5G: Supporting the new era of connectivity
In 2020, the 5G wave will hit the mobile and network market. “5G” stands for the 5th generation of wireless technologies. With 5G, digital connectivity will shift into high gear and take entire sectors of the economy with it – like entertainment, mobility, logistics, industry, health and more. It will come with one key challenge: to demonstrate trust among the companies and the society who adopt it.
Every minute worldwide, an average of over 4 million videos are viewed on YouTube, 2 million Snapchats are sent, and 50,000 photos are posted on Instagram. In a few years, connectivity has progressed at an astonishing pace and has taken hold of all aspects of human life. Wireless communication is now an integral part of all parts of our everyday lives, from connected refrigerators to locking our homes, road safety to remote open-heart operations.
Mobile connectivity is changing scale
To deliver the promise of instant, omnipresent data, 5G will provide very high bandwidth, increasing the maximum bandwidth of 4G by a factor of 10, from 1 Gbit/s to 10 Gbit/s. For the 5G user, this means that it will only take 42 seconds to download a 1 GB video, compared to 7 minutes in 4G. The 5G network should also be able to accommodate nearly 1 million connected devices per square kilometer. Finally, latency (the time it takes the network to respond to a request) will drop to 1 millisecond (ms), compared to an average of 50 ms for 4G – which represents unprecedented progress.
The emergence of a new digital landscape
The 5G network will greatly simplify the lives of users. But more generally, what the deployment of 5G aims to achieve is the globalization of the Internet of Things and the expansion of high-speed mobile Internet. All these networks form a kind of informational ocean and underpin the basic structure of an invisible “seventh continent.” And 5G is expected to be the bedrock of this emerging informational landscape.
The race toward ultra-high bandwidth
Faced with the coming revolution, device manufacturers (computers, routers, and transmitters), network management software developers and mobile operators did not wait for 5G interoperability standards to be officially adopted.
In the United States, T-Mobile and Verizon conducted tests in a few cities. In China, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom also tested the capabilities of their first 5G equipment. All mobile operators are closely monitoring the plans of governments and competent authorities that should lead to the allocation of new frequency bands for 5G. The electromagnetic spectrum, – where radio, TV and 4G waves currently circulate – is already very crowded, and broadband requires certain specific frequencies.
The challenge of bringing connected devices online
It should be stressed that time is running out: 5G is scheduled to be officially deployed commercially in the second half of 2020. Now that the specifications have been established, manufacturers have developed hardware and software architectures and are currently testing their equipment. In addition to manufacturers of entertainment equipment and network operators, other equipment manufacturers are also in the process of making preparations – and can rely in particular on Bureau Veritas to test and certify next-generation mobile telecommunications equipment. Bureau Veritas continues to innovate in the 5G space, including:
- certifying the world’s first 5G NR 39GHz mmWave device against USA’s Federal Communications Commission requirements,
- updating its test management tool, Interlab Evo, to be compatible with the current and future certification requirements of 3GPP and GCF/PTCRB, and,
- collaborating with major test equipment manufacturers such as Anritsu to obtain GCF and PTCRB conformance test certifications (test equipment validation), accelerating the ability for devices to be tested against 3GPP standards by test laboratories such as Bureau Veritas.
Preventing security breaches and supporting the launch of new products
The major challenge for all players (manufacturers, system integrators, connected and wireless device distributors) is therefore to plan ahead for the major risks in terms of cybersecurity, interoperability, interference and reliability of future devices on the market. In terms of security in particular, 5G increases potential vulnerabilities by increasing communication opportunities. It also does not protect the user against the risks of improper tracking (geolocation and identification of people using smartphones, etc.).
Thanks to its international network of electronic equipment testing laboratories, Bureau Veritas is working closely with the players for whom this technological revolution presents significant challenges.
Building trust in the progress 5G will bring
The power of 5G promises a real revolution. The tremendous density of objects that 5G networks can accommodate, as well as their extremely short response times, will enable these networks to become the nervous system of smart cities, new mobility and factory automation or industry 4.0. However, these promises will only be fulfilled if the hardware, software and human architecture that support 5G delivers an extremely high level of data security and reliability for the services offered. That is where Bureau Veritas comes in: to give people confidence in this new landscape where business, society and humanity in general are preparing to advance. One small step for man, one giant leap… for connectivity.
 3GPP: 3rd Generation Partnership Project
 Global Certification Forum (GCF) and PCS Type Certification Review Board (PTCRB)