5G in India: A closer look at the next-generation wireless technology

We took a closer look at one of the first live 5G demos in India. Here’s what you need to know about the next-generation wireless technology.

An autonomous robot using 5G data from the cloud could balance itself when connection speeds are at the max.
An autonomous robot using 5G data from the cloud could balance itself when connection speeds are at the max. (HT Photo)

5G in India may still be a distant reality but the preparations for the next-generation wireless technology have already begun. Among the first efforts to lay the foundation for a robust 5G network, Ericsson launched India's first 5G innovation and hub centre at IIT Delhi. The centre is focused at developing 5G technology for the telecom industry, academics, industry and startups.

We also took a closer look at the demonstrations presented by Ericsson. The demo focused on the applications and platforms that are going to leverage the high-speed 5G technology. Here are our key takeaways from one of the first 5G live demos in India.

5G beyond phones

Contrary to general belief, the successor present fastest network of 4G LTE isn't just about the mobile phones. 5G connectivity will be used in emerging technologies like mixed reality, developing smart cities, smart agriculture and most importantly Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Traffic management

A small demonstration of 5G in smart cities showed its usage in checking traffic of an area. With 5G real-time traffic will be faster and easier to track. It will also show detailed information on the kind and number of vehicles located in an area.

Live VR streaming

5G connectivity was demoed in a situation where a surgery teaching was being performed in virtual reality along with haptic feedback. While the technology can help industries like healthcare, the technology paves way for real-time transfer of high-resolution data, like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.

Remote surgery teaching in virtual reality with haptic feedback.
Remote surgery teaching in virtual reality with haptic feedback. (HT Photo)

Autonomous robots

As robots are becoming smarter with the use of cutting-edge technologies like Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, 5G could play a pivotal role in their future evolution. An autonomous robot using 5G data from the cloud could balance itself when connection speeds are at the max.

5G: Genetically fast

Coming to how 5G will be advantageous over 4G, the former will operate on higher frequencies than the latter. While 4G operates in the 900MHz band, 5G will operate in higher frequencies going all the way up to 28GHz. This also means that the new network has minimum latency. In simpler words, there will be minimum data lass while computing or connecting.

This will not only ease congestion on lower frequency bands, but also increase speeds and latency which will result in a lot of creative applications, like performing remote surgeries.

Deployment challenges

Ericsson's plan to deploy 5G connectivity in a city will happen in three different phases. One way is covering a wide area with 5G connectivity to cover maximum possible space. The other phase would be in concentration of areas where high-speed connectivity is required like railway stations or industries. Here, high speeds of 5G connectivity will be deployed for carrying out the required activities.

The last phase includes smooth transitioning of 5G from 4G. The company assures that the transition from a 5G area to one with 4G will be smooth.

5G in India: A distant reality

5G technology is promising and hard to grasp at once. It is expected to see the light of day by the second half of this year with first operations in the US.

As for India, the company is currently in talks with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) in deploying the technology in the country. Talks would further extend to telecom operators purchasing 5G spectrum in India which is expected to take place in 2019.

Coming to the adoption of 5G connectivity on smartphones, the company expects this transition to happen soon. The first 5G-ready smartphones are expected to launch in 2019 with OnePlus already confirming its next device for the same.