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5G explained in layman's terms (Part 1)

There has been a lot of talks of this acronym - 5G for the past few years with telcos across the world propagating and selling this idea. But to the layman, 5G is nothing but complicated mathematical talk. The only thing that the layman understood is:-

  1. there is a greater need for data transfer speeds. 5G is supposed to offer potential of up to 100 times faster than existing G. It could even power an entire smart city infrastructure. It might even make self driving cars a reality

  2. the mathematical codes than runs 3G and 4G won't be able to power 5G. The jump from the existing 4G to 5G is far larger than any previous jump from say 2G to 3G and from 3G to 4G. 

5G suddenly came into prominence worldwide when countries in the west started banning Huawei from tendering and supplying their 5G network to their country's telcos. Reason - Huawei could insert spyware into their 5G network thus allowing Huawei and the chinese government to spy on countries which installed Huawei's 5G network. 

Data transmission for 5G is driven by 2 coding methods. One is called Polar Codes, championed by Huawei for more than 10 years based on an invention by a Turkish professor Dr. Erdal Arikanhas.  The other standard is the U.S.-developed coding method "LDPC" (low-density parity check).

To ensure that both standards work seamlessly regardless of where you are in the world, the world has agreed for both standards to work side by side instead of one single standard. Even though the world has voted on both standards to work side by side, the U.S. government and companies such as Qualcomm are still working to push for LDPC as the single or dominant standard over polar codes.

Despite the western world's current attempt to shut out Huawei from supplying their 5G networks to their country's telcos, China's sheer population will makes it the biggest 5G market in the world once it is rolled out.

Will there be an increase in cybersecurity risks with 5G? With new technology comes the danger of the unknown. Organisations and even governments don't have the experience to know what 5G will unleashed. 5G will bring good things but there will be lots of things that we will learn only about as time goes on.


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