One thing I like about being a member of the IEEE is that the data that comes from them is relatively hype-free, accurate and realistic. I get a number of feeds from them and trust them to be a very professional gatekeeper.
That said, I just read a piece from the IEEE Spectrum online publication about 5G that was written by Sarah Yost, National Instrument’s Product Marketing Manager. I know NI well, and have published some of her in the past.
What spurred me to mention them, and write this missive is a passage from that piece. She wrote, “Recent announcements from Mobile World Congress 2017 indicate that 5G is already here. The truth is that 5G isn’t here yet, but we are getting closer.” An update to the question on everyone’s mind: What is 5G and when will it be here?” Now, I recall all the same hype about 5G at the 2017 European MWC she mentioned. It was the same at the MWC Americas late last year. Moreover, I am already getting a fair amount of advanced hype about 5G from next month’s European MWC.
One of my pet peeves is the bombardment of 5G hype that just continues to spill out. I regularly take the liberty to call out such hype. What is nice is when someone else, very respected, tends to think along the same lines.
She is spot-on. 5G is not here yet – even though there is a full head of steam going in the industry that 2018 will see early 5G deployments, However, it seems most of those are based upon the non-standalone new radio spec (NSA-NR). But we are seeing a fair amount of “near 5G” technologies appear, and, as she notes, we are “getting closer.”
What I like about Yost’s missive is that she makes a point about how 5G will be a combination of existing and new frequencies below 6 Ghz, as well as mmWave. In another passage from her post, she states that, “there will be a wide range of requirements expected of 5G, from ultra-reliable, high-bandwidth communication for enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) applications to the low-bandwidth, machine-to-machine (M2M) type communications we expect to see in Internet of Things applications.” This is also a spot-on observation.
Some of that “closer” is advancements in technologies that will be part of 5G, as well as older “G’s,” (mmWave, MIMO and network slicing are some examples). We are also improving the specs of networks, and network technology as we march toward 5G (such as latency). However, we just should not be saying 5G is already here. In addition, I do not believe we will see general availability (GA) of real 5G products in 2018 either. And, of course, outside of the technology, one of the biggest hang-ups is the lack of real business models for 5G.
One of the things I continue to reiterate is that 5G is a platform, not a technology. It will be comprised of so many different platforms, devices and technologies that it will take years for it to stratify and scale throughout the multitude of vectors that will enable the full capabilities of 5G. Sure, we will see full NR 5G components deploy in some industry segments; perhaps as early as 2019, However, I think the jury is still out on that. Moreover, what does deploy will be on the low end of 5G, specification-wise.
I am not sure how much good this continuous hype is really doing. At least I am not alone in my thinking.