Mini-glossary: 5G terms you should know (free PDF)

5G is the next generation of mobile tech, poised to succeed 4G, LTE, and 3G networks—and it is expected to have a major impact on remote workers, smart cities, IoT devices, and digital transformation initiatives. This glossary defines a dozen terms that will help you get a handle on this emerging technology.

From the glossary:

Throughout history, each new technological advance has precipitated the next advance, in a continuous loop of faster, better, and more powerful technology. This principle has been the cornerstone for the IT industry since its inception. For mobile telecommunication, the next great technological advance in this cycle has been given the moniker fifth-generation (5G) wireless.

Predictably, 5G is going to be a much faster form of wireless mobile communication than its predecessors. But 5G also promises to be more than just faster. The 5G standards being developed promise a telecommunications network that also dramatically improves latency, coverage, capacity, and density.

3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)
Originally convened to establish agreed upon standards for 3G wireless technology, the 3GPP is a collaborative group of telecommunication standard setting associations. The 3GPP is one of the groups currently working on new standards for 5G wireless technology.

Traditionally, wireless signals are broadcasted in all directions, but with beamforming, signals are aimed at specific locations or devices using arrayed antennae. This technology will save energy and decrease interference.

Cloud Radio Access Network (cRAN)
Part of the envisioned virtualized network concept, the proposed cRAN architecture would move processing from the radio or device level to the cloud. The idea is that pooling resources in the cloud will create more efficient and less costly mobile networks.

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