Typically when a new mobile wireless technology comes along (like 5G), it’s assigned a higher radio frequency. For instance, 4G occupied the frequency bands up to 20 MHz. In the case of 5G, it will likely sit on the frequency band up to 6GHz. The reason new wireless technologies occupy higher frequencies is because they typically aren’t in use and move information at a much faster speed. The problem is that higher frequency signals don’t travel as far as lower frequencies, so multiple input and output antennas (MIMOs) will probably be used to boost signals anywhere 5G is offered.
4G is delivering impressive real-world performance. In the right locations (namely big cities) average 4G speeds of more than 15Mb - twice that of 3G. But 5G promises something much, much faster.
But speed is only part of the story. If 4G can achieve a downstream rate of hundreds of megabits outside of lab conditions then the promise of 5G being 100x faster is - while still impressive - not such a big selling point. For the average person there isn’t a lot you can do with a 1Gb mobile connection that can’t be achieved with a few hundred megabits.
Much of the work on 5G is instead focused on building a more intelligent and power efficient network; one that will be capable of handling the demands of a future where trillions of devices are connected to the internet.
5G also will expand to new business models to support different types of customers and partnerships. Operators will be able to support vertical industries by configuring individual networks to actual user requirements. Furthermore, 5G will use new network technologies and infrastructures to provide the actual capacities needed to humans and machines.
A new mobile technology enters the markets about every ten years on average. If this cycle repeats itself, 5G should be ready by the year 2020. That is also the timeline of the various organizations involved in the development and standardization of 5G.
In addition, 5G services will complement and largely outperform the current operational capabilities for wide-area systems, reaching high-performance indicators: such as guaranteed user data rate everywhere of 50 Mbps, aggregate service reliability of at least 99,999 percent, and the ability to serve over 7 billion people. Other benchmarks include:
• Mobility support at speeds ≥ 500 km/h for ground transportation
• Airplane connectivity – 80 per plane,60 airplanes per 18.000 sqkm
• Accuracy of outdoor terminal location of less than one meter
This makes clear that 5G is not just another generation of mobile networks; it represents a whole new network concept that will enable ubiquitous access for cooperative, cognitive, and heterogeneous wireless resources, with fixed optical access reaching at least the 10 Gbps range. In addition it will make possible new functions and functionalities that will allow simplified and unified control. There is a shared awareness among stakeholders that the development of new communication networks will depend on the emergence of globally accepted standards for interoperability, offering economies of scale with affordable cost for system deployers and end users.