The proposed 5G rollout is coming up quickly, with both Telstra and Optus announcing plans to offer 5G services in 2019. Creating and implementing this next-generation network gives developers the chance to examine traditional systems and how they could be improved. Here are two ideas that could help 5G to reach more people with a stronger, faster and more reliable mobile network.
One of the proposed ways to get high quality 5G access to a larger number of people is through mesh networking. Mesh networking is currently available for other types of wireless signals, and it is used in areas where a single router struggles to provide enough signal to the whole space.
Mesh networks use individual routers called nodes, with one of the nodes acting as a “gateway” to pick up the signal.The gateway node then disperses the signal to the other nodes, which act like small satellites to bounce the signal to each other. Mesh networking allows the signal to be broadcast over a much wider area, but also has a number of other benefits:
- Nodes spread the signal.
There is no need to rely on many centralized nodes or stations, as the gateway hasits range expanded by the individual nodes.
Mesh networks are designed so that the signal always takes the most efficient route between the device, the nodes and the gateway point. That means if one of the nodes breaks down, the network automatically reroutes the signal resulting in reduced downtime and easy detection of necessary repairs.
- No digging or cables.
Each node needs a power supply, but otherwise operates wirelessly which means there is no need to physically connect them with cables or wires.
- Cover wide areas.
Mesh networks can create much wider areas of signal than a single tower, and provide low latencies which could be used to power smart cities more efficiently.
- The nodes make the signal stronger.
Unlike traditional systems, your signal won’t get weaker as you get further from the main router. The nodes amplify the signal as it passes between them, creating a “blanket” that should have near-equal coverage at all points.
Mesh networking not only provides the opportunity for devices to connect, it also improves their ability to interconnect – having devices talk to each other quickly and efficiently will speed up the development of technology that requires quick communication and response, such as smart cars.The future 5G mesh networks will change the way we think about mobile connectivity and communication.
There are many industries that are not getting the full potential use out of mobile networks because of the diverse requirements of each one. One business might need to be offered very low latency before they can rely on a mobile network. Another might need high speeds for their communication, or a large amount of bandwidth.
Creating a separate physical structure specialising in each area is impractical, so current mobile network systems use a “one size fits all” approach. However, 5G network slicing can provide these businesses with the individualised features they need to enable them to run, but uses the same physical infrastructure.
Network slicing allows multiple, individualised networks to run using the same shared infrastructure. Networks can offer different functions, specifically tailored to individuals or services, without needing separate network structures for each one. The one mobile network is essentially “sliced” into different customisable parts that meet the needs of different consumers.
Instead of developers and consumers having to adapt to what mobile networks have to offer, the 5G mobile network will be able to adapt to the needs of the consumers. The customer experience will be as if the network they use is individualised to them, but the infrastructure that delivers their network features will also offer different features for other customers.
Network slicing will offer current business models a better way to connect, but it also opens the door to future technologies that aren’t feasible on today’s system. Remote machinery operation, smart metering and augmented reality are some areas that can develop even further using 5G and network slicing options.
The 5G Future
With the world heading towards increased connectivity and communication between people and devices, the 5G network is opening doors to make these ideas possible. Australia’s relatively early adoption of 5G shows a commitment to pushing ahead in the areas of technology and mobile networks. With the right safeguards and infrastructure in place, 5G has the potential to boost the economy, encourage innovation, and change the way Australians live with technology.