5G Wireless Technology Specifications Announced; 20Gbps Download Speeds, 1ms Latency
LTE has been around for quite some time now and devices featuring the technology are now more common than ever. On the other hand, existing 4G LTE technology can only be upgraded so far, and now, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has released a draft report specifying the specifications of the next-generation 5G technology.
Previous this month, it was established 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 declared by the 3GPP cellular standards group. Apart from declaring that 5G will be IoT-focused, 3GPP did not go into the finer details.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has decided, the total download capacity for a single 5G cell must be at least 20Gbps. In contrast, the peak data rate for current LTE cells is about 1Gbps. The incoming 5G standard must also support up to 1 million connected devices per square kilometer, and the standard will need carriers to have at least 100MHz of free spectrum, scaling up to 1GHz where feasible. 5G will need carriers to have at least 100MHz of free spectrum, and up to 1GHz where available. The 5G specs also need base stations that can support access from 0kmph up to 500kmph vehicular speed.
The minimum requirements for peak data rate, peak spectral efficiencies and target values for the user experienced data rate (in the Dense Urban – eMBB test environment):
• Downlink peak spectral efficiency is 30 bit/s/Hz
• Downlink user experienced data rate is 100 Mbit/s
• Uplink user experienced data rate is 50 Mbit/s
• Uplink peak spectral efficiency is 15 bit/s/Hz
• Downlink peak data rate is 20 Gbit/s
• Uplink peak data rate is 10 Gbit/s
5G networks are likely 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 finalized before work on building 5G tech begins. Some companies like AT&T, Verizon, Intel, and Qualcomm have already begun testing 5G technology. The next-gen wireless network will also be in focus during the upcoming MWC 2017.
Finally, despite the peak capacity of each 5G cell, the spec "only" calls for a per-user download speed of 100Mbps and upload speed of 50Mbps. These are pretty close to the speeds you might achieve on EE's LTE-Advanced network, though with 5G it sounds like you will always get at least 100Mbps down, rather than on a good day, downhill, with the wind behind you.
The draft 5G spec also calls for increased consistency (i.e. packets should almost always get to the base station within 1ms), and the disruption time when moving between 5G cells should be 0ms—it must be immediate with no drop-outs.