5G TECHNOLOGY: NEW OPPORTUNITIES AND NEW CHALLENGES

What 5G technology can do ? What can we do with 5G Technology ? Why do we need 5G Network ?

Well these are the most asked queries we receive from around the world. Let’s see how game changing cutting edge technology, 5G , going to change our life in 2020 onward. 

Even after LTE progress does not stand still: people demand high speed internet access, and thanks to IoT, more and more equipment “wants” to connect to the global network. How to solve both problems at once?

From time to time, the media really delights with news of the upcoming 5G era. Clients are bribed by the claimed high speed access. Next Generation Mobile Networking Alliance (NGMN – an association of mobile operators, suppliers, manufacturers and research institutes) defines the following requirements:

  • The data transfer speed is tens of Mbps for tens of thousands of users at the same time.
  • Data transfer rate of 100 Mbps in megacities.
  • The data transfer rate of 1 Gb / s at the same time for many users on the same floor.
  • Connect hundreds of thousands of wireless sensors simultaneously.
  • Higher spectral efficiency compared to 4G.
  • Coverage Improvement.
  • Improving signal transmission efficiency.
  • Significantly lower latency compared to LTE.
  • The frequency spectrum approved by the FCC on July 14, 2016 includes frequencies of 28 GHz, 37 GHz and 39 GHz.

It is worth noting that 5G exists only in the form of the 15th release of specifications and in periodic performance tests, for example, as in Japan.

Japan Tests 5G:
Japanese mobile operator NTT docomo has built a 5G network capable of broadcasting 8K video for VR glasses.

Many of us are just starting to master the 4K image, but technology continues to evolve and 8K resolution will be next for large screens. For reference: the screen in 8K resolution in terms of the number of pixels is equal to four screens in 4K resolution (8192 × 5120, aspect ratio 16:10, 41.9 Megapixels).

The broadcast system allows you to broadcast high-resolution VR content from anywhere using 5G networks. The solution consists of an 8K 3D camera with the ability to record 360 degree video, a Yamaha spherical 3D microphone with 64 audio channels, several data processing servers and a 5G base station. Note that the 3D camera broadcasts 9 videos in 4K at the same time. It is proposed to use Oculus Quest as client equipment.

To achieve this goal, taking into account the requirements for processing video and audio streams, as well as taking into account the bandwidth capabilities, NTT Docomo used a new 8K video encoder with 60FPS to limit the load.

Several real-time data processing servers convert 9 video streams of 4K 3D cameras into 2 streams with 8K resolution in 3D format with a 360-degree panorama. Another server converts 64 sound channels of a 3D microphone into 36 channels of 3D sound. Then all this is compressed and synchronized for streaming over 5G.

Virtual reality technology is only developing. Long development is determined not only by high requirements to the hardware, but also by the massiveness of the devices themselves. In such conditions, it’s difficult to talk about mobility, because no one wants to be “chained” to a PC with wires or constantly be in search of a great Wi-Fi signal.

UK 5G Public Testing
Great news from Vodafone. Manchester Airport launched a public access test using 5G technology. Specially for these purposes, the telecom operator placed a portable Gigacube router (Figure 2) using Massive MIMO technology in the airport terminal. Its characteristic feature is the use of multi-element digital antenna arrays. In simple terms, user terminals will always be much smaller than base station antennas.

Vodafone also uses a 5G Blast Pod . Using Wi-Fi allows visitors to get an idea of ​​5G using existing devices. Users are given free admission to the NOW TV service. As an example, it is proposed to download an episode from the recent Tin stars series in 45 seconds, and the entire series in about 6 minutes. On a 4G network, this would take more than 26 minutes.

Vodafone plans to expand to other major airports and train stations across the UK.

US 5G Prospects and Promises
T-Mobile in their blog declare the fight against Cable monopoly and claim that they will be able to create an alternative to the classic broadband access even in rural areas.

The motivation for this is the FCC report, which says that 28.9% of urban private homes and 61.1% of private homes in rural areas are connected to only one service provider or do not have access to the Internet at all. There is no need to talk about high-speed access. The report details that 45% of private houses in cities and 76% of private houses in rural areas do not have high-speed access or services are provided by only one operator.

According to the business plan, by 2024 T-Mobile is going to connect more than 9.5 million subscribers to the broadband access services using 5G means.

In the near future, the company plans to begin installing 4G wireless routers operating in the LTE T-Mobile network. Under this pilot project, called Home Internet, users get the T-Mobile In Home router for free. The user’s task is simple: unpack the equipment and plug it into the network. In the future, it implies upgrading the router to 2.5 GHz in the frequency spectrum and the ability to work in 5G networks.

What about 5G in Russia?
Russia is also undergoing tests. According to the information , in April 2017, MTS conducted a series of tests at the Otkritie Arena stadium in Moscow. The base station, operating in the range of 14.5-15.3 GHz, transmitted a signal to a moving prototype smartphone at speeds up to 25 Gbit / s. The achieved speed allows you to download an hour-long movie in HD-quality in less than 3 seconds.

Two months later, Megafon together with Huawei updated the speed record, reaching the limit of 35 Gb / s. At their forum booth, the companies showed in action a 5G base station with TDD mode in the frequency range of 70 GHz (E-Band) with a bandwidth of 2 GHz.

Competition
After the publication of the bandwidth test results, the Internet community began an active discussion of the 5G competition with the “wired” broadband and Wi-Fi operators. A user will ask: “Why do I need wires when wireless access is several times faster?”

Technical experts from various organizations in their conversations on relevant Internet forums give counter-arguments:

The frequencies used in the air, channel width, the number of clients impose their own restrictions on the operation of wireless base stations, especially in TDD mode.
Radio is a common medium, and it gives no guarantees for speed or performance, unlike fiber optic or copper cable.
Cells of telecom operators also require the creation of radio links for communication with data centers and among themselves.
LTE is already delivering speeds of more than 100 megabits / s, and mass outflow is not observed.
There are not so many routers for LTE distribution. Configuring the “modem + wireless router” bundle is too complicated for most users.

Specialists in the field of radio engineering emphasize that these speed records were achieved at high frequencies of 15 and 70 GHz, while the cellular network operates in the ranges from 453 to 2690 MHz. As a result, modern client mobile devices will not be able to work in 5G networks at the declared speeds. And what about telecom operators? Need to free satellite frequency bands. 

Hardware Replacement
Telecommunications operators will be forced to make large-scale changes in the structure of their networks. To achieve the stated speeds on the cell towers, it will be necessary to replace the base stations and antennas, as well as PPC (equipment of radio bridges between the towers). It is expected that additional masts of cellular communications will be installed.

The most ambitious and costly changes will occur within the network of operators. The usual infrastructure of the mobile operator, shown in Figure 3, will soon become obsolete, and it will be replaced by a new one.

It is understood that the core of the network will require updating of elements such as BRAS , DPI , billing, CG-NAT , DNS and DHCP servers. There are several reasons:

Previously declared access speeds;
introduction of a dual stack of IPv4 and IPv6, once promised support for the Internet of things.
It should be noted that a change in the order of identification is expected. The so-called 5G Subscription Permanent Identifie (according to the concept ) will absorb IMEI and be supplemented with new network identifiers like a MAC address. The old IMEI will be replaced by PEI (Permanent Equipment Identifier) ​​- a permanent equipment identifier.

Conclusion
5G networks and virtual reality technologies open up new possibilities in various types of activities, whether it’s video games, broadcasting concerts and sports programs, medical operations and much more. If for a 5G subscriber these are solid advantages, for telecom operators there are new problems and tasks that can already be started to be solved by replacing the equipment and software of data networks.

Amram David

Senior Contributor at DFI Club
Amram is a technical analyst and partner at DFI Club Research, a high-tech research and advisory firm .He has over 10 years of technical and business experience with leading high-tech companies including Huawei,Nokia,Ericsson on ICT, Semiconductor, Microelectronics Systems and embedded systems.Amram focuses on the business critical points where new technologies drive innovations.
Amram David

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