Work in Progress - Latest Apr 10, 2020


5G - To 5G or Not to 5G. That is the Question.

The cellular industry is saying 2019 is going to be the year of 5G. It will change the way we live, work, learn, play, and improve our global society. Whoopee!

It is at least one year late. Oh wait, some in the industry are now saying maybe in the early 2020s.

Hype is the space between fact and fiction. The Hype Cycle storm that 5G is generating, is awesome.

The fiction is quickly climbing up the slope to the Peak of Inflated Expectations. Then it will slide down to the Trough of Disillusionment until it it begins to climb the Slope of Enlightenment and becomes reality.

ThumbsDown Most of 5G is Fiction, until the technology reaches the Slope of Enlightenment. See Hype Cycle

Wi-Fi Generations

5G is the very fast wireless speed your smartphone may one day connects to the Internet. This graphic show the G generations tree.

5G is not just an upgrade from 4G. 5G require new phone hardware and software, new towers with new hardware, and big changes to current phone and network designs. The core of new technologies are industry standards. It seems that 5G standards are in a state of flux. Already, some early 5G deployments need a makeover because of standards changing.
5g speedometer blue shadow
Figure 1. Wi-Fi Generations
  • 1G

    First generation of broadband cellular network technology
    1982 - 2.4 Kilobits Per Second (kbps)
    2,400 bits per second

    1G is an analog technology and the phones generally had poor battery life and voice quality was large without much security, and would sometimes experience dropped calls

  • 2G

    1992 - 64 kbps

    64,000 bits per second

    The advance in technology from 1G to 2G introduced many of the fundamental services that we still use today, such as SMS, internal roaming , conference calls, call hold, etc..

  • 3G

    1998 - 2 Megabits (Mbps)

    2,000,000 bits per second

    This generation set the standards for most of the wireless technology, web browsing, email, video downloading, picture sharing and other Smartphone technology

  • 4G

    2011 - 100 Megabits (Mbps)

    100,000,000 bits per second

    4G is a very different technology as compared to 3G and was made possible practically only because of the advancements in the technology in the last 10 years. Its purpose is to provide high speed , high quality and high capacity to users while improving security and lower the cost of voice and data services, multimedia and internet.

  • 5G



    20 Gigabits Per Second (Gbps)?

    5G is not just an upgrade from 4G.

    5G is a generation currently under development , that’s intended to improve on 4G. 5G promises significantly faster data rates, higher connection density, much lower latency, among other improvements.

Some Dreams of 5G

The 5G Dreams
  • Broadband Internet Everywhere

  • Smart Vehicles, Cities, and Factories

  • Everything Is On-Demand

  • Immersive AR and VR

  • Smarter Healthcare

  • Better Law Enforcement

  • Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Communication

  • etc..

Some day, some dreams may come true

A 5G Quick Start

Watch these videos to quickly get aquatinted with 5G.

YouTube - 5G: Field Test

This video is by Marques Brownlee. He buys a 5G Smartphone from the limited selection in the marketplace, goes to one of the few cities that have some 5G access points, and demonstrates some of the 5G realities of where 5G technology is in late 2019.

YouTube - Everything You Need to Know About 5G

Watch this videos. It’s about the best 5G technology presentation I’ve seen for non-techies.
If you curious about the technologies in the video, read the article.

"This video is for non-techie. It will quickly get up to speed on why 5G and some 5G realities."

"If all goes well, telecommunications companies hope to debut the first commercial 5G networks in the early 2020s. Right now,though, 5G is still in the planning stages, and companies and industry groups are working together to figure out exactly what it will be. But they all agree on one matter: As the number of mobile users and their demand for data rises, 5G must handle far more traffic at much higher speeds than the base stations that make up today’s cellular networks."

"With these and other 5G technologies, engineers hope to build the wireless network that future smartphone users, VR gamers, and autonomous cars will rely on every day. Already, researchers and companies have set high expectations for 5G by promising ultra-low latency and record-breaking data speeds for consumers. If they can solve the remaining challenges, and figure out how to make all these systems work together, ultra-fast 5G service could reach consumers in the next five years."

"There is one major drawback to millimeter waves, though—they can’t easily travel through buildings or obstacles and they can be absorbed by foliage and rain.""

The Race to 5G

IEEE Spectrum follows 5G news from around the world
Sometimes technical, and sometimes very technical.

"5G is the next generation of wireless technology scheduled to arrive in 2020. Once here, 5G should help wireless networks provide more bandwidth, higher data speeds, and lower latency to many more electronic devices. It’s also one of the most hyped topics in technology—with enthusiasts promising it will be the gateway to self-driving cars, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things. Here, IEEE Spectrum follows 5G news from around the world as telecommunications companies develop standards, test new technologies, and prepare to roll 5G out to customers.""

5G and Atonomous Vehicles

When vehicles are atonomous, they will be dependent on 5G. There are a some major problems to be solved before cars can be truly be self-driving.

Consumer 5G smartphones will have similar problems.

5G and Self-Drive Cars

"Dead zones in 5G coverage could limit self-driving cars to dense, urban population centers in the coming years."

"Experts interviewed by Motherboard argue that telecoms will have little incentive, though, to provide expensive and fast 5G coverage in rural areas, making them hard to reach for self-driving cars that rely on 5G connectivity Dead zones in coverage would make self-driving cars that rely on 5G connectivity incapable of inter-city highway travel."

"Automakers and tech companies are racing to develop the technology that will power self-driving cars in the coming years. That tech is advancing, but leaves observers with a bigger question: will consumers trust driverless car tech, and will they want to use autonomous cars?"

5G Won’t Be Good Enough for Self-Driving Cars

"If you’re super jazzed about getting an autonomous vehicle to chauffeur you around town while you catch up on Netflix or take a nap, we’ve got some bad news: The current geographical disparities in internet access mean it’s probably not going to happen for at least another 15–20 years."

"Shuttling around town with autonomous-compatible infrastructure could be done in the next two decades, McKenzie said. But intercity travel is complicated by vast dead zones where you can’t even get a cell signal, let alone count on your car to not drive you off a cliff."

"The problem is, huge parts of the world have terrible cell and internet coverage and it’s uncertain whether the 4G cellular network’s successor, 5G, will be enough to power the self-driving industry. That means Connected/autonomous vehicles (CAV) makers might have to get creative in proposing new and potentially revolutionary networking solutions, like mesh networking."

"In a CAV scenario, all wireless internet connections—including connections at households and businesses near the road—could be used as vehicular communication devices."

A Whole Lot of Hyping Going on

While 1G provided us with mobile telephony, 2G expanded on that and addressed some of its predecessor’s shortcomings. 3G and 4G did the same with mobile data.

Deployment of 5G seems a long way away with sizeable challenges remain such as infrastructure demands and spectrum capacity. However, with existing mobile technologies likely unable to meet market demands beyond 2020, 5G is inevitable and its impact will unarguably be transformational, for businesses and consumers across the globe.

Telecom Companies Are Seriously Overhyping 5G Networks

"As former FCC Chairman Michael Powell recently said, expressing skepticism over wireless industry’s hype, “5G is 25 percent technology, 75 percent marketing.” Though Powell now represents and speaks on behalf of a major cable industry group, which has its own motivations for challenging the veracity of the wireless industry’s claims about 5G, his underlying point is well taken."

The WIRED Guide to 5G

"Millimeter wave access points could wind up being as small as smoke detectors, but they’ll need to be practically everywhere. Carriers may need 15- or 20-millimeter wave access points to cover an urban area currently covered by only two or three modern cell phone towers, according to a McKinsey report. Just like your Wi-Fi router at home, those access points will need to be connected to wired networks. Deploying all these extra access points and connecting them to the internet will be expensive and time consuming."

The latest barrier to 5G speeds? The summer

"Thermal throttling is a fact of life for smartphones. Systems on chips generate a lot of heat, and when this heat can’t be dissipated, processors react by slowing down and thereby generating less heat."

Don’t buy a 5G smartphone—at least not for a while

"Early adopters for 5G will have to accept all manner of tradeoffs. And when there might not even be 5G reception in your area, it might be better to just wait the whole thing out for a year or two."

"First-gen 5G hardware will (temporarily?) ruin phone design."

"2019 is going to be the year of 5G—at least, that’s what the cellular industry keeps saying."

Figure 2. 5G Spectrum

"The industry has settled on calling this new 5G spectrum "mmWave" (millimeter wave), and it’s going to require new hardware in your phone, new hardware on the towers, and big changes to current phone and network designs."

"We’re used to these "G" network upgrades coming with a compelling sales pitch about how much better everything is going to be, but the move to 5G mmWave is not a slam-dunk argument. Since mmWave runs at a significantly higher frequency than LTE, that means it comes with no shortage of tradeoffs.

  • MmWave has worse range and worse penetration compared to LTE.

  • A mmWave signal can be blocked by buildings, trees, and even your hand.

  • MmWave doesn’t work well in the rain or fog, and the ~60GHz chunk of this spectrum can actually be absorbed by oxygen.

  • MmWave spectrum can be blocked by the air."

    "MmWave isn’t being used for much right now because it is such a pain in the butt to work with. So if you can figure out all the implementation problems, you suddenly have a vast amount of airspace to work with. That’s actually the first thing these companies talk about when they bring up mmWave. It’s all going to be really, really hard and complicated, they say, but it’s going to be worth it."

    "5G mmWave is going to require a lot more hardware than 4G, which brings up all of these battery size and device-complexity concerns.

    For 5G mmWave in 2019, we’re going to get thicker, hotter, more complicated phones that use more energy and cost more money."

    "With 5G networks only in their infancy and a supposed $200-$300 premium for 5G-compatible phones, this really doesn’t seem worth it for consumers."

    Figure 3. Tip of the 5G Iceberg
Verizon and Motorola unveil the world’s first 5G-upgradable smartphone

"5g will change the ways we live, work, learn and play,” said Nicola Palmer,Verizon’s chief network engineer and head of wireless networks."

“It will touch nearly every industry sector,impact our economy in a profound way and dramatically improve our global society."

Yea, right, sure.

Has 5G Hype Outpaced Reality? - Checkout more quote::

"Industry leaders and federal regulators are convinced 5G will radically transform the internet and the economy, but is the hype getting ahead of the tech?"

"One of the areas where 5G speeds are creating the most excitement — and arguably has the most potential — is autonomous vehicles (AVs)."

"5g will enable autonomous vehicles to directly share their perception of the road, road conditions and surroundings, with each other and with road infrastructure in an efficient manner,” Qualcomm said in a blog post."

"Autonomous vehicles rely on several different kinds of sensors to be able to detect and infer their surroundings and road conditions. While sensors such as radar, and camera systems are essential, these sensors are limited by their line-of-sight (LOS) operation. [5G] direct communication complements the capabilities of these sensors by providing 360-degree non-LOS (NLOS) awareness, extending a vehicle’s ability to detect farther down the road — even at blind intersections or in poor weather conditions."

"Self-driving cars can’t “self-drive” beyond the range of the network."

"Projected speeds of new wireless rollout are rarely match reality. The peak rate of wireless users are usually only 15 percent of the projected peak rate, according to industry experts, and Wi-Fi routers in homes often only offer one third to half of the advertised speed."

"The current geographical disparities in internet access mean it’s probably not going to happen for at least another 15–20 years, they conclude."

"The key with 5G is reliability. It doesn’t matter how much faster the 5G speeds are, if they aren’t consistent and reliable, AVs and other 5G-empowered industry advancements won’t get far."

"Then there’s the issue of actually processing the data 5G-connected sensors on cars will provide. It’s one thing to have a super-connected car, and quite another to know how to have the processing bandwidth to handle what it is providing."

"Some industry analysts are skeptical 5G will be anything more than a “mobile upgrade:” Barclays analysts doubt, for example, that 5G will replace broadband internet in homes and businesses without a dramatic increase in investment."

"It’s temping for industry innovators to oversell the promises of a new technology like 5G. Based on the current data, the right word to describe its impact is likely “evolution” rather than “revolution.” But if comes close to living up to the hype, it will make a major impact on our economy, our workplaces and our daily lives."

Don’t hold your breath for 5G. Most of us won’t be using it until 2025

"Wireless service providers continue to battle over 5G dominance in the United States. The fifth-generation wireless technology promises to bring far higher speeds and innovative new uses for consumers and businesses, from transportation to medical technology."

"Although a handful of announcements about 5G availability in recent weeks might make consumers believe that the 5G revolution is here, it will take at least a couple more years — likely 2025 — before we’re all using the new technology."

"5G in 2020 is mostly a hype fest. Slowly, 5G networks in the next few years will expand coverage, as a wider range of affordable 5G smartphones hit the market. Only then will the consumer adoption of 5G start to take off, which could take until 2025 as service gradually expands."

"The future of 5G is very bright. It’s just going to take longer than the carriers want you to believe."

The Ultimate Generation

"One of 5G’s biggest selling points is faster data rates than any previous generation of wireless—by a lot. Millimeter waves are part of what’s making that possible. 5G’s use of millimeter waves, a higher-frequency band than 2G, 3G, or 4G ever used, has forced service providers like AT&T and T-Mobile to rethink how 5G networks should be deployed, with higher frequencies requiring small cell sites located more closely together.

6G, while still just a hazy idea in the minds of wireless researchers, could very well follow in 5G’s footsteps by utilizing higher frequencies and pushing for faster data rates. So let’s have some fun with that—assuming such qualities remain important for future generations of wireless, where will that take us? What will 8G look like? 10G? And at what point does this extrapolation to future generations of wireless no longer make physical sense?

Of course, most of these imagined wireless generations are completely absurd. Future generations of wireless will surely push for more data capacity and faster speeds, but researchers will develop and refine new techniques to get more out of the same bands of spectrum. Techniques like massive MIMO are already accomplishing that in 5G networks. In the future, who knows? Perhaps AI can manage our spectrum, or other ideas will emerge."

The Hype Cycle storm the 5th generation of broadband cellular network technology is generating is awesome. It is quickly climbing to the Peak of Inflated Expectations



John at johntelford dot com
Portland, Oregon

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