Flagging off 5G!

The new normal in networking

“Speed so high that everything will fly”, remember this tagline that came whit the advertisement for Hathway Broadband, where the internet is so fast that all have their hair sticking to the end? Well, since then and till now, if there’s one thing that has a high demand, I’d say it is the internet’s speed. We were introduced to the internet with a 2G spectrum, which, in the early 21st century was a really good speed, and now, we stand at 4G in India and 5G in many other developed countries. In this article, let’s get to know the basics of the fifth-generation wireless technology, or in short, the 5G wireless technology.

Basic Terms and Definitions

To make the navigation through the ocean of 5G easier, let’s look into some basic terms and definitions.

1. LTE: This has been a term frequently used by many network service providers, like Airtel. LTE stands as an abbreviation for Long Time Evolution. LTE enables 5G to have higher data transfer rates. LTE has been the reason why various types of data transfer- voice, video, and messaging, can be done with ease.

2. 3GPP: This is an organization that unites several telecommunication standards development organizations and supervises all cellular telecoms. 3GPP is an organization that is working towards the development of a standard or definition for 5G.

3. Network Slicing: Segmentation of a network to make it more dynamic is called network slicing. This is a crucial technology pertaining to the 5G network as this is required to support the various functions and services provided by 5G, in later stages.

4. Millimetre Wave (mmWave): The spectrum between 30GHz to 300GHz that enables higher data transfer speed and broadband is called the millimeter-wave band. This wave travels in higher frequency in short wavelengths (line-of-sight travel). This is susceptible to atmospheric changes.

5. Small Cells: A unique and efficient idea, that can leave you awestruck, brought in for this 5G technology, is the concept of small cells, where portable mini base stations are deployed to provide a higher and dense network. mmWave uses smaller antennas due to line-of-sight travel, and these Small Cells are possible. This increases the signal reliability, as we would be having towers close to the device, unlike the traditional cell towers.

To know more terms and acronyms related to 5G, you can visit https://www.keysight.com/us/en/assets/7018-06171/brochures/5992-2996.pdf, to get a printable pdf for reference.

Let’s now try to explore 5G with these terms to guide us through.

Brief History of Mobile Network Generations

As time has evolved, so has the requirement for speed. Take a look into the brief evolution of 5G through this flowchart.

Fig: Various countries with 5G service provision; Image Credits: Qualcomm- https://www.qualcomm.com/5g/what-is-5g

Presuppositions about 5G: What all does it provide?

Each person may differ in opinion about what they are expecting from this leap in networking, but here are a few standard expectations from 5G

· Faster, more reliable, and readily available networking

· Applications in IoT, one of the faster and largely emerging technologies

· Machine to Machine communication ease

· Long withstanding

· Low power, and low throughput

In short, we are expecting the 5G technology to be more encompassing and user-friendly than the previous generations.

According to www.electronics-notes.com, below listed are some of the 5G specifications, that have a nod from the industries:

· 1–10 Gbps end-point connections

· 1-millisecond latency

· 1000 times increased bandwidth

· 10 to 100 times increase in the number of connected devices

· Maximum availability

· 100% coverage

· 90% reduction in network energy usage

· Increased battery life for machine-type devices

Juxtaposing 5G over 4G

· User Terminals: Requirement to design a single user terminal that can handle various wireless networks, to reduce cost and power utilization.

· Choosing the right provider: There will be multiple service providers, serving 5G in a golden platter. Since we lack exposure to a quality 5G network, it will be tough to filter out the impostors.

· Security: Requirement for adaptive, easy to configure security.

· Network Infrastructure: As mentioned above, the technology of small cells will be brought in to provide a denser network. But adaptation from the traditional methods might consume time.

· Billing and management: This might become a challenge because, there will be a multitude of users and network provisions, covering every inch of the globe. Due to the thronging population, management might be a challenge.

· Spoofing: Now, this is a real headache. We might not be able to distinguish between real signal towers (or small cells) that are safe to use, from the potentially malicious ones, because all these towers are going to be identical. Cell tapping, data theft, and other such dangerous activities might occur, since the 5G networking is a new player in the field, and the scientists and criminals would have equal exposure to it.

Fig: Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon addresses media and analysts at 5G Day on February 7, 2018, spotlighting the company’s dynamic radio tuning hardware.; Image Credit: Jeremy Horwitz/VentureBeat

Maneuvering 5G Technology:

Fig: Some real-time applications of 5G networking; Source: Today’s 4G LTE puts you on the pathway to tomorrow’s 5G — Samsung.com

· Autonomous Vehicles: Reduced response delay, higher speed, and lower latency make the 5G network an ideal candidate for application in autonomous vehicles. This enables the vehicles to give an instantaneous response, hence making the vehicle safety even more enhanced.

· Traffic Management (IoT based): Delay-less traffic lights switching, enhanced GPS, safer vehicle due to better surround check.

· Industrial Automation (IoT Based): Wireless connection between machines, thus making factories into ‘smart’ factories.

There are many more applications, these are just a few.

5G technology, just like every new gizmo in the market, is going to be awesome and risky at the same time, and it up to us to know what’s safe and what’s not. So, let’s welcome this with an open and aware mind. All the best in experimenting with this!


· https://venturebeat.com/2018/12/12/decoding-5g-a-cheat-sheet-for-next-gen-cellular-concepts-and-jargon/

· https://www.qualcomm.com/5g/what-is-5g

· https://www.sdxcentral.com/articles/news/10-5g-terms-you-should-know/2017/10/

· https://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/feature/The-essential-5G-glossary-of-key-terms-and-phrases

· https://www.electronics-notes.com/articles/connectivity/5g-mobile-wireless-cellular/requirements.php

· https://www.digi.com/blog/post/5g-applications-and-use-cases

· Gohil, A., Modi, H., & Patel, S. K. (2013, March). 5G technology of mobile communication: A survey. In 2013 international conference on intelligent systems and signal processing (ISSP) (pp. 288–292). IEEE.

A chapter not very different from others but with a tint to help in the progress of women engineers. WIE, aims to create a recognizing platform for all of us to network, to exchange our ideologies, ideas and technology.

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Shivani Ravisankar

Shivani Ravisankar

A simple human embarked on the journey to discover life :)

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