THE COMMUNICATIONS BLOG


Welcome to the Birchills communications blog

News and Views on Communication Today



What Is 5G And Why Is It Great - The Communications Blog - Birchills Telecom

What Is 5G And Why Is It Great - The Communications Blog - Birchills Telecom

Go to content

What Is 5G And Why Is It Great

Birchills Telecom
Published by in General ·
What Is 5G and How Will It Make Your Life Better?
The fifth generation of wireless technology (5G) promises lightning-fast speed, incredibly low latency, and the capacity to carry massive numbers of connections simultaneously.
Similar to 4G and 3G before it, 5G is a wireless connection built specifically to keep up with the proliferation of devices that need a mobile internet connection. It’s not just your phone and your computer anymore, either. Home appliances, door locks, security cameras, cars, wearables, dog collars, and so many other inert devices are beginning to connect to the web. Gartner predicts that 20.8 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020. By comparison, there are currently an estimated 6.4 billion connected devices in the world. That’s a lot more devices asking for a quick connection.

What exactly is 5G?
The “G” in 5G stands for “generation.” Wireless phone technology technically started with 1G, and in the early 1990s, and it expanded to 2G when companies first started enabling people to send text messages between two mobile devices.

Eventually the world moved on to 3G, which gave people the ability to make phone calls, send text messages, and browse the internet. 4G enhanced many of the capabilities that were made possible with the third generation of wireless. People could browse the web, send text messages, and make phone calls—and they could even download and upload large video files without any issues.

Then companies added LTE, short for “long term evolution,” to 4G connectivity. LTE became the fastest and most consistent variety of 4G compared to competing technologies like WiMax. The difference between WiMax and LTE is similar to the difference between Blu-Ray and HD DVDs: Both technologies achieved similar outcomes, but it was important to create a standard for everyone to use. LTE did just that, and it made 4G technology even faster.

5G will build on the foundation created by 4G LTE. It’s going to allow people send texts, make calls, and browse the web as always—and it will dramatically increase the speed at which data is transferred across the network. 5G will make it easier for people to download and upload Ultra HD and 3D video. It will also make room for the thousands of internet-connected devices entering our everyday world.

But is 5G really that much faster than 4G?
In short: Yes. Speeds will be significantly faster. Currently, 4G LTE transfer speeds top out at about one gigabit per second. That means it takes about an hour to download a short HD movie in perfect conditions. The problem is, people rarely experience 4G’s maximum download speed because the signal can be disrupted by so many different things: buildings, microwaves, other wifi signals. The list goes on and on.

5G will increase download speeds up to 10 gigabits per second. That means a full HD movie can be downloaded in a matter of seconds. It will also reduce latency significantly (giving people faster load times). In short, it will give wireless broadband the capacity it needs to power thousands of connected devices that will reach our homes and workplaces.

How does it work?
There are already huge consortiums of major global telecoms working to create worldwide standards around 5G. Although most of those standards haven’t been solidified, experts expect it to be backwards compatible (with 4G and 3G) in addition to having some interoperability across the world.
In their most basic form, mobiles are basically two-way radios. When you call someone, your phone converts your voice into an electrical signal. It transmits that electrical signal to the nearest cell tower using radio wave. The cell tower bounces the radio wave through a network of cell towers and eventually to your friend’s phone. The same thing is happening when you send other forms of data (like photos and video) across the network.

Typically, when a new mobile wireless technology comes along (like 5G), it’s assigned a higher radio frequency. For instance, 4G occupied the frequency bands up to 20 MHz. In the case of 5G, it will likely sit on the frequency band up to 6GHz. The reason new wireless technologies occupy higher frequencies is because they typically aren’t in use and move information at a much faster speed. The problem is that higher frequency signals don’t travel as far as lower frequencies, so multiple input and output antennas (MIMOs) will probably be used to boost signals anywhere 5G is offered.

Why Do We Need 5G?
Here are 3 good reasons:

Enhanced mobile broadband. Faster speed, lower latency, and greater capacity could enable on-the-go, ultra-high-definition video, virtual reality, and other advanced applications.
Internet of Things. With the explosive growth in the number of connected devices, existing networks are struggling to keep pace. The advent of 5G will unlock the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) by enabling more connections at once (up to one million per square kilometre) at very low power.

Mission-critical control. As connected devices become increasingly central in applications that demand absolute reliability—medical devices and vehicle safety systems, for instance—latency will serve as a limiting factor. Because 5G has the potential to deliver significantly lower latency (to about one millisecond), it opens the door to use cases in healthcare, utilities, and other time-critical contexts.

Fixed wireless access. Fixed wireless access (FWA) has existed for years, primarily in areas with no viable wired broadband. 5G, particularly in the millimetre wave spectrum, is capable of delivering speeds of more than 100 Mbps to the home, making it a viable alternative to wired broadband in many markets, especially in markets without fibre.

When will 5G be available?
There has been considerable R&D activity in the UK and Europe around 5G with some impressive demonstrations. The world's first 5G distributed concert between the London Guildhall with a singer and Berlin Brandenburger where the piano was played was held in June 2018. The end-to-end delay was only 20ms allowing the piano and singer to synchronise with a video link.  You can see the video here https://youtu.be/mB_w-ml-dZY.

In the UK Ofcom held the 1st auction of 5G wavelength spectrum in April 2018 raising £1.4bn in the process. The winners predictably were the 4 incumbents, o2, EE, Vodafone and 3.
They are currently working with technology suppliers, notably and controversially Huawei, to begin the roll out of capability.

There are no 5G capable mobiles yet, the 1st batch are expected in the 2019 upgrade cycle. So we would expect to see Iphone 12, or whatever they call it, 5G capable in September 2019.

Most experts predict that 5G won’t be widely available until 2020.

Is It Worth It?
Hell yes. There is no such thing as too much bandwidth or speed.The vision of the future is billions of connected devices communicating with no lag and no data restrictions.  This is the vision that can never be fully realised but we are on our way. The future is bright, the future is 5G.




2 comments
2019-02-06 11:54:45
Thank you so much for your information it is really helpful for me..please keep us updated...
2018-12-07 12:41:13
Thank you so much for your information it is really helpful for me..please keep us updated...

Back to content

Birchills Telecom are proud members of the organisations below