When we wear clothing that connects to the Internet and buy cars without a driver we will need a better Internet connection.
For when we wear clothing that connects to the internet, we buy cars without drivers that talk to each other to avoid accidents and use smart trash cans that warn us when they are full, we will need a much better internet connection.
That is why the global race to develop 5G, the fifth generation of mobile connection, is already underway, and the scientists who run it are very enthusiastic because this time it will make everything different.
The 5G connection will allow a world of intelligent and interconnected cities, remote robot surgeries and the Internet immersion of things (IoT), that is, the digital interconnection of all our everyday objects.
This scenario will be common in just six years: scientists, governments and communications companies research and make plans to start using 5G from 2020.
By then experts estimate that the number of connections we have today will have multiplied by 10.
A speed of 800 Gbps would be equivalent to downloading 800 movies in HD in a single second.
“Earlier it was said that by 2020 there would be 50 billion devices connected to the internet, now that figure is believed to be cautious,” Sara Mazur, director of Research at Ericsson, one of the communications companies leading the Development of 5G.
According to Mazur, the 4G connection can not support that connectivity demand because it was not designed to do so.
Greater speed and greater capacity
When Samsung announced in 2013 that it was experimenting with 5G at 1 Gygabite per second (Gbps), the media reported excited that users could download a movie in HD in just one second.
Now, Professor Rahim Tafazolli, who heads the 5G Innovation Center at the University of Surrey, England, believes that in the future it will be possible to have a wireless data connection at 800 Gigas per second, that is, a connection 100 times more Faster than the 5G connections being tested today.
A speed of 800 Gbps would be equivalent to downloading 800 movies in HD in a single second. But in addition to fast, our future connection in 5G should have a greater capacity.
Increasing the capacity of a network is the equivalent of enlarging a road by tunnel. If you add lanes, more vehicles can pass.
The 4G connection will not be able to meet demand by 2020.
It is also important to put some order on the road: for example, designate certain lanes for long distance transport and leave others for local traffic.
Therefore, with the 5G connection, different frequency bands will be established to cope with the demand.
That gigantic increase in demand will be the result of the boom of inanimate objects connected to the internet, or the internet of things.
In addition, “unbreakable”
Another crucial feature of 5G should be that it can not fail.
“It will have the reliability we currently have with fiber optic connections,” says Sara Mazur. Advances in antenna technology augur the end of sudden connection cuts. That feature will be essential for safety.
Companies such as China’s Huawei are already talking about using 5G to allow communication between cars without drivers and between them and the infrastructure that surrounds them.
In addition, services such as intelligent transport or remote surgeries, in which a human remotely uses a robot to perform complicated operations, will depend on the reduction of the latency periods, that is, the delay times between the action and the answer.
Ericsson predicts that the latency period of 5G will rotate around the millisecond, that is, it will be imperceptible to the human being and will be 50 times lower than the 4G period.
Ericsson predicts that the latency period of 5G will rotate around the millisecond, that is, it will be imperceptible to the human being and will be 50 times lower than that of 4G.
A little school lesson …
To understand how the 5G connection works, it is crucial to understand the concept of “harmonization of frequency bands”. The data are transmitted by radio frequencies, which are divided into different bands.
Frequency bands are frequency ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum assigned to different uses within radio communications.
For example, some bands are for the sending of aeronautical and maritime signals, others for television transmissions, others for data.
The use of these bands may change from one location to another and is regulated by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and may vary by location.
According to Ed Ram, a BBC technology journalist, the spectrum of frequency bands is “a mess” and this “has caused problems with connection speed and reliability.”
So to pave the way to the 5G, the ITU is reshaping in depth the parts of the radio frequencies used for data transmission, while allowing the continued use of existing 3G and 4G communications.
At what price?
Ericsson and Huwaei say that for now it is not known how much the 5G connection will cost. It can not be calculated until the product development phase begins. Even so, there are already initiatives to bring the results of research to the market.
In South Korea, which was already a pioneer in the development of 4G, Samsung hopes to launch a temporary network test in 5G in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
And Huawei competes to implement their own version of 5G connection in Moscow during the Soccer World Cup, also in 2018.
The good news is that, despite the rivalry and the huge sums of money that these companies are investing in research and development, they are generally collaborating to offer a 5G connection.
And that opens the door for an unparalleled development of new technologies. “That, until the 6G connection, by 2040,” said Tafazolli.