The Coming 5G

10/28/2015

Following the FCC’s recent decision to open large swaths of high-frequency radio spectrum for use in next generation wireless networks, the industry is fast approaching a turning point in the mobile revolution.

5G will provide blazing fast speeds for the growing Internet of Things, in addition to new innovations, such as autonomous vehicles, ultra-high-definition video, remote health care, and virtual reality.

U.S. providers are looking to deploy 5G networks as early as 2020, with Verizon beginning field trails in 2017. Both Korea and Japan are committed to demonstrating some 5G applications for the 2018 and 2020 Olympics.

What is 5G?

5G includes extremely-high “millimeter wave” frequencies above 24 GHz, considered until recently to be unusable for mobile applications.

The next generation of mobile networks promise data speeds that exceed 10 gigabits per second – ten times what is currently available on the fastest fixed networks using fiber optic cables.

“For the Internet of Things, for example, communication of very small amounts of information by billions of devices will take place at lower frequencies, while millimeter wave frequencies will be employed for massive capacity and speed needed by high-definition video and real-time virtual reality.” – The Washington Post

The importance of regulatory compliance

To ensure that consumer benefits are neither denied nor delayed, regulators need to adopt what is known as “regulatory humility,” or the deferment of regulatory enforcement to permit applications to develop and resolve their own problems.

“Permissionless innovation in 5G design may also run afoul of overbroad “net neutrality” regulations adopted by the FCC earlier this year (currently the subject of a massive legal challenge.)  Much of the new 5G architecture at both the core and the edges of the network will prioritize traffic that demands low latency, for example, and maintain persistent content throughout multiple virtual networks in what might be seen by non-engineers as faster and slower “lanes” of data traffic.”

  • The Washington Post