5G technology

What is 5G?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is being powered by 5G or fifth-generation wireless technology. 5G is faster than 4G, but it is more than just much faster. The connectivity enabled by 5G is far more secure and stable than its predecessors. Furthermore, 5G enables data to flow from one location to another with substantially reduced latency between data submission and arrival.

How 5G works?

The service area of 5G networks, like all cellular networks, is divided into geographic sub-areas called cells. Each cell has its antennae, which connect all wireless devices in the cell to the internet and telephone network via radio waves. 5G uses low- and mid-band radio spectrum (below six gigahertz) as well as entirely new radio spectrum bands to achieve its extremely high speeds. These are so-called “millimeter waves,” broadcast at frequencies that vary from 30 to 300 gigahertz, and were formerly utilized primarily for communication between satellites and radar systems.

How will 5G be used?

To date, 5G will enable four core use-case archetypes, which will necessitate 5G delivering on its promise of evolutionary network performance change. They are as follows:

Improved mobile broadband: 5G quicker speeds, lower latency, and increased capacity may enable on-the-go, ultra-high-definition video, virtual reality, and other sophisticated applications.

IoT (Internet of Things): Existing cellular networks are unable to keep up with the enormous expansion in the number of linked devices, ranging from smart refrigerators to gadgets monitoring battery levels on factory floors. 5G will unleash the promise of IoT by enabling exponentially more connections at very low power.

Mission-critical control: Connected devices are rapidly being employed in areas requiring full dependability, such as automotive safety systems and medical devices. Due to 5G’s decreased latency and improved robustness, these time-critical applications will become more reliable. 

Fixed wireless internet access: 5G’s faster speeds make it a viable option to conventional broadband in many markets, particularly those lacking fiber optics.

How might 5G technologies impact the world?

• Connectivity will be the foundation for increasingly sophisticated mobility systems, such as carsharing services, public transportation, infrastructure, hardware, and software. Through preventive maintenance, improved navigation, carpooling services, and individualized “infotainment” products, connectivity could generate new revenue streams. Let’s break this down with a scenario. A vital patient is being transported to the hospital via ambulance, and every second counts. It’s rush hour, and the motorist wants to find the shortest and least congested route. Connected traffic signals provide data about traffic conditions on various paths from the hospital to the ambulance, and the driver determines the quickest route.

• Devices and advanced networks with increased connection have the potential to alter the healthcare industry. Better robotic surgery may be possible with seamless data flow and low-latency networks. AI-powered decision support technologies can generate faster and more accurate diagnoses, as well as automate duties to free up caregivers’ time to interact with patients. For example, the entire medical system creates massive amounts of patient data. To deliver better and more personalized therapy, hospitals and clinics must have access to data. Massive data files will be able to be sent in a matter of seconds thanks to 5G. Two connected wearable gadgets can convey important data to medical professionals, as they have already done. Wearable smartwatches can transmit data on heart rate, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, and sleep quality. These devices can even transmit notifications to hospitals if a patient collapses or if his or her vital signs are aberrant.

• 5G networks with low latency and privacy can enable extremely accurate operations in manufacturing and other innovative industries. AI, analytics, and advanced robotics enable smart factories to operate at peak efficiency, optimizing and changing processes in real-time. New features such as automated guided vehicles and computer vision-enhanced bin selection and quality control necessitate the high-band 5G speed and latency. Manufacturing’s GDP contribution might exceed $650 billion by 2030.

• Sensors, trackers, and computer vision can help retailers manage stocks, optimize warehouse operations, and coordinate across the supply chain. Connectivity-enhanced in-store experiences and real-time customized advice might increase global GDP by $700 billion by 2030.

• Because 5G is now widespread, it has fueled both the gig economy and the work-from-anywhere phenomenon. Both freelancers and full-time employees have been able to work from anywhere while being productive. Compare this to your previous working scenario, where you were restricted to your location due to the availability of connectivity. 5G provides substantially reduced latency than its predecessor, allowing workers to participate in high bandwidth-consuming activities such as video conversations and upload data to servers with significantly fewer failure risks.

• The education industry is also going to benefit significantly from 5G. Its fast internet will make remote learning more accessible, allowing students to easily join virtual classrooms.

5G security concerns

5G cybersecurity requires considerable improvements to avoid increasing hacking risks. Some of the security concerns stem from the network itself, while others concern the devices that connect to 5G. However, these features endanger consumers, governments, and companies.

• Lack of encryption early in the connecting phase reveals device information that can be utilized for device-specific IoT-targeted attacks. Hackers can use this information to determine which devices are connected to the network. Details about the operating system and device type (smartphone, vehicle modem, etc.) might help hackers plan their attacks more precisely.

• Because pre-5G networks have fewer hardware traffic points of contact, security assessments and maintenance are simplified. The number of traffic routing points in 5G dynamic software-based systems has increased dramatically. To be completely secure, all of these must be monitored. Because this may be difficult, any unsecured zones may put other parts of the network at risk.

5G has only partially achieved its potential, and given the promises it makes, it appears that it will be a long time before the whole potential can be realized globally. There are plenty of technical, ethical, and legal challenges to be addressed. Implementing a smart factory, for example, is problematic due to the potential loss of human employment. Work rules are precise and inflexible in countries such as Germany and Switzerland, and organizations may find it extremely difficult to employ robots after eliminating human work. Technically, the global 5G rollout confronts numerous technical obstacles. Even though 5G has been formally rolled out in a few countries, efficiency has not consistently been at the projected level.

Ridmi Silva
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