Countdown to New Year 2018 has started and it’s expected to see a groundbreaking advancements in the field of mobile communications and wireless networks. Lots of new technologies are just about to come out from research laboratories to be available to customers in 2018. Those technologies will cover a broad range of the current and prospective needs and some of it even opens a complete new set of Applications that wasn’t possible before.
The new Technologies are pivoted around building an advanced infrastructure that can cope with the technical specs and requirements needed by cutting edge new applications like IOT, Virtual & augmented Reality, Autonomous Vehicles, Distributed Computing, etc.
We will take a brief tour around each of the most notable Technologies that are expected to reach end customers in 2018.
Approximately , Every 10 years we have a new groundbreaking generation of mobile networks, starting from a merely analog mobile phones in 1G(1985) , then we have the digital transformation and SMS with 2G (1992), then the 3rd generation which added an enhanced internet connectivity(2003) and finally the 4G which is built upon the LTE standard and provides many services and benefits with The “high speed internet access” on top of it (2013).
The 4G development started when several standardization bodies and industry alliances such as 3GPP, NGMN and IMT-2020 started setting up a vision of how 5G should look like. Chip and products Manufacturers and network operators are encouraged to achieve this vision by 2020.
The performance and characteristics of 5G networks vision were laid down with the new trending applications in mind and also the steep increase of users density per network cell.
For example HD video streaming and “Virtual reality” applications requires a vast amount of data rates and bandwidth, IOTs and smart city services would require an energy efficient communication system to enable longer battery life, and applications like Autonomous vehicles and Augmented reality that requires a very low latency (<1ms) compared to (<5ms) offered by current 4G system based on LTE technology.
Infographic comparing 4G and 5G performance source:qorvo.com
Many key players in the telecommunication market started a massive R&D campaigns to discover candidate technologies that can achieve the 5G performance goals whether on the Radio interface or the Core interconnecting network or even services and business models. At the end of the R&D road; winning technologies will be standardized as the official 5G standard technologies which all smartphones and networking equipments manufacturers will adhere to.
To achieve the 5G goals,several technologies are used in parallel to get the best possible performance. amongst them the most notable are millimetre waves utilizing the 6+ Ghz spectrum,small cells techniques,Massive MIMOs and Beamforming.
The 2nd half of 2018 is expected to see the first “commercial” deployment for a network with pre 5G technologies.The intended deployment announced by Verizon & Ericson will include 5 US markets/states.
Previously the company made 11 live residential trial deployments in multiple US states.however it’s not celebration time yet as this deployment is not the official 5G and it works only for fixed wireless broadband access, the full deployment isn’t expected before the late of 2019.
Although the most recent WiFi standard named 802.11ax is not officially out, 2018 will see some commercially available APs based on its first “ Draft 1.0” from vendors like Huawei and Asus. Off course some end users may prefer waiting to get a fully 802.11 ax devices certified to comply with the final release of the standard to avoid any compatibility issues in the future.
Whatever way you choose , what is IEEE802.11ax in the first place ? and what is the capabilities it will have ?
WiFi technology got through several stages of development since its very beginning in 90’s with 802.11( without any attached letters) that supported only 2 Mbps, till the latest official 802.11ac with many nice feature and 866Mbps for each data stream. Along with minor amendment or special purpose standards released in between major standard releases.
Comparing Available WiFi standards
IEEE 802.11ax aims primarily to deal with problems that were unsolved in previous 802.11 editions and hence increase the overall Wireless network efficiency and reliability.
For example the overall performance of previous 802.11 networks degrades severely in case of being deployed in high dense users or congested areas-ex.fairs or large conference halls-, The degradation comes from the fact that too much users and APs are battling for a limited resource of available Communication channels .
802.11ax WiFi comes with smart tricks to set peace between those nearly adjacent battling APs and users to reduce the overall interference and enhance the performance and efficiency for the all.
asus RT-AX88U router supports 802.11ax wiFi
New technologies like OFDMA and BSS coloring enables decreasing channel interference . also the spatial separation of signals with techniques like Beamforming (i.e dedicated radio ray for each user) and MU-MIMO (i.e multiple antennas for Tx and Rx) was even enhanced to provide higher efficiency and higher users capacity.
Although it’s not the biggest thing about 802.11ax but its use for enhanced QAM-1024 enables it to achieve 4x higher performance and data rates than the previous 802.11ac with a typical 3.4Gbps for each data stream.
2018 is expected to see a huge boost in Bluetooth 5 (the most recent version of bluetooth) accessory products and sales after the Top Three smartphones giants announced that their flagship phones will have the bluetooth 5 radio capability.
The new Bluetooth 5 edition allows 2x of data transfer speed comparing to the previous 4.2 edition , also 4x of range increase comparing to Bluetooth 4.2 range at 128 kbps (typically ~80m).
The range can be traded off with speed and vice versa to reach about 2Mbps for very short distances between receiver and transmitter.
The new edition also includes lots of enhancements related to security aspects, latency, the number of connected devices,IOTs and even more.In 2018 we will see a big boost in the number of smartphones accessories (bluetooh speakers, bluetooh headsets ,remotes ..etc )and IOT devices supporting the new edition.
Although many mobile network operators started 5G trials and even some of them will start commercial deployment in the new year 2018 , many experts expects no final shape for 5G before 2020. it’s expected that 802.11ax WiFi standard will be officially promoted by the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019, don’t get rush buying 802.11ax products based on Draft 1.0 as it may change in any time till we reach the final release of the standard.Bluetooth 5 is great and we will see it in many products in 2018 specially after the announcement of (samsung and apple)… that is all of it … I wish you good luck !!