My thoughts on the much awaited fifth generation, virtually ubiquitous, ultra-high bandwidth “connectivity” of mobile technology: apprehensive excitement?

As someone who video calls almost on a daily basis to keep in touch with friends and games casually, promises of offering submillisecond latency and 1 gigabit per second transmission speed sounds like a dream. Although our current cloud-based data delivery model won’t be able to support the quality of service of submillisecond latency for a while (limited by the hops of wired networks between the 5G base stations and the cloud), this is still something that I’m excited about.

In a grander scale outside of phones and personal usage, the wide range of applications and sectors to be served in a 5G environment in the future opens doors to new innovation—even bigger steps in IoT—and will allow our devices to be more connected than ever.

The number of things connected to the Internet surpassed people in 2008, and by 2020, it’s estimated that this population of things will reach 50-billion.

Fog Computing in 5G Networks, by Harshit Gupta, Sandip Chakraborty, Soumya K. Ghosh, and Rajkumar Buyya from CLOUDS Laboratory, University of Melbourne, Australia.

I’m lucky to be in these times where our connected devices generate gigantic deluges of volumes of data, in a phenomenon also called a data tsunami.

how 5G is achieved

The secret to how we’re achieving such high quality of service lies in the frequency of 5G. Designed to meet current and future growth in data connectivity in our society, 5G uses radio wave frequencies to allow massive amounts of machine to machine communication at a faster pace, than the previous

To put this into perspective, 2G GSM, introduced in 1988, lives around the 450 MHz frequency, where 3G went up to 3 Ghz with better internet access (abeit still pigeon mail speeds). 4G LTE from 2009 now could video call functionally, while still being around the same frequency range as 3G: ~700 MHz to ~2600 MHz. The improvement in speed of communication was achieved with the switch from the traditional circuit-switching service to Internet Protocol based communication, with OFDMA multi-carrier transmission and single-carrier FDMA schemes.

Now, 5G would be able to support time-sensitive embedded device communications with frequencies up to 95Ghz, or so told. But really, the ones in effect in the foreseeable future would be around 24 GHz or less, since with higher speeds and higher frequency comes higer attenuation. For the complete coverage and speeds that we’re imagining, 5G “antennae” will probably have to be installed at every few city blocks.

In terms of infrastructure itself, the traditional mobile network has two main components: the radio access network and the core network.

the sharing economy

But as always, all things come with a price. On the advent of this connectivity revolution, I’ve looked into the impacts of 5G with __, __ and ___ .

24 GHz and the 5G spectrum auction

Auctions for 5G’s high-band frequency is currently ongoing, opened by the U.S.’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow telecommunications companies to bid for access to new transmission frequencies for their wireless signals. While the 28 GHz band auction has concluded right now, the 24 GHz and lower bands are going on right now, all with initial license periods not to exceed 10 years.

Specifically, agencies are concerned that useage of those transmission frequencies will interfere with satellites’ ability to track water vapour, a key atmospheric element used by meteorologists and other Earth scientists. Due to water vapour’s physical properties, it cannot be tracked at any frequency other than the 23.6 to 24 GHz

U.S. House of Representative’s science committee, didn’t pull any punches, telling the FCC “Any interferences with this channel would therefore seriously impact public safety.”

https://www.therecord.com/news-story/8655202-canada-to-hold-key-5g-spectrum-auction-in-2020-says-innovation-minister-bains/ Canada has planned to hold their own auction in 2020

You will not be able, as a Canadian, to use the latest Samsung phone, or the latest LG, or the latest Huawei, or even the latest iPhone, till 2021,” Telus CTO Ibrahim Gedeon predicted in an interview after his Monday speech.

But Bains, who is minister for innovation, science and economic development, said in an interview Wednesday that his ministry believes 2020 will be soon enough to hold the 3,500 MHz auction.

https://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/fccs-24-ghz-auction-tops-400-million Bidding topped __ on frequency

As of March 18, 2019, there are 2909 licenses up for auction in the 24 GHz (millimeter wave) band.

repercussions of 5G frequencies

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19674218

One of the concerns about

The flora emits small amounts of radiation, which is picked up by weather satellites. For the intents of weather forecasting, water vapour is

Water vapour emits at 23.8Ghz

FCC wants money and denied the request to delay the auction for bands in the spectrum of 5g.

Thus. Weather forecast in peril. No one will know what the weather is. The world was cease to be, with snow in the summer, heatwaves in the winter, but it’s okay, because we’ll have super fast 5g in specific areas.

Although to be fair, due to the attenuation of the high frequencies of 5G.

But not only weather forecasting,

As a dabbler in astronomy myself,

radio astronomy. There are a few narrow protected windows for absolutely critical spectral lines, but the truth is that nature doesn’t play by the spectrum allocations rules, and there are hundreds if not thousands of lines that are observed routinely outside of the protected bands

wireless pollution on nature

vibrating hairs may explain how bumblebees sense and interpret the signals transmitted by flowers, according to a study by researchers at the University of Bristol.

The research was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and The Royal Society https://www.pnas.org/content/113/26/7261

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2016/may/dancing-hairs-alert-bees.html

electromagnetic radiation from power lines and cell towers can disorientate birds and insects and destroy plant health http://www.eklipse-mechanism.eu/documents/15803/0/EMR-KnowledgeOverviewReport_FINAL_27042018.pdf/1326791c-f39f-453c-8115-0d1c9d0ec942

Impacts suggested as early as 2010. http://www.moef.nic.in/downloads/public-information/final_mobile_towers_report.pdf https://www.newsweek.com/migratory-birds-bee-navigation-5g-technology-electromagnetic-radiation-934830

Wireless pollution

Wireless industry funding

regulating 5G

In the paper Roles and Effects of Access Regulation in 5G Markets, authors Johannes M. Bauer and Erik Bohlin bring in some insightful analysis on _____.

Competition will be most effective if it unfolds in a legal and regulatory environment that aligns private incentives with the broader public good

Contrain entrepreneurial freedom enough to be not of disadvantage to the broader public, but without crossing the fine line as to impede on the innovation and deployment of 5G.

consequences of three scenarios—labelled entrepreneurship, regulated competition, and policy-push—for innovation and investment in 5G

The ever-ongoing Net Neutrality concern

Although, currently, without a 5G standard or definition,

closing thoughts

But all in all, from an IoT standpoint, 5G means stable low latency connections with massive throughput. It’ll be useful for flying drones through the mobile network. It’ll be useful for autonomous driving allowing car-to-car quick communication. It’ll be useful for an industrial evolution towards a smart city, where devices can be smoothly controlled remotely.

Outside of major cities, 5G is going to for all these things that could benefit from fast and reliable internet. Whether you think it’s imperative that we go there, this is likely the route where we’re headed, for better or for worse.