The 5G

Revolution

How speed and latency are set to impact the
world as we know it and how IBM will play
a pivotal role.

The 5G
Revolution

How speed and latency are set to impact the world as we know it and how IBM will play a pivotal role.

5G is revolutionary and represents a greater technological achievement than any previous generation jump, bringing the network to the Edge. Although there have already been some successful attempts to roll out the technology, 5G is really set take off in 2019-2020, with its deployment schedule potentially extended to 2027.

Over the next decade I think we will see 5G impacting cities around the globe, and that's because of the deployment cycle for any new wireless technology.

It's about every 10 years that we get a new technology that's 10 times better than the previous one. And it then takes about seven years to deploy that at country scale, so we're going to see 5G be the technology of the 2020s.

Zygmunt Lozinski
Network Domain, Telecom Industry
STSM & IBM Master Inventor

What is 5G?

5G stands for the ‘fifth generation’ of cellular wireless technology. Its initial standards were set in 2017, and, in the US, the top four carriers—AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon—will begin rolling out 5G networks in 2019 and 2020. Its main merit is that it builds on existing technology, and creates cost-effective solutions to transfer massive amounts of data to multiple devices in near real-time.

Unlike previous generations, 5G has no simple technological synonym. Instead, it should be seen as a permanently evolving network of networks, spanning far beyond the mobile phone and encompassing a broad array of devices known as the Internet of Things. Overall, 5G is expected to be a drastic generational shift, in terms of bandwidth improvement and cellular broadband capacity and reliability.

The beginning of 5G

In 2014, the CTOs of major companies operating in telecommunication wrote a requirements document referencing 5G technology and what it needs to work. Since 2017, those requirements are being refined. Many countries’ national prestige bets on the 5G (Japan - Summer Olympics, S. Korea - Winter Olympics)

  • 1G: voice signals only; analogue cellular phones
  • 2G: voice and data signals, digital fidelity cellular phones
  • 3G: voice, data and video signals, higher data rates
  • 4G: enhanced interoperability protocols, IP-based
  • 5G: instant connections, edge computing

5G To The Edge

5G is not about altering the Internet, but about making the existing system even more accessible. Every time you are using a smartphone, its back-end is running in a cloud data center somewhere and information travels with a certain latency (20-40 milliseconds is the average speed of current 4G-LTE networks). Transferring that information into a micro data center in a local cell tower means less latency.

On-the-edge computing, as the industry calls it, provides the instant connectivity the modern world and mission critical applications demand. As a result, the edge will both benefit from, and drive the development of, more reliable and faster internet connections.

Use Case Jeff

Meet Jeff, a dedicated field technician whose first concern is safety, followed closely by the fix speed on unplanned outages. The company that Jeff works for is facing four key challenges:

  • Safety of workers at remote locations
  • Multiple trips required to resolve issues
  • Slow onboarding of workers
  • High training costs

IBM can use a customized mix of technologies based on business needs and strategy to address Jeff’s concerns and help the company evolve:

  • Intelligent Video Analytics
  • Visual Recognition
  • Cognitive Diagnosis
  • Augmented Maintenance
  • Cognitive Assistant
  • IBM Cloud

Both Jeff and the telecom company benefit from this solution. For the company, using the IBM solution means a lower cost due to less turnover, smaller training costs, and faster onboarding. The solution also opens new revenue opportunities: to sell “as a service” to enterprises. As for Jeff, he gets faster resolution and can learn on the job, via Watson.

Over 1 billion subscriptions, accounting for around 12% of all mobile subscriptions, are estimated to use enhanced mobile broadband technology by the end of 2023.5

5G promises to accelerate cellular data transfer speeds from 100 Mbps to 10 Gbps and beyond.

5G uses new and so far, rarely used radio millimeter bands in the 30 GHz to 300 GHz range..

5G is approximately 20 times faster than 4G, offers a minimum peak download speed of 20 Gb/s and a latency of 1 millisecond or less.

The number of machine-to-machine connections is expected to have a 220% growth over the next years, reaching in 2022 up to 1.3 billion globally. 6

Why all the buzz
around 5G?

We live in an era defined by speed and change. All the new technology created to make life easier, safer, and healthier requires permanent availability and incredible data transfer speeds to deliver real-time results.

5G at its peak potential could be instrumental for developing revolutionary applications unlike anything that exists today outside a wired environment. These applications are varied, but there is predicted growth in fields like autonomous driving, virtual reality, and augmented reality. Beyond speed and latency, 5G standards will have a much higher connection density, allowing networks to handle immense numbers of connected devices.

Massive IoT

Massive conectivity

Gigabytes in a second

Smart city cameras

Voice

Sensor networks

Capacity enhancement

Enhanced mobile broadband

Gigabytes in a second

3D video - 4K screens

Work and play in the cloud

Augumented reality

Industrail and vernicular automation

Low latency

Ultra high reliability and low latency

Self driving cars

Mission critical broadband

Sensor networks

Enhanced mobile broadband Capacity enhancement Massive conectivity Massive IOT Gigabytes in a second 3D video - 4K screens Voice Sensor networks Low latency Ultra high reliability and low latency Industrial and vernicular automation Augumented reality Work and play in the cloud Self-driving car Mission-critical broadband

A much better
broadband

Generally, “better” means “faster” in terms of wireless communication, but having throughput is a byproduct of a larger goal. Wireless communication happens over a set spectrum of frequencies. Since existing frequencies are limited, 5G uses various aggregated bands to unlock bandwidths of over 1GHz. Today, many of us enjoy streaming videos on our smartphones. 5G will improve that experience by making it 10x better not just for one individual, but for anyone streaming a video at the same time by creating a data super-highway. This enables industry-specific applications by allowing connectivity between millions of devices in a square mile.

Better broadband

In the United States, telecommunications carriers have been running out of LTE capacity in some metropolitan areas since the early 2010s1. 5G has the potential to increase the spectrum with bands that have never been used for commercial broadband traffic.

Extended reach

Telecom carriers could expand their market to remote locations that were previously unreachable and increase connectivity levels in areas that currently rely primarily on wireline communications.

Faster everything

5G technology can make it possible to deliver connectivity, communications, and any type of content anywhere with virtually no perceptible delay.

Better broadband

In the United States, telecommunications carriers have been running out of LTE capacity in some metropolitan areas since the early 2010s1. 5G has the potential to increase the spectrum with bands that have never been used for commercial broadband traffic.

Extended reach

Telecom carriers could expand their market to remote locations that were previously unreachable and increase connectivity levels in areas that currently rely primarily on wireline communications.

Faster everything

5G technology can make it possible to deliver connectivity, communications, and any type of content anywhere with virtually no perceptible delay.

Massive Machine-Type Communication

An estimate of over 5 billion mobile devices are currently in use around the world 2 and all these devices need a safe, fast, and secure wireless connection to perform in the way they were intended. This includes devices that require connectivity, such as the meters that record gas and water consumption, the chip in your dog’s collar or all the sensors on an automated assembly line in a smart factory.

5G and the massive number of connected devices and sensors that communicate with each other via wireless technology (described as the IoT - the Internet of Things) are key in creating the interconnected world of the future.

Source 2: GSMA

Smart tech

We are on track to a future where we can get tech support for our entire infrastructure with the help of an AR app, or we can safely train staff anywhere with the help of virtual reality. The number of applications is endless.

Industry 4.0

5G has the potential to enable real-time cooperation across the globe. Imagine that technicians with specialized skillsets are able to control machinery from everywhere in the world, reducing risk in hazardous environments. Production lines can be almost completely automated and, since everything can talk to everything in real-time, efficiency can surge dramatically.

IoT saga

The Internet of Things has barely scratched the surface of its own potential. 5G is poised to facilitate the connection of everything requiring a low latency internet connection, from home devices and appliances to autonomous vehicles, paving the way for an environment in which every device is “smart” and connected.

Smart tech

We are on track to a future where we can get tech support for our entire infrastructure with the help of an AR app, or we can safely train staff anywhere with the help of virtual reality. The number of applications is endless.

Industry 4.0

5G has the potential to enable real-time cooperation across the globe. Imagine that technicians with specialized skillsets are able to control machinery from everywhere in the world, reducing risk in hazardous environments. Production lines can be almost completely automated and, since everything can talk to everything in real-time, efficiency can surge dramatically.

IoT saga

The Internet of Things has barely scratched the surface of its own potential. 5G is poised to facilitate the connection of everything requiring a low latency internet connection, from home devices and appliances to autonomous vehicles, paving the way for an environment in which every device is “smart” and connected.

Ultra-reliable low latency communication

Latency, in wireless speech, is the time it takes for the round-trip from the request to the response. 4G networks have a 100-millisecond latency, yet video conferencing still lags -- 5G is set to reduce latency tenfold.

Lower latency will be a prerequisite for next-generation applications and will impact many current ones. The ultra-low latency scenario could be a game-changer, enabling mission-critical applications such as:

  • Industrial automation
  • Drone control
  • Virtual reality
  • Sensors
  • Remote surgery and medical intervention
  • Military applications

No lag

You can access your favorite content anytime, anywhere, because 5G is built to minimize delays. It provides a fast, reliable environment for data to travel and reach your devices nearly instantly. This means that the 8-gigabyte movie that takes 7 minutes to download via your old 4G network could now reach your device in as little as six seconds.3

Connect anywhere

Crowded places and events congest cellular networks and make it harder for you to enjoy your devices or connect to friends and family. 5G can provide a stable, fast network connection not only for you, but for everybody in the crowd using the technology, without limiting speed. You can get a signal even in remote locations.

Master devices

5G can potentially enable connecting everything to a smartphone via apps, creating a simple panel that controls and connects all the devices in your life and all the services you use, providing 10X better experience on your personal devices with faster browsing and seamless downloading and streaming.

Health benefits

The low latency of 5G can help improve areas like telemedicine, remote physical therapy and recovery, remote surgery, microsurgery, and numerous fields where AR is a business strength. Imagine having sensors in your home, monitoring your health and reporting in real time to a medic that evaluates your state and easily takes the appropriate action, from anywhere in the world.

No lag

You can access your favorite content anytime, anywhere, because 5G is built to minimize delays. It provides a fast, reliable environment for data to travel and reach your devices nearly instantly. This means that the 8-gigabyte movie that takes 7 minutes to download via your old 4G network could now reach your device in as little as six seconds. 3

Connect anywhere

Crowded places and events congest cellular networks and make it harder for you to enjoy your devices or connect to friends and family. 5G can provide a stable, fast network connection not only for you, but for everybody in the crowd using the technology, without limiting speed. You can get a signal even in remote locations.

Master devices

5G can potentially enable connecting everything to a smartphone via apps, creating a simple panel that controls and connects all the devices in your life and all the services you use, providing 10X better experience on your personal devices with faster browsing and seamless downloading and streaming.

Health benefits

The low latency of 5G can help improve areas like telemedicine, remote physical therapy and recovery, remote surgery, microsurgery, and numerous fields where AR is a business strength. Imagine having sensors in your home, monitoring your health and reporting in real time to a medic that evaluates your state and easily takes the appropriate action, from anywhere in the world.

Bonus:
The economic difference

5G is set to make an important economic impact. CTIA–The Wireless Association, estimates that 5G will generate $500 billion in economic growth and will help create up to 3 million new jobs4.

A current issue facing the industry is balancing income with expenses in a world where customers expect and demand better technology at low cost.

5G makes an economic difference because it doesn’t require major infrastructure investments to implement, since it builds on existing equipment. The fifth generation is expected to unleash a massive IoT opportunity, hugely beneficial for telecom companies, enterprises and end consumers alike.

Source 4: Ctia.org

Experience

IBM has a long history of running data centers and working with sensitive data. This is the precedent for products that manage virtual infrastructure with built-in security.

Private connections

Enterprises contemplate the possibility of implementing private 5G networks. These will be, in essence, next-gen LANs (local area networks) that will incorporate 5G technologies to deliver speed, latency and other benefits to dedicated networks within specific areas, enabling a secure communications channel, better connectivity and optimized services.

How IBM can help
support the 5G
transformation

5G is an evolution of the technologies that mobile carriers already use, but the sheer scope of the jump from 4G to 5G makes it revolutionary by industry standards. With the help of a more sophisticated infrastructure, algorithms, and specialized technology, the fifth generation will offer several cost-effective performance benefits that will be essential in the future.

In anticipation, operators are in the process of building networks and IBM® is ideally positioned to help. We have systems in place to help with management, service assurance, client technology, analytics and machine learning that we can provide to both operators and the enterprise. IBM offers cloud, security, and infrastructure support services that represent a trustworthy foundation to build on.

Experience

IBM has a long history of running data centers and working with sensitive data. This is the precedent for products that manage virtual infrastructure with built-in security.

Expertise

IBM understands the complexity of the telecom business and has industry and technical experts prepared to tackle the confusion and uncertainty that accompanies the advent of 5G (business process automation, digital rights management, content management, distribution agreements).

Experience

IBM has a long history of running data centers and working with sensitive data. This is the precedent for products that manage virtual infrastructure with built-in security.

Expertise

IBM understands the complexity of the telecom business and has industry and technical experts prepared to tackle the confusion and uncertainty that accompanies the advent of 5G (business process automation, digital rights management, content management, distribution agreements).

Start your journey to 5G with IBM.