Innovation never stops…

Attending Johannesberg Summit 2013 has been such a great experience. Here’re some interesting observations.

What is 5G? When is 5G? Most speakers have talked about their views about 5G and it looks almost sure that 5G will be something exciting ( Gerhard P. Fettweis – TU Dresden – The Tactile Internet,  Lauri Oksanen – Nokia Siemens Networks – Your Gigabyte a day,  Chih-Lin I – China Mobile – A peek at 5G, etc.) No delay, cost efficient, numerous connections, high speed, and so on …. A question that remains open: what’s the fundamental enabling technology?  Let’s take a look at the enabling technologies of existing generations and how long it takes for technologies to be accumulated for each generation:

1985, 1G: analog. AMPS etc. (first wireless telephony 1905, 80 years.)

1992, 2G: digital, TDMA/CDMA etc. (from Shannon, 1948, to 1992. 44 years)

2002, 3G: multimedia, WCDMA etc. (De-Rosa-Rogoff defined the direct sequence spread spectrum

method in 1950, 52 years)

2012, 4G: upgraded form of 3G, rich multimedia, MIMO+OFDM, etc.( 1970,  A.R. Kaye and D.A. George, MIMO; 1970: OFDM, Robert W. Chang. 42 years)

While each generation takes around 10 years to be standardized, it takes more than 40 years of fundamental research to accumulate sufficient technologies for each generation. Utilization and commercialization of research results are getting faster and faster because of the ubiquitous availability of information and the exponential growth of information exchange rate.

An immediate example is given by Lauri Oksanen in his talk “Your Gigabyte a day”. The standardization time of different Gs:

LTE: 7 YEARS

wcdma: 11 YERS

gsm: 12 YEARS

Now after standardizing 4G, have we used out all technologies we have obtained so far? If so, will future innovations also grow exponentially? The bottleneck soon may no longer be channels, but human brains. So are existing technologies sufficient enough to support our demand? Or if we have used out all technologies accumulated so far, shall we be a little bit more patient for our brains to generate some new results? So when will be 5G? And who will be the main contributors?

Another interesting trend is the cellular network is getting more and more centralized (Chih-Lin I – China Mobile – A peek at 5G, Pranav Mehta – Intel Corporation – Building the Software Defined Infrastructure, etc). If you question the complexity, watch Pranav Mehta’s talk and you will be relieved. When we apply Moore’s law also in network computing, all complexity issues will be solved, sooner or later. Then there would be many new research opportunities.

All the talks is to be found at the Johannesberg Summit webpage.

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