No one is talking about it very much, but the introduction of fifth generation (5G) wireless technology is worth putting into your planning horizon.
My sense is that it can be a game changer for almost every business model. That’s the conclusion from recent conversations with several West Coast thought leaders and a recent IEEE article.
In a nutshell, 5G portends to be a big deal – much bigger than the jump from 3G to 4G or 4G LTE. What I have learned (EEs will consider this obvious!) is that 5G is not one thing. Rather, it’s a bucket of different technical advances which can be mixed and matched together. We don’t know yet how the global EE community will put this together; what standards they will choose, but drawing from a recent article in an IEEE publication, and a couple of conversations with much smarter people, here’s a snapshot of what could be “in the box” of 5G technologies:
|Comparison to 4G||Explanation/Potential Applications|
|Data Rate||1 Gb/s||20 Gb/s||The maximum transmission data rate (gigabits per second) will be 20 times as fast as 4G LTE, while the average user will experience rates 10 to 100 times as fast.|
|Spectral Efficiency||1.5 k/s/Hz||4.5 b/s/HZ||5G will improve downlink spectral efficiency (bits per second per hertz) threefold.|
|Data Processing||0.1 Mb/s/m||10 Mb/s/m||The network will be able to process 100 times as much data in a given area (megabits per second per square meter).|
|Device Density||100,000/sq. meters||1,000,000/sq. meters||About 900,000 more devices per square kilometer will be able to connect to the network.|
|Mobility||350 km/h||500 km/h||4G can provide data to devices moving at up to 350 kilometers per hour. 5G will provide data to devices moving at up to 500 km/h.|
|Transmission Delay||10 ms||1 ms||5G will have one-tenth the latency (milliseconds) of 4G.|
|4G takes 1 millijoule to transfer a 1,000-bit data packet. 5G will be able to transfer packets 100 times as efficiently.|
* All data from Spectrum North America (IEEE.org), Oct. 2015.