How Will 5G Networks Change the World?

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The world of communications is evolving rapidly. Revolting in almost every decade, from 2G in the 1990s to 4G in 2010. This industry gathers the smartest people in the world who study new technology, bringing endless convenience and welfare to the society. The evolution of modern human society is accompanied by the evolution of communication technology. From the very beginning of the telegraph and telephone to modern mobile communication technology, it is the convenient communication that accelerates the process of history. 

To talk about how 5G networks will change the world and to discuss communication technology itself, we must talk about the applications that rise from this technology. There are three main characteristics of the 5G network: enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), Massive Machine Type Communication (mMTC), and Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC). I will start from these three to talk about the potential applications that 5G networks will bring to the world.


5G can be said to be standing on the shoulders of giants. Relying on the good technical architecture of 4G, 5G can easily build new technologies on this foundation. One of the strongest aspects of the future 5G vision is its network speed experience. 4G is fast now, but it is not enough. The goal of 5G is to achieve 10Gbps (defined by METIS).

What is Massive MIMO?

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How does 10Gbps do it? 

Today’s mobile networks work in relatively low-frequency bands. The advantage of low-frequency bands is superior propagation performance, enabling operators to achieve good coverage with less cost (fewer base stations). However, there is one shortcoming that the continuous frequency resources of the low-frequency band are very precious. In 4G LTE, the maximum frequency range of a single carrier is 20MHz. Through carrier aggregation technology, multiple non-contiguous carriers can be used together to achieve a higher rate, but this is still not enough. One of the characteristics of 5G is its high frequency, which is limited by the propagation performance of high frequency where many high-frequency resources are not used. This is the resource that 5G can make good use of. But how to solve the propagation problem of high-frequency communication? This is where the massive MIMO could be adopted. The frequency of high-frequency resources is very high, and the wavelength is very short (millimeter wave), so the distance between the antenna array and them can be shortened when the antenna is designed, which means the antenna array can be integrated into a small area. The increase in the number of antenna arrays can bring additional gain, combined with beamforming and beam tracking techniques to compensate for the propagation limitations of high-frequency communication.

What applications can such high rate support?

  • High-speed upload and download
  • Real-time playback of 3D video, 4K, and even 8K video streams
  • Combining cloud technology, work, life, and entertainment could all be handled by the cloud
  • Combine AR, VR, and game life
  • “Media everywhere” that could change the way media spreads

High capacity

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been a hot topic in recent years, but due to the power consumption of terminals and the coverage of wireless networks, the wide-area IoT is still in its infancy. With the emergence of 5G networks, it can be foreseen that it will become a big heat in the future.

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How will 5G be used to support the development of IoT technology? 

First, let’s take a look at how it will solve the core problem of IoT technology: power consumption. It is the biggest obstacle to the development of the IoT technology because there are too many nodes in the IoT structure, and also due to its many constraints, the terminal cannot be charged but can only be powered through the one-time battery, hoping that the terminal itself can save power. The longer it can last, the better. 5G will go further on this basis, by reducing signaling overhead to make the terminal more power-saving and using non-orthogonal multiple access technology to support more terminal access.

High-volume applications:

  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Smart City
  • Smart home
  • Smart grid
  • Smart grazing, planting
  • Real-time tracking of logistics (in the future, it is not to check whether the packages arrive, but to check which route it is on)

Low latency and high reliability

The emergence of the LTE network has brought the mobile network’s delay to the 100ms mark, making it possible for applications with high real-time requirements such as games, videos, and data phones. The emergence of the 5G network will reduce the delay and provide a growth pod for more applications that require extreme expedite.

The technical principle of reducing time delay: A TTI in LTE is 1ms, and 5G will optimize the design of the frame structure to shorten each subframe in the time domain to optimize the time delay on the physical layer. It is believed that the design of the later 5G signaling will also adopt the optimization.

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Low latency and high-reliability applications

  • Telemedicine surgery
  • Remote driving
  • Internet of Vehicles Autonomous Driving
  • industrial control

Current Network Status 

As of April 2016, there are 496 LTE networks in 162 countries around the world, with 7.8 billion devices connected via mobile communication networks, of which only 1.2 billion connections use LTE, and nearly half of the devices still use the snail-like 2G network. With the emergence of 5G networks in the future, data traffic will be surely increased exponentially. I believe that the wind of 5G will surely blow one after another, and more and more applications will emerge. What users experience will be truly convenient and ubiquitous excellent network connections.

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