5G Draft Specifications Announced
While not yet finalized, the road to 5G cell networks is being planned out. In a recent report from the International Telecommunications Union, the organization laid out the requirements for future IMT-2020 (read 5G) systems.
Just like current 4G LTE and LTE Advanced networks, 5G calls for connectivity at up to 500mph. This means 5G will be need to be usable not just in stand alone deployments, but also at high speed transport speeds. In an upgrade from 4G, 5G is also expected to have a latency of only 4ms, which is five times lower than the current spec.
Each 5G base station is also to have at minimum 20Gbps download and 10Gbps upload capacity. That speed will be distributed across all the users connected to a cell site, but that is a massive increase to current cell networks where many towers only have 100 Mbps fiber lines as backhaul.
The most important number that people will look at is the real-world speeds they will be able to achieve on their devices. Unfortunately, this is where the draft has some bad news. The 5G spec is only set to provide each user with 100Mbps download and 50Mbps of upload speed. There will of course be areas where the speeds can be significantly greater but it isn’t a guarantee. Of course LTE-A can offer these speeds already but that is in a good environment, and there isn’t any spec that says you have to get those speeds. The spec also calls for instant switching of 5G base stations, but the question is will this offer an uninterrupted connection with session persistence or will encrypted sessions to online banking etc still require a new sign in?
We would like to see this 100Mbps number increase for the sake of businesses who’ll be relying on 5G instead of fiber, so we’ll see what happens when the spec is finalized later this year. Download the full ITU report here.