5G: the new generation of mobile is already a reality

Une dossier 5G, pollution numérique

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hile 4G is still being rolled out, 5G is already in the starting blocks. For consumers whose smartphones still show “3G” alongside a reception indicator which rarely makes it over two bars out of four, this can be quite perplexing. Is it realistic to assure them that 5G is already a reality, when they can barely see proof of 4G? It is. And not only because manufacturers argue that the roll-out of 5G will be faster and more homogeneous. Without casting doubt over this promise, it is important to consider the economic factors at play behind the rhetoric and positioning.

5G is indeed a reality. This is essentially because mobile technologies are far more advanced and more efficient than they were in the early days of 4G. Researchers have been working on concrete solutions for providing a very high-speed mobile service, and these are now ready. Millimeter wave technology has proven itself in laboratories, and the first prototypes of networks using this technology are beginning to appear.

The saturated 4G frequency bands can make way for the growth in mobile terminals and communications. This is one of the outcomes of the European project Metis, which among other things, led to the discovery of more efficient wave forms. Error-correcting codes are also ready to manage faster speeds. Researchers are already working on pushing speeds even further, to perhaps deal with what comes after 5G.

Another reason for taking 5G seriously, is that it implies much more than just a faster service for end users. The goal is not only to increase the speed of data transfer between users, it is also to meet new needs for use, such as communication between machines. Without a network to handle communications between connected objects, there can be no Smart City. No smart, communicating cars, either. Researchers have been working for years to create new network architectures to satisfy potential new actors.

In the end, the question is not whether 5G is a reality or not, it is more about understanding the changes it will bring when it is released commercially in 2020, as the European Commission wishes. How will the current actors adapt to the changes in the telecommunications market? How will new actors find their place? Will 5G be an evolution, or rather, a revolution?

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To find out more…

To read more on the subject of 5G, here are some additional articles from I’MTech archives:

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