It’s a Quadruple Lutz for 5G
Park Place Hardware Maintenance
It’s a brave new world for sports spectatorship. Or it will be if everything works as advertised.
The 5G hype is nearing fever pitch as the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang dominate international news. The athletic event is being billed as the public debut of 5G mobile network capabilities. Attendees are being promised stunning, immersive experiences. Just take this from ieee.org:
“Welcome to the 5G Olympics, where Nathan Chen, the 18-year-old figure-skating phenom, has just landed another quadruple jump. Cant see him well from your seat in the nosebleed section? No problem. Just slip on your 5G virtual reality headset for a 360-degree rink-side view! Now watch your stepwere boarding the 5G bus to the next attraction. Check out the windows: Theyre in fact transparent display screens providing ultrahigh-definition video streamed live from a hockey player’s headcam, from drones flying above the ski slopes, and from the cockpit of a bobsled barreling down an icy track at 100 120 150 kilometers per hour!”
It’s a brave new world for sports spectatorship. Or it will be if everything works as advertised. The telecom market is certainly hoping it does, so the world takes note of whats possible on this new network.
It is a bit of a high-wire act, however. KT Corp (previously Korea Telecom) is trading in a technology for which global standards aren’t due out until the end of the year and consumer electronics aren’t expected before 2019. That schedule was even accelerated for the Olympics and some wonder about the fallout from the rush.
But if they do pull it off, 5G will make its own version of Olympic history as consumers get a high-profile reveal of prototypes for forthcoming technologies. What should we expect from 5G?
Not Just Faster
If there is any refrain in the advance press about 5G, going back to at least 2016, it’s that 5G isn’t just about speed. Of course, being fast is still part of the equation. The network is expected to deliver 100x the bandwidth of 4G LTE service. Maybe you’ve heard the bit about downloading a feature-length film in about 5 seconds?
Pretty impressive. And for those of us who may have considered taking a sledgehammer to our cell phone when Google Maps slowed to a crawl at a critical juncture (literally), an end to buffering is enough to have us in a state of breathless anticipation.
But thats thinking about 5G according to the old rubric, in which a mobile network is primarily a download platform. Were generally accustomed to the internet functioning as a top-down, hub-based infrastructure to get stuff, be it movies, directions to grandmothers new house, or Facebook posts from the Russians.
The telecoms are quick to say the real beauty lies elsewhere. After all, 5G is the first G to be developed from the ground up with the cloud in mind. The technologies in play will drastically expand the number of supported connections, slash the power devices will require, and take latency awfully close to zero.
Bring those elements together and you dont just get faster 4G LTE, you get a transformative technology ready to support autonomous cars, smart cities, dynamic traffic management, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and other futuristic products.
5G also means realizing IoT at last. The predictions for sensors and actuators existing almost everywhere in a many-to-many, edge computing-driven, hyperconnected environmenttheir day is coming.
Even though 5G will be faster and more capable, it won’t replace 4G in the way 2G and later 3G were superseded by 4G. 4G and 5G will work together to handle different types of traffic efficiently, giving us all added benefits.
The Value of 5G-Related Products and Services
As 5G gets closer, many companies are salivating. The new network is expected to generate up to $12.3 trillion (yes, with a t) in goods and servicesmore than the combined consumer spending of China, Japan, France, Germany, and the U.K.
Four key areas likely to heat up include:
- Edge devices, including wearables, meters, smart homes, industrial controls, and other IoT goodies.
- Networking equipment including switches, routers, load management devices, and RAN (radio access network) appliances.
- B2C and B2B services and applications in the cloud.
- IT infrastructure to handle it all, from the storage and processing to the data centers and data management services.
The edge is among the most important concepts associated with 5G. Highly decentralized networks will help overcome limitations when serving those amazing immersive experiences to mobile devices. The edge will eliminate the latency entailed when data takes a trip from the mobile network to the public cloud and back. It will also remove much of the power-hungry compute function off the mobile device to make batteries last longeror just to cut down on how much computation we’re all carrying around in the trunks of our autonomous vehicles.
There’s a lot to prepare for and speculate about. Over the next few days, however, lets take a time out and watch KT Corp try to pull off the telecom equivalent of Michael Weiss landing the first quad Lutz at the 1998 Winter Olympics with a successful, large-scale demonstration of 5G. Itll be quite a feat.