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5G and Beyond Technology Roadmap

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(The Louvre Museum, France - Ching-Fuh Lin)


- Technology Roadmap

The technology roadmap is a flexible planning technique that supports strategic and long-term planning by matching short- and long-term goals with specific technical solutions. This is a plan that applies to new products or new processes, and may include the use of technology forecasting or technology reconnaissance to identify suitable emerging technologies. This is a known technique that can help manage the fuzzy front end of innovation. It is expected that roadmap technology can help companies survive in a turbulent environment and help them plan in a more comprehensive way to include non-financial goals and promote more sustainable development. Here, the roadmap can be combined with other corporate visionary methods to promote systemic change. 

There are three main purposes for developing a roadmap. It helps to reach a consensus on a series of needs and the technologies needed to meet these needs, it provides a mechanism to help predict technological development, and it provides a framework to help plan and coordinate technological development. It can also be used as an analysis tool to map the development and emergence of new industries.


- The 5G and Beyond Technology Roadmap

When 5G and next-generation connectivity technologies are deployed in the 2020s, they will provide higher bandwidth and lower latency than current-generation 4G technologies. "5G and beyond" will enable bandwidth to exceed 100 megabits per second (Mb/s), latency less than 1 millisecond (ms), and provide connections to billions of devices. Most importantly, these technologies are expected to enable new applications and change the way humans live, work, and interact with the environment. 

The technology roadmap for 5G and beyond will determine the design drivers and challenges of the technology to simultaneously provide wireless communication, large-scale connectivity, tactile Internet, quality of service, and network slicing. The cooperation between the various roadmap teams will also identify the technical drivers and potential solutions to develop beyond the 5G ecosystem.


- The Next Generation of Connectivity

Growing computing power is pushing the evolution of ideas, initiatives, investment, and infrastructure across cyberspace. The exponential growth of the Internet and the increase in the use of computers in different shapes, sizes, and forms have forced the planning of information and communication networks to accommodate the design of new emerging technologies, platforms, and the rapid movement of growing digital data. This is because, in order to create a smart world, there is a need for smart infrastructure, smart roads, and networks. 

So, based on the technological capability we have today, the infrastructure that integrates fiber wireline and 5G wireless is becoming a basic requirement for any smart initiative in the connected human ecosystem. It’s not surprising that Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) worldwide are looking to densify their networks. Not only is it a logical step to improve geographic coverage while adding much need additional capacity, it’s also a significant step to address changing end-user demands.

As seen, fiber optic technology, a type of high-speed wireline network offering improved speed, security, and bandwidth over legacy copper systems, is on its way to revolutionizing telecommunications and proving to be a more efficient means of transmitting both data and voice for considerably longer distances, with less interference than traditional copper technologies. 

The question then emerges: why not just use fiber for high-speed networking? While it would be ideal to have all computers in different shapes, sizes, and forms directly connected to the fiber backbone, the fundamental need to manage the mobility needs of the exploding Internet of things is pushing the revolution of wireless networks to evolve even further. 


- The Three Leading 5G Enablers

Mobile is the largest technology platform in human history. The next-generation wireless super-fast networks known as 5G, which will operate at vastly higher speeds and be able to handle tens of times more devices than existing 4G networks. 5G is about more than fast data rates and greater capacity. It's about the seamless, real-time interaction between humans and billions of intelligent devices. 4G turned mobile phones into movie-streaming platforms, but 5G promises more than speedy downloads. It could pave the way for surgeons operating remotely on patients, cars that rarely crash, and events that can be vividly experienced from thousands of miles away. 

The next generation wireless cellular 5G network is aimed to address the demands of users and emerging use cases set by industries and academia for beyond 2020. Hence, The next generation 5G networks need to achieve very high data rates, ultra-high reliability, extremely low latency, energy efficiency and fully connected coverage. To meet these demands, ultra-dense networks (UDN) or ultra-dense heterogeneous networks (UDHetNet), millimeter wave (mmWave) and multicell cooperation such as coordinated multipoint (CoMP) are the three leading technology enablers.

[Madrid, Spain - philsutphin]

- 5G Standards Evolution

5G wireless technology promises a rich, reliable, and hyperconnected world. But from new bands to wider bandwidth and new beamforming technology, The actual 5G radio system, known as 5G-NR (New Radio), won't be compatible with 4G. But all 5G devices, initially, will need 4G because they'll lean on it to make initial connections before trading up to 5G where it's available. 4G will continue to improve with time, as well. 

5G standards are not yet finalised and the most advanced services are still in the pre-commercial phase. 5G needs spectrum within three key frequency ranges to deliver widespread coverage and support all use cases. The three ranges are: Sub-1 GHz, 1-6 GHz and above 6 GHz. Above 6 GHz is needed to meet the ultra-high broadband speeds envisioned for 5G. Players (AT&T, Verizon, ..) in the (U.S.) national wireless industry are developing their 5G networks and are working to acquire spectrum. 

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. 

- Four Factors Distinguish 5G from 4G LTE

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 new applications. 

4G (Fourth Generation) is a specification laid down by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in 2008. Since there was such an enormous gap between the old 3G standard and the new 4G, companies wanted to make sure their customer base knew they were receiving better service than just the same old 3G, so they came up with a workaround. That workaround was LTE (Long-Term Evolution.) 

The original idea was that it represented a "Long-Term Evolution" toward the 4G standard. As there is no true standard for LTE, it covers the entire range of minimum download speeds from 3G’s 20 Mbps to 4G’s 100 Mbps, giving it a massive range of potential speeds. However, 5G will not replace 4G. There are too many benefits to 4G. 4G phones will be unable to receive the boosted data speeds in the limited number of 5G enabled cities, but will still function with 5G. 

5G technology is more secure than 4G, the current highest mobile internet standard. One of the reasons it's more secure is that the tech encrypts data in a way so advanced that hackers would need a "quantum computer." The data protection rules in the European Union known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in May, 2018. The law requires companies that handle data to have a very high standard of data protection or face potentially huge fines. With massive amounts of data expected to be flowing along 5G networks, GDPR is likely to become even more important for the business world. 


[More to come ...]


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