We have spent the last months hearing a lot about the types of speeds that 5G theoretically can offer at its best, but what about the operation of next generation networks in real conditions, less than ideal? That is what Qualcomm tries to answer with the 5G simulation tests that it is launching at the Mobile World Congress, and if the real world shows something similar to the simulations of the company, then the future of the mobile Internet will be really very fast.
Instead of offering only assumptions about gigabit plus speeds that 5G technology might one day offer, Qualcomm's tests modeled real-world conditions in Frankfurt and San Francisco, based on the location of existing cell sites and spectrum allocations in the two cities. The simulation factor in conditions such as geography, the different demands of users on the network, a broad spectrum of devices with various levels of LTE and 5G connectivity for different speeds in order to give an accurate idea of what to expect when they are launched these networks. In addition, the simulations are intended only to show the type of 5G NR (New Radio) networks that could exist next year: the non-autonomous networks built in conjunction with the existing 4G LTE technology, not the truly independent 5G networks that will come later. in.
The Frankfurt simulation is the most basic network, based on 100 MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum with an underlying Gigabit-LTE network in 5 LTE spectrum bands, but the results are still staggering. Navigation increased from 56 Mbps for the average 4G user to more than 490 Mbps for the average 5G user, with response rates approximately seven times faster for navigation. Download speeds also improved dramatically, with more than 90 percent of users viewing download speeds of at least 100 Mbps at 5G, compared to 8 Mbps at LTE.
Results of the Frankfurt simulation for the 10th percentile of users Image: Qualcomm
The simulation of San Francisco was even more impressive. There, Qualcomm modeled a network operating on 800 MHz of 28 GHz mmWave spectrum, built on a gigabit-LTE network on four licensed LTE bands, as well as licensed aided access (LAA) bands.
Navigation speeds increased from 71 Mbps for the average user from 4G to 1.4 Gbps for the average 5G user (in mmWave coverage), with response times approximately 23 times faster. Download speeds for 90 percent of users went from at least 10 Mbps to 186 Mbps in 5G, with the average clock speed at 442 Mbps. Video quality also improved dramatically in both tests, with 5G average users who saw 8K, 120 FPS, 10-bit color video transmission.
Obviously, we still have a way to go before these types of speeds come true. As much effort as Qualcomm has put in their simulations, they are still only tests. In addition, device manufacturers and cellular companies will need to build devices that can take advantage of faster speeds, as well as build the infrastructure of non-independent 5G networks and Gigabit-LTE.
But even so, if 5G networks only manage half the speeds shown by the Qualcomm simulation, then it will still be a breakthrough that could fundamentally change the way we use mobile devices.