The speed of evolution of various technologies increases exponentially every year, that is, in geometric progression. For example, the technology of mobile communication appeared only some 35 years ago and a huge number of changes have occurred in this area over the years. It has long been offering much more than just calls and text messaging (by the way, SMS were not available on 1G networks).
It is worth noting that every ten years, the data transfer rate increases several times. Now we are at the turn of the new decade, which means that next year we will see the next generation of mobile networks – 5G. In this article, we will tell you in detail all the most important things you need to know about this technology.
The history of mobile networks development
The 1G networks, from which everything actually began, were analog, they were first launched back in 1984. The data transfer rate was so insignificant that they did not even provide data transfer functions, 1G focused exclusively on making voice calls. After that, the function of the Internet connection was still implemented, but it was not very popular among consumers. And all the matter was at a very high cost and terrible quality of the connection.
A real “digital boom” happened in the 90s of the last century. Updated 2G networks brought with them the revolutionary technology – text SMS messages transfer. It is worth noting that at that time, Europe and the United States did not come to a common opinion and decided to develop different protocols. Europeans promoted GSM, while in the USA they bet on D-AMPS (which never got accustomed).
2G networks for the first time demonstrated high-grade wireless data transfer at a speed of 14 kbit/s. It is worth noting that at the time, this seemed to be an incredible achievement.
In 1997, GPRS technology was launched, which allowed transmitting data at speeds up to 100 kbits/s. GPRS has become faster than the very popular modem CDS at that time. At this time, many people actively used e-mail, so the new generation of mobile networks has gained immense popularity among users in both Europe and the USA. In fact, GPRS can be called a 2.5G mobile network, since it was an intermediate link between 2G and 3G.
In the early 2000s, the world saw the first really fast wireless mobile Internet – 3G. Its speed reached 3 Mbit/s and it was another qualitative increase in the quality of the Internet connection. The main feature of third-generation networks was the ability to simultaneously transmit/receive digital data and make channel connections. In simple words, it means that users have the opportunity to talk on the phone and not lose the Internet connection at the same time. By the way, there was no such function in 2G networks.
The next generation of mobile networks – 4G was first introduced in 2010 in the USA. It is worth noting that they are actively used by mobile operators to this day. The fourth generation of communication is based on IP-protocol, which combines individual network segments into a single global network, it provides the ability to exchange data between any of its nodes. The data transfer rate can reach 200-300 Mbit/s. In addition, it is worth noting that 4G, unlike previous generation networks, does not use a separate communication channel for voice transmission, they work exclusively with digital data. This means that there is no longer any need for classic mobile communications and, of course, Internet telephony is the future.
What are the networks of the fifth generation?
The next generation of mobile networks – 5G, the commercial introduction of which will start next year, should bring with them a huge amount of technologies that are not yet available:
- smart cities;
- virtual and augmented reality;
- full autopilot;
- Internet of Things;
So, 5G is a new fifth generation of mobile communication with a simply unimaginable speed that will reach 15-20 Gbit/s. It is worth noting that it is almost 40 times faster than the most advanced 4G LTE networks. Another revolutionary feature of the new communications standard is a record-low delay (up to the 1st millisecond). If to compare, then in 4G this indicator is equal to 10 milliseconds, and in 3G – 100 milliseconds.
It is important to understand that each new generation of mobile networks brings with it not only a significant increase in speed but also new services and content formats. Let’s talk about how exactly 5G will change our everyday lives.
- Full autopilot. A delay of even 10 milliseconds on the road (as in 4G) is an impermissible luxury that can lead to a sad consequence. The elimination of this life-threatening signal delay will allow using this technology safely.
- Industry. In recent years, various industrial enterprises are increasingly using industrial robots. The new communication standard will increase their speed and unify the infrastructure.
- Agriculture. With the help of facilities that provide 5G networks, it will be possible to control agricultural equipment without problems, monitor fields, etc.
- Education. The networks of the fifth generation will allow to fully switch to the visual method of teaching, with the help of virtual and augmented reality.
- Telemedicine. With the help of advanced medical robots and high-speed digital data transfer, remote operations can be performed.
- Communication. The development of interactive virtual reality, that is, people will be able to communicate at a distance as if they are in the same room.
- Entertainment. Using the networks of the fifth generation, users can consume 360 degrees content (with the effect of presence), in high resolution (8K), in real time.
- Computer games. Games with a resolution of 8K and FPS 120 will become a reality due to 5G.
Although 5G networks have not yet officially begun to spread by mobile providers, they are already actively testing all over the world. The first test network was launched in Chongqing, which is located in the South-West of China, on April 23, 2018. The work of this network initially spread only to one small area, but over time its coverage area began to expand and soon it would cover the entire metropolis.
First global test: Olympic Winter Games – 2018
During the Winter Olympics – 2018, which took place in South Korea, the mobile operator KT, together with Ericsson, decided to test the networks of the new generation, so to speak, in the field.
Perhaps the most outstanding program that was tested in Pyeongchang was the video demonstration “Interactive Time Slice”. In order to carry out this broadcast, 100 cameras were simultaneously used, they were placed around the ice arena in a specific order. As a result, users had the opportunity to watch this VR video, as well as zoom it in real time, without any signal delays. That is, during the broadcast it was possible to pause, rewind to the interesting moment and review it from different angles at any time.
The introduction of 5G in South Korea is eagerly awaited by local farmers. With the help of this technology and autonomous drones, they will be able to carry out a point shooting of wild boars, which are a real misfortune for farmlands.
Prospect for the future or what will the 6G network look like?
As it was mentioned above, the world moves to a new generation of mobile communications once in every ten years. Immediately after the introduction of 4G in 2010, experts around the world began to actively work on the creation of 5G. Most likely, a large-scale work on the networks of the sixth generation will begin next year, which should be introduced in the 2030th year according to the plan. This opinion was expressed by the head of the working group on the development of 5G in China, Su Xin. According to him, the development of the concept of 6G networks has already started in China, respectively, work in this direction is carried out in all other developed countries of the world.
The preliminary characteristics of 6G networks now sound completely unrealistic and futuristic. Xin believes that their speed can be 1Tbit/s, and the signal can be transmitted not only on land but also under water.
The first commercial 5G networks will appear in 2020. Most likely, mobile operators will need another 2-3 years in order to give it a mass character.
The new communication standard will change almost all spheres of human activity beyond recognition. The most active will be the development of the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), autopilot vehicles, as well as smart cities.
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