Want to know more about 5G technology? Then you're in the right place.
On this Q&A page, you'll discover key facts about 5G:
- What is 5G?
- How fast is 5G?
- What is the difference between 4G and 5G?
- What are the 5G use cases?
- When is 5G coming, and where is it available?
- What does it mean for consumers and operators?
- Will 5G technology be secure?
Let's see how 5G technology is about to change the world.
What is 5G?
5G technology is a breakthrough.
The next-generation of telecom networks (fifth generation or 5G) has started hitting the market end of 2018 and will continue to expand worldwide.
Beyond speed improvement, 5G is expected to unleash a massive IoT (Internet of Things) ecosystem where networks can serve communication needs for billions of connected devices, with the right trade-offs between speed, latency, and cost.
5G technology is driven by 8 specification requirements:
- Up to 10Gbps data rate - > 10 to 100x speed improvement over 4G and 4.5G networks
- 1-millisecond latency
- 1000x bandwidth per unit area
- Up to 100x number of connected devices per unit area (compared with 4G LTE)
- 99.999% availability
- 100% coverage
- 90% reduction in network energy usage
- Up to 10-year battery life for low power IoT device
How fast is 5G?
5G speed tops out at 10 gigabits per second (Gbps).
5G is 10 to x100 faster than what you can get with 4G.
What makes 5G faster? Good question!
According to communication principles, the shorter the frequency, the larger the bandwidth.
The use of shorter frequencies (millimeter waves between 30GHz and 300GHz) for 5G networks is why 5G can be faster. This high-band 5G spectrum provides the expected boost not only in speed but also in capacity, low latency, and quality.
However,5G download speed
may differ widely by area.
According to the February 2020 issue of Fortune Magazine, average 5G speed measures done in Q3/Q4 2019 range from:
- 220 megabytes per second (Mbps) in Las Vegas,
- 350 in New York,
- 380 in Los Angeles,
- 450 in Dallas,
- to 550 Chicago,
- and over 950 in Minneapolis and Providence approximatively.
That's 10 to 50 times more than 4G LTE.
Here are some other examples of download and upload speeds you can expect with 5G.
Some download and upload 5G speed tests in Australia, America, and China (April 2020)
But here is the part where you understand 5G is a lot more than that.
What is 5G low latency?
5G technology offers an extremely low latency rate, the delay between the sending and receiving of information. From 200 milliseconds for 4G, we go down to 1 millisecond(1ms) with 5G.
Just think about it.
A millisecond is 1/1000 of a second.
The average reaction time for humans to a visual stimulus is 250 ms or 1/4 of a second. People are capped at around 190-200 ms with proper training.
Imagine now that your car could react 250 times faster than you.
Imagine it could also respond to hundreds of incoming information and can also communicate its reactions back to other vehicles and road signals all within milliseconds.
At 60 mph (100km/h), the reaction distance is about 33 yards (30 meters) before you pull on the brakes. With a 1ms reaction time, the car would only have rolled a bit more than one inch (less than 3 centimeters).
Use cases associated with low latency are:
So, let's see what makes 5G so different from 4G.
5G vs. 4G - What is the difference?
The 5th generation of wireless networks addresses the evolution beyond mobile internet to massive IoT (Internet of Things) from 2019/2020.
The main evolution compared with today’s 4G and 4.5G (LTE advanced) is that, beyond data speed improvements, new IoT and critical communication use cases will require a new level of improved performance.
- For example, low latency provides real-time interactivity for services using the cloud: this is key to the success of self-driving cars, for example.
- 5G vs. 4G also means at least x100 devices connected. 5G must be able to support 1 million devices for 0.386 square miles or 1 Km2.
- Also, low power consumption is what will allow connected objects to operate for months or years without the need for human assistance.
Unlike current IoT services that make performance trade-offs to get the best from current wireless technologies (3G, 4G, WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, etc.), 5G networks will be designed to bring the level of performance needed for massive IoT.
It will enable a perceived, entirely ubiquitous connected world.
In short, that’s what makes it transformational.
5G and the previous mobile generations at a glance
In the last four decades, mobile phones, more than any other technology, have quietly changed our lives forever.
Do you remember how much you loved your 2G Nokia 3310?
- 1G, the first generation of telecom networks (1979), let us talk to each other and be mobile
- 2G digital networks (1991) let us send messages and travel (with roaming services)
- 2.5G and 2.75G brought some improvement to data services (GPRS and EDGE)
- 3G (1998) brought a better mobile internet experience (with limited success)
- 3.5G brought a truly mobile internet experience, unleashing the mobile apps eco-system
- 4G (2008) networks brought all-IP services (Voice and Data), a fast broadband internet experience, with unified networks architectures and protocols
- 4 G LTE ( for Long Term Evolution), starting in 2009, doubled data speeds
- 5G networks expand broadband wireless services beyond mobile internet to IoT and critical communications segments
Virtual networks (5G slicing) tailored to each use case.
5G will support all communication needs from low power Local Area Network (LAN) – like home networks, for example, to Wide Area Networks (WAN), with the right latency/speed settings.
The way this need is addressed today is by aggregating a broad variety of communication networks (WiFi, Z-Wave, LoRa, 3G, 4G, etc.)
And 5G is smarter.
5G is designed to allow simple virtual network configurations to align network costs with applications needs better.
This new approach will allow 5G Mobile Network operators to catch a larger piece of the IoT market pie by delivering cost-effective solutions for low-band, low-power applications.
What are the real 5G use cases?
Each new generation wireless network came with all new set of new usages.
The next coming 5G will make no exception and will be focused on IoT and critical communications applications.
In terms of the schedule, we can mention the following uses cases over time:
- Fixed wireless access (from 2018-2019 onwards)
- Enhanced mobile broadband with 4G fall-back (from 2019-2020-2021)
- Massive M2M / IoT (from 2021-2022)
- Ultra low-latency IoT critical communications (from 2024-2025)
Some critical applications like self-driving cars require very aggressive latency (fast response time) while they do not require fast data rates.
Conversely, enterprise cloud base services with massive data analysis will require speed improvements more than latency improvements.
When is 5G coming?
Where is 5G technology in terms of roll-out, standardization, and how long will this take?
- End of June 2020, 87 mobile operators have launched commercial 5G services in 39 countries across all continents, according to the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA).
In short, 2019 is when 5G lifts off, and 2020 is when 5G networks and 5G phones are available en masse for the users.
Which brings us to our next point.
New 5G phones in 2020 - 5G for all?
As of September 2020, 444 5G devices have been announced, from which 222 are already commercially available (GSA October report).
ATT has launched fifteen 5G phones by October 2020 in the U.S.
We can count on twenty 5G devices this year from Verizon. Some will be priced below $600.
At the Consumer Electronics Show, at least two companies revealed new 5G phones that will cost less than $500. These lower-cost phones will help make 5G more affordable for many of us.
Similarly, Samsung has released its new Galaxy S line of phones in San Francisco. These new devices are also likely to have a lower price point than the company’s current 5G phone line.
On 13 October 2020, Apple has released its long-awaited 5G-compliant iPhone. All four iPhone 12 models support 5G.
The four models support the three types of 5G services based on different frequencies: the "low-band", the "mid-band", and mmWave, (millimeter wave, the fastest).
Which 5G service should you get?
Well, it all depends on where you live.
How fast will 5G take-up be?
The projected adoption rate for 5G differs drastically from all previous generation networks (3G, 4G).
While previous technology was driven by mobile internet usage and the availability of “killer apps,” 5G is expected to be mainly driven by new IoT usages, such as connected and self-driving cars, for example.
Globally, the number of 5G users
worldwide is foreseen to explode from less than 200 million in 2019 to 1,02 Billion in 2023 (Fortune Feb. 2020).
- According to a June 2019 report from Ericsson, 5G will reach 45% population coverage and 1.9 billion subscriptions by 2024, making it the fastest generation ever to be rolled out on a global scale.
What are the implications of 5G for mobile operators?
5G is still a cellular broadband technology and is a network of networks.
MNOs' expertise and knowledge in building and operating networks will be crucial to the success of 5G.
Beyond providing network services, MNOs will be able to develop and operate new IoT services.
Implementing 5G networks while keeping 3G and 4G networks operational will likely trigger a new challenge for MNOs regarding the ability of frequencies in the spectrum (mainly if the forecasted massive volume on IoT occurs).
MNOs will need to operate a new spectrum in the 6 to 300 GHz range (typical 5G bandwidth), which means massive network infrastructure investments.
To reach the 1ms latency goal, 5G networks imply connectivity for the base station using optical fibers.
On the cost savings side, 5G networks are planned to support virtual networks such as low power low throughput (LPLT) networks for low-cost IoT. Unlike today where LORA networks address that need, separately from 4G.
What does 5G mean for consumers?
5G for consumers means not just faster mobile internet, but mainly internet connectivity in many more objects than what you see today.
The car and the house are two examples of the big IoT revolution coming ahead, supported by 5G networks.
Samsung and other Android OEMs have introduced the first 5G smartphones in 2019. 148 5G phones are already commercially available, according to the GSA October 2020 report.
5G SIM cards are making their debut in 2019 and 2020.
Will 5G technology be secure?
4G networks use the USIM application to perform strong mutual authentication between the user and his/her connected device and the networks.
The entity hosting the USIM application can be a removable SIM card or an embedded UICC chip.
This strong mutual authentication is crucial to enable trusted services. Today, security solutions are already a mix of security at the edge (device) and security at the core (network).
Several security frameworks may co-exist in the future, and 5G is likely to re-use existing solutions used today for 4G networks and the cloud (SEs, HSM, certification, Over-The-Air provisioning, and KMS).
The standard for strong mutual authentication for 5G networks was finalized in 2018.
The need for 5G security, privacy, and trust will be as strong as for 4G, if not stronger, with the increased impact of IoT services.
Local SEs in devices can not only secure network access but also support secure services such as emergency call management and virtual networks for IoT.
Webinar: Maximize your 5G security without compromising performance.
Date: October 28, 2020 - Time: 12:00 noon EST | 5.00pm GMT
5G connectivity promises to break traditional paradigms of data delivery by providing network connectivity virtually everywhere. New business opportunities are driving data in motion security requirements to include network transparency, low latency, high-level bandwidth, consistency in delivery and complete interoperability.
To accommodate this new paradigm in data delivery, the build out of 5G infrastructures is underway and older, more traditional data in motion security methods are no longer viable solutions to meet these diverse 5G requirements. Additionally, these older technologies cannot meet today’s challenges of auditable compliance and the quantum threat challenges of the not-so-distant future. Security, performance, interoperability, and auditable compliance are just a few of the 5G challenges that require immediate attention.
It is clear that there is a need for a more intelligent data in motion security solution that can accommodate the diverse range of 5G use cases
Join Thales & TATA Consultancy Services (TCS) on Oct 28 to learn about the security challenges and solutions for 5G data in motion.
- Thales - Chen Arbel, VP Business Development, 5G & Cloud Security
- Thales - Joe Warren - Director Business Development, Network Security
- TCS - Dr. Sundeep Oberoi, Global Head of Cybersecurity
- TCS - Preshant Deo, Lead, Network Security CoE
How will 5G impact roaming?
While traveling abroad, 5G users will be able to enjoy 5G roaming experience on visited networks seamlessly. A fall-back to 3G-4G will be guaranteed.
How will 5G boost the commercialization of IoT devices relying on cellular rather than Wi-Fi technology?
Wi-Fi wireless is a “Local Area Network” technology, limited in operating range and very limited in speed and latency.
Many IoT services are demanding more ubiquity, more mobility, and more performance speed-wise and response time-wise. 5G will truly unleash a real IoT eco-system.
How will 5G networks & use cases change the world?
The “perception” of speed, instantaneous response time, and performance for IoT will become a reality thanks to 5G.
For example, the well-expected success of self-driving cars will only be possible when 5G networks are available.
Now it's your turn
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