Over the next few years, Nokia expects a 10,000x increase in bandwidth. It’s no secret: today’s 4G LTE wireless networks simply can’t handle the data demands of our rapidly approaching, hyperconnected future whether it be enhanced mobile broadband and ultra-reliable machine to machine communications.
The demand for anywhere, anytime access will move beyond the domain of smartphones, homes, offices, planes, trains, automobiles, and industrial equipment. All connected, all the time, requiring a reliable internet connection.
This is where 5G comes in: in order to meet bandwidth and latency needs, all of these connections are going to require a new type of wireless signal, as well as a mindset shift among wireless researchers who design, prototype and the test engineers who test these new networks, hand-set devices, and chip-set manufacturers.
5G is about connecting people
It’s always been about connecting people as next generations evolved from SMS text to video in 4G. 5G is the next generation standard being built specifically for the proliferation of mechanical and electrical devices that need a seamless mobile internet connection. In September 2015, ITU put forward its vision of realizing the future of 5G mobile broadband communications, also known as IMT-2020 in ITU-R.
Wireless standards: building the 5G future
And while the work has already begun to build the infrastructure that can handle this data-hungry future, the future of 5G is still being written. The 3GPP standardization body has defined two phases of 5G standards, named Phased 1 and Phase 2. In 2017, the 3GPP will work towards defining the first unified standard for Phase 1. Phase 1 is focused on technologies below 40 GHz and Phase 2 is focused on technologies above 40 GHz.
5G requires changing the way we develop
IMT-2020 in ITU: That’s when most industry analysts predict 5G wireless will become less of a pipe dream and more the norm for all the things we want and need it to do.
But to make it a reality, wireless researchers must change the way they develop. Historically, wireless researchers have only looked at cellular as a way to solve next generation demands. Traditional approaches to solving 5G will not work. 5G will require a multifaceted approach which will include low frequencies using Massive MIMO, mmWave frequency spectrums, and Wi-Fi and infrastructure investments in small cell, large cell, and base stations.
Mobile World Congress is the biggest mobile industry trade show of the year. No doubt we’ll see the latest in smartphones, tablets, and networks.
As work continues at a rapid pace, today’s wireless researchers are going to need a software-centric platform that can turn an idea into a prototype, the faster they can iterate a prototype, means the faster the device can be tested for safety, reliability and commercially adoption.