The 5G world is closer than you think, what will life look like?


Introduction


5G is going to change our lives in ways that we cannot even imagine at this point. Current estimates state that between 2020 and 2035, the implementation of 5G alone will make a contribution to the real global GDP equivalent to an economy the size of India. And in 2035, the value of 5G will support 22 million jobs worldwide and produce an economic output of $12.3 trillion. So yeah, 5G is a pretty big deal, and everyone from carriers to device makers are keen on boarding the 5G train ASAP.

Originally, 5G was not due to roll out until 2020, but the companies developing 5G technologies decided to bring forward the date, and now we will be seeing the fruits of their labor by 2019. Recently, we have been reporting a lot about telecommunication companies announcing 5G trials. In the UK, Vodafone and EE have already announced plans to hold trials in cities across the British Isles. And across the pond, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint have been eagerly making plans. Meanwhile, device makers are all joining the fray with the first 5G phones due to hit shelves in 2019.


So with all the excitement and general chatter about 5G, we thought it would be a good idea to show you what things may look like in a few years, and to outline the core technologies that will make it all possible. In the writing of this article, we have consulted a plethora of materials, mostly from Qualcomm who are at the forefront of developing 5G, and whose new X50 modem will start bringing 5G capabilities to phones in 2019. We hope that the technologies are presented in a manner that is more comprehensible than you may find elsewhere. 

A day in the life



Your alarm goes off in the morning, same as always. But that alarm was the trigger to turn on the water boiler and to set in motion your morning routine. Everything is connected as it is quickly becoming. Some things will not change so much, but when you leave the house and the confines of your Wi-Fi network, things will be noticeably different. Everything from downloading movies in seconds to enabling the next wave of smart cities will be available with 5G. Things will be more efficient, quicker, cooler. 5G acts as a mesh that will connect just about everything in our lives. 

In order for everything to be quicker and more efficient, Qualcomm has been developing optimized OFDM-based wavelengths as part of 5G NR (New Radio) which will allow for specialized data connections based on the device. So, an IoT device will have a better optimized wavelength, different from the wavelength of a phone, which allows it to be more efficient. In addition, having devices spread out across diverse wavelengths will make everything faster. Right now, the bands that we currently use for mobile data are very crowded and are becoming more crowded. The more devices that are trying to use the network, the slower the speed is for everyone. 5G is going to change that. 

Utilizing the flexibility of 5G NR



In leaving the house for your daily commute, you get into your car and it pulls out of the driveway…by itself. You will probably feel much safer with autonomous vehicles because with the power of 5G technologies, you know that your vehicle will be communicating with the other vehicles on the road to avoid collision. Your car will be able to see around corners with new technology that allows for non-line-of-sight sensing. The car realizes that a couple miles ahead there is a blockage and automatically reroutes to avoid it. You may worry that while you are consuming content, your connection to the network may interfere with your car’s connection, as we are warned about on airplanes, but not to worry. 

V2X encompasses a variety of different communication pathways that will be implemented to make autonomous driving safe, and transportation quicker and more efficient. V2V (Vehicle to Vehicle) communication allows vehicles to be aware of where they stand in relation to their fellows. This real-time communication will allow vehicles to essentially be able to see around corners because they will be able to view live footage from nearby vehicle cameras. V2P (Vehicle to Person) will allow vehicles to know how we are moving, so that they could sense in advance if nearby pedestrians are about to step into the road. 


Unlike now, when devices have to wait in order to download data, with 5G standards, autonomous vehicles will be on a higher plane. The vehicles need to get their data in real time, and there is no room for error. With the critical nature of V2X communications, there is a 5G technology being created specially for use cases like autonomous driving and drones which is called uRLLC or, ultra-Reliable and Low-Latency Communications. This higher plane of communication ensures that the devices that need it the most – autonomous vehicles, drones, etc. – have it. 

But you also should not worry that you may not get your content just as quickly; 5G is ultra-low latency. In fact, Qualcomm likens it to fiber-like speeds. We can think of latency by considering the file you are trying to download. When you tap the little icon to download the file from the cloud, your device makes a request. This request has to join a queue with other download requests. The length of time between when you request the file and when it actually starts to download, that is latency. With 5G, no more of that nonsense. The new network will have a massive capacity, so unlimited data can be the new normal.

Despite your car’s best intentions, you have hit some traffic – it is the city after all. With a sigh of exasperation, at least now you have time to get some work done. You grab your always-connected tablet from your briefcase and open the video editing software that you are using to edit footage for a new marketing campaign. The problem that you used to run into – namely, the tablet not being able to handle this heavy editing job – is a thing of the past. In the 5G world, your processor could be tied to the network so that your devices can call in reinforcements when it needs greater processing power. The low latency will make this real time cloud computing a reality.

You arrive at work and head into a meeting with a company team in Frankfurt, Germany (You are in San Francisco, by the way). The company is getting ready to launch a new product and they have the latest model. You and your teammates put on your VR headsets and now you are all together in Berlin, in real time, and you can all see the new product up close. All of this you could already do, but it was slow, and the quality was not great. Now, everything is crisp and fast. 


The factory where your company’s new product is due to be manufactured will be able to run more efficiently, because each machine and process will be monitored in real time, all connected to a private LTE network. 5G NR will allow IoT devices to communicate via a broad array of frequencies, saving power whilst communicating efficiently. These new technologies will improve the lives of everyone. Whether you live in the city or in rural areas, the beautiful thing about 5G is that it is incredibly diverse. It has technologies for various applications. A farmer can monitor their crops using drones, and get real time data regarding the health of the crops. A distribution company can monitor the trucks it has in the fleet to make sure that everything is going smoothly. 

In closing


It is clear that 5G will affect our lives in profound ways over the next couple decades. And no one, including Qualcomm, is sure what new innovations will be born from the new reality that 5G will bring to us. We have no doubt that there is something new and exciting that will change the way we live hiding behind the corner, waiting for the right technologies to become available.

Do keep in mind that the technologies laid out in this article will not all be available right away. Things like truly autonomous vehicles that communicate with each other are still a long way away. It is estimated that we will be spending upwards of 200 billion dollars each year until 2035 on deploying 5G technologies around the world. From what we can tell, big cities will be the first to start getting the upgrades, then things will start flowing outwards. It is a wondrous future and we cannot wait for what lies in store for us. 

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22 Comments

1. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

All this 5G talk sounds so sensationalized. To me it just sounds like faster downloads, and maybe less latency. I imagine we'll still have good ole holes in the cellular network and it's not like we're creating more wireless bandwidth... It just sounds like more congestion.

2. bucky

Posts: 3776; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Expensive with limited data caps.

3. sun0066

Posts: 266; Member since: Feb 12, 2011

It is good to have 5g so we get 4g speed in real life

8. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1354; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Lol. Your right that is exactly what it will be.

12. BullaBoss

Posts: 141; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

When we barely have LTE coverage RN maybe that will change.

4. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

If it surpass the battery life of my old GSM disposable phone (Nokia 103) then I'll definitely own a 5G smartphone, even if I've to pay 1,000 Aussie Bucks. Which somehow reminds me of my ol' beeper I used to lug around back in the 90s! Darn thing would last a month and then some on a single battery! And what else? It got my first date! Ah! The good ol' days when you had to walk to a payphone to make calls and kids were out in the streets playing. The embarrassment when your friends find your carefully stashed adult magazines and make fun of you for weeks. Nowadays; everything is locked away safe and sound in a palm sized high resolution gadget with biometric security. Lucky you, little millennials... Lucky you. G'Day!

9. BLUEBLASTER

Posts: 926; Member since: Feb 23, 2014

My friend told me to my face he got rid of them all. I later checked under his mattress and behold all the porn you could ask for!

13. Boast_Rider

Posts: 534; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

Use your GSM disposable phone for 6 hours of screen time a day, and it will last the same as a modern phone. People claim that modern phones have poor battery life compared to GSM phones, but that's simply not the case. Go to phone settings and switch to 2G, turn off mobile data, and use your phone for calling and occasional browsing, even a modern phone will last just as long. People forget that new phones actually do better at calltime and standby than the old ones. It's just that it's becoming exponentially harder to make batteries that match up with the usage pattern, which is getting higher and higher every year. People take more photos, more videos, do streaming, and even compute on their phones nowadays.

5. TMHKR

Posts: 202; Member since: Dec 08, 2012

What will look like? It will look cooked. Al dente, at least.

6. surethom

Posts: 1661; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

Isn't 5g quicker BUT much much shorter range? So for the major that don't live in large city's will most of us get 5g it's hard enough to get 4g.

7. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1354; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

well, we were told the same thing about 2G, HSPA (2.5G), 3G and 4G. I don't expect anything different then a bit quicker download speeds. In-fact we are yet to take advantage of the powerful QC Modem in most of our devices today some of them can reach speed of over 500 Mbps I believe and we are only allowed to do about 200 to maybe 250 by the service providers because they really don't have the capacity. So I take all of this 5G stuff with a grain of salt. There is no real reason to get hyped yet. Maybe when 6 or 7G is out when every one is guarantee at minimum 800 to 900 mbps.

14. Boast_Rider

Posts: 534; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

I'm lucky to get 20 Mbps where I live from a full carrier aggregated LTE signal (4G+ or LTE-advanced). I was getting 15+ on 3G 5 years ago. BTW, HSPA and HSPA+ were 3.5G, not 2.5G. 2.5G was Edge.

17. Nostromo79

Posts: 169; Member since: Jun 22, 2016

You've made me feel nostalgic for 2011-2013.

18. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1354; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

thanks for that clarification. I remember those days particularly when the 4G I believe Inter-telecom standard making body fiasco which caved to include T-Mobiles HSPA+ as a 4G when clearly 4G was toted as LTE. We were then told how revolutionary it would be how blazing fast our connections would be and that we would be able to download movie and pictures while playing a game with the back-end services rendered by the network. All the hype only to have the carriers throttle and cap everything because of network capacity, LOl It reminds me of the whole PC era where the software was way a head of the hardware. 3D modelers and movie editing software that was so advance but the PC hardware CPU and Memory were all limited because to get better processing and bigger memory cost a fortune. This didn't change for a decade or so when hardware like the Pentium processor, advance sound cards and graphic cards and memory modules started to appear to even out things and then surpass the ability of the software. Same today it seems Here we are where our existing devices have so powerful SoCs that have incredibly modems ( SD 835, 845 Exynos, etc..) But we can't take advantage of them because of the carrier networks being the choke points. Thats why I don't get too excited about this stuff anymore because the SD 855 and the next Exynos modems will no doubt be vast improvements but we still wont be able to take advantage of all that improvement.

10. scarecrowsyn

Posts: 14; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

The romanticized, idealized world described here sounds...well, not that great, actually. It most certainly doesn't sound realistic. These are things that *could* eventually happen, but in 10 years the roads will still be full of vehicles that aren't 5G-capable and my house won't be filled with expensive smart devices that I cannot afford. I'll be ok to just notice when I'm low on milk, though; I don't need my fridge to tell me. :)

11. Humanoid

Posts: 1226; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

First 5G device will be Sony. August or january

22. Brewski

Posts: 671; Member since: Jun 05, 2012

No. I have a 5G device in my pocket right now. I bought it last year in Sept 2017. The Moto Z2 Force. A simple firmware update enabled that phone and a small handful of others to be 5G capable. Both antenna and processor (read: modem). It's just that there's no infrastructure to reach those speeds yet.

15. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1246; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

Whenever such 5G life demo videos are shown, just look back few years and remember the 4G life demo videos shown at that time and compare today's reality.. You will not get hyped up by that 5G then...

16. Nostromo79

Posts: 169; Member since: Jun 22, 2016

Enough microwave energy in the air to cook a bird in-flight.

19. geordie8t1

Posts: 287; Member since: Nov 16, 2015

Data plans will not follow as fast, 5g will allow users to download movies in minutes, and stream 4k and endless amounts of other data, only for you to burn thru the low data package in a mere days

20. Rigmaster

Posts: 234; Member since: Jan 22, 2018

No sooner will the full rollout of 5G be happening then the articles and talk of life with 6G will begin. So let's just say 5G will like be a transition to 6G.

21. ultimatewarrior

Posts: 16; Member since: Feb 19, 2014

Pretty much Charles Xavier's Cerybro

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