Is 5G Just Around The Corner?

So, you think being part of a 4G cellular network is cool, right? Well think again! If Ericsson, the Swedish telecommunications and networking giant, has anything to do with it, then your 4G network may soon – well, relatively speaking! – be a th

4G could soon be replaced by lightning fast 5G, if the Stockholm-based company’s plans come to fruition.

A Vision Of The Future – Today!

It is estimated that there are likely to be over 7.7 billion mobile users of broadband services by the year 2021. And with the ongoing move towards the Internet Of Things (IoT), it is estimated that there will be over 1.5 billion devices supporting IoT technologies, which will rely on faster and more powerful mobile networks globally.

The future of telecommunications is expected to be one where speed is expected to go up, while costs are forecast to come down. That’s the vision that most networking and communications companies are aspiring to; and it is a future that most consumers –residential, commercial and industrial – are looking forward to.

And Ericsson has already started planning for that future vision today!

With clients in over a 180 countries, Ericsson has plenty of experience to know what it’s talking about. They’ve been in business since 1876, and over the past 140+ years or more, they’ve achieved leadership in the Mobile Broadband, Cloud Services and Network Design and Optimization space. The company’s vision for a networked society is one where:

“Mobility, broadband, and cloud interact to make information and communication technologies (ICTs) faster, cheaper, and more accessible…”

It is a similar vision that’s shaping many other technology companies to focus their R&D efforts on the next evolution of communications and broadcasting standards. Ericsson believes that it is perfectly positioned to take 4G to the next level in order to transform its vision of the future into reality.

The company announced the launching of the first 5G New Radio- capable (NR) radio, named Ericsson AIR 6468. It offers 64 transmit and 64 receive antennas that enable it to support the company’s 5G plug-ins for MIMO (Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output) and Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO).

In keeping with the company’s vision, which sees network operators continue to march towards 5G, while still making investments in LTE, Ericsson AIR 6468 has been designed to be compatible with the evolving 5G standards, while also providing support for LTE.

So what does that mean to consumers: That means that even if you aren’t well positioned to make the leap of faith and embrace 5g as soon as it’s announced, you can benefit from most of the functionality that Ericsson AIR 6468 offers, while still remaining on your 4G network.

The company has built the system to be scalable, while embracing 3xMulti architecture - multi-standard, multi-band and multi-layer. According to Ericsson, the radio will deliver leading performance, yet will host the smallest footprint in the industry, and have the lowest energy consumption.

What Will a 5G Vision Look Like?

When 3G was in vogue, no one could anticipate what a world of streaming video and online gaming could look like. Visionaries dreamed of such things, but were constrained by networking speed and bandwidth capabilities. 4G changed all of that!

It is expected that 5G will do the same for the world of telecommunications and networking. The “New Society” will revolve around the Internet Of Things (IoT), with multiple devices – from radios to computers to smartphones to thermostats, washing machines, fridges and cars, all connected to a single network.

Imagine the power that such a network will have on our everyday lives.

Businesses too will have a paradigm change in how they function. New business models will evolve, where, because of the power that 5G affords, virtual networking (multiple businesses sharing slices of a single network) will become commonplace. Newer business models will usher in an era of “networking on demand” service providers.

· Individuals and businesses will be able to do more with their networks and communications devices
· Transactions will be processed much more securely than they are being done today
· You’ll use less power for your devices, which means longer battery life
· Devices will become smaller, with less footprint that those available today
· Because of the multiple expansion of 5G capabilities, there will be “device convergence” – you’ll be able to do much more with a single device than you are able to do today
· Costs for owning and operating these devices will come down dramatically

Already there is a push for greater cooperation among multiple industries to position themselves for the 55-based “New Society” revolution. Recently, German automakers BMW, Audi and Daimler joined hands with communications equipment manufacturers Nokia, Huawei, Qualcom, Intel and Ericsson to create the 5G Automotive Alliance.

The objective of the new alliance: To hasten the development of new technologies that will be based on 5G standards. And one of the cornerstones of such technologies will be that they will support faster, more robust and reliable mobile communications networks, primarily with an eye on self-driving vehicles. And Ericsson’s AIR 6468 is ideally positioned to take a front seat in automobiles of the future.

A Device Ahead Of Its Time?

With the introduction of 4G, back in 2010, network providers were able to offer megabit speed to consumers, facilitating the onslaught of rapid downloads, video streaming and online gaming. Companies like NetFlix and Hulu were huge beneficiaries of 4G, without which their business models would still be largely untested today.

However, since 2010, a lot has changed in the online communications world, and user requirements and expectations have dramatically expanded. We have come to expect a lot out of the technologies we use in our every day lives.

As a result, industry players and federal watchdogs are working hard to define new standards that will address many of those needs. And that’s what 5G is supposed to do. But – standards for 5G aren’t yet finalized. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which will have the final say on what 5G should look like in terms of 5G specifications and standards, will not have any concrete definitions in place before 2020.

And it was just a few months ago that the U.S. FCC circulated proposals for 5G standardization. The way things move when it comes to regulatory processes, it could be months before any “formal” definition of what 5G means for U.S. consumers could evolve.

So, is Ericsson really ahead of its time when it claims it has the world’s first 5G radio?

Well, technically speaking, the communications giant may not be speaking out of turn in what it has stated about being the first to launch 5G radio. There is a lot that’s already known about what 5G should be able to support, primarily speed. Many companies, like Verizon and Samsung are already testing, or have developed, devices and technologies that are capable of delivered lightning speeds – anywhere between 10 to 30-times faster than 4G devices of today.

Since Ericsson AIR 6468 is based on a modular design, which supports multiple standards, it could “technically speaking” be 5G enabled even today. This means that, with the right 5G capable components and plug-ins designed, developed and tested, as Ericsson has done, a fully 5G-enabled device for tomorrow, that’s also capable of running on 4G/LTE, can function even today.

And that’s precisely what Ericsson AIR 6468 is – a device ahead of its time; fully functional to meet the network needs of its clients today, but already built to scale into a 5G world, as and when the standards for that world are formalized.

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