Millimeter wave will support 5G use cases including eMBB and massive IoT

Carriers have invested heavily in the R&D that will result in the launch of commercial 5G services as soon as later this year. Seeking ROI on those investments, the industry-wide goal is rapid commercialization with the first use case shaping up as enhanced mobile broadband with an eye on leveraging high capacity and low latency for consumer and enterprise services.

But the move from LTE to 5G is very different from past step changes from 2G to 3G to LTE, according to Nicki Palmer, SVP and Verizon Wireless chief network officer. In a recent podcast, Palmer said, “To think that’s just a next step in wireless technology really underestimates how absolutely transformative this technology will be. There’s a lot more to 5G than just a smartphone going, you know, a little bit faster on the network. So this next generation technology will be frankly one of the biggest leaps forward that I think we will see in the near term.”

After testing 5G fixed wireless access throughout last year, Verizon plans to commercialize the residential broadband service in the second half of this year with Sacramento, Calif., serving as the launch city. Click here to better understand the factors that went into the selection of California’s capital city to launch the service.

Ed Chan, Verizon SVP, Technology Strategy and Planning, highlighted the key role of millimeter wave spectrum in the carrier’s 5G strategy. He said “spectrum foundation is number one” in deploying 5G. “We need to cement…the use of millimeter wave spectrum. As I think of millimeter wave, the way I think of it is instead of these individual really small lanes of highways that we have today, imagine that you have this really wide, really, really wide, 10-lane highway. We have tens of thousands [of]gigantic lanes in this highway put together. That’s how we are delivering 5G. So that’s why you see this massive difference in the ability to deliver the kind of bandwidth.”

Palmer and Chan also called out the value 5G will bring to enabling massive internet of things-type applications.

“We think it’s being targeted to serve multiple kinds of use cases,” Chan said. “One of the attributes of 5G is to be able to do all of those things inclusive of what we’ve been calling the massive IoT, which is not just the total number of units that you can put on the network, but it’s also about the fact that you can create and improve the latency by about 10-times compared to the 4G network today. So you actually can have the ability to be much more reliable in your communications. That opens up a whole new set of potential users and usages in that case. And a lot of times we like to use the traffic management and smart city as one of those examples where, you know, look, if a vehicle is going to be a self-driving vehicle as an example, it has its own sensors. But the sensors are limited to how far it can go and how far it can sense. But if you were connecting that vehicle with a sensor that’s around a corner that the smart city has, it could be informed now with an information about maybe a puppy is running out on the street that you really need to slow down the car. In that case you really need low latency and reliable services for that infrastructure to actually tell the vehicle, ‘Hey this is something that the sensor outside of you, that you need to take into account.’ That’s one interesting application that I believe is going to be in that case.”


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