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An Explanation About 5G, What is 5G?

Human communication has a long history, and it is one of the most basic needs of human beings. Languages, symbols, bells and drums, fire smoke, bamboo slips, paper books, and other information transmission systems have been used for thousands of years, and developments in communication methods have had a significant impact on human life.

Information technology, as represented by the Internet and communications, has gradually evolved into the primary foundation for human development in today's society. Human society is approaching the era of intelligence from the information age, launching the fourth industrial revolution, and pushing human society to a new era, relying on the growth of big data, cloud computing technology, AI, and other technologies in recent years. Unlike earlier mobile communication systems, 5G would expand the reach of mobile communication and become the fourth industrial revolution's technology cornerstone.

What is 5G?

5G refers to the fifth-generation mobile network. It is a new global wireless standard that follows previous network generations. 5G enables the development of a new network that connects practically everyone and everything, including machines, objects, and gadgets.5G is a “suite of enabling technologies for ubiquitous communications,” according to Muriel Médard, an MIT professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The ITU-R Recommendation, ITU-R M.2083-0, which was announced in September 2015, establishes the framework and long-term goals for the future development of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) in 2020 and beyond.

Three usage situations are defined in this guideline:

  • Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB): Keeping the world linked by providing much higher data speeds and greater capacity.

  • Ultra-reliable and Low-latency Communications (URLLC): Real-time device control, industrial robots, vehicle-to-vehicle communications and safety systems, autonomous driving, and safer transportation networks.

  • Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC): Also known as the Internet of Things (IoT), it includes linking billions of objects at a scale never seen before without the need for human intervention.

What Does 5G Mean?

5G literally means the fifth generation. The letter "G" stands for "generation". As mobile networks improve their infrastructure, new levels of connectivity become available. As a result, higher Gs imply more data, delivered at a faster rate.

5G comes with many amazing capabilities that allow you to fully explore the world of the internet and technology. With its multi-Gbps internet speed, the network is designed to control various types of machinery, robots, and other technical devices. It also has an enormous capacity to manage the entire world and its users without any performance lag.

5G technology; It can increase accessibility among people through connected devices, autonomous vehicles, and other remote-accessible applications.. With 5G technology, it will be possible for autonomous vehicles to interact with each other in traffic and to share instant traffic and road information.. Over 5G, remote surgery will be possible, with zero latency data and analysis available. Furthermore, 5G opens up the possibility of controlling robots from afar, allowing a user to feel and interact with a machine thousands of kilometers distant.

What is 5G Technology?

5G technology is a breakthrough. There is currently a standard defined by IMT-2020 that technology must meet to be considered 5G. Those requirements are listed below:

  • Up to 10Gbps data rate ( 10x-100x faster than previous 4G network)
  • 1-millisecond latency
  • 1000x bandwidth per unit usage
  • Up to 100x number of connected devices per unit area (compared with 4G)
  • 99.999% availability
  • 100% coverage
  • 90% reduction in network energy consumption
  • Up to 10-year battery life for low power IoT device

What is the History of 5G?

It all began when James Clark Maxwell discovered electromagnetic waves in the 1860s. Heinrich Hertz discovered a way to produce and detect electromagnetic waves, which he afterward named "Radio Waves," not long after. Following the discovery of such waves, the brilliant brains of the century considered exploiting them as information carriers. For several decades, mobile communication systems have evolved significantly. To fully understand where we are in 5G, we need to look at how far we've come from the groundbreaking 1G to 4G, and take a closer look at what's changed throughout these processes.

1G: Analog Mobile Communication

The first commercially automated mobile network was 1G, or the first "Generation." Bell Labs was the first to suggest the concept of a cellular system in 1947. Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (NTT) was the first to commercialize this concept in 1979. Motorola also developed one of the first mobile phones, the “DynaTAC,” in the early 1980s, to provide 1G mobile communication service. Various countries created their own 1G standards. 1G was a very basic kind of wireless communication in which data was sent as analog signals.

1G had a lot of weaknesses. Because of the inherent limitations of analog communication technology, communication quality and security were extremely poor.

2G: Digital Mobile Communication

2G opened a new era of digital mobile communication. The fundamental difference between 1G and 2G was the adoption of digital communication technologies rather than analog ones. It was first launched by Finland Radiolinja under Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) in 1991. 2G was more than just voice communication services. It allowed for the transmission of digitally encrypted messages, such as voice messages, text messages (SMS), and multimedia messages (MMS). GSM had a data rate of 9.6 kbit/s. On this network, sending a 1MB file to a friend in the same city would take around 14 hours. The General Packet Radio Service, or GPRS, was added to the GSM standard in the mid-1990s, allowing for the first cellular internet access. The packet delivery rate increased to 172 kilobits per second. And after evolving to GPRS, 2G was named 2.5G.

3G: Mobile Internet

The mobile Internet age began with 3G. The introduction of data packet-based communication technology was a breakthrough in 3G. Packet-switched communication technology-enabled mobile communication systems to connect to the mobile Internet, from anywhere in the globe. It was first launched in Japan by NTT in October 2001 and then it has developed rapidly with the release of smartphones. The data speeds of 2G technology were incredibly low. The data rates were increased to 7.2 Megabits per second with the launch of 3G. It was also created to become safer by utilizing end-to-end security.

4G: Real-Time Streaming Era

In 2009, the fourth generation of communications technology was unveiled in Oslo and Stockholm for the first time. 4G, often known as LTE in the commercial World. The key difference between 3G and 4G was the ability to provide extraordinarily high data speeds of hundreds of megabits per second. This increased data rate sparked the development of new mobile services such as real-time mobile gaming and high-definition mobile television. Aside from improved security and encryption, another significant advancement in 4G technology is lower latency. At the time of its release, 4G technology boasted a response time of 50 ms, which was more than enough for any imaginable task.

5G: New Generation

The fifth generation of mobile communications systems is known as 5G. It builds on the previous generations of mobile communications systems' achievements. 5G promises to improve the end-user experience while also enabling new services and ecosystems. In 2015, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) published the first draft of 5G specifications. It's known as IMT-2020. In the timeline, some of the contributors and developers are listed below;

  • In 2008, South Korea launched a research and development program focused on 5G mobile communication technology.

  • In 2012, New York University established “NYU WIRELESS” a research center dedicated to a comprehensive study on the 5G wireless network.

  • In 2012, the European Union launched the METIS (Mobile and Wireless Communications Enablers for the Twenty-twenty Information Society) project for doing research and developing a functioning definition of 5G.

  • In 2013, Samsung and Huawei companies announced plans to invest in the development of 5G technology.

  • In January 2016, Google started work on SkyBender, a 5G network. This is a 5G project that aims to provide 5G connections through solar-powered drones.

  • In February 2016, Verizon announced its first 5G testing in real-life situations.

  • In October 2016, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon X50, the world's first 5G modem.

  • In February 2017, Ericsson unveiled the first 5G platform that provides end-to-end support for the fifth-generation wireless network.

  • On March 6, 2020, Samsung has announced the release of the Samsung Galaxy S20 smartphone, the world's first all-5G smartphone

Who invented 5G?

There is no single company or individual who owns 5G, but several companies within the mobile ecosystem are working to bring 5G to life. And there is the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the industry organization that defines the global specifications for 3G, 4G LTE, and 5G technologies. Nine companies are selling 5G radio equipment and systems to carriers. These are Cisco Systems, Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Altiostar, Datang Telecom, Qualcomm, Samsung, and ZTE. Huawei holds the most 5G-related patents of any other company in the world, with a share of around 15 percent.

When Did 5G Launched?

In April 2019. South Korean operators, including SK Telecom and KT Corp companies, became the first country in the world to test 5G mobile networks by launching 5G infrastructure, shortly before Verizon announced 5G technology in two cities in the USA.

According to the report dated June 2021; There are 58 countries with 5G networks, this was 38, a year ago. Some parts of 5G mobile technology have been deployed in a dozen more countries. 5G is predicted to reach 1 billion users in 3.5 years. If we want to compare, that time was 4 years for 4G and 12 years for 3G.

How Does 5G Work?

Radio frequencies (also known as spectrums) are used in wireless communications systems to transmit data over long distances. 5G is similar to 4G, however, it uses higher radio frequencies that are less used. This enables it to transport more data at a much faster rate. These higher bands are referred to as 'millimeter waves' (waves). They were previously unlicensed, but regulators have made them available for licensing.

Although higher bands are fast when transporting information, some problems may be encountered when transmitting it over long distances. It can very easily be blocked by physical barriers. To overcome this challenge, 5G has efficiently carried the signal between two networks with antennas with multiple-input multiple-output(MIMO) technology.

Since meeting the determined 5G standards is impossible with existing technologies, therefore 5 new technologies have been developed to meet the needs.

  • Massive MIMO: Massive MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output) is a key component of 5G technology. Massive MIMO uses a greater number of transmitting and receiving antennas to improve transmission gain and spectrum efficiency.

  • Beamforming: It is a technique used with phased array antenna systems to direct a wireless signal in a given direction, typically towards a specific receiving device. As a result, the signal at the user equipment (UE) improves, and there is less interference between the signals of individual UE.

  • Millimeter Waves: Millimeter waves operate at frequencies ranging from 30 to 300 gigahertz, which are 10 to 100 times higher than the radio waves currently used for 4G and WiFi networks.

  • Small Cell Network: Small Cell Network is nothing more than the idea of avoiding an issue rather than confronting it. As previously stated, millimeter waves have a tough difficulty passing through obstructions, foliage, and rain. As a result, the small cell network permits the signal to pass over the obstruction.

  • Full Duplex: Today's base stations and cell phones rely on transceivers, which must take turns if transmitting and receiving data on the same frequency, or work on distinct frequencies if a user wants to transmit and receive data at the same time. With 5G technology, transceivers will be able to broadcast and receive data on the same frequency at the same time. This is known as full-duplex technology.

What are the Benefits of 5G?

There are 3 major benefits of the 5G network;

- Faster Connection Speeds

The most well-known advantage of 5G is its connection speed, which is dramatically faster than the current 4G network. In experimental conditions, 4G's maximum speed theoretically reaches 100 megabits per second. 5G, on the other hand, has the ability to reach 10 gigabits per second.

- Higher Device Capacity

5G also has more capacity, allowing thousands of devices to be linked at the same time in a small location. According to estimates, 5G deployments can handle one million connected devices per 0.38 square mile, it was just 2,000 for 4G technology.

- Lower latency

Latency is the time it takes for an action to occur once we give a command on our device. The latency of 5G will be ten times lower than on 4G, enabling real-time remote actions.

Benefits of 5G

Figure 1. Benefits of 5G

How Fast is 5G?

According to IMT-2020 specifications, 5G is expected to achieve peak data rates of up to 20 Gbps theoretically. What speed you will get on your connection depends on where you are and what type of 5G you're able to access. According to recent Speedcheck research, the average 5G download speed is currently 59Mbps, which isn't significantly quicker than a regular 4G network. However, these speed values may differ for different operators in different cities. For example, it may take only 50 seconds to download a 1 hour 50-minute movie with 5G infrastructure. Even with another carrier's low-band 5G infrastructure, it may take only 2-3 minutes to download a 3 hour long high-definition Netflix movie.

Is 5G Better Than WIFI?

There is no clear winner in this comparison, users will choose according to their needs. In some cases, Wifi technology is advantageous, while in some cases 5G takes the lead. Wi-Fi is less expensive to deploy and maintain in areas where access points must serve more users. It will continue to be the dominant technology in both home and business settings. Hundreds of home devices, such as computers, tablets, smartphones, and printers, can be connected to the same network in this manner and consume a large amount of bandwidth.

The two technologies approach network management in different ways. Wi-Fi operates on an unlicensed spectrum, so you can each have your Wi-Fi network without the need for a license. 5G networks, on the other hand, serve on a licensed spectrum and operators charge a membership fee for this service.

While 5G infrastructure can be used at higher speed in larger workspaces, Wifi technology will continue to be preferred in smaller workspaces. As an example; Machine-to-machine interaction is critical in factory automation. While Wi-Fi 6 may be adequate for a managed manufacturing operation, 5G may be necessary to equip a large, campus-wide manufacturing environment.

What Devices Use 5G?

Currently, many different devices on the market can connect to 5G networks.

  • Mobile phones (Brands with the highest market share; Samsung, Motorola, Xiaomi, Huawei)

  • Hotspots (These devices can detect a 5G signal and convert it to a fast wi-fi signal for usage by other devices in an approved area.)

  • Laptops and desktop computers

  • Wearable devices(augmented reality headsets)

In the future, We will see devices connecting to the 5G network in many areas such as automotive, agriculture, factory automation systems, medical devices, education, etc.

Is 5G Provide Better Network?

Definitely, yes. 5G with the new technologies, will provide a better network for all types of users. This technology has benefits over outdated commercial 4G systems in terms of high data rate, low latency, and vast device connectivity, making it a critical infrastructure for internet usage soon.

5G is revolutionary because it replaces network hardware with software that "virtualizes" the network by utilizing the Internet Protocol (IP) language. Two different key technologies will be used in 5G technology for the scaling and flexibility of the network. These technologies are; network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN). This element provides the required flexibility by removing the hardware requirement while still allowing for rapid deployment and service changes. As a result, NFV can favorably contribute to the cost optimization of network deployments and service offerings.

Another key network optimization is “Network Slicing”. It enables the creation and deployment of customized communication systems as well as the integration of services from many verticals. It's likely that there will be a large number of devices connecting at the same time, requiring inconsistent connectivity and small-scale data transfer. With the network slice technology, while the high-security demand of one application is fulfilled, the very low latency demand of the other application will be met quickly at the same time.

As a result, with the wide frequency ranges, advanced antenna technology, and new network optimizations that 5G will offer, we will have features such as much faster connection, very low response and delay times, much wider coverage areas, and high bandwidth.

How secure is 5G?

5G is more secure than any of its predecessors in several ways. It encrypts more data, reducing the amount of data that can be intercepted. It's easier to keep track of all data. It can also be "sliced", allowing different devices to connect to separate networks while maintaining network-specific security. On the other hand, it is less secure. There is a broader attack surface because there is the opportunity to connect to more devices. As the number of connected devices grows, so will the requirement to verify a growing number of devices.

A number of security flaws in 5G have been discovered and reported by researchers. Many of the findings focused on how users can still be followed while connecting to 5G, using information that is delivered unencrypted or leaks due to a fault in the standard. This opens the door to counterfeit base station attacks, in which devices are known as "stingrays" deceive target devices into assuming they are a cell tower and connect. As a result, attackers can intercept mobile traffic and modify data to spy on victims.

Researchers have also noted that some 5G faults enable "downgrade" attacks, in which a target's phone connection is controlled to downgrade to 3G or 4G service, where hackers might exploit unresolved flaws in those older networks.

What is the Difference Between 4G and 5G?

In comparison to 4G, 5G offers the following advantages:

  • 5G is capable of transmitting 10 gigabits per second, which is up to 100 times quicker than 4G.

  • 5G has a slower response time compared to 4G. Since devices can "talk" to the network more quickly, you will receive data more quickly. In 4G, latency is 200 milliseconds, The 5G latency rate at just 1 millisecond.

  • 5G uses less energy than 4G, its energy-saving technology. When cellular radios are not in use, 5G can quickly switch to low-energy mode, so it consumes low energy

  • 5G is more secure than 4G.

  • More devices can be connected to a 5G network simultaneously than to a 4G network.

What is the Difference Between 2G and 5G?

  • 2G was introduced in 1993, 5G was introduced in 2018.

  • 2G is the first generation of digital mobile communication. 5G, on the other hand, is the last applicable generation with a 40-year development period.

  • While 2G provides only phone calls and short message transmission, 5G also offers high-speed mobile internet access.

  • In 2G network, data speeds were up to 64 kbps, with a 5G network it can reach speeds of over 1gbps.

  • In the 2G network, the bandwidth was only between 30 and 200 KHz. In the 5G network, the bandwidth is between 30 and 300 GHz.

What is the Difference Between 3G and 5G?

  • 3G was introduced in 2001, 5G was introduced in 2018.

  • 3G networks can reach 7.2 Mbps, whereas 5G networks will eventually reach speeds of over 1gbps (theoretical maximum of 20gbps)

  • In 3G networks, the bandwidth was between 15 and 20 MHz. In the 5G network, the bandwidth is between 30 and 300 GHz. Depending on the usage intensity, access would be slow in the 3G network, while in the 5G network, thousands of devices can communicate at the same time without experiencing speed and latency problems.

  • Latency on 5G networks is below 10ms. The latency in 3G networks is between 100-500 ms.

  • 3G technology is a revolution that started the spread of mobile internet and smartphones, while 5G is a revolution that started the internet of things(IoT)

Can 5G be Used to SPY?

There is insufficient evidence that 5G alone can be used for spying. However, the necessary equipment to enable the 5G infrastructure is drawing the attention of the national security units of the countries day by day. Thanks to the 5G infrastructure, a fully interconnected world will emerge. With the further development of the Internet of Things, this network will grow and become more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. As the FBI stated; "5G networks will be one of the biggest security vulnerabilities."

Is 5G bad for Privacy?

In addition to offering faster data transfer, 5G can provide more connections at the same time for home users and offers 3 times more spectrum efficiency outside the home. With these features, it has the potential to close the biggest gap required for the internet of things. With the connection of objects to the web, much more information about users; Information such as which devices they own, where they are, what they watch, what they buy, and their internet histories will be recorded. Companies may use it to customize the adverts you see. but the real danger is that once this information is in the hands of a malicious hacker, it can be used to harm you.

There are some concerns about data privacy on 5G network; China is a leader in digital technologies such as 5G, and the US government is concerned that if Chinese businesses like Huawei install crucial elements of 5G networks in the country, they will be able to spy on traffic traveling through them.