Earlier this month, it was confirmed the 5G will be the official successor to 4G wireless communications as the fifth generation mobile wireless communications technology. The name as well as the new official logo were announced by 3GPP cellular standards group. Apart from announcing that 5G will be IoT-focused, 3GPP did not go into the finer details. Now, some specifications have been provided by the International Telcommunication Union (ITU) that need to be met in order for networks to be deemed 5G-capable.
ITU lists minimum requirements for peak data rate, spectral efficiencies and target values for both downlinks and uplinks (in the Dense Urban – eMBB test environment):
- Downlink peak data rate is 20Gbps
- Uplink peak data rate is 10Gbps
- Downlink peak spectral efficiency is 30 bits per second per Hz
- Uplink peak spectral efficiency is 15 bits per second per Hz
- Downlink user experienced data rate is 100Mbps
- Uplink user experienced data rate is 50Mbps
20Gbps download capacity is pretty significant when compared to current 4G LTE Cat. 16 modems that are around 1Gbps. Furthermore, ITU’s report states that IMT-2020, or 5G, must support at least 1 million connected devices per square kilometre, which points mainly to IoT. 5G will require carriers to have at least 100MHz of free spectrum, and up to 1GHz where available. The 5G specs also require base stations that can support access from 0kmph up to 500kmph vehicular speed.
5G networks are expected to offer users a maximum latency of just 4ms. Current gen 4G LTE networks give around 20ms latency. 5G also calls for a latency of just 1ms for ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC).
ITU’s report is still in its initial stage and will need to be finalised (likely in November) before work on bulding 5G tech begins. Some companies like Verizon, AT&T, Intel, and Qualcomm have already begun testing 5G technology. The next-gen wireless network will also be in focus during the upcoming MWC 2017.