Everything You Need to Know About 5G

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every new generation of wireless

networks delivers faster speeds and more

functionality to our smartphones 1g

brought us the very first cell phones 2g

let us text for the first time 3G

brought us online and 4g delivered the

speeds that we enjoy today but as more

users come online 4G networks have just

about reached the limit of what they're

capable of at a time when users want

even more data for their smart phones

and devices now we're headed toward 5g

the next generation of wireless it will

be able to handle a thousand times more

traffic than today's networks and it'll

be up to 10 times faster than 4G LTE

just imagine downloading an HD movie in

under a second and then let your

imagination run wild 5g will be the

foundation for virtual reality

autonomous driving the Internet of

Things and stuff we can't even yet

imagine but what exactly is a 5g network


the truth is experts can't tell us what

5g actually is because they don't even

know yet but right now there are 5 brand

new technologies emerging as a

foundation of 5g millimeter waves small

cells massive MIMO beamforming and full

duplex first up technology number one

millimeter waves your smartphone and

other electronic devices in your home

use very specific frequencies on the

radio frequency spectrum typically those

under 6 gigahertz but these frequencies

are starting to get more crowded

carriers can only squeeze so many bits

of data on the same amount of radio

frequency spectrum as more devices come

online we're going to start to see

slower service and more dropped

connections the solution is to open up

some new real estate so researchers are

experimenting with broadcasting on

shorter millimeter waves those that fall

between 30 and 300 gigahertz this

section of spectrum has never been used

before for mobile devices and opening it

up means more bandwidth for everyone but

there is a catch millimetre waves can't

travel well through buildings or other

obstacles and they tend to be absorbed

by plants and rain to get around this

problem we'll need technology number 2

small cell networks today's wireless

networks rely on large high powered cell

towers to broadcast their signals over

long distances

but remember higher-frequency millimeter

waves have a harder time traveling

through obstacles which means if you

move behind one you lose your signal

small cell networks would solve that

problem using thousands of low-power

mini base stations these base stations

would be much closer together than

traditional towers forming a sort of

relay team to transmit signals around

obstacles this would be especially

useful in cities as the user moved

behind an obstacle his smartphone would

automatically switch to a new base

station in better range of his device

allowing him to keep his connection next

up technology number three massive MIMO

my most stands for multiple-input

multiple-output today's 4g base stations

have about a dozen ports for antennas

that handle all cellular traffic but

massive MIMO base stations can support

about a hundred ports this could

increase the capacity of today's

networks by a factor of 22 or more of

course massive MIMO comes with its own


today's cellular antennas broadcast

information in every direction at once

and all of those crossing signals could

cause serious interference which brings

us to technology number 4 beam farming

beamforming is like a traffic signalling

system for cellular signals instead of

broadcasting in every direction it would

allow a base station to send a focus

stream of data to a specific user this

precision prevents interference and it's

way more efficient

that means stations could handle more

incoming and outgoing data streams at

once here's how it works say you're in a

cluster of buildings and you're trying

to make a phone call your signal is

ricocheting off of surrounding buildings

and criss-crossing with other signals

from users in the area a massive MIMO

base station receives all of these

signals and keeps track of the timing

and the direction of their arrival it

then uses signal processing algorithms

to triangulate exactly where each signal

is coming from and plots the best

transmission route back through the air

to each phone sometimes it'll even

bounce individual packets of data in

different directions off of buildings or

other objects to keep signals from

interfering with each other the result

is a coherent data stream sent only to

you which brings us to technology number

5 full duplex if you've ever used a wall

gataki you know that in order to

communicate you have to take turns

talking and listening that's kind of a


today's cellular base stations have that

exact same hold up a basic antenna can

only do one job at a time either

transmit or receive this is because of a

principle called

reciprocity which is the tendency for

radio waves to travel both forward and

backward along the same frequency to

understand this it helps to think of a

wave like a train loaded up with data

the frequency it's traveling on is like

the train track and if there's a second

train trying to go in the opposite

direction on the same track you're going

to get some interference up until now

the solution has been to have the trains

take turns or to put all the trains on

different tracks or frequencies but you

can make things a lot more efficient by

working around reciprocity researchers

have used silicon transistors to create

high speed switches that halt the

backward role of these waves it's kind

of like a signalling system that can

momentarily reroute to train so that

they can get past each other that means

there's a lot more getting done on each

track a whole lot faster we're still

working out many of the kinks with

millimeter waves small cell networks

massive MIMO beamforming and full duplex

in fact all of 5g is still a work in


it will likely include other new

technologies too and making all of these

systems work together will be a whole

other challenge but if experts can

figure that out

ultra fast 5g service could arrive in

the next five years