So, when will we see 5G?
The standard ITU-R report on IMT-2020 radio interface technical performance was discussed by ITU-R Study Group 5 at its November 2017 meeting and it is the working specification from which the industry will work. The total download capacity for a single IoT enabled 5G mobile cell must be at least 20Gbps, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has decided. In contrast, the peak data rate for current LTE cells is about 1Gbps. The incoming 5G standard must also support up to a million connected devices per square kilometer, and the standard will require carriers to have at least 100MHz of free spectrum, scaling up to 1GHz where feasible. Let me be clear, the 5G standard (or collection of standards) is not officially defined, and telecom companies are falling over each other to gain 5G leadership.
The kind of speeds promoters of 5G tout requires high-density concentrations of cells as well as data. In the United States, AT&T is planning to be the first U.S. carrier to have 5G available in 12 cities by the end of this year. Asian telcos seem to have the inside track on getting 5G off the ground and into the air. Cities such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, Shanghai, and Tokyo could be where large-scale adoption of 5G becomes standard starting as early as 2020. In Europe, the United Kingdom and Ireland seem to be the best bets to get the next generation of mobile online.
However, many of these rollouts will have maximum transmission of only up to 15Gbps at a latency of less than five milliseconds. And that’s the best case. These speeds are not going to enable real life holograms. We can only hope that the industry has learned a lesson – it will not disappoint consumers and potentially create a negative backlash that could delay the 5G rollout or extend its launch into two or three more decades.
Educate yourself on 5G, and other helpful resources
Making smarter choices for the future means being as informed as you possibly can be. For data centre owners or colocation providers, that means educating yourself on the trends and terms in the industry that will impact how you enable your digital demands. Check out International Telecommunications Union-Radio website to stay on top of the industry’s dialogue on 5G. Read the blog, How Connectivity Will Control Everything We Know, to learn which technology developments are navigating the industry. Or watch the video, Resiliency on the Edge of Your Network, to understand the importance of a resilient, secure, edge infrastructure for digital consumer demand.