1 billion could be using 5G by 2023 with China set to dominate

  • Fifth generation mobile technology still in infancy
  • Reports suggest Chinese adoption of "5G" will be largest and fastest
  • Qualcomm claims successful "5G" technology test
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A 5G sign sits on display at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, March, 2015.

The next revolution in mobile technology looks set to be led by China.

5G, the fifth generation of mobile network, doesn't yet exist but aims to provide faster data speeds and more bandwidth to carry ever-growing levels of web traffic.

Analysts at CCS Insight predict the technology will be in place by 2020 and said in a report Wednesday that there will be more than one billion users of 5G by 2023, with more than half based in China.

"China will dominate 5G thanks to its political ambition to lead technology development, the inexorable rise of local manufacturer Huawei and the breakneck speed at which consumers have upgraded to 4G connections," said Marina Koytcheva, VP Forecasting at CCS Insight.

Source: CCS Insight Market Forecast: 5G Subscriptions Worldwide

Source: CCS Insight Market Forecast: 5G Subscriptions Worldwide

CCS Insight said 5G will take off faster than any other previous mobile technology with the United States, South Korea, and Japan all battling to launch the first commercial network.

Exact technology specifications for 5G have yet to be agreed internationally and there are still uncertainties about the technology. These include how and where network operators will deploy vast numbers of new base stations, the lack of clear business case for operators, and consumers' willingness to upgrade their smartphones, CCS Insight said.

In Europe, market fragmentation, the availability of spectrum and the influence of regulators bring additional challenges. 

But several technology firms are trying to show progress in the 5G. Chipset manufacturer, Qualcomm, claimed this week that it had demonstrated the first working 5G data connection on a mobile device.

The speed generated in the test would allow users to download data at around 1,000 Mbps. One estimate suggested this would allow users to download a 2 hour HD film in around 12 seconds.

Qualcomm said the demonstration used their Snapdragon X50 NR modem chipset over a 28GHz millimetre wave spectrum band.

The 28 GHz millimetre wave spectrum band has been described as problematic because the radio signal at this frequency reportedly deteriorates if data is transmitted over more than a few kilometres.

The technology could also be important for technologies like driverless cars.

5G Rollout May Happen Faster Than You Think

SAN FRANCISCO — The rollout of 5G wireless networks needs help in the form of standards, openness and streamlined government regulation, according to top engineers at some of North America's top wireless carriers and equipment providers. Even so, many believe it will happen much sooner than has been predicted.

Precisely what 5G is has yet to be concretely defined by the industry. The Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance, an industry association of mobile carriers, has defined requirements for 5G including data rates, transmission speeds, spectral efficiency and latency. However, the industry has yet to come together on standards for 5G networks.

Nevertheless, firms are plunging ahead with 5G trials. Both Verizon and AT&T are currently conducting major 5G trials in several U.S. cities, and a number of trials are also being conducted by wireless operators in Europe and Asia. More extensive trials throughout the globe are planned for next year.

Broad deployment of 5G networks is not expected until the 2020 timeframe, according to Sam Lucero, a senior principal analyst for M2M at IoT at IHS Markit. But despite the lack of standards, a number of speakers at last month's Mobile World Congress (MWC) Americas in San Francisco were more bullish on 5G and expectations for its rollout. 

"We expect 5G to come faster and be broader than originally thought," said Rajeev Suri, president and CEO of Nokia. Suri said Nokia expects 5G networks to be deployed in 2019, with widespread trials next year.

"We expect 5G to come faster and be broader than originally thought," said Rajeev Suri, president and CEO of Nokia. Suri said Nokia expects 5G networks to be deployed in 2019, with widespread trials next year.

Speakers at a panel about 5G — including the chief technology officers of the largest wireless carriers in the U.S. — spoke glowingly about the promise of 5G even as they acknowledged that much remains to be done before the technology is ready to deploy on a large scale.

"4G is like a really good rock band," said Andre Feutsch, CTO at AT&T. "5G is like a finely tuned orchestra." He added that he sees n 5G a tremendous opportunity for advancing and "frankly making the network more relevant."

"From a network perspective, [5G] is an evolution," said Gordon Mansfield, vice president of RAN and device design at AT&T. "However, from a capability perspective it will be a revolution as it unfolds."

 

Ofcom head Sharon White slams 5G hold-up in spectrum auction

But sources say critique is 'politically expedient'

hughes_products_1960s_videophone_concept.jpg

 

Head of Ofcom Sharon White has come out swinging against providers' legal challenges to its spectrum auction proposals – accusing them of derailing Britain’s “golden opportunity” to take a lead in 5G.

Both Three and EE have launched separate judicial reviews against the UK comms watchdog over its forthcoming auction for the 2.3GHz band, which will be used for 4G, and the 3.4GHz band, identified as central to the rollout of 5G.

The auction had been due to begin at the end of this year, but instead the courts will fight it out over whether the 37 per cent cap on spectrum is guaranteed (which is Three's concern) and whether the separate bands ought to be auctioned separately so the cap doesn't apply to the 3.4GHz band (BT/EE's objection).

In a letter to the Financial Times, White said: "The courts have agreed to fast-track litigation, but the benefits for mobile users will inevitably be delayed. We planned to complete the auction this year.

"Now we will be in court in December. We believe that auctioning some 5G airwaves early would allow companies to start the vital groundwork to make 5G a reality as soon as possible."

She noted that the government is putting up "significant funding" for 5G networks (PDF).

However, as one well-placed source remarked, Ofcom could well be playing up the potential 5G delay for "politically expedient" reasons. It is attacking operators over the perception they are delaying "innovative" new technology.

"This isn't really about 5G," he said. "Ofcom is understandably fed-up with being litigated against."

He said: "Those bands were only paired because they became available from the Ministry of Defence at the same time. When Ofcom decided to bundle them in 2014 it made sense, but since then things have changed."

Because the EU scuppered the proposed £10.5bn merger between O2 and Three in 2016 - the two smallest providers - ensuring each provider has a fair amount of spectrum by introducing a cap became more of a priority.

Had that merger gone ahead, Three and O2 combined would have had a 29 per cent share of the spectrum (as opposed to 15 per cent and 14 per cent respectively), making a spectrum cap less imperative.

Without any spectrum cap, Three would not have begun a legal challenge and EE/BT would not have launched its own counter judicial review.

"The regulator has dug itself into a hole, as a consequence of the EU's and its own insistence over having four companies in the market," said the source. "It might be wise to revisit the decision to bundle the auction together, so we can get a move on with 4G and return to 5G later."

He added that any delays to 5G are not really important, as that band of spectrum won't be available until 2020, and the extent to which the UK is in a position to become a world leader is "highly questionable".

Kane Mumford, journalist at Policy Tracker, agreed that the hold-up to 5G is being over-egged. "Internally, I can say Ofcom is more sceptical about 5G than Ofcom's Sharon White makes out in [the article]" he said in a tweet. ®

The Future Is About Empathy, Not Coding

With the fast advancement of digital technologies and the allure of entrepreneurial lifestyle, plenty of people in different professions turn to coding thinking that the future will require even more IT skills than today. Although I do not question the importance of digital literacy in general, I believe medical professionals should rather master soft skills and acquire a futurist mindset than go for coding if they truly want to prepare for the coming decades.

download.jpg

Automation, A.I., and robotics turn the job market upside down

At the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, automation and digitization of our worlds and workplace are continuing, changing the job market, the nature of many jobs and even the concept of what it means to be working. Many fear that robots and automation will take their jobs without alternatives. The phenomenon is not new: in the 19th century, members of the Luddite movement – textile workers and weavers – destroyed weaving machinery in protest and fear that machines would take their place in their industry.

Lately, the same fears emerge in healthcare about artificial intelligence taking the jobs of radiologists, robots surpassing the skills of surgeons, or taking jobs in pharma. A renowned voice in tech, Kai-Fu Lee, founder of venture capital firm Sinovation Ventures told CNBC that A.I. will be bigger than all other tech revolutions, and robots are likely to replace 50 percent of all jobs in the next decade. Stephen Hawking even said that the development of full A.I. could spell the end of the human race. Elon Musk agreed.

Is basic income tax the solution? Or turning to coding?

As the fears of losing the battle against new technologies grow exponentially, alternatives on the individual and social level already surfaced. The most popular policy-level concept is the introduction of the universal basic income, in which case the government would give everyone just enough money to live on while creating incentives for individuals to take risks, start businesses, change jobs, return to school or try a new career. Another idea is the negative income tax, where the state would give the poor money the same way as in the case of taxing rich people; but Bill Gates would tax robots and some economists think the solution lies at the heart of governments creating more jobs.

While these responses for the challenges of automation and digital technologies are only ideas at the moment – except for the national-scale experiment of Finland with universal basic income -, it is natural that people are making steps to secure their own futures. No wonder that so many are considering to give up their current profession and try their luck in programming, coding, and entrepreneurship in general. As it seems that the hottest professions of the day are those dealing with data science, coding and computing. While many think that it might even be the case in healthcare, I believe that if someone truly pictures himself or herself among medical professionals in the future, other skills, such as the futurist mindset and social skills coupled with sound digital literacy might be more important than coding or entrepreneurial spirit.

The importance of the futurist mindset

I’m not saying that everyone should get a crystal ball and concentrate strongly on what it is trying to say. Yet, it is important to look ahead and continuously monitor the current trends with a notion of how it might affect one’s job, family or environment in general. Personal computers, laptops are only around for a couple of decades, not to speak about the wonder called world wide web! In the 1950s, no one would have thought that a little bit more than 60 years later, the most pursued jobs and skills will be those of the data scientists and coders.

Many jobs that might be around in healthcare in a couple of years, do not exist yet. What if we will have robot companion technicians soon? What about gamification specialists or AR/VR operation planners? While they all might be possible, you cannot really prepare for them only by studying more coding or data science. What everyone needs to understand is that the most important is to familiarize with the latest technologies and prepare for the changes in time. We have to have meaningful conversations about how such changes affect people and the future generations. For example, the generation born today will play with AI friends and have VR teachers. That might come with a completely different view on the worlds as ours today, so we need to be open, mindful and curious. Just as a futurist!

Social skills and empathy

In healthcare, soft skills such as empathy – and the jobs connected with it will be valued more and more in the future. It makes complete sense. Automation, robots and artificial intelligence will perform certain cognitive tasks brilliantly to the extent that humans will not be able to compete. Where could humans have a chance? At the so-called soft skills: creativity, empathy, compassion and paying attention to each other. Although artificial intelligence will perform diagnostic tasks or robots might be able to do surgeries, but could they talk to a patient with empathy about the risks and consequences of an operation?

Moreover, as digital health simplifies administration and cuts down on monotonous tasks, the workload of doctors and nurses will be reduced, so they will be able to concentrate on what really matters – healing the patient and guiding him through the entire process with care. I think, eventually, AI would be able to mimic even such soft skills but as we are social beings, we will always need the human touch.

The shift towards jobs requiring soft skills already shows in the numbers. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that while jobs for doctors and surgeons will rise by 14 per cent between 2014 and 2024, the top three direct-care jobs – personal-care aide, home-health aide, and nursing assistant – are expected to grow by 26 per cent.

However, as Livia Gershon writes here, we seriously need to rethink our perspective towards jobs requiring social skills; as they are usually underpaid and undervalued. As care work and other types of labor containing mainly soft skills cannot contribute to the GDP growth as effectively as other types, the global economic system cannot value it appropriately. However, as the age of artificial intelligence and robots is coming, soft skills become much more valued and those who plan to enter the social care sector now will reap the benefit of it – not to speak about patients and society in general!

Digital literacy

Although I argue against medical professionals massively going into coding and programming in general, I am certainly not against digital technology and digital literacy. On the contrary! I believe that it is way more important than many other skills in today’s digital world. I only think that it is more relevant to interact and use technology than to understand it down to the tiniest detail. Especially for medical professionals.

Although in the future, it also might change what digital literacy means. Plenty of schools started to incorporate the basics of computer science, coding and programming into their courses. For example, former US President Barack Obama announced a ‘computer science for all’ program for elementary and high schools in the United States. And while I’m all for STEM education, I would be happy to see schools focusing more on voluntary work in helping the elderly or other groups of people in need, as what kids learn there might be more valuable than Python in the future.

While acquiring new skills related to digital technologies, of course, makes sense, in healthcare, it might make even more sense to focus on skills we should have been good at but the nature of our profession didn’t allow it. With disruptive technologies, physicians would finally have time to focus on the patient, deal with challenging decisions and enjoy their profession again.

Are Service Providers Ready for Mega Services?

The service providers that will thrive going forward will be those that can keep traffic flowing but also pave the road to comprehensive, predictive and intuitive cloud-grade services that instantly adapt to user behaviours.

cloud-computing.jpg

Fitness trackers that measure your heart rate, map applications that know where you are – and calculate the best route to where you’re going, sensors that monitor diagnostics on jet engines 30,000 feet in the sky; ride-hailing apps that send a vehicle to you when summoned.

Many of us are familiar with the above services, why they’re useful and can probably even name the companies that have made them famous.

The dawn of the smartphone and the proliferation of quick LTE wireless networks paved the way for mobile applications over the last several years that are ready and able to serve right from one’s pocket.

As the “old” saying goes, there’s an app for that.

But beyond the application, what if you never even had to launch it?

And better yet, what if apps could seamlessly and automatically talk to each other in the background to create entirely new immersive services – and value – in our lives?

Take, for instance, something as simple as dinner.

In the near future, each day your family’s fitness and biometric monitoring service combines with your medical, food analysis, refrigerator inventory and food supply to order your groceries – all according to your family’s preferences, fitness goals, allergies and medical restrictions.

It will put recommended recipes on the kitchen screen when the service determines you are in the mood to cook.

Otherwise, it will order your restaurant meal for eat-in or delivery according to your habits.

Service providers currently own the ubiquitous networks that the relatively simple applications like Uber, Fitbit and Netflix, for instance, ride on.

But a world of all-encompassing “mega services,” like the dinner example above, provides an opportunity for telecommunications companies to evolve their networks to be the key players in that future. 

Are service providers ready?

Let’s shift that dinner example and look at vacation travel.

People can spend weeks planning a short vacation to Europe. Currency conversion, mobile data plan settings, plotting out historical sites to visit, booking flights and trains around Europe along with hotels, just to name a few of the activities that currently require manual human intervention.

But what if you could simply push magic “I’m traveling” button and all the aforementioned activities self-assembled in the background to plan and execute it all for you?  

To be useful, a service like that will need to be instantaneous, with access to large amounts of knowledge, including incorporating all of the sensor data around them.

Moving so much information quickly and securely to and within the cloud network will be critical, and the key competitive differentiator in this new era.

After all, every part of a so-called mega service will at some point traverse a part of the network. 

Given the vast existing infrastructure that service provider networks already encapsulate, they’re in a prime position to capitalize on this movement.

But the service provider networks must evolve in several areas to truly be successful.

Applications in a mega service will need to span across disparate networks and interoperate.

Security holes need to be a thing of the past.

Network latency, which is tolerable for loading Instagram feeds, is simply unacceptable when you start talking about self-driving cars or medical programs playing a role in one of these services.

And don’t forget the sheer operational complexity of enabling this new reality, which dictates the requirement of network automation.

The network must evolve

Historically, service providers have built carrier-grade networks to support the scale and robustness of new offerings.

Yet, there are plenty of upstart companies and application providers out there ready and willing to eat their lunch and blow by them in terms of digital transformation.

If service providers are going to excel and capitalize on this movement to break the shackles of commoditization and be consumers’ go-to mega-service providers, they must understand and embrace key network concepts that will shape their future strategies.  

  • Upgrade the edge. Bandwidth upgrades notwithstanding, applications that play a key role in any given mega service that requires constant tuning – like self-driving cars – cannot wait for best-effort traffic across the Internet so they can leverage a distant cloud resource. Rather, the cloud has to exist at the edge. This means the edge becomes more than just a transport entry point. It will become a cloud surface. Moreover, the edge is no longer limited to devices sitting at the end of a fiber run on a street or at the base of a cell tower. When we get to IoT, for instance, the edge could be an IoT gateway sitting on a tractor or in an ambulance or deployed at some forward base in a disaster zone. Mega services need zero latency – hence, an access network with converged compute and storage performance done on-premise versus a distant data center.
  • Evolve from simple infrastructure. Look, it’s not easy to dig trenches, lay network pipes and connect it all together. Several application/software providers have tried – and stalled – in the past to create their own networks. Service providers already have beachfront property when it comes to enabling mega services with decentralized data centers and pipes in the ground. But while infrastructure is hard, it’s also table stakes. Operators must align their infrastructures to provide efficient, seamless connectivity and infrastructure on-demand that will make it easy to adopt and integrate mega services that leverage next-gen technology like augmented reality, blockchain and IoT.
  • Create mega services: Service providers in this category will be assembling and driving new mega services themselves versus relying entirely on third-party developers. That will be important as well (look at what happened when Apple opened its applications to developers) but the SP should look to play a key role in managing mega services. As such, this will require a big shift in service providers adopting new development methods like DevOps that present containers, micro services and Kubernetes to manage the disparate – yet agile – network of application development. 
  • Protect customers: Mega services are meant to be immersive and, therefore, they have tentacles into so much more information about end users than before: financial information, immediate location, medical/health records, driving habits. This is not stuff you want in a vulnerable spot. As such, are we going to distribute the security burden to thousands of device makers looking to keep their cost of goods down? Or must we take a more pragmatic approach and create logical enforcement points that we can leverage in the case that someone either doesn’t secure their sensor or the bad guys manage to get past whatever precautions have been taken? It’s critical that service providers ensure automated, cloud-delivered security in every part of the network from devices themselves to the access layer all the way back to the core. Ultimately, success in mega services is linchpinned on trust and, as we’ve seen in recent years, security breaches compromise trust like nothing else.

Flourishing with mega services 

As we move toward predictive and intuitive cloud-grade services that instantly adapt to user behaviors, network agility will remain a fundamental part of a service providers’ value proposition.

Nevertheless, if service providers are going to use the lifeblood of their business – a.k.a. the network – to break the curse of commoditization, they must rethink the way the network enables these shifts.

And as this new era dawns, service providers must ask themselves what role they really want to play and how to get there.

The service providers that will thrive going forward will be those that can keep traffic flowing but also pave the road to comprehensive new mega services, not just the nuts and bolts of the technology.

Australian regulator fast-tracking upcoming 5G auction at super-high frequency

Australia might be getting access to 5G data speeds sooner than expected with the communications regulator fast-tracking preparations to auction the necessary spectrum off to mobile network operators.

images.jpg

Speeding up the long process may bring forward revenue for the government, but also the capital expenditure costs for mobile network operators like Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and TPG.

The global race to 5G wireless networks

The future trends in mobile technology and how 5G will transform the way we work, live and play.

Spectrum auctions have reaped at least $3.5 billion since 2013, including world-record prices spent on lower frequencies, which are more valuable to Australian operators because they carry signals further and with better penetration.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority on Monday revealed it is speeding up the process to release and sell part of the spectrum for 5G services - at the 26 gigahertz (GHz) frequency - which is currently reserved for fixed communications, space-to-earth signals and radio astronomy.

Planning is already well underway to release spectrum at 3.6 GHz frequencies for 5G with an auction expected in late 2018 to early 2019, but following an industry meeting last week the ACMA decided 26 GHz may now be a candidate for accelerated release.

Higher frequencies carry data very well in dense city areas. Australia's 3G and 4G networks currently use frequencies between 700 megahertz (MHz) and 2.1 GHz.

Normally the ACMA waits until after the International Telecommunications Union has decided which frequency should be adopted globally. But on Monday it revealed consultation on the 26 GHz release will start straight away, two years before the ITU's 2019 conference.

"Unless there are significant reasons raised to the contrary, the ACMA will use the information garnered from this process and develop an options paper for release in the first quarter of 2018," the regulator announced on Monday.

"This will inform a decision on whether to progress consideration of one or more [millimetre] wave bands to the preliminary re-planning phase of the ACMA's mobile broadband strategy."

International standards are needed to ensure network equipment and handsets can function in any country, which keeps costs down.

5G technology has lower latency compared to 4G - about 1 millisecond instead of 50 milliseconds - and features super-high speeds of about 1 gigabit per second (1Gbps), and uses less power, which means batteries don't have to be charged as often.

Chief executive of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, Chris Althaus, said there was little risk Australia would end up adopting the wrong frequency by ACMA ''reading the tea leaves and getting on with it".

"Planning is already well underway to release spectrum at 3.6 GHz frequencies for 5G with an auction expected in late 2018 to early 2019, but following an industry meeting last week the ACMA decided 26 GHz may now be a candidate for accelerated release."

AMTA's Chris Althaus

"This band has got so much support globally so that we are certainly not going out of step," he said on Monday.

It was still too early to say exactly when 26 GHz would come to market, but it is not heavily used at the moment so could be cleared quickly, he added.

South Korean mobile operators have already chosen 28 GHz for the world's first commercial 5G network, to be rolled out for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.

Telstra's annual results noted it plans to spend $15 billion on capital expenditure between 2016 and 2019, including spectrum. However, only the upcoming 3.6 GHz auction and renewals were discussed by management.

"We're looking forward to working with the ACMA and others to ensure 5G services are made available as quickly as possible so that Australia can also be a world-leader in this technology," a Telstra spokesman said on Monday.

"We recently conducted 5G radio testing at Ericsson's 5G experience centre with tests in the lab delivering download speeds of greater than 20Gbps....Preparations are underway for our next 5G trial, which will take place on the Gold Coast in 2018."

Telstra will use a special scientific apparatus licence during the trial.

An Optus spokesman said it "welcomes the ACMA's proactive approach to progress consideration of mmWave spectrum for future 5G use".

BSNL expects to start 5G service trials by March 2018

download.jpg

The state-owned telecom firm BSNL expects to start field trial of 5G services by the end of this financial year, company's chairman and MD Anupam Shrivastava said on Wednesday.

"We had interaction with Nokia last week (on 5G). Next we are going to present about our requirements after which field trail concept is there. It should start before the end of this financial year," Shrivastava told reporters today.

The state-run firm has started discussion with Larsen & Toubro and HP for end devices that will be required for 5G services.

He was speaking on the sidelines of signing its knowledge sharing agreement on 5G technology with network firm Coriant.

Under the terms of the agreement, Coriant and BSNL will cooperate to accelerate network architecture and service innovation for 5G services.

"This (MoU with Coriant) is only knowledge sharing agreement. There are no commercials involved. We are at nascent stage. By this agreement, we will get to know more about 5G through this and other agreements," Shrivastava said.

He said the speed of the 5G is going to be much faster than 4G and it will use same 4G and 3G network but with optimised network.

"Latency is going to be in 5G technology which is time taken by data to reach one point to other. 5G ecosystem will be developed based on used cases which will differ from country to country. Like smart car parking may not be a priority for India but it e-health, waste management can be used case of India," Shrivastava said.

He said that BSNL owns largest optical fibre network, which can provide highest data speed, in the country to the tune of over 7 lakh kilometer.

Coriant Chairman and CEO Shaygan Kheradpir said that the company will share its experiences on 5G technology with BSNL specially on network design.

"The data speed in 5G should be able to support real time computing speed like in case of autonomous cars where sensors have to immediately learn about traffic. We will share our experience in designing network for transmitting data from wireless towers to where computing is taking place and back to the network," Kheradpir said.

Source URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/bsnl-expects-to-start-5g-service-trials-by-march-2018/articleshow/60404140.cms

Computer science: Girls logging off

If you are looking for signs that technical education is being transformed, and that girls are now more eager to study subjects such as computing, then my advice is to avoid the latest GCSE results.

Fewer girls took computing GCSEs this year. CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

Fewer girls took computing GCSEs this year. CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

I have written before about fears that the revolution in computing education has stalled. Now the GCSEs, coupled with the recent A-level results, provide more evidence for those concerns.

In England, entries for the new computer science GCSE, which is supposed to replace ICT, rose modestly from 60,521 in 2016 to 64,159 this year. Girls accounted for just 20% of entries, and the proportion was a tiny bit lower than last year.

ICT entries fell from 84,120 to 73,099, which you would expect as the subject is disappearing from the national curriculum. But it had proved more attractive to girls. Even there, the proportion of female entries fell from 41% to 39%.

Combine the two subjects, and you find that the number studying either subject has fallen by over 7,000 in the past year. Back in 2015 more than 47,000 girls were getting some kind of computing qualification, and that has fallen to about 41,000 - just 30% of the total.

The consultancy Accenture points out that the figure for the engineering GCSE is even worse, with girls making up just 10% of the entrants. Emma McGuigan, the company's group technology officer, said it was a stark reflection of the challenges the tech industry faces when it comes to diversity.

"Our research found that girls are turning away from Stem [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] subjects at an early age with stereotypes, negative perceptions and poor understanding of career options all having an impact," she said.

Bill Mitchell from the British Computing Society (BCS) is concerned about the overall numbers studying computing. He says schools are not offering enough pupils the chance to study the subject because ICT teachers are unprepared for the new course: "A large number just don't have the subject knowledge for the new, more rigorous, computer science GCSE."

The BCS is part of a programme to help teachers upgrade their skills, but says it is only funded to reach 20% of schools.

It says there is still work to do to help girls see computing as a subject for them.

"We need to do more with the curriculum to show it's not just a nerdy boys' subject," said Mr Mitchell. "We've got to show them it's about real problems like climate change and improving healthcare."

The government says it is determined to keep the UK at the cutting edge of the digital revolution after Brexit. But right now, the message from the exam system is that too few will leave school with the skills needed to fulfil that promise.

source url: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-41047740

5G FIXED WIRELESS ACCESS (FWA) TECHNOLOGY | WHAT IS IT?

download.jpg

5G FIXED WIRELESS ACCESS | WHAT IS IT?

Fixed Wireless Access, or FWA, is an established means of providing internet access to homes using wireless mobile network technology rather than fixed lines.

While FWA can often prove more convenient to set up, its key weakness compared to fixed line broadband is performance. Current mobile network technology simply isn’t able to provide download speeds or latency levels that can compete with a modern fibre broadband connection.

However, the next stage of FWA will utilise 5G network technology, such as beam-forming and a high-frequency mmWave (millimeter wave) spectrum, to provide a considerable performance boost to wireless broadband services.

WHY IS 5G FWA SUCH A BIG DEAL?

5G FWA retains the key benefit of current FWA offerings in that it enables the establishment of a quick and cheap broadband service, even in areas that don’t have ready access to fixed line home broadband. 5G FWA doesn’t require any engineering works at the customer end - just the provision of so-called Customer Premise Equipment (CPEs), which can be readily self-installed by the subscriber.

The chief advantage here, however, is performance. 5G Fixed Wireless Access will be able to deliver a level of service that’s similar to a fibre-based broadband network, and should even be able to provide data speeds that are well ahead of current broadband standards.

Initial 5G trials have reported download speeds of 10 to 25Gbps, while the current average UK home broadband speed is around 30Mbps. While so-called ‘gigabit-speed’ home broadband services are incoming, 5G FWA could prove to be a match in many instances.

This means that 5G FWA needn’t just be a replacement service in areas where fixed broadband is unavailable. It could also be offered as a competing service to fixed home broadband in more built-up and highly populated areas. More competition, of course, means lower prices and improved services for the end customer.

WHY IS 5G FWA SO MUCH BETTER THAN 4G FWA?

5G FWA will be able to utilise much higher frequency bands than current 4G networks can support. This will include so-called millimetre bands like 28GHz, which have much more available spectrum than LTE.

This additional spectrum means that there will be more capacity for data traffic and greater download speeds.

These millimetre bands also have a tighter radio beam, so they can be focused for use by fewer users in the immediate vicinity. This means that performance won’t be adversely affected by other users within the vicinity.

HOW WILL 5G FWA BENEFIT 5G MOBILE?

5G FWA will support future mobile usage, and will operate to the same standards as forthcoming 5G mobile networks. The latter won’t commence rolling out to the public until 2020.

This presents mobile operators with the opportunity to use 5G FWA as a means to prepare their networks for full-scale 5G network deployments.

In other words, 5G FWA can be used as a stepping stone to full 5G mobility. It could potentially contribute to a much smoother and quicker transition from 4G to 5G for mobile users.

Conversely, of course, future 5G FWA services will be able to make use of 5G network technology as it spreads around the country.

WHO’S WORKING ON IT?

Samsung is known to be working on 5G FWA technology in a number of countries, including here in the UK. Towards the end of February, Samsung and British telecoms infrastructure firm Arqiva announced that they would be partnering up to conduct the first UK 5G FWA trial during the latter half of 2017. The test will involve several locations in central London, including Arqiva’s Percy Street offices.

Source URL: https://5g.co.uk/guides/what-is-5g-fixed-wireless-access-fwa/