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5G and Beyond Mobile Wireless Technology

(United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland - Alvin Wei-Cheng Wong)


Instead of point-to-point communications provided by legacy mobile networks, 5G will move packets of data following the most efficient path to their destination. This shift enables real time aggregation and analysis of data, moving wireless technology from communication to computing. Four factors distinguish 5G from its predecessors: connected devices, fast and intelligent networks, back-end services and extremely low latency. These qualities enable a fully connected and interactive world with a variety of applications. 

5G will achieve speeds of 20 gigabits per second, fast enough to download an entire Hollywood movie in a few seconds. It also will reduce latency - the measure of how long it takes a packet of data to be transmitted between two points - by a factor of 15. 5G networks will combine numerous wireless technologies, such as 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, and millimeter wave technology. 5G will also leverages cloud infrastructure, intelligent edge services and virtualized network core. 

5G wireless technology will provide the backbone for IoT (e.g., Health IoT) that greatly improves data transfer speeds and processing power over its predecessors. This combination of speed and computing power will enable new applications for mobile technologies, especially in health care. By 2020, the 5G network will support more than 20 billion connected devices, 212 billion connected sensors and enable access to 44 zettabytes of data gathered from a wide range of devices from smartphones to remote monitoring devices. Healthcare organizations are eager to embrace IoT devices because they save money by keeping patients out of the hospital. If IoT devices can diagnose people in advance then that saves huge costs.


5G New Radio (NR)


It’s official: 5G New Radio standard is ratified by 3GPP. In a milestone that ushers in the next generation of wireless technology, the Third Generation Partnership Project has officially ratified the first release of the 5G New Radio standard in early December, 2017, with further updates through 2018. The non-standalone 5G NR specification, or NSA 5G NR, will rely on an operator having an LTE network in which to anchor its 5G NR carriers for boosting throughput speeds and cut network latency. 

[Qualcomm]: 5G NR will redefine everything. Our 5G development efforts are focused on creating a 5G network that takes on a much larger role than previous cellular generations—connecting new industries, enabling new services and empowering new user experiences. At the foundation of this next generation cellular network is 5G New Radio (NR), the global 5G standard for a new OFDM-based air interface designed to support the wide variation of 5G device-types, services, deployments and spectrum.


What is 5G?


[IEEE SPECTRUM]: Over the last several years, researchers have been hard at work exploring new concepts and technologies to answer the question “What is 5G?”.

The 3GPP, 3rd Generation Partnership Project, is the standards body that publishes agreed upon specifications that define our wireless communications standards.  They have outlined a timeline for 5G, and the first phase of definition for 5G, called New Radio or NR, just passed in early December 2017, with further updates through 2018.
Although NR Phase 1 will be different from the LTE protocol commonly used in today’s mobile communications, there will be similarities as well. The most stark differences between LTE and NR is the carrier bandwidth and operating frequency. In addtition, NR adds new beamforming capabilities – both in the analog and digital domains....

How 5G Works:


Like other cellular networks, 5G networks use a system of cell sites that divide their territory into sectors and send encoded data through radio waves. Each cell site must be connected to a network backbone, whether through a wired or wireless backhaul connection. 5G networks will use a type of encoding called OFDM, which is similar to the encoding that 4G LTE uses. The air interface will be designed for much lower latency and greater flexibility than LTE, though. 5G networks are much more likely to be networks of small cells, even down to the size of home routers, than to be huge towers radiating great distances. Some of that is because of the nature of the frequencies used, but a lot of that is to expand network capacity. The more cells you have, the more data you can get into the network.


[More to come ...]

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