5G is the new generation of wireless communications. It lays the foundation for new customer experiences such as augmented reality games, the networking of machines in industry, and smart devices. This technology will also provide the basis for digitization in many areas of our lives. The 5G network is scheduled to go live for customers in Germany starting 2020. This new communications standard will require additional frequency bands, and Germany's Federal Network Agency plans to auction new spectrum in early 2019.
A look at the new 5G technology
What is 5G? 5G represents a new stage in the evolution of mobile communications. Above all, it will revolutionize mobile data transfer by providing higher capacities within individual mobile radio cells. The new features of 5G are not limited to enabling better use of mobile data, however. The 5G network also offers a range of other possibilities.
5G is the answer to increasing data traffic
Data traffic continues to grow unceasingly around the world. Network operators face the immense challenge of meeting demand for fast, ubiquitous data links by providing faster, larger wireless networks.
Now that people around the world are connected as standard, we are taking the next step into the future: Communications are expanding to include machines and devices, connected in the Internet of Things.
Many services will focus on the requirements of industry, for example. Production processes will be automated. Innovative applications like smart home technology and entertainment solutions based on virtual reality will make our private lives more convenient and safer.
5G technology is the foundation for this, opening up near-infinite possibilities for new uses. This means formulating a single definition of 5G isn't easy. 5G is indisputably the network of the future – it can do a whole lot more than just digital telephony and wireless Internet.
A communications standard, not a wireless standard
The digital connections between people and machines are evolving at breakneck speed. This calls for powerful networks and an appropriate infrastructure. Increasing data volumes require faster data transfer.
Because 5G is much more than just an enhancement of mobile communications, its label as simply a new wireless standard falls far short of the mark. The future network has to respond to a huge and complex range of demands. In the future, the 5G network will provide the foundation for a variety of applications that primarily involve data communication in the broadest sense. That's why it's better to call 5G a new communications standard, rather than just a wireless standard.
The difference between 4G and 5G
The current mobile communications standard is known as Long Term Evolution (LTE). With its network coverage and speed, this technology covers nearly all consumer needs and offers a sufficient data rate for a variety of everyday applications, such as mobile streaming of sports content or exchanging data over messenger apps.
LTE can achieve bandwidths of up to 150 Mbit/s in simple operations. In cities, speeds of up to 300 Mbit/s are possible. This bandwidth is fine for fast downloads of large amounts of data. The introduction of 5G won't mean the end of LTE; it’s more like an evolutionary step that will supplement the existing network. The parallel operation of both technologies will enable higher capacities and faster network speeds in the future. As the communications standard of tomorrow, the much larger bandwidth of 5G will enable new applications and significantly improve the customer experience. The development of digitization means billions of people already use mobile internet. They will be joined in the future by the more than 100 billion connected things that experts estimate will be online by 2020. The 5G network is the answer to the demands of digitalization.
Flexible provision of network infrastructure
5G will set new standards. It will meet future requirements for data speed, network capacity, latency, and data security.
With 5G, numerous network layers will be able to serve different applications in parallel, for example, for industry customers. Every application will receive its own suitable layer. The technology of dividing the network into individual layers is called network slicing. It is based on technologies such as network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networks (SDN). The flexibility these technologies provide will make it possible to combine real network capacities to create virtual network sectors on demand, opening up the possibility of customer-specific solutions.