5G is not only a new air interface but the new generation of radio systems and network architecture in which different radios (legacy and new) work together perfectly. Progress has been rapid, with proofs of concept for many of the technological advances that will be a crucial part of the forthcoming 5G standard.
The biggest difference between 5G and legacy systems is the diversity of use-cases and experience that 5G networks must support compared to today’s networks that are designed primarily to deliver high speed mobile broadband. However, 5G will be always about people and things. Nokia sees these broadly split into three categories. The first category covers massive broadband that delivers gigabytes of bandwidth on demand. Next is critical machine-type communication (MTC) that demands immediate, synchronized eye-to-hand feedback to remotely control robots and deliver the tactile Internet. The third use case category covers massive machine-type communication that will connect billions of sensors and machines.
Reliability will be another key design principle. The integration of different technology components will move networks away from best effort mobile broadband towards truly reliable communication. Reliability is not just about equipment up-time, it also encompasses the perception of infinite capacity and coverage that future mobile networks will need to deliver anytime and anywhere. Think connected healthcare and autonomous driving for starters.
Everyday objects ranging from cars to appliances to watches and apparel will learn and organize themselves to fulfill our needs by automatically adapting to our behavior, environment or business processes. We already see some trends arising, not only driven by the Internet and telecommunications industry, but also from the other industries such as automotive, healthcare, manufacturing and logistics, the public sector and others who need to reinvent themselves.
Gartner expects 5G to address three key application scenarios — hyperconnected array of humans, devices and sensors; quality of service (QoS)-driven gigabit mobile broadband experience; and ultra-time-critical applications requiring robust, reliable and low-latency networks.
While 3G and 4G LTE are still maturing in many markets, some operators have started testing the next 5th generation of mobile system and are actively strategizing in parallel to prepare their networks and fulfill requirements of the use cases coming to market by 2020.
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