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Wireless Communications: The Rise of 5G



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 MIMOmmWave frequency spectrums, and Wi-Fi and infrastructure investments in small cell, large cell, and base stations.


Wireless researchers will need to innovate faster, apply those learnings quickly, and work more efficiently. In fact, some wireless industry leaders, like Nokia, have been hard at work developing mmWave communication links capable of streaming data exceeding 10 Gb/s; while Bristol and Lund Universities set two world records in spectral efficiency.


Where do we go from here?


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.



NI and 5G


We’ve been hard at work investing in the rise of 5G research, prototyping and testing through our collaboration with top researchers from around the world to build rapid new approaches that pave the way toward commercialization. 


Now’s the time to unlock the next great technological revolution in wireless communications, and with our help, it’s your turn to be on the cutting edge of making it happen.


Are you 5G ready? Schedule a meeting with us at Mobile World Congress 27 Feb-3 Mar in Barcelona (and check out our booth: Hall 2, Stand 2D50) - and check out our open platform for wireless test and other things we bring to the table for the race to....