This is the second bulletin in our series on 5G written by our Rob Gardiner our associate Professor of Mobile and Wireless Systems
5G – The Next Generation of Wireless, Explained.
In the second of a series of articles written by Professor Robert Gardiner, we aim to explain the three major factors that will shape the way in which we can be more effective in our ways of working and the role 5G will play.
Why is 5G better?
The industry believes that there are three major factors that will influence the way we work;
Densification, if 5G is truly poised to deliver speeds 10 times greater than 4G the math’s behind it simply mean that we need many more base stations in any given area, increasing the density of the network itself. Work has already begun with 3 and 4G networks improving sectorisation and introducing additional small cells. Regardless of the way in which 5G is defined it will require more densification across macro/micro, in building and small cells; the downside to that is because increased densification means more cell borders where interface becomes problematic, potentially introducing poor ‘hand-off’ and dropped connections. Therefore, in our 5G world we need to depend more on intelligent, automatic spectrum allocation to maintain the balance to QoS and speed. The three other factors will be the requirement of adequate front haul, backhaul and power.
Virtualisation, the mobile operators will need to virtualize much of their respective infrastructure in order to effectively manage their allocated spectrum, and therefore efficiently manage their costs. There have been steps in the right direction for example;
C RAN’s Centralised Radio Access Network’s, this is simply the removal of Base Band Units BBU’s from cell sites to a central location serving a wide area fronthaul. The benefits are two-fold; it reduces the amount of equipment at a site and thus power requirements and perhaps as important reduces latency.
Network Function Virtualisation, NFV and Software Defined Networking (SDN) deployed in conjunction alongside advanced analytical tools will allow the operators to optimise their network policy control.
Virtual service instance and cell virtualisation, these two elements are already deployed in areas and instances such as network and time splicing and will enhance QoE for the customer.
Optimisation, this the third strategic component in the deployment and design of the network to provide optimal performance improvements such as load balancing, energy efficient backhaul and are seen in instances such as MEC.
Mobile Edge Computing, two such applications are augmented driving and tactile Internet and subsequently form an edge cloud where intelligence is placed closer to the devices and machines.