Our evening discussions with friends about how 5G will provide lightning fast speeds, ultra reliable connections and even the concerns around the health effects of high frequency radio waves were not yet over that countries around the globe have installed and begin testing 5G core network (as of 3rd January 2020). In fact many have launched commercially usable 5G network.
Where is 5G installed?
Well the best place to look for is on WorldTimeZone. This place is amazing and provides latest graphical details about different phases of 5G in process at different locations.
If you find yourself in one of those countries who have 5G ready to be used then why not look for some devices that can get you those speeds. Some of the nice smartphones available are:
How is 5G being deployed?
Due to its complexity and size, 5G is meant to be deployed in small iterations. This means that 5G will be slowly brought into our lives by making small changes one at a time.
This means 4G or LTE will be the backbone of the networks even though 5G will be available.
So if I buy a 5G device, will I still be using 4G network?
The answer is yes and no. The reason for this contradictory answer is, Dual Connectivity.
One of the major goals for the telecommunication providers are to improve connectivity to devices by providing better throughput (better data rates) and lower latency (low waiting time). One way of solving this was via dual connectivity.
Dual connectivity allows a user equipment or a mobile device to be able to connect to two different base stations. The best part is that these two base stations do not require to co-ordinate with each other to try being synchronous in time while providing network to the user. This removes the requirement for the base stations to be physically collocated.
With 5G deployment, different non-standalone dual connectivity scenarios will be established in order to provide the strong connections and high data rates.
Dual Connectivity Scenarios
According to 3GPP Release 15, a 5G dual connectivity can involve 2 5G base stations or 1 5G and 1 4G base station (BS). A 5G base station is also called as a NR (New Radio) base station where as a 4G BS is called as LTE (Long Term Evolution) BS. This is Multi radio dual connectivity. It will allow an easy transition from the currently well established 4G network to 5G.
One thing to note here is that no other technology (3G, GSM, etc) can be combined with 5G to provide dual connectivity.
3GPP agreed to 3 different options after evaluating multiple options as the most efficient ones. These options were:
- Option 3: EN DC
- Option 4: NGEN DC
- Option 7: NE DC
In any option, since we will have two base stations, it essential that there must be a Master Node (MN) and a Secondary Node (SN). The role of the MN is to provide control signals like network coverage, the capability to connect and interact with the network, whereas the secondary node is there to provide additional data speed.
Option 3 – EN DC
EN DC or E – UTRA NR.
In this option the MN is LTE node which connects to E-UTRA or 4G core network and 5G or NR node is the SN providing the additional speeds. This is the first phase of 5G deployment.
Option 4 – NGEN DC
NGEN DC or NG – RAN E – UTRA NR
In this option either the 5G or NR node can take the responsibility of MN and SN by connecting to the NG – RAN or 5G core network.
Option 7 – NE DC
NR DC or NR – E – UTRA
In this option, 4G node has to serve as the secondary node, whereas 5G node will be the master node carrying all the control and signalling processes.
So we have reached the checkpoint and end of this post:
- Which countries have already installed 5G.
- What is Dual Connectivity