Originally, the “G” in 3G or 4G stood for “Gigabites per user per month”, but that was before LTE. The massive bandwidth increase in LTE derailed that progression. The “G” was then re-branded to be Generation.
So what does the plan for 5G look like?
Google’s Andrew Clegg believes the basis for that system exists today, as he laid out at the “Spectrum 2025” conference. The plan is to generally use all the wavelengths that are not in common use or regulated today. The process would then begin with regulation so these frequencies can be managed.
All of these non-regulated frequencies share one common factor: a distance-limiting factor. To use them effectively, a lot more infrastructure will need to be in place. This will bring each tower closer to the users, letting those off-regulation frequencies function.
Infonetics estimates that 45% of world-wide “mobile backhaul” is used performed over licensed spectrum frequencies instead of using that spectrum to service customers. By adding laser-based FSO systems to displace backhaul spectrum usage, much of that 55% could be reallocated to directly service customers. That takes a large bite out of the 5G dilemma, and would give the telecoms more options to quickly and cost effectively build out infrastructure while keeping customers happy.