5G Vision: 100 Billion connections, 1 ms Latency, and 10 Gbps Throughput


Mobile networks are changing the way people communicate and access information. Network access at anytime and anywhere is transforming the telecom industry. In the near future, wireless network access will eventually prevail. 5G technology will enable flexible, reliable, and secure wireless networks to connect people with all applications, services, and things, thus leading human race into the era of "Everything on Mobile".

In the "Everything on Mobile" era, mobile networks must meet requirements more diverse than ever. These requirements can be identified from three dimensions: number of connections, latency, and throughput. These three dimensions together will bring unprecedented challenges to future 5G networks:

1. Number of connections. Although a 4G network provides thousands of connections for each cell, a 4G network cannot meet the connection needs of Everything on Mobile. A 5G network provides up to a million connections per square kilometer. This will bring an exponential increase in the number of connections.

2. Latency. The latency on a 4G network, 50 ms, is half of that of a 3G network, . However, applications such as self-driving cars still require much lower latency than a 4G network.

3. Throughput. A higher throughput will better meet consumer needs. The throughput of a 4G network is 10 times higher than that of a 3G network, but once 4K video services become popular, the 4G network cannot meet the new throughput demands.

To meet the preceding requirements, 5G should have the following performance advantages over existing mobile communication technologies:

  • 100 billion connections
  • 1 ms latency
  • 10 Gbps throughput

Based on the features of 5G networks and the development trend for Internet of Things, Huawei has identified some typical application scenarios during the process of 5G innovation as below:

100 Billion connections

Personal Assets on Mobile

As wearable devices gain popularity, an increasing number of wearable technologies will be connected to the network. Wearable devices will provide healthcare management, improve quality of life, and work efficiency. For example, ultra-light, ultra-thin, low energy-consumption, and waterproof sensors can be implanted into sportswear. These sensors will monitor the atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity, and air quality of the external environment, and monitor a wearer's blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, breathing, and skin humidity. The sensors will send the collected data to a database through a network, where a life management system analyzes the data and sends real-time messages to wearers to avoid putting their health at risk. The life management system also helps the wearer adjust diet, sleep, and exercise.

Smart Logistics

The capability of massive connection provided by 5G will enable extremely meticulas management for the logistics industry in the future. Before every piece in a delivery leaves the consighnor, a passive RFID will be attached to it. Throughout the entire the process of delivery, these RFIDs will report in real time the detailed information of the current position and environment of the delivered pieces they are attached to, such as temperature and humidity, light intensity, purity of air, speed of movement, intensity of viberation. With such data reported, the carrier and its clients can easily grasp the current positions and status of all deliveries, based on which, the carrier and its clients can plan the activities to take after the delivery scientifically. Also, once any alarm of exception is reported, the carrier can take countermeasures immediately and precisely.

Intelligent Agriculture

Agriculture applications in the future will realize the importance of managing and fine-tuning rural works. Farms of the future will widely deploy a large number of soil quality sensors providing real-time data on the amount of fertility and humidity in the soil to precisely control fertilization and irrigation. Near the farm, sensors will be deployed to monitor the temperature, humidity, wind, and sunshine. In the river, sensors will be deployed to monitor water quality. Timely corrective measures can be implemented if the data indicates that the river is polluted. Farmers can monitor diseases, blood pressure, and body temperature, as well as the locations of their livestock by implanting sensors into the animals. The intelligent agricultural system consisting of various sensors will reduce cost, improve efficiency, and increase needs for narrowband connections.

1 ms Latency

Self-Driving Cars

If intelligent traffic management becomes a reality in future cities, more and more self-driving cars will appear on the road. To guarantee traffic safety, when a control command, braking for example, is sent to a car, the car must receive the command within 1 ms.

The latency of a 4G network cannot meet this requirement. With the latency of 4G network, a car driving at 100 km/h still moves 1.4 m from the time it finds a obstacle to the time when the braking command is executed.

Under the same condition, with the latency on a 5G network, the car will move just 2.8 cm, and this performance is comparable with the standard of an anti-lock braking system (ABS).

10 Gbps Throughput

Virtual Reality and Immersive Experience

Virtual reality and immersive experience bring dramatic changes to many industries, including gaming, education, virtual design, healthcare, and art. Take education for example. For students living in areas with limited educational resources, virtual reality technology enables instruction and interaction with teachers in a virtual classroom, and even enables them to perform tasks such as carrying out experiments in a virtual laboratory.

To make this come true, the resolution of virtual reality image and immersive video needs to approximate to the amount of detail the human retina can perceive. This requires that the throughput be 300 Mbps and above, almost 100 times higher than the current throughput supporting HD video services.

Cloud Storage

Smartphone users not only watch video, but also make videos of their own. When an interesting HD video clip is made, they hope the upload speed is fast enough to share it with others immediately. In the 5G era, the speed of cloud storage can be as fast as storing files locally. The uplink rate of a network will reach 1 Gbps, increasing the uplink rate of an existing network 100 fold.

The world of the near future will be a super-connected one, and the dreams of self-driving cars, remote surgery, virtual reality, and immersive experience will be realized. The next wave of the technological revolution will create a smart world. Join us to build a better interconnected world.