5G - The technology behind the network of the future

by John B. Professional Writer

5G is also an evolution, because in the long term it is expected to replace almost all previous mobile networks. In Switzerland and other countries, GSM has already been partially deactivated and LTE and 5G are drifting ever closer together. Germany will switch off UMTS this year. Until now, GSM, UMTS and LTE existed as three networks side by side and at most stood in for each other when one of the network standards was not available.

But the really special thing is that the real 5G networks (5G SA) will also enable so-called network slices in future. This means that the networks will be expanded and optimised for a specific function: Data throughput, low latency and low-power network. There are also guaranteed service levels within these network functions. 5G networks are therefore already much tighter in planning.

The downside: in the long term, there will be even more mobile phone masts on roofs and in fields. At the same time, antennas that only cover small areas in cities will also become smaller and are ideally only as big as the palm of a hand. Ultimately, the lines to the transmission masts must be prepared for 5G. In future, directional radio connections will no longer be sufficient in every case.

5G antenna of the Telekom
5G NSA vs. 5G SA
All three network operators are already working with 5G and offer you a corresponding network. However, it is not a real 5G network with all its possibilities, but merely a different form of data transmission. The 5G network still needs the LTE network to work. This is called a Non Stand Alone network - NSA for short. Only when the networks work on their own and the technology behind the transmission masts has also been converted can 5G show off all its possibilities. This is then referred to as 5G SA. The first 5G SA network that can be used by end customers went into operation in Germany in April 2021 by Vodafone.

What distinguishes future 5G from existing networks?
Low latency
If an end device is to receive a response to its request from the network within one millisecond, this only works if the transport network is equipped accordingly. The problem: even if the entire transport network is made of fibre optics, the speed of light sets limits to low latency.

In general, it is assumed that a signal needs about 1.6 milliseconds for a distance of about 500 kilometres - roughly the distance Berlin-Frankfurt. However, the signal not only has to travel from Berlin to Frankfurt, but the response also has to travel back to Berlin. The response time is therefore 3.2 milliseconds, which is well above the millisecond requirement.

EDGE computing
As a result, 5G mobile networks are structured differently and do not rely on central data centres in Frankfurt or even the USA. So-called EDGE cloud computers will move much closer to the transmission masts than is the case today. It is conceivable, for example, that every 50 to 100 kilometres along a motorway there will be a mini computer centre that will send the self-driving car the most important information within a very short time. It remains to be seen whether each mobile phone provider will set up these EDGE servers themselves or whether they will cooperate with others. It is possible that third parties will do the job.

Low latency and EDGE computing are essential for connected driving. They enable low latency in the last instance.
5G will also revolutionise industrial plants. Robots can be used more flexibly when they communicate in large halls via radio. Some of these networks are built by the companies themselves, but some outsource this work to network operators in Germany. However, the networks in the halls and on the premises remain self-contained networks on their own frequencies. Public use is even prohibited.

High data throughput
5G is always about high data rates. How fast the 5G network can and will be in its broadband slice depends on many factors. Probably the most important: the available frequency spectrum.

But no matter what the general conditions are: A connection via directional radio will often no longer be sufficient for the transmission masts. More or less every mobile radio transmitter will be connected via a fibre-optic network. At the same time, this will also have an impact on the traditional broadband expansion in Germany. For a fibre-optic line laid to a transmission mast on the roof of a house can, of course, also be used to supply the house with internet.

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About John B. Advanced Pro  Professional Writer

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Joined APSense since, April 9th, 2021, From Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

Created on Jun 23rd 2021 12:09. Viewed 136 times.


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