In News: Recently, Prime Minister of India inaugurated the country’s first indigenous test bed to help support the ecosystem around 5G.
- Earlier this year, the Government reiterated its plans to conduct auctions for 5G spectrum in June and expected services to be rolled out by the third quarter of the year.
- With increased capacity, lower latency, and energy efficiency, 5G is expected to significantly improve the state of art and enable new applications
- Radio electronics refers to a broad range of technologies that can transmit, receive and process wireless signals.
- While these technologies can utilize electromagnetic spectrum that goes all the way up to 300GHz, the lower frequencies of this spectrum are particularly attractive.
- Lower frequency signals can travel longer distances and penetrate obstacles with lesser attenuation.
- Electronic components (amplifiers, transmitters, receivers) operating at lower frequencies are also easier to design and manufacture.
- Consequently, much of the bandwidth in the lower frequencies of this spectrum has already been allocated for several applications (mobile communications currently use the spectrum from 800MHz to 2.5 GHz).
New spectrum for 3GHz
- With the increasing demand for mobile services, the currently allocated spectrum is proving inadequate.
- At the simplest level, 5G represents the allocation of new spectrum to increase capacity.
- Since most of the spectrum at lower frequencies is already being utilised — much of this new spectrum is being allocated at higher frequencies.
- The first deployments in India will be around 3GHz, but will expand to 25 GHz and beyond.
While operating at higher frequencies has some fundamental challenges, it offers some unique opportunities as well
- As 5G services evolve to occupy higher frequencies, it will significantly increase the bandwidth available for mobile services.
- However, at these frequencies the design of the transmitting and receiving equipment becomes more complex.
- Signal attenuation also increases. So, the coverage area of each cell tower will decrease which will require the towers to be more closely spaced.
- At higher frequencies it becomes easier to direct a signal in specific direction.
- So, signals transmitted from a cell tower can be more precisely directed at a specific user
- Intuitively, this enhanced directivity results in less interference between signals meant for different users which directly translate to increased capacity.
- Since much of the 5G infrastructure is being built from ground up, there is a chance to redesign the technology to make it more suitable for the evolving communication needs of the future.
- 5G places special emphasis on low latency, energy efficiency and standardization – Low delays between transmission and reception of messages are extremely critical to avoid accidents. For instance, Self-driving cars is an illustrative example
- As 5G rolls out, over the next several years the volume of data is expected to exponentially increase. To ensure that there isn’t a corresponding increase in the energy usage, 5G places a lot of importance on energy efficiency
- Greater attention to standardisation is another important aspect of 5G enable the rapid deployment of 5G infrastructure there is an industry-wide effort to standardise interaction between components.
Thus, while operating at higher frequencies has some fundamental challenges, it offers some unique opportunities as well.
- There should be lot of research in both industry and academia centred around 5G.
- Convergence of positioning, sensing and communication – traditionally, positioning, sensing and communication have been seen as separate technologies (for e.g., GPS is used for positioning, and radar for sensing). However, all three technologies involve transmission and reception of radio signals — hence it is possible for positioning and sensing to piggy back on 5G infrastructure that is primarily meant for communication.
- There should be research around cost and energy efficient electronic devices that can transmit and receive high frequency signals. This involves delving into the fundamental physics of semiconductor technologies and is expected to lay the foundation for the growth of wireless technology into higher frequency bands.
Previous Year Questions (PYQs)
Q.1) With reference to “Blockchain Technology”, consider the following statements: (2020)
- It is a public ledger that everyone can inspect, but which no single user controls.
- The structure and design of blockchain is such that all the data in it are about cryptocurrency only.
- Applications that depend on basic features of blockchain can be developed without anybody’s permission.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 1 and 2 only
- 2 only
- 1 and 3 only
Source: The Hindu