Are there alternative methods to achieving the industry data transfer standards of 5G?
An alternative to achieving the high speeds 5G offers could be fibre optics. However, fibre-optic cables need to be laid underground, and forego the convenience of wireless connections.
Furthermore, current networking technologies have been pushed to their limits due to the high number of connected devices. One of the methods used by 5G to solve this issue is network slicing, in which dedicated frequency bands are given to certain applications that must be highly reliable such as emergency communication. Unfortunately, separate channels cannot be conducted through fibre optic cables.
Edge computing is a method that decreases latency and increases bandwidth by treating networked data locally rather than centrally. This decongests the network therefore allowing better transfer of data, and is especially relevant for IoT applications. Edge computing is a key component of achieving the targets of 5G technology, but it is only a part of the puzzle and alone is not enough to match the demands of 5G.
Satellites can complement and extend 5G coverage to difficult-to-reach areas. They are part of the infrastructure necessary for improving mobile telecommunications in remote areas, and integrating vehicles such as cars and airplanes. But without other technologies they cannot improve the high bandwidth and low-latency demands of 5G.
- 4G and 6G
4G can no longer compete against the fifth generation as it cannot match its bandwidth and low-latency targets. 6G, on the other hand, is still too far away and research is only in its infancy.