January 14, 2015 — While no one expects to see 5G for years, that doesn’t mean there isn’t movement. One of the big problems is that 5G isn’t anyone’s trademark and definitions of it vary, depending upon who you ask. So companies are scratching their heads as to how to monetize it.
There is a bunch of movement in the Wi-Fi segment that is being called 5G. Broadcom, for example, is calling their 802.11ac product line 5G. But such routers have been around for four years already. Maybe this is their way of trying to market some of the latest technology.
The latest shift in trying to define 5G has some interesting angles. In Europe, according to Ericsson,”5G” refers less to a standard and more to a bandwidth goal – a system of incentives for service providers to move customers towards a higher tier of bandwidth. It is a support structure for what they call the “networked society.”
In a similar vein, Broadcom will be touting “Wave 2” of 802.11ac as the real 5G. Wave 2 will utilize multi-antenna MIMO technology with a newly revised 4×4 grid. The goal is to steer high-bandwidth wireless signals into metropolitan office complexes and high-rise residential complexes – places where signal congestion was shown to work against the first wave of 5G. But whether this year’s rendition of the 5G vision bears fruit is more closely knitted to whether anyone’s idea of the fifth generation of wireless actually generates a wave of products that doesn’t have to be supplanted by a successive wave the following year. Stay tuned…things will certainly be interesting for 5G this year.
Ernest Worthman is the editor of agl Small Cell Magazine.