More powerful, faster, and with lower latency. These are the three characteristics that make the fifth generation of mobile networks essential for building a more efficient and equitable future. Knowing what 5G is, what it is for, and how it works will help us understand current technological development and what we can expect. It is the present and the future. 5G is the latest generation mobile network, the “highway” through which innovation and technological developments travel. Health, safety, leisure, and mobility, all sectors have been improved thanks to the power it offers. In addition, this latest step in the evolution of telecommunications systems has in turn allowed the growth and expansion of new technologies such as Big Data, the Internet of Things -IoT-, Artificial Intelligence -IA- and Cloud Computing, among others, that now, finally, they can take off and grow.
What is 5G? The ultra-fast connectivity
This fifth generation of the mobile network is actually an improved and increased version of the previous generation, 4G. Companies and individuals can benefit from its efficiency since it multiplies by a thousand the capacity that infrastructures could offer in 2010. In addition, its speed reaches 10Gbs and reduces latency times (temporary transmission delays in the network), so the 200 milliseconds offered by 4G to the next generation millisecond, offer a perception of zero latency. These features allow connection to more than 7,000 million people and 7 trillion devices. Thanks to this powerful connectivity, other technologies such as Big Data or the IoT have been able to grow since even the average time for the creation of a connectivity service has been reduced from a cycle of 90 hours to 90 minutes. In this way, companies are able to safely bring a wide range of services and applications to more people and companies, reducing the cost that this entails.
Let us not forget that, in 2020, when the coronavirus health crisis broke out across the planet, countries were able to move forward thanks to the fact that telecommunications allowed connectivity to ensure aspects as important as teleworking or telemedicine. The pandemic accelerated the digital transformation, and what would have meant an evolution of just over five years, was carried out in just one. And the process of implementing the 5G network, which was already underway, facilitated this acceleration.
What is 5G for? New state-of-the-art solutions
This technology makes it possible to support the increasing number of devices connected at the same time, especially in large urban centers, an aspect that was of great help during the first months of the confinement derived from the pandemic. But really, what is 5G for? Connected cars, Smart City, Industry 4.0, telemedicine, streaming broadcasts, eSports, etc. The latest generation of mobile networks is capable of providing solutions, for example, to the new mobility and planning needs of cities. Smart Cities are in full development and aim to improve the quality of life in urban centers, in a sustainable, safe way, and with quality services. Elements such as the connected car, smart buildings, the management of public spaces, or the use of natural resources in large centers are optimized in real-time, among others, they are already working.
Work, education, and leisure have also changed. Teleworking has become commonplace. Now we can be in contact with our colleagues or with our loved ones since connectivity has erased physical and time borders. The 5G network also allows live broadcasting of sporting events and shows, new formulas for visiting museums and traveling to other worlds and other times, with Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence functionalities, among many other possibilities.
How does the next-generation mobile network work?
We have already seen what 5g is and what it is for, but we can also see how it works. 5G networks are capable of minimizing transmission power, which makes it possible to optimize the levels of electromagnetic fields and guarantees the minimum use of energy by devices adapted to this technology to complete satisfactory communication, reaching up to 90% in energy saving. While the 4G network transmits at a frequency between 800 and 1800 MHz, 5G uses frequencies of 700 MHz and 3.5 GHz and is supported by LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks. a wireless connectivity technology that also offers high speed and stability.
To support it, a new, highly efficient advanced radio architecture has been designed through the use of Massive MIMO antennas, helping to minimize transmissions from 5G networks and adapt to service requirements. This is possible, among other things, thanks to the fact that the antennas provide coverage only where it is needed.
The first steps of 5G
The 5G network came to reinforce the possibilities of the previous generation, 4G/LTE. The fifth generation began to take its first steps in Brussels in 2018, and in that same year, Telefónica began to develop some important connectivity projects in different cities. Little by little, and thanks to its powerful characteristics, this innovative network has been improving communications and all the services that support these infrastructures, and now offers ultra-fast connectivity in more than 80% of the Spanish territory. The objective is to improve the functionalities of 4G and in those places where it may be necessary, turn off this generation in favor of the fifth. To access the full potential of this network, the manufacturers of 5G equipment and new devices have been introducing improvements to increase their efficiency and to be able to access the network. These devices ensure that they comply with exposure limits and that they are safe devices.