4G to 5G for PNG is imminent

Dale Luma

LAST Friday, The National’s reporter DALE LUMA wrote on the evolution of telecommunications technology from 1G to 5G based on a day-long lecture by Huawei Technologies Co Ltd senior consultant Rex Li-zhi. This second part of his report deals with the applications that can potentially transform lifestyle and industries in Papua New Guinea (PNG). And with PNG poised to roll out its 4G+ digital platform next month, it is a prelude to the next level – 5G.

FIFTH Generation (5G) telecommunications systems will change industries and the way things are done, as witnessed in China and other developed nations.
REX Li-Zhi said 5G would focus on everything, both people and machines.
“5G has much more bigger capacity with three key features – much higher speeds, lower latency and a million connections. It has the capacity to support one million connections in one square kilometre with speeds of up to 10GB per second,” he said.
With a major focus of 5G on business, some countries have already deployed for commercial uses or just to test the network.
There have also been talks that one of PNG’s telecommunication company is trying to test the 5G platform next year in two of the big cities in the country.

Rex Li-zhi

“This year alone, we have 60 countries deploying 5G, some are commercial and some are pre-commercial.
“South Korea is the first country and biggest country to deploy the 5G platform with four million subscribers and 200,000 sites.
“China also wants to deploy 5G with 1 million sites by the end of next year with already 2.5 million subscribers since going commercial last month. Japan will also be going commercial with 5G next year.
“Many people want to use 5G, but in order to use it, you will have to have a 5G hand set. But 5G compatible handphones are now quite expensive. When the prices come down, then people can buy it and use 5G,” Li-Zhi said.

– Graphics courtesy of Huawei

Application of 5G in the industry
“5G is not only important for the people but also to businesses as well. 5G will bring new business opportunities in manufacturing, mining and etc.

A visual cloud illustration of Cloud Aolications/Computing

“5G is described as ABC plus V. A is for Artificial Intelligence (AI), B is for Big Data because in 5G, you have a lot of data for processing and analysing and C for Cloud Applications or Computing.
“V stands for vertical industry. It means that 5G is not only for the people but many industries. Vertical industry means connected cars, smart mines, smart factories and many others. It is about connecting machines,” he added.
He said 5G digital applications had evolved and transformed many industries, changing the way they operate, like smart fishing, auto-driving, smart policing and many others through AI technology.

A visual illustration on the use of 5G-IoT (Internet of Things) for smart farming.
“In smart fishing, the fish farm is about 10 to 15km from land. Cameras are installed to monitor the fish, its health and environment.
“Via digital camera footages, fishermen can monitor the well-being of the fish to identify if and when a fish is sick.
“But there is a problem in terms of how to relay the feed from the cameras back to the office because you will need to use satellites, which is very expensive.
“Another expected 5G wide-use is auto driving. Currently, if you want to deploy auto driving in down-town, it is impossible because down-town is so complex.
“Auto driving is now commercial in some countries and used in two environments. One is in selected university campuses and the second is remote control driving, which is carried out in mining.
“These can only be carried using 5G. 4G cannot do that it does not have low delay or latency. Only with 5G, the signal delay is short, so it can support auto driving and remote control driving.
“The second concern is on uplink. For 4G, downlink is no problem but uplink is a problem. But for 5G, the uplink is much faster.
“Businesses focus on 5G uplink compared with people who focus more on download and 5G’s uplink is very fast.
“Smart policing is also operated with the use of drones, cameras and AI glasses – all are only adequately supported by 5G with low latency and higher speeds,” Li-Zhi said.
He also said 5G networks were easier to deploy and much more flexible but “it will need many more antennas (64) for better coverage”.
“But companies like Huawei are coming up with ways to combine everything into one. However the negative side is that it will need a lot of power because the antennas consume a lot.
“Huawei will also be releasing to the market a wide range of products that support 5G in the coming years,” he added.

An illustration on how 5G technology can be widely used by people and industries. – Graphic courtesy of Huawei
A visual illustration on the connected cow which currently uses 4G but can be improved with 5G. – Graphic courtesy of Huawei