With the new 5th Generation mobile technology expected to launch in the UK by 2020, an exciting time lies ahead of us. The world has yet to understand the full impact of its global introduction and to what extent 5G will dramatically transform and impact our lives, but while most comment so far on 5G has focused on the promise of higher speed, there is a wide range of services and applications proposed which will need 5G before they could be cost-effectively made available.
Records show that with investigations and trials, 5G services are set to transform the telecoms sector significantly including offering consumers’ faster broadband ahead of the current availability of 4G. Research by Professor Tafazolli at the 5G Innovation Centre at University of Surrey has predicted that it is possible to run a wireless data connected at 800Gbps, over 100 times faster than current 5G testing. Those speeds will allow you to download multiple high definition films within seconds, making streaming issues no more.
Qualcomm has recently announced its newest modem for mobile devices, Snapdragon X50 5G that is designed to support the next generation mobile networks. This modem chipset that will support operation in millimeter wave spectrum, initially in the 28GHz band (where Europe looks likely to adopt 26GHz), will provide an immediate connection between the customer and the cloud, opening up the potentials of a new generation of applications and services. Qualcomm plans to deliver the modem to mobile networks by 2018. Such increased speeds will now mean UK mobile networks will have to begin their transition into 5G and cope with the large increase in demand for telecommunications.
Professor Tafazolli also forecasts that deployment of 5G will will drive the creation of true IoT ecosystems, creating the communication channels that will link people, cars, sensors, infrastructure and businesses.
5G's development is also being evolved to support a wide range of machine-to-machine and IoT applications. These applications will then help enable and enhance connected and autonomous vehicles including self-driving cars and place them into everyday situations. Intel has recently developed an GOTM Automotive 5G Platform, the industry’s first 5G-ready platform and complete end-to-end system for autonomous driving. This will allow car manufacturers to develop and test a wide range of use cases and applications ahead of the launch of 5G, where it looks like fully autonomous vehicles will arrive around the same time that 5G starts to be rolled out i.e. 2020.
5G will help deliver a safer, more convenient self-driving experience. Data is at the core of autonomous vehicles and connectivity is fundamental to their operation. 5G will enable the large quantities of data generated by these vehicles to be uploaded in real time, supporting navigation and enabling reaction to sudden changes in environment. Additionally 5G can positively improve safety and travel on the roads. Exchanging data with nearby vehicles to avoid collisions or setting up platoons to navigate intersections when there are no traffic lights.
5G services will certainly be fundamental to our future energy systems including energy supply but also consumption Smart devices connected through 5G networks will be able to help control energy demand and reduce energy costs. With increased speed and connectivity, we will be able to expose new sources of data and increasingly interconnect a variety of different technologies and services. 5G could support predict and prevent maintenance of grid assets, minimizing instance and impact of failure. There are also opportunities to enhance demand flexibility allowing homes, cities and countries to reduce consumption at times of peak demand or make use of excess renewable consumption.
ZTE released the Blue Pillar Smart Streetlamp solution that enables a standard streetlamp to double as a 4G/5G Base Transceiver Station (BTS) and a charging point for electric vehicles. The solution also collects local data on weather, environment, transportation and security while its LED screen can be used to display information and advertising.
Looking to the way in which 5G can support the smart grid, Huawei have recently announced at the PT Expo China 2017 a new 5G network slicing application. The application can be customised to requirements and determine how 5G can help regain power within a certain area where power lines have been damaged or power has been lost. This is a great example of how 5G can support smart distribution networks and how it can ensure for a secure, reliable, and stable operation on the power grid as a whole.
We are still uncertain as to what exactly 5G will become until there is official testing. For now, techUK welcomes the Government's strategy and ambition for the UK to be a global leader in 5G and is excited to see the opportunities and transformations unfold in the UK and around the world and the major impact it will have in the future.