17 May 5G: EMERGING TREND SNAPSHOT BY INFOTECH CONSULTING SERVICES
What is it?
5G, which is the abbreviation for 5th Generation wireless systems, is the latest iteration of wireless network technology. 5G consists of high radio frequencies relying on denser arrays of small antennas and artificial intelligence – a necessity borne from the fact that higher radio frequencies don’t travel as great a distance as lower radio frequencies.
Why is this trend happening?
The hype cycles of technology trends are well known. But even by that aggressive standard, 5G as a technology was over promoted as panacea for all mobile technology limitations, and the accelerator for achieving wide ranging future use cases from cloud to streaming VR to connected cars. However, three clear use cases now exist around which standards are being codified: Enhanced Mobile Broadband, Massive Machine-Type Communications, and Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications are the primary use cases for 5G.
What are the benefits?
Speed: The world has an insatiable need for faster bandwidth. Streaming video is one of the major drivers for growth and to enable HD video streaming, and for cloud based apps to work in use cases like gaming etc., the speed that 5G will deliver is essential. Imagine for a moment, you wish to download the new Star Wars movie in Ultra-HD. With the current wireless network technology, 4G LTE it would take over 10 hours to download (realistic speed not theoretical speed). The very same film could take 5G less than 8 minutes to download.
Powering IoT: Up to 50 billion devices will be connected soon to the Internet of Things bringing innumerable benefits and dramatically changing the way we work, live and play. Speed is not as much a consideration here as density. A Smart City high rise block could have a million connected devices per square kilometer that 5G would need to manage. That is several hundred times the density that is currently possible. With 5G this will happen.
Low latency: Low latency networks have minimal delay. This is critical to any solution dependent on real time streaming of data. Self driving cars will not be possible without this. Industrial Internet of Things applications related to machine control and process also need low latency to meet closed-loop control requirements.
What are the challenges?
5G faces the challenge of standardization since it offers a wide array of services and possible solutions. With heterogeneous networks inevitable, devices from multiple vendors being remotely operated in different geographical locations, and so on. To ensure a delightful user experience standardization needs to happen in the right manner. This is still not done.
Capital investments are also a challenge. Telecoms are at the heart of unlocking trillions of dollars of value for economies using 5G. But Telecommunications is a tough business to be in and asking Service Providers to invest to upgrade infrastructure yet again could slow 5G rollout as they manage that.
Security will be a huge challenge for 5G. The sheer pervasiveness of the network, with multiple stakeholders and amount of connected devices will throw up many security challenges. These will range from DoS attacks on user devices to protecting flash traffic (the sheer number of users and data streams and data volume in real time) to vulnerabilities in signaling storms (Getting applications to misbehave, thus flooding and congesting the control plane of the network).