Mapping the Developer Journey to 5G

Monday 9/25/17 10:00am
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Posted By Mike Roberts
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How Will 5G Networks Impact Developers?
With excitement building about the potential for 5G networks in the coming years, you may be wondering what the technologies we’re building today will mean for you as a developer tomorrow. In this post, we’ll catch up with some of the technical innovations that will push the boundaries of LTE into the next decade, inspiring developers to create new mobile experiences and discover uncharted opportunities.

Inspiring Innovation for a 5G World
As leaders in mobile innovation, it may come as no surprise to hear that Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. has been working on 5G technologies for many years. Our research and engineering teams helped drive the development of 3G and 4G networks and, once again, we’re taking the lead in cutting the path to 5G.

It’s complex work to push through the limitations of today’s LTE and invent the services and technologies on which 5G experiences will be built. Here are three things to keep a close eye on:

  • 5G mmWave - next-generation technologies will make spectrum above 24 GHz, known as millimeter-wave or mmWave, available for mobile broadband communications for the first time. The associated leap in performance can deliver fiber-like speeds, without the wires.
  • Massive MIMO - advanced multi-input, multi-output antenna technology, including adaptive analog beamforming and beam tracking/steering techniques, can increase data rate, coverage and capacity at base stations and within devices.
  • LTE in Unlicensed - multiple shared spectrum technologies that can provide greater capacity, utilization and opportunities for businesses without licensed spectrum - IoT, enterprise, entertainment and others - to realize the benefits of 5G communications.

CES 2017: Steve Mollenkopf keynote

Building Large and Fast Networks With Heterogeneous Connectivity
These exciting 5G technologies are inspiring some industry watchers to forecast 20 Gbps speeds to mobile devices and sub-millisecond latencies. While it’s too early to predict the exact speeds that will be available through these innovations, you can be sure that 5G is going to be fast.

But accelerated speed is just one of many compelling benefits we’ll experience with the advent of 5G. Two others to consider:

  1. Seamless networks connecting an ever-expanding array of things to a richer set of applications and services. From devices powering smart cities, autonomous vehicles on our roads and in our skies to smart home hardware and, of course, mobile handsets. Tens of billions of devices can and will be connected on 5G, thanks to supporting innovations like the Qualcomm® Network IoT Connectivity Platform.
  2. Advanced routing and traffic shaping that allows for the creation and delivery of mission critical services in healthcare, distribution, manufacturing and urban development - all requiring high reliability, availability, security or ultra-low latency.

So What are the Exciting Opportunities for Developers?
During 3G and 4G development, it was difficult to predict the world of opportunities these superior networks would create. New devices, apps, services and user experiences built on those networks were needed to help us realize the opportunities we take for granted today. The same is true for 5G. As a guide, analysts predict a $12 trillion opportunity for 5G-related goods and services available globally in 20351.

Here are just a few areas to consider in your own development for 5G:

  • New devices, form factors and features - the Always Connected PC.
    • Bringing smartphone-like features to personal computing.
    • Computational power of today’s PC, available wirelessly, virtually always connected and with all day battery.
  • New, massively connected social experiences.
    • Enhanced live-streaming and sharing of personal events.
    • Immediate and ubiquitous connectivity between people, places and things.
    • Unprecedented entertainment experiences. 5G networks will power immersive Extended Reality applications that will revolutionize live sports events, concerts, gaming and more.
  • Transforming the driving experience.
    • Immersive, connected entertainment on the road
    • Live video and data streaming from and between vehicles
    • 3D HD real-time map updates

Keeping up to Speed With the Pace of Change
While 5G deployment will take time, development will be rapid as we build on and extend today’s LTE technologies to form the foundations of next-generation networks. The opportunities for developers will be significant. Follow our progress and read more about the technologies powering 5G development. Also, be sure to sign up for our monthly QDN e-newsletter, to stay in the loop on the exciting advances paving the path to 5G.

  1. Source: The 5G Economy, an independent study from IHS Markit, Penn Schoen Berland and Berkeley Research Group, commissioned by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.