The successor to 4G, 5G is expected to bring us greater network speed and capacity to support the millions and billions of devices that the “Internet of Things” will bring, extending from smartphones to sensors to unmanned vehicles.

However, 5G remains a term of which we cannot be sure of. This technology has undefined standards and a long wait is anticipated before people could start using it. 5G will require a high frequency range of the spectrum to fulfil its potential.

The radio transmissions do not propagate at higher frequencies as they do at the lower ones. The signals would not be able to penetrate building walls and the coverage area would also decrease.

Therefore, more cells must be distributed, which will also allow operators to reuse the spectrum to support higher capacities, especially in dense urban areas. 10 years down the line, the demand for data would be 1000 times as compared to the current scenario, thanks to Internet of Things (IoT) driving the need for more connections and more data.

With this increase, the network operators will be able to provide more support in devices accessing the network, without a noticeable impact on speed. Although some may be concerned about the cost of deploying so many small cells, the benefits of providing more bandwidth to more users faster will be well worth the investment.

The software-defined networking and the network function visualisation will play a major role in 5G. The use of the same will allow the network operators to provide the additional services very quickly. They will be able to respond to spikes in demand based on changing demographics, special events or even natural disasters.

Core network resources and value-added services can be deployed close to the edge of the network to improve the user experience. We will start to see this happen with 4G over the next few years, but it will be a core component of 5G, where the benefits will really begin to be seen.

This article was written by Sanjay Gupta, Vice President and India Country Manager at NXP India Pvt. Limited and was first published on ET Telecom


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