Gopala Namburi
Solutions Marketing Manager

Path To 5G

January 17, 2018 by Gopala Namburi

In this blog, we explore the path to 5G, the factors that drove the industry to innovate, and the demand that is coming from exploding world population to stay connected in addition to the needs of machine to machine communication. Just to give you a perspective, the growth in data services and traffic is driving connections and handset penetration ever higher.

Facts Supporting Demand for Mobile Connections

According to Ovum, the number of mobile connections is projected to surpass the global human population. [1]

According to Bloomberg, “WhatsApp rival Hike of India is betting that it can connect more of India’s 1-billion plus citizens to mobile services by offering much cheaper ways of access to wireless networks. Almost 736 million Indians don’t have mobile network connections, Hike said”.

What is 5G?

According to Wikipedia, 5G, are the next telecommunications standards beyond the current 4G/IMT-Advanced standards, operating in the millimeter wave bands (28, 38, and 60 GHz).

Key Considerations for Understanding and Deploying 5G

Growth in cellular connections, evolution of cellular complexity, evolution of key indicators, and cellular testing are some of the key considerations that a cellular provider should keep in mind when making the business case for deploying 5G related devices, products, and services.

  • Cellular Connections Keep Growing

1.1B more people and things will be connected thanks to 5G. Out of the total 5.8 Billion connections, 1G-4G added 4.7 Billion connections. Due to 5G, 25% (of the 5.8 Billion) more connections are a possibility. [2]

  • Cellular Complexity Keeps Evolving

IoT devices, connected cars, remote healthcare, smart cities, logistics and AR and VR systems all need hyper low latency, hyper scale and hyper mobility to thrive as they create extreme environments.  Let’s understand what has changed in each of the cellular generations to find out why 5G is ready to support these extreme environments and how you can be ready for the future 5G ecosystem.

cellular complexity and 5G

  • Evolution of Key Indicators

Due to advancement in the technology, it became easier over time to support newer services over cellular connections. User experience has improved dramatically over the generations due to low latency. Availability of mobile networks, affordability, cost-effective service plans, and densification of cellular towers across the globe has attracted consumers to opt for mobile connections, replacing land lines. The three key indicators that led to the growth of mobile connections are

  • Hyper Mobility
  • Hyper Low Latency
  • Hyperscale

From 1G to 5G (In the future!), the time spent on mobile devices has grown, quality of experience has improved, and the number of subscribers has grown significantly. We did an analysis of these three key indicators across generations from 1G to 5G and the summary is captured in a nice graphical format. Please download the graphic.

  • Cellular Testing Makes all the Difference

As 5G standards evolve, it is important to perform continuous testing for standards conformance to accelerate innovation. Testing 5G devices, equipment, and networks with complete confidence requires careful planning, well thought out test plans, performance benchmarking strategy, test automation and reporting. This will eliminate any surprises when accelerating the deployment of 5G related products and services.

  • 5G-NR:

5G New Radio (NR) is the new technology specification for a new OFDM-based physical air interface. 5G NR is not an evolution of 4G (LTE) – It is required to achieve the extreme bandwidth, low latency, and massive scalability requirements of 5G. 5G NR is expected to make wireless broadband performance same as wired – “Wireless Fiber” to deliver lower cost/bit.

  • 5G speeds and feeds:

Innovations such as carrier aggregation (CA), massive multiple input multiple output (MIMO), and quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM), among others, enables carriers to “fatten” the data pipe.

  • 5G and Wi-Fi co-existence:

By default, 5G can operate in the unlicensed bands (LTE-U, LAA, eLAA, and MulteFire) unlike previous generations. Organizations supporting multi-mode devices in these unlicensed bands need to characterize and measure the operation of these devices in a diverse Wi-Fi and cellular ecosystem from a customer point of view. Historically, end user and networking wireless devices were tested separately in either a Wi-Fi or a cellular environment.

  • Massive IoT:

IoT developments include NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT), LTE for Machines (LTE-M or LTE Category M1), and Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) specifications such as Long-Range WAN (LoRaWAN) and Sigfox. These developments enable wireless communication with a diverse array of billions of IoT devices.

  • 5G SDN/NFV:

SDN/NFV offers scalability and elasticity required to implement innovations like network slicing, Nex-Gen packet core (NGC/5G Core), cloud radio access network (C-RAN), and mobile edge computing (MEC)

5G complexities are numerous but resolving them should not be a daunting task. The secret is knowing the 5 keys to 5G – Learn more.

[1] “Mobile Regional and Country Forecast 2012–2017,” Ovum.

[2] "ITU towards "IMT for 2020 and beyond" - IMT-2020 standards for 5G".