5G - Technology

5G (from "5th Generation") is the latest generation of cellular mobile communications. It succeeds the 4G (LTE-A, WiMax), 3G (UMTS, LTE) and 2G (GSM) systems. 5G performance targets high data rate, reduced latency, energy saving, cost reduction, higher system capacity, and massive device connectivity.

If we look back, we will find that every next decade, one generation is advancing in the field of mobile technology. Starting from the First Generation (1G) in the 1980s, Second Generation (2G) in 1990s, Third Generation (3G) in 2000s, Fourth Generation (4G) in 2010s, and now Fifth Generation (5G), we are advancing towards more and more sophisticated and smarter technology

5G has the potential to transform the internet and it will be the backbone of other technologies like Self-Driving Cars, Virtual Reality, Internet of things (IoT).

What is 5G Technology?

The 5G technology is expected to provide a new (much wider than the previous one) frequency bands along with the wider spectral bandwidth per frequency channel. As of now, the predecessors (generations) mobile technologies have evidenced a substantial increase in peak bitrate. Then — how is 5G different from the previous one (especially 4G)? The answer is — it is not only the increase in bitrate made 5G distinct from the 4G, but rather 5G is also advanced in terms of −
  • High increased peak bit rate
  • Larger data volume per unit area (i.e. high system spectral efficiency)
  • High capacity to allow more devices connectivity concurrently and instantaneously
  • Lower battery consumption
  • Better connectivity irrespective of the geographic region, in which you are
  • Larger number of supporting devices
  • Lower cost of infrastructural development
  • Higher reliability of the communications

5G target
Usage scenario
Peak data rate
Maximum achievable data rate
20 Gbit/s
User experienced data rate
Achievable data rate across the coverage area (hotspot cases)
1 Gbit/s
User experienced data rate
Achievable data rate across the coverage area
100 Mbit/s
Radio network contribution to packet travel time
1 ms
Maximum speed for handoff and QoS requirements
500 km/h
Connection density
Total number of devices per unit area
Energy efficiency
Data sent/received per unit energy consumption (by device or network)
Equal to 4G
Spectrum efficiency
Throughput per unit wireless bandwidth and per network cell
3–4x 4G
Area traffic capacity
Total traffic across coverage area
1000 (Mbit/s)/m2
As researchers say, with the wide range of bandwidth radio channels, it is able to support the speed up to 10 Gbps, the 5G WiFi technology will offer contiguous and consistent coverage − “wider area mobility in true sense.”

What’s new in 5G:

  • Extremely fast speed of 1 Terabit per second when 4G only provides 100 Megabit per second. With this speed, everyone gets an real time experience with hologram tv, augmented reality, ultra large volume transfers
  • Always stay connected wherever you travel including high-speed trains or planes
  • Ultra-low latency of 1 millisecond which allows innovations like self-driving cars possible. This guarantees traffic safety with brake command. In 4G networks, braking command makes a car moving at 100 Kmph to fully stop after 1.4m. With 5G, the same car stops within 2.8cm due to its ultra-low latency.
  • Huge number of connections per Kilometer can go upto 100 billion connections in 5G. But, 4G only provides 1000 connections.
  • Energy efficiency is much higher than the devices handled with 4G
As wearable devices gain popularity, an increasing number of wearable technologies will be connected to the network. Wearable devices will provide healthcare management, improve quality of life, and work efficiency. For example, ultra-light, ultra-thin, low energy-consumption, and waterproof sensors can be implanted into sportswear.

5G cellular systems overview

As the different generations of cellular telecommunications have evolved, each one has brought its own improvements. The same will be true of 5G technology.
  • First generation, 1G:   These phones were analogue and were the first mobile or cellular phones to be used. Although revolutionary in their time they offered very low levels of spectrum efficiency and security.
  • Second generation, 2G:   These were based around digital technology and offered much better spectrum efficiency, security and new features such as text messages and low data rate communications.
  • Third generation, 3G:   The aim of this technology was to provide high speed data. The original technology was enhanced to allow data up to 14 Mbps and more.
  • Fourth generation, 4G:   This was an all-IP based technology capable of providing data rates up to 1 Gbps.
Any new 5th generation, 5G cellular technology needs to provide significant gains over previous systems to provide an adequate business case for mobile operators to invest in any new system.
Facilities that might be seen with 5G technology include far better levels of connectivity and coverage. The term World Wide Wireless Web, or WWWW is being coined for this.
For 5G technology to be able to achieve this, new methods of connecting will be required as one of the main drawbacks with previous generations is lack of coverage, dropped calls and low performance at cell edges. 5G technology will need to address this.

Architecture of 5G

Architecture of 5G is highly advanced, its network elements and various terminals are characteristically upgraded to afford a new situation. Likewise, service providers can implement the advance technology to adopt the value-added services easily.

As shown in the following image, the system model of 5G is entirely IP based model designed for the wireless and mobile networks.

The system comprising of a main user terminal and then a number of independent and autonomous radio access technologies. Each of the radio technologies is considered as the IP link for the outside internet world. The IP technology is designed exclusively to ensure sufficient control data for appropriate routing of IP packets related to a certain application connections i.e. sessions between client applications and servers somewhere on the Internet.

• Millimeter Waves: 5G will be using higher frequencies (30 to 300 GHz) and these frequencies are called millimeter waves
• Small Cell: Since Range of Millimeter waves is less we need to place more call antenna on street hights, building roofs.
• Massive MIMO (Multiple inputs multiple outputs): This Technology helps in reducing network interference.
• Beam-forming: Define a clear path how network packets should travel from source to destination.
• Full Duplex: More than one person can talk at a time, that is sent and receive happens on different frequencies so that there is no interference.

Applications of 5G

Some of the significant applications are −
  • It will make unified global standard for all.
  • Network availability will be everywhere and will facilitate people to use their computer and such kind of mobile devices anywhere anytime.
  • Because of the IPv6 technology, visiting care of mobile IP address will be assigned as per the connected network and geographical position.
  • Its application will make world real Wi Fi zone.
  • Its cognitive radio technology will facilitate different version of radio technologies to share the same spectrum efficiently.
  • Its application will facilitate people to avail radio signal at higher altitude as well.

Advanced Features

In comparison to previous radio technologies, 5G has following advancement −
  • Practically possible to avail the super speed i.e. 1 to 10 Gbps.
  • Latency will be 1 millisecond (end-to-end round trip).
  • 1,000x bandwidth per unit area.
  • Feasibility to connect 10 to 100 number of devices.
  • Worldwide coverage.
  • About 90% reduction in network energy usage.
  • Battery life will be much longer.
  • Whole world will be in wi fi zone.


Development of 5G is being led by companies such as Qualcomm, Huawei, and Intel for modem technology and Nokia, Ericsson, ZTE, Cisco, and Samsung for infrastructure.
Worldwide commercial launch is expected in 2020. Numerous operators have demonstrated 5G as well, including Korea Telecom for the 2018 Winter Olympics and Telstra at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. In the United States, the four major carriers have all announced deployments: AT&T's millimeter wave commercial deployments in 2018, Verizon's 5G fixed wireless launches in four U.S. cities and millimeter-wave deployments, Sprint's launch in the 2.5 GHz band, and T-Mobile's 600 MHz 5G launch in 30 cities. Vodafone performed the first UK trials in April 2018 using mid-band spectrum, and China Telecom's initial 5G buildout in 2018 will use mid-band spectrum as well. The world first service of 5G was in South Korea, as the South Korean telecoms deployed it all at once on 1 December 2018.
Beyond mobile operator networks, 5G is also expected to be widely utilized for private networks with applications in industrial IoT, enterprise networking, and critical communications.
Initial 5G NR launches will depend on existing LTE 4G infrastructure in non-standalone (NSA) mode, before maturation of the standalone (SA) mode with the 5G core network.
In December 2018, Nokia and Telefónica Deutschland start testing 5G in Berlin, with five sites.


In order to support increased throughput requirements of 5G, large quantities of new spectrum (5G NR frequency bands) have been allocated to 5G, particularly in millimeter wave bands. For example, in July 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the United States freed up vast amounts of bandwidth in underutilised high-band spectrum for 5G. The Spectrum Frontiers Proposal (SFP) doubled the amount of millimeter-wave (mmWave) unlicensed spectrum to 14 GHz and created four times the amount of flexible, mobile-use spectrum the FCC had licensed to date. In March 2018, European Union lawmakers agreed to open up the 3.6 and 26 GHz bands by 2020.

5G modems

Traditional cellular modem suppliers have significant investment in the 5G modem market. Qualcomm announced its X50 5G Modem in October 2016, and in November 2017, Intel announced its XMM8000 series of 5G modems, including the XMM8060 modem, both of which have expected productization dates in 2019. In February 2018, Huawei announced the Balong 5G01 terminal device with an expected launch date for 5G-enabled mobile phones of 2018 and Mediatek announced its own 5G solutions targeted at 2020 production.Samsung is also working on the Exynos 5G modem, but has not announced a production date.