Sunday, January 26, 2014

5G: over-ambituous or under-ambitious?

5G research is gaining momentum. Huawei and Ericsson are aiming for 10 Gb/s by 2020.

Different stakeholders are involved:
  • Operators: Telefonica, Orange, Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia, Portugal Telecom, BT, DoCoMo,  China Mobile, Verizon.
  • Vendors: Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, NSN, Nokia, Huawei, Fujitsu, Samsung, Intel.
  • Universities: Surrey, NYU, Princeton, Stanford, Illinois, Texas, Cornell, UCLA, etc.
  • Governments: EU, UK, South Korea.
  • Others: BMW, Rhode & Schwartz, AIRCOM, Thales, etc.
New 5G institutions include: 5G Innovation Centre (Univ. of Surrey), METIS, ISRA (Intel) and 5G PPP (EC). There will be a summit in Brooklyn, NY, this April.

Some observations:
  • First of all, 10 Gb/s is not about downloading a DVD in under 1 second. Remember, this is shared capacity.
  • It remains unclear what 5G will be. After all, LTE has lots of room to develop and is an all-IP standard. LTE is now at 300 Mb/s and is approaching its goal (1 Gb/s) rapidly.
  • The time-frame appears to be very ambitious.
  • At the same time, aiming for a 10-fold capacity increase (from 1 to 10 Gb/s) doesn't appear to be very ambitious.
  • Stakeholder interest is to have standards set according to one's technology. This will create some first-mover advantage and patent income can be reaped.

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