Jul 5 2019
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”. what’s the big deal with 5G now? In short, we’re finally in a spot where we will start seeing 5G everywhere. If you have been following the tech community, you will have seen that there are a wide number of fixed and test deployments with companies like Qualcomm, Intel, Nokia, Ericson, Samsung and Huawei all getting into the action. We are also seeing new companies like Mimosa Networks making it possible to roll 5G out to both rural and urban locations, paving the way for bullish 5G mobile providers—i.e. ATT and Verizon—to start offering new, cooler, faster, more innovative services for mobile users. It’s an exciting time for 5G and mobile alike. While 2018 was the year that fixed 5G applications found their legs, in 2019,5G finding its way into the upper corner of our Mobile devices, albeit for you iPhone users it is more likely going to be 2020 or later.
5G NR speed in sub-6 GHz bands can be slightly higher than the 4G with a similar amount of spectrum and antennas, 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. 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.
In March 2019, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association released the industry’s first database tracking worldwide 5G device launches. 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). 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.