What Exactly is 5G Technology


Every new generation of wireless networks is bringing faster and more functionality to our smartphones. 1G brought us the first cell phone, 2G sent text for the first time, 3G brought us online, 4G gave us the speed we enjoy today. But as more and more users come online, 4G networks have reached the limit of their capability at a time when users want more data for their smartphones and devices. Now we are moving towards the next generation wireless 5G.It can handle a thousand times more traffic than today's networks, and it's 10 times faster than 4G LTE. But what exactly is 5G technology? We will look at this in detail in this article.



What Exactly is 5G Technology:

5G is the fifth generation of wireless data networks and will upgrade more than 4G or 3G. You will feel it on your phone, in your home, in your car, in and around the city. Downloads and streaming should play instantly without any buffering . Cars prevent collision . Unconnected magnified and virtual reality can finally be achieved with real-time response. Not to mention industrial benefits such as remote operation or drone control. 5G does its magic with three capabilities, the first is High Bandwidth, 4G can only collect 200Mbps of data on a good day, 5G can handle 1Gbps or more.

And second one is Low Latency. 4G takes about a hundred milliseconds to share data from one end to another end, so with a response delay or high latency, the 5G reaction time can be as short as 1 millisecond, which makes everything happen instantly. And finally the last one is dense connection. In a given square kilometer 4G can only connect 1/10 devices of 5G can. How does 5G propagates and how is it different from 4G.

How 5G Works:

5G as like other networks uses radio waves for its propagation. But it is different from other networks when it comes to the frequency and the spectrum. So 5G will support three frequency ranges and they are

*Low Band (Lower Frequency)
*Mid Band  (Sub-6-GHz)                                                         
*High Band (mm Wave)                                                           

                                                           
                                                          
 1)Low Band :
               
Low band has been brought into the 5G technology to cover the less dense populated areas. Since the population lesser 5G has been introduced to these areas with low speed and high coverage. Frequency used in low band is the least among the three bands of about 600-850 Hz. So these band of frequencies can be used to provide the coverage even in the interior parts. This type of band is mostly used in rural areas.

2)Mid Band:

Now initially, in this frequency range, the frequency was limited up to 6GHz. But later on it was extended upto 7GHz. This mid band provides moderate coverage, but because of the increased bandwidth, the data speed will be better than the previous generations. So currently in many countries, this mid band is used for the 5G deployment. But the true 5G experience and 5G speeds like 1Gbps can be achieved with the help of a millimeter (mm) wave band.

3)High Band:

Because of its high frequency, this band provides very high bandwidth and it can provide a blazing fast internet to the end user. But since the mm wave can't travel much distance, so the coverage in this band will be limited to only tens of meters. So because of that, the cells in this mm wave band are known as the small cells. 

Now as these small cells provide limited coverage, so when mobile network operator wants to provide really high speed internet experience to the user then they need to install even a hundred or even thousands of such small cells in the particular area. Now at the mm wave frequencies, the size of the antenna reduces drastically. And since the 5G radios consumes very low power, so these mm wave radios can be even installed on the street lights. So this is all about the 5G frequencies.


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 Different technologies used in 5G:

Massive MIMO:

One of the main technology behind 5G is the massive MIMO. So here this MIMO stands for multiple inputs, multiple outputs, where at both transmitters and the receiver, the multiple antennas are installed. So this MIMO is not a new concept. And even it was used in the previous generations like in the fourth generation and even it is used in the WiFi technology. But in the case of 5G, the scale at which this concept is used is massive. So this massive MIMO will enable spatial diversity and spatial multiplexing.
Spatial diversity means, using the same frequency and the time-slot, the same data can be sent over the different spatial paths which will improve reliability and it will also improve the data rate.

In the case of spatial multiplexing, different data is sent to the user over the different spatial parts which will the increase the throughput to the end user. Then another concept which is possible to achieve with this massive MIMO is the multi user MIMO, where using the different spatial paths, different users can be served simultaneously over the same frequency. So with the help of this multi user massive MIMO, it is possible to enhance the cell capacity, that is the number of users which can be served simultaneously. Now this massive MIMO will also enable the use of the beamforming technique.

Beamforming:

This beamforming is another key wireless technique, where a wireless signal is focused in a specific direction rather than broadcasting it in a wide area. So, to understand this beamforming, you can think of it as a difference between the flashlight and the laser point.

So with the massive number of antennas in the massive MIMO system, this beamforming will also become 3D beamforming. So with this beamforming, it is possible to serve and track the user whenever they are moving on the street or it is possible to track them whenever they are moving from one floor to another floor in the buildings. 

Network Slicing:

The network slicing is the specific form of slicing virtualization, which allows the multiple logical network to run on top shared physical infrastructure. So as discussed earlier, this 5G network should be able to provide three types of basic services together. That is the Internet of Things, enhanced mobile broadband, and very low latency communication. So all these different types of services will require a different quality of services as well as the different resources.

5G Deployment:

Most of the current 5G deployment is on top of the 4G architecture. So basically there are two 5G deployment options. That is non standalone and standalone 5G. In non standalone 5G deployment, the core is still 4G core, but the base station or the new radios are the 5G based. So in this non standalone 5G, the 5G radios will be used to provide fast data to the user. But for the control and signaling still the 4G architecture will be used. So currently most of the 5G deployment which is going in the wolrd is based on this non standalone 5G. So in the first phase of the 5G deployment, the focus is to provide faster internet speed to the users. The advantage of non standalone 5G is that the existing 4G infrastructure can be used for 5G deployment.

But the true potential of 5G can be experienced only in the standalone 5G, where the core is based on the 5G architecture, and the new radios which are used in the 5G deployment are based on the mm wave frequencies. So this network slicing and all other low latency services can be provided to the end user when the core is also 5G core. So gradually the mobile network operator will move towards the standalone 5G, but it will take some time. And it is all about the 5G technology.


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