Tuesday, August 17, 2021

What is the 5G?

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5G Technology: The Future of Telecommunications

As the cornerstone of the digital revolution, 5G technology presents a paradigm shift in telecommunications. It is the fifth-generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks, succeeding the 4G networks that have powered our smartphones thus far. The deployment of 5G began globally in 2019, promising unprecedented speed and connectivity.

Forecasted to garner over 1.7 billion subscribers by 2025, as per the GSM Association, 5G networks are set to redefine the cellular landscape. They utilize a cellular network structure, dividing the service area into smaller geographical cells. These cells facilitate connectivity for all 5G devices to the internet and telephone network via local antennas.

The primary value proposition of 5G is its expansive bandwidth, which translates to significantly higher download speeds, potentially reaching up to 10 Gbit/s. This enhanced bandwidth positions 5G networks as potential competitors to current ISPs like cable internet, opening up opportunities in the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine communication sectors. However, to leverage these advanced networks, users must possess 5G compatible devices as 4G smartphones are not compatible.

The speed boost in 5G is attributed in part to the employment of high-frequency radio waves, in addition to the low and medium band frequencies used in previous generations. These high-frequency waves have a shorter physical range, necessitating smaller geographic cells. 5G networks operate on three frequency bands – low, medium, and high, each serving different purposes and offering different speed-distance tradeoffs.

A 5G network comprises three types of cells, each with specific antenna designs. The type of cell determines the download speed, distance, and service area. 5G devices connect to the network via the highest speed antenna within their range:

  • Low-band 5G, similar to 4G, offers download speeds slightly higher than 4G, between 30-250 Mbit/s.
  • Mid-band 5G utilizes microwaves of 2.5–3.7 GHz, providing speeds of 100–900 Mbit/s and covering several kilometers in radius.
  • High-band 5G uses frequencies of 25–39 GHz, delivering speeds in the Gbit/s range, comparable to cable internet. However, these have a more limited range and are best suited for dense urban environments and crowded areas.

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) sets the standards for 5G, defining any system using 5G NR (5G New Radio) software as "5G". This definition has been widely accepted since late 2018. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) sets the minimum standards. Some initially reserved the term 5G for systems delivering download speeds of 20 Gbit/s as specified in the ITU's IMT-2020 document.

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