You need to know about the 5G cellular standard now

What is 5G anyway?

5G denotes the fifth mobile generation. The previous ones were analogue mobile telephony as well as the digital standards GSM, UMTS and LTE. 5G can transport the data around a hundred times faster than the current LTE (4G). The new standard also promises shorter run times of the data (latency). In addition, in a 5G radio cell many more devices can be operated than with the older standards. With 5G devices can be accurately located up to one meter. The 5G architecture can be intelligently adapted to the respective requirements of the devices in the network. For example, a 5G network can connect a lot of things and machines to one another in a production hall, provide high bandwidths for playback of high-resolution videos in another situation, or provide a particularly fast and reliable network on roads with short latencies for traffic control ,

Which frequencies are auctioned now?

The 5G auction, which has now begun, involves 41 frequency blocks in relatively high ranges (2 and 3.4 to 3.7 gigahertz). According to the laws of physics, these high frequencies do not have long ranges. Although theoretically up to five kilometers can be bridged, but only if there is no tree, house or other obstacle in the way. The auctioning frequencies are therefore less suitable for covering rural areas with mobile communications over a large area. The 5G radio standard can also be used on other frequencies that can cover longer distances. These include the frequency spectrum in the 700 MHz range, which was already auctioned in 2015.

Why are short maturities in 5G relevant?

The data can be transmitted via 5G almost in real time, the latency may be less than a millisecond and may not exceed ten milliseconds. This makes the network attractive, for example, for the operation of remote-controlled vehicles, precision robots. Even telemedicine applications, such as a remote operation, are only possible with low latency.

How can 5G handle the different requirements?

At 5G, there is not one network for all, but many virtual networks that meet specific needs. This principle is called network slicing. Some applications require the highest possible data transfer rates, while others only have to transmit small amounts of data, but they have to arrive with the least possible delay, for example when controlling drone control, robotic control in factories or networking of self-propelled vehicles. In logistics, on the other hand, the most energy-efficient connection of countless items to the Internet of Things is desired. So for many application scenarios, there is a slice (English slice or piece).

Who benefits from 5G?

First and foremost, companies that benefit from the new standard, for example in their production hall or in an Internet of Things vehicle fleet, will benefit most. 5G is considered indispensable for Industry 4.0. Intelligent traffic control systems are also being planned, in which, for example, the traffic light circuit is based on the actual traffic volume. In addition, the use of 5G for the operation of autonomous vehicles is being tested.

What does the private user have from it?

Recently, many manufacturers have announced new smartphones that already support the 5G standard. But when the first buyers of it will have an advantage, is open. There are still no bookable tariffs the mobile service providers for the new standard. Benefits should bring 5G private users everywhere, where many people come together and want to be online at the same time. For example, 5G is ideal for keeping visitors out of the rain at an open-air concert or football match in the stadium.

Does 5G solve the 4G networks?

No, LTE is an essential foundation of 5G. Mobile operators continue to massively expand 4G networks. For many requirements, even LTE should be sufficient – for example when streaming videos. At least the providers think so. In simple operation, LTE comes up to a bandwidth of up to 150 megabits per second, in some cities today up to 300 Mbit / s are possible. The LTE Advanced Pro (4.5G), which has been built since 2016, will even deliver speeds of up to one gigabit per second. Even large video files could be downloaded in a matter of seconds. However, many LTE networks are unable to deliver the theoretically possible maximum speeds in practice. At 5G, the average data transfer rate actually received by users is expected to be much higher than LTE.

That’s the difference between LTE, 4G and 5G

Will there be 5G nationwide in the future?

Hardly likely. Most recently, the federal states of Bavaria, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Rhineland-Palatinate demanded the expansion of 5G to the last corner. For the supply of rural areas or arable land, however, the 5G frequencies now available for auction generally have too short ranges – for which one would need many tens of thousands of newly constructed radio cells. Each individual 5G mast is estimated to cost more than € 100,000, so it adds up to a billion dollars. So far, there are around 70,000 radio masts in Germany, which have been built over many years. With the frequencies already auctioned in 2015 (700 MHz) it is easier to supply large areas. However, there is only a small spectrum available, so that no 5G peak values are possible there.

What new applications does 5G enable?

Suppliers and network operators have been swarming about the benefits of the new networks for years, and this time around the Mobile World Congress, there’s been so much 5G “to touch” like never before. A few meters from the truck demo at the booth of network supplier Ericsson, a band is playing. More precisely, half of the band, the bass player and the drummer. The guitarist and the singing keyboarder perform in another hall at the booth of the network operator Vodafone, the connection runs on a 5G network. The low latency makes it possible for them to play a song together as if they were in one place.

And in front of hundreds of spectators, a surgeon gives advice to colleagues in the operating theater from the stage and, among other things, records on pictures, for example, the nerve cords that they are not allowed to cut through. Telesurgery is considered an important 5G use case for the future.

The virtual reality business should also revolutionize 5G. Today, the intensive computational work for immersion in digital worlds must be done locally – either in the glasses themselves or a connected computer. But with the stable, fast cloud connection, servers in the network could substitute for it instead. The devices on the head would make it accordingly easier and more portable. In Barcelona, among others, Qualcomm demonstrated that this transmission can actually work by radio. An interesting secondary aspect would be that more value is being shifted from the VR specialists to the network operators. This can be good news for telecom companies, who have billions to invest in 5G network expansion.