Unlocking the Speed and Potential of 5G: Frequencies, Technology, and Beyond

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In the ever-evolving landscape of telecommunications, the transition from 4G to 5G has been nothing short of revolutionary. While there are several factors contributing to 5G’s superiority over its predecessor, we delve into some of the most critical elements that set 5G apart.

FREQUENCIES

Perhaps the most important aspect that distinguishes 5G from 4G is the range of frequencies. 5G networks use radio bands with higher frequencies to enable much faster data transmission.

Low-band Frequencies (less than 1 GHz): 5G, at its foundational level, operates within frequencies akin to 4G LTE. These frequencies, generally falling below 1 GHz, facilitate slightly faster speeds over longer distances. Think of it as the bridge between the present and the future, allowing seamless transitions from 4G to 5G.

 

Midband/C-band 5G (1 GHz to 6 GHz): The midband covers frequencies from 1 GHz to 6 GHz. This is where 5G starts to flex its muscles. The C-band comprises radio bands with higher frequencies that were previously reserved for industrial and satellite TV applications. This enables greater network capacity and consequently significantly higher speeds to meet the growing demands of numerous users.

 

mmWave 5G (or high band): The top tier of 5G is mmWave, which operates in the “millimeter wave” spectrum between 24 and 40 GHz. Although it has the potential to deliver speeds of more than one gigabit, it is important to note that mmWave 5G coverage is limited to certain areas due to its high-frequency nature, such as stadiums, factories and hospitals – places where extremely fast speeds are needed, and spatial limitations are less of an issue.

Ewa Frydelwicz - Senior Network Technology Specialist

Technological Advancements

Technological advances are part of the DNA of the telecommunications industry, and 5G is no exception. 5G systems represent a significant advance, enabling data transmission at speeds of tens of gigabits per second (Gbit/s). The key to achieving such high bit rates lies in multivalent modulations. These modulations increase transmission rates while maintaining the same channel width, but have the disadvantage of increased susceptibility to interference, which requires a higher signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) at the receiver input.

Massive MIMO

“A lot helps a lot” is an apt motto for 5G’s Massive MIMO (Multiple Input/Multiple Output) technology. This involves multi-element base stations equipped with numerous elements or links for simultaneous data transmission. This breakthrough means higher capacity, more users, and faster data transmission. With Massive MIMO, more people can connect to the network simultaneously and achieve remarkable bit rates.

Beam Steering

Beam Steering is an innovation that enables Massive MIMO base station antennas to direct radio transmissions to specific users and devices with pinpoint accuracy, rather than radiating signals in all directions. This is made possible using advanced signal processing algorithms that determine the optimal radio signal path to maximize performance and minimize interference.

In summary, 5G’s superiority over 4G is not due to just one or two factors, but rather the interplay of spectrum, technological breakthroughs, and smart engineering.

“Once 5G is rolled-out with all its capabilities, we can expect further innovations and services that will redefine our digital future,” comments Ewa Frydlewicz, Senior Network Technology Specialist at hubraum.

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Read more in our 5G Deep Dive series:

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