This is the third installment of our three-part series on 5G cellular.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Unlike China, Europe, Korea, and Japan, the US has no industrial research group dedicated to 5G cellular. But companies and academics here are clearly engaged in efforts around the world, working toward the systems and services expected to switch on in 2020.
For example, Intel helped drive 60 GHz technology as the latest variant of WiFi. It is now working in its labs on 60 GHz cellular backhaul links as well as 28 and 39 GHz as a transport for 1 Gbit/s cellular links to handsets over at least 200 meters.
Ali Sadri, who heads up the millimeter wave efforts at Intel, says he is not concerned about the lack of a 5G research consortium in the US. "I am assuming that we have a more competitive environment in the US that does not require a country position on a technology," he told us in an email exchange.
Likewise, Qualcomm, the world's largest maker of cellular chip sets, is engaged in a broad set of 5G projects, but doesn't see the need for a dedicated US effort.
"Work and interactions [on 5G] are happening in the US between companies and academic researchers, but the academic funding model in the US is not focused on labeling it 5G or organizing it under one umbrella organization," says Rasmus Hellberg, a senior director of technical marketing at Qualcomm.
5G needs to implement a unified design for licensed and unlicensed spectrum including millimeter wave frequencies, Hellburg said in an email. The technology will need to deliver higher data rates, lower latencies, and greater capacity, but it also will have to serve a wide variety of use cases, according to Hellberg.
In Hellberg's view, that means 5G will need to:
- Support huge numbers of devices/things/people
- Support variability from very high to very low data rates and duty cycles
- Adaptively scale up or down depending on performance needs
- Lower network deployment/operation cost through virtualization
- Deliver fiber-like user experiences with ultra-low latencies
Next page: Are more efforts needed?