities of the 5G architecture during the event. In the United States, the four major telecommunication carriers, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, have already announced the planned deployments of their 5G network services. AT&T is expected to launch their new millimeter wave commercial product sometime this year.
Verizon is also planning to start its 5G wireless network in four major cities this year. Similarly, other network operators from other countries have also promised to begin commercially available products sometime this year. This includes companies such as Vodafone in the UK and China Telecom in China.
Where will its early access be?
Outside of Qatar and a handful of test cities, 5G internet connections are still not available to the general public. It has also yet to be seen when the big telecommunication networks will be launching their 5G products. However, it is already just a matter of time before 5G millimeter wave technology will be offered, but the entirety of the technology may still be a few years away from being globally adopted.
Based on the development pace of the technology, the consensus seems to indicate that mainstream 5G products may become available to everyone around 2020. It also has to be mentioned that there are still no details on how much any of these products will cost. The costs of the routers and other equipment yet have not been announced.
Those who want to experience these types of internet connection speeds can already do so via a fiber optic internet subscription. Verizon Fios already offers 500 megabits per second package for homes and businesses, but the subscription itself does cost a whopping $275 per month to acquire. 5G technology will of course completely change everything as these types of speeds may soon become available to mobile devices and homes at a significantly lesser cost.
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