With the 2018 frequency auction, the 5G frequencies are now available in Finland. The new 3.5 GHz frequencies are becoming a so-called core network layer for 5G in Europe. The frequencies enable ultra-fast, zero-latency wireless data transfer and further accelerate the utilisation of the Internet of things.
“Compared to earlier network generations, the 5G frequency band is higher than ever before, which also means shorter range,” describes Telia specialist Timo Hietalahti. “However from the very beginning, 5G is well-suited for use by organisations—the connection can be used, for example, by machines moving in factories. In such an environment, fast 5G connections enable new opportunities for data transfer between machines.”
“There are also other, existing applications for 5G in industrial settings: one innovation that high-capacity and zero-latency data transfer enable is using 4K and even 8K high-definition image in process monitoring. Naturally, 5G is also suitable for other lines of business. With 5G companies can with low investments build a wireless data transfer network within their operating area that corresponds to a fibre-optic connection.
WHERE WILL 5G BASE STATIONS BE BUILT?
According to Hietalahti, the 5G network will first be built in major towns and for business use in industries that have existing applications for 5G. Because of the shorter range, a denser network of base stations will also be needed in the future, as the capacity requirement increases. Base stations can be placed at bus stops, streetlights and other urban infrastructure.
“Placing base stations requires permits. That is why the emergence of the 5G network could be promoted by flexible permit handling,” Hietalahti says. “Businesses can also affect the way base stations are located in their areas. Telia pays rent for the base station places,” he specifies.
Even an extensive 5G network is worth nothing if you do not have the terminal devices for making use of the network. According to Hietalahti, telephones, routers and modems are rapidly becoming available. “For example, Telia will introduce a 5G router in Finland together with Nokia, and the consumer pilots are currently about to start.”
For a year now, the United States has been using a higher band corresponding to the 28 GHz frequency and consumer devices that utilise it. In Finland, the next frequency auction is just behind the corner. “The 26 GHz frequency band to be auctioned in Finland corresponds to this 28 GHz. It offers even more capacity than the 3.5 GHz band. The next frequency auction will probably in 2020,” Hietalahti says.
THE 5G BASE STATION IS SMART
With previous network generations, the signal originating from the antenna forms a consistent coverage area, resulting in weaker signal strength at the edges of the area. With 5G, the signal is comprised of several narrow beams that move with the users. “This increases the capacity and reduces interference,” Hietalahti explains. “A term that commonly pops up when talking about 5G is smart antenna. 5G base stations also consume less energy. The manufacturers are developing 5G base stations towards a future where base stations use no electricity if there are no users in their range.”
“To conclude, one can say that the availability of 5G is rapidly improving and corporations should rather begin to work on 5G innovations today than tomorrow. In the 5G Finland network that Telia has started, businesses can develop 5G use cases together with other businesses, organisations and start-ups.”
“In the 2018 5G frequency auction, we acquired the lowest possible frequency, which has slightly better coverage. This frequency also involves less strict usage limitations in the radiofrequency co-ordination agreements Finland has with our neighbouring countries. This foundation suits well the building of an ultra-fast wireless network,” Hietalahti adds.