2019 was an extraordinary year as trade disputes between China and the United States took center stage. The term “5G” appeared frequently during these negotiations, making 5G network technology one of the hottest buzzwords of the 21st century. But what makes 5G so captivating?
As electronics become more prevalent, an increasing number of devices join the communication network. This places significant strain on the existing network systems, prompting the need for more advanced communication technology to meet user demands. These demands have driven the birth and development of 5G technology. In this article, TechSparks will delve into four aspects: “Concept,” “Service Categories,” “Cases,” and “FAQs” to provide a detailed introduction to 5G technology.
What Does 5G Stand For
“5G” stand for the fifth generation of mobile communication technology, which is the latest generation of cellular mobile communication technology. It can achieve higher signal transmission speeds, lower latency, and provide greater connectivity. For ordinary users, this means that you can download and upload data faster and enjoy smoother video calls, online gaming, and streaming experiences. For society as a whole, 5G technology helps promote developments in remote healthcare, autonomous driving, and the Internet of Things (IoT). According to the definition of 5G, it’s evident that the evolution of mobile communication technology includes the following four generations:
- 1G: The era of analog signals, allowing remote voice communication from anywhere.
- 2G: The digital signal era, expanding communication methods and information access, enabling features like SMS, email, and web browsing.
- 3G: The era of high-speed data transmission, fostering the development of multimedia applications such as video, gaming, instant messaging, and social media interaction.
- 4G: The era of mobile connectivity, an improved version of 3G, offering higher transmission rates while retaining previous capabilities.
5G Network Communication Services
The full name of eMBB is Enhanced Mobile Broadband. To help you better understand it, let’s use the analogy of a network being like a highway and data as vehicles. During holidays, the number of vehicles on the road increases, leading to traffic jams. To avoid this problem, you can either reduce the number of vehicles or expand the roads. However, in the world of networks, we can’t reduce the total data volume. To prevent congestion and delays, we expand the “roads,” and this is where eMBB comes into play. It allows more data to pass through within the same time frame.
Before 5G network was widely adopted, some seemingly high-end products entered the market, but the user experience often fell short. A typical example is VR goggles. New users who tried VR for the first time were full of expectations, hoping to experience an immersive feeling. However, when they put on VR goggles, they often felt disappointed due to blurry images and poor quality, failing to provide a true sense of immersion and possibly causing discomfort, including dizziness. This wasn’t a product malfunction but rather a limitation of communication technology’s inability to support massive data loads.
The principles of VR are similar to image processing. High-resolution images offer clearer details, while low-resolution images can result in pixelation. In VR applications, a vast number of high-resolution images make up a virtual environment, often with various effects and rendering. For instance, if a 20k image outputs a data volume of 100, a 200m image results in 20,000, causing significant latency issues. 4G network couldn’t handle such massive data, which often led to reduced image clarity. Now, eMBB provides broader data channels, allowing for larger data volumes, resulting in a better user experience.
We’ve been talking about the 21st century as a fast-paced society, and our tolerance for signal latency is almost zero. Related to this is the concept of latency, which refers to the time it takes for a message or packet to travel from one end of a network to the other. uRLLC stands for “Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications” and aims to provide extremely low communication latency and very high reliability, ensuring real-time device responsiveness and instantaneous responses.
So, how fast is 5G network, exactly?
To put it in context with human sensory organs, vision is typically considered the fastest sense in perceiving the world, with the entire perception process taking between 10 milliseconds and 100 milliseconds. In comparison, 4G latency is close to human visual response times, usually ranging from 20 to 50 milliseconds, while 5G latency is less than 1 millisecond, even control plane latency being within 10 milliseconds.
This change to millisecond-level latency is almost imperceptible for humans. What significance does this have for humans?
Let’s consider the example of an autonomous driving car. When a car encounters an emergency situation, the human body’s typical reaction process involves perception, cognition, decision, and execution, taking several hundred milliseconds to several seconds. However, the low latency of 5G networks allows autonomous driving systems to quickly perceive and respond to potential dangers within 1 millisecond, greatly enhancing the safety of both drivers and passengers.
From a historical perspective, networks have played a crucial role in advancing society. In the agricultural era, we relied on water networks for irrigation. During the industrial age, we needed power grids and energy networks to support machinery. In the modern age of information and data abundance, we require an information exchange network to facilitate connectivity, and mMTC is the key to achieving this. mMTC stands for Massive Machine-Type Communication, designed to support the connection of a vast number of IoT devices, enabling millions of devices to connect to the network within each square kilometer, thereby realizing the true “Internet of Everything”.
So, what does “Internet of Everything” mean?
It refers to the integration of people, processes, data, and things, making network connections more relevant. In simple terms, it enables communication between people and things, as well as between things themselves.
For machines, they lack thinking and working abilities. Humans have translated all numbers, text, and instructions into binary language, represented by 0s and 1s, allowing machines to communicate with humans and execute tasks based on instructions. Similarly, machines can also communicate with each other in this manner, collaborating according to established rules. When thousands of individuals and things engage in this form of communication, it achieves what we refer to as the “Internet of Everything.”
Cases of 5G Technology
Smart Manufacturing: In smart factories, a central system monitors, analyzes, and manages the production processes of assembly lines. Production line equipment provides production information to the system, creating a closed-loop network for automated production, thereby improving production efficiency and product quality.
Smart Transportation: Utilizing network coordination to supervise vehicles, roads, and traffic control systems, creating a comprehensive ground traffic management system. Leveraging the fast data transmission capabilities of 5G, it enables real-time supervision and establishes an intelligent traffic network with features like intelligent control, autonomous navigation, and self-planning.
Remote Healthcare: Leveraging the low-latency nature of 5G signals, doctors can remotely control robotic arms to treat patients with high-definition image feedback. This technology has been implemented and incorporated into China’s healthcare system.
Multimedia: 5G overcomes the limitations of 4G in data transmission, providing high-speed data transfer that supports high-definition video streaming, VR, AR, cloud gaming, and other entertainment applications.
FAQs About 5G Technology
In practical tests, the average browsing and download speed for 5G users exceeded 490 Mbps, compared to the 4G users’ average of 56 Mbps. The average browsing and download latency dropped from 116 milliseconds to 17 milliseconds. Over 90% of users on 5G networks can achieve download speeds of 100 Mbps, which is significantly higher compared to 8 Mbps on LTE connections.
No! This means that you need to upgrade your devices to be compatible with 5G. In communication networks, devices are backward compatible, which means 5G phones can be compatible with all signals, including 5G, but 4G phones cannot be compatible with 5G signals.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other scientific research, there is no evidence to suggest that 5G technology has negative effects on human health. 5G technology utilizes millimeter waves, microwaves, and radiofrequency radiation, and the intensity of this radiation is typically lower than international electromagnetic field exposure standards. Furthermore, to ensure safety, many countries and regions have established monitoring systems to track radiation exposure levels and ensure they remain within safe limits.
Both wired and wireless networks face potential security vulnerabilities and challenges, but major telecommunications operators are actively responding and taking measures to prevent security gaps, attack risks, and privacy issues.
There are indeed certain mutual influencing factors between 5G signals and satellite communication. Firstly, 5G signal transmission utilizes millimeter-wave frequencies, which can conflict with the frequency bands used for satellite communication. Secondly, 5G networks employ beamforming technology to direct signals towards specific users or devices, potentially leading to signal concentration.
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