MWC 2018: 5G internet finally seems ready to enter real world


At the Mobile World Congress 2018 (MWC) in Barcelona, 5G internet was more than just a buzzword and looks set to be a reality soon. While smartphone announcements at MWC tend to dominate headlines, the world’s biggest mobile show puts far more focus on the future of the telecom industry. Players like Qualcomm, Huawei, Nokia (the networks company), Ericsson, Intel were some of the big names showcasing what a 5G-ready future will be like once it starts going live.

Qualcomm has already announced its 5G-ready X50 modem and will partner with players like Xiaomi, HMD Global that manufacturers Nokia phones, etc. to bring 5G-enabled smartphones in the early half of 2019. At the Qualcomm booth in MWC 2018, one of the live demos showcased the speeds and user experiences that will be possible when 5G networks are ready.

Qualcomm’s simulated speed tests showed that 5G will make it possible to stream 8K video at 120fps without any lag and the data-rate speeds could be expected to be around 1.1.Gigabit per second. In fact, videos higher than 8K, once that becomes a reality, will also be easy to handle for the 5G network. The Qualcomm demo showed that even at the edge of the network, speeds will be around 446 MB per second and the 5G network will have enough bandwidth to experience 8K video, something not possible on current 4G LTE networks.

It will also mean that movie and video downloads will be done in just under a minute. In fact, as the demonstration showed, the typical 5G user will get download speeds of 400-plus megabit per second. The reason for slowing down of the speeds will be the older TCP protocols for data transfers and 5G will probably mean that the older protocols on data transfer will have to be reconsidered.

The other crucial aspect of 5G will be that network latency will go down significantly. In the current 4G LTE networks (CAT 20), the median latency is around 15-20 milliseconds, which might not seem like a lot, but for industrial use cases and larger enterprises, this is far too high. Also for emergency response systems, this number is still too high. But with 5G, network latency could go down to a median time of 5 milliseconds  read more.