Beyond the hype: 5G and Cloud Computing
I have three things to tell you:
- What is 5G: the essentials you need to know if you’ve only heard the term.
- I recorded a video podcast about 5G, connectivity, and being an entrepreneur and CEO with Sam Heidari, a humble, smart and successful expert in “all things connectivity”. Sam was a hidden gem for me, I urge you to take a look. You can watch it here.
- Cota Capital (a San Francisco-based investment firm) regularly organizes events to discuss innovative technologies, called Cota Access.
The next one is a free online event to discuss “5G and the future of Cloud Computing” with experts — two startups and two big companies, chaired by me. The date is September 17th, 2020, at 10:00am PT (Pacific Time) and you can register here. I will be chairing the event.
What is 5G?
5G is the latest “industry” standard for wireless communications, and it stands for 5th Generation. Let’s look at the history for a minute.
If you do a rapid math, every 10 years there’s a generational advancement, where connection speeds improve by an order of magnitude (10x) or more, and technical improvements are introduced.
The first analog version, 1G, launched in the busiest city on Earth back then — Tokyo, Japan — in 1979, followed by the digital evolution, 2G, launched in Finland in 1991.
In 2001 NTT-DoCoMo (in Japan, again) launched the first commercial 3G, which allowed at least 144 Kbit/s of connection speeds. Big deal back then.
To put things in context for you: the first iPhone was launched in 2007 (I regularly re-watch Steve Jobs doing the launch), but it was still only a 2G device, and didn’t even have GPS!
Although the first 4G was launched by Korea Telecom (now KT) in South Korea as early as 2006, we had to wait until 2009–2010 for large scale deployments in Sweden, Estonia, and then US and EU. Smartphone penetration was still low, compared to today’s 2020 (it’s hard to even remember these days). We now have billions of connected devices (mobile phones, IoT devices), and we need a faster and more reliable mobile network.
That’s where 5G comes into play, in three ways:
- 5G operates across three bands. Low band is 700 MHz, can travel long distances and is the slowest; Medium band is 2.5 GHz to 3.5 GHz, similar to WiFi, is faster; High band is 24 GHz and above, the fastest, but also can’t traverse walls, and is affected by weather conditions the most, such as rain.
- 5G introduces technology innovations such as: Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC), Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC), massive MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output), beam forming. No, I’m not going to cover these here.
- The 5G network is the result of massive investments ($200B to $300B invested or being invested just in the United States alone), which will allow more network coverage and faster speeds with more base stations, antennas, more backhaul.
There are several interesting applications that will be made possible by 5G — but for that, I’ll point you to the Cota Access event already mentioned.
Podcast with Sam Heidari
There are companies and founders everybody knows about, like Zuckerberg, Musk, Bezos. And then there are founders and companies that have been very successful, but whose product is “behind the scenes”, and you have no idea about them, even if you should.
Sam Heidari is one of them, and I recently “sat down” (well, virtually) with him in this video podcast. But let me tell you about him first.
Sam Heidari joined Quantenna in 2009 as head of their R&D. Quantenna built a custom chipset to dramatically improve the performance of wireless devices (such as the router you use at home to connect to the internet).
He then became interim CEO in 2011; after several months, the board was so pleased by his work that they decided to keep him. At that point, the company was making roughly 1 million dollars in revenues.
Fast forward to 2016, when Quantenna went public and revenues where in the ballpark of 120 million dollars. Sam and the company accomplished that in just 5 years.
In 2019 Quantenna was acquired by ON Semiconductor for $1.07B.
I’ve never built a company worth almost a billion dollars. Sam did.
In the video podcast — you can watch it here — , Sam recounts his days at Quantenna, and we speak about technology, 5G and Edge Computing.
It’s a pity that we didn’t even have time to talk about his previous (successful) startups. Perhaps on another podcast down the line.
Beyond the hype: 5G and the future of Cloud Computing
Finally, I wanted to tell you about this next event that Cota Capital is organizing. Given the current state of affairs in the world, it’s online only, and it’s free, and you can register here. The date is September 17th, 2020, at 10:00am PT (Pacific Time).
The event is called “Beyond the hype: 5G and the future of Cloud Computing”, and it includes four panelists:
Maryam Rofougaran — Co-CEO, COO and Founder of Movandi.com
Veerbhan K. — Co-Founder & CEO of Quadric.io
Sebastian Dreisch — GTM and BD at AWS Wavelength
Sanyogita Shamsunder, PhD — VP of Product Innovation at Verizon
I think we stroke a good balance between startups (two) and large companies (two). Please note that both Movandi and Quadric are companies in Cota Capital’s portfolio.
You can register here.
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