When it comes to wireless networks and the services that they provide to us, the things that we hear about the most, from the carriers as well as the media(us included)is the advancement of network speeds, 4G networks being rolled out, how fast we’re able to download that new discography from our favorite artist on the Play Store or App Store, and so on. Everyone is obsessed about how fast the network is and how fast they’re able to gobble up the data that provides them the content they’re so eager to get their hands on. We keep hearing about 4G LTE and 4G LTE Advanced, and we measure the performance and stature of a network by how fast the network is. How many megabits per second do we get for downloads and uploads?
Although this is the current state of how we measure our networks, 5G won’t be just about megabits per second, rather it will be less about the megabits per second and more about the encompassing whole of the complete inter-connectivity of our world and the devices we use to access and share information, and stay connected to the things, people, and places that matter to us the most. 5G networks deployment is still a ways away, with planned deployment beginning in 2020 at best. That doesn’t mean that now isn’t a great time to start preparing for the network goals ahead as opposed to later. Intel is a big part of that future advancement, and they have detailed some information about the matter in a recent blog post where they talked about their participation in Super Mobility Week just last month. At the conference they mention that 5G was the dominating hot topic of conversation, which has led them to the belief that 5G won’t be defined by megabits per second.
Intel states that on top of bringing faster speeds and wider bandwith coverage and capacity to the networks that we use, 5G will also be about combining communication and computation together, providing us with a more intelligent network and not just a faster one. Intel says they’re anticipating 5G to be the first network generation to be versatile and energy smart for our hyper connected lives, measuring 5G networks by things like cost, spectrum performance, reliability and energy efficiency in addition to speed. They also mention that laying the foundation for this network is extremely complex, but the global wireless industry is heavily invested into this new standard. As part of all this Intel has joined the 4G Americas Board Of Governors, which also includes AT&T, Sprint, Cisco, HP, and Ericsson, collectively bringing their efforts together to “build effective and successful communications standards that enables people from all over the world to enjoy a better user experience, anywhere and everywhere, using an assorted set of devices big and small.”
With more and more devices gaining access to the internet and having some way to keep us connected, including smart home appliances, mobile devices, gaming consoles, automobiles, and the traditional PC, there will be a need to make the network smarter so that it can account for efficiency in all the above mentioned areas. Having so many connected devices will not only raise energy consumption, but also presumably costs, as well as the possibility of network congestion if the networks don’t advance and improve. The forward movement towards a 5G network that is more intelligently equipped to handle the hyper connected fast paced lives we currently live in(which will only get faster)aims to solve these tough, complex issues that the networks we use currently face.