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All about 5G - Chipsets, Smartphones, and more

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By: Priyank Gada

January 1, 2019


So in the previous few articles, we have been talking about 5G and we know a lot about 5G. We have also talked a lot about communication standards and their evolution, we know a lot about 5G – 5G NR and now let’s check if our current devices are 5G supported and can you enjoy 5G on your current smartphone.

5G Chipsets and Smartphones

As we know, every big generation of cellular networks means that you need a new smartphone equipped with the technology. We have literally seen the evolution of 4G and the change that LTE brought among smartphones. 5G will bring the same changes to your regular smartphone. There are two simple questions here, ‘Do I need a new smartphone’ and ‘Which smartphone is available in the market that supports 5G’. We will be answering all your questions in this article.

Qualcomm – The king Snapdragon 855

Qualcomm has released the Snapdragon 855, which has the X5- 5G Modem built in. This modem supports 5G, but there is a catch. The speeds go up to a theoretical maximum of 5Gbps, which as we know, don’t come close to the expected standards. So from now on, in future, every device running on Snapdragon 855 or higher will be probably compatible with 5G speeds and spectrum.

Which devices are compatible!

Manufacturers like Xiaomi have already started marketing their phones with 5G tag and have unveiled the Mi Mix 3. Unfortunately, we cannot test it now and the phones are not out yet but we can smell few things and can conclude that mid-2019 will be all about phones with their 5G variant and probably early-2019 for the US.

IoT and 5G

With ideal implementation, 5G will enhance the possibilities of integrating internet of things with the mainstream networks. 5G works on a range of frequencies that encompasses most frequencies on which local area networks work. 5G also aims to get manufacturers on board to push 5G internet of things as the standard. Big names, like Qualcomm and Ericsson, have begun doing this.After seeing the previous generations and evolution of generations in cellular communication technology from 1G [i.e. first generation] to 5G [i.e. Fifth generation], we will discuss the newest generation (5th) of cellular communication technology. What is 5G? How will it change the mobile internet? What speeds can you expect the fifth generation of cellular communication technology and the most important question, when will it come to India! (Okay, that last one may not be the most important to you, but it's still important...)

Setting new standards -5G New Radio (5GNr)

The international telecommunications union (ITU) sets the standards of 5GNr. The 3GPP has to draw up a proposal for implementation that matches the standards of the ITU and then submit it. The international standard set by ITU for 5G is labeled as IMT-2020, and demand speeds up to 20Gb per second.The 3GPP delivers new standards/revisions in what are called ‘releases’. Regarding 5G, there are currently only two releases.Release -15 – This is the non-standalone component, which builds upon the existing 4G architecture, was finalized by the end of 2017Release -16 – This was finalized in June 2018 and completes the first phase of 5G release, setting the 5G New Radio (NR) standard.

5G Frequencies and Speeds:

5G takes the speed into gigabits per second. As of now, the standard requires at least up to 20Gbps speeds, but this is just the beginning. The speeds are bound to see further boosts as revisions progress.Now, let’s review frequencies; 5G operates on a wide range. The frequency range is bigger than all the previous networks thus more space, ranging from as low as 600MHz, up to 71GHz. 5G uses the low wavelength part of the spectrum, known as mmWave, which lies between 24 and 100GHz. This is a great boost to speeds. Since the wavelength is low, more towers are required to cover a larger area and thus coverage problems may arise.

Beamforming vs Omni-directional approach

Beamforming is something like focusing the network to a location just like a boom microphone (just google it) which actually points the network to a particular direction i.e. like laser light whereas, Omni-directional approach is when you actually spread the network or signals like a bulb i.e. widespread but close range.5G will be using beamforming to solve the coverage issue and it is said that the 5G might follow beamforming to solve problems by focusing the signals on areas that have heavier traffic.
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