We discuss the following topics in this blog:
- Moore’s Law about transistors on microchips.
- Brief History of 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G
- Possibilities with 5G deployment.
- What Role will Optical Fibre Play in 5G Technology?
In addition to these topics, we shall also be answering the following FAQs:
- What is 5G NR?
- What is WiFi?
Ever since the first transistor came into existence, technological progress has witnessed a domino effect, increasing capacity and power over time. What happens as a result is that today’s top-of-the-line technology becomes tomorrow’s outdated recyclables.
Think about the cutting-edge technology that existed Ten years ago and compare it with the one that exists today. From being able to phone a friend to emailing, video calling, sharing movies, songs, gaming, and what not on the same device, we have covered a long way. This brings us to the relevance of Moore’s Law.
Do You Know About Moore’s Law?
George Moore’s perception is that the number of transistors on microchips or the computing power of new electronics will double up every two years. It states that while the computational progress will become fast and more efficient over time, we will pay less for it. Although the Law was made years ago, it’s more applicable now than ever before with the arrival of 5G technology.
1G–4G and 5G: A Brief History
What do you call that mini supercomputer that you carry with you all the time? Most people call it a cell phone, but it is much more than that. However, this wasn’t the case with the first cellular communication technology. When cell phones originated and gained popularity in the 1980s, they consisted of 1G technology synonymous with voice only. Moore’s Law didn’t let it stand at that, and the new generation of cellular technology called 2G was born that brought SMS and MMS capabilities into the picture.
This was followed by GPRS and EDGE with limited call/test and data encryption. Faster data transmission, video calls, and mobile internet came into being with the advent of 3G technology. Then came 4G or 4G LTE that allowed us to perform functions we love- HD videos, video conferencing, online gaming, and more. Technology made a forward leap with each new generation. 4G is the standard today, with most cell phones supporting both 3G and 4G technologies. This makes us question: what can be expected with 5G becoming the new standard?
5G and its Untapped Potential
5G is the massive upscaling of network technology to enable fast data transfer speed, like the blink of an eye, bigger opportunities for connectivity, and high bandwidth. It can be thought of as the ‘secret sauce’ that can implement cloud-connected traffic control, connected cars and other vehicles on the road, perform robotic surgeries and make everything that relies on instantaneous response and data analysis live up to its full potential. From emergency responses to healthcare to next-level gaming to smart energy solutions, the possibilities with 5G deployment are virtually limitless.
It is much more than just a faster network. It is the establishment of a new global wireless standard for throughput, speed, and bandwidth. It is the bridge to a new and better future.
Imagine waking up to a world where everything is well-connected, right from cars, to gadgets to home electronics and everything else. It is a world with no internet lags. With top optic fibre cable makers such as STL enabling a wireless 5G world, we aren’t far away from such a world. We are at the cusp of an industrial revolution that hinges on 5G technology, where wireless connectivity is extended beyond smartphones to enhanced machine-to-machine connections. 5G in India has created a lot of thrill and is expected to steer the revolution of IoT besides solving the mobile bandwidth woes.
This has led to a misconception that 5G is a competitor to optical fibre. However, the fact remains that 5G innovation will be driven by fibre which is a crucial empowering element for wireless technology like 5G.
What Role will Optical Fibre Play in 5G Technology?
Small cells or small cellular radios are used by the 5G network for extending mobile network coverage. Numerous small cells need to be deployed at many different locations for building dense 5G networks. Therefore, these cells require a high-speed backhaul. This is where Fibre comes into the picture. Fibre enhances the backhaul capacity of these cells and offers accessibility, density, and flexibility required to support multiple applications required for the future. STL is developing wireless equipment for tapping the opportunity in future 5G deployments.
Fibre is the Backbone
Fibre is the backbone, supporting a robust 5G network. It offers a vigorous infrastructure by enabling a path, running backhaul from the macro site to small cells and rooftop connection points at different locations.
Future-Proof and Secure
Fibre, with its capacity to keep pace with increasing backhaul needs without any distance limitations, is an ideal future-proof solution that will stand the test of time. It is also durable and offers uninterrupted signal, irrespective of electromagnetic fields or temperature which means diminished or no scope of signal loss.
5G is a revolutionary concept that is capable to meet the higher capacity/coverage performance goals and fibre deployment plays a crucial role in building efficient wireless connectivity.
What is 5G NR?
5G typically refers to the fifth generation of wireless technology. NR, commonly known as New Radio, is a standard developed by the 3GPP Group (Release 15 being the first version introduced back in 2018) outlining the technology required to harness the newly-available millimeter-wave frequencies. The two frequency bands in which 5GNR operates are Frequency Range 1, i.e., Sub 6GHz band (410 MHz to 7125 MHz), and Frequency Range 2, i.e., millimeter-wave (24.25 to 52.6 GHz). Over 4G LTE, 5G NR provides better spectrum utilization, faster data rates, hardware efficiency, and improved signal processing.
From a deployment standpoint, we have Non-Standalone Mode(NSA), Dynamic Spectrum Sharing(DSS), and Standalone Mode (SA). The initial deployments of 5G NR are based on NSA standards, meaning the existing 4G LTE network will operate on the control plane, and 5G NR will be introduced to the user plane. This particular standard was introduced by 3GPP, keeping in mind the industry’s push to faster 5G services rollout while utilizing the existing 4G LTE infrastructure currently in place. On the other hand, operators are also implementing Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) to accelerate the deployment cycle, reducing costs and improving spectrum utilization. In this standard, the same spectrum is shared between the 5G NR and 4G LTE, multiplexing over time per user demands. Lastly, we have the Standalone Mode (SA), which moves towards a complete 5G based network where both signaling and the information transfer are driven by a 5G cell.
In the future, 5G will enable new services, connect new industries and devices, empower new experiences, and much more, providing mission-critical services, enhanced mobile broadband, and various other things.
a) Enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) Applications: High device connectivity, High mobile data rates, and Mobile AR & VR applications
b) Ultra-reliable, low-latency communications (uRLLC)Applications: Autonomous vehicles, Drones, Data monitoring, Smart mfg.
c) Massive machine-type communications (mMTC)Applications: Healthcare, Industry 4.0, Logistics, Environmental monitoring, Smart farming, Smart grids
What is WiFi?
Put simply, WiFi is a technology that uses radio waves to create a wireless network through which devices like mobile phones, computers, printers, etc., connect to the internet. A wireless router is needed to establish a WiFi hotspot that people in its vicinity may use to access internet services. You’re sure to have encountered such a WiFi hotspot in houses, offices, restaurants, etc.
To get a little more technical, WiFi works by enabling a Wireless Local Area Network or WLAN that allows devices connected to it to exchange signals with the internet via a router. The frequencies of these signals are either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidths. These frequencies are much higher than those transmitted to or by radios, mobile phones, and televisions since WiFi signals need to carry significantly higher amounts of data. The networking standards are variants of 802.11, of which there are several (802.11a, 802.11b, 801.11g, etc.).