Talk of 5G wireless is beginning to swirl — with tech companies, regulators, and consumers alike. Mobile usage is not scheduled to slow down any time soon, and wireless spectrum is increasingly in need as more mobile users soak up more spectrum. While various countries have different ways of handling the required build-out of wireless, some are slower than others. 4G is slowly entering large mobile markets. And now 5G is part of the discussion of what the future wireless landscape should look like in the U.S.
VISUAL CONTEXT: 4G ADOPTION
The EE Times interviewed Theodore Rappaport, the head of the wireless research center at NYU Polytechnic, and he explained the need for the expanded allowance to experiment with broad wireless capability:
We need a playground for carriers to develop the prototypes to show what can be done at 28, 38 and 70-90 GHz bands. There’s a big movement here, but I’m just afraid the US is behind in it . . . Korea and China see this opportunity and appear to be more spectrum friendly in the use of millimeter waves for cellular mobility.
There are already advanced technologies available to work on the spectrum problem — small cellular base stations, for one. Small cells can be placed in areas of high wireless traffic to remedy the problem of bottlenecked networks and relieve networks of the high density of users.
While carriers are always looking for new ways to expand network coverage, 5G remains elusive, but not out of the question. Many see it as the next frontier of the wireless challenge. Networking giant Cisco has made it a topic of discussion at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain this week, by revealing its partnership with Korean telco KT to explore 5G possibilities. Cisco CEO John Chambers noted that as more devices that are connected to the internet and cellular networks continue to flood the planet — particularly with the growing market for the internet of things — 5G wireless will have to be a focus for those in telecom.