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5G Technology and its Future Applications

5G Technology and its Future Applications

How often do you experience the abrupt pause while watching your favorite YouTube video? Ever faced difficulty connecting to the cellular network while in the basement of a building? Do you feel the frustration of network fluctuation while on the go?

It is evident from our experience that all of us have undergone some of these situations, if not all. Being on a fluctuating network goes well beyond the functioning of regular life. It affects the optimism of sustaining and inventing future technologies. A face and reliable network are a mandatory requirement as the backbone of future technologies.

The current and most advanced network - 4G LTE does not serve that purpose confidently. So, 5G was invented!

5G Technology, short for Fifth (5th) generation network, is an ultra-fast network with far lower low latency (delay) with increased network capacity and energy efficiency. While comparing it with 4G LTE network, 5G network is 10 to 100 times faster, offers 10 to 30 times lower latency, can carry up to 1000 times more data over the network, and is over ten times more efficient.

Now, the next question is, how does 5G achieve this staggering speed? It is made possible by combining advanced cellular technology with infrastructure and hardware improvements. Let us see what all technologies are involved in making 5G so powerful.

  1. Massive MIMO Technology: Massive MIMO, short for Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output, is the technology that is essentially on the network tower but with large arrays of antennas. It is worth noting that the word 'massive' in massive MIMO does not represent the antenna's physical size. Instead, it implies the number of antennas at the tower. Massive MIMO enables the service of many people simultaneously without compromising the quality of the network.
  2. 5G New Radio: New technology demands improved equipment, and 5G is no exception. There is a small wireless network radio installed with 5G-enabled smartphones called 5G New Radio (or 5G NR). 5G NR enables the fast speed on the smartphones while connected to the 5G network. It also means that to experience the 5G network, you need to have the 5G smartphone.
  3. Small Cells: The data rate is so high in the 5G network because it uses a high-frequency spectrum band in the range of 24 - 100 GHz. At this frequency, the signal cannot travel farther than a few hundred meters. Therefore, to complement the signal, many 'Small Cells' are deployed in the area. Small cells are low power, short-range transmission base stations. Their purpose is to augment the incoming signal from the 5G base station so that the network's speed and quality do not get affected. They can practically be installed at buildings, poles, structures, etc., at the gap of every 100 feet.

Let us see how 5G will shape, or rather re-shape, our everyday life in the future.

  1. Downloading Speed and Streaming Services: With downloading speed soaring past 10 Gbps, an ultra-high 4K quality movie will take no more than a few seconds to download. The streaming services will get a significant boost in quality with the 5G network. Terms like buffering, delay, or lag will become practically extinct.
  2. Internet of Things (IoT): With the speed and reliability of the 5G network, IoT will realize its full potential. There will be millions of devices talking to each other autonomously over the 5G network.
  3. Online Gaming: A gamer playing a multiplayer online game can better understand the importance of latency. In fact, in online multiplayer gaming, latency plays a more crucial role than speed. In the 5G network, latency can go as low as 1ms in the best case. It will translate to a significant improvement in the online gaming industry.
  4. AR/VR/MR: Augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality are in development for quite some time now. But due to the lack of a reliable and fast network, they could not blossom ultimately. 5G network will support these technologies to become more sophisticated and reach a wider audience.
  5. Autonomous Vehicles: The importance of a fast and stable network cannot be stressed enough, especially in autonomous vehicles, since it is a matter of life and death. The ultra-responsive 5G network will prove to be the catalyst of change for autonomous vehicles and make this long-standing dream a reality.
  6. Telemedicine and Telesurgery: With the whole world crippled with COVID-19, there is no better time to understand the importance of telemedicine. Imagine consulting a doctor using the HD video call from your 5G smartphone. Sure, not all diagnoses are possible, but it will certainly reduce the burden of stepping out of your home if you do not need to. Telesurgery involves the surgeon performing the surgery on the patient using robotic technology and the 5G network while being geographically apart. Having eliminated the compulsion of being physically available, surgeons can treat and save more lives.

All of that sounds fascinating. But these changes will not take place overnight. It took nearly a decade for 4G LTE to become mainstream. Likewise, for the 5G technology, we will have to wait before we can start reaping all its benefits.

About the Author

Shikhar Vasisht is a Principal Consultant in Oracle (Noida) and the editor-in-chief for 5GNetworkPhones.Com