5G-The Realization of its Big Promises Depend on Today’s Smart PlanningRandy Mitchell
5G, the “5th Generation New Radio”, comes from a proud family. 3G, launched in 2003 marked the beginning of the wireless telephone world, 4G was launched in 2008 and marked the first time that users were able to watch videos on their smartphones. 5G promises to take the foundation laid by these earlier wireless networks and radically transform the way that people communicate, learn, conduct business, travel, entertain themselves, and interact with the world around them for the following reasons.
5G Technology Promises:
- Faster Data Transfer Rates
- The Capacity to Support 100 times as many devices and 10,000 times more traffic in the same geographic area compared to current capabilities. Multi user-Multiple Input Multiple Output (Mu–MIMO)and massive Machine Type Communications (m–MTC), which are basically machine to machine communications will create this capacity.
- Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC), meaning that the turn around time from data reception to data transmission will be very fast, possibly less than 1 millisecond. That’s less than the time a baseball spends on the bat when a hitter makes contact! This will help immensely in the autonomous vehicle, business transactions, and machine-controlled industries.
- Better Coverage: a reliable signal provided almost everywhere in the world by the time the network is fully operational. The price for this great coverage is that there will be many more radio masts being placed near each other, particularly in cities, as millimeter wavelengths used in 5G can’t travel long distances and can’t penetrate obstructions such as buildings and vegetation. The transmitters work primarily on line-of -sight. This high density of transmitters and receivers will result in and enhanced Mobile Broad Band (eMBB)
- Increased Energy Efficiency: To work effectively with shorter wavelengths used in 5G, there needs to be a high density of radio transmitters. The transmitters are small, so they will be powered by high power density semiconductors to achieve the power and efficiency in both transmission and reception that will be required. This same technology should also add to the battery life compared to today’s batteries.
The architecture of the system will have to be properly in place to truly realize the promises of 5G mentioned above. The necessary number of transmitters must be present, since this system will be responsible not only for telephone communications, but for the communication that is required to make autonomous vehicles, medical monitoring systems, business transactions, and any process that is operated by the system be able to continue to run smoothly. Reliability of the system will be more important than ever! Any failure would be catastrophic, so there have to be many backup systems and system redundancy incorporated into the architecture of the system that will jump in seamlessly to mitigate loss of connectivity to keep the system running in case there is a failure of the primary system.
I mentioned earlier that the millimeter waves don’t travel far, so the architecture of the system has to allow for re-use of frequencies in areas outside of the range of other areas using the same frequencies, without interfering with each other. The U.S. and other countries are working on designation of areas where certain bandwidths can be reused efficiently.
Compliance Testing in the 5G environment will certainly be a different beast. Some of the test standards will undoubtedly be the same as ones already in use. Following traditional ideas, practices and guidelines will help to make the changes easier to adapt to, though there will be discoveries made “along the way” that will require new and different methods of testing. New standards and testing measures for as yet unknown issues will be developed and enacted. Certainly, these surprises can’t be avoided and testing facilities and methods will have to be very “flexible” when developing new protocols and be able to respond to the new testing challenges.
That is where V Technical Textiles, Inc.’s flexible walled RF testing enclosures made of conductive textiles will come into play, allowing changes in the testing chamber’s volumes, testing equipment, and new standards to be met in a much easier fashion than the legacy brick and mortar testing facilities…read more.
If 5G lives up to its promises, it will change how the world does many things, revolutionizing current business models for communications, transportation, the government, and manufacturing by helping all facets to manage their respective businesses efficiently. In order to make these promises happen, the components of the 5G network must be developed in an efficient, well-planned fashion. It won’t happen overnight, and there will be a learning curve involved, but it will happen.