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After food, water, and air, the one thing which humans of the modern world cannot live without is the internet. In this age of connectivity and sharing of information, the absence of a data network can leave an individual unaware of the happenings of the world.
The arrival of the 4G LTE network introduced to the world the power of an abundant bandwidth that opened a window of opportunities for the telecom industry.
It brought into play stimulating content such as live video streaming and gaming. Now with the word being around of an upcoming 5G network, the world is looking forward to new highs in the realm of internet connectivity.
5G is an advanced network that implements Enhanced Mobile Broadband. This technology increases the bit rate of data transmission, and therefore you get faster speed and better efficiency in content delivery to connected devices.
With the 5G network in place, a series of brand-new experiences will open up to the users of the internet. Abundant, high-speed, bandwidth-demanding media services like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality will become available to ordinary people.
This way, global communication between individuals, organizations, and governments will become more accessible, cheaper, and hassle-free.
This leap of strength in internet connectivity holds a lot of potential and promises to bring a new world of virtual possibilities to our mobile devices. However, every new venture has some bumps in its way, and it will undoubtedly take us some time to adapt to its schemes.
Moreover, it isn’t all a fairytale when we are talking about upgrading our entire communication system. There are hurdles, and more than that, there are certain disadvantages.
While hyping up new technological development, we forget to talk about its apparent shortcomings and downsides.
In this article, we are going to introduce you to the less discussed problems that 5G can bring, but at the same time, we’ll also talk about why the world is patiently waiting for this next-level bandwidth experience.
Pros and Cons of 5G Network: A Detailed Guide📗
The Pros: Why Is 5G The Next Big Thing?
Now that we have discussed the problems which we are facing on our journey to upgrade to 5G, we must talk about why everyone’s so excited about its success.
As the name suggests, it is the 5th generation network, a cumulation of many technologies and communication concepts, brought together to take connectivity to new heights.
With 5G in place, the amount of data transmission and its speed will be an all-time high. Moreover, the Internet of Things will move from being an area of interest for the techies to a means of livelihood for the masses.
What we are looking at in the future: smart cities, automated vehicles, home automation, and virtual reality, all working with the same backbone, i.e., a high-speed network. There’sThere’s really so much to look forward to, and we’ll discuss some of those things over here.
1. High-Speed Connectivity
This is essentially the underlying feature of 5G. Its advanced network will give the world the boon of super connectivity, where information will flow in seconds and even milliseconds.
The current era is the era of freely available data, and now this very concept will get a boost because we’ll spend much less time in its transmission while extracting much greater amounts of data.
Cities which opt to shift to this network will see increased efficiency in management and administration due to enhanced road and traffic control plans, self-driven cars, better hospital service and smart homes. All-in-all, we will witness much more automation, robot control and data transmission.
2. A Wider Bandwidth
Bandwidth is the range of frequencies being used by a network to transmit a particular signal, and in the case of 5G, we have increased bandwidth to support a wider and more efficient network.
The range of bandwidth is responsible for the superfast transmission of data, and this also provides greater coverage.
In simple terms, this means that in a particular area, this advanced network will be able to serve more data transactions while also allowing a greater number of devices.
Hence, where only ten people used to get an average Wi-Fi speed of say 1mbps, we’ll now be able to accommodate about 20 devices, and they’ll all have sped up to 20mbps.
This is because a wider bandwidth allows for more signals to transmit while preventing one device to interfere with the connectivity of the others.
3. Smarter Cities
With 5G in place and fully operational, all our city administration systems will become automated, and only a supervisor will be needed to overlook the technical requirements of the sector.
For example, the traffic control will get unified under one uniform surveillance system where all CCTV cameras will be in sync with a common database and traffic officials will be able to supervise, command and manipulate traffic from an office rather than from separate stations.
The hospitality sector will get a boost with the incorporation of robots and drones to offer better service. All these seem to be part of some sci-fi fantasy, but in reality, all these entities work well separately at present.
All that we need to connect them and form an efficient system is a fully functioning high-speed network like 5G.
4. Better Disaster Management Systems
One sector which will benefit greatly from this new development in network technology is the disaster management organizations. Disaster management involves mass communication, and this is where they’ll see a new enhancement.
With faster and more efficient communication gateways, governments will be able to inform citizens beforehand about possible dangers and the precautions that they should take.
Through these disaster relief channels, challenging tasks like mass evacuation will become simpler, and this will be essential in controlling the aftermath of most natural disasters.
If we take this idea a step further, we can visualize the implementation of Virtual Reality to give people a drill on how to protect themselves during a calamity by making them live simulation of that experience virtually. Therefore, there’s a lot of exploration that engineers are left to do in this sector once 5G arrives.
5. An Efficient Public Safety Network
Imagine Sherlock Holmes decoding the possibility of a mass bombing at a bustling train depot in London. He knows the bombing is going to take, he knows at exactly what time and precisely who’s behind the attack.
But how does he save the people? 🤔 How does he inform the thousands of people to evacuate the station in time?🤔 How does he inform the trains approaching this particular station to change their routes or halt at their position? This is where communication, particularly mass communication, plays a huge part.
One needs to be able to spread information regarding emergencies in a swift time to all the people who might get involved in the approaching calamity.
Sherlock Holmes could inform all the people moving in and out of the station in a jiffy if the railway systems in London had one common headquarter which connected to all the stations and train Public Announcement system through a network which was fast and effective. This is just the improvement that 5G is going to bring to the public safety sector.
In case of robbery, public shooting, or any such violent crime, the police will be able to take action and evacuate people swiftly.
6. A Boost to Transportation
The public transportation system will get a considerable boost when it works in sync with an active 5G network.
You’ll have upgraded versions of cab and bus booking apps, and you will have centrally controlled street crossing signals, digital monitoring of pedestrian crossings, and much more.
With all information in sync with a cloud computing network, any customer will be able to access the travel history of the cab they have ordered and know the full background and experience of the driver.
Moreover, scientists are working on sophisticated road sensors to control traffic congestion and also keep track of pollution and emissions.
7. Public Utility Systems
Apart from transportation, other public utility sectors like the defense, healthcare and marketing sectors will also see a significant improvement and growth.
A faster network will work wonders for the defense and disaster relief group from allowing the policeman to enforce laws more effectively to enable the firefighters to respond faster to calls.
The medical sector will also experience a boost with integrated platforms for doctors and researchers to share massive gigabytes of research and development data such that they can work on it together and faster.
The incorporation of robots in ICU level operations will increase precision and reduce the rate of dates from complications acquired during surgery. The cumulation and fast processing of data will enable implementation of split-second decisions required in case of accidents.
This network will help supervision of train intersections, bus routes and trade vehicles seamlessly to give a safer transport environment.
The Cons: In What Ways Does This New Network Pose A Problem?
Like they say, the bad news first. Techies often avoid this discussion in workshops and discussion panels about 5G. Nonetheless, that doesn’t make it less critical.
It is pretty crucial to know about the shortcomings of a service that will be used by millions across the world. Point by point, we will discuss the challenges in our way and talk a little about a possible solution. Thus, the disadvantages of 5G are as follows:
1. The Frequency Absorption Problem
The 5G network broadly uses two groups of signals from the radio spectrum, and one of these is known as mmWave. These signals are extremely high-frequency millimeter wave bands, and they have properties that are separate from normal-frequency radio waves.
These are essential for a faster network because greater frequency waves transmit at a higher speed. However, besides the increased rate, these waves have a very short wavelength, hence the name millimeter waves.
This property of mmWave makes it susceptible to absorption by obstacles in the path, meaning: trees, buildings, and even your body can block the transmission of these signals. To add to the problem, the signals pester out in the air.
Even if there are no obstacles, the waves will fade away after traveling about a kilometer or so. Whereas, conventional frequency waves can go for many kilometers without losing signal strength.
2. The Money Problem
This problem follows if we try to brainstorm solutions for the above dilemma. To ensure proper transmission of these short distance waves, mobile providers will need to increase the density of cellular base stations in an area.
Practically and financially, it is impossible to have a cellular plant every 1000 meters. Therefore, engineers are looking at placing small-signal cells after every dozen electricity poles in a neighborhood.
Even then, it is an expensive investment. Besides, these signals follow a Line of Sight (LOS) mechanism wherein they travel in a straight path from the point of transmission.
Therefore, the workers need to partially remove all obstacles in the way of these signals to make the network operational. Figuring out the path of least obstacles and maneuvering through acres of industrial and domestic settlement is again a very challenging and expensive task.
3. The Availability Problem
This network won’t be available to the entire masses, at least initially. This issue again has links with the financial problem.
A mobile operator needs to invest a lot of money to insert ten times the number of transmission cells in one particular area as compared to what they did before for 4G LTE.
Keeping that in mind, they would like to bring this network to an area where it will be in extensive use. Moreover, for the system to be operational, most of the signal cells in a city need to be deployed.
Thus, broadband network providers would invest in densely populated areas where users will be high. This means, like always, the people who are at the tail of the priority list when it comes to technological development, i.e., the rural people will be left behind. It will be a long time before 5G becomes a thing of the people.
These are the primary, glaring problems that we will face throughout the process of widespread 5G installation. There are other problems too, which we are briefly discussing below:
The high-speed data transmission rates will cause a huge battery drain in phones running the 5G network. This increased battery usage will lead to overheating of the device.
This risks accidents such as batteries bursting or catching fire, and such disasters can be lethal. To tackle this problem, 5G devices need new, upgraded, next-generation batteries to provide more support and power to the mobile device.
5. Upload Rates
While 5G will see a groundbreaking rise in the download speed of data, with recorded rates as high as 1.9Gbps, the upload speed doesn’t seem to budge much.
Testing labs have marked upload speeds with a ceiling value of 100mbps. While this is several notches above 4G LTE, it is nothing remarkable and needs improvement. The ping rate recorded in 5G testing has also not been the desired 1ms but is 15ms.
United States: A 5G Case Study
We have spoken a lot on the implementation of 5G in a theoretical sense. Now we must see how things actually turn out in a real-life 5G model.
We’llWe’ll take the case of the United States as it aspires to be the world leader in 5G networking, closely competing with China. We’llWe’ll see where their journey began, and we will follow through to the most recent developments and understand how things worked out for the U.S.
America’sAmerica’s 5G journey started way back in 2018 when the FCC proposed a 5G FAST PLAN in the month of September to establish itself as the first nation with a solid plan in place regarding 5G installation.
A significant component of this plan was the idea of carrying out spectrum auctions. These are basically events auctioning frequencies which fall under the 5G radio spectrum to service provider companies so that they can build their network around the requirements of that particular frequency.
The first auction, however, was held much before the official 5G FAST PLAN. In March 2016, the FCC hosted an incentive auction where spectrum discussions took place, and low-band wireless broadband networks became available for 5G testing.
The FCC scheduled another sale for the higher frequencies of 37GHz, 39 GHz and 47GHz for 2019, and they decided that the money raised in these auctions will go into the implementation of 5G network infrastructure in rural areas in the U.S.
Two companies have received the title of the leaders of 5G deployment in the USA, namely, Verizon and AT&T. However, there’s an ongoing debate about who truly brought the concept to the public market.
AT&T took the initiative to first launch a working standardized 5G network in the U.S., spanning across a dozen cities, without the use of any 5G enabled devices in December 2018.
Verizon brought a non-standard based interface in four cities in October in 2018, which worked with fixed broadband devices. Verizon went on to pioneer a standardized 5G network in Minneapolis and Chicago before any 5G devices were available in the market.
On May 16, 2018, Verizon began the sale of the first 5G enabled device in the U.S.: the Samsung Galaxy s10 5G.
It chalked out a plan to bring 5G to a total of 30 states in the U.S. Following in its footsteps, AT&T deployed a working 5G network in 21 states by the August of 2019 and claimed to grow the number soon and reach the 30 states mark.
Pros and Cons of 5G: Final Conclusion
To conclude, everything that we have discussed in one line: 5G is the network of the next era, and like any new piece of technology, it requires a lot of testing and fine-tuning to be successful. However, as is the case with most scientific advancements, it always finds a way.
Therefore, we can be hopeful that despite all the problems that we are facing while expanding the network is fully operational cities outside the testing labs, the constant evaluation will ultimately bring positive results.
Researchers have already shed new light and proposed solutions for the impending problems that the network is facing. There’sThere’s one prevalent idea to deal with the issue of weak signal strengths, and this involves beam-forming and large MIMO systems.
This technology employs not just one antenna or even four or five antennas like the LTE network but rather hundreds of small antennas working together in sync to increases the ability of the receiver to attract signals. This system even tweaks the phase of the receiving signals and helps to create concentrated beams of high strength signals.
Putting this idea into action, Verizon has paired up with Samsung and successfully tested and verified 5G networks implementing mm Waves in over seven states of the U.S. including Washington D.C., Michigan, New Jersey and Texas.
These testing trails had exciting findings: The researchers found out that a single 5G signal could reach the 19th floor of a skyscraper with LOS, partial LOS and non-LOS broadband connections. Moreover, natural phenomena such as rain or snow did not interfere in the transmission of signals.
These findings have given new hope to the pioneers in the communication industry, and extensive research and testing are in place to look for the best methods and planning to implement this brand-new network in cities and towns.
With 5G in place, the world will have moved on to a new future of technological advancements: a tomorrow full of new opportunities.
Beyond everything, we should remember that the ultimate goal is to increase the quality of life, not just for humans but for all living creatures as a whole. Therefore, we must look out for the wellbeing of the environment and its flora and fauna amidst the installation of such a widespread network.
If we can find a way to work in harmony with all the forces of nature, our race will advance far greater into time, and we’ll have more such milestones to celebrate.