Modern technology gives us many things.

The Future of 5G with SDR

5G is the latest communication standard coming from the global 3GPP initiative that is conquering the world. Although this technology is still under development and will take years to implement worldwide, it is no wonder that it generates so much noise. 5G shows a huge promise to improve 4G in every aspect, such as bandwidth, data rate and latency.

For example, 5G allows an increase in bandwidth from 140 to 800 MHz, which also means a jump in data rates from 100 Mb / s to 1 Gb / s and more. 5G also has a significant latency advantage, improving the 20-ms latency of 4G to 1 ms.

If these improvements were not enough, 5G would increase the number of service devices per square kilometer from 100,000 to 1,000,000. This means that 5G will allow faster connections and will support an increase in users with the same number of base stations. Thus, the base stations must be updated to support the new protocol. Software-defined radios (SDRs) easily perform this task because they can handle ultra-wideband connections on a large frequency spectrum. SDR also allows a way to upgrade to future generation standards using the same hardware with software updates.

Interoperability

The greatest opportunity provided by 5G is interoperability or the ability of computer systems to exchange and use information. The 5G infrastructure can be used to connect any group of devices together, not just cell phones.

The wireless cellular network system can be considered as a new type of utility, where the resource that is distributed is information. The core physical network consists of user devices, base stations, and central operators connecting the endpoints of each communication. Communication protocols, such as 5G, provide an optimized protocol for exchanging information between nodes.

An important consideration in creating systems that support interoperability is the advancement of communication technologies. Like its predecessors, 5G will one day become obsolete, so the network infrastructure must have the ability to adapt to the market and be able to update and maintain new devices that will join its network.

The flexibility of SDR makes it ideal for such an application, as it can be implemented in any system and supports many protocols simultaneously. SDRs can be implemented in base stations; when it comes time to update the communication protocol, SDRs require only a relatively simple software update. This flexibility also allows the integrated network to be independent of any technology and to remain in operation far longer than the lifespan of the 5G protocol.

5G applications

The biggest uncertainty with the future of 5G is how this new technology will be monetized. By building a flexible framework that meets the market, telecommunications companies can significantly improve their revenue per consumer.

While consumers will see some benefit, the biggest beneficiaries of these advances will be businesses and remote consumers. If the value of this technology is properly presented, many industries can be targeted as new sources of revenue. Some of the industries that will immediately benefit from the 5G network are cloud computing, automotive, agriculture and healthcare. (Fig. 1).

% {[ data-embed-type=”image” data-embed-id=”6039720c938a038d008b461e” data-embed-element=”span” data-embed-size=”640w” data-embed-alt=”1. A 5G network infrastructure showcases the capabilities this technology can achieve in different service environments, such as urban areas, rural areas, and industrial application.” data-embed-src=”https://img.electronicdesign.com/files/base/ebm/electronicdesign/image/2021/02/figure1_5G_forecast_web.6039720c21b99.png?auto=format&fit=max&w=1440″ data-embed-caption=”1. A 5G network infrastructure showcases the capabilities this technology can achieve in different service environments, such as urban areas, rural areas, and industrial application.” ]}%

Consumers

Consumers, especially in urban areas, will see an improvement in broadband and increased speed from their mobile networks. Another huge consumer market that can be revolutionized by 5G is Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which have gained popularity in recent decades. Instead of including computers in each sensor and IoT device, devices can give up computing power and receive instructions from a nearby computing system. Kitchen appliances, climate control systems and health monitors can be more easily manufactured and monitored more closely by the manufacturer.

Broadband Networks (WANs) may not be required due to the 5G coverage area. This could eliminate the need for Wi-Fi routers and revolutionize ISPs’ plans for consumers.

Cloud and edge calculations

5G networks can potentially distribute cloud computing services much closer to consumers than most large data centers deployed today. Computational edges can become a reality by bringing processing power closer to customers and minimizing the latency caused by distance. If latency can be reduced enough, many tasks that require a computer will be able to run in cloud = data centers, and users can use smaller, less powerful devices to perform the same tasks.

Car Industry

The automotive industry is moving towards autonomous driving and the essence of this problem is to gather enough information for the car to make the right decision. With the right 5G infrastructure, vehicles can not only communicate with each other to maintain the right distance, but also provide information to the driver about road conditions, safety, delays, etc.

In addition, vehicles can provide performance information to manufacturers to help improve the product and ensure the safety of both drivers and pedestrians. The 5G latency of 1 ms is very important in this application: outdated information can mean the difference between life and death.

Agricultural industry

Remote users have traditionally been underserved by the current network infrastructure. 5G has the potential not only to bring better service to rural areas, but also to bring all the benefits of faster data transfer speeds, allowing for some interesting applications.

Farmers should be particularly interested in the new technology, as it can allow autonomous monitoring of the harvest with IoT sensors. Moisture and nutrient sensors can be dispersed in their crops and connected to the 5G infrastructure, giving the farmer a map of their crops and highlighting areas that need maintenance. With more information available, farms can use resources more efficiently and increase profits.

Healthcare

Healthcare can see a significant improvement with low latency 5G communication capabilities. Rural patients will not need to travel to large cities to receive better treatment, as rural carers can receive instructions from the best health professionals around the world. Medical records can be more easily shared between healthcare facilities by providing professionals with key information about their patients. (Fig. 2).

% {[ data-embed-type=”image” data-embed-id=”60397228207a674b008b45f9″ data-embed-element=”span” data-embed-size=”640w” data-embed-alt=”2. A healthcare network system can implement interoperability to transfer data between different nodes in the network, such as transferring lab orders and results between hospitals and physicians.” data-embed-src=”https://img.electronicdesign.com/files/base/ebm/electronicdesign/image/2021/02/figure2_5G_forecast_web.60397228528ed.png?auto=format&fit=max&w=1440″ data-embed-caption=”2. A healthcare network system can implement interoperability to transfer data between different nodes in the network, such as transferring lab orders and results between hospitals and physicians.” ]}%

Telemedicine, remote surgery and augmented reality (AR) physiotherapy can be implemented, which have become particularly important throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to keep healthcare professionals safe. Hospitals will have the ability to build sensory networks to monitor their patients, and smart drug packaging can track patient compliance. This would help not only doctors but also insurance companies.

Conclusion

5G is a communication protocol that will increase data transfer speeds and reduce the latency of wireless networks. This progress allows for improvement and autonomy in many industries, such as cloud computing, automotive, agriculture, and the healthcare industry, and will revolutionize the way we use and transfer data.

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