5G - D100

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Evolution of mobile network

5G, also known as the fifth-generation wireless, is the latest iteration of cellular technology engineered to greatly increase the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks. The development of 5G will support the growth of data, improve quality of service, and increase connectivity of IoT (Internet of Things). However, the applications of 5G are not simply limited to higher output and coverage capacity, but it will also enable a new generation of application, services, and business opportunities that have not been seen before.

When taking a look at the previous generations for mobile networks 1G brought about change in the way we communicate, it provide an analog system for transmitting voice (phone calls). Then came 2G which gave users the ability to have texting, besides voice calls. 3G brought about another evolution for communication in society as it brought a game changer by allowing for internet browsing, while 4G and LTE helped with the enhancement of the features 3G brough by providing greater speed and reliability. According to industry reports, 5G is on the rise and is expected to be launched in early 2019. With the development of 5G, it will bring about the enhancement of many new emerging technology, that society has today.

Performance Standards

5G technologies aligned with IMT-2020 specifications are expected to provide enhanced device and network-level capabilities, tightly coupled with intended applications. “The IMT-2020 standard is set to be the global communication network for the coming decades and is on track to be in place by 2020,” said François Rancy, director of the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) Radiocommunication Bureau. There are three main key performance indicators for 5G, which were created by the ITU in conjunction with other bodies like the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) and the IEFT (Internet Engineering Task Force). The three key indicators are the new international standards to defining the requirements of 5G systems as they relate to network operation, softwarization and fixed-mobile convergence.[1]

The 3 Main Performance Indicator of 5G

Under the new standards, performance indicators for 5G fall under three buckets:

  • Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) to deal with hugely increased data rates, high user density and very high traffic capacity for hotspot scenarios as well as seamless coverage and high mobility scenarios with still improved used data rates.[2]
  • Massive Machine-type Communications (mMTC) enabling the machine to machine and IoT connectivity, requiring low power consumption and low data rates for a very large number of connected devices.[2]
  • Ultra-reliable and Low Latency Communications (URLLC) to cater for safety-critical and mission critical applications.[2]

Under these three buckets, there are eight performance parameters that 5G will work towards, as shown in the image below.

Key Indicators of 5G

3GPP and 5G Standardization

The 3GPP is a collaborative body made up of various telecommunication associations, which was responsible for creating and releasing a set of specifications for a 5G network known as “Release 15”. By putting forth this new set of standards, the vision of 5G has transitioned to become an inevitable reality in the near future. Georg Mayer, chairman of 3GPP CT, said in a statement: "The outcome is an amazing set of standards that will not only provide higher data rates and bandwidth to end customers, but which is open and flexible enough to satisfy the communication needs of different industries -- 5G will be the integration platform for heterogeneous businesses".[3]

Since the scope of 5G was too complex to release in one set of standards, 3GPP decided that there would be two phases in which they would deliver 5G’s overall specifications. The first phase focused on evolving the mobile broadband spectrum and delivering standards of 5G for the mobile operators. The second phase would focus on delivering ultra-reliable low latency communications and massive machine-type communications, and will also focus on providing descriptors that would be used to cover other industry sectors like agriculture, health, automobile, and other similar industries.

3GPP-3rd Generation Partnership Project

The following is a timeline of the phases involved to create the 5G standardization.

In December 2017, 3GPP had a pre-released for the 5G non-standalone specifications for mobile networks was released, which relied on existing 4G/LTE networks as an anchor for mobility management and coverage, while adding a new 5G radio carrier. The approval of these specifications allowed companies to move closer to an actual functional 5G network.[4]

In June 2018, the Release-15 standards were finalized; however unlike in 2017, the standardization included a standalone specifications released for mobile. This standalone version allows for 5G to have their own core network that is not reliant on the existing infrastructures of 4G/LTE. By completing this first phase of standards, the telecommunication industry can accelerate their design and implementation process in order to reach the goal of commercialising their products by 2019.

Currently 3GPP is working on releasing the second phase of standards for 5G by 2019, inevitably dubbed “Release-16”. The main focus of these specifications will be on the expansion of the mobile ecosystems to new areas, new types of services/devices, and new spectrum bands/types.[3]

However 5G and its standards have not all been finalized yet, and is currently a work in progress. ITU and their study groups are still working on creating standards that describe the 5G network in order to ensure the efficient deployment of 5G.

Challenges for 5G

Technological Challenges

5G Frequencies

The current 4G LTE operates in more than 50 frequency bands, all of which are below 3.6 GHz. However, 5G’s frequencies are much more complex to design as they will be operating in millimeter level frequencies.[5] These millimeter waves have a spectrum between 30GHz and 300 GHz, which 5G relies on in order to generate high speeds. However, high frequency waves can only travel a short distance and are easily susceptible to interference from the weather, buildings, and other physical objects. In addition, in order to work in different countries and regions, 5G has to support different frequencies, which means that the design of hardware and software becomes more complex since these designs will need to be customized so that they are compatible with the specifications required by various geographical areas.


Beamforming is a base station technology that pinpoints the location of a user’s device and then sends a concentrated signal to that unique device in an efficient and power-saving manner. Unlike the traditional 4G base station towers that send signals in all directions, beamforming can be used for both transmitting and receiving signals, which is far more efficient than LTE.[6] The current LTE network also only has capacity for a certain amount of devices; however, as more and devices connect to the network in the future, beamforming will ensure the communication between all of these devices is carried out in an efficient manner. This improvement from previous network base stations is known as directivity of the element. That being said, beamforming technology does require a more complex antenna array system and complex processing at the base station itself.[7]

Multiple-input and Multiple-output (MIMO)

MIMO (multiple-input and multiple output) is a technology that involves increasing the amount of antenna present at both the base station and the user’s devices, which allows data to be transmitted simultaneously through more than one channel. As a result, the transmitting speed increases as signals can be sent and received simultaneously. Standard MIMO typically uses two or four antennas for both sending and receiving.The antennas are linked together in order to maximize efficiency and minimize error. Massive MIMO would use many more antennas to increase the transmission speed; therefore, it will increase the capacity of 5G networks so that it is capable of handling multiple users and devices, especially in very dense areas, while offering a quicker transfer rate at the same time. However, MIMO technology will require complex algorithms and device configurations at both base stations and end user devices.[8]

Device to Device(D2D) Communication

Device-to-device(D2D) communication refers to the technology that communicating with each other without the involvement of base stations or access points. As estimated, there will be more than 50 billion smart devices and sensors connected to the internet by the year 2020.[9] Therefore, complex device to device and machine to machine protocols need to be developed between devices using 5G.

Infrastructure Challenges

Small Cells

The current LTE network are based on macro base stations. For 5G, the use of millimetre waves will limit the network’s propagation ability when compared to macro base stations. In order to ensure propagation or the transfer or radio waves through and around objects is possible, thousands or even millions of small cells are required to cover a city.[10]

On the other hand, small cells offer some notable advantages. They have the ability to increase the capacity, density, and coverage of the network for a particular area. In addition, the cost of an individual small cell is relatively low. Their power consumption is also relatively low compared to macro base stations. Furthermore, when the amount of users is relatively low in an specific area, some of the small cells can be turned off to limit power usage.[11]


With the need to deploy hundreds of new small cells, where this type of infrastructure component is installed could become a challenge too. Comparing to current network, the 5G base stations will be larger as MIMO requires more and more antenna. This current network is also based on macro stations, which means a station could cover a large area. However, for 5G’s small cells, more stations are required to cover the comparable area, which will require these small cells to be installed onto various objects such as bus shelters, lampposts, public buildings, billboards, and other similar locations.[12]

Safety and Security

As mentioned before, there will be around 50 billion smart devices and sensors connected to the internet by the year 2020, which also means a lot of personal information will be put on the cloud. Inevitably, the issue of privacy arises when such a large amount of information is stored on the cloud. Therefore, it will be big challenge for people and technicians to protect our personal data, especially given the large amount of access points that data breaches can occur at.

5G Use Cases

5G is seen as the catalyst for many of the next generation technologies that will be introduced over the coming years. Intel has often described 5G as a enabling infrastructure, making the comparison that, “much the way that roads and power grids formed our industrial infrastructure, the infrastructure enabling 5G will form a backbone and central nervous system to build out an intelligent and fully connected society”. [13] Consequently, there have been many applications or use cases developed to capture this enabling functionality that 5G will have, with more to come as the technology becomes more and more understood.

Massive Machine-Type Communications (mMTC)

Massive Machine-Type Communications involves the ability of electronic devices to connect and transfer large amounts of information between one another. Because of 5G’s ability to transmit and handle high volumes of data all at once, while doing so with minimal latency, mMTC will be able to reach its full potential. This will be particularly important to the success of industrial applications such as smart cities, smart homes, smart factories, wearable devices, intelligent transportation, and the like, which often fall under the umbrella known as the Internet of Things (IoT). One of the main impediments for this limitless interconnectivity currently is the lack of a unified framework that will allow seamless connection between the vast amount of devices at play. However, 5G’s scalability can facilitate this framework through a large amount of small cells, massive MIMO, and full duplexing. [14] Lastly, 5G’s operation on millimeter waves that current devices do not currently use will ensure that 5G networks can handle the capacity that will be required by mMTC as more and more devices become part of society’s communication networks.

Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communications (URLLC)

Similar to the above, ultra-reliable low-latency communications involves devices interacting with one another, but with a specific emphasis on critical services or scenarios where time is of the essence. Again, 5G will be counted on as a technology to support these communications because of its low latency characteristic. A well known URLLC application is autonomous vehicles, which involves connecting vehicles with their surroundings and other vehicles/drivers. Low latency is undeniably important for self-driving vehicles from a safety perspective, but also from an efficiency standpoint as well because these vehicles will look to take the most effective route to reach its intended destination. Another popular 5G URLLC application is in the realm of healthcare, specifically remote surgery.[15] When a surgery is being performed by robotic arms by a surgeon at a remote location, the communication of audio and video between the two needs to be extremely reliable and timeless as these factors can be the difference between life and death. If 5G can enable this application successfully, the scope of specialized surgeon work can extend beyond the most dense areas of the world to areas where this type of service could not feasibly be offered before. Lastly, URLLC extends to even more common interactions like business communications or meetings and the consumption of online video games. Both types of experiences reach its full value if their respective connections are reliable and uninterrupted, which 5G is intending to allow for.

Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB)

Similar to when previous generations of telecommunication technology were introduced, mobile computing experiences will be further enhanced by 5G. The most recognizable improvement will be an individual’s ability to download gigabits of data per second, allowing a diverse array of content to be available to someone extremely quickly. With some reports estimating that “over 75% of mobile data traffic will be video by 2021," [16] 5G will ensure this extraordinary amount of data movement is possible. While the ability to consume more quantity of data is important, 5G will also allow a higher quality of data to be consumed, which caters to heavy data use technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality. In addition, 5G’s ability to handle a high density of data movement will also enhance the experience of individuals using mobile computing devices in crowded areas like urban centres or venues where sports, concerts, and other like events take place. Consistently reliable broadband connections will ensure that an individual’s experience is maximized in both indoor and outdoor environments.

Fixed Wireless Access (FWA)

In everyday use, 5G will seek to provide Internet access to homes and businesses using wireless network technology instead of traditional fixed lines. While replacing the need for much of the physical infrastructure that is currently in place to power Internet connections, 5G can arguably increase the quality of these connections further through its use of the less dense, high-frequency millimeter waves and beamforming technologies.[17] This allows fixed wireless access powered by 5G to perform at par or eventually surpass the level of service provided under a fibre-based broadband network. Furthermore, 5G FWA will also allow more rural areas that cannot support fixed line broadband connections to now have that connectivity made available to them. However, in the short term, 5G FWA will likely be positioned as a competing service to fixed home broadband, especially in the more urban areas. More competition for this type of service will result in lower prices and improved services for consumers.

Advantages of 5G

How will 5G influence our current industries ?

Entertainment & Media

5G will alter the way in which we consume and use media. One of the significant technological improvements 5G will bring is transmission speed, quality, and reliability experienced when consuming premium content like virtual reality sport channels and multiplayer mobile games.[18] In the hands of the consumer, 5G will enable higher resolutions in media content and faster download speeds. To put things into perspective, content consisting of large amounts of data like movies, games and other media content can take hours to download, but 5G will increase these download speeds to the point that they will only take seconds. 5G may also bring about a change for cinematic experiences and live entertainment. In particular, 5G will help bring and enhance technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to viewers, as the data for these technologies can be downloaded quickly with minimal latency occuring. With VR, viewers will then be able to experience a live concert or sporting event on a new level. For instance, you wouldn’t simply be watching a baseball player hit a ball, but you will have the option to watch the oncoming pitch from the batter’s point of view.[19] As 5G becomes more widespread, consumers consumption of media will be change. A study done by Intel found that with the enabilization of 5G it will drive $1.3 Trillion in revenue for media and entertainment companies by 2028.[20] Intel forecasted that with the widespread utilization of 5G, there will be an acceleration in content consumption, including mobile media, mobile advertising, home broadband and TV, and an improved experience in immersive technologies like AR and VR. Media content platforms like YouTube and Netflix will also get benefits from 5G since they transfer millions of data to their viewers every day, and these additional viewers will ultimately generate more profits.


Virtual Reality

5G is expected to solve delays in cloud-based gaming. The connection time delay can be understood as a natural disadvantage of one player over another, as it is through no fault of their own. Once 5G is implemented, the latency target for cloud-based games will be reduced to 0.5 milliseconds, and feedback from the server side will be instantaneous.5G's extremely low latency will make it very different from 4G, which currently has a latency of 10 milliseconds. Therefore, 5G's low-latency when streaming media is very important when watching and playing games. 5G is not only suitable for gaming-related activities, but also for live programs such as concerts and sports. The audiences receive the latest information at the same time, so the difference of a few seconds won't frustrate them. Regarding virtual reality, 5G may play a role in changing the rules of the industry. At the moment, for VR to work within individual games, it requires a huge amount of money on hardware. Internet speeds currently limit cloud computing, but 5G could mean that some rendering, GPU functions, or CPU functions could be processed on a cloud server instead of through a user device’s own hardware. 5G could potentially remove cost factors involved with virtual reality gaming.[21]


5G has also led to the creation of the 5G-connected car, allowing cars to transfer information with each other, which is known V2V (vehicle to vehicle) communication. V2V lets drivers know where the other vehicles are located, where they are going to and at what speed. With the early warning of traffic congestion, accidents or motorbikes, drivers will be able to adjust their driving styles accordingly to travel more safely and possibly faster.

The second function that 5G will bring us is V2X. V2X (Vehicle to everything) communication will connect everything on the roads beyond vehicles, including traffic lights, lampposts, or even streets themselves.Through sensors embedded across all of these objects and their surroundings, a large amount of data can be collected. These sensors can monitor air quality, parking space, and much more.. The timing of traffic lights can automatically change according to the traffic volume and direction at any given time, to speed up driving time and reduce congestion. Roads in need of repair can be detected by sensors in advance to avoid potential safety hazards. At the same time, road maintenance work will be carried out when traffic flow is minimal as this will reduce the costs involved when carrying out this work in areas and times of congestion. Network speed is the bottleneck for networked cars to achieve their maximum potential. In-car connections can happily turn off mobile signals when they are available, but many more forward-looking use cases will require better out of car network connections to work with continuous and reliable reception, always online connections, and the ability to transmit and receive large amounts of data.

5G will be critical to the safe operation of our connected vehicles on the road, and to support future fully automated cars and excellent road infrastructure.[22]

How will 5G influence our economy?


There are two main ways in which new technologies affect productivity.

The first is to change the efficiency of production and distribution of existing goods and services; For example, mobile technology can make enterprises have better access to information and consumers have better access to entertainment services while they are "on the go".

The second is through the efficiency of providing new products and services to the market (as opposed to the efficiency of any products and services they replace).For example, if 5G technology allows the production and use of self-driving cars, it could make more efficient use of transportation infrastructure if such vehicles do a better job of navigating and easing congestion.

The overall productivity effect of 5G will depend on how inputs and outputs change with the technology.On the output side, the benefits of 5G are expected to lead to more efficient production of goods and services -- providing greater volumes for a given input.In terms of investment, there will be additional investment and costs to build physical infrastructure for the network (upgrade new and existing base stations, and upgrade return capacity) and purchase spectrum.

Job Opportunities

In an article by Accenture, it was reported that "New 5G wireless networks will contribute as much as $40 billion annually to Canada’s economy by 2026, according to a new report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN)."[23]

5G can also increase our economy by providing up to 150,000 new short-term jobs between 2020 and 2026 while the country is building up the network required for 5G. The investors of this building process are usually telecommunication companies such as Shaw, Telus, etc. Until 2026, once the towers are ready to use, this will also generate another 250,000 more permanent job opportunities resulting from the innovations and industries that will be enabled by 5G. Therefore, 5G will increase our economy by lower the unemployment rate.

Additionally, the 5G network will also boost Canadian innovation across the industries and bring the standard of living higher in areas such as healthcare, education, and agriculture due to its low latency network.

Competition of 5G

The Progress of China

Internal Approach

Unsurprisingly, considering its internal national conditions and development strategies, China has made 5G one of the core components of its overall industrial plans, including Made in China 2025 and the 13th edition of its Five-Year Plan. Under these guidelines, China identified 5G as a national priority and are aggressively targeting 5G commercialization by 2020. [24]The Chinese government encouraged local mobile operators and equipment manufacturers to develop 5G technologies, amid its desire to take a leadership role in the world market. Several Chinese companies, such as Huawei and ZTE, will help China work towards this goal by leading the development of 5G and its research. With a huge amount of funds already or soon invested in, the 5G market is expected to have such a significant impact on the Chinese economy that it could account for 3.2% of Mainland China's entire GDP in 2025, generate 8 million jobs, and add 2.9 trillion yuan in economic value by 2030.[25]

International Approach

While the whole global information and communication technology industry is engaged in a fiercer and fiercer race for commercialization of 5G, China strategically opted for an international approach to the development and deployment of 5G. This strategy of China focuses on one of the basic principles of the current mobile networks, that is, the interoperability. Nowadays, radio access network technologies, such as antenna base stations, core chipsets and mobile handset/smartphone devices, are produced in a globalized market, ensuring a high degree of standardization and interoperability on a worldwide level. [26]Due to the rapid development of technology, this industry is full of competition in which the operating environment is constantly changing. To ensure the interconnection of telecommunication systems and devices in different countries, consistent standards for all of these technologies is extremely important.[27] By taking a prominent role in setting these standards, China has the opportunity to influence these standards to align as closely with their own needs as possible.

An Obsession

The obsession of China just emerged thence. Traditionally, China has been known as a latecomer when it comes to adopting technological innovations and has consequently been dependent on technology imports. The Chinese government has a strong desire to improve its own indigenous technology, especially in the telecommunication industry.[28] Despite its best efforts, China struggled to keep up with the commercialization process of 3G and was merely a follower. Similarly, its lack of technological expertise led to a second failure in the construction of 4G, and thus China was largely left behind during standards creation. This time, China seems to be fully prepared for the coming 5G competition.

China has been active on the world stage in terms of its involvement with various international organizations that are developing standards for 5G, such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the 3rd Generation Partnership project (3GPP). According to the Jefferies report, Chinese representatives served in 10 of 57 positions as chair or vice chair of 3GPP groups or subgroups last year.[29] As a result, nothing that China strongly opposes can get approved in 3GPP. These achievements, to some extent, has helped China successfully set standards that are better-suited to Chinese demands for the 5G network construction.

Mobile Infrastructure Market Share-2017

The Focus of Development

Under 3GPP, there are two sets of specifications completed: the “5G non-stand-alone” passed in December 2017 and the “5G stand-alone” approved in June.[30] The former is based on the original 4G network devices and needs less investment, while the latter requires operators to rebuild their core networks using new base stations. Simultaneously, the “5G stand-alone” specification can provide higher data speeds and greater capacity to support Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communications (URLLC) and Massive Machine-Type Communications (mMTC), which are the two main industrial applications that China is pushing for. From the perspective of technology, it means that China hopes to concentrate more on the innovation known as Massive MIMO[26], a further expansion of the regular MIMO. Instead of the previous two to four antennas in one base station under standard MIMO, Massive MIMO makes it possible to operate hundreds of antennas and receivers from the same base station.[31] If “5G stand-alone” is implemented globally, China will undoubtedly benefit from its leadership in antenna and base station architecture. As is shown in the picture, Huawei, a leading telecom gear supplier from China, has become the largest telecom equipment maker in 2017, beating Ericsson and gaining a market share of 28 percent.[32]

The Progress of America

In April 2018, the wireless industry group CTIA released a report warning that the United States will not get a second chance to win the global 5G race, and if that doesn’t change, the US economy will suffer. In fact, a widely cited 2016 report by consulting firm Accenture estimates that the construction and maintenance of 5G networks in the US could result in 3 million jobs and a $500 billion boost to GDP. This estimation comes from the superior performance of America in the past several telecommunication technology reforms. In 2002, 3G made its commercial debut and laid the foundation for the iPhone and the app market, which greatly boosted the investment in mobile computing. 4G, which began rolling out in 2011, developed even more advanced applications. Apps like Instagram, Uber, and Lyft were able to reach critical mass before competitors from other countries, increasing GDP by $100 billion in 2016 alone.[33] Now with the development of 5G, the concern of America is that if China delivers widespread access to 5G ahead of America, this leadership will confer a huge worldwide first-to-market advantage, attracting more investment to research and development in China. Therefore, to keep America’s edge in the telecom industry, it’s crucial for America to develop a national strategy to advance the 5G innovation and secure its dominance. In this competition, there are two key areas: spectrum availability and infrastructure planning.

Spectrum Availability

So far, the main development direction of 5G has revolved around the millimeter wave spectrum, which would require operators to invest a large amount in the deployment of new base stations and small cellular antennas. However, operates have requested that the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) should open more mid-band spectrum, which could initially reach the standard of 5G and allow operators to use the current large cell towers, as a transition to the real 5G. Actually, US operators believe that the FCC must efficiently establish a regulatory framework that prioritizes and supports the timely and sufficient availability of spectrum for 5G, both in the short term and beyond.[34] Currently, the FCC is planning the first two 5G-specific high-band spectrum auctions, specifically the 24 GHz and 28 GHz bands, in November.[35] This auction could be a good starting point for opening the regulatory and technological doors for 5G technologies.

Infrastructure Planning

Another problem the US is confronted with is that while US firms like Intel and Qualcomm are critical players in the 5G competition, the US does not have a major domestic manufacturer of 5G radio access network hardware.[26] The common business model of these companies is focusing on technology and outsourcing the devices they design to other manufacturing companies, some of which are located in China. Moreover, operators believe that the government should be committed to reducing the regulatory barriers on mobile infrastructure, especially the small cellular towers which are essential in the deployment of 5G. With more than 89,000 local governments in the US, policymakers must expedite the approval process to seek for a balance between local entities, the federal government, and the private sector.[36]

Telecom Operators and Manufacturers

Corporations vs. Corporations

Many global corporations are battling over the development and deployment of 5G now. At present, integrated Chinese companies like Huawei is seeking to take the largest market share in the global market, at around approximately 30 percent. It is not only a competitor to Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung for network gear, but also a rival to Qualcomm and Intel for chip design and an emerging challenger to Apple and Samsung for end-user devices.[26] Samsung plans to provide the world's first 5G phones in March 2019, while the second-place mobile phone manufacturer in Korea, LG Electronics, also claims to cooperate with US mobile operator Sprint to offer the first 5G phone.[37] Meanwhile, Sprint and T-Mobile, two main mobile operators in the US, are looking to merge into one company with the aim of gaining competitive advantages in the 5G race, especially in the spectrum auction.[38] The unprecedented aggressive race between corporations is a competition of economic strength, technology development, strategic layout and national policies.

Demonstrations of 5G to Date

2018 US Open Golf Tournament

The power of 5G had a revolutionary impact on the viewing experience of the 2018 US Open Golf Championship. For the first time in the sport’s history, 4K video of the action was streamed over a 5G network, through the collaboration of Fox Sports, Sony Ericsson, and Intel. This 4K HDR footage was captured by cameras placed at the tournament's seventh hole and was transmitted at rates of about 1.6 Gbs/s. Not only did 5G enable a more dynamic viewing experience, but it also made the streaming process more efficient since less cables and other production costs were required to capture the action. [39]

2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics

5G Connected LED Lights

One of the most recognizable deployments of 5G took place at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Korea Telecom (KT), one of South Korea’s largest telecommunications companies, collaborated with Olympics partners Samsung and Intel to roll out a trial 5G network service that allowed an array of technologies to be showcased over the course of the games. Due to the emphasis on integration many next-generation technologies, PyeongChang 2018 has often been called the “ICT Olympics”. [40]

The first example of 5G technology in action was during the Games’ opening ceremony. As John Lennon’s “Imagine” was sung, 1270 performers carrying LED lights entered the stadium and formed an image of two doves that later merged into one bigger one.[41] Each LED light was connected to the 5G network and controlled via a 5G-functioning tablet that controlled each light’s brightness and flickering in order to sync the lights with the performance.

Furthermore, 5G allowed for an enhanced viewing experience as the network powered four visual technologies: sync view, interactive time slice, omni-point view, and 360-degree virtual reality live broadcasting. [42] Interactive time slice was utilized for ice sports such as ice hockey, figure skating, and short track speed skating, allowing viewers to stream 360-degree views of the action in high resolution at near instantaneous speeds. Omni-point view was used for cross-country skiing, where each skier was equipped with a subminiature GPS sensor. In combination with 5G high definition cameras set up around the cross-country course, viewers could watch specific individuals’ runs and see data on each of the athletes and overall competition statistics. Sync view was used for bobsleigh races, where individuals could watch 3D live performances from the racers’ point of view as a result of sync cameras and 5G modules being installed on each of the sleds. All in all, this sought to put the viewers in the athlete’s shoes or watch them from a serious of dynamic angles, which ultimately made them feel closer to the action than ever before.

Apart from the above, KT’s 5G network enabled other technologies including: autonomous cars/buses, [43] [44] AR-assisted shopping experiences[45], drone performances, and on a lighter note, helped to divert wild boars. Relating to the last application, 5G’s low latency allows information to be quickly relayed, specifically in the case of wild boars running through public areas and causing havoc. In addition, the transmission of this information sought to trigger systems that redirected these boars away from harm’s way by shooting rays, spewing gases, and emitting tiger roars.


Like much of the literature available on 5G today, we believe that 5G is not just the next generational jump in the progression of telecommunication technology, but rather a revolutionary innovation that will have a major impact on how individuals and society as a whole operates. The advantages of 5G extend beyond its traditional applications and will instead complement and ultimately facilitate the success of other technologies that are slowly making their way to the forefront of our society. As mentioned above, there are obvious obstacles to overcome in the form of establishing universal or a dominant set of standards for what 5G is, as well as various challenges relating to the architecture and infrastructure that will allow 5G to perform as advertised. Despite these barriers, nations and organizations have clearly embraced the endless possibilities that 5G will enable and are investing large amounts of time and money to help develop it. In some cases, this has created another classic race to see which nation will bring 5G to the forefront first. On the other hand, there are smaller battles at a more micro level where organizations will compete to be the dominant producer of certain 5G infrastructure components. Simply put, the hype around 5G is certainly justified and we are excited to see how it will play out in the coming years.

As post-secondary students hoping to jump start our lives and careers soon after graduation, the implications of 5G will be incredibly important for us to follow. Change is inevitable in today’s society, and 5G will undoubtedly bring much of that. For one, it will reengineer many of the ways in which organizations do business. In doing so, this will lead to the downfall of some types of jobs and the emergence of others that have never been seen before. In turn, this will affect the supply and demand for various skill sets and perhaps require us to develop more diversified skillsets. On a personal level, 5G will similarly change the ways we spend our time and consume the vast amounts of data available to us. All of those characters featured on futuristic-themed TV shows will seem less farfetch'd than we had initially thought! In spite of these obvious benefits, it does beg the question as to whether we will be reliant to a fault on these technologies or even perhaps fail to acknowledge that amidst all of their benefits, there are also negative implications to be aware of as well. Such implications include topics like how information will be secured and protected, using technology to stay immersed in society and not as an escape from it, and ensuring that these technological advances do not exacerbate gaps between our world’s various social classes. We await 5G with eager anticipation and perhaps we will have the opportunity to see another wiki page dedicated to it once it has come closer to worldwide commercialization and fruition.


  1. https://news.itu.int/5g-update-new-itu-standards-network-softwarization-fixed-mobile-convergence
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 https://www.etsi.org/technologies-clusters/technologies/5g
  3. 3.0 3.1 https://venturebeat.com/2018/06/14/mobile-industry-completes-5g-standard-by-approving-standalone-5g-spec/
  4. https://www.qualcomm.com/news/onq/2018/03/21/first-5g-standard-complete-so-whats-next
  5. https://www.rfpage.com/what-are-the-challenges-in-5g-technology/
  6. https://www.analog.com/en/analog-dialogue/articles/massive-mimo-and-beamforming-the-signal-processing-behind-the-5g-buzzwords.html
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  9. https://www.ericsson.com/research-blog/device-device-communications/
  10. https://5g.co.uk/guides/small-cells-hetnets-5g/
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  12. https://business.financialpost.com/telecom/crtc-wants-more-power-over-5g-infrastructure-placement-chairman-tells-senate
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  14. https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/computing/networks/5g-taking-stock
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  23. https://www.5gcc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/CWTA-Accenture-Whitepaper-5G-Economic-Impact_Updates_WEB_06-19-2018.pdf
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  29. https://www.thebeijinger.com/blog/2018/04/07/why-china-and-us-are-fighting-over-5g
  30. https://www.scmp.com/tech/enterprises/article/2168665/made-china-2025-5g-offers-worlds-biggest-mobile-market-chance-seize
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  32. https://www.telecomlead.com/telecom-statistics/ericsson-closes-the-gap-in-mobile-infrastructure-market-share-with-huawei-82888
  33. https://www.wired.com/story/does-it-matter-if-china-beats-the-us-to-build-a-5g-network/
  34. https://www.gsmaintelligence.com/research/?file=4cbbdb475f24b3c5f5a93a2796a4aa28&download
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  37. http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/breakingnews/30352212
  38. https://www.lifewire.com/5g-availability-us-4155914
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  45. https://www.counterpointresearch.com/5g-applications-showcased-pyeongchang-winter-olympics/


Justin Chinfen Emily Chow William Deng George Jiang Xi Chang
Beedie School of Business
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC, Canada
Beedie School of Business
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC, Canada
Beedie School of Business
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC, Canada
Beedie School of Business
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC, Canada
Beedie School of Business
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC, Canada
jchinfen@sfu.ca esc6@sfu.ca dm940208@sfu.ca xja17@sfu.ca xi_chang@sfu.ca
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