5G is certainly gaining momentum. However, the rate at which network deployment is taking place depends largely on the country you chose to look at. Development will depend on a number of factors including domestic targets, production and adoption capabilities and a nation’s digital strategy. Reports have shown that telecom operators, globally, are expected to spend around $300 billion on new 5G core network deployment over the next ten years.
The 5G frequency spectrum is divided into three deployments: low-band, mid-band and millimeter wave, referring to different segments of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- The low band ranges between 600 -800-900 MHz, similar to 4G with similar capacity giving download speeds a higher than 4G: 30-250 Mbps. Its cell towers have the same range coverage area to current 4G towers, and provides the best coverage.
- Mid- band 5G ranges between 2.5-3.5- 3.7-4.2 GHz and allows speeds of 100-900 Mbits/s, with cell towers providing service up to several miles in radius. It is considered the ideal deployment because it offers better coverage than millimeter waves and acceptable spectrum availability to reach most of the speed promised by 5G.
- Millimeter waves (high-band), the fastest, ranges between 24-28-37G-39G-47, though higher frequencies may be used in the future. Compared to cable internet, it can achieve download speeds of a gigabit/second, but have a limited range with many small cells.
The number of commercially deployed 5G networks reached 55 globally in 2019, more than three time from 2018. This includes 21 new 5G deployments in Europe and 10 in Asia, Middle East and Africa will have 14, eight for the Americas and two for Australia.
“5G represents a paradigm shift in the way that networks are designed, deployed and managed, introducing inherent complexities in the architecture as well as exacting demands on performance and latency,” said Sameh Yamany, Chief Technology Officer, VIAVI.
Compatible handset device volumes are estimated to hit 160M units as China continues its expansion of 5G coverage, according to the Ericsson Mobility Report. As such, China is developing affordable 5G phones, while the US is focused on the premium market.
We will see growth in 5G-compatible customer-premises equipment (CPE) in 2020, and in fixed wireless terminals, fixed wireless terminals (FWT), and pocket routers, accelerating the implementation of 5G-enabled homes.
Thus, 5G adoption demands extensive infrastructure changes and implementation which will undoubtedly require more time and planning.
The race for 5G: Ericsson, Huawei close in on separate markets
Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson has partnered with Taiwanese operator Asia-Pacific Telecom (APT) to modernize its current 4G network infrastructure, as well as non-standalone 5G-ready equipment and services.
The agreement, which was announced on Monday, will see Ericsson provide high-performing radio access network (RAN) solutions from its 5G-ready Radio System portfolio as well as 5G NSA licenses to do 5G Multi-Operator Core Networks (MOCN).
“Our enhanced 5G platform provides the technological backbone for the nation’s first Multi-Operator Core Network and we will continue to support both service providers with their successful integration and partnership,” Chafic Nassif, President of Ericsson Taiwan, said in a statement.
With the deployment of Ericsson Network Manager, APT will be able to dynamically operate between 4G and 5G networks, with a set of unified applications to securely manage radio access, transport, and core networks in an end-to-end manner.
The contract also covers Ericsson Network Manager, OSS migration services and upgrade, as well as integration with APT’s rival, Far EasTone Telecommunications (FET) on the 3.5GHz frequency band in Taiwan.
Back in September 2020, FET and APT announced a partnership to provide 5G services on Taiwan’s 3.5GHz frequency band through the nation’s first MOCN – where two or more core networks share the same RAN and bandwidth. The collaboration includes 700MHz shared RAN to be used on both 4G and 5G technologies.
“Ericsson continues to accelerate the overall progress of 5G development in Taiwan, supporting both APT and FET to quickly launch new services to market and provide Taiwanese consumers and enterprises with the highest quality communication services,” Nassif added.
Ericsson now has 124 commercial 5G agreements with communications service providers globally, 74 of which have been publicly announced.
Meanwhile across the Pacific, Chinese telecoms titan Huawei has received the green light by the Brazilian government allowing it to partake in the country’s 5G auction due to be held in June.
According to local media quoting sources close to the decision, the government will not restrict the Chinese vendor from aiding in its 5G deployments. The decision is due to the financial burdens for local operators to replace already installed Huawei equipment, as well as U.S. President Donald Trump’s departure from the West Wing.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is considered to be a massive ally of Trump, whose government has frequently lobbied and pushed for financial programs and initiatives to sway Brazilian operators from buying equipment from Huawei.
However, as inauguration day looms ever closer for President-elect Joe Biden, Bolsonaro is looking to backtrack his view that Huawei shares private data with the Chinese government – a claim made by the Trump administration as the trade war between both world powers escalated.
Brazilian telecom operators were all against the Huawei ban to begin with, as all operators snubbed an invitation from U.S. undersecretary of state for economic growth and the environment Keith Krach, an effort to rally support.
Even the Brazil’s vice president, Hamilton Mourao, also stood against the ban, as he told reporters that any company which is able to prove their credentials in maintaining the country’s national sovereignty and data protection will be allowed to supply 5G equipment and services.
Nokia to help U.S. federal 5G cybersecurity following Huawei ban
Traditionally, companies and banks with high sensitive information install antivirus software to counter any possible security risks that could compromise their operations.
To counter this growing threat, Nokia has been selected to lend its 5G technology and expertise to a US federal project led by the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE).
This development came after Huawei was banned from deploying 5G communications equipment in countries like the U.S., Australia, Taiwan, the U.K., and others.
Nokia claimed the throne to become the main 5G solutions provider in NCCoE’s 5G Cybersecurity Project.
5G’s essential security features will be used for various industry sectors to mitigate risks and meet compliance requirements.
Nokia was selected by NCCoE to participate in the project due to its global success in 5G networks, including hardware and software, and mobile network security and 5G RAN expertise- to help enhance a reference design and build use cases on standards-based solutions.
Details of the project
The 5G Cybersecurity Project will identify several 5G use cases and determine how the elements of the 5G structural design can provide security capabilities to improve identified risks and meet industry sectors’ compliance requirements.
The extent of this project is to leverage the 5G standardized security features which are defined in 3GPP standards to provide enhanced cybersecurity capabilities built into network equipment and end user devices.
In parallel, many experts claim that 5G will bring significant benefits in the fight against cybercrime.
John Marinho, vice president at wireless comms industry body CTIA, says “5G will tailor security updates for every single device, and also boost encryption.”
In addition, leveraging 5G to define method and approaches to achieve: flexible 5G security architecture tailored for a government environment, government-controlled security policy, end-to-end security for the mobile device to the core and approaches to implement interoperable secure unclassified voice across Federal Government departments and agencies.
“5G will touch every aspect of our lives and security must be integrated up front rather than an add-on element of 5G networks,” Kevin Stine, Chief of the Applied Cybersecurity Division at NIST, said. “We’re looking forward to working with our project collaborators such as Nokia to show 5G’s advanced standards based security features as well an architecture that leverages foundational security capabilities available in cloud technologies,” he added.
5G RAN software
Nokia is also deploying their 5G RAN software and core solution along with IP-Backhaul for the project, to improve its 5g security.
The NCCoE has announced that Nokia is their main 5G solutions provider and collaborator. Nokia will partner with NCCoE’s 5G experts and other vendors to ensure a safe and secure transition from 4G to 5G networks.
Moreover, the crisis that happened due to Huawei’s ban came to the advantage of Nokia, as someone’s loss is someone’s gain.
On the road to digitization: Verizon expands 5G mobile and home service
The future holds many interesting facts regarding the fifth-generation technology in terms of its usage and benefits in many aspects in our daily lives leading to the digitization.
As such, Verizon announced the expansion of its 5G Ultra-Wideband (UWB) network to cover a greater number of homes and phones.
The American telecommunication company broadened its network to six more cities which will get Verizon’s home 5G service and three are getting its high-speed mobile 5G service this month, in parallel with its continued hard work of spreading fast millimeter-wave 5G across the country.
Details of expanding 5G
Ronan Dunne, CEO of Verizon Consumer Group, said “We create the networks that move the world forward, and our 5G network brings incredible capabilities that will drive us all.” He added that “We’re committed to providing our customers with access to the newest technologies and experiences that will shape our future.”
While Verizon notes that its nationwide 5G service is available for 230 million people across 2,700 US cities, the network also has greater reach, reuses 4G airwaves and has performance similar to 4G.
In addition, the carrier is offering 12 months of access to the new Discovery+ service which IGN describes as “the ultimate streaming platform for foodies, nature lovers, and home repair aficionados,” in order to encourage more customers to become 5G Home subscribers.
New customers also receive a free smart home bundle of Amazon devices including an Echo Show 5, Ring Stick Up Cam, Echo Dot, and Amazon Smart Plug.
5G in homes during COVID
During the pandemic, Verizon’s $50 home gigabit service is a more captivating concept for many people than its outdoor-focused UWB 5G mobile service, however, it’s hard to know how many people in each city can get the home system.
The carrier asks customers to enter their address into a qualifier form to register the service instead of having a coverage map for the home service. For example, Chicago and Minneapolis fell short of the UWB mobile coverage service back in October 2020.
Nonetheless, some measures would change that fact.
Verizon partner Pivotal Commware, discussed in-home repeaters that, when placed on rooftops or outside windows, can help stretch 5G coverage to more homes. Also, Qualcomm plans on setting better 5G antennas that are too large for mobile devices but can fit into home internet units.
Digitization will grow and increase by having 5G reach homes and phones with smart homeowners being able to better access video and images of their property and receive more data faster than before on their smart phone regarding the occurrences taking place in their home.
“We ended 2020 with 2,700 cities with Nationwide 5G service serving 230 million people, 12 cities with access to our 5G Home service; We’re rolling out new services to more customers continuing the digital transformation Verizon has been driving,” Kyle Malady, Chief Technology Officer for Verizon said.
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