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5G and Beyond Mobile Wireless Technology

(United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland - Alvin Wei-Cheng Wong)

5G for The Fourth Industrial Revolution and The Future of Connectivity



- Overview

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), deep learning (DL), autonomous systems and neural networks are not just buzzwords and phrases. Increased computing power, more efficient hardware and powerful software, and the explosion of sensor data from the Internet of Things (IoT) Growth - is driving ML and moving actionable data and intelligence to edge devices. 

As AI makes devices including smartphones and cars smarter, mobility is becoming a key platform to improve every aspect of our lives, make an impact on the present and the future.

The mobile market has experienced unprecedented growth over the past few decades. Consumer trends have shifted towards mobile internet services driven by global 3G and 4G networks. Existing networks have problems such as insufficient spectrum, high energy consumption, and inter-cell interference. 

These limitations led to the emergence of 5G technology. 5G is revolutionizing the world today, not only in terms of "fast internet" but in the Internet of Things, self-driving cars, space communications and many others. 

The fifth generation of wireless technology and beyond (5G and Beyond) refers to future generations of wireless communication systems that are designed to support new mobile applications. These applications may require high-quality, low-latency visual, tactile, and audio telepresence, as well as massive capacity.

5G can offer peak data rates of up to 20 Gigabits-per-second (Gbps) and average data rates of over 100 Megabits-per-second (Mbps). It also has lower latency than 4G, with a 10x decrease in end-to-end latency down to 1ms. 

5G's improved connectivity and capacity can benefit areas with high traffic, such as stadiums, cities, and concert venues. It can also enable fixed wireless access (FWA) services that can compete with fixed broadband.

5G is a multimodal environment built on advances in radio frequency (RF) design, photonics, free-space optics, high-throughput satellites, and cognitive radio. It provides both wide-area and local coverage with full mobility, and has end-to-end specifications covering a complete system architecture.

Please refer to the following for more information:


- 5G: Vision for The Next Generation of Connectivity

5G is a core foundation upon which modern societies — their economies and their militaries — will all depend. This network of networks is critical to how industries compete and create value, how people communicate and interact, and how militaries seek safety for their citizens. 5G may be one of the most important networks of the 21st century. This is the very definition of critical infrastructure.

The primary goal of previous generations (3G and 4G) of mobile networks was to provide network users with fast, reliable mobile data services. 5G extends this reach, providing a wide range of wireless services to end users across multiple access platforms and multi-layered networks.

5G is actually a dynamic, coherent, and flexible framework consisting of multiple advanced technologies that support various applications. 5G uses a smarter architecture where the radio access network (RAN) is no longer constrained by the proximity of base stations or complex infrastructure. 5G leads the way towards a decentralized, flexible and virtualized RAN, with new interfaces creating additional data access points.


- 3GPP 5G Releases

5G is an evolving standard. The initial release of 5G came after the Release 15 freeze in late summer 2019. Enhancements were initially introduced in Release 15, with new features added in Release 16 in 2020. More feature enhancements and new features defined in previous releases are part of the Release 17 freeze in mid-2022.

The initial specification for 5G, Release 15, provides the basic architecture of 5G and addresses issues including the well-known Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Ultra-Reliable and Low-Latency Communications (URLLC), and a host of Machine-Type Communications (MTC). Versions 16 and 17 focus on enhancing these use cases, especially URLLC and mMTC.


- 5G: A Multi-modal Environment

5G is the new global wireless standard following 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G networks. 5G enables a new type of network designed to connect almost everyone and everything, including machines, objects and devices. 5G is the next stage in the evolution of global communication networks. It is not a single technology, but a multimodal environment built on advances in radio frequency (RF) design, photonics, free-space optics, high-throughput satellites, and cognitive radio. 

5G will be a multi-modal environment consisting of multiple high-bandwidth, low-latency technologies. This environment will use mmWave wireless connectivity in urban areas, where population and data densities make high-bandwidth, short-range solutions optimal. 

The advantage of mmWave (radio frequency waves above 28 GHz) is that it is very fast and can carry 1000 times more data than the spectrum range currently used for 4G/LTE. On the downside, the waves hardly travel that far or pass through obstacles like buildings. 

To compensate and relay signals around obstacles, small cell antenna arrays need to be more densely distributed than current cell towers. These small arrays need to be compact and unobtrusive, such as mounted on top of street lights.


- Base Stations, MIMO, Beamforming, Full-Duplex, and Satellite Broadband

Base stations that move data between fiber-optic backhaul and the wireless "last mile" will use massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology to significantly increase bandwidth by a factor of five or more over current base stations. 

To avoid signal interference from all these extra signals, beamforming will reduce interference by allowing the base station to send a concentrated stream of data to a specific user rather than signal in all directions. 

Full-duplex technology will allow signals to be sent and received at the same time, rather than one after the other, which is the main driver of 5G's expected reduction in latency. Underpinning all of this wireless technology will be next-generation fiber optic backhaul, which utilizes full-duplex technology to transmit large amounts of data over long distances. 

In rural or less densely populated suburbs, satellite broadband will provide part of the solution. Moving between these signals requires cognitive radios that can evaluate signal availability and move seamlessly from one connection to another. This will be made possible by advances in free-space optics, high-speed electronics, and reductions in size, weight, and power (SWaP).


- The Advent of the Intelligent Era

5G networks are part of a nation's critical infrastructure and are designed to be flexible enough to accommodate a wide range of use-case scenarios. To achieve this flexibility, network intelligence and security must be managed through the network. This further increases the complexity of the network. 

Wireless 5G uses a smarter architecture that is no longer limited by distance from base stations or complex infrastructure. 5G is the next generation of cellular networks that promises to meet the insatiable demand for data rates and interconnecting billions of smart devices, enabling not only human-centric but also machine-centric traffic. 

Driven by the rapidly growing demand for responsive connectivity, the industry is working hard to define and introduce next-generation mobile standards. These efforts are already shaping the architectures and technologies that will transform networks and services, encouraging us to change the way we think about connectivity.


- A New Generation of Optical Networks for 5G and Beyond

Regardless of wireless technology, fiber will be the supporting infrastructure for 5G networks and beyond. Next-generation optical networks are needed to unlock the full potential of 5G communications and prepare network infrastructure for beyond 5G communications. 

In 5G, the need for new advanced high-capacity, ultra-reliable, and low-latency services such as autonomous driving or augmented reality is shaping not only wireless/radio development, but higher-level services as well. Layered fiber segments, from access to core.

In the longer term, new and challenging technological directions are emerging beyond 5G (or 6G) that promise to revolutionize the network experience for users (to name a few, multisensory and holographic communication, pervasive machine learning, coordination Heterogeneous access technology, quantum communication). 

Although this is a vision and the exact definition of new services is not clear, future service requirements will be further intensified in terms of capacity, latency, reconfigurability, reliability and security, Simply extending the current operating model of optical networks is not a good idea. options.

A redesign is required to have built-in physical security, sub-linear bandwidth scaling costs, extremely low latency, and reconfigurability. New and potentially disruptive solutions must be investigated at the data and control planes.


- 5G Uses New Spectrum

The question of which spectrum will be used by 5G networks is already quite large, and the answer is slowly becoming clear. When 5G research began, many were excited about the possibility of using mmWave spectrum for 5G. This will be an important part of the solution. In the short term, however, the sub-6 GHz spectrum and mmWave bands are an important part of the equation. 

Release 15 outlines several new sets of spectrum dedicated to new radio (NR) deployments from 2.5 GHz to 44 GHz. 3.3 GHz to 3.8 GHz and 4.4 GHz to 5.0 GHz are two bands that are more directly deployed for mobile use cases and were demonstrated early in the Winter Olympics in February 2018. 

Regulators in the US, Europe and several Asian countries have opened up the spectrum for 5G. The wide bandwidth available in this band is attractive to operators. But spectrum below 50 GHz is just the beginning. Future 3GPP releases may allow the use of spectrum up to 86 GHz. 


(Returning Human Spaceflight To The U.S. at 3:22PM, May, 30, 2020 - SPACEX)

- The 5G Breakthrough Technologies

5G will require a complete overhaul of existing architectures, possibly involving software-defined networking (SDN) setups, multi-access edge computing and, of course, spectrum - auctions have become a battleground between competing providers, and each country will have A version of its own 5G instead of sticking to a globally accepted standard. 

Breakthrough technologies integral to 5G, such as massive MIMO, network slicing, beamforming, and network functions virtualization (NFV), will require the phased deployment of new 5G networks as well as significant investment, expected to cost telecom operators more than 3,000 5G core network deployment over the next ten years.


 - Low, Mid and mmWave Bands

There are many different types of 5G technology that operators will deploy, and in short, it's about more available spectrum and massive capacity. The FCC defines the 5G spectrum as four main frequency bands, the low band between 600-900MHz, the mid-band between 2.5-4.2GHz also known as Sub-6, the frequencies above 24GHz also known as millimeter wave or millimeter wave, and finally That's what it calls unlicensed spectrum, which can be used for a variety of dedicated uses, including 5G. 

In terms of licensed spectrum, the low, mid and millimeter bands will be deployed by various carriers, with T-Mobile and Sprint grabbing a lot of the low and mid bands for longer coverage, while AT&T and Verizon claim higher frequencies for higher coverage speed. 

Ultimately, all of these technologies will co-exist with 4G networks and require 4G networks to initially operate in a 5G NSA (non-standalone) implementation and then be deployed independently. There's a lot to digest and unpack here, but what's really important about 5G is its massive strides in capacity, lower latency, and throughput.


- 4G LTE Will Coexist with 5G in Foreseeable Future

5G is not much different from 4G. The real change was the move from circuit tunneling using PPP sessions to a local IP packet forwarding system, which was the main change from 3G to 4G. 5G looks roughly the same as 4G, with the basic difference being that 5G's radio frequencies are shifted upward. Initial 5G deployments used 3.8Ghz carriers, but were designed to go into the millimeter-wave band from 24Ghz to 84Ghz.

With the introduction of 5G, 2G networks have been retired, and with the introduction of 5G, 3G networks are shutting down. However, we can be sure that 4G and 5G networks will coexist for many years. Carrier aggregation technology is critical in this coexistence as it allows mobile network operators (MNOs) to combine different 4G operators with 4G operators or 4G operators with 5G operators.

4G networks will be around for years, the technology will have many uses, and there will be no point in deploying 5G. Mobile network operators will continue to use 4G to provide primary connectivity for all their customers. Instead, mobile network operators will use 5G to provide more robust services at specific sites with higher traffic demands. 

When we think about 5G, we're not only thinking about how we're going to use the technology, but where we're going to use 5G. 4G is great in many ways, but some applications need 5G to work better, like streaming mobile games or Ultra HD video. Virtual reality or augmented reality devices also require 5G.


- 5G Use Cases and Industry Applications

Understanding the importance of 5G technology is only part of understanding the application of 5G across all technologies and industries. Due to its speed -- much faster than today's 4G LTE networks -- and its reliability and security, the adoption of 5G technology could spread widely.

Next-generation wireless 5G network capabilities offer the potential for revolutionary applications well beyond smartphones and other mobile devices. A range of new 5G use cases and applications merging connectivity, intelligent edge and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies will benefit everyone from gamers to governments.

The move to 5G continues the natural progression of cellular innovations dating back to the early 1980s. But the economic impact of the promise of 5G makes this evolution the most important. 5G is different from all its "G" predecessors in many ways. 

5G is not just a network, but an ecosystem supporting vertical applications and industries, supported by three use cases: eMBB (Enhanced Mobile Broadband), URLLC/uMTC (Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communication/Ultra Reliable Machine Type Communication) and mMTC (Massive Machine Type Communication) (mMTC).

Currently, 5G is not necessarily defined as a stand-alone system; instead, transitional technologies including LTE Advanced and LTE Advanced Pro are being implemented to combine bandwidth and increase device speed across multiple frequencies before being fully offloaded to 5G infrastructure. 

Deployments in the 450 MHz - 6 GHz and 4 GHz - 52 GHz ranges are underway. We can expect a gradual rollout as telecom providers build, test and release the architecture needed to facilitate 5G, and dependencies on existing 4G infrastructure are stripped away.

5G speed is real-time data transfer. The high-frequency bands known as millimeter waves don't travel very far -- in many cases, just a few blocks from a base station -- but they can carry a lot of data. 

Download speeds of available frequency bands can reach 2 gigabits per second, allowing you to download entire movies almost instantly. The 5G era will bring unprecedented opportunities for change to all walks of life.



[More to come ...]

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