The Biggest Challenges To Overcome Before Going 5G
Analysts estimate that 50 billion smart devices and sensors will be connected to the internet by 2020. Heavy Reading's Mobile Operator 5G Capex predicts that the total global spending on 5G is set to reach $88 billion by 2023. These may be just statistics now but will be the reality in the not too distant future. However, before progressing to reality there are significant hurdles that a 5G network has to overcome. Here we talk about some of them.
Is it Worth Investing in 5G?
5G network is a revolutionary tech advancement expected to storm the world of networking in the next phase. As an upcoming tech, the amount of interest and expectations surrounding 5G is huge - and with good reason. With more places launching pilot projects, it is expected that soon 5G networks will become a daily part of our lives.
The hype surrounding 5G is real and more people are looking to invest in this lucrative technology is understandable. Even NoBSIMReviews shared Jeff Brown's prediction, talking how this tech mogul has predicted the next "big thing" in tech and why you should think about opening your wallets for this.
Building Complex and Dense Networks
Despite the desirable boost in speed and bandwidth of 5G networks, a greater problem associated with them is their complexity and smaller coverage. This is further complicated by the fact that more hardware and supporting software will be needed for 5G despite covering the same area as that of a 4G network.
This means installing extra antennas and base stations as well as repeaters to cover cities to provide network access to buildings and homes. Until better options are available, it is more likely that low-frequency bands will be favored by carriers for wider coverage.
The current LTE system works with more than 50 frequency bands, all below 6GHz. However, 5G requires frequencies which can be as high as 300 GHz. Though an early prototype frequency band for 5G is in the sub 6GHz range and millimeter waves of the RF spectrum, the real challenge is designing hardware for such frequencies.
Moreover, to support interoperability between various devices throughout the world, 5G networks will also need to support multiple bands. This can pose a challenge for mobile manufacturers who need to produce more complex devices to support these bands.
Dealing with Operating and Maintenance Costs
Setting up a 5G network will require starting work from the ground up with new components being implemented for each aspect. Setting up a new network will certainly increase operating costs. Besides the costs of extra hardware, there are also additional expenses due to regular testing, maintenance, and regular updates. All these incur extra costs thus increasing the overall operational expenditure. This is compensated by amping up customer revenue.
With further advances in technology, the need to connect devices like in vehicles, appliances, robots, and city infrastructure will also need to be reevaluated.
Meeting Ultra-Low Latency Requirements
To function optimally, 5G networks need ultra-low patency. In an emerging market of devices where a delay of a few milliseconds in one-way communication is unacceptable, legacy networks are simply not equipped to handle such vast volumes of data and speed.
Huge Data Volume
The need for high speed and high quality in the world of multimedia is undisputed. With the progress of technology, networks have to keep up with the increasing demand for high-resolution videos and images over texts. This requires that up to date networks that support such a high influx of data to continue providing quality content by apps for customer satisfaction.
The automobile industry is another emerging industry that is utilizing the power of smart infotainment systems (multimedia) for information transmission by connecting to mobile networks. For communication between vehicles and vehicles and infrastructure as well as autonomous driving, there is no alternative to low-latency, ultra-reliable networks.
The Need For an Ultra-reliable Network
The use of mobile networks in emergencies like natural disasters and other critical conditions such as the ongoing pandemic is slowly gaining popularity.
Given the current situation, services like real-time patient monitoring, fire and rescue services, police, and ambulance services as well as health monitoring devices, remote patient care devices are of utmost importance. In the renewed era of social distancing, the availability of strong networks and fast connections is imperative.
Device to Device Communication
Device to device communication is a new but increasingly popular concept where one mobile acts as a data hub for other devices when the base station signal cannot be accessed such as during natural disasters. The use of 5G networks can help such devices handle large volumes of data and connect to multiple devices at once.
Setting up a network is just the start. Then comes the most important part, manufacturing and configuring devices that can operate on this network. Though there are some places like the US, South Korea, and Japan have launched pilot programs to see the effectiveness of implementing such networks.
The ultimate decision hinges on the feasibility of producing such devices for manufacturers. This is owing to several technical challenges, primarily multi-band support of upper and lower frequency bands posing design challenges for the front-end filters. There's also the risk of overheating as a result of power consumption because of high-frequency bands transmission, and a serious impact on performance due to higher data rates and bandwidths.
Security Issues and Privacy Challenges
As with any new technology, the risks are inevitable. However, experiments lead to spectacular innovation, and "you won't know until you try."
Cybersecurity issues have been plaguing the networks scene for quite a while now and given the fast-paced, widely distributed, and remote nature- 5G is no exception.
Risks of tracking and wiretapping are very real but so is the responsibility of network consortiums and carriers to ensure digital safety for users. On the same note, users will also have to be vigilant about what information they share online.
The concept of 'Internet of Things' or IoT is no longer just a vision but a fast-approaching reality that is growing bigger than ever. With more smart devices and sensors connecting to mobile networks in real-time, industries and manufacturers alike are trying to come up with technology to deal with a large influx of data wirelessly in real-time. 5G network may be the solution to this but before it can be a reality, there are still significant challenges to overcome. Nonetheless, despite setbacks 5G technology is the next step towards the future to look forward to.
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