The face of the future 5G
By 2020, experts predict the emergence of a new generation of wireless technology. And although most players still have little idea what kind of technology this will be, it can still be said that 5G will probably be characterized by the sharing of bands, the unification of carrier frequencies and the use of a large number of cheap and fast devices in the network infrastructure. This is stated in one noteworthy foreign publication , the translation of which we bring to your attention.
We already wrote about technology, which may be among the contenders for the role of the future 5G ( part 1 , part 2) However, to this day in the industry there is no clarity on this issue. Nevertheless, the psychological frontier - 2020 - is just around the corner. It is possible that over the remaining five years the new technology will not appear. Who knows, maybe even longer. But attempts to create it will certainly not stop.
However, before developing and commercializing the future 5G, you will have to find the answer to one of the most difficult questions: how to accommodate a much larger amount of data sent to an infinite band of the spectrum? Or, more precisely, how to standardize this process?
Despite the almost complete uncertainty of 5G characteristics, there are several points in the history of LTE development that can tell us what to expect in the future. Since the advent of the very first cellular technology, infrastructure and subscriber devices have been developing unevenly. Infrastructure often played a leading role and was slightly ahead of the mobile phones themselves, and their manufacturers competed in who will bring to the market models that are able to maximize the opportunities provided by the infrastructure. Without a sufficiently developed cellular network, new smartphone models would be simply useless. However, in 2007, Apple made a breakthrough in this sense and released the first generation iPhone. Otherwise, apart from such surprises, the evolution of mobile devices, especially smartphones, followed the development of infrastructure.
Of course, in the future it is impossible to exclude the possibility of the appearance of such unexpected devices for the industry as the first iPhone was. But in the next five years, the development of mobile devices as a whole will depend on the bandwidth of the infrastructure. The ecosystem is not immediately altered as a whole; its various components “move” at different rates. If the network is not sufficiently developed, then the use of smartphones will be very limited. Therefore, it is perfectly normal that infrastructure evolves ahead of schedule.
The need for combining carrier frequencies
The ability to combine carrier frequencies appeared in LTE-Advanced (4G Plus). This means that mobile devices can simultaneously use multiple frequencies to increase overall throughput. Operators around the world have begun to implement this technology to satisfy the market gluttony in data transmission volumes.
But what will happen next is hard to imagine. Only one thing is clear - smartphones will become more powerful, and mobile traffic will grow, so the infrastructure will be used more intensively.
Since band sharing is required for frequency combining, operators have begun to expand the spectrum bands used. For example, in Australia, the two largest operators announced the introduction of 4G base stations operating at a frequency of 700 MHz. An interesting point is that in the Australian market there are very few mobile devices capable of operating in this range. First of all, these are the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S5. Moreover, with the release of these two iPhones, the number of LTE bands in Australia has reached 20. Also, the expansion of coverage in the lower part of the 850 MHz range can be noted.
In light of this trend, one can expect within 1-2 years the appearance of mobile devices capable of operating in a wider frequency range. Of course, this is just an assumption. Indeed, because of the highest competition in the mobile device market, manufacturers are trying until the last moment to keep secret information about new products. But still, with a certain degree of certainty, we can say that in the next five years there should appear devices capable of transmitting much more information per unit time than modern smartphones. Of course, the main reason for this will be the increase in video traffic due to an increase in video resolution and the expansion of mobile Internet.
The growth of traffic, according to experts , by 2020 will lead to the exhaustion of opportunities within the existing frequency ranges. And in order to offer a solution by that time, mobile device manufacturers, together with operators, already need to begin work on a common vision for the future of cellular communications. Most likely, other standards, other designs of base stations, other mobile devices, a different network topology will be used.
A similar view for 2020 is shared by ITU, the International Telecommunications Union, an organization that coordinates the standardization process in the mobile communications industry. But despite the general lack of any idea of the features of the future 5G, the main players need to finally come to a common agreement on a number of issues.
According to the proposal of 4G America, a member of ITU, 5G technology should provide greater opportunities for providing machine-to-machine communication sessions, as a development of the concept of the Internet of things. As stated in the document, "people are no longer the main consumers of mobile services in the United States; their place was taken by cars, for example, smart meters of water and electricity consumption, digital pointers, transport information systems. With the increasing use of network-connected devices for games and communication, the need will also expand to expand the capabilities of devices for creating local home networks. The growth in the number of devices that will need to broadcast monitoring information, data on the state of the home, movement of vehicles, etc., will continue. It is logical to assume that the number of machines participating in the network will exceed the number of people . ”
To meet the growing needs of the market, 4G America proposes to design 5G with the view of providing reliable communications with a low latency with a large number of devices, as well as taking into account the wide data throughput.
The document says that, due to the high information capacity of 5G, probably " more flexible methods for collecting and processing the information necessary to manage network resources within the framework of the policy adopted by the operator will become available ."
Also, 4G America suggests that 5G will allow you to keep in touch, even when moving at high speed, up to 350 km / h. Moreover, despite the potential possibility of the Doppler effect. In addition, the document said that “"the concept of a cell will not be so rigidly defined as to provide stable, highly mobile communications and to" follow "the movement of the user, unlike previous cellular technologies ."
4G America agrees with the forecast for traffic growth: “ tasks such as 3D games, augmented reality and the concept of ultra-fast Internet (tactile internet) will require a 100-fold increase in the bandwidth of future networks compared to modern ones, and reduce the delay by 5 -10 times ... Multimedia immersion services will require the use of technologies such as 3D audio and 3D video, as well as ultra-high resolution formats and codecs . ”
Finally, the document predicts that it will become impossible for the modern practice of allocating individual spectrum bands for each operator, since the frequency resources will be exhausted. Against this background, the role of Wi-Fi will grow. The document also says that, from the point of view of the global ecosystem of cellular communications, it is necessary to allocate about 50 frequency bands. However, this is not possible, therefore, operators will be forced to reach an agreement on a unified system for harmonizing frequency bands.
According to ITU, despite the growing sales of mobile devices, another 4 billion people in the world are not connected to the Internet. The vast majority of them live in developing countries and belong to the generation that would rather use a smartphone to access the network than a PC. So it’s too early for manufacturers and operators to talk about the lack of growth prospects. And the development of this giant market will also spur the emergence of new mobile devices with greater bandwidth, capable of using a much wider range of frequencies compared to modern gadgets.
Summing up, we can say that the existing 2G and 3G networks will have to be significantly modernized, focusing, among other things, on the use of frequencies below 1 GHz. This will provide enormous benefits in terms of coverage in sparsely populated areas. And in order to gain access to additional bands of the spectrum, it will inevitably be necessary to introduce frequency sharing between various services.