We at A.C. Entis-IP hosted Dr. Yaakov Stein at our Tel Aviv office on February 19, 2020 to present a lunchtime lecture on the current status of 5G network deployment, how 5G is expected to change what’s possible in wireless communication, and the technologies that actually make those changes possible.

Yaakov Stein is a noted expert in digital signal processing and wireless communication technologies, serving as CTO at RAD Data and Communication and an adjunct professor at Tel Aviv University’s Department of Computer Science. He has also held leadership roles in various government-private technology consortia and wireless communication standards bodies.

We thank Yaakov for his lively presentation, as well as our outside guest participants for the even livelier discussion.

Selected insights from the lecture:

  • 5G is the fifth generation of mobile communications.
  • 4G was a true game-changer that made “always-on” mobile internet an everyday reality. However, 4G has drawbacks that limit future use-cases, including: insufficient data rate for some intensive applications; excessive delay; too few simultaneous connections (insufficient density); weak (if any) Quality of Service guarantees; inefficient use of electromagnetic spectrum causing excessive price-per-bit; excessive power consumption; and more.
  • 5G was intentionally designed to overcome or substantially mitigate the above-noted drawbacks of 4G for many future verticals and use-cases, including: AR/VR; smart city/utilities/infrastructure; e-government; mass transit; automotive (“V2X”); and networked manufacturing/agriculture.
  • The applications for which 5G was designed fall into the following three main categories:
    • eMBB (enhanced mobile broadband) – data rate of up to 10 Gbps and area traffic capacity of 10 Mbps/m2 (example use case: 3D video and UHD screen)
    • URLLC (ultra-reliable and low latency communications) – “5 nines” (99.99999%) reliability of packet transmission at 1 ms latency (example use case: self-driving cars)
    • mMTC (massive machine type communications; AKA “mIoT”) –  network capacity allow 1 million connected devices per km2 (example use case: smart city)
  • Achieving these performance improvements require substantial upgrades and/or fundamental reconfigurations in the components and networks that serve wireless communication, including user equipment, base stations, backhauling networks and core networks.
  • Some of the changes in 5G include:
    • New air interface (called unimaginatively New Radio or “NR”)
    • Usage of new RF bands, especially so called “mmWave” bands
    • Higher cell density with smaller cell sizes
    • The gNodeB base-station is decomposed
    • Multi-user MIMO for < 6 GHz RF bands
    • Massive MIMO with coherent beamforming for > 6 GHz RF bands
    • Cloud-native core network (Service Based Architecture) based on micro-services and functional chaining
    • Network slicing to simultaneously satisfy needs of different applications, including instantiating virtual functions on the fly
  • The first phase of 5G deployment, with eMBB only, has already started in many markets (about 7000 commercial deployments of NR for eMBB), but commercial URLLC and mMTC are not expected for a while (commercial URLLC services are not expected before early 2021, and mMTC services are expected to start in late 2021/early 2022).