We are in the age of 4G LTE communication. Compared to 3G, 4G network is significantly faster, with higher bandwidth capacity, and the network quality is much better.
While we still benefit from the ever evolving 4G LTE network, 5G – the next generation standard of communication, is already in progress.
You may ask, what is 5G communication? How does 5G change video technology and application? These are the topics we discuss in today’s article.
I. What is 5G?
5 th generation mobile networks, a.k.a. 5G, are the proposed next telecommunications standards beyond the current 4G standards.
In the definition made by Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance, a 5G network should meet the following criteria:
- Data rates of tens of Mbps for tens of thousands of users
- Data rates of 100 Mbps for metropolitan areas
- 1 Gbps simultaneously to many workers on the same office floor
- Several hundreds of thousands of simultaneous connections for wireless sensors
- Spectral efficiency significantly enhanced compared to 4G
- Coverage improved
- Signaling efficiency enhanced
- Latency reduced significantly compared to LTE
All in all, 5G network has significantly higher speed and network capacity, better coverage and signaling, with much lower latency.
II. How 5G changes the game of video applications
You may ask, how fast is 5G? Well, let’s take videos as example –
If you connect your device to the 5G network, you can watch YouTube videos in 1080/60p without any lags or long bufferings; and if the network continues evolving, it is very likely that you can even watch 4K/60p smoothly without lagging.
Besides general videos, new video experience, like 360 panorama, VR and AR, can also benefit from 5G.
They all need fast graphic processing as well as high network bandwidth. For current computers and mobile devices, graphic processing is not a big problem, but the network bandwidth of 4G is still far from enough for smooth, real-time immersive experience.
With the deployment of 5G network, the bandwidth is no longer a problem –the network capacity is big enough that everyone in a 100 m 2 office can watch VR movies at 4K/60p simultaneously without any lags, or play Pokémon Go with significantly better details. That means everyone can have better VR/AR experience, making these video technology gets commercial use even sooner.
Besides, live streaming will take great advantage of 5G communication. As we know, the live streaming technology we use are usually based on HTTPS-FLV, RTMP, RTSP or HLS, which has seconds of latency. And even though YouTube now reduces the latency of live streaming to less than 3 seconds, it’s not very close to what we know as “instant streaming”. With the new 5G network, it is able to develop a new protocol for live streaming that deliver high quality live streaming while it is compatible to the protocols we currently use.
Additionally, some applications of live streaming, such as remote clinical diagnosis, psychiatric treatment and bespoke scanning, will be benefited from 5G as well, as they require very high bandwidth to high-definition video transmission or massive imagery data in a very short period of time, which is not likely to be done in current 4G network.
5G network is currently under development, with ongoing some lab tests led by Qualcomm, Huawei and Samsung. We expect to see the new generation of 5G standards being introduced as early as second half of 2018, and the 5G network to be deployed in 2020.
We can also that the technologies of videos are still evolving for the better during the time. With all these factors, the near future of video application is bright and will change dramatically from what we have now.