The first 1G system was introduced by Nordic Mobile Telephone in 1982, using phones that cost around £2,000, and weighed approximately 5kg. Lucky for us, we have come a long way since then. By 2020 we will see 5G, the fastest network ever, and one that will change the world as we know it. It will dramatically increase the speed at which data is transferred, improve response times and provide enough capacity for the billions of devices that will be connected in the Internet of Things (IoT). It will also pave the way for a wide range of innovative new technologies and services.
5G is, quite literally, the fifth generation of mobile networks.
But how will it be different?
- Speed: 5G will be MUCH faster than previous generations. You will be able to download a full HD movie in under 10 seconds, compared with 10 minutes over 4G.
- Latency: The response time will be significantly better, at 1 millisecond compared with the current rate of around 50 milliseconds with 4G. Instead of waiting for a movie to download before it can be watched, play will begin almost, if not, instantaneously.
- User experience: Because of the substantial improvements to speed and latency, the user will have the perception of limitless bandwidth and continuous availability, wherever they are.
- Capacity: 5G will provide the bandwidth that will enable the billions of devices that will be connected to the internet to communicate with each other.
- Energy: 5G will need to be cost effective for users and operators so major strides in energy reduction will need to be made. There is no point in having an ultra-fast phone if it runs out of battery power halfway through the day.
What are the problems?
Beyond the obvious technological challenges, there are two main hurdles that will need to be overcome in order to realise 5G.
- Spectrum availability: Radio frequencies used for 3G and 4G are already really crowded, so new spectrum will be required, and it will need to be in high frequency bands in order to deliver the envisaged data speeds. Allocation and management of spectrum is down to governments and there has been little harmonisation to date. This will have to change in order for 5G services to work globally.
- Cost: Until the technology is developed, costs are an unknown. It is clear however that if we want to realise the full benefits of 5G, then 5G phones, data and other services must not be prohibitively expensive. This may be tricky for service providers to get right.
What will 5G enable?
Put simply, 5G will enable a fully mobile and connected society. It isn’t just about faster download speeds or quicker loading web pages. It is the connecting of refrigerators, lights and dozens of other things in your home and office to the internet and to each other. By 2020 it is predicted that there will be 38.5 billion devices connected worldwide. This is the Internet of Things and it depends on a robust, affordable, unified 5G network.
The possibilities of application are endless—from lifesaving health monitors, to train platforms that will tell you how many free seats there are in each carriage of the approaching train. And if we can do all of this over the past 35 years, imagine what we can do in the next.
BTA is a leading IT provider, focusing on expert IT support for business in Wandsworth, Greater London and the South East. With a winning track-record of complex IT projects, as well as first-rate help desk support and pro-active maintenance, BTA is the go-to IT company for businesses looking to gain a competitive edge through exceptional IT. Learn more about the London-based IT provider at www.bta.com.