Everything You Wanted to Know About 5G

By NIIT Editorial

Published on 16/12/2020

9 minutes

5G technology has finally arrived. With the rolling out of the 5G network vis-à-vis the installation of so many towers, talk is being chaffed in the rumour mill regarding various aspects of the 5G technology. Being one of the first educational institutions to offer a career-shaping 5G certification in India, in partnership with Nokia, we at NIIT thought it duty-bound of us to help the uninitiated with the basics of 5G wireless technology. This article will cover the following topics:

  • What is 5G technology?
  • What technologies make-up the underlying framework for 5G?
  • How will 5G technology Work?
  • How will 5G affect the global economy?

Without further ado, let’s grab the bull by the horns.

What is 5G technology?

5G relates to the telecommunications sector. It is the successive generation to the 4G mobile network presently used by smartphones for internet connectivity. The underlying principle enabling 5G to work is simple. A geographical location is first categorized and then divided into smaller, serviceable areas called cells. Each service area comprises one antenna that connects all 5G-enabled devices to the internet and telephone networks. This happens through radio waves. The 5G network architecture offers a wider scope of work and the following advantages against 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G:

  • Greater Bandwidth
  • Faster download speeds that are expected to reach a threshold of 10 gigabits per second (Gbit/s).
  • Increased bandwidths that enable 5G to service desktops/laptops and IoT devices taking on directly traditional Internet Service Providers.

In a nutshell, once the towers for the 5G mobile technology are fully installed and operational, everything from your phone to TV and home appliances would run on a single internet network with ultra-low latency levels.

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What are the underlying technologies of 5G?

In this section, we’ll answer the pressing question on top of people’s minds i.e. what is the requirement for 5G to function as it will. 5G mobile technology relies on a collection of hardware and software the pillars of which are as follows:


Presently, telephone carriers use radio frequency channels for transmitting data over the internet. However, it appears they have reached their optimum capacity. As smartphones continue to penetrate the market and reach into more hands, this increases the total network traffic, increasing congestion, and results in low internet speeds. Network carriers are therefore strategizing to move this traffic over to the Millimetre waves and broadcast services.

Mobile networks have used frequencies below 6 gigahertz to transmit data. But the millimetre waves use a frequency of 30 – 300 gigahertz. One drawback of millimetre waves is that their passage can be hindered by intervening buildings, skyscrapers, or even trees. While in other circumstances they can be absorbed by rain. To solve this problem, another emerging tech that is surfacing is small cells.

Small Cells

They are mini-iterations of towers that can be placed at a distance of 250 meters from each other. Operating with little power, a city can be cobwebbed with thousands of small cells exchanging data and transferring it to 5G devices without lag, despite the presence of inner-city infrastructural bottlenecks. One disadvantage, and it is a major one, with small cells is that their (mini) towers rely on a larger number of antennas than the current cellular network towers. This brings us to the next integral tech that could be an alternative.

Massive MIMO

The base stations being used by 4G antennas are engineered with 12 connectivity ports out of which 8 ports are for transmission and 4 for signal reception. However, 5G antennas would be packed with the capability to support up to 100 ports. In other words, more antennas can be connected to a 5G base station augmenting the bandwidth support for as many devices. It is projected that this would increase mobile network capacity by 22X, or even higher.

MIMO stands for multiple input, multiple output. Although lab trials bring out the potential of Massive MIMO yet there is one drawback. Installing so many more antennas that transmit as many messages could cause signals to collide. The next technology offers a solution.


Beamforming is a technique that deploys traffic-signaling systems for cellular base stations. The main objective of this signal detector is to locate the optimum routing pathway for the data to travel from one antenna to another. When implemented at scale, they could reduce instances of network congestion.

Full Duplex

Standard base stations used in telecommunications run on transceivers. Of the two actions i.e. transmission and signal reception, they can perform just one at a single point in time. On top of that, if the user wants to both, send and receive data simultaneously, then transceivers must alternate between frequencies. The Full Duplex technology that would enable 5G technology features to operate in cohesion, would be capable of sending and receiving data simultaneously. Moreover, it would do so, functioning at the same frequency.

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How Does 5G Work?

Presently 5G is being designed so it can integrate seamlessly with 4G hardware and software architecture. It would help users transitioning to the new technology. The functionality of 5G will depend on the successful cohesion of the following technologies.

Radio Access Network

It consists of small cells, towers, and devices that can be installed in homes and buildings. The 5G network will run on a cluster of small cell towers that combine to broadcast messages onto the much larger, zonal/national network. As pointed above, MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) antennas will be used to simultaneously send and receive higher data volumes.

Core Network

It refers to the central data hub that manages the to and fro of mobile messages, internet connection. Even the advanced level capabilities of the 5G network such as network slicing and virtualization will be handled by the core network.

Network Slicing

As the term suggests, it enables the network to be fragmented into sectors for a particular business application. Take emergency services, i.e. SOS, for instance. They can exist on the same mobile network operating on a different network slice.

Network Function Virtualization (NVF)

Functions that warranted a dedicated allocation of hardware, such as firewall/encryption infrastructure, will become operational using virtual machines. The speed and network flexibility that 5G has been in the news for, will come a great deal from NVF.

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How Will Customers Use 5G?

Tower installations are being worked by the minute at such a speed that analysts predict users to experience 5G in all its glory by 2022. The user-end impact would be such that per capita data use would go up from the current 2.3 GB/user/month to 11 GB/user/month. 5G network speed test trials have publicised 5G download speeds that theoretically are a hundred times faster than 4G. 4G maxes out at 100 Mbps, whereas 5G is expected to touch the 10 Gigabit mark. Therefore, questions such as will 5G replace WiFi or is 5G faster than WiFi warrant an answer in the negative. The gradual spike in data consumption will be accredited to high definition video feeds. Device interconnectivity will be another reason dictating how data packages are formulated. In short 5G, will refine and polish everything that 4G stood for.

Is the 5G Network Active Right Now?

Only a select group of countries that welcomed 5G telecom enablers are capable of supporting 5G services. As of writing, the technology is available in 35+ countries the major clusters of which are concentrated in the west and right across the middle-east.

How will 5G impact the global economy?

The projected 5G roadmap and timeline are something to look forward to. Major studies have pointed out the massive economic positives of 5G or the industries that it would make better. The value chain that includes original equipment manufacturers, telecom operators, application developers, content creators, and finally the consumers would witness a job creation to the tune of $22.3 million.

Through its cross-industry applications, global economic output is expected to reach $13.2 trillion by 2035. As job seekers scurry to take advantage of this job boom, a credited 5G certification course could lead to permanent (and rewarding) career changes. This brings us to our next point.

5G Careers

How Can You Make the Most of These New 5G Jobs?

The Nokia Bell Labs End-to-End 5G Certification Programme is designed to mould talented professionals and take them from run-of-the-mill IT generalists to subject matter experts in 5G. Enrol now and consolidate your foundation for a career that not only promises financial comfort but also the satisfaction of doing something value-adding. For IT practitioners who feel their career has plateaued and needs upskilling, the Nokia Bell Labs 5G programme could be the turning point.

This 5G online certification covers advanced-level concepts for the following 5G technologies:

  • Networking
  • Network Slicing
  • Distributed Cloud
  • Cyber Security
  • Industrial Automation

In terms of online 5G courses in India, Nokia’s ranks amongst the foremost. Professionals acquiring in-demand skillsets with this this online 5G training programme will stand head and shoulders above the crowd. Connect with NIIT admission counsellors to know more.

5G Certification Programme by Nokia Bell Labs and NIIT

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