5G communications offer great potential in a wide range of applications. 5G is fairly broad and spans a wide range of frequencies – the diagram below illustrates the general terminology used from low-band, mid-band (“sub-6GHz”) and high-band (“mmWave”) frequency assignments.

5G deployment – the demands on data analytics will be very high

Massive MIMO antenna configurations for 5G provide high user capacity, seamless mobile connectivity between towers and extremely high availability – the latter of which is critical for many applications. The figure below shows the 5G antenna configuration, the radiation pattern of directional beamforming compared to the omnidirectional 4G pattern.

While some commercial installations are already available in mid-band using existing 4G LTE infrastructure, the prospects for 5G depend on the deployment of mmWave communications. mmWave 5G key features:

Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communication (URLLC)

Enhanced Mobile Broadband (EMB)

For Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications, deploy dedicated 5G networks to support robotic automation, sensor-based process monitoring, or operator-assisted processes utilizing augmented reality (AR). These “Location Facility Networks” all rely on the 5G feature – URLLC.

Much of the 5G development and capital investment has been in EMI applications, ranging from consumer mobile phones to potential communication needs in (Level 4/5) autonomous vehicles. To improve the “human-like reflex” in self-driving cars in the future, URLLC’s latency is to reduce the time to establish a connection to less than 1 millisecond.

Furthermore, although our pursuit of autonomous vehicle technology and the deployment of 5G EMB communications are symbiotic, the two industries will evolve independently (to a certain extent) driven by market demands and opportunities. On the one hand, autonomous vehicles may rely on local sensor data (lidar, radar, cameras) to make real-time decisions, and vehicle logs and diagnostic data are rarely uploaded. In the environment of 5G EMB, rich V2V and V2I applications will be realized. For example, vehicles can notify infrastructure of road hazards (such as icy roads), obstacles, or approaching emergency vehicles, and these vehicles will communicate this information to other vehicles for predictive decisions.

The EMB applications envisioned for 5G are quite unique. The typical mobile user seeks high download “streaming” throughput, and the bandwidth and low latency of mmWave 5G technology will also lead to upload-centric applications. The figure below illustrates the (potential) data transfer requirements of an autonomous vehicle in full V2V and V2I communication modes.


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