What will 5G networks look like?

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Here is what I see, the carriers are pretty stubborn to keep the LTE systems in place, they really don’t want to do another network build for another 10 years. Do expect them to improve LTE, which does stand for Long Term Evolution, for another 10 years or so. Luckily they found ways to improve the data rates through aggregation and the FCC is releasing more spectrum. This is great for the carriers who dominate spectrum ownership. Why wouldn’t they when it costs BILLIONs just to attain spectrum. I don’t see many small guys doing much with high bandwidth. Luckily, low-bandwidth is starting to grow, and it really will be part of 5G.
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We have all been hearing about 5G but let’s look at what’s going on. It is not going to be a new transport format for the carriers. I would look at it as an add-on of smaller networks. This gives us a new look at the HetNet, a term we just don’t see enough but it really is the foundation for the networks as we see them today.

I believe that there will be more networks coming out. The FCC is releasing very high spectrum for 5G and Verizon is testing this. The question is how will people attain this spectrum, what will it cost, and so on. Not an issue right now but Verizon did set a standard which they would like to see approved. I give them a lot of credit for doing real testing and setting real standards for something that may happen before 2020, the original date we thought we would see it.

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This is where IOT and 5G should merge, they should be working together as a system. However, the IOT may not be the heavy bandwidth hitter we thought it would be. Instead it will be like it always was for Machine to Machine, M2M. Think of SCADA systems. SCADA, Supervisory Data Control and Data Acquisition. Utilities have been using them for years, only they called them SCADA. Now with the new low-bandwidth networks coming out they may be able to start using new services if they are secure enough. They really seem to like the 3.5GHz WiMAX systems because they owned them, but WiMAX didn’t work as well as they had hoped. So not they are looking for a new way to handle these low-bandwidth needs. This is technically IOT, but wouldn’t it be 5G?

Remember that with IOT we could be in a situation like the Will Smith Movie, “I, Robot”. The machines will talk to each other, like what Google is trying to do with the cars that drive themselves. Low latency will be the key, more so than bandwidth.

You may also like: https://wade4wireless.com/2016/08/19/what-is-the-5g-business-plan/ and https://wade4wireless.com/2016/08/31/what-will-the-iot-protocols-look-like/ 

So small cells will play a huge part in my eyes but now we need to look at multiple networks. Why? Virtual reality will require heavy bandwidth usage where the IOT will require very low latency and very small packets. This will make it challenging for the network operators if it is on one network. That is why there should be multiple networks.

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The 5G network will be faster and build out in smaller networks. The 5G network will still utilize much of the 4G network, but mostly as a means to connect. LTE will continue to get faster and grown. Most of what you hear about is the high bandwidth usage, like virtual reality and the cars that will drive for us. This is all part of it but the network needs to be built out properly and reliably. Latency has to be very low, so the cloud will matter. How? This is what NFV, network function virtualization, and SDN, Software-Defined Networking, come into play. The process needs to be taken to the edge, as close to the user as possible to lower the latency.

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So the 5G network will bring the network out to the end user. With the higher spectrum it will be a very small network. The wireless will not be the only factor; the servers will need to be as close to the edge as possible

  • The 5G will have a fast wireless format for high bandwidth needs.
  • It may also a server close to the edge. It will need to keep latency as low as possible.
  • The networking and routing will need to be very nimble and change very quickly.
  • Low latency will be the key.
  • High throughput will matter for some applications.
  • Low throughput for some applications.
  • Small cells everywhere!
  • Small networks for a specific purpose.

Here is some food for thought. I put these very simple drawings together hoping it may show you how the network could look.

5G Network

5G extended

So let me know what you think, email wade4wireless@gmail.com when you think of something to say!

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