Dec 11, 2019
Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.
Have you figured out yet how 5G will affect you as a developer? I’ve been posting this series of articles about 5G to show you what’s coming up and to get the wheels of innovation turning in our developer community. In this piece, we’ll look at enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), the part of 5G designed for better user experiences on consumer devices that can take advantage of extreme network speeds and capacity.
Imagine that you sat down with your peers about seven years ago and looked at the landscape of 4G/LTE wireless communication around you. “What are we going to need in ten years?” you asked. “What do we need to improve? In which directions do we want to grow wireless?”
That’s about what engineers did at 3GPP – the industry organization that defines cellular specifications. Realizing that the first four generations of mobile networks connected people through better voice and faster data services, the engineers envisioned 5G as a platform for all the Next, Big Things. 5G would need to connect virtually everyone and everything from workers and patients to robots and crops.
The main requirements for 5G were sorted into three main usage scenarios for mobile communications:
The high expectations of 5G needed to realize those scenarios are quantified and summarized in the image below:
Each of the three sets of requirements appears to pull 5G in a different direction. So we describe 5G as a unifying connectivity fabric precisely because of everything it’s designed to unify: fixed wireless access, mobile computing, eXtended Reality (XR), the Internet of Things (IoT), enterprises and automotive, to name a few.
For that matter, the term “enhanced mobile broadband” itself unifies a lot of things like network capacity and peak data rates in the always-changing area of consumer needs and wants. eMBB has to cover not only a diverse present but also a future that will follow consumers wherever they may lead.
First, there’s the way people use mobile communication. In a joint paper, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and Nokia cite survey results from 5800 consumers to questions about the pain points of using mobile devices. What’s at the top of their wish list? Almost half (48%) of them don’t want to have to log on to public Wi-Fi again; the same number want lightning-fast browsing on their smartphones. Not far behind is their desire to download content 10 times faster (37%) and to enjoy better quality in their video calls (27%).
Then, there are all the innovative directions in which mobile communication is poised to take consumers:
To meet those expectations, 5G needs to achieve higher throughput, lower latency, greater capacity, better uniformity and complete mobility — and do it all at a lower cost to mobile operators. Here are some of the technologies built into 5G that make eMBB possible:
When you think about the biggest advantages of 5G for your customers and users, think eMBB. Compared to the current generation of wireless, it’s a vision of 100x traffic capacity and 10x experienced throughput, with 1/10th the latency.
My next post in this 5G series will cover mission-critical control, the second of three main usage scenarios for mobile communications. Meanwhile, we believe that the opportunity for innovation in XR is particularly compelling for developers, so have a look at our presentation, Boundless photorealistic mobile XR over 5G. You’ll find plenty of grist for the innovation mill.