What’s next for Mobile Technology?

InsightOn Wednesday 7th October, TechUK ran a training event called ‘Mobile Technology Evolution 1G to 5G’ and a few of the staff here at Cambridge Wireless (CW) were lucky enough to attend.  Ran by one of our board members, Zahid Ghadialy, the session was hugely insightful in terms of the main players and the future of mobile technology.

Now, I knew this session would be a challenge. But it was a fantastic challenge, something that both my colleagues and I went into with our eyes open and notepads at the ready.  We were joined by two professionals who both worked in the satellite communications sector, so from the get-go, this was a session that promised plenty of theory and discussion. Having recently upgraded to an iPhone 6 and being able to browse with 4G, I was excited to learn about the implications of 5G but also have some context surrounding the mobile technology.

The training was split into 4 sessions:

Session 1:

  • Terminology and basics
  • Overview of mobile industry players
  • Overview of testing
  • Standards bodies, including 3GPP
  • Macro cells and small cells

Session 2:

  • First generation (1G) mobile technology
  • Second generation (2G) mobile technology including 2.5G, GPRS and EDGE technology
  • Third generation (3G) mobile technology
  • Signalling procedures

Session 3:

  • Fourth generation (4G) mobile technology including LTE, LTE-A, LTE-A and LAA
  • Wifi and its integrations with mobile technology

Session 4:

  • Fifth generation (5G) mobile technology
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Machine to Machine (M2M)
  • Device-to-Device (D2D)

The terminology and abbreviations were endless and sometimes comic with regards to the generation updates (lets not mention the LTE ‘voice’ debacle!) Even having the physical components of a mobile network (e.g. mast, antennae, substation) and then the broader picture of the access network, controller and core network all mapped out was really interesting and helped set the scene for the session. I now understand why, despite being on 4G, people will still seek out a window to get signal. This is to do with the frequency phase. Mobile phone operators have to take into account the geography and population in order to configure the right type of cell. I now understand why you might experience a delay when making a voice call (thanks to the handover between network operators). It’s interesting to learn that the mobile network operator Three are buying 02 and what this might mean for the rest of the supply chain. Of course, some of the CW members and SIG sponsors are Chipset vendors so the overview of the main industry players was extremely beneficial for us. It’s fair to say Team Satellite were LOVING the content covered! The session often branched into new discussions about their own work practice and the problems they’re up against with mobile technology.

So what’s next for 5G? 

If only it was that simple! We know the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) meet every 4 years to discuss a pretty comprehensive agenda including everything from privacy to standardization. There will be many releases that will be anticipated, plenty of new applications that will want their place on the 5G bus and whatever is ready by 2020 will be the fifth generation of mobile technology. An improved browsing experience is probably a given but it will be interesting to see what unique features will be developed for 5G.

Many thanks to Zahid again for a great insight into the evolution of mobile technology.

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