5G is in Danger of Being Oversold – IEEE Spectrum


It seems that 5G has become a technology savior. Proponents tout the poorly defined wireless technology as the path to virtual reality, telemedicine, and self-⁠driving cars.

But 5G is a buzzword unleashed by marketing departments. In reality, 5G is a term that telecommunications investors and executives sling around.

Millimeter-wave spectrum is freely available for 5G for a reason—it has terrible signal propagation.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mobile World Congress 2018: 5G’s Killer App May Not Be an App at All

    question on the tip of everyone’s tongue regarding the prospects of 5G: What will be 5G’s killer app?

    In the past, when a new mobile protocol was introduced, the aim seemed to be to address a perceived need. (Although the predictions have not always been accurate: 3G addressed an anticipated demand for video conferencing that never really materialized.) However, 5G seems somewhat different in that it will be addressing an overall trend of higher efficiency and more bandwidth rather than a specific application demand.

    With no clearly targeted demand, it’s understandable why people are wondering what 5G’s killer app might be. In a meeting at the MWC with Julius Robson, the Chief Strategy Officer of the Small Cell Forum, he suggested the killer app for 5G may not come from the usual suspects: artificial intelligence or virtual reality.

    “I don’t think it’s so much the killer app that 5G is going to enable, it’s going to be the killer business model,” said Robson. “It will be the ability of an operator to expose their service as a connectivity offer and for other people to come along and monetize that.”

    . “The SIM model is not enough for industry because it doesn’t solve the problem of machine-to-machine communication.”

    Robson explains that mobile operators currently have a business model in which they sell SIM cards to users from retail stores. But this model doesn’t really translate for factory operators who can’t walk into these stores and explain they are trying to get their machines to communicate with each other.

    The skill level to sell such a product that would work in that environment also doesn’t exist at retail stores.

    Small cells have been proliferating over the past decade because of their ability to fill this gap between Wi-Fi networks and large mobile base stations.

    Small cells are critical to the realization of 5G networks because this new mobile protocol will utilize what is known as the millimeter wave spectrum—that spectrum between 30 and 300 gigahertz.

    “With the increased number of cells required to gain the coverage needed for 5G networks, you’re going to have to rethink the way you deploy.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mobile World Congress 2018: Don’t Expect 5G Service Anytime Soon

    This is, unquestionably, the year for 5G. It’s obvious from the sheer number of booths displaying 5G demos and announcements this year at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. There was also an overwhelming number of Internet of Things-related announcements, sure, but even many of those were about how 5G will enable new capabilities for IoT networks.

    5G is coming this year—but it isn’t for you. Not yet.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Video killed the Energy Star: Why 5G must use less power

    How much power does it take to download each Gigabyte of data over the internet? Would you believe 2 kWh? That’s the figure presented by Roger Nichols, Keysight’s 5G Program Manager, at Keysight’s 5G Tech Connect event in December.

    Let’s accept the 2 kWh/GByte value for the moment. That’s the equivalent of a 2000-watt hair dryer running continuously for an hour. I decided to calculate the equivalent rate of power used when streaming TV or movies over the internet. Netflix has a handy calculator for data usage and the results may astound you (Table 1). This brings the equivalent power consumed by a high definition movie to 6000 W/user. Yikes! Yes, you may have chosen an Energy Star certified television that draws a meager 50 W when powered, but its consumption is dwarfed by what it takes to get the content to your TV.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Home> Community > Blogs > 5G Waves
    5G: The road to low latency

    One of the marquee advantages of 5G networks is low-latency operation. One of the mechanisms for that is an evolution in the slot-based framework used in LTE and 5G communications. John Smee, senior director of engineering Qualcomm Research, Qualcomm Technologies, explained this and other aspects of 5G technology in a recent webinar sponsored by the IEEE. He also provided a summary regarding where 5G technology is along the path toward commercialization.

    Just as 3G and 4G coexist, 4G and 5G will too. Further, Smee pointed out, 4G and 5G will not only coexist, but both infrastructure and edge devices will be dual-modE.

    Technologies established in Release 15 thus far include:
    scalable OFDM-based air interface – supports diverse spectrum
    slot-based framework – enables low latency
    advanced channel coding – supports large data blocks
    massive MIMO – for increased coverage, capacity
    mobile millimeter wave (mmWave) – for increased capacity, throughput

    The slot-based framework is one of the less frequently discussed aspects of 5G NR; it is also one of the mechanisms for having 5G work with 4G. With this framework comes the ability to scale subcarrier slot duration. A practical result of this mechanism is that it allows operators to adjust both latency and quality of service (QoS) as needed.

    LTE has 15 kilohertz subcarrier spacing, with 1 millisecond slots (or subframe) each supporting 14 symbols. Similarly, 5G allows for a 15 kHz subcarrier with a 1 millisecond slot for 14 symbols, in a deliberate attempt to align 4G with 5G.

    But 5G has other options, including 30 kHz subcarrier with a 500 microsecond slot plus the option for a “mini-slot,” 60 kHz with a 250 microsecond slot, and 120 kHz with a 125 microsecond slot. The 120 kHz option enables very efficient millimeter wave communications. By way of contrast, the 30 kHz option will be predominant in mid-band time division duplex (TDD) spectrum between 3 MHz and 5 MHz, Smee said.

    The mini-slot represents a means of jamming more symbols into a slot. A mini-slot will be able to carry two symbols, four symbols, or as many as seven symbols within a slot that ordinarily would carry only one.

    Smee pointed out that a mini-slot at 30 kHz will allow for even lower latency than the 250 microsecond and 125 microsecond slots at 60 kHz or 120 kHz, respectively.

    This should be exceedingly useful in IoT applications in which devices – sensors, for example – need to communicate small amounts of data rapidly.

    Originally 5G NR was expected to be TDD in the midband spectrum, Smee noted, but there will be a mix of frequency division duplex (FDD) and TDD.

    Dual connectivity will be key for initial deployments of 5G. The ability to leverage 4G and 5G at the same time will enable cellular systems to switch between the two – even in the course of a single phone call – to guarantee connectivity and QoS

    Beyond all that, Releases 16, 17, and 18 are anticipated. The industry will move into Release 16 in second half of this year and continue into 2019.

    Today, using 5G NR in unlicensed spectrum is a study item.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Stingray spying: 5G will protect you against surveillance attacks, say standards-setters

    It looks likely that 5G will sideline IMSI catcher, or stingray, fake mobile base stations.


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