Since Motorola demonstrated the first handheld mobile phone in 1973, communication technology has come a long way, and it will see its next paradigm shift with 5G.
Faster speeds when downloading and playing a video, less time delay when exchanging chat messages, having a stable connection even in a crowded network - users will have a much more seamless experience with the help of 5G. But beyond these benefits for people in everyday life, 5G opens up development opportunities in a broad variety of applications, like the Internet of Things (IoT), connected wearables, remote surgery, smart manufacturing, self-driving vehicles, augmented reality, and immersive gaming.
This may seem like a faraway future – but in fact, it is already here. There are currently an estimated 34 billion IoT devices in the world, which is more than four times as many people as there are on the planet. Moreover, it's suggested that roughly 5 trillion Euros is going to be spent on IoT solutions in the next 5 years.
This huge impact also translates back to policy – 5G is in the limelight to keep the EU on track for its 2030 connectivity targets.
5G is not considered new technology in itself, but rather an evolution of already existing 1G to 4G technologies, with which it will co-exist. This will result in a blended network of networks – multiple layers of frequencies, a mixture of devices exchanging data, and myriads of user interactions.
But what does the G in 1G, 2G... 5G etc. stand for? It stands for 'generation', and at their core the generations are standards for data speed and connectivity that are set by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a branch of the U.N. In 2015 the ITU issued its IMT-2020 Standard, which outlined the requirements for radio access networks (RAN) to qualify as 5G.
In order for telecommunications companies to meet the requirements of 5G, they must deploy new technologies and methods to achieve these goals. This area of the map outlines these various technologies and how they are interconnected.