5G mobile networks (or 5G network) —the next-generation standard for wireless communications—are scheduled to follow (but not replace) current 4G networks with vastly increased capacity, lower latency, and faster speeds. Anticipated between 2019 and 2020, some 5G networks will initially operate in a high-frequency band of the wireless spectrum — between 28 GHz and 38 GHz — also known as the millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum.
The new 5G networks will be able to transmit very large amounts of data short distances. However, 5G is also expected to work in low spectrum frequencies such as 600 MHz as well as unlicensed frequencies such as the 3.5 GHz spectrum.
What is 5G? Everything You Need to Know – Definition
5G is the term used to describe the next-generation of mobile networks beyond LTE mobile networks. At least four major phone carriers in the US — AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint — have solid plans to introduce their mobile 5G networks in 2019. AT&T has even started trials with 5G mobile hotspots in 12 cities. Verizon is advertising a 5G home network (however, Verizon’s offering does not align with what standard bodies are defining as 5G).
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has released several reports on the standards for the 5G network that it refers to as the International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT)-2020 network.
The 3GPP is the mobile industry standards body that created its own standards for 5G New Radio specifications, published in December 2017. Both mobile operators and vendors participate in the 3GPP specification process.
The Top 5G Vendors Around the Globe
The new 5G communications standard is just a few years away, promising massive improvements in speed, performance, and scale to support the plethora of new bandwidth-demanding use cases on the horizon. Our communications future will feature multi-gigabit download speeds and the capability to handle the billions of connected devices that will make up the Internet of Things (IoT) future. Here’s our take on the top 5G vendors.
While we all await the commercial debut of 5G around 2020, the industry is undergoing a large-scale testing and trial period for all involved technologies. There are a number of key 5G vendors taking part in this trial period, essentially defining the pieces of the ultimate 5G puzzle. Five of those 5G vendors are Ericsson, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE), Intel, Nokia, and Qualcomm. View these 5G vendors below.
5G Vendor: Ericsson
Ericsson has already introduced some pre-commercial 5G products to the market — including its 5G core and New Radio (NR), its global 5G access and transport mechanism, and its 5G Core System based on network slices. Ericsson recently supplemented its 5G NR platform by introducing the Air 3246, a radio that supports frequency division duplex (FDD) and massive multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO).
Fredrik Jejdling, head of business area networks at Ericsson, said, “The new radio will enable operators to enhance 4G capacity for their subscribers today and be ready for 5G tomorrow, using the same hardware. We also complement the products with a set of network services, simplifying the journey to 5G for our customers.”
5G Vendor: HPE
One of HPE’s recent contributions to the 5G standard is its ongoing collaboration with 5G Lab Germany, a consortium of researchers working on 5G wireless networks. Through this collaboration, HPE is studying the impacts of 5G wireless networks on the telecommunications and mobile industries. The company is testing the deployment of its Edgeline systems at the network edge to monitor 5G network performance.
“We are collaborating with the 5G Lab to develop high performance compute systems at the edge, which can consume and analyze data instantaneously to address the needs for the next generation of automation and mobile applications, particularly smart city and autonomous vehicle use cases,” says Dr. Tom Bradicich, vice president and general manager of servers, converged edge and IoT systems at HPE.
5G Vendor: Intel
Intel is a key 5G vendor in trials and development, thanks to its 5G Mobile Trial Platform (MTP); which will begin supporting the new non-standalone NR standard later this year for live tests to make sure that the radio access network (RAN), and the device side successfully operate within the initial NR standard. The MTP allows for quick interoperability testing, letting operators attempt real-world situations earlier, and allow standards bodies collect data for final specs faster.
“The pace of innovation is only accelerating with the advent of 5G, the next generation of wireless technology,” says Asha Keddy, vice president, client and Internet of Things businesses and systems architecture general manager, next generation and standards. “We’re only now beginning to imagine a world of new uses that will further transform our lives for the better.”
5G Vendor: Nokia
For its part, Nokia has demonstrated a 5G network running on a commercial platform, using its 5G-ready AirScale Radio Access technology working together with its Cloud Packet Core, running on a Nokia AirFrame data center platform — the foundation of a commercial 5G architecture. The demonstration showcased the company’s progress in realizing the potential of 5G, and the creation of a seamless fabric of dynamic networks serving a multi-connected world. Nokia’s trials also focus on network slicing and how it can support different vertical industries.
In 2017, Nokia developed a solution called Nokia 5G FIRST, which comprises it’s RAN, AirScale massive MIMO adaptive antennas, packet core, and mobile transport solutions for initial 5G deployments. This solution will allow operators to rapidly address the demands of connected people and industries in the 5G future.
5G Vendor: Qualcomm
Qualcomm recently announced its 5G NR mmWave prototype system based on the 5G NR specifications being developed by 3GPP. The system operates in millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum bands above 24GHz, demonstrating how 5G NR mmWave technologies will be used to deliver mobile broadband communications at multi-Gbps data rates. The system uses MIMO antenna technology with adaptive analog beam-forming and beam tracking/steering techniques.
“We are delivering on the promise of developing 5G NR mmWave technologies to enhance mobile broadband services,” said Cristiano Amon, executive vice president, Qualcomm. “Our 5G NR mmWave prototype system is proving that sustained mobile broadband communications and smartphone form-factor devices are progressing for 2019 launches.”