What is 5G technology? The complete guide

a year ago

5G refers to the fifth generation of the wireless telecommunications networks.5G is a cohesive, more capable interface. It has been developed with an extended capability to enable next-generation experiences, enable new distribution models and deliver new services. With high speeds, reliability and negligible potential, 5G will amplify the mobile ecosystem into new realms. 5G will impact every industry, making transportation, remote healthcare, precision agriculture etc safe and make everything possible.


Brief history

5G was launched in 1979 in Tokyo, Japan, the first generation (1G) cellular wireless network was established. By 1983, the United States had launched its first 1G network and various other countries followed them. After 30 years and 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) had been distributed to several cities. According to Stats, the number of LTE subscriptions in 2019 are estimated to reach 4.7 billion. Throughout the advancement of wireless technology, the push to increase bandwidth and transmission speeds has been a desire for creating new wireless technology standards. Because of the increased availability of transmission and technologies, wireless subscriptions are estimated to rise. The large demand makes industries to produce new technology that allows for substantial innovation. With this latest push for faster speeds and better coverage comes the 5G wireless standard.


The largest increase in bandwidth is from 4G LTE to 5G by looking at the table. Carriers are working to determine what 5G will look like as far as bandwidth goes. Verizon’s current tests give an idea of what the standard user might be able to expect from 5G. The 5G standard also includes a decrease in latency speed from 10 milliseconds to 1 millisecond. With this jump in speed and a lower round trip time, new uses for wireless networking will come. A common phrase in the information security community is that innovation moves at the speed of light and security are often left behind. The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices brings its own set of confidentiality and availability issues. When developing a newer, faster technology, it is imperative to determine the changes that need to be made to allow for its successful integration. In the case of 5G, there are several changes to the current 4G infrastructure that will be discussed. It is important to note that while 5G is being deployed, much of the 4G infrastructure will remain in place.


Overview of 5G

At this time, there are no concrete standards for 5G. There are currently several organizations working on finalizing these standards, including the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The 3GPP is an organization that brings together seven telecommunication standard development bodies into one group. The IETF is an open international community of network professionals and researchers concerned with the future of internet architecture and operation. The ITU is an international specialized agency, that is a part of the United Nations, for information and telecommunication technologies. The ITU is the organization leading the charge for 5G standardization and has defined a timeline and project for submission and approval of 5G requirements called IMT-2020. The project was intended to determine and scope the requirements for the next generation networks in 2020 and the future. The 3GPP developed Release 15 for its 5G Phase 1 specifications and submitted to the ITU. Currently, the minimum requirements for technical performance related to IMT-2020 were set in ITU-R M.2410 and are the following:

  • Peak Data Rate: 20 gigabits per second also known as Gbps and Download/10 Gbps - Upload
  • Peak Spectral Efficiencies: 30 bits per second per Hertz Downlink/15 bits per second per Hertz Uplink
  • User Latency: 4 ms for enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), 1 ms for ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLCC) 
  • Control Plane Latency: 10-20 ms
  • Maximum Aggregated Bandwidth: 100 MHz for frequency bands <1 GHz/1 GHz for bands > 6 GHz
  • Mobility: Usable up to 500 KPH in rural eMBB

From the requirements, the focus of the next-generation network is adding more devices and increasing speeds to the user equipment. The user equipment (UE) includes home nodes, cell phones, computers, IoT, etc. Any device that uses the cellular network to connect to the internet or voice communications is UE in terms of wireless specifications. This broad range of devices makes it difficult to create specifications that allow the flexibility to incorporate the wide spectrum of devices. The proposal outlines an environment that will allow high-speed communications from an end device to the internet and also very fast transactions between devices. There are still proposal submissions that will be reviewed for final concurrence on whether they will be added to the final specification.


Future of 5G

Today’s advancements 5G promise a transformative technology crucial to enabling the next revolution. This new generation of communications comprises a vital platform and digital backbone for massive increases in connectivity that will have far-reaching implications.

  1. 5G is far more than simply a faster version of 4G; it represents an ideal change.
  2. The advantages of 5G include its very high speed, low latency, and high throughput. The jump from 4G to 5G will open up brand new economic opportunities and applications. 5G will enable data flows at greater speed and volume than today’s 4G networks.
  3. Smart cities in future will be dependent on 5G, vehicles will depend on increased connectivity, future manufacturing will utilize 5G for improved automation, and even agriculture could benefit from these advancements
  4. The development and deployment of 5G are rapidly progressing, with a growing number of 5G pilots worldwide, including 92 pilots expected to launch in the United States by the end of 2019.
  5. 5G technologies are targeting widespread commercialization in the 2020s and to generate great value across various industries.


5G has a great capability to provide advantages for future economic development. The emergence of 5G may contribute trillions to the world economy over the next decades, setting the stage for new advancement in innovation. The connectivity that 5G will provide is fundamental to realizing the full potential of the “internet of things” and artificial intelligence technologies in the reality. 5G can enable new industries and contribute to a dynamic digital economy. Moreover, 5G networks also possess promising military applications. Such advancement in speed and connectivity could help data fusion and improved situation to boost command and control, providing significant advantages in the future battlefield.


Frequently Asked Questions

5G netwrok can be expected to launch in 2021.