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The myths and facts of 5G

There has been a lot of talk in the industry about 5G recently; some stakeholders have
even commented that there is too much hype around the topic in the absence of
substance. Others have said there are already pre-commercial 5G systems available,
pretending that the launch of 5G is near. Who is right?
Its time to step back and take an objective look at some of the myths around 5G and
clarify what 5G will really bring. We can do this now because despite some confusing
public discussions it has become much clearer recently why 5G will be needed, what it
will be, and how it will come to life.
Myth #1: 5G will be built mainly for speed and capacity
Its essential that 5G meets a future market demand. We need to consider what it
should do better and differently to previous generations. In other words, which new
services and use cases it will enable. In 15 years time there may be many uses that we
havent even thought of yet, and these could be commonplace. In fact, this is quite likely
in a world that will have 10-100 times more Internet-connected devices than there are
humans. Hundreds of billions of machines will be sensing, processing and transmitting
data as the Internet of Things explodes.

There has been much talk of driverless cars recently, but how will they operate? The
beginning will be map downloads and security alerts, perhaps continuing with assisted
braking. By 2030, cars may be truly autonomous, perhaps letting the driver read a
newspaper during a long journey, with the car downloading real-time traffic information
and using it to avoid congestion. Or perhaps your children could send it their GPS
coordinates so the car could drive to them and bring them home from a party. With
direct car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication, the safety and efficiency of
road traffic can be greatly increased.
Another possibility that is already becoming reality is the smart home, where
temperature sensors, window and heating controllers, burglar alarms and home
appliances are all connected wirelessly, keeping the home owner informed and in
control wherever they are. Although many of these sensors are typically low data rate,
low power and low cost, real-time HD video may be required in some surveillance

devices. 5G will need to ensure energy efficiency, reduce unnecessary signaling and
integrate the management of these diverse connected devices.
Applications in the health sector also open up a variety of use cases for 5G. Wireless
sensor networks based on mobile communications can provide remote monitoring and
sensors for parameters such as heart rate and blood pressure.
5G will also enable the tactile Internet, providing the low latency that will allow remote
control over robots performing work in construction and maintenance that is too
dangerous for humans. Such solutions require instant, synchronous visual-haptic
feedback, requiring overall response times of less than a few milliseconds.
These examples illustrate that 5G performance targets stretch far beyond speed and
capacity, including lower costs for connected sensors, low energy, zero latency and
more. 5G will enable very diverse use cases, each with requirements that vary between
extremes. 5G will be the first mobile generation designed from the beginning for
machine type communication.
Myth #2: 5G radio will replace 4G
Not so. In fact, 5G radio will complement LTE because it will integrate existing and new
technologies. LTE evolution will meet many requirements on the macro layer until 2020
and beyond. With no need to replace 4G, 5G will include existing systems like LTEAdvanced and Wi-Fi, coupled with new, revolutionary technologies designed for ultra
dense deployments and highly reliable communication, as well as minimal latency.
Myth #3: 5G equals radio evolution
5G will have novel components and will evolve from existing systems, but it will be far
more than simply radio evolution. 5G needs to encompass the evolution of the entire
network architecture. Fundamentally changing network architecture will be essential to
meet requirements beyond 2020, to manage complex multi-layer and multi-technology
networks, and to achieve built-in flexibility.
Networks will become cognitive to be able to optimize themselves autonomously.
Cognitive networks using big data analytics and artificial intelligence will solve
optimization tasks too complex for humans. The cloud paradigm will be implemented in
all parts of the network to use existing resources in the best way. In a nutshell, 5G
networks will be programmable, software driven and managed holistically.
Myth #4: There are already 5G system demos out there in the market
5G is not even fully defined yet. Available demos are simply exploratory and focus only
on sub-system concepts. Today, 5G is in the research and exploration phase, meaning
that various options for new technical components are being analyzed. That said, there
is a pressing need for greater alignment between organizations about the vision for 5G,
and its requirements and components. The target is for pre-commercial 5G systems to
be available by 2018. However, large scale 5G deployments will not be available before
How do we make 5G happen?

New spectrum ranges: First, more radio spectrum is vital to meet increased demand for
capacity and data rates in the 5G era. Until now, only frequencies below 6 GHz have
been considered, mostly due to their favorable wide area coverage properties. While
more spectrum below 6 GHz is needed (also for 5G) and innovative techniques will be
put into operation to make more efficient use of already allocated spectrum, there will be
a growing need to unlock new spectrum bands in the 6 to 100 GHz range. If this doesnt
happen, the 5G era will not be able to meet the demand for high capacity and data
New radio access technologies for ultra-dense deployments: Exploiting centimeter wave
and millimeter wave spectrum for ultra dense high capacity scenarios, will require new
radio interface(s) that can take advantage of massive MIMO and beamforming
techniques. Flexible air interfaces will be needed to handle the differing characteristics
inherent in large frequency ranges. Significant effort needs to be put into channel
measurements and modeling in those bands in order to understand the practical
performance of millimeter wave bands. The reward will be contiguous carrier
bandwidths of 1-2 GHz, for example.
Optimized frame structure: Various future applications like vehicle-to-vehicle
communication and the tactile Internet require minimal latency. Achieving radio latency
values of 1 millisecond will require extremely small radio sub-frame lengths. In
combination with flexible dynamic TDD, the bandwidth and power efficiency of the
system can be optimized.
Architectural evolution and multi-technology integration: 5G will provide high quality and
consistent connectivity for people and things, creating the perception of infinite capacity.
Therefore, the variety of solutions for the different 5G use cases and the multiple
network layers will be combined with unified control of the network operation. Different
radio access layers and technologies will tightly collaborate with each other and use
cognitive capabilities and Software Defined Networks (SDN) technologies.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together
So, the big wheel turning towards 5G is in motion and there are many organizations and
companies around the world jockeying for position. Ultimately, the creation of a
successful 5G standard requires the best ideas to be adopted, no matter where they
come from. Also, requirements from outside the telecom industry are very important to
consider. It is essential to find a common direction through co-operation in requirement
setting, technology research and finally in the standardization and the forums to
achieve this are definitely in place. The telecom industry has successfully navigated all
the previous Gs and the researchers and engineers at Nokia are enthusiastically
pushing the boundaries of technology to help 5G excel.

5G is coming more than just higher speed and greater data capacity, it will offer the
chance to change the way we live and work.