5G Wireless is a general term used to describe a range of faster wireless Internet standards and technologies, theoretically 20 times faster than 4G, for the development of the Internet of Things and new high-bandwidth applications. The 5G support laid the foundation.
It will take years (maybe even a decade) for this technology to realize it’s potential worldwide at full, but at the same time, some of today’s 5G network services are already in use. 5G is not only a technical term but also a marketing term. Not all 5G services on the market are standard.
What is 4G?
4G refers to the fourth generation of mobile technology, known as LTE (Long Term Evolution). As the name suggests, it is the latest (and best) when comparing with 1G-3G, and is as fast and stable as Wi-Fi at home or in the office.
What is 5G?
5G is the 5th generation of mobile communication technology and is an extension of the 4G system. On June 13, 2018, US time, the first international 5G standard was set for the 3GPP meeting in San Diego. Compared with the former, 5G networks mainly have three characteristics, such as extremely high rate (eMBB), enormous capacity (mMTC), and extremely low latency (URLLC). We will talk about the difference between 4G and 5G through its three specifics.
We all know that communication relies on electromagnetic waves, and the frequency resources of electromagnetic waves are minimal, the frequency is different, and the pace is different. Frequency resources are like cars. The higher the frequency, the more cars there are, the more information can be loaded at the same time. So, the higher the rate, the larger the bandwidth, and the faster the speed.
At present, our 4G uses low-frequency bands. Its advantages are excellent performance and extensive coverage, which can effectively reduce the operator’s investment in the base station and save money. But the disadvantage is that there are more people, and the “road” of data transmission will appear narrow.
But, how to solve the problem of the transmission of high-frequency communication
This requires relying on massive MIMO, which is “Multiple-Input Multiple-Output,” multiple antenna transmissions, and different antenna reception.
Most 5G networks use frequencies in the 30 to 300 GHz range. (As the name suggests, these frequencies have wavelengths between 1 and 10 mm.) These high-frequency ranges can carry more information than low-frequency signals in each time unit. 4G LTE currently uses low frequencies with frequencies below 1 GHz. Signal, or WiFi, up to 6 GHz.
Millimetre-wave technology has traditionally been expensive and challenging to deploy. Technological advances have overcome these difficulties, and this is why 5G is now possible.
One disadvantage of millimeter-wave transmission is that they are more susceptible to interference than 4G or WiFi signals when they are transmitted through physical objects.
To overcome this, the model of the 5G infrastructure will be different from 4G. Instead of moving the antenna masts like vast landscapes, the 5G network will be supported by smaller base stations distributed around 250 meters in the city, creating smaller service areas.
These 5G base stations have energy requirements below 4G and can be connected to buildings and utility poles more easily.
Although 5G base stations are much smaller than the corresponding parts of 4G, they carry more antennas. These antennas are Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO), meaning that multiple bidirectional sessions can be processed simultaneously on the same data channel. A 5G network can handle 20-25 times more sessions than a 4G network (as of now when the technology is just kicking off).
A large amount of MIMO guarantees a significant increase in base station capacity limitations, allowing a single base station to carry more device sessions. This is why 5G may drive the broader use of the Internet of Things. In theory, more wireless devices connected to the Internet can be deployed in the same space without the network being compressed.
High-frequency millimeter waves can increase the transmission rate, but high-frequency signals are challenging to pass through the solid. As the transmission distance increases, the transmission rate drops faster than the 4G low-frequency band. For an efficient and stable transmission rate, more base stations are needed for stable signal transmission.
5G technology introduces a small, low-power micro-base station that can be installed anywhere in the city and can be even installed in street lights, signal lights, shopping malls, housing, and more. Each base station can receive signals from other base stations and transmit data to users at any location. The signal is received uniformly, the carrying capacity is large, and the ubiquitous network is formed, which solves the shortcoming of long-distance transmission in the high-frequency band.
This also makes the Internet of Things a possibility. In the 5G network, in addition to everyday 3C products such as smartphones and PCs – more terminal devices can also be incorporated into the network. Such items are mart furniture products that can be controlled via the system, such as smart sockets, smart air conditioners, smart refrigerators, and smart wearable devices. In the field of the Internet of Things, there are different application scenarios.
Also, the needs of the network are not the same. Some terminal devices require a large amount of real-time data to quickly process feedback, while some terminal devices require only a small amount of data or a few bits of data transmission.
It does not require a high response to the speed of the communication, and may even take a month or two to update a small amount of data. In a 5G network, it is necessary to automatically identify the requirements of the device terminal for the network and use different network bandwidths, respectively.
When a small amount of data is transmitted, 5G intelligent identification uses a narrow-band network with less energy consumption to transfer data, thereby effectively reducing energy consumption, and ensuring the low-cost and long-term operation of the terminal device.
Compared to 4G, 5G has been dramatically optimized and adjusted on the existing technical architecture. To achieve ultra-low latency, 5G starts from all aspects of the access network, bearer network, core network, and backbone network.
While significantly reducing the air interface transmission delay, the forwarding node is reduced as much as possible, and the distance between the nodes is shortened. The network slicing technology is introduced to divide the physical network slice into N logical networks to adapt to different application scenarios. The core network control function is sunk, deployed to the edge of the access network, approaching the user, reducing the transmission distance, and reducing the delay.
The 4G network application server is concentrated in the central equipment room, far away from the terminal, and needs to pass through multiple transmission nodes in the middle. On the other side, 5G uses the edge computing technology to deeply integrate the access network with the Internet service, deploy cloud computing devices with computing, processing and storage functions at the edge of the access network, build a mobile convenience cloud, and provide an information technology service environment and cloud computing capabilities. It can reduce the forwarding and processing time during data transmission and reduce the end-to-end delay.
Low latency makes unmanned driving possible. For example, if a car is at a speed of 60Km/h, the emergency braking distance of the 50ms brake is 1m, 17cm for 10ms, and 17mm for 1ms. The delay in the 4G network is about 50ms. The braking distance is about 1m in 50ms. This may be the gap between life and death, and the delay of the 5G network being as low as 1ms makes it possible for autonomous driving to ensure safe driving on the road.
4G achieved a significant increase in data rates and entered the era of mobile broadband, which made Internet reality and changed people’s lifestyles. So, we can say 4G changed life, and 5G will change the whole society.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.