5G is the 5th generation mobile network. It is a new global wireless standard after 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G networks. 5G enables a new kind of network that is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices.
5G wireless technology is meant to deliver higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds, ultra low latency, more reliability, massive network capacity, increased availability, and a more uniform user experience to more users. Higher performance and improved efficiency empower new user experiences and connects new industries.
Who invented 5G?
No one company or person owns 5G, but there are several companies within the mobile ecosystem that are contributing to bringing 5G to life. Qualcomm has played a major role in inventing the many foundational technologies that drive the industry forward and make up 5G, the next wireless standard.
We are at the heart of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the industry organization that defines the global specifications for 3G UMTS (including HSPA), 4G LTE, and 5G technologies.
3GPP is driving many essential inventions across all aspects of 5G design, from the air interface to the service layer. Other 3GPP 5G members range from infrastructure vendors and component/device manufacturers to mobile network operators and vertical service providers.
What underlying technologies make up 5G?
5G is based on OFDM (Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing), a method of modulating a digital signal across several different channels to reduce interference. 5G uses 5G NR air interface alongside OFDM principles. 5G also uses wider bandwidth technologies such as sub-6 GHz and mmWave.
Like 4G LTE, 5G OFDM operates based on the same mobile networking principles. However, the new 5G NR air interface can further enhance OFDM to deliver a much higher degree of flexibility and scalability. This could provide more 5G access to more people and things for a variety of different use cases.
5G will bring wider bandwidths by expanding the usage of spectrum resources, from sub-3 GHz used in 4G to 100 GHz and beyond. 5G can operate in both lower bands (e.g., sub-6 GHz) as well as mmWave (e.g., 24 GHz and up), which will bring extreme capacity, multi-Gbps throughput, and low latency.
5G is designed to not only deliver faster, better mobile broadband services compared to 4G LTE, but can also expand into new service areas such as mission-critical communications and connecting the massive IoT. This is enabled by many new 5G NR air interface design techniques, such as a new self-contained TDD subframe design.
What are the differences between the previous generations of mobile networks and 5G?
The previous generations of mobile networks are 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G.
First generation – 1G
1980s: 1G delivered analog voice.
Second generation – 2G
Early 1990s: 2G introduced digital voice (e.g. CDMA– Code Division Multiple Access).
Third generation – 3G
Early 2000s: 3G brought mobile data (e.g. CDMA2000).
Fourth generation – 4G LTE
2010s: 4G LTE ushered in the era of mobile broadband.
1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G all led to 5G, which is designed to provide more connectivity than was ever available before.
5G is a unified, more capable air interface. It has been designed with an extended capacity to enable next-generation user experiences, empower new deployment models and deliver new services.
With high speeds, superior reliability and negligible latency, 5G will expand the mobile ecosystem into new realms. 5G will impact every industry, making safer transportation, remote healthcare, precision agriculture, digitized logistics — and more — a reality.