The first generation mobile network (1G) was introduced way back in 1982 by Nordic Telecommunications Administrations and since then its evolution hasn’t taken a step back. In another decade, the ‘2G’ system was commercially deployed in 1992, and the 3G system appeared in 2001. 4G systems fully compliant with IMT Advanced were first standardized in 2012 and now, we are looking at further researches and the development of the fifth generation mobile network, popularly known as 5G network.
While it may take a good deal of time for the 5G network to be introduced and made available to all of us, we can look into its working and what it would provide us with. As of now, a standard 5G network is said to bestow us with a the following features,
- Data rates of tens of megabits per second for tens of thousands of users.
- Data rates of 100 megabits per second for metropolitan areas.
- 1 Gigabyte per second simultaneously to many users in the same region.
- Hundreds of thousands of simultaneous connections for wireless sensors.
- Spectral efficiency significantly enhanced compared to 4G.
- Coverage improved.
- Signalling efficiency enhanced.
- Latency reduced significantly compared to LTE.
In addition to these features, developers are working for its compatibility with the Internet of Things (internet connected devices) and lifeline communication in times of natural disaster. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the spectrum for 5G, including the 28 Gigahertz, 37 GHz and 39 GHz bands, on 14 July 2016.
With an exponential increase in the demand of the users, 4G will now be easily replaced with 5G with an advanced access technology named Beam Division Multiple Access (BDMA) and Non- and quasi-orthogonal or Filter Bank multi carrier (FBMC) multiple access. The concept behind BDMA technique is explained by considering the case of the base station communicating with the mobile stations. In this communication, an orthogonal beam is allocated to each mobile station and BDMA technique will divide that antenna beam according to locations of the mobile stations for giving multiple accesses to the mobile stations, which correspondingly increase the capacity of the system. Moreover, there is no need to have a change in the wireless setup which had come about from 1G to 4G. Alternatively, there could be only the addition of an application done at the fundamental network.
A general observation of the researchers has shown that most of the wireless users stay inside for approximately 80 percent of time and outside for approximately 20 percent of the time. In present wireless cellular architecture, for a mobile user to communicate whether inside or outside, an outside base station present in the middle of a cell helps in better communication. So for inside users to communicate with the outside base station, the signals will have to travel through the walls of the buildings and this will result in very high penetration loss, which correspondingly costs with reduced spectral efficiency, data rate and energy efficiency of wireless communications. To overcome this challenge, a new idea or designing technique has come in to existence for scheming the 5G cellular architecture to distinct outside and inside setups. With this designing technique, the penetration loss through the walls of the building will be slightly reduced. This idea will be supported with the help of massive MIMO technology, in which geographically dispersed array of antennas are deployed which have tens or hundreds of antenna units. Since present MIMO systems are using either two or four antennas, but the idea of massive MIMO systems has come up with the idea of utilizing the advantages of large array antenna elements in terms of huge capacity gains.
5G network looks promising with its advanced technology and is sure to bring mighty changes to the world in the future.