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What is 5G?

What is 5G?
May 21, 2019 Mike Watson

Introduction

5G has been in the news a lot recently but what is it? We look past the hype and explain what 5G is; what its benefits are; when it’s coming and whether there is anything that affects developers of large urban and/or renewables projects.

what is 5G?

Fig 1: 5G Technology will vastly increase the number of interconnected devices around the world

In Brief

5G is a new mobile phone and data technology. Compared to 4G technology it offers:

  • Much higher data rates – Full HD films downloaded in a few seconds – Faster than Wifi
  • Much shorter response times – Web pages appear to respond instantly rather than having a delay of a couple of seconds
  • Much greater reliability – reliable enough to allow self-driving cars to communicate with each other automatically
  • Flexible architecture that lets organisations build their own private networks using publicly accessible 5G services

These massive improvements will enable a whole range of new services and applications – many of which are yet to be envisaged. In a few years most new devices and equipment will be capable of communicating worldwide. This is often referred to as the Internet of Things.

When is it coming?

Initially the technology requires allocated radio spectrum; new mobile devices and new base stations. 5G has already been launched in selected cities in the United States and South Korea. Swisscom launched the first European service in April with rollout in the UK commencing in some of our major cities from July 2019.

Europe’s first 5G mobile phone was the Oppo Reno 5G. Most readers in Europe may have not have heard of Oppo but they are big in Asia. 

In numbers – 3G, 4G and 5G compared

Parameter (Typical values) 3G 4G 5G
Year first deployed 2004 2006 2019
Data Rate (megabits per second) 0.384 100 1,000
Latency (milliseconds) 100 40 5

Which UK cities are due to get 5G in 2019?

  • Belfast (O2, EE)
  • Birmingham (Vodafone, EE)
  • Bristol (Vodafone)
  • Cardiff (Vodafone, O2, EE)
  • Edinburgh (O2, EE)
  • Glasgow (Vodafone)
  • Liverpool (Vodafone)
  • London (Vodafone, O2, EE)
  • Manchester (Vodafone, EE)
  • Portsmouth (Vodafone)
  • Southampton (Vodafone)
  • Stoke (Vodafone)
  • Wolverhampton (Vodafone)

Launch 5G Devices

Interestingly there won’t be a 5G iPhone until late 2020 and no significant volume of them until 2021. Samsung, however, already has its Galaxy S10 5G available for US customers. Others set to launch in 2019 include LG, Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi. US Company Qualcomm is set to be leading supplier of data chipsets for 5G devices.

Economic Impact

The World Economic Forum states:

We believe 5G will change the world even more profoundly than 3G and 4G; that it will be as revolutionary as electricity or the automobile, benefitting entire economies and entire societies.

and

Economists estimate the global economic impact of 5G in new goods and services will reach $12 trillion by 2035 as 5G moves mobile technology from connecting people to people and information, towards connecting people to everything.

How will developers be affected?

5G is a resilient technology which has in-built technologies for dealing with interference from various sources. This has to be balanced with the fact that the demand for 5G services and the importance of the data crossing the 5G network will increase massively.

There will be cases where developments of new buildings and structures has an adverse impact on 5G telecommunications services and devices.

How can Pager Power help?

Pager Power undertakes technical assessments for the developers of tall buildings, solar parks and wind turbines. We can help determine whether mobile coverage will be sufficient for the occupants of new buildings and we can also help predict likely interference levels arising from new building and infrastructure developments.

References

https://www.oppo.com/en/smartphone-reno-5g/
https://www.wired.co.uk/article/internet-of-things-what-is-explained-iot
https://5g.co.uk/guides/what-is-5g/
https://www.qualcomm.com/invention/5ghttps://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/01/the-world-is-about-to-become-even-more-interconnected-here-s-how/

Image accreditation: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/communication-internet-1439187/

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