I see these generations of cellular standards and WiFi as being a lot more evolutionary than their words might imply. The big improvement really only came with MIMO, which depends on highly uncorrelated propagaton paths existing. But that aside, the rest has been predictable, I think. Higher order constellations, wider RF channels, and shorter range RF links (i.e. smaller cells), with marginal improvements on error correction, to bring these systems inching closer to the Shannon limit.
If you compare LTE with WCDMA of 3G, any capacity increase has primarily come from wider RF channels. Although ultimately, a CDMA approach would become limited by the high chip rate needed in spread spectrum modulation, I suppose. But at rates of 160 Mb/s or 320 Mb/s, either modulation would work just fine. Just to make the point that there's no "modulation breakthrough" involved in any of this.
Possibly, 5G would look at the really high frequencies, up in the tens of GHz, where you can afford really wide RF channels, but also have to rely on very short RF links and an extensive backhaul network. If 4G is to get us to wireless 1 Gb/s, low mobility, it seems hard to imagine improving upon that appreciably without going way up in carrier frequency. And, channels significantly wider than even 200 MHz! Which kind of shows why you need to get up in frequency.
@KB3001: I agree the variability if service and a connection is one of the most frustrating things for users. But is this not an inherant part of a wqireless servcie? Is there anything the technology can do for this?
Never had a problem with the old fixed lines and the audio quality (using old handsets) was perfect. It's a combination of many factors not just wireless - the mass market means providers often compromise on high quality for lower cost of ownership and higher numbers of subscribers. A bit like low cost airlines.
There is a fundemental difference between the Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) and cellular service. POTS has been around for a long time and 5 9, i.e. 99.999% up time is the expectation. I wasn't quite around when POTS first came out but I am still confident that it wouldn't experience as high Bit Error Rate as celluar service. Wait a minute! Was Bit exist at the time?
Cellular service has came a long way. Packet loss due to BER has been tackled by error correction and different CODEC. I'm sure the quality will continue be improving in the coming time. However, I don't see it can be better than wireline service unless there is a drastic changes in PHY layer.
Nice story Rick, but the headline is a tad misleading. Europe has been officially doing research and development work on 5G for quite a while , at places such as the Centre for Communications Systems Research in Surrey, England, soon to open its own 5G Innovation Centre with backing from compaies such as Samsung, Huawei, and Fujitsu; at the world renowned comms research centre of the University of Dresden in Germany; and through numerous joint research projects backed by the European Commission including leading lights such as Ericsson, NSN backed up by overseas companies including Alcatel-Lucent, NTT DoCoMo, Huawei (and about 30 others). They, and the individual companies, are all rushing to come up with innovations in air interfaces (and not necessarily OFDM-based ones) and techniques for better, greener use of the spectrum that can be assessed and included in a 3GPP-type standardisation effort at the next WRC meeting of the ITU scheduled for November 2015.
After that, look forward to the usual patent , IPR and licensing wars that has followed every flavour of cellular network development .
Starting gun is an excellent analogy Rick. Trouble is some network operators and equipment suppliers have completely jumped the gun with unrealistic claims for what this next generation could, should do, and unattainable timescales for rolling out the network before the 5GPP has officially entered the stadium.
Take today's announcement by South Korea that it is pouring in some £300 million to roll out a commercial '5G' network by 2020. Or Samsung's 'breakthrough' claim back in May that it had achieved '5G' mobile. Very impressive research that Samsung then completely overhyped. John Walko.
Europe seems to be ahead in implementing things faster and innovating technologies. May be its less political there. In countries like India 3G is stll in infancy stage. Many leading mobile service providers do not have their own 3G license. And there huge amount of political corruption in giving 2G lcenses.
The politics of this sort of thing is complicated everywhere. Let's just say that in Europe, there's less regulation often and less of a desire to go through a certain process before changes come about.
The mobile computing has changed the perspective of cellular service drastically. The number of voice calls has reduced and more teenagers are using SMS or similar service. There are more business people using Skype or other similar services to make International call. Friends of mine have all kind of chat apps - Whatapps, LINE, you name it - to text and sometimes making voice call. Cellular service carriers becomes more less like an ISP. Just early this year, there are new cell phone company launching services which allows subscribers to choose data only, no voice and no sms. I can see the decoupling of voice and text service from the link service already. The decoupling model, no doubt, is a service model than a architectural model. However, I believe the consortium will keep this service model in mind that they will come up an architecture that will provide the flexibility and scalability of the service model.
I agree with this comment, there is definitely a move toward using phone varriers as sort of ISPs and more and more international calls go over Skype, Viber and similar services. A new model is emerging--where it goes no one really knows.