Cellular Fifth Generation (5G)

  • The term cellular generation refers to cellular communication technology. The dominant cellular generations today are the third generation (3G) and predominantly the fourth generation (4G). The fifth generation (5G) is the next generation of cellular communication, expected to be launched across the world by 2020.
  • The cellular fifth generation is intended to facilitate technological solutions to improve smart phones’ capabilities (for example improving transfer of big data on cellular networks) and to support Internet of Things (IoT) systems to allow the connection capacity of many “smart things” on the internet which are intended to gather data from a distance, analyze it and manage this data.
  • The fifth generation will operate on the current generations’ frequencies, but also on frequencies that are ten or more times higher, mostly within the range of millimeter waves. Radiation at these frequencies has relatively low depth of penetration to the human body (the penetration is mainly to skin tissues).
  • 5G is characterized by use of a very large number of very small cells, which “cover” different areas together, in combination with larger cells positioned in intermediate areas. “Beam steering” technology will be implemented in these cells, directing the beams towards the user and as a result of this the exposure to “environmental” radiation from the cellular site will be reduced for people who are not using it.


The term “cellular generation” refers to cellular communication technology. Transition from one “cellular generation” to the next occurs about once every decade. The first cellular phones that went into use mainly in the 1980s were analogue and were used for telephone conversations (voice) only; they were subsequently defined as first generation (1G). The second cellular generation (2G) went into use mainly in the 1990s and was based on TDMA and CDMA type digital communication, and provided primary services in addition to conversation such as text messages (SMS).

The following cellular generations, which are dominant today, are the third generation (3G) and primarily the fourth generation (4G). These generations enable significant technological improvements because they are also intended, to a large extent, to support high data transfer rates. The third generation and particularly the fourth generation, allow the cellular phone to become a smartphone and support advanced services such as surfing the internet, use of advanced applications, sending  pictures and various types of files, video calls etc.


The planned transfer to the fifth cellular generation, intended for two main requirements:

  • Improvement in smartphone functional support capacity. Because of the large scale use of the advanced capabilities enabled by smartphones (such as applications, watching videos, video calls etc.) there has been a growth in the need to transfer large quantities of data via cellular networks and in the connectivity capabilities between various appliances. The cellular network is required to treat transfer of larger quantities of data more efficiently and this requires technological solutions (similar to the need for transport solutions because of traffic build-up on the roads).
  • Support of IoT (Internet of Things) Systems. The IoT is a system of various objects, some of which are “smart objects” such as smart refrigerators and smart TVs and some of which are computers and various mobile devices. These objects are able to communicate via the internet (directly or indirectly and wireless or wired) in order to gather data from a distance, analyze this data and manage it. The cellular network is therefore required to support the connectivity capacity of very many “smart objects”, for example systems and computers that constitute part of smart cities, smart houses, smart transport, smart shopping, smart energy etc.
  5G connecting the community
    Picture taken fromwww.emfexplained.info


One of the advantages of the IoT relates to the concept of “independent living” which enables disabled people, people with chronic illnesses and the elderly to receive technological assistance. Within this it is possible to count use of smart watches, exercise bracelets, special spectacles and smartphones and tablets used to follow function and health in the elderly (assistance with memory problems, identification of falls, identification of loss of consciousness), personal monitoring of drug taking, monitoring of physiological vital signs (temperature, pulse, blood pressure, glucose level, oxygen level) etc.

With development of the IoT, in the course of the coming years, it is expected that the cellular network will be expected to support machine-to-machine (M2M) communication more than communication between people!

The fifth cellular generation is intended, as stated, to allow technological solutions to improve existing smartphone capabilities and to support IoT via improvements in performance, for example increase in data rate (up to 10 times greater than in the advanced fourth generation) in order to allow transfer of large files and shorten latency periods (by approximately 30 times) in order to allow rapid connection and rapid reaction by appliances. In addition, the fifth cellular generation will allow increase in the connectivity capacity (up to connection of a about one million users in a 1km2 area) in order to connect many IoT systems to the cellular network at the same time.


Main differences between the fifth cellular generation and current generations (mainly the fourth):

  • Operating frequencies – the fifth generation will operate both at current generations frequencies (approximately 900, 1800, 2100, 2600 Megahertz) but also at frequencies at least ten times higher, mostly within the millimeter wave range (short waves of wavelength a few millimeters), at frequencies between 24 Gigahertz (billions of Hertz) and up to 86 Gigahertz. Radiation at these frequencies has relatively low penetrance to the human body (penetrance is mainly to the skin tissues).


5G on the electromagnetic specturm


  • Use of very many small cells that together will “cover” various regions close to the person and IoT systems in combination with larger cells that will be positioned in intermediate regions.
    Picture taken from: www.emfexplained.info


The cells will operate by implementing “beam steering” technology meaning generation of radiation beams directed towards the user, in order to act in a more efficient manner and to reduce mutual interference. Regarding exposure to radiation, the significance is reduction in “environmental” radiation exposure from the cellular site for those who are not using it.


MIMO beamforming  

An additional communication technology which will be particular to the fifth generation is the massive Multiple In /Multiple Out (MIMO) technology. Each cellular site will be able to create a simultaneous connection with a very large number of users, transmitting and receiving, and thus it will be able to support connection capacity with systems that are part of the “Internet of Things”

Picture taken from: www.emfexplained.info    




The fifth cellular generation is expected to be launched across the world by 2020, firstly in combination with the fourth generation, and it is estimated that by 2025 it will be widely used