Up to 100 times faster

The 5G technology facilitates mobile Internet connections up to 100 times faster than the current standard 4G. The transmission capacity increases by a factor of 1000. The latency is under 1 millisecond per ping. The 5G network – at its full extent – will be able to link 100 billion devices at the same time. Electricity consumption will drop by up to 90% per mobile service.

This means it is an attractive technology which will open up numerous new options. 5G can support digital transformation and drive it forward. The technical advantages play just as much a role for the security- and time-critical communication between vehicles and manufacturing plants as for Smart Cities and telemedical services.

Consequently, the whole of the telecommunications world is currently focusing on 5G. Virtually every day, network operators, test users, and chip manufacturers are reporting on the latest developments. Numerous pilot projects show diverse application possibilities.

Rollout takes time
The license awarding and pilot schemes should not gloss over the fact that patience is a major requirement. It will take a few years to get devices, applications, service and business models in place.

In October 2018, market researchers from BMI Research reported that there are currently only a few applications that specifically need 5G. The mass market with affordable devices has yet to be developed. Suitable smartphones are due to be launched in 2019.

The nationwide roll-out presents network operators with a number of challenges. They need approval for lots of new antenna sites.

Fiber optic networks required
A further challenge is being added to the mix. In the future, it will no longer be sufficient to connect the base stations with each other using radio links. The antennas have to be integrated into fiber optic networks and connected with local or regional edge data centers. This is the only way the expected quantities of data will be able to be transported and processed in real time. Depending on the location, one and a half to three times as many base stations and two to three times more optical fibers than is the case to date will be required.

Fiber to the Antenna (FTTA) is the name of the investment program that now has to be mastered. FTTA requires innovative cabling solutions. R&M is one of the companies working on the development of such solutions and is helping mobile communication suppliers create 5G infrastructures.

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Lars Züllig

By Lars Züllig