Tuesday 11 August 2009

What is going to be 5G ?

I suppose its pretty pointless to talk about 5G because LTE also known as 3.9G is not yet deployed. Nevertheless, I saw various discussions about 5G in various forums recently.

Just to recap, LTE or 3.9G will take DL speeds upto 300Mbps and UL to around 75Mbps. LTE-Advanced also known as 4G will take the speeds upto 1Gbps in slow mobility scenario and and in high mobility the rates could be upto 100Mbps. So what about 5G?

Well honestly its too difficult to forsee and speculate the rates 5G would provide. In fact 5G may be a completely different paradigm and use another yardstick to measure technological progress. Infact the ITU has moved away from the 'generation' concept and even though its accepted that LTE-A is 4G, its not referred to as 4G by ITU. ITU does not mention 4G anywhere in its next generation acronyms. The term used is IMT-Advanced.

So lets speculate what 5G could be.

I think 5G will be more about reliability and convergence of technologies. Imagine a phone with upto 8 MIMO's and simultaneously its using dfifferent technologies. So a user is connected to the web using multiple technologies and at any instant of time he is getting multiple streams from different sources. When one of these sources fail then the other technology can simply take over and provide the connection. In a simple case if we map this to today's technology then we would have one antenna connected to HSPA, one to WiMAX, one to WiFi, one to UWB, etc., etc.

Hopefully IMS (or another similar technology) will become reality much earlier but even if it doesnt then hopefully by the time 5G will arrive its already operational. Mutiple devices can be connected by the same contact and presence rules can control them. It can help with other services like Messaging and PoC.

Television streaming should become completely seamless and it should be possible to provide 100's of channels without any spectrum limitations.

The cell sizes can become extremely large and cells can have say 80% overlap but there would be no interference. This would even give opportunity to have Femtocell like devices that can provide coverage for say upto a kilometre and it would cause no interference. This should also help get rid of cell-edge rate problem and can help avoid congestion, capacity crunch, etc.

Cloud computing can hit the mobile technology as well and the phones can do amazing things withouth much of the power required. A bit like the 'sixth-sense' technology case where the computation power is in the cloud and the phone is just a device to connect to the web. Infact the cloud concept could be extended where different gadgets can become part of the cloud so maybe your refrigerator can be processing your data if you are near it or maybe you television is if you are near it. The end user should not be aware and shouldnt care as long as his job is getting done.

I suppose when these many features will be available in a technology then the applications can do amazing stuff, only creative developers will be required to come up with new and amazing innvovative ideas.

These are just ideas, please feel free to add yours.

Ps: And ofcourse we would need support to Voice and SMS ;-)


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ViViDVeW said...

That certainly does sound like the next logical step as wireless signaling and protocols start to reach closer the the practical limits imposed by the nature of EM physics in the various frequency ranges. But I think that would require a lot of things outside of the wireless world to change to support it. IPv6 would need to supplant IPv4(all those links will need their own IP address). Also something along the lines of SCTP would need to replace TCP as the transport layer protocol of choice. Without these two changes OSs would be hard pressed to hide the underlying changes in the network conditions from applications.

Zahid Ghadialy said...

Yes IPv6 is one of the most important things that is long overdue. I missed that one out ;)

Fawad Nazir said...

The thing you mentioned about multiple access technology is already there in 3G. you can connect to Wifi, 3G, bluetooth at the sametime. Its just a matter of introducing a scheduling algorithm in the access layer to select the best interface or switch between interfaces. What are you comments about it?

Zahid Ghadialy said...

Fawad, when you use any application today, you use an access point and use one technology to stream data. What I meant is that the concept of access points will probably become obsolete and the applications will use simultaneously multiple technologies. So if LTE-A, HSPA+ and another technology (whatever it may be) are available, connections will be established to all of them and part of data will be streammed from each of them. The channel conditions will always be different for each of them so depending on the conditions they can stream different amount or different QoS of data.

Anonymous said...

Actualy, as u said, its too early to guess what 5g would be, but some type of new antenna that wouldn't allow ur hand to interfere with the signal

Ash said...


Don't you think that after IMT Advanced (LTE A) it will be a time to reinvent or restructure internet in more sophisticated and efficient way ? also will download speed be the real question for 5G?