While 2020 might have seemed dog years away, the future of communication is advancing in leaps and bounds. Just when you thought the technology packed into our mobile devices couldn’t get any better, a broad consortium decided they couldn’t wait until 2020 to roll-out 5G NR technology and decided to commit to large scale deployment and testing in order to move the roll-out date to 2019!
You may wonder why is the timing of the roll-out so important? Think about things like the internet of things (IoT) or enterprise of things (EoT). Those efforts will be severely hamstrung without the speeds of 5G NR. In addition, as more and more mobile devices are used there will be a strain on network capacity. Finally, people will expect coverage wherever they are. Existing networks cannot deliver this but utilization of ‘small cell towers’ will make this a reality. Small cell towers can be installed on public structures such as stop lights, existing power poles, lamp posts, etc.
So how is this global endeavor progressing? According to 5G New Radio in February of this year-
AT&T, NTT DOCOMO, INC., SK Telecom, Vodafone, Ericsson, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., British Telecom, Telstra, Korea Telecom, Intel, LG Uplus, KDDI, LG Electronics, Telia Company, Swisscom, TIM, Etisalat Group, Huawei, Sprint, Vivo, ZTE and Deutsche Telekom will support a corresponding work plan proposal for the first phase of the 5G NR specification.
But wait, there’s more!
Just last week Ericsson ran a 5G NR demonstration in Indonesia and reported mindblowing peak download speeds of 5.4 Gbps! Once fully developed it is estimated that 5G NR will attain speeds of 10 Gbps.
But like all shiny objects there are 2-sides to the coin. While corporations are eager to move the technology forward there may be a few speed bumps holding things back. Standards have to be developed and agreed upon so everyone is singing in the same key and working from the same page. One major roadblock to this could be the jockeying between companies like Intel and Qualcomm to take the lead.
If you desire additional information Commscope has issued a white paper on 5G NR that highlights the major points – you can read it here.