Saturday,16 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1312, (22-28 September 2016)
Saturday,16 December, 2017
Issue 1312, (22-28 September 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Towards 5G

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eco6
Al-Ahram Weekly

In 2012, the BBC published an article entitled “It’s Time to Reap the Benefits of 4G Mobile Networks” after some 40 countries around the world had benefited from operating the faster mobile networks, including the United States and Tanzania, writes Shaimaa Shalaby.

Two years later, it published another article, this time entitled “How will the 5G Network change the World?” This said that a global race was on to develop 5G, the fifth generation of mobile networks.

5G networks, which are currently on trial in China, India, Russia, the United States and Japan, will run 100 times faster than 4G networks, and users will enjoy an Internet speed of 800 gigabytes per second (Gbps).

The new networks will reportedly connect smart cities and allow remote surgery and driverless cars. “If you’re thinking great, that’s the end of my apps stalling, video faltering, and that everlasting load sign, then you are right, but that’s only part of the story,” said Rahim Tafazolli of the UK’s 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey.

He added that scientists were expected to develop 6G networks by 2040.

The global race to develop 5G networks started in 2013, when the South Korean company Samsung launched a trial 5G network at the speed of one Gbps, which means being able to download a high definition film in less than one second. 5G networks now allow the downloading of 33 high definition movies in one second.

Despite the enthusiasm to develop 5G networks, it will be difficult to make them commercially available before 2020 when it is thought that 50 billion to 100 billion devices will be connected to the Internet.

Connections that run on different frequency bands will be established to cope with the demand. The target is for the first of the frequency bands to come into use around 2020, with the other two following shortly afterwards.

South Korea has announced the investment of US$1.5 billion in developing 5G networks, hoping to launch a temporary trial 5G network in 2017 and to offer it to users by 2020.

Samsung hopes to launch a temporary trial 5G network in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics, while Japan is racing to offer a final version of a 5G network by 2020 to coincide with the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The Chinese company Huawei is implementing a version of a 5G network for the 2018 World Cup in Moscow. The European Union, one of the most important developers in the field, is allocating some €7 billion for 5G network projects.

In the Arab region, 5G networks are expected to arrive in the United Arab Emirates through Huawei. In addition, a telecommunications service provider in the UAE has announced the establishment of the UAE 5G Innovation Gate (U5GIG), with the aim of testing and validating early 5G and Internet of Things equipment and services.

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