“Data is the new Oil”, said the richest man in India who also owns a 4G telecom network there. The new age is driven by data and the transfer of it. Live one day without the internet and you will understand this, you probably won’t last the day anyway. An average smartphone user’s day starts with checking his messages just after he disables the alarm. Then the whole day is spent checking mail, uploading selfies, scrolling the news columns, video chat, streaming videos and this goes on till right before he falls asleep. A moderate user with a decent internet pack will use a minimum of 1 Gigabyte of internet data per day.
The internet keeps us all connected to the outside world. You will receive news about things within minutes after they happen. You can see a friend living in another continent using video calls. You can stream movies in the comfort of your home. You can do thousands of things with/on the internet.
All of this becomes possible because of the advancements in communication technology. A good data transfer speed is necessary to enjoy the internet as it is. Buffering videos are equal to slow death for most users, and a video call over a poor network will surely be tormenting. Understanding the need for more and more faster networks, researchers and communication engineers are working their best to make the transfer of data faster.
The current fastest widely used technology is 4G LTE, where LTE stands for Long Term Evolution. It came after the slow 2G network and the faster (yet slower when we look back) 3G network. In most places, 4G costs the same as 3G and is thus a no-brainer upgrade. The speeds are much better, and anyone making a shift will feel it. A 4G supporting device is needed for it, and a majority of the devices still have the 3G SIM slots. This is the only barrier that stands between 4G and the world.
Theoretically, 4G LTE offers speeds of about 150 Mbps. That’s a 500MB file downloaded in under 5 minutes. Along with 4G LTE came another technology called VoLTE which stands for Voice over LTE. Using this technology, voice calls were made using the internet. As this gets implemented, users can make calls and not pay extra for that. The calls had high quality and low noise.
Even though 4G is yet to reach most places, the research, and development for the fifth generation (5G) is already in full swing. This article will be focussed on 5G Wireless Technology.
What is 5G Wireless Technology?
5G is the acronym given to the fifth generation standard in Internet connectivity and communication. It came after 2G, 3G, 4G LTE and 4G LTE-A. The first basic chip design to support 5G was accomplished by the American chip manufacturer, Qualcomm in October 2016.
The basic targets for 5G are higher speeds and lower power consumption. The main aim of 5G Wireless technology is to make the Internet Of Things (IoT) better.
The Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance, an association of mobile operators is the deciding authority when it comes to 5G. They have decided that for the success of 5G, it must be launched by 2020 and companies have invested heavily in making this happen. New processors, basebands, and other chips need to be developed and implemented in the new mobile devices to support 5G wireless technology.
The Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance has also defined the requirements for the 5G standards. They are as follows:
- Data rates of ten megabits per second for ten thousand users
- Data rates of 100 megabits per second for metros
- Hundreds of thousands of connections at a time for devices
- Lower infrastructure costs
- Improved Spectral efficiency
- More supported devices
- Better coverage
- Reduced latency
Extensive research is still going on in this field, and two chipset manufacturers are on the front line. The American chipset manufacturer Qualcomm and the Chinese giant Huawei.
5G wireless technology will use the millimeter wave bands (20 – 60 GHz bands) so as to create a wide bandwidth for radio channels to support data speeds of up to 10 Gbit/s.
Qualcomm 5G: Qualcomm was the first company in the world to announce a chipset that supports 5G. It announced the Snapdragon X50 back in October 2016, the first-ever commercial 5G chipset. It operates the 28 GHz band along with 800 MHz bandwidth support. It can support a maximum download speed of up to 35.46 gigabits per second.
Huawei 5G: Along with M1, another telecommunications giant, Huawei has been testing chipsets running on 5G technology. On January 2017, they conducted a lab trial where they achieved speeds of 35 Gbps using the 73GHz band. On February 2017, Huawei was able to clear the performance tests of 5G radio signals in the 3.5 GHz band.
5G Wireless Technology Will Revolutionize The Internet Content
On every generation of communication, we can see the Internet content changing. When it was the age of the 2G, text ruled the internet. Applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Orkut was popular back then. Images were also used but watching a video over a 2G network was a real pain.
When 3G came people started watching videos and using images extensively. The speeds were much better when compared with 2G, and more and more people started using the internet on their mobile phones. The advent of smartphones was only possible because of the improved state of connectivity.
Then came 4G, the era of videos and GIFs. People can now watch videos without buffering, and the content gets loaded instantaneously. Streaming also became popular, and people now watch live TV, sports matches, Movies via online streaming. Moreover, 4G is affordable now. Unlike 3G which was too costly for a large population when it was released.
When 5G Wireless Technology gets released, it will change the whole of the internet. Videos will become the standard and people will refrain from using the images as media. Video calls will take over voice calls, and new ways of communication could get established. Holograms can get advanced and famous. A hologram is a 3D projection of any object.
The 5G wireless technology is expected to bring in a revolution in the field of Internet Of Things (IoT). IoT refers to interconnecting all kinds of devices via the internet. Devices in a home, on the road, inside vehicles can be connected and controlled remotely. TV, speaker system, High-speed data transfer is necessary to achieve this and 5G is the answer to that.
Maybe teleportation will become possible and it will make use of the high-speed 5G Wireless technology to transfer people and objects from one point to another. Anything is possible if high-speed connectivity is available for it.
With just three years left for the launch of the first 5G chipsets, manufacturers must be spending billions of dollars on its development. This is a highly important area and could affect the lives of billions of people. An affordable high-speed internet connectivity having speeds in the Gbps range will change the whole landscape of the internet. The fact that all of this will happen in our lifetime is something both exciting and exhilarating. We are definitely living in a golden era, an era where data is the oil.
Also published on Medium.