So you want to know about 5G right, well that’s cool because and knowledge they said is power. It is amazing the way technology grows. I could remember when you have to wait for days if not months for your letter to get delivered. That is not the case today as we now communicate in almost in a speed of light. Technology has changed the way we live our lives. For instance, we now spend more time on our mobile device consuming content, that’s one of the powers of tech. 5G is here and our lives is about to change as well. One thing that is constant on earth is change and one of the characteristics of a living thing is adaptability. So are we going to adapt to this new change?
We are going to look into 5G but before then, I think it will make more sense if we start from the 1G. The G here simply means network generation. Let’s now start from first generation.
Generations of Cellular Network
The evolution of cellular communications networks is commonly known by 1G, 2G, 3G ,4g and 5G . Each of these mobile network generations has it’s own characteristics for instance the third generation is faster than the second generation. Each generation of network brought with it a significant milestone in the development of mobile communications, the benefits of which I have listed below. let’s go there!
First Generation Cellular Network (1G)
1G is the first generation of wireless mobile network that was introduced in 1979 by Japanes. The company behind this was Nippon Telephone and Telegraph company (NTT) and they first introduced it in Tokyo before it became rampant in US, Finland, UK and Europe. This generation of mobile network uses analog signal which were poor. below are some features of 1G mobile network.
Features of 1G Mobile Network
- Frequency 800 MHz and 900 MHz
- Bandwidth: 10 MHz (666 duplex channels with bandwidth of 30 KHz)
- Technology: Analogue switching
- Modulation: Frequency Modulation (FM)
- Mode of service: voice only
- Access technique: Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA)
Drawbacks of 1G Cellular Network
- Poor battery life
- Large sized mobile phones (not convenient to carry)
- Poor voice quality due to interference
- Less security (calls could be decoded using an FM demodulator)
- Limited number of users and cell coverage
- Roaming was not possible between similar systems
Second Generation Cellar Network (2G)
The second generation was introduced in other to provide solutions to the drawbacks of the first generation. 2g was introduced on the GSM standard in Finland by Radiolinja (now part of Elisa Oyj) in 1991. This generation uses digital radio signal unlike the first generation that uses analog. 2G capabilities are achieved by allowing multiple users on a single channel via multiplexing. Below are the key features of 2G.
Features of 1G Cellular Network
- Digital system (switching)
- SMS services is possible
- Roaming is possible
- Enhanced security
- Encrypted voice transmission
- First internet at lower data rate
- Disadvantages of 2G system
- Low data rate
- Limited mobility
- Less features on mobile devices
- Limited number of users and hardware capability
Drawbacks of 2G Cellular Network
- Weaker digital signal
- Angular decay curve
- Reduced range of sound
2.5G and 2.75G
In order to support higher data rate, General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) was introduced and successfully deployed. GPRS was capable of data rate up to 171kbps (maximum).
EDGE – Enhanced Data GSM Evolution also developed to improve data rate for GSM networks. EDGE was capable to support up to 473.6kbps (maximum).
Another popular technology CDMA2000 was also introduced to support higher data rate for CDMA networks. This technology has the ability to provide up to 384 kbps data rate (maximum).
Third Generation Cellular Network (3G)
3G mobile communication started with the introduction of (UMTS) Universal Mobile Terrestrial / Telecommunication Systems. This network combines aspects of the 2G network with some new technology and protocols to deliver a significantly faster data rate. Based on a set of standards used for mobile devices and mobile telecommunications use services and networks that comply with the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 ( IMT-2000 ) specifications by the International Telecommunication Union. It has the data rate of 384kbps and supports video calling.
Features of 3G Cellular Network
- Higher data rate
- Video calling
- Enhanced security, more number of users and coverage
- Mobile app support
- Multimedia message support
- Location tracking and maps
- Better web browsing
- TV streaming
- High quality 3D games
Drawbacks of 3G Cellular Network
- Higher bandwidth requirements to support higher data rate
- Costly mobile devices
- Compatibility with older generation 2G system and frequency bands
- Expensive spectrum licenses
- Costly infrastructure, equipments and implementation
3.5G to 3.75 Systems
In order to improve data rate in current 3G networks, another two technology improvements were introduced to the network. HSDPA – High Speed Downlink Packet access and HSUPA – High Speed Uplink Packet Access, developed and deployed to the 3G networks. 3.5G network can support up to 2mbps data rate.
3.75 system is an improved version of 3G network with HSPA+ High Speed Packet Access plus. Later this system will evolve into more powerful 3.9G system known as LTE (Long Term Evolution).
Fourth Generation Cellular Network (4G)
4G systems are enhanced version of 3G networks developed by IEEE, offers higher data rate and capable to handle more advanced multimedia services. 4G is a very different technology as compared to 3G and was made possible practically only because of the advancements in the technology in the past. Its purpose is to provide high speed , high quality and high capacity to users while improving security and lower the cost of voice and data services, multimedia and internet over IP. The two important 4G standards are WiMAX (has now fizzled out) and LTE (has seen widespread deployment). LTE (Long Term Evolution) is a series of upgrades to existing UMTS technology. below are the features of 4G.
Features of 4G Cellular Network
- High definition video streaming and gaming
- Voice over LTE network VoLTE (use IP packets for voice)
- Much higher data rate up to 1Gbps
- Enhanced security and mobility
- Reduced latency for mission critical applications
Drawbacks of 4G Cellular Network
- High end mobile devices compatible with 4G technology required, which is costly
- Wide deployment and upgrade is time consuming
- Costly spectrum (most countries, frequency bands are is too expensive)
- Expensive hardware and infrastructure
So what is 5G?
We have talked about 4G and see some of the features of it, what then is 5G?
5G is the fifth generation mobile network technology. It is the next generation of mobile broadband that will augment 4G and 4G LTE connection. With 5G, you’ll see rapid faster download and upload speeds. Latency, or the time it takes devices to communicate with each other wireless networks, will also drastically decrease. I will still go deep into 5G but for now, let’s look at some features of 5G.
Features of 5G Cellular Network
- Higher security and reliable network
- Uses technologies like small cells, beam forming to improve efficiency
- Forward compatibility network offers further enhancements in future
- Cloud based infrastructure offers power efficiency, easy maintenance and upgrade of hardware
- Total cost deduction for data
- Ultra fast mobile internet up to 10Gbps
- Low latency in milliseconds (significant for mission critical applications)
Comparison Of All Generations Of Cellular Network (1G -5G)
Before we explain how 5G works, it is important we understand 5G.
According to Wikipedia, 5G is the fifth generation of digital cellular networks, in which the service area covered by providers is divided into small geographical areas called cells. Analog signals representing sounds and images are digitized in the phone, converted by an analog to digital converter and transmitted as a stream of bits. All the 5G wireless devices in a cell communicate by radio waves with a local antenna array and low power automated transceiver (transmitter and receiver) in the cell, over frequency channels assigned by the transceiver from a common pool of frequencies, which are reused in geographically separated cells. The local antennas are connected with the telephone network and the Internet by a high bandwidth optical fiber or wireless backhaul connection. Like existing cellphones, when a user crosses from one cell to another, their mobile device is automatically “handed off” seamlessly to the antenna in the new cell.
How 5G Works?
5G operates on three different spectrum bands namely: Low-band spectrum, Mid-band spectrumand and High-band spectrum .
- Low-band spectrum can also be seen as sub 1GHz spectrum. It is basically the spectrum band used by carriers in the U.S. for LTE, and is quickly becoming depleted. While low-band spectrum offers great coverage area and penetration, there is a big drawback: Peak data speeds will top out around 100Mbps.
- Mid-band spectrum offers faster coverage and lower latency than you’ll see on low-band. It does, however, fail to pass through buildings as well as low-band spectrum. Expect peak speeds up to 1Gbps on mid-band spectrum.
- High-band spectrum is what most people think of when they think of 5G. It is often referred to as Millimeter wave (mmWave). High-band spectrum can offer peak speeds up to 10Gbps and has very low latency. The major drawback of high-band is that it has low coverage area and building penetration is poor.
Some Things To Note!
Small Cell: small cell network is a group of low power transmitting base stations which uses millimeter waves to enhance network capacity. The total network load is shared between small cells and difficulties of physical obstructions eliminated.
Millimeter wave: it plays a big role in 5G NR system due to much higher bandwidth. Top candidates for future 5G networks are 24.25 to 27.5 GHz, 27.5 to 29.5 GHz, 37 GHz, 39 GHz and 57 to 71 GHz range.
Massive MIMO: using MIMO technology, downlink speed up to 952 mbps can be achieved in test cases. MIMO will use complex antenna arrays to multiply transmission speed to achieve maximum speed and efficiency.
Beamforming: to improve 5G service on the mid-band. Beamforming sends a single focused signal to each and every user in the cell, and systems using it monitor each user to make sure they have a consistent signal.
Uses Of 5G
Application of 5G is numerous starting from Internet of things to real time monitoring. Below are some of the areas we can use 5G.
- Internet of Things applications
- Ultra fast mobile internet
- High performance, HD multimedia download and streaming
- Healthcare and wearable applications
- Mission critical applications
- Autonomous driving and position mapping
- Industrial automation and real time monitoring
- Smart sensor technology for agriculture and farming
- Inventory management, warehouse and shipping
- Smart city and security applications
5G Dangers – Health Risks Of 5G
Anything that has advantage also has a disadvantage and is 5G an exception here,let’s see.
Cellular networks emits radiofrequency radiation (RFR). Scientists say that the most important criterion about whether any particular RFR is dangerous is whether it falls into the category of ionizing or non-ionizing radiation. Any radiation that’s non-ionizing is too weak to break chemical bonds. That includes ultraviolet, visible light, infrared, and everything with a lower frequency, like radio waves. Everyday technologies like power lines, FM radio, and Wi-Fi also fall into this range. (Microwaves are the lone exception: non-ionizing but able to damage tissue, they’re precisely and intentionally tuned to resonate with water molecules.) Frequencies above UV, like x-rays and gamma rays, are ionizing.
So where do 5G fits in the electromagnetic spectrum? Take a look at the image below:
How About 5G Transmitter Masts?
5G technology requires a lot of new base stations – these are the masts that transmit and receive mobile phone signals.
But crucially, because there are more transmitters, each one can run at lower power levels than previous 4G technology, which means that the level of radiation exposure from 5G antennas will be lower.
The UK government guidelines on mobile phone base stations says radio frequency fields at places normally accessible to the public are many times below guideline levels.
What about heating dangers?
Part of the 5G spectrum permitted under international guidelines falls within the microwave band.
Microwaves generate heat in objects through which they pass.
However, at the levels used for 5G (and earlier mobile technologies) the heating effects are not harmful, says Prof Rodney Croft, an adviser to the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
“The maximum radio frequency level that someone in the community could be exposed to from 5G (or any other signals in general community areas) is so small that no temperature rise has been observed to date.”
We are witnessing technology evolutions in mobile networks, from basic text messages to HD multimedia streaming and virtual reality. 5G is here to make the tech world a better place to live with the wide range of it’s applications. What do you think about 5G?
This is not the end of 5G!
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