5G - where and who needs it?

    Even without much understanding of the generation standards of mobile communications, anyone will probably answer that 5G is cooler than 4G / LTE. In fact, everything is not so simple. Let's see what 5G is better / worse, and which cases of its use are the most promising given the current state.

    So what does 5G technology promise us?

    • Speed ​​increase tenfold to 10 Gb / s,
    • Decrease in delays (latency) dozens of times up to 1 ms,
    • Increasing the reliability of the connection ( packet loss rate The error ) hundreds of times,
    • Increase in the density (number) of connected devices (10 6 / km 2 ).

    All this is achieved by:

    • multichannels (parallelism in frequencies and base stations)
    • increase of radio frequency carriers from units to tens of GHz (radio channel bandwidth)

    5G will improve 4G in traditional areas, whether it’s instantly downloading a movie, or seamlessly connecting your mobile application to the cloud. So, it will be possible to refuse the delivery of the Internet to our apartments and offices by cable?

    5G will provide a universal connection of everything with everything, combining broadband, energy-consuming protocols with narrow-band, energy-saving. This will open new directions inaccessible to 4G: machine communications on the ground and in the air, Industry 4.0, the Internet of things. The 5G business is expected to earn $ 3.5T by 2035 and create 22 million jobs.
    Or not? ..

    (Image source - Reuters)

    How it works

    Who knows how 5G works - skip this section.

    So, due to what can we achieve such a fast data transfer in 5G, as described above? Isn't that some kind of magic?

    The increase in speed will occur due to the transition to a higher frequency range - previously unused. For example, the frequency of home WiFi is 2.4 or 5 GHz, the frequency of existing mobile networks within 2.6 GHz. But when we talk about 5G, then immediately we are talking about dozens of gigahertz. It's simple: increase the frequency, decrease the wavelength - and the data transfer speed becomes many times greater. And the network as a whole is unloaded.

    Here is a visual comic strip of how it was and how it will be. Was:


    (Source: IEEE Spectrum, Everything You Need to Know About 5G )

    The frequency increased tenfold, so in 5G we are dealing with much shorter millimeter waves. They pass poorly through obstacles. And in this regard, the network architecture is changing. Previously, communication was provided to us by large powerful towers that provided communication over long distances, but now it will be necessary to arrange many compact low-power towers everywhere. And keep in mind that in large cities, stations will require a lot, due to the signal blocking by high-rise buildings. So, to confidently equip New York with 5G networks, you need to increase the number of base stations by 500 (!) Times.

    according to estimates Russian operators, switching to 5G for them will cost about 150 billion rubles - a cost comparable to previous costs for deploying a 4G network, and this is despite the fact that the cost of a 5G station is lower than the existing ones (but they need a lot).

    Two network options: fixed and mobile

    To reduce energy consumption and increase range, beamforming technology is used - the dynamic formation of a radio beam for a particular subscriber. How is this done? The base station remembers where the signal came from and how much (it comes not only from your phone, but also as a reflection from obstacles), and using triangulation methods it calculates your approximate location, and then builds the optimal signal path.

    Source: Analysys Mason

    However, the need to track the position of the receiver leads to a slight difference for fixed and mobile use cases, and this is reflected in the various use cases (more on this later in the Consumer Market section).

    Status quo


    There is no accepted 5G standard. The technology is too complex and there are too many players with conflicting interests.

    In step offers a high degree of elaboration is 5G NR (standard New Radio ) from the 3GPP organization ( 3 rd Generation Partnership Project ), which has developed previous standards, 3G and 4G. 5G uses two radio frequency ranges ( Frequency Range , or simply abbreviated FR) FR1 offers frequencies below 6GHz. FR2 - above 24 GHz, so-called millimeter waves. The standard supports fixed and moving receivers and is a further development of the 5GTF standard from the American telecom giant Verizon, which supports only fixed receivers (this type of service is called fixed wireless access networks).

    The 5G NR standard provides three use cases:

    • eMBB ( enhanced Mobile Broadband ) - defines the familiar mobile Internet;
    • URLLC ( Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications ) - high requirements for response speed and reliability - for tasks such as autonomous transport or remote surgery;
    • mMTC ( massive Machine Type Communications ) - support for a large number of devices that send data rarely - an Internet of Things case, that is, counters and monitoring devices.

    Or briefly, the same thing in the picture:

    It is important to understand that the industry will first focus on the implementation of eMBB, as a more understandable scenario with existing cash flows.


    Since 2018, large-scale testing has been carried out, for example, at the Winter Olympics in South Korea. In 2018, all Russian Big Four operators conducted tests. MTS tested the new technology together with Samsung - it tested the usage scenarios with video calls, high-resolution video transmission, and online games.

    In South Korea, for the first time in the world, 5G service was offered at the end of 2018. Worldwide commercial implementation is expected next year 2020. At the initial stage, the FR1 range will be used as an add-on to existing 4G networks. According to the plans of the Ministry of Communications , in Russia 5G will begin to appear in million-plus cities since 2020. In practice, large-scale deployment will be determined by the possibility of monetization, and this aspect of 5G is not yet clear.

    Now 5G is considered by telecom operators rather in the marketing plane: the 5G icon on the phone screen will definitely be a plus in the eyes of telecom operator subscribers. The anecdotal incident with the AT&T operator , which posted the 5G icon in the absence of a real network, is indicative of that, for which competitors brought a lawsuit against him for deceit.

    If you look closely, you can see that the icon is actually “5GE” - stands for 5G Evolution, and suddenly this is not the 5G that we are thinking about, but just a label invented by marketers for the existing LTE network with some improvements.


    Microelectronic companies have already invested many billions of dollars in 5G. Chips for 5G NR cellular modems are offered by Samsung ( Exynos Modem 5100 ), Qualcomm ( Snapdragon X55 modem ), Huawei ( Balong 5000 ). Modems from Intel, a new player in this market, are expected by the end of 2019. Samsung's modem is made using 10nm FinFET technology, and is compatible with old standards starting from 2G. In the frequency range up to 6 GHz, it provides download speeds of up to 2 Gb / s, while using the millimeter range, the speed increases to 6 Gb / s.


    Almost all Android phone manufacturers have announced plans for implementing 5G. Samsung introduced the flagship Galaxy S10 in the 5G version at the Mobile World Congress in late February 2019. On April 5, it was released in Korea. In the US, the novelty appeared on May 16, and there the connection occurs with the network of the telecom operator Verizon. Other operators are also pulling up: AT&T announces plans to release a second smartphone with Samsung in the 2nd half of 2019.

    Consumer market

    Case 1. Home Internet

    5G fixed wireless access networks will become an alternative to the wired Internet in our apartments. If earlier the Internet came to our apartment by cable, then in the future - from the 5G tower, and then the router will distribute it through the usual home WiFi. Major player companies completed the preparations by synchronizing the release of routers for sale with the deployment of 5G networks. A typical 5G router costs $ 700-900, and provides a download speed of 2-3 Gb / s. Thus, the operators will solve for themselves the problem of the "last mile" and reduce the cost of laying wires. And there is no need to be afraid that existing backbone networks will not cope with the increased traffic that will come from 5G networks: studies are underway to use the existing reserve of fiber networks - the so-called “black fiber”.

    How new is this scenario to users? Already now, in some countries, they stop using traditional home wired Internet and switch to LTE: it turns out to be faster and cheaper to use mobile communications in all situations, with convenient rates. Such a situation, for example, has developed in Korea. And she is illustrated here in this comic:

    Case 2. Mass congestion of people

    Surely everyone was in such an unpleasant situation: come to the exhibition or the stadium, and mobile communication disappears. And this is exactly at the moment when you want to post a photo or write on the social network.


    Samsung conducted a test in conjunction with the Japanese telecom operator KDDI at the 30,000th baseball stadium. Using test 5G tablets, we were able to demonstrate streaming 4K video simultaneously on several tablets.

    The stadium is one of three scenarios that are illustrated in a demo zone called 5G City, located in Suwon (Samsung headquarters). Other scenarios include an urban environment (connecting cameras, sensors and information boards) and a high-speed access point for delivering HD video to a moving bus: while it passes a point, a movie has time to download.


    Niantic, the creator of the world famous Pokemon Go geolocation game, has high expectations for 5G. Not so long ago, group events appeared in the game - raids. In raids, you need to coordinate with other players in order to jointly defeat a particularly strong Pokémon, and this creates interesting situations in real life. So, the main legendary location of the game with the rarest Pokemon Mewtwo is located in Times Square in New York - you can imagine what kind of crowd there can be, consisting not only of Pokemon hunters, but just tourists.

    Augmented reality is also considered the “killer app” for 5G. In this videoyou can see the concept of real-time magic fights that are currently being developed by Niantic in the new Harry Potter-based game. Niantic has already partnered with Samsung and operators Deutsche Telecom and SK Telecom.


    Finally, the train case is interesting. There was an idea to equip the railway with a 5G connection for entertainment and passenger comfort. A study by the University of Bristol showed that in order to achieve high-speed seamless communication, you need to equip the railway with access points at a distance of 800 meters from each other!

    An example of how to set up access points along the railway track

    Tests were successfully conducted on a train running near Tokyo - they were conducted by Samsung and the telecom operator KDDI. During the tests, a speed of 1.7 Gbit / s was achieved, and during the test, 8K video was downloaded and 4K video was downloaded from the camera.

    New use cases

    But all this is rather a solution to the tasks already familiar to us. And what fundamentally new can 5G offer us?

    Connected car

    The main advantage is its low latency, which allows cars to communicate with each other at speeds up to 500 km / h. Unlike human drivers, cars can finally negotiate maneuvers among themselves or with a fixed infrastructure, making the road safer. It is interesting that the system will take into account weather conditions: everyone knows that in slippery weather the braking distance is longer, and therefore the rules in such a system must change.

    The European Automotive Association (5GAA) already brings together more than 100 major car and car manufacturers worldwide to accelerate the deployment of the C-V2X (Cellular Vehicle-To-Everything) system. The main objectives of the association are comprehensive road safety and traffic efficiency. Cyclists and pedestrians with 5G smartphones can also count on safety. The participants of the movement at distances up to 1 km will be able to contact directly, at large distances they will need the presence of 5G coverage. The system will ensure the creation of corridors for police and ambulances, provides for the exchange of sensors between cars, remote driving and other wonders. After the launch of C-V2X, the association plans to apply the experience gained in 5G V2X, where it will swing at 4.0 industry, smart cities and everything that moves uses 5G.

    Examples of situations that can be resolved with Connected Car. Source: Qualcomm.

    5G will allow not only ground vehicles to communicate, but also aircraft. This year, Samsung, together with the Spanish Internet provider Orange, demonstrated how a remote pilot controlled a drone using an deployed 5G network and receiving a high-resolution video stream in real time. The American provider Verizon in 2017 bought the Skyward drones operator , promises millions of 5G-connected flights. The company’s drones are already connected to Verizon’s 4G network.

    Industry 4.0

    In general, the expression "Industrie 4.0" was invented in Germany for its industrial modernization program. The 5G-ACIA (5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation), headquartered in Germany, has been joining manufacturing companies interested in using 5G since 2018. The greatest demands on latency and reliability are made by the control of the movement of industrial robots, where the response time cannot exceed tens of microseconds. Now this is being solved using Industrial Ethernet (for example, the EtherCAT standard). It is likely that 5G will compete for this niche!

    Other applications, such as communication between industrial controllers or with a human operator, sensor networks, are less demanding. Now most of these networks use a cable, so wireless 5G seems to be a cost-effective solution, in addition to allowing a quick reconfiguration of production.

    In practice, economic feasibility will lead to the introduction of 5G in the most expensive areas related to the payment of human labor, for example, forklift drivers in factories and warehouses. Thus, the European engineering company Acciona demonstrated the autonomous robotic system MIR200 . The trolley transmits 360-resolution video in high resolution; the remote operator will help her to leave the unforeseen situation. The cart uses 5G technology from Cisco and Samsung.

    Remote collaboration technologies go further. This year it was demonstrated how an expert surgeon in real time monitors the progress of an oncological operation that takes place many kilometers away and shows his colleagues how best to perform the operation. As the technology improves, he will be able to take a more active part, already directly managing surgical instruments.

    Internet of things

    First of all, 5G will solve the problem with the numerous and poorly supported Internet of Things communications standards, which now, in our opinion, limits the development of this area.

    Here 5G can offer the following:

    • Ad hoc network (without routers)
    • High density connected devices
    • Support for narrow-band, energy-efficient (10+ years on a single battery) communications

    But it seems that big business is still more interested in other scenarios other than the Internet of things. A quick search on the Internet did not find key players demonstrating the benefits of 5G for the Internet of things.

    Concluding this topic, we pay attention to the following interesting opportunity. Now depending on the outlet or the need to replace the batteries limits the choice of “things”. Low-frequency inductive wireless charging only works a few centimeters apart. 5G and its directed millimeter waves will allow efficient charging at distances of several meters. Although existing standards do not stipulate this, we have no doubt that engineers will soon find ways to take this opportunity!

    Developer Features

    If you are interested in the topic, then where to move on?

    Communication . You can personally get acquainted with 5G players at the next Russian conferences Skolkovo Startup Village 2019 May 29-30, Wireless Russia Forum: 4G, 5G & Beyond 2019 May 30-31, CEBIT Russia 2019 June 25-27, Smart Cars & Roads 2019 24 October.

    Of the academic contacts, it should be noted the Moscow Telecommunication Seminar held at the Institute for Information Transmission Problems.

    Financing . Key players hold contests for the use of 5G in various fields. In the US, Verizon recently announced“Built on 5G Challenge” contest for Industry 4.0, immersive consumer applications (VR / AR), and breakthrough ideas (changing our lifestyle and work). The competition is open to US registered small businesses, applications are accepted until July 15. Prize pool - $ 1M. Winners will be announced in October this year.

    Employment . In addition to the Big Four mobile operators, in Russia there are several companies planning to use 5G in the near future. The business model of the leading content delivery provider in Russia and the CIS, CDNVideo, is a fee for the amount of traffic received. Using 5G, potentially reducing this price, will allow the company to reduce costs. The company PlayKey promotes games in the cloud, it is not surprising that in its plans to use 5G.

    Open sourceis likely to play a key role in infrastructure. US Open Networking Foundation supports 5G. The European OpenAirInterface Software Alliance unites those who want to circumvent the proprietary 5G infrastructure components. Strategic directions include support for 5G modems and software-defined systems, heterogeneous networks and the Internet of things. The O-RAN Alliance virtualizes Radio Access Networks. The core network implementation is available from Open5GCore .

    The authors:

    Stanislav Polonsky - Head of Advanced Research and Development, Samsung Research Center

    Tatyana Volkova - Author of the curriculum of the IoT Academy Samsung project, specialist in corporate social responsibility programs at Samsung Research Center

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