What is 5G mmWave?
Originally posted for Blu Wireless
As mobile operators are beginning their roll-outs of 5G technology, a Gartner survey reveals that two thirds of organisations worldwide see enough benefit to their businesses that they would consider deploying their own networks. The rest of us are keen to understand more about the technology, what it means for our smartphone and device connectivity and how it will impact our day-to-day lives.
Mainstream Network Operators are now very actively promoting their 5G coverage, especially for mobile, but there remains confusion over how 5G works and the technologies it encompasses, including the innovative mmWave technology that supports the highest bandwidth features.
At Blu Wireless, we’ve been developing mmWave 5G technology for ten years. Over that time, we have developed a deep understanding of how mmWave can be applied to meet the needs of the most demanding 5G applications.
Here is what to expect from 5G mmWave as this technology’s implementation intensifies:
5G: What is it and how does it work?
5G is the next generation of mobile internet connectivity that will power businesses, homes and cities. The transition to 5G is different from the technological jump between 3G and 4G back in 2012. 5G brings together existing services, adding new technologies that focus on the applications rather than the communications that link them together.
5G enables significantly faster and more available communications enabling remote or mobile use cases that were previously limited by speed, delay, reliability and cost, including transport, remote healthcare, manufacturing and entertainment.
How mmWave enables 5G
So far, every new generation of connectivity has been about getting the most out of the available radio spectrum at all ranges. Each generation has improved the radio links between towers and user devices, supporting ever more services. For individual links, this has been achieved with the roll-out of 4G but existing spectrum bands are quickly becoming fully used.
What is different about 5G is the ability to combine links and technologies in new ways and that new bands of spectrum are being leveraged, whose potential had previously been unavailable – such as mmWave.
mmWave will power the future of 5G connectivity. Millimetre waves are very short wavelengths, ranging between 10mm and 1mm, created by very high frequency radios. mmWave wavelengths are small but powerful – they can carry huge quantities of information. With expert engineering, they can provide reliable connectivity with fibre-equivalent data speeds of 10Gbps.
How will we use 5G mmWave?
As well as vastly improving connectivity speeds for our smartphones when we need it, 5G mmWave opens up exciting opportunities for a huge range of consumer and commercial use cases.
5G mmWave will enable real-time services within our towns and cities every day.
Tiny mmWave units can be installed on existing roadside lampposts with minimal disruption, bringing high-speed connectivity to city infrastructure, vehicles and user devices. Local authorities will be able to deliver services efficiently in the community and maintain the environment in real time, for example checking and responding to pollution levels, traffic flow and energy usage, thanks to ubiquitous 5G IoT sensors.
Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs)
5G mmWave will become an everyday part of the connected and autonomous vehicles of the future. Freed of the need to drive ourselves, we will be able to use the time for work and relaxation, as well as enhancing our engagement with the journey itself.
Connectivity on high-speed trains will also undergo a 5G transformation – a movement that is already beginning across the UK, starting with FirstGroup’s 5G mmWave implementation. Their mmWave track-to-train network will bring on-board WiFi with the speed of fast fibre broadband to every passenger.
As logistics and supply chain businesses get smart, merging digital and physical technologies, 5G mmWave will play a key role in ensuring competitive and environmentally friendly manufacturing. Connected manufacturing improves yield and quality and, by focusing maintenance on the areas where it is most needed, increases uptime.
Augmented reality (AR), robotics and connected machinery will require the ultra-fast speeds of data transfer and reliability that mmWave can provide, thanks to its higher frequency bandwidths.
AR, VR and Video Streaming
Low-delay connectivity delivers virtually unnoticeable latency – which is a huge facilitator for the consumer entertainment sector, as well as professional and industrial applications. VR, AR, gaming, live streaming and video calling will all become substantially more useful with 5G mmWave. This will equally widen the scope of how companies leverage experiential activities for customer engagement.
Remote healthcare is perhaps the most demanding use case for telecommunications, dependent on IoT sensors, high-bandwidth imaging, resilient control and monitoring and wide coverage for its effective operation. The high-frequency connectivity of 5G mmWave provides consistent internet access for virtual visits to the doctor, as well as for wearable health monitoring technology, which are powered by 5G sensors.
If you want to learn more about 5G mmWave and virtual healthcare, the Liverpool 5G Testbed is a good example of how 5G mmWave technology can be implemented to support health and social care providers and their patients.
The Future of 5G mmWave
With its speed, reliability and ease of implementation, 5G mmWave is set to drive many exciting developments across multiple industries in the years to come. From our work to our health to how we travel, this technology will bring a tangible improvement to our daily lives and how we experience services that rely on connectivity – it’s an exciting transition that everyone stands to benefit from.