Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Communications AT&T Verizon

Next Generation of Wireless -- 5G -- Is All Hype (backchannel.com) 90

Many people have promised us that 5G will be here very soon. And it will be the best thing ever. To quote Lowell McAdam, the CEO of Verizon, 5G is "wireless fiber," and to quote SK Telecom, thanks to 5G we will soon be able to "transfer holograms" because the upcoming standard is "100 times faster" than our current communications system 4G LTE. But if we were to quote Science, the distant future isn't nearly as lofty as the one promised by executives. Backchannel explains: "5G" is a marketing term. There is no 5G standard -- yet. The International Telecommunications Union plans to have standards ready by 2020. So for the moment "5G" refers to a handful of different kinds of technologies that are predicted, but not guaranteed, to emerge at some point in the next 3 to 7 years. (3GPP, a carrier consortium that will be contributing to the ITU process, said last year that until an actual standard exists, '"5G' will remain a marketing & industry term that companies will use as they see fit." At least they're candid.) At the moment, advertising something as "5G" carries no greater significance than saying it's "blazing fast" or "next generation" -- nut because "5G" sounds technical, it's good for sales. We are a long way away from actual deployment. [...] Second, this "wireless fiber" will never happen unless we have... more fiber. Real fiber, in the form of fiber optic cables reaching businesses and homes. (This is the "last mile" problem; fiber already runs between cities.) It's just plain physics. In order to work, 99% of any "5G" wireless deployment will have to be fiber running very close to every home and business. The high-frequency spectrum the carriers are planning to use wobbles billions of times a second but travels incredibly short distances and gets interfered with easily. So it's great at carrying loads of information -- every wobble can be imprinted with data -- but can't go very far at all.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Next Generation of Wireless -- 5G -- Is All Hype

Comments Filter:
  • "nut because" - There is more to proof-reading than spell checking.

  • by sshir ( 623215 ) on Thursday August 11, 2016 @11:29AM (#52684337)
    In most places 5G (in currently envisioned form) will not happen at all due to economics of it. Outside of Japan and such we simply do not have population density to justify putting a cell unit at every lamp post (because signal is short range and does not go through walls very well).

    So maybe New York and such, but that's probably it...
    • In every city there is enough population density to justify putting a cell unit "at every lamp post". More than 50% of people live in cities.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah, but not every city is the dense departmentalized stacks of people that NY and Tokyo have. My home town, San Antonio, for instance is a sprawling landscape of suburban-like neighborhoods going on for dozens of miles. You would have to put a cell unit at every other house. Might as well use wifi w/ voip.

        • Even enterprise wifi cannot hand off clients as cleanly as cellular when they physically move closer to another node. The bolted-on standards to allow it are much, much better than the default behavior, but they are leagues behind cell service.

          Imagine having up to multi-second lags in connectivity during your call. Awful and unusable. That can happen with wifi handoffs. It's not the norm, but it can happen because wifi just isn't as tight as cellular.

    • by mbone ( 558574 )

      In most places 5G (in currently envisioned form) will not happen at all due to economics of it. Outside of Japan and such we simply do not have population density to justify putting a cell unit at every lamp post (because signal is short range and does not go through walls very well).

      Why do you think Ka band can't go through walls [tometheus.com]?

      What you want get much is diffraction, so the small bits of metal in a typical wall might cause small scale blockage (while at S band the wave would just diffract around the obstacle), but I think it'll go through plaster etc just fine.

    • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Thursday August 11, 2016 @11:52AM (#52684479)

      Outside of Japan and such we simply do not have population density to justify putting a cell unit at every lamp post

      NYC has a population density almost 5 times greater than Tokyo. And there are a huge number of places in the USA [wikipedia.org] with a population density greater than Tokyo.

      Do you really think that Japan would put 5g across every square km of its country? So why do you think that 5G roll out in the USA has to cover everywhere?

    • with $10 a GB overages and $15 a meg roaming that is a lot of profit that can be had for very fast cell internet.

    • If 5G is all about short distances, why wouldn't people run their own cells? Kind of like running an open Wi-Fi spot.

      For technologies that work over long(er) distances, it's -somewhat- logical that you can't put up your own cell tower. If everybody did that, some would stick to standards and some would not. And soon enough you'd have a free-for-all making the spectrum band(s) useless.

      And thus we have (some) government regulation on who gets to use the spectrum & how. Auctioning it off to providers

      • Just like wifi (Score:2, Interesting)

        by raymorris ( 2726007 )

        You've described "just like wifi", then asked if there's any reason people won't use it for mobile phone service, instead of using a wireless carrier.

        Well, do people use wifi for their phone and not have a carrier? That's essentially the same thing as what you're proposing. Do people do it? Nope, most people use a carrier with their phone. Why? Well, why DO you have a carrier?

        Sure, theoretically everyone could run their wifi with an open guest network, then use voip from their phone. Aside from security

    • Well hope springs eternal... maybe we can finally get some investment in last mile delivery. It would be a lot easier to justify the cost if it could be used by both cell carriers and home users.
    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Thursday August 11, 2016 @12:39PM (#52684735) Homepage Journal

      Of course we have the population density; it's just not uniformly distributed. Sure, the US on average is not densely populated, but the average American lives in a densely populated area, and many of those densely populated areas are merging into megalopolises [wikipedia.org].

      If you take a super-densely populated, highly afflurent neighborhood, it doesn't matter whether that neighborhood is Azabu in Tokyo or the Upper East Side in New York. The staggering concentration of wealthy people is capable of supporting anything that is feasible and desirable. Tokyo is the richest city in the world, and New York is a close second. Of the twenty richest cities in the world, eleven are in the US.

      No, there are only two barriers to the adoption of 5G in the US: (1) A political culture reluctant to adopt and promote technical standards and (2) the fact there is no such thing as 5G.

      • Well, we're getting there anyway [wikipedia.org].

      • A lot of Americans live in urban areas, but often very much urban sprawl. Particularly the residential areas are often composed of single family homes, with yards and so spread out, not large apartment buildings. Look at Phoenix, or LA, or the like. The Phoenix metro area has like 4.5 million people in it, but that is spread out over 23,500 square km. Ya it isn't rural, but there's a LOT of land area to over if you want to blanket it with wireless of some kind, and it gets really problematic if said wireles

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      They seem to be planning for it.

      My neighbor is the head of city planning for a large Minneapolis suburb and he was telling me about the latest negotiations cell carriers have been having with municipalities. He's not a technical person computer-wise, but his explanation was that they were moving away from the traditional large cell model to much smaller cells and negotiations for right of way and placement.

      He was critical of Minneapolis, the first city they negotiated with who he said "gave away the store"

    • In most places 5G (in currently envisioned form) will not happen at all due to economics of it. Outside of Japan and such we simply do not have population density to justify putting a cell unit at every lamp post (because signal is short range and does not go through walls very well).
       

      If my Verizon bill is any indication economics is not the problem.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      In most places 5G (in currently envisioned form) will not happen at all due to economics of it. Outside of Japan and such we simply do not have population density to justify putting a cell unit at every lamp post (because signal is short range and does not go through walls very well).

      So maybe New York and such, but that's probably it...

      You're still thinking that xG is a measurement of technology. It hasn't been that way for years.

      What they mean when they say 5G is that the as of the date of the marketing release, their network will be called 5G.

  • since I'm using 5G, bitches!

    • since I'm using 5G, bitches!

      Er, okay. Guess they didn't publicise the fact that your shiny new 5G connection's latency is somewhat less impressive than its throughput then? ;-)

  • What the f is a "wobble"?
  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Thursday August 11, 2016 @11:32AM (#52684361)

    I know that explanations have to be simplified for a non-tech audience. But radio waves "wobble"? Really?

  • If it is reasonably faster than 4G and technically feasible for providers and cell phone manufacturers it's legitimate. Who cares what the technology is or if there is a standard?
    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      The reason its hype is that it doesn't exist so people are basically making shit up to get people excited about it (and probably confused under the impression they're already getting it).
    • by EvilSS ( 557649 )

      If it is reasonably faster than 4G and technically feasible for providers and cell phone manufacturers it's legitimate. Who cares what the technology is or if there is a standard?

      Well for one bad things can happen to consumers when companies try to jump out ahead of official standards. We've seen time and again where devices get put out before a standard is decided upon, only to be made obsolete when the standard is published and the device isn't compliant, and can't be made so with a firmware update.

    • by Creepy ( 93888 )

      I'm still waiting for 4G, so I'm not sure what they're comparing to. Current "4G LTE" is actually 3G technology with some 4G stuff bolted on and doesn't actually meet the requirements for 4G. When LTE advanced is formally implemented, it will be marketed as "True 4G" (it may be in some areas, I know I don't have that option). If it is 100x faster than True 4G, a stationary modem would send and receive at up to 100Gbits/second and a mobile one I think 10Gbits (fairly sure the 4G spec says 1Gbit for stationa

  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Thursday August 11, 2016 @11:37AM (#52684389)

    All this talk of wobbles, but the real nut is here:

    [the] high frequency spectrum that the FCC recently said it would open up for 5G purposes is all above 24 GHz.

    Above 24 GHz is Ka band, now favored for deep space communication [sciencedirect.com]. It has one issue that the article doesn't mention - it is blocked by rain. Look for your 5G bandwidth to drop significantly in a downpour.

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      That's okay. The faster the data rate, the better the SNR has to be, which means either ramping the power way up (battery life problems) or increasing tower density. By the time we reach 5G, the tower density will likely be high enough that the rain fade won't be a problem. You'll just use a little more battery power on rainy days.

      • by rot16 ( 4603585 )
        Maybe one day you can cook an egg with 5 of these in circle, thats what "5" in 5G stands for.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    they are repeating exactly what they did with 4G, which includes both WiMax and LTE technologies. LTE eventually won out, of course, which really sucked for the few companies that bet on WiMax early on.
    We know that waiting for standards can be a pain, but they sure can save the bottom line from having to recover from an expensive, lost bet. (Looking at you, Sprint.)

  • Yes, I know, let's get the jokes out of the way first.

    Now, seriously, EHF is going to be seriously attenuated by windows and walls, being pure line of sight communication. I suppose the assumption is that people would use wifi for anything indoors? What if your windows don't face a local tower? Multiplicity of towers to avoid that situation? Increased infrastructure costs associated with this?

    This doesn't sound likely in the near term.

    • Re:penetration (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Thursday August 11, 2016 @02:55PM (#52685855)

      Yes, I know, let's get the jokes out of the way first.

      Now, seriously, EHF is going to be seriously attenuated by windows and walls, being pure line of sight communication. I suppose the assumption is that people would use wifi for anything indoors? What if your windows don't face a local tower? Multiplicity of towers to avoid that situation? Increased infrastructure costs associated with this?

      This doesn't sound likely in the near term.

      Marketing forces have yet to defeat the laws of physics. Between the frquencies that would have to be used, and playing with Shannon's limit - which can be violated up to infinite data transmission with an infinite amount of power, 5G speed will almost certainly be relegated to the laboratory.

      Radio frequencies do not act all the same. Some, like HF, can give worldwide transmissions, some times at power levels that make your cell phone look hugely overpowered, and frequency dependent on time of day and the sunspot cycle. At other times be completely dead becaus of solar activity. Low VHF is a crapshoot, often dead, sometimes opening up. None of that is useable for data. At VHF, it is starting to get interesting, but an effect know as tropospheric ducting will sometimes cause signals from far away to come in and interfere with the ones you want.

      Now the VHF and UHF and above frequencies have adesireable effect. They usually are line of sight only, and they become even shorter in transmission/reception distance as they go up in frequency. The 2.4 GHz frequencies used for wireless routers are actually well suited for Wi-Fi. They attenuate quickly enough to allow for other people nearby to have their own wi-fi devices.

      But eventually we get to the point that the RF is absorbed by things like water, leaves, bodies. And if the 5G is going to be at 24 GHZ, well good luck. As noted, you'll need to be darn close to the transmitter, you'll need to have a good bit of power on both ends. So it's fiber right up to a few inches away.

      5G is almost as much hypefail as Broadband over Power Lines, which had so many failure points it was an exercise in suck.

    • While you're right about some things, 24 GHz is in the Ka band, whereas EHF starts at 30 GHz.
  • And you can chew up your entire month's pittance of bandwidth 30 seconds after the start of the month...

  • Same as 4G (Score:4, Insightful)

    by darkain ( 749283 ) on Thursday August 11, 2016 @11:48AM (#52684449) Homepage

    So, what you're telling me is... 5G right now is essentially what 4G was a few years ago. Simply marketing fluff and bullshit from the carriers to promote their latest gizmos, but none adhering to any actual standard. This is going to be HSDPA(+) vs WiMax va LTE all over again!

  • by FunkSoulBrother ( 140893 ) on Thursday August 11, 2016 @11:50AM (#52684463)

    So are they going to raise the data caps 100x to compensate for this 100x increase in speed? Or will we see fiber speeds and low double-digit GB caps (if lucky)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They are going to do one better than that. They will give you:
      20 GB of 5G data
      2 GB of 4G data
      200 MB of 3G data
      2 MB of 2G data.

      They won't give you any tool to tell you how much of each type of data you are using and will just surprise you by billing you whatever they feel like each month in overage charges.

    • Irrelevant. You don't need to consume more to benefit from the ability to consume fast.

      When I moved from a place that barely had HSDPA to LTE-A I didn't magically consume more data. I did however get far less frustrated and no longer have to stand around staring at my phone for 30 seconds while Google Maps tries to open and slowly downloads the first few tiles.

      Same thing with broadband. I thought ADSL was fine until I moved to somewhere with FTTH. I still consume the same amount of data per month even thoug

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 11, 2016 @11:51AM (#52684473)

    TLDR: So the post starts out with a good point, 5G is currently a marketing term, but starts to go off the rails after that.

    1. If "true" 5G isn't standardized (and honestly still a concept), how can you make proclamations about what it will and won't do? Yes, there are practical considerations but the same was said of current frequencies until things like OFDM [wikipedia.org] were implemented. So yes, it's not currently practical but that doesn't mean it won't be by 2020.
    2. The assumption that you need fiber running to a cell site in every house or office is ridiculous. Even current 4G standards can get up to 1Gbps over current frequencies in a lab environment. Are you going to get that in the field? Nope. Cellular providers need to upgrade their cell sites, users need to have phones with the latest radios and even if you have all of that it's going to depend on how many people you have sharing a given cell. But my point remains, "fiber" speeds are achievable with the current equipment and environments. But, but, but, football/soccer games. Exactly, there you can deploy higher frequency sites that cover short distances but have more bandwidth. Out in rural areas or suburbs with less density you don't need microwave frequencies.
    3. The reason your 2.4ghz and 5.0ghz devices can't broadcast outside your house is because the FCC doesn't want them to (and you don't want them to either). Carriers aren't restricted by these limitations (which is why the pay millions for frequency rights, at least in the US). There are still power limitations, unless you want to see pigeons go up in smoke every time they fly past a tower (which might actually be a selling point here in NYC).

  • Believe it or not, LTE doesn't meet the 4G requirements. WiMax deployment would be a step up.
    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Believe it or not, LTE doesn't meet the 4G requirements.

      Am I the only person who read "4G LTE" as "4G Lite" and saw it as a subtle admission that LTE doesn't meet the IMT Advanced requirements [wikipedia.org]? (LTE Advanced and WiMAX Release 2 are expected to meet them.)

      WiMax deployment would be a step up.

      Then why did Sprint switch away from Mobile WiMAX?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you have an obvious sequence of sequential standard names (2G, 3G, 4G, etc.) your standards body's first priority is to trademark all feasible designations to avoid stupidity like this.

  • by toonces33 ( 841696 ) on Thursday August 11, 2016 @01:08PM (#52684959)

    "Our Gs go up to 11. All the other companies, their Gs only go up to 10."

    This isn't too far from what the article is telling us..

  • You can wobble trillions of times a second, but that doesn't really matter. Bandwidth usage is driven by the baudrate of the signal. That's true regardless of your frequency band.
    • I think the idea is that for a given fractional bandwidth, the absolute bandwidth is higher at higher frequency...
  • Just the other day google put the halt [arstechnica.com] to rolling out fiber in San Jose, CA. the rumor is they are looking at using their acquisition of WebPass to proceed at a later date with this rollout.

    I'm wondering how close and feasible this technology is, and if it could be used with simple antennas mounted externally and one microcell every block? would it be comparable to fiber and have most of the speed and bandwidth? That would make the cost of rolling it out drop quite a bit wouldn't it?

  • '

    5G' will remain a marketing & industry term that companies will use as they see fit.

    In that case we should start to see some marketing one-upmanship any day soon. With the advent of the marketing term that can be used as they see fit New!!!! 6G systems.

  • Implying... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nitehawk214 ( 222219 )

    Are we saying that 4G isnt all hype? Are there any real 4G networks out there? Has WIMAX been deployed at all. LTE sure as hell isn't 4G.

    • > LTE sure as hell isn't 4G.

      That was "kind of" true a few years ago, in the beginning of LTE, since the first revisions of the standard failed check one or two of the checkboxes of 4G requirements. But nowadays LTE delivers every requirement to be called a true 4G technology.

  • There is a lot of research being done on this subject right now. Yes, right now there is no standard, so anyone saying 5G can basically be researching or claiming a wide variety of things. But here are some of the awesome things that ARE being looked at:

    Massive MIMO: Huge multi antenna arrays that can effectively aim and focus a signal with destructive and constructive interference using DSP techniques.

    Real-time channel mapping: Using advanced techniques, they are beginning to work on real-time channe
  • big deal.. we will just hit our max quota sooner and get either throttled or dropped as a customer.

"Remember, extremism in the nondefense of moderation is not a virtue." -- Peter Neumann, about usenet

Working...