5G the fifth generation wireless technology expected to power future smart devices with ultra fast mobile internet, self driving cars, virtual reality and limitless smart home applications. More than just a faster mobile broadband technology, 5G is like a unified connectivity fabric which offers scalable and efficient solutions for future applications.
Top features of 5G
- High speed mobile broadband – Speed up to 10-20 Gigabit per second down-link and 5-10 Gigabit per second up-link (peak data rate)
- Low latency services – up to 1 millisecond
- Ultra reliable and scalable network
What are the major components of 5G technology?
In order to achieve ultra fast mobile broadband, low latency and ultra reliable network to support all future applications, existing technologies have many limitations. 5G will be using new network terminologies, high bandwidth spectrum, complex modulation schemes and algorithms with advanced hardware modules.
Spectrum – 5G NR
5G New Radio is a new spectrum that will be utilized in 5G applications to support much higher data rate. Millimeter wave spectrum from 24 GHz to 90 GHz and unlicensed sub-6GHz spectrum will be used in first generation of 5G deployments of mobile broadband.
On a 5G network, average data rate of few Gigabits per seconds can be easily achieved.
Unlicensed spectrum between 24 GHz to 90 GHz will be used for future 5G applications. Millimeter waves have higher bandwidth in GHz range which is suitable to transmit huge amount of data.
Find out more about 5G – NR (New Radio) and how it works
Small cells and Pico-cells
Small cells are low power base stations used in LTE advanced versions and 5G technology to power devices in a smaller geographical area like few hundred meters up to 2 KM radius. Smalls cells will be using millimeter waves to transmit and receive data. Millimeter waves are not suitable for long distance communication due to higher distortion from atmosphere and obstacles.
Compared to conventional base stations, large number of small cell units are required to cover a larger area. However, it can provide higher data rate and low latency network coverage for the users under each unit.
Find out more about Small Cells in 5G Technology
MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) concept is used to increase data rate with addition of antenna for transmitting and receiving signals. Large number of miniature sized antenna arrays are used in 5G technology. User devices also will be capable of receiving and sending data using multiple antennas integrated in mobile devices.
Significant amount of data can be simultaneously transmitted with the implementation of MIMO technology.
Beamforming is another smart technology concept to efficiently transmit data to user devices. Precise location of the user device is continuously tracked using advanced software algorithms and base stations transmit signals only in the direction of the user’s location. Conventional base stations transmit data in multiple directions which causes higher power consumption and unnecessary resource utilization.
Beamforming is similar like a spotlight follows a moving performer on a stage. The signal beam will follow the user according to the changing location.
Full-duplex mode of transmission
In conventional transmission method, one single mode of transmission is possible in either direction. In full duplex mode, high speed switches are used to control data transfer in each direction by efficiently switching one at a time and fully utilizing the existing spectrum. The same frequency band can be used for transmission and receiving mode of operation.
In conventional RAN (Radio Access Network), the base band unit (BBU) located near to the base stations. Large numbers of base band units are required to be deployed. C-RAN – Cloud (Centralized) Radio Access Network is an advanced technology developed for latest generation of LTE networks.
In C-RAN, the base band units can be located in a centralized processing station and connected to the base stations using an optical fibre cable. Removing base band units from the base stations can significantly reduce complexity of management, provided increased access, power saving and cost savings.
Advanced Hardware and Software
In order to support 5G specifications, all the existing network hardware standards has to be upgraded. Advanced MIMO antenna modules, routers and C-RAN units need to be deployed for IoT, Smart home, robotics, autonomous driving and mission critical applications.
Gigabit Wi-Fi technology will play a big role to support many of the multimedia and smart home applications. Moreover, Wi-Fi offloading is an efficient method to offload the data traffic from small cell base stations.
In mobile devices, sophisticated modems and integrated antenna arrays will be used. Multiple wireless technologies like Gigabit Wi-Fi and latest generation of Bluetooth will be integrated for AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) applications in mobile devices.
Complex software algorithms are an integral part of 5G technology to handle huge amount of data from billions of smart devices and sensors (used in IoT and smart home). Advanced modulation schemes and software defined radio will power future 5G networks with capability of easier transition from existing LTE advanced networks.