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Report on 5g Networks: Strengths, Weaknesses, Current Development and Future Research

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With 5G about to become a reality, the technology sector is soon going to be revolutionised by opening the doors to various research fields, IOT, self driving cars etc. The data speeds and efficiency of 5G being very high and latency being low, the telecommunication services will be changed drastically. This paper throws light of state of art of 5G, current and future research in this field. Some of the key industrial players and case studies have been presented in this paper, to understand what changes and developments have been going on in the industries taking 5G into account. Some threats that stand in the path of 5G becoming a success and weaknesses of 5G technology have also been covered in this paper.

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Introduction

Every generation of wireless networks has bought about a revolution to the world, like 1G in 1980’s bought the very first generation smart phones. 2G in 1990’s allowed us to send text messages for the first time while 3G in 2000’s bought the online concepts to the world and 4G in 2010 giving the world the speed they need to enjoy there surf over the internet. Since the internet is expanding every day, the users require to consume more and more data on their smart phones which the 4G network /LTE is finding it quite difficult to handle and hence comes the 5G network which can handle a thousand times more traffic than the current 4G LTE networks. 5G will be the foundation for driver less automobiles, enhances VR experience and Internet of things. The fifth generation wireless network use ultra high broadcast frequencies which allows to transfer huge amounts of data very fast. Initially the broadcast range was limited and was overcome by the Beam forming technology and MU-MIMO technology which allows streaming across multiple mobile phones at the same time. Beam forming allows the signals to be sent where the data traffic is more unlike LTE which is omnidirectional regardless of the traffic. The 5G network is set to provide a massive speed of 20 gigabytes per second theoretically.

Combining Beam Forming with MIMO (Multiple input Multiple output) which allows massive users to use the same connections at the same time, this allows to have a faster throughput and reduce bottleneck situations. 5G networks aim at a million devices per square kilometre which resolve any issues of speed at a music concert or any other gathering involving a lot of people. 5G is set to come to the markets in early 2019 and will widespread by 2025, since 5G uses shorter wavelength it is prone to signal degradation so the providers are taking time to build infrastructures around the globe which include signal booster.

Advantages of 5G:

  • 5G aims to provide a unified global standard which will facilitate mobility meaning the end users can subscribe to different services using the same mobile phone.
  • Better the speed more the battery is drained, 3G used one battery while 4G is using two batteries, so speed is directly proportional to the battery consumptions and 5G networks are aiming to provide more efficient use of battery which means more speed and less battery drained.
  • 5G is aiming at virtually 0 latency which might not possible yet there will be really low latency which enhances gaming, and VR experiences.

State of art of 5G technology

While the conventional mobile network designs focussed primarily on transmitting the single service (e. g. voice/video streams) efficiently, fifth generation(5G) networks will support manifold wireless features. For these wireless features, 3 major categories have been identified by Internat ional Telecommunicat ion Union Radio communication Sector (ITU-R). These are enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), ultra-reliable and low latency communications (URLLC), and massive machine-type communications (mMTC).

  1. Publication of first 5G wireless channel models: the first interim 5G channel models, accepted officially by the METIS community were published by a team of 8 members.
  2. 5Gbps speed reported: Ericsson conducted a live speed of 5G and reported that a speed of 5gbps was achieved. To achieve this, Ericsson used a combination of innovative interface concept with advanced MIMO technology setting the parameters for bandwidth, frequency and transmission time intervals as wider, higher and shorter respectively. While the current 3G/4G cellular frequencies top out at nearly 2. 6 GHz, a 15 GHz frequency band was used in the 5G test network.
  3. First end to end data call achieved: A bidirectional call was successfully completed by Ericsson in Sweden together with Intel using 5G technology standards on uplink as well as downlink streams. This was achieved using Ericsson’s 5G NR 6488, 5G EPC packet core and baseband along with Intel’s 5G mobile trial platform. This Intel product rapidly implements modern air interfaces and communication protocols. 5G will have a huge impact on the use of technology on every facet providing faster speeds and lower latency in the upcoming world of IOT.

Current and future research ideas

Current Research Ideas

5G technology aims at connecting billions of devices and sensors, and introducing the Internet of Things (IOT) to the world. Customer’s lives are also expected to revolutionise with 5G having applications such as smart homes, self driving cars, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) robotics to name a few. Current researches in technologies making 5G possible are:

  1. Multiple input multiple output (MIMO): it has been found out that with this technology, 5G would be able to support many more antennas at base stations compared to existing 4G stations. With MIMO, 5G would be able to maximise speed and efficiency with multiple antennas at both source and destination. MIMO would also lead to beam forming being necessary by introducing interference potential.
  2. Millimetre waves: the bandwidth for millimetre waves is 30-300GHz compared to that used for 4G LTE which is below 6GHz. The 5G technology would be capable of transmitting large amounts of data. According to research, the optimum bandwidth for 5G would be 30-300GHz, but it would also operate on lower frequencies and frequencies that wifi currently uses too without interfering with existing wifi networks. To achieve this, small cells would be used by 5G networks for complementing traditional cellular towers.
  3. Network functions virtualization (NFV): the fact that forms the basis of 5G research is that network function virtualization (NVF) decouples the network functions like firewalling, NAT, domain name server (DNS), intrusion detection, caching etc. from hardware appliances to make them able to run in the software. Thus, a new way to design, manage and deploy networking services is offered by NVF.
  4. Small cells: small cells are mini portable base stations that operate on minimal power and can be installed throughout the city, every 250 meters, even in the homes. Using these, carriers would be able to make dense, multi-faceted infrastructure by installing many small cells. According to research on 5G, ubiquitous 5G antennas should be expected by consumers.
  5. Software defined networking (SDN): While today’s network hardware requires integration of control as well as data planes, 5G research includes the idea of separating these planes. Doing this would allow the network equipment to be externally configured through management software, thus providing greater flexibility, facility for centralised control, with easy network slicing.
  6. Spectrum sharing: 5G networks would be capable of working in shared and unlicensed frequency spectrum thereby offering greater capacity, unique deployment scenarios and better spectrum utilisation. A major finding from 5G research is that spectrum sharing would permit not only mobile operators having licensed spectrum, but also those without licensed spectrum to use 5G NR technologies to their advantage.

Future Research Ideas

Aiming to provide manifold features unlike its predecessors (2G, 3G, 4G/LTE), 5G will transform the way we use technology by connecting billions of devices and sensors. Apart from boosting the efficiency and automation, 5G would be a huge step forward allowing us to explore areas like augmented reality and virtual reality. Following are the future research areas which will have their doors opened by introduction of 5G technology to the world:

  1. Autonomous cars: with 5G becoming a reality, autonomous cars will not be far away as 5G will augment the research and development of these. They will require humongous amounts of data transmission and processing in order detect obstacles, navigate, interact with smart signs and most importantly ensure passenger safety. Only 5G is capable of driving these autonomous cars because of its security, high speed and efficiency and low latency.
  2. Smart cities: relying heavily on connected devices interacting with autonomous cars, future of smart cities depend on 5G technology. Smart cities will see emergence of smart public transport, which in turn will depend on IOT technology. Data from the smart cities will enable the authorities and planners to realise traffic and public movements, electricity consumption, loopholes etc. For all this data storage and processing, only 5G is the key to unlock the door of smart cities.
  3. Internet of Things (IOT) technology: IOT is already growing at a fast pace, but the infrastructure needed to connect billions and billions of devices to the internet will be provided by 5G. With 5G ready to be introduced, remote robotic surgery and smart medical healthcare are not far away. The pace at which current research is going on in 5G, the future of IOT research looks promising.
  4. Immersive entertainment: with technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality already gaining popularity, 5G’s unprecedented data capacity, low latency and high speed would unleash a whole new world of immersive entertainment. 5G would enable innovation in more areas like these.
  5. Communication and collaboration: although 5G aims at providing a wide range of services and features, its prime functionality is mobile network and communication. Nowadays, almost all the big organisations have adopted the technology of big data for running their business. By providing improved and unobstructed data transfer speeds, 5G would benefit organisations in their everyday business. Together with enabling remote working and improving cloud based platforms and working, 5G have a plethora of research opportunities to offer in data analytics field to the business organisations.

Threats and weaknesses of 5G

Since 5G can revolutionise the network industry, it will increase the security measures to be taken, 5G will enable bringing about automatic driver less cars, but this in reality needs a lot of security protocols to overcome any cyberattacks which can lead to fatal disasters

The main idea behind 5G is to provide high speed data while consuming less battery with very less latency and to achieve this the providers will have a common infrastructure and hence the security to be provided must be significantly increased to secure the critical infrastructure. All the security providers will have a common critical infrastructure which means failure of any single operator will result in failure of the entire network if not carefully guided.

There can be a masquerade attach from a third party showing as an legitimate user resulting in theft of services and critical information. Attacks such as spooling can result in misdirected communication and frauds relating to the banks details.

Since 5G uses millimetre waves to transmit signals and they need a lot base stations than already present, which means the base stations will be on every other pole in the neighbour hood which will potentially increase the radio frequency radiations, which changes DNA cells, leads to cancer, varying metabolism and tons of health issues which is major distress to the public.

5G is a treat to the planet which disturbs the ecosystem, these radiations affect birds and bee health and low intensity micro wave radiations can cause disturbance in the plantation of wheat crop. 5G is promised to high speed, which is an open door invitation for cyber threats, as a result will inevitably increase the distributed denial of service attacks since 5G provides more speed at a higher bandwidth. 5G increases the number of IOT devices which means which increase in medical identity, data analytics and smart wearables, but the network must be very secure to protect these critical data such as medical and ECG reports, so the network must be reliable and very secure just as the equipment.

5G networks need to launch some satellites up the orbit initially cover up, these release hydrogen gases enough to have an impact the ozone layer of the atmosphere, which causes a distress to the atmosphere.

Conclusions

Unlike previous mobile network designs such as 3G, 4G/LTE, 5G focuses on a much broader scope by providing many services. High data rates, improved efficiency and low latency will give 5G so much services to offer like IOT, AR, VR, self driving cars etc. Since 5G aims to revolutionise the world, it brings some weaknesses like increased security, improved infrastructure, large investments, disturbance to ecosystem to name a few. Overall, the future of 5G is bright and it will change the way we see world and use technology by making human lives easier and more entertaining than ever.

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