As 2018 wears on, not a day, wait, not an hour, goes by where some vendor, journalist, association, somewhere has either a re-spin on 5G or coming at the same thing from, simply, a different 5G angle. In other words, I get the same data, over and over. And most of it is not about 5G, rather near 5G, or when it will be 5G.
Here is a smattering of headlines I have seen recently, in one form or another. Some even in more than one place. And, I did not include product announcements, but they, generally, have similar pleonasms.
· AT&T is rolling out 5G Evolution to 500 markets later this year
· Sprint plans to deliver a mobile 5G service ahead of planned deployment on the live network later this year
· Verizon plans to launch 5G service in the United States by the end of 2018, at first offering fixed residential and business broadband
· Verizon sees fixed 5G opportunity where AT&T does not
· AT&T CFO throws shade on Verizon’s fixed 5G plans
· Nokia pegs hopes on 5G rollouts in second half of 2018
· Verizon: 5G launch will feature proprietary equipment and a new OTT video service
· The 5G wireless revolution will come
· 5G could change the video game industry
· T-Mobile is setting a low bar for its initial 5G efforts
· Massive MIMO to play a role in T-Mobile/Sprint 5G readiness
· 5G poised for commercial rollout by 2020
· Verizon’s 5G plans begin to sharpen
· Nokia snaps up industrial IoT analytics firm SpaceTime, ramps up 5G activity
· This week in 5G: fixed first, then mobile
· 5G to boost cloud, reduce physical infrastructure spend
And, when one digs into the details, it gets even more interesting. For example, according to AT&T, it plans to deliver mobile 5G services based on the 3GPP 5G New Radio (NR) standard in an least a dozen markets this year. However, and according to the company, the mobile service will leverage existing network infrastructure that supports its gigabit LTE offering, which the company refers to as “5G Evolution.” This deployment will focus on in-home broadband rather than mobile devices, i.e., fixed wireless. OK, it is a start. But if it is fully 3GPP standards 5G, why are they calling it 5G evolution?
Sprint, or whatever they become, says it “has put particular emphasis on its 2.5 GHz holdings as an opportunity for relatively low-band 5G deployments.” They make this move because, at that frequency, propagation models are well understood and it lets them concentrate on hitting the 3GPP specs. They say that they can roll out 5G by using the existing tower infrastructure and small cells. Ok, again, is this under the 3GPP, 5G NR standard, or some gluing of enhanced 2.5 GHz, 4G existing technology? There were no specifics on performance metrics in the feed. So exactly how this is/will be 5G was not made clear.
Similar verbiage is found in virtually all of these messages, reports, announcement, etc. Most are just a spin on trying to make you think 5G is here, when it is not.
Fortunately, however, at least there are some out there who see it in a realistic light. In the upcoming summer issue of Applied Wireless Technology, Ben Cauldwell, of Commscope, is penning a thought leader missive with a clear message – 5G is not here yet. But his piece is full of information about what 5G will be and how it will deploy. That is the kind of data that has meat!
Maybe I am just getting a bit desensitized to all the noise. Many of these daily data are simply reruns of data elsewhere, or scrapings of announcements from manufacturers and vendors. And, most of it I already know because I am plugged into the original sources, as I would think most people who want to know, are, as well.
What I am beginning to find more interesting, than most of the data that comes in third party or vendor newsletters, are webcasts and webinars, focused seminars and technical sessions around how things work and why, rather than what is paraphrased and a few hundred words of high-level overviews (which tends to be the main theme of most of the third party, non-technical newsletters). Not that these do not have their fair share of commercials and advertorial in them, but they seem to pack more valuable information into them. I also follow OEM feeds and blogs, and their emails about technical data.
Anyway, all that is a preamble to this closing. 5G is the first evolution of what is the most disruptive technology in wireless, to date, and its vision is to radically change the wireless landscape. However, cooler heads in this space understand that there is no “magic” hard stop to present technology and all of a sudden we have 5G. It is an evolution, and progress should be slow enough to ensure stable and reliable products and technologies.
Regardless of what is put out there, 5G is NOT here yet and it would be so much nicer if the industry would simply discuss how and what they are doing is getting us there.
Executive Editor/Applied Wireless Technology
His 20-plus years of editorial experience includes being the Editorial Director of Wireless Design and Development and Fiber Optic Technology, the Editor of RF Design, the Technical Editor of Communications Magazine, Cellular Business, Global Communications and a Contributing Technical Editor to Mobile Radio Technology, Satellite Communications, as well as computer-related periodicals such as Windows NT. His technical writing practice client list includes RF Industries, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Agilent Technologies, Advanced Linear Devices, Ceitec, SA, and others. Before becoming exclusive to publishing, he was a computer consultant and regularly taught courses and seminars in applications software, hardware technology, operating systems, and electronics. Ernest’s client list has included Lucent Technologies, Jones Intercable, Qwest, City and County of Denver, TCI, Sandia National Labs, Goldman Sachs, and other businesses. His credentials include a BS, Electronic Engineering Technology; A.A.S, Electronic Digital Technology. He has held a Colorado Post-Secondary/Adult teaching credential, member of IBM’s Software Developers Assistance Program and Independent Vendor League, a Microsoft Solutions Provider Partner, and a life member of the IEEE. He has been certified as an IBM Certified OS2 consultant and trainer; WordPerfect Corporation Developer/Consultant and Lotus Development Corporation Developer/Consultant. He was also a first-class FCC technician in the early days of radio. Ernest Worthman may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.