How 5G is Different from All Prior Generations

It perhaps already is clear that fifth generation mobile networks (5G) will be quite different from fourth generation networks, in fact quite different from all prior mobile network generations.

All earlier generations were built on distinct radio interfaces. But 5G, though it might incorporate new radio interfaces, will not be distinctively characterized by new interfaces.

New spectrum will be used, as has been the case for prior generations. But even use of new spectrum will not be the distinctive 5G feature.

At least as presently envisioned, 5G will be an ecosystem, not primarily a matter of radio interfaces, spectrum assignments or offered bandwidth and latency.

In fact, 5G will “be more than a new wireless access technology”  according to Susan Miller, ATIS CEO and president.

“5G is an ecosystem, not an air interface,” said Brian Daly, AT&T core network and government regulatory standards. In fact, 5G is more an integration effort than earlier generations, he said.

Joking that 5G is “one more G than four, ” 5G is different. It is not based mainly on new technology, but will mostly allow all technologies to work together, better, according to Scott Migaldi, Sprint senior research scientist.  

“5G will not be a single standard that supports everything,” said Jim Ragsdale, Ericsson executive and ATIS WTSC RAN chairman. That’s true.”

That’s different. And much more challenging.
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