Imagine downloading a HD movie in a matter of seconds or Networked Robots performing surgery under the guidance of a surgeon! Sounds exciting? The incoming 5G technology is laying the foundation for the same i.e. virtual reality, autonomous driving, IoT and smart cities, which means instant communication, safe transportation and accurate surgeries. In comparison to previous wireless network generation, 5G delivers faster speeds and more functionality to our smartphones and other electronic devices.
The history of wireless technology is remarkable. Going down the lane, 1G bought us the very first cellular phone, 2G allowed us to text for the first time. The technology of 3G brought us online and the latest, 4G delivered the speed that we enjoy today. But as more users are coming online, 4G networks are getting congested and have reached their upper limit, leading to slower speeds and disrupting services.
The need for more data in smartphones and other devices, is now leading us towards 5G, which is a next revolution in the field of wireless technology. This technology will be able to handle thousands of incoming and outgoing traffic than today’s network and is expected to be 10 times faster than 4G LTE. However, this wireless technology is still at the development stage and presently, it is based on five brand new technologies.
As for this wave, you must understand that our smartphones and other electronic devices use specific frequency on radio frequency spectrum. Typically, they are between 3 kHz to 6 GHz. But, these frequencies have started to get more crowded as more devices are coming online. In coming future, we might face slower services and more dropped connection.
The only solution to this problem is to open some new space in radio spectrum for the upcoming new devices. Therefore, scientists are researching to broadcast new millimeter waves that fall between 30GHz to 300GHz. But there is a catch! Millimeter waves can’t travel long distance and cannot overcome obstacles coming in their way. They either get absorbed in clouds or get stuck between walls. To avoid this problem, we have got another new technology called small cell.
Today’s wireless network are based on huge, high power cell towers that broadcast signals over long distances. But there is a problem. High frequency millimeter waves cannot travel through hindrances via these high towers. It means if you are behind any obstacles, you will lose your connection. Small cell networks will solve this problem. How? By using thousands of low-power mini base stations, which will be much closer to each other in comparison to traditional towers. It will form a dense network that will act like a relay team. It will receive signals from other base stations and send data to users at any location.
MIMO is the acronym for “Multiple Input and Multiple Output”. 4G base stations are equipped with dozen ports for antennas that handle all cellular traffic. But Massive MIMO base can support thousands of ports, which increases the capacity of network. However, this comes with its own complications. Installing so many antennas to handle cellular traffic causes more interference when those signals cross each other. That’s why 5G stations must incorporate beamforming.
This technology is like a traffic signaling system for cellular signals. Instead of broadcasting in every direction, beamforming will allow a base station to send a focused beam of data to specific users. This procedure prevents interference and is way more efficient as stations could handle more incoming and outgoing data streams at once. For instance, if you stay in a cluster of buildings and try to make a phone call, your signal may crisscross with other user’s signals in the same area and hit the nearby buildings. The MIMO base station will receive all the signals in that area and keep track of timing and direction of their arrival and exchange much more information at once.
If you have ever used a walky-talky, you would be aware that to communicate, you must take turns for talking and listening. That’s kind of a drag. Today’s cellular base stations have the exact set-up i.e. either transmit or receive. With 5G, a transceiver will be able to transmit and receive data at the same time and on the same frequency. Researchers are designing a circuit that can channel incoming and outgoing signals and let antenna transmit and receive data at the same time.
Though this complete procedure is complex, costly and time-taking, the network is expected to launch in 2020. These are some of the technologies that can support the launch of 5G wireless network. What are your thoughts about this incoming technology? Let us know if you like our article through the comments section below.