5G and its history

Surajit Poddar

The next level of G of mobile internet has already grabbed attention. Since, the end of 2018, 5G technology experiments have started. And it’ll continue for long for further enhancements, improvements, and deployments etc.

Generations of network

As, you all know that there are four generations of network that we are already acquainted with. That is 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G. And the upcoming one is 5G. Which will play a major role in our life.

So, lets discuss all these generations of network one by one in brief.

Evolution of 5G
picture credit: quora.com

What is 1G?

At the beginning of 1980s, 1G was first introduced. It is the first generation of wireless mobile telecommunication technology. It supports voice calls only.

Here, the quality of sound is very poor and security is also very unsatisfactory. It has maximum speed of about 2.4 KBps.

5g and its history
1G phone
picture credit: medium.com

What is 2G?

This generation changed the mobile phones from analog to digital communication. However, 2G supports voice calls, text encryption, picture sharing, SMS and MMS. Moreover, the 1991’s 2G is still in use.

Therefore, the 2G with General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) system provided maximum speed of 50 Kbps. And the frequency band here is 800 MHz. 

5g and its history
2G phone
pic credit: phoneworld.com.pk

What is 3G?

In 1998 the 3rd generation of cellular network, 3G was introduced. It supports voice calls to new usages. That is, faster data-transmission. So, can be used for video calls. And supports internet access too.

In addition, ‘Mobile broadband’, the term first applied in this scenario. The maximum speed of 3G for moving devices is 384 KBps. And for non-moving devices it is 2 MBps.

Here, frequency band is 1800 MHz (max). This network generation also enhanced the evolution of new era of smartphones.

5g and its history
3G device
pic credit: amazon.com

What is 4G?

The current standard of cellular network that is massively in use. And in demand is our 4G. It was released in 2008.

However, it supports all the features of 3G. And also came up with new usages like HD video conferencing, faster mobile Internet access, online video streaming, online gaming service, live video watching. And others that required uninterrupted data connection.

picture credit: dailyexclesior.com

Here, the network security is better than the previous mobile network generations. The maximum speed of 4G for moving devices 100 MBps. And for non-moving devicess it is 1 GBps.

In addition, the frequency band here is 2100 to 2600 MHz. The most current smartphones or mobiles support both. That is 3G & 4G technology.        

Need for evolution from 1G to 4G?

Let’s discuss why evolution was needed from 1G to “The living lifeline 4G”.

So, almost in every 10 years, the cellular network has been evolved. And come to the light.

From 1980’s analog (1G) to 1992’s digital (2G) transmission followed by 1998’s (3G). Which supports multi-media, spread spectrum transmission etc. And it was then followed for the release of 2008’s 4G cellular network technology.

4G was first envisioned by US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). Which has end-to-end Internet Protocol, peer-to-peer network in which every mobile phone is worked as transceiver. And as router for other devices in a network. By eliminating the spoke-and-hub weakness for 2G and 3G network architecture. 

speed of generations of network from 1g to 4g
picture credit: pinterest.com


However, in 2004, the LTE (Long-Term Evolution), was first proposed. Which is a standard of wireless broadband communication for mobile devices and data terminals. Moreover, it can increase capacity. And speed utilizing different radio interfaces.

Since, 2009 LTE has been evolved. And later it was used by the 4G technology. Therefore, the ‘real’ 4G of 2011/2012 release supports all-Internet Protocol (or IP) packet-switched network system. That leads cellular devices to ultra-broadband access.

Here, multiple intelligent antenna technologies have already been emerged. In order to fulfill the communication goal of 4G. Furthermore, one of the key techniques for 4G and beyond is Open Wireless Architecture (OWA).

OWA is capable of multiple air interfaces in open architecture platform. So, 4G is a collection of wireless standards. In addition, it efficiently realize and categorize the area of radio convergence using SDR (software-defined radio) technology.

Requirements of 4G for IMT-Advanced cellular devices

The 4G using IMT-Advanced (International Mobile Telecommunication-Advanced) cellular device must have the following requirements:

  • Based on all-Internet Protocol packet-switched network.
  • Maximum peak data rate approx. 100 MB/s for high mobile devices. And approx. 1GB/s for slow mobile device or local wireless network access.
  • Scale-able channel bandwidth of 5 to 20 MHz.
  • Can share dynamically multiple cells to use network resource simultaneously.
  • System spectral efficiency in case of indoor is 3 bit/s.Hz.cell for down-link. And it is 2.25 bit/s.Hz.cell for up-link.
  • Peak link spectral efficiency is 15 bit/s.Hz in down-link. And 3.75 bit/s.Hz in up-link.
  • Have smooth handovers especially for heterogeneous networks.

Therefore, these are the requirements of 4G using IMT-Advanced cellular devices.

Features of 4G LTE

4G lte
picture credit: cablefree.net

The 4th generation of network supports IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6). Unlike 3Gs low latency data transmission required by the technology. Which is based on the packet switching technique.

As, here the data speed of network(s) and features of smartphones increased, the IPv4 addresses have been exhausted. Because only 4.3 billon IP addresses are available. 

However, IPv6 can solve the less availability of IP addresses problem. IPv6 will solve the problem of Network Address Translation (NAT). NAT is sharing of a limited network addresses among a larger group of devices having many problems and limitations.

Although, after IPv6, some amount of NAT will be required. Because of communication with legacy IPv4 devices Which aren’t connected to IPv6.

Life without 4G?

Now-a-days, we cannot think our world without 4G. Its first data transmission speed enhanced our life. From morning to night we access the Internet, stream videos, watch movies, listen songs, active in social platform, download-upload, good quality video call and etc.

Moreover, many of us use smartphones for e-learning. Where, we can learn about a topic anytime, anywhere, at our own comfort zones. And yes, by some e-learning websites we get certified too.

In remote areas, (where schooling is very poor) enthusiasts can learn online. In addition, now a days lots of important examinations are conducted online.                                 

Today we don’t need to go out for shopping. Because ‘Online shopping’ is there. We don’t need go and wait in long queue to book a ticket for movie, bus, train or flight,. We can also book seat(s) for a cab, bike from our home.

So, online booking system made things very easy for us. In the era of ‘Digital India’ we can pay bills of electricity, gas, water, etc connections directly from our mobile (mobile wallet). All of this is possible because of 4G network communication.

5G buzz

5g buzz
credit: eturbonews.com

The 5G buzz: The next generation for mobile network communication is 5G. It’s not only about higher data speed, it’s far more that. Experiments have been started and introduced in late 2018.

5G is a digital cellular network. That covers small areas called “cell”. An idea is to use ‘millimeter waves’ (30-300 GHz) rather than ‘microwaves’ (300 MHz-300 GHz). Where, millimeter antennas are smaller in size, several centimeters. The local antennas are connected to the telephone network and internet with high bandwidth optical fiber or wireless backhaul connection.

Like previous techniques when a user moves from one cell to another, automatically the device will be handed off to the antenna of  new cell. The network base stations will use massive MIMO(multiple input multiple output) technique to catch the ‘millimeter waves’ efficiently.

And also the network traffic will reduce. However, ‘beam-forming’ and ‘full-duplex’ technologies will be used to make the 5G work.

5G latency, frequency, and speed

In 5G, the target ‘air latency’ is 1-4 ms. Its high frequency data transmission at high speed is targeting the industrial IoT (Internet of Things) as the network is reliable, robust, and secured. The maximum speed of 5G is 10 GBps (in lab environment it is 20 GBps).

Some important points:

  • It supports low power requirement LAN (Local Area Network) to WAN (Wide Area Network).
  • It allows simple virtual networks configurations to better aligned network costs for required applications.
  • Moreover, in future it may happen that the network connectivity is everywhere and whole world is WiFi zone.
  • Its cognitive radio technology will help to connect different kinds of device and will share same network spectrum effectively.
  • People can connect to a network at high altitude as well as. Because of its IPv6 technology many devices can connect to network concurrently in a small area.

5G’s essential requirement

By 5G mobile network system IoT devices could be worked in low broadband and battery life will be extended for long time. As 90% of the network energy will be reduced.

Here, IoT devices work in M2M (machine to machine) approach therefore ‘driverless car/ self-driving car’ implementations will be boosted. Not only car industries but also healthcare services, virtual reality, production, and energy will be enhanced.

As lots of devices connect through 5G network architecture. So, intranet is made and essential data moves through secured network channels. Which made it cost effective.

5G is the first generation of cellular network system which is not only made for your mobile phones, it has the capability of fulfilling the demands of other sectors as well.

Though the 5G is in trial period. But network providers have to be promising to make this technology secured, reliable and efficient.

However, 4G networks didn’t work effectively so it was promoted. And 5G network system works on optical fiber and new technologies. Therefore, we have to wait more to complete the networks implementation. Till then enjoy your present network connection.

Therefore, I hope that the article was helpful.

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