5G—From Fixed Wireless Today to Mobility & Transformative Improvements by 2019
Amid the rapidly rising anticipation for 5G, many organizations are asking the same question: “What does 5G mean today, and how long before it can help my business?”
5G is rapidly climbing the hype cycle. Qualcomm has even claimed it could be as “transformative as electricity.”
Wireless network operators in the U.S. are not only talking about 5th-Generation but asserting that their trials are ongoing and deployments are coming soon-in many cases, years earlier than had been thought possible. Both AT&T and Verizon
claim trials are underway in more than a dozen cities and that consumers can expect 5th-Generation soon in select markets.
Amid the rapidly rising anticipation for 5th-Generation, many organizations are asking the same question: “What does 5G mean today, and how long before it can help my business?”
In reality, 5th-Generation Wireless System has a limited but powerful use case today but is poised to reach its exceptional potential-less latency with more throughput, connection density, spectrum efficiency, traffic capacity, and network efficiency-within the next couple of years.
Where Did 5G Stand in 2017?
3GPP, the global standards organization that was created to consolidate various standards for worldwide interoperability, in February 2017 named the next generation of networking 5G.
However, do not plan on buying 5th-Generation cellphones in the next year or two; they simply will not exist. Their trials being touted by network operators are for fixed wireless access only. The reason is that they are only using millimeter wave spectrum, which is not proficient at penetrating water or objects-such as walls, windows, people, leaves, etc. Thus, they initially are only useful for point-to-point, line-of-sight transmission.
5th-Generation Wireless System was not supposed to be available at all until 2020, because the standards were not expected to be set. However, that timeline has been accelerated by network operators and the ecosystem vying to be the first to 5G. This has motivated 3GPP to move up its own timelines as well. How are they doing this?
On March 9, after Mobile World Congress 2017, 3GPP issued a new timeline for its 5th-Generation Wireless Systems specifications rollout, which they are accelerating by allowing 5G NSA (Non-Standalone). This means they can be deployed using the LTE core.
There are two parts to the 5G upgrade:
1) The air interface (RF), and 2) the core, which includes authentication to the network, billing, data centers, traffic routing, etc. NSA allows rapid 5G upgrades to the air interface while still leveraging the LTE core. When the core interface is upgraded, we will have 5G SA (Standalone).
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