IWL Cautions Against Misleading 5G Claims Made by Purveyors of 5G Products

Prior to planning or funding 5G rollouts, technology implementers must rigorously question 5G claims and look for substantiated evidence

IWL issued a caution today that some of the claims made by investors in 5G technology are exaggerated or lead to overly-naïve conclusions.

5G Technology

5G is the latest technology for cellular mobile communications with a maximum speed of 10 Gbps (Gigabits per second), and lower latency.

  • 5G is a link-level technology. 5G runs only between a device and a local cell tower or small cell site. A typical Internet connection goes much further and the impact of that full path typically is the dominant factor in data connection quality and speed.
  • 5G is a bag of technologies; even a seemingly small change by a user -- such as stepping through a doorway -- can cause dramatic (often negative) changes in 5G quality and speed.

Robotic Surgery over 5G

Recently, a surgeon in Fujian province China performed robotic surgery, remotely manipulating two robotic arms, 30 miles from the operating room, communicating over a super-fast 5G network. This type of remote operation is only possible with a high speed, low latency, low jitter, low loss network -- an impressive demonstration of the potential for 5G technology.

However, IWL notes that the remote surgery network communication occurred on a specially engineered network, designed to demonstrate the possibilities, rather than the realities, of 5G. This type of network is not available to all surgeons, much less to the general public.

Much of the publicity and announcements surrounding 5G do not provide any cautions or caveats about the limitations, leading to unrealistic assumptions. Consider, for example, what could have happened had the link failed, or merely had a short transient condition (such as the wind blowing a tree branch in front of a microwave link). In addition, the video mentions a delay of 100 milliseconds. That sounds short, but in actual practice, special training is required to operate sensitive machinery with that degree of operator-input-to-device-response delay.

Infrastructure Considerations

"Once 5G network traffic departs the cell tower (or 5G small cell site), there is no guarantee that the traffic will remain on 5G infrastructure as it traverses the internet,” stated IWL CTO Karl Auerbach. “If the destination is not local then it is a practical certainty that the 5G traffic will cross other networks; will experience different congestion, loss, delay, and jitter; it almost certainly will not traverse an end-to-end 5G-only network. The packet round trip time will often significantly increase. TCP congestion detection and backoff algorithms may trigger.”

5G is a bundle of technologies and radio frequencies. These all operate at different distances and have different abilities to penetrate building materials; simply opening or closing a door could cause a noticeable change in the quality of a connection. And because much of 5G will be short range, simply walking around with a hand-held 5G device could cause the connection to make several transitions from one 5G base to another – each transition presenting an opportunity for the introduction of noise and loss into the connection.

IWL cautions all potential users of 5G technology to rigorously question 5G claims and look for substantiated evidence, prior to planning or funding 5G products.

About IWL

IWL creates products and solutions for DevOps, QA, and support teams to test and deploy apps and devices in the cloud, the internet, and mobile networks. Our network emulation products mimic the types of conditions an app or device would encounter on a real-world network. Our protocol testing products test apps and devices for conformance and robustness to industry standards.

KMAX®, Maxwell®, SilverCreek®, and InterWorking Labs® are registered trademarks of InterWorking Labs, Inc.

Note: This blog post was originally a press release published by PRWeb on 3 July 2019.

Previous Post