5G, which is due to enter our lives from 2022, will result in a restructuring of the network by operators. Simple updates will no longer be sufficient, considering that the new system will allow extremely fast connections, with a latency time between the issue and receipt of a command being very low.
The great innovation of 5G primarily mainly involves the switch to a gigabit society, a context in which applications used by the Internet of Things will be crucial. This will lead to significant changes to users’ daily routines, as it will be the start of the ultra-wide band era, with all the objects around us becoming a part of interconnected hubs.
Which applications for the new standard
The 5G standard will be applicable to a large number of fields, starting with the connection of numerous devices characterised by levels of performance which are difficult to imagine today. This will be possible mainly because the devices will be able to connect themselves to the net without need for a landline.
The practical advantages will affect many sectors, such as the automotive industry. In that sector, it will be possible to optimise performance to a level which was previously only obtainable by using Ultra Broad Band services, via the broadband network.
Thanks to 5G, innovations such as the driverless car will become reality, not to mention surgery robots. In order to appreciate the revolutionary implications of this standard, it should be remembered that, in contrast to other generations of data transmission via mobile telephone lines, in this case we are dealing with a network which is transforming from physical to virtual. This will lead to an undisputed key role for wireless networks, which will be integrated with the fixed ones in fibre.
The importance of frequencies
In order for the 5G standard to reach maximum efficiency, the role of frequencies is crucial. While the 4G standard involved the occupancy of frequency bands which were not very high (within 20 MHz), its ‘successor’ will require the use of bands with frequencies of up to 6 GHz.
This brings us to the point of the allocation of new frequencies to mobile telephone operators. In this regard, the identification by the EU of so-called’ ‘pioneer bands’, considered indispensable for the implementation of the new technology, is an interesting development. The frequency bands in question are between:
- 4 and 3.8 GHz;
- 24.5 and 27.5 GHz;
- 700 MHz.
The case of Italy is rather controversial. Important modifications have been introduced as part of the 2018 Italian Budget Legislation, which provided for the launch of a public tender for the allocation of the new frequencies to operators. That procedure was concluded in September that year, with offers which exceeded 6.5 billion Euros.
According to government sources this figure exceeds the minimum income established by budget legislation. It is also noteworthy that the tender in question received approval from Antitrust authorities as well as from the European Union.
When will 5G arrive? What issues will it involve?
5G’s international debut is expected in 2022. In the run-up to that date, we are witnessing a kind of head to head between the USA and Asia. In the former, lots of experimentation has begun and operators are investing heavily in the new mobile standard. The European context must still recover the territory lost due to the many national interests.
Before its official introduction, it is important to reflect on potential issues which may result from the new standard and on the increased risk of cyber-attacks towards mobile networks in particular. In the case of Italy and the installation of the new system, a revision of national legislation relating to limits on electromagnetic fields has been requested.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith