5G

5G
5th generation mobile network (5G) logo.jpg
3GPP's 5G logo
IntroducedApril 2019 (2019-04)

5G is generally seen as the fifth generation cellular network technology that provides broadband access. The industry association 3GPP defines any system using "5G NR" (5G New Radio) software as "5G", a definition that came into general use by late 2018. Others may reserve the term for systems that meet the requirements of the ITU IMT-2020, which represents more nations. 3GPP will submit their 5G NR to the ITU. [1] It follows 2G, 3G and 4G and their respective associated technologies (such as GSM, UMTS, LTE, LTE Advanced Pro, etc.).

The first fairly substantial deployments were in April 2019. In South Korea, SK Telecom claimed 38,000 base stations, KT Corporation 30,000 and LG U Plus 18,000; of which 85% are in six major cities.[2] They are using 3.5 GHz (sub-6) spectrum in non-standalone (NSA) mode and tested speeds were from 193 to 430 Mbit/s down.[3] 260,000 signed up in the first month and the goal is 10% of phones on 5G by the end of 2019.[4]

Verizon opened service on a very limited number of base stations in the US cities of Chicago and Minneapolis using 400 MHz of 28 GHz millimeter wave spectrum in NSA mode. Download speeds in Chicago were from 80 to 900 Mbit/s. Upload speeds were from 12 to 57 Mbit/s. The round-trip delay time was 25 milliseconds.[5] It was reported in May 2019 that Verizon's 5G service would regularly hit 1 Gbit/s in some locations. [6][7]

Five companies sell 5G radio hardware and 5G systems for carriers: Huawei, ZTE, Nokia, Samsung, and Ericsson.[8][9][10][11][12][13]

Overview

5G networks are digital cellular networks, in which the service area covered by providers is divided into a mosaic of small geographical areas called cells. Analog signals representing sounds and images are digitized in the phone, converted by an analog to digital converter and transmitted as a stream of bits. All the 5G wireless devices in a cell communicate by radio waves with a local antenna array and low power automated transceiver (transmitter and receiver) in the cell, over frequency channels assigned by the transceiver from a common pool of frequencies, which are reused in geographically separated cells. The local antennas are connected with the telephone network and the Internet by a high bandwidth optical fiber or wireless backhaul connection. Like existing cellphones, when a user crosses from one cell to another, their mobile device is automatically "handed off" seamlessly to the antenna in the new cell.

There are plans to use millimeter waves for 5G.[14] Millimeter waves have shorter range than microwaves, therefore the cells are limited to smaller size; The waves also have trouble passing through building walls.[15] Millimeter wave antennas are smaller than the large antennas used in previous cellular networks. They are only a few inches (several centimeters) long. Another technique used for increasing the data rate is massive MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output).[15] Each cell will have multiple antennas communicating with the wireless device, received by multiple antennas in the device, thus multiple bitstreams of data will be transmitted simultaneously, in parallel. In a technique called beamforming the base station computer will continuously calculate the best route for radio waves to reach each wireless device, and will organize multiple antennas to work together as phased arrays to create beams of millimeter waves to reach the device.[15][16]

The new 5G wireless devices also have 4G LTE capability, as the new networks use 4G for initially establishing the connection with the cell, as well as in locations where 5G access is not available.[17]

5G can support up to a million devices per square kilometer, while 4G supports only 4000 devices per square kilometer.[18]

Usage scenario

The ITU-R has defined three main uses for 5G. They are Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC), and Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC).[19] Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) uses 5G as a progression from 4G LTE mobile broadband services, with faster connections, higher throughput, and more capacity. Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communications (URLLC) refer to using the network for mission critical applications that requires uninterrupted and robust data exchange. Massive Machine-Type Communications (mMTC) would be used to connect to a large number of low power, low cost devices, which have high scalability and increased battery lifetime, in a wide area. Neither URLLC nor mMTC are expected to be deployed widely before 2021.

Performance

Speed

5G NR speed in sub-6 GHz bands can be slightly higher than the 4G with a similar amount of spectrum and antennas,[20][21] though some 3GPP 5G networks will be slower than some advanced 4G networks, such as T-Mobile's LTE/LAA network, which achieves 500+ Mbit/s in Manhattan.[22] The 5G specification allows LAA (License Assisted Access) as well but LAA in 5G has not yet been demonstrated. Adding LAA to an existing 4G configuration can add hundreds of megabits per second to the speed, but this is an extension of 4G, not a new part of the 5G standard.[22]

Speeds in the less common millimeter wave spectrum can be substantially higher.

Latency

In 5G, the "air latency" target is 1-4 milliseconds, although the equipment shipping in 2019 has tested air latency of 8-12 milliseconds.[23][24] The latency to the server must be added to the "air latency." Verizon reports the latency on its 5G early deployment is 30 ms.[25]

Standards

Initially, the term was associated with the International Telecommunication Union's IMT-2020 standard, which required a theoretical peak download capacity of 20 gigabits, along with other requirements.[26] Then, the industry standards group 3GPP chose the 5G NR (New Radio) standard together with LTE as their proposal for submission to the IMT-2020 standard.[27][28]

The first phase of 3GPP 5G specifications in Release-15 is scheduled to complete in 2019. The second phase in Release-16 is due to be completed in 2020.[29]

5G NR can include lower frequencies (FR1), below 6 GHz, and higher frequencies (FR2), above 24 GHz. However, the speed and latency in early FR1 deployments, using 5G NR software on 4G hardware (non-standalone), are only slightly better than new 4G systems, estimated at 15 to 50% better.[30][31][32]

IEEE covers several areas of 5G with a core focus in wireline sections between the Remote Radio Head (RRH) and Base Band Unit (BBU). The 1914.1 standards focus on network architecture and dividing the connection between the RRU and BBU into two key sections. Radio Unit (RU) to the Distributor Unit (DU) being the NGFI-I (Next Generation Fronthaul Interface) and the DU to the Central Unit (CU) being the NGFI-II interface allowing a more diverse and cost-effective network. NGFI-I and NGFI-II have defined performance values which should be compiled to ensure different traffic types defined by the ITU are capable of being carried. 1914.3 standard is creating a new Ethernet frame format capable of carrying IQ data in a much more efficient way depending on the functional split utilized. This is based on the 3GPP definition of functional splits. Multiple network synchronization standards within the IEEE groups are being updated to ensure network timing accuracy at the RU is maintained to a level required for the traffic carried over it.

5G NR

5G NR (New Radio) is a new air interface developed for the 5G network.[33] It is supposed to be the global standard for the air interface of 3GPP 5G networks.[34]

Pre-standard implementations

  • 5GTF: The 5G network implemented by American carrier Verizon for Fixed Wireless Access in late 2010s uses a pre-standard specification known as 5GTF (Verizon 5G Technical Forum). The 5G service provided to customers in this standard is incompatible with 5G NR. There are plans to upgrade 5GTF to 5G NR "Once [it] meets our strict specifications for our customers," according to Verizon.[35]
  • 5G-SIG: Pre-standard specification of 5G developed by KT Corporation. Deployed at Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.[36]

Internet of Things

In the Internet of Things (IoT), 3GPP is going to submit evolution of NB-IoT and eMTC(LTE-M) as the 5G technology for the LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) use case.[37]

Deployment

Beyond mobile operator networks, 5G is also expected to be widely utilized for private networks with applications in industrial IoT, enterprise networking, and critical communications.

Initial 5G NR launches will depend on existing LTE (4G) infrastructure in non-standalone (NSA) mode (5G NR software on LTE radio hardware), before maturation of the standalone (SA) mode (5G NR software on 5G NR radio hardware) with the 5G core network.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, the first commercially available smartphone able to connect to a 5G network.[38][39][40]

As of April 2019, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association had identified 224 operators in 88 countries that are actively investing in 5G (i.e. that have demonstrated, are testing or trialling, or have been licensed to conduct field trials of 5G technologies, are deploying 5G networks or have announced service launches).[41] The equivalent numbers in November 2018 were 192 operators in 81 countries.[42] The first country to adopt 5G on a large scale was South Korea, in April 2019.

When South Korea launched its 5G network, all carriers used Samsung, Ericsson and Nokia base stations and equipment, except for LG U Plus, who also used Huawei equipment.[43][44] Samsung was the largest supplier for 5G base stations in South Korea at launch, having shipped 53,000 base stations at the time, out of 86,000 base stations installed across the country at the time.[45]

Spectrum

Large quantities of new spectrum (5G NR frequency bands) have been allocated to 5G[46] in order to support its increased throughput requirements. For example, in July 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the United States freed up vast amounts of bandwidth in underused high-band spectrum for 5G. The Spectrum Frontiers Proposal (SFP) doubled the amount of millimeter-wave unlicensed spectrum to 14 GHz and created four times the amount of flexible, mobile-use spectrum the FCC had licensed to date.[47] In March 2018, European Union lawmakers agreed to open up the 3.6 and 26 GHz bands by 2020.[48]

As of March 2019, there are reportedly 52 countries, territories, special administrative regions, disputed territories and dependencies that are formally considering introducing certain spectrum bands for terrestrial 5G services, are holding consultations regarding suitable spectrum allocations for 5G, have reserved spectrum for 5G, have announced plans to auction frequencies or have already allocated spectrum for 5G use.[49]

5G devices

In March 2019, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association released the industry’s first database tracking worldwide 5G device launches.[50] In it, the GSA identified 23 vendors who have confirmed the availability of forthcoming 5G devices with 33 different devices including regional variants. There were seven announced 5G device form factors: (phones (x12 devices), hotspots (x4), indoor and outdoor customer-premises equipment (x8), modules (x5), Snap-On dongles and adapters (x2), and USB terminals (x1).[51]

In the 5G IoT chipset arena, as of April 2019 there were four commercial 5G modem chipsets and one commercial processor/platform, with more launched expected in the near future.[52]

Technology

New radio frequencies

The air interface defined by 3GPP for 5G is known as New Radio (NR), and the specification is subdivided into two frequency bands, FR1 (below 6 GHz) and FR2 (mmWave),[53] each with different capabilities.

Frequency range 1 (< 6 GHz)

The maximum channel bandwidth defined for FR1 is 100 MHz, due to the scarcity of continuous spectrum in this crowded frequency range. The band most widely being used for 5G in this range is around 3.5 GHz. The Korean carriers are using 3.5 GHz although some millimeter wave spectrum has also been allocated.

Frequency range 2 (> 24 GHz)

The minimum channel bandwidth defined for FR2 is the 50 MHz and the maximum is 400 MHz, with two-channel aggregation supported in 3GPP Release 15. In the U.S., Verizon is using 28 GHz and AT&T is using 39 GHz. 5G can use frequencies of up to 300 GHz. [54] The higher the frequency, the greater the ability to support high data transfer speeds without interfering with other wireless signals or becoming overly cluttered. Due to this, 5G can support approximately 1,000 more devices per meter than 4G.[55]

FR2 Network coverage

5G can use higher frequencies than 4G, and as a result, some 5G signals are not capable of traveling large distances (over a few hundred meters), unlike 4G or lower frequency 5G signals. This requires placing 5G base stations every few hundred meters in order to utilize higher frequency bands. Also, these higher frequency 5G signals cannot easily penetrate solid objects, like cars, trees and walls, because of the nature of these higher frequency electromagnetic waves.[56]

5G on FR2 base station types
(cell types)
Deployment environment Max. number
of users
Output power
(mW)
Max. distance from
base station
Femto cell Homes, businesses Home: 4−8
Businesses: 16−32
indoors: 10−100
outdoors: 200−1000
10s of meters
Pico cell Public areas like shopping malls,
airports, train stations, skyscrapers
64 to 128 indoors: 100−250
outdoors: 1000−5000
10s of meters
Micro cell Urban areas to fill coverage gaps 128 to 256 outdoors: 5000−10000 few 100s of meters
Metro cell Urban areas to provide additional capacity more than 250 outdoors: 10000−20000 100s of meters
Wi-Fi
(for comparison)
Homes, businesses less than 50 indoors: 20−100
outdoors: 200−1000
few 10s of meters

Massive MIMO

Massive MIMO (multiple input and multiple output) antennas increases sector throughput and capacity density using large numbers of antennas and Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO). Each antenna is individually-controlled and may embed radio transceiver components. Nokia claimed a five-fold increase in the capacity increase for a 64-Tx/64-Rx antenna system. The term "massive MIMO" was coined by Nokia Bell Labs researcher Dr. Thomas L. Marzetta in 2010, and has been launched in 4G networks, such as Softbank in Japan.[57]

Of over 562 separate 5G demonstrations, tests or trials globally of 5G technologies, at least 94 of them have involved testing Massive MIMO in the context of 5G.[58]

Edge computing

Edge computing is delivered by cloud computing servers closer to the ultimate user. It reduces latency and data traffic congestion.[59][60]

Small cell

Small cells are low-powered cellular radio access nodes that operate in licensed and unlicensed spectrum that have a range of 10 meters to a few kilometers. Small cells are critical to 5G networks, as 5G's radio waves can't travel long distances, because of 5G's higher frequencies.

Beamforming

Beamforming, as the name suggests, is used to direct radio waves to a target. This is achieved by combining elements in an antenna array in such a way that signals at particular angles experience constructive interference while others experience destructive interference. This improves signal quality and data transfer speeds. Because of the improved signal quality 5G uses beamforming.

Wifi-cellular convergence

One expected benefit of the transition to 5G is the convergence of multiple networking functions to achieve cost, power and complexity reductions. LTE has targeted convergence with Wi-Fi band/technology via various efforts, such as License Assisted Access (LAA; 5G signal in unlicensed frequency bands that are also used by Wi-Fi) and LTE-WLAN Aggregation (LWA; convergence with Wi-Fi Radio), but the differing capabilities of cellular and Wi-Fi have limited the scope of convergence. However, significant improvement in cellular performance specifications in 5G, combined with migration from Distributed Radio Access Network (D-RAN) to Cloud- or Centralized-RAN (C-RAN) and rollout of cellular small cells can potentially narrow the gap between Wi-Fi and cellular networks in dense and indoor deployments. Radio convergence could result in sharing ranging from the aggregation of cellular and Wi-Fi channels to the use of a single silicon device for multiple radio access technologies.

NOMA (non-orthogonal multiple access)

NOMA (non-orthogonal multiple access) is a proposed multiple-access technique for future cellular systems. In this, same time, frequency, and spreading-code resources are shared by the multiple users via allocation of power. The entire bandwidth can be exploited by each user in NOMA for entire communication time due to which latency has been reduced and users' data rates can be increased. For multiple access, the power domain has been used by NOMA in which different power levels are used to serve different users. 3GPP also included NOMA in LTE-A due to its spectral efficiency and is known as multiuser superposition transmission (MUST) which is two user special case of NOMA.[61]

SDN/NFV

Initially, cellular mobile communications technologies were designed in the context of providing voice services and Internet access. Today a new era of innovative tools and technologies is inclined towards developing a new pool of applications. This pool of applications consists of different domains such as the Internet of Things (IoT), web of connected autonomous vehicles, remotely controlled robots, and heterogeneous sensors connected to serve versatile applications.[62] [63][64]

Operation in unlicensed spectrum

Like LTE in unlicensed spectrum, 5G NR will also support operation in unlicensed spectrum (NR-U).[65] In addition to License Assisted Access (LAA) from LTE that enable carriers to use those unlicensed spectrum to boost their operational performance for users, in 5G NR it will support standalone NR-U unlicensed operation which will allow new 5G NR networks to be established in different environments without acquiring operational license in licensed spectrum, for instance for localized private network or lower the entry barrier for providing 5G internet services to the public.[65]

Concerns

Interference problems

Spectrum used by various 5G proposals will be very near that of passive remote sensing such as by weather and Earth observation satellites, particularly for water vapor monitoring. Interference will occur and will potentially be significant without effective controls. An increase in interference already occurred with some prior band usages.[66][67] Interference to satellite operations impairs numerical weather prediction performance with substantially deleterious economic and public safety impacts.[68][69] The concerns prompted US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in February 2019 to urge the FCC to withdraw some spectrum auction proposals, which was rejected.[70]

Espionage concerns

Because of espionage fears on foreign users by Chinese equipment vendors, several countries have taken actions to restrict or eliminate the use of Chinese equipment in their respective 5G networks. Chinese vendors and the Chinese government have denied these claims.

Radiation fears

The development of 5G has stoked fear that radiation effects could cause health risks.[71] In April 2019, the city of Brussels in Belgium blocked a 5G trial because of radiation fears.[72] In Geneva, Switzerland, a planned upgrade to 5G was stopped for the same reason.[73] The Swiss Telecommunications Association (ASUT) has said that studies have been unable to show that 5G frequencies have any health impact.[74]

RT America, a propaganda outlet for the Russian government, has aired programming linking 5G to harmful health effects without scientific support. Several RT stories have warned of health impacts such as "brain cancer, infertility, autism, heart tumors and Alzheimer’s disease" and have spread to hundreds of blogs and websites.[75] Meanwhile, Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered the launch of Russian 5G network in February 2019. Ryan Fox, an executive of a technology firm that tracks disinformation, said, “Russia doesn’t have a good 5G play, so it tries to undermine and discredit ours.” Molly McKew, the head a U.S.-based firm that seeks to counter Russian disinformation, said the Russian government “would really enjoy getting democratic governments tied up in fights over 5G’s environmental and health hazards.”[75][76]

History

  • In April 2008, NASA partnered with Geoff Brown and Machine-to-Machine Intelligence (M2Mi) Corp to develop 5G communications technology.[77]
  • In 2008, the South Korean IT R&D program of "5G mobile communication systems based on beam-division multiple access and relays with group cooperation" was formed.[78]
  • In August 2012, New York University founded NYU WIRELESS, a multi-disciplinary academic research centre that has conducted pioneering work in 5G wireless communications.[79][80][81]
  • On 8 October 2012, the UK's University of Surrey secured £35M for a new 5G research centre, jointly funded by the British government's UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF) and a consortium of key international mobile operators and infrastructure providers, including Huawei, Samsung, Telefonica Europe, Fujitsu Laboratories Europe, Rohde & Schwarz, and Aircom International. It will offer testing facilities to mobile operators keen to develop a mobile standard that uses less energy and less radio spectrum while delivering speeds faster than current 4G with aspirations for the new technology to be ready within a decade.[82][83][84][85]
  • On 1 November 2012, the EU project "Mobile and wireless communications Enablers for the Twenty-twenty Information Society" (METIS) starts its activity towards the definition of 5G. METIS achieved an early global consensus on these systems. In this sense, METIS played an important role of building consensus among other external major stakeholders prior to global standardization activities. This was done by initiating and addressing work in relevant global fora (e.g. ITU-R), as well as in national and regional regulatory bodies.[86]
  • Also in November 2012, the iJOIN EU project was launched, focusing on "small cell" technology, which is of key importance for taking advantage of limited and strategic resources, such as the radio wave spectrum. According to Günther Oettinger, the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society (2014–2019), "an innovative utilization of spectrum" is one of the key factors at the heart of 5G success. Oettinger further described it as "the essential resource for the wireless connectivity of which 5G will be the main driver".[87] iJOIN was selected by the European Commission as one of the pioneering 5G research projects to showcase early results on this technology at the Mobile World Congress 2015 (Barcelona, Spain).
  • In February 2013, ITU-R Working Party 5D (WP 5D) started two study items: (1) Study on IMT Vision for 2020 and beyond, and; (2) Study on future technology trends for terrestrial IMT systems. Both aiming at having a better understanding of future technical aspects of mobile communications towards the definition of the next generation mobile.[88]
  • On 12 May 2013, Samsung Electronics stated that they had developed a "5G" system. The core technology has a maximum speed of tens of Gbit/s (gigabits per second). In testing, the transfer speeds for the "5G" network sent data at 1.056 Gbit/s to a distance of up to 2 kilometers with the use of an 8*8 MIMO.[89][90]
  • In July 2013, India and Israel agreed to work jointly on development of fifth generation (5G) telecom technologies.[91]
  • On 1 October 2013, NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone), the same company to launch world's first 5G network in Japan, wins Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Award at CEATEC for 5G R&D efforts[92]
  • On 6 November 2013, Huawei announced plans to invest a minimum of $600 million into R&D for next generation 5G networks capable of speeds 100 times faster than modern LTE networks.[93]
  • In April 2019, South Korea became the first country to adopt 5G.[94] Just hours later, Verizon launched its 5G services in the United States, and disputed South Korea's claim of becoming the world's first country with a 5G network, because allegedly, South Korea's 5G service was initially launched for just 6 South Korean celebrities so that South Korea could claim the title of having the world's first 5G network.[95] In fact, the three main South Korean telecommunication companies (SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus) added more than 40,000 users to their 5G network on the launch day.[96]

Other applications

Automobiles

5G Automotive Association have been promoting the C-V2X communication technology that will first be deployed in 4G. It provides for communication between vehicles and communication between vehicles and infrastructures.[97]

Automation (factory and process)

5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation - 5G-ACIA promotes 5G for factory automation and process industry.[98]

Public safety

Mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) and mission-critical video and data are expected to be furthered in 5G.[99]

Fixed wireless

Fixed wireless connections intended to replace fixed line broadband (ADSL, Fiber optic, and DOCSIS connections) with 5G connections. [100][101][102]

See also

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External links

Preceded by
4th Generation (4G)
Mobile telephony generations Succeeded by