Tuesday, 02 October 2018 10:10

Full 5G implementation at least two years away, says Ruckus chief Featured

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Carl Jefferys: "The reality is that the full suite of [5G] specifications are still incomplete, and this takes time." Carl Jefferys: "The reality is that the full suite of [5G] specifications are still incomplete, and this takes time." Supplied

Despite all the hype about 5G at the moment, a full implementation of the technology specification is at least two years away, according to Carl Jefferys, ANZ country manager for Ruckus Wireless.

Asked what would be the earliest when there would be a 5G implementation that offered all the benefits of the technology, Jefferys said: " While we've seen carriers using the technology to demonstrate blistering data speeds in almost laboratory conditions, a full implementation of the specification is still at least two years away.

"The reality is that the full suite of specifications are still incomplete, and this takes time."

He said it was likely that 5G would be implemented in a similar way to 4G, with basic functionality being added to over time.

"As a point of comparison, when 4G initially launched, many eager subscribers were disappointed to learn that the quality and reliability of a voice call on their brand new 4G handset seemed to be no better than that of their old 3G phone," Jefferys said.

"This was because voice wasn't supported on early implementations of 4G, and it is likely 5G will be introduced in a similar fashion, with basic functionality being expanded over time."

In the US, a country where the hype over 5G is at a peak, there has been pushback from people to the installation of small cells for 5G to work smoothly.

Asked about this, Jefferys said: "To achieve higher data rates, successive generations of cellular networks have operated at higher frequencies. The downside of this is that the signal propagation (or distance travelled) is reduced.

"It makes sense, therefore, that the density of base stations will need to be increased to provide the same coverage as a system based on lower frequencies.

"Consequently, to penetrate the bowels of a building, hotel or shopping centre will require more of what we call 'small cells' to be deployed. These small cell devices require three things to operate; somewhere to actually mount the hardware, power and backhaul (or an upstream data connection).

"We are seeing carriers trying to secure all three of these important requisites for a 5G network."

He said 5G would contribute "to the user expectation of faster speeds, and in areas where 5G isn't available or doesn't reach, Wi-Fi will continue to be one of the complementary technologies for handling the wildly growing appetite for mobile data.

Given that, Ruckus was at the forefront of introducing Wi-Fi networks that would handle the 3.5GHz CBRS spectrum that would allow handsets to make cellular calls over the existing Wi-Fi infrastructure.

" This will be a welcome alternative to the costs of deploying small cells or antiquated, expensive Distributed Antenna Systems found in many buildings today," he said.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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