This year, we have seen 5G technology accelerate to the point where companies who outlined the possibilities of a 5G future are now in the process of delivering on this transformative technology. As leading network operators and technology providers begin to roll out 5G to homes and businesses, speeds are expected to be up to 20 times faster than today’s 4G LTE network and latency as low as 1 millisecond. With this, 5G is helping to bring the next generation of mobile networking into the limelight through previously unimagined connectivity.
5G will deliver experiences involving ultra-fast content streaming on a massive scale that will be able to serve multiple purposes throughout a community. To explore the range of possibilities that 5G could enable, we can take a look at the 5G City Samsung created in Korea that gives a sneak peek into a day-in-the-life of 5G. With 5G hotspots deployed across the city, a passenger on a bus making his daily commute can download large video files at a much faster speed. Simultaneously, sensors connected through 5G can detect speeding, accidents, and traffic to create a smarter and safer city. Many of these trials fall under popular 5G use case categories — including Low-Latency Communications, Massive IoT Communication, and Enhanced Event Experience — that have come to fruition in the past year.
These large-scale, high speed capabilities are a game changer for households, businesses, and cities that are increasing their overall bandwidth and need to support more mobile data. But this only scratches the surface. To see where 5G is headed, industry experts should look at recent trials that used 5G end-to-end solutions as its foundation.
5G trials have tested a range of scenarios measuring networks’ viability and reliability. This includes tests on the ability of 5G signals to penetrate building materials — including concrete, metal, and wood — and overcome environmental factors such as heavy precipitation and dense foliage. Further testing has measured the effectiveness of delivering 5G service to a vehicle moving at high speeds, as well as the technology’s ability to transmit data and video to hundreds of devices.
As Samsung and network operators evolve the technology and work to realize the full potential of 5G, trials around the world demonstrate transformative scenarios people will enjoy in the 5G future. Some of these experiences will be powered by the first 5G services deployed while others will require additional partner development prior to commercial reality. But each of them will provide a glimpse into what the next generation of network technology will do for consumers, businesses, and municipalities. Recent 5G trials, completed by Samsung and one of its operator partners, KDDI, provide a look at what’s to come:
- 5G-driven 8K video on a high-speed train: KDDI and Samsung successfully completed a 5G demonstration on a moving train traveling at over 60 mph, a vision of truly connected transportation. Achieved along a section of track where the distance between two stations was approximately 1 mile, the demo delivered a successful download of 8K video using on-board 5G equipment, while a 4K video filmed on a camera mounted to the train was able to be seamlessly uploaded. The demo used 5G capabilities such as high throughput and low latency, which verified potential services that would be beneficial to passengers and operators of passenger trains. This could lead to vastly improved backhaul to support onboard WiFi, superior passenger infotainment, and increased security.
- Immersive experiences at a sporting event: 5G will introduce new ways to view and consume entertainment content, including content delivered live, in real-time at a sports venue. In a recent trial, Free Viewpoint technology was used at a 30,000 person capacity baseball stadium to livestream a video from every angle to visitors at the game. Watching a baseball player at home plate, trial participants used a 5G tablet to view a player from various angles. With the touch of the tablet, viewers can control their vantage point of a scene from virtually any position.
- 5G drones take flight: Drones are fast becoming part of our future, with visions of packages reaching your front door shortly after placing an order. Utilizing 5G technology paired with a sky bound drone, 4K video streaming was achieved. Created to realize the types of services that can benefit from drones — such as equipment inspection, agriculture monitoring, and disaster response — this test streamed video using a drone-mounted 4K HD camera, which could stream the ultra-high resolution video in real time. The successful result showed that drones, when connected to 5G, can use HD video transmission to help in a number of different scenarios. This will also set the stage for smarter cities with public safety experts using this technology in security cameras and video analysis engines to detect potential accidents and send real-time alerts to nearby pedestrians and vehicles.
The deployment of commercial 5G networks is rapidly approaching. In addition to 5G trials with global operators, service providers have begun to deploy Samsung 5G solutions in the U.S., with service availability to be announced by U.S. operators in late 2018 and device availability coming in 2019. As 5G helps accelerate this fourth industrial revolution, the new network technology will continue to be used for test beds that open previously unforeseen use cases and applications. And with each new successful test – in areas ranging from virtual reality, augmented reality, and smart cities to immersive mobile streaming – the impact of 5G on business models, consumer applications, and services will be significant.