The next generation of mobile technology differs significantly from previous mobile standards. Rather than being designed to solve a specific problem, the 5G will have the ability to handle a broad range of use cases.
These use cases will benefit, and in some cases, be limited by the wide spectrum range in which 5G can operate. This is another way in which 5G is different from older mobile standards: it will work both above and below the 6GHz band.
What does 5G mean to previous generations? The fate of 2G and 3G really has little to do with 5G. 2G and 3G investments are more related to the state of LTE. Carrier decisions should be driven by existing customer base considerations, device costs, M2M and 2G subscribers, and the mix of voice and data traffic.
Attention with the hype around 5G
Internet of Things (IoT) is being positioned as the leading 5G application, but IoT’s business models still need a lot of work to prove themselves to be sustainable and then justify 5G investments.
MmWave have real limitations: they are not good for coverage and more susceptible to interference than the spectrum bands used today in mobile networks. Limited coverage hinders use for IoT and enhanced mobile broadband outside very limited areas.
The initial mmWave networks will use 5G as a network download to 4G. At first, the first 5G networks will be built for capacity, not for coverage. The first 5G networks will require small cells, which are still challenging and costly to deploy.
With NB-IoT and LTE-Advanced Pro that drive LTE performance for IoT and mobile broadband applications at 1Gbps, respectively, the need for 5G in lower spectrum bands (sub-3.5GHz) will be limited.
But where will 5G bring benefits?
- It will provide mobile operators with access to broader spectrum
- It may become an air interface for all spectrum bands
- The core network with digital transformation will open the mobile network for more applications