What is 5G ?Everyone likes a fast internet. Imagine downloading an 8 gigabyte file in 4 seconds. We have probably heard about the 5G prophecy... how 5G will rule the internet with blazing speed.
Well, what is 5G ?
5G is a buzzword, there is no standard technical definition for 5G but it is okay to think of it as the 5th generation of improvement to cellular networks. It is known that 5G will bring network speeds faster than 4G. These network speed will support new technologies like virtual reality, internet of things, autonomous vehicle, remote health monitoring and many more operations seamlessly.
To achieve these gain in speed for 5G, engineers and researchers are making changes (improvements) in the these areas
Millimeter Waves: As of today (12/02/2018), most network operations are carried out at frequencies below 6 GHz. Our popular WiFi for example operates at mostly 2.4GHz or 5GHz. As the number of internet or network capable devices grows, the existing frequency spectrum used for network operations gets used up. Hence, there is need to expand this spectrum. Researchers are now looking at the possibility of transmitting at higher frequencies (millimeter waves) - from 30GHz to about 300GHz since this will mean more bandwidth to accommodate the increasing number of network devices. However, there is a draw back. Millimeter waves travel at line of sight and as such, they suffer signal degradation / loss due to obstacles (like trees, humans, buildings, rain) that often interfere with the signal's along its path. To tackle some of these problems, researchers are looking at Small Cell.
Small cell: In 5G, industries and academia are opting to deploy several small and lower power base station that could also act as signal repeaters or relays. The idea is that, with several small cells deployed, beams would not need to travel far and the effect of obstacles would be reduced. Another advantage of using small cells is they can be deployed in a way that they will provide better signal coverage to areas that were not previously covered.