Service providers, network equipment providers, and test equipment providers are all racing to deliver 5G wireless systems. We’ve all heard of the benefits of 5G: higher speeds, lower latencies, superior density. While fixed internet access is positioned to be the first major 5G application, many more are in the wings, including mobile applications.

电信运营商、网络设备供应商和测试设备提供商都在竞相推出5G无线系统。我们都已知道5G的好处:更快的速度、更低的延迟、更高的密度。尽管固定互联网接入已确定无疑地成为首要的5G应用,但还有很多其它方面的应用,其中包括移动应用。

While much of the industry is opining on the future benefits of 5G, there are other benefits as well. The huge investments in components, equipment, and know-how will spin off benefits outside of directly 5G networking. Here are five I’ve identified.

尽管业界考虑的大都是5G的未来收益,但还有其它好处也不容忽视。对元器件、设备和相关技术的巨大投资将产生除5G网络之外的诸多益处。我在这里列举五个供大家参考。

mmWave everything. Many 5G systems are based on the wide spectrum available at mmWave frequencies, essentially 30 GHz and above. Until now, these frequencies were the domain of military systems, satellite communication, and other comparatively niche applications. Not anymore. The giant investments into mmWave will produce a thriving commercial industry generating passive components, radios, power amps, antennas, and the like. Expect the prices of these components to drop steeply as volumes skyrocket, much to the benefit of existing applications.

一切都在于mmWave。许多5G系统都是基于毫米波频率的宽频谱,基本上都在30 GHz及以上频段。一直以来,这些频率主要用于军事系统、卫星通信和其他相对专窄的应用领域。然而,这样局面将不复存在。对毫米波的巨大投资将催生一个繁荣的商用产业,尤其是无源器件、无线电、功率放大器和天线等相关产品。随着产量的飞速增长,预计这些器件的价格将急剧下降,这将为现有应用系统带来很多好处。

Phased-array radar. One of the existing applications poised to benefit greatly from 5G mmWave is phased-array radar (Figure 1). Not only does phased-array radar share the same frequency bands, the beamforming techniques (Figure 2) are similar to those in 5G. After all, antenna beams are formed by the constructive and destructive interference of the signals received or radiated by each antenna element. This is true whether deployed in a cutting edge military defense system, or in a 5G base station streaming cat videos. The math that forms the beams is exactly the same. 5G mobile applications will add real-time tracking as well. The considerable investment into 5G low-cost phased array antennas, beamforming algorithms, and phase and amplitude adjustable components will lead to cost and productivity advancements for its higher end military cousins. An added benefit: the multichannel test equipment used to verify the beamforming design may be deployed for both sets of applications.

相控阵雷达。相控阵雷达(见图1)是有望从5G毫米波获益最多的现有应用之一。相控阵雷达不仅与5G网络共享相同的频段,而且其波束成形技术(如图2)也与5G相似。毕竟,天线波束是由每个天线单元接收或辐射信号的相长和相消干涉形成的。无论是尖端的军事防御系统,还是5G基站的流视频应用,都是如此,因为形成波束的数学原理是完全一样的。5G移动应用也将增加实时跟踪特性。业界在5G网络的低成本相控阵天线、波束成形算法,以及相位和幅度可调元器件技术方面的大量投资也将为高端军事系统带来成本改善和生产率的提高。另外一个好处是:用于验证波束成形设计的多通道测试设备将可用于民用5G和军事应用两方面。

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Figure 1 The original Movandi BeamX prototype is a 64-element mmWave phased-array antenna based on bulk CMOS processes. This is one example of commercial industry racing to bring mmWave components to the market. Image courtesy of Movandi Corporation.

图1:Movandi BeamX的原型是基于大批量CMOS工艺的64元毫米波相控阵天线。这是将毫米波组件推向市场的商业市场竞争的一个例子。图片来源:Movandi公司。

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Figure 2 Beamforming is critical to 5G, as it is critical to phased-array radar systems. Both applications will benefit as the industry brings technology and test equipment to the market. Image courtesy of Keysight Technologies.

图2:波束成形对5G的重要性跟它对相控阵雷达系统一样。随着行业在这个技术和测试设备方面的竞争发展,两类应用都将从中受益。图片来源:Keysight Technologies。

**Point-to-point mmWave backhaul. **Often overlooked in the race to develop 5G radio technology are the backhaul challenges. That is, how does a 5G base station get access to the internet core when deployed? A traditional cellular deployment includes fiber cables that connect back to the service provider core network, which is then connected to the internet as a whole. Where possible and economical, this will still be the case. This, however, will be challenging for a number of reasons. First of all, 5G networks will be denser than traditional cellular networks, with base stations within 200 meters of each subscriber.

点对点毫米波回程。在开发5G无线电技术的竞争中,经常被忽略的是回程问题。也就是说,5G基站在部署时如何访问互联网核心网络?传统的蜂窝网络部署是通过光纤电缆连接到电信运营商的核心网络,核心网再整体连接到互联网。如果技术可行且经济成本合理的话,情况仍将如此。然而,这会因多种原因而具有挑战性。毕竟,5G网络将比传统蜂窝网络更加密集,基站距每个用户的距离不到200米。

Fiber may not be readily available at each point, and adding fiber impedes one of 5G’s key selling points- easy deployments. Ideally, small 5G base stations are deployed on the occasional street light, tapping its electrical wires for power and avoiding new trenches. Backhaul can then be performed by point-to-point mmWave links to each base station. This system design requires no edge fiber at all, a key benefit to neighborhoods tired of trenched out streets. Longer range point-to-point links can be used for more rural residents. Economies of scale will make point-to-point wireless backhaul a more feasible alternative.

再说光纤也不是在每个基站节点都可用,依赖光纤也会有悖于5G的关键卖点之一,即容易部署。理想情况下,小型5G基站可以部署在街边的路灯上,正好利用其电力供电,以避免挖掘和铺设新的线路。通过到每个基站的点对点毫米波链路就可以执行回程了。这种系统设计根本不需要边缘端光纤铺设,这对城市街区的居民来说倒是一大便利。较长距离的点对点链接可用于更多偏远居住区。规模经济将使点对点无线回程成为更可行的替代方案。

**Gaming. **Some of the top observers of network performance are gamers. This is due to gaming being dependent on both, high bandwidth and low latency. However, gamers are dependent on their local ISP's performance, which is often optimized for video streaming. It is estimated that over 70% of the internet traffic in North America is video streaming, which requires high bandwidths but is not latency critical. 5G may change that.

游戏。对网络性能的一些高要求来自游戏玩家,这是因为游戏要求网络同时具有高带宽和低延迟性能。但是,游戏依赖于本地ISP的性能,这通常已经针对视频流进行了优化。据估计,北美超过70%的互联网流量是视频流,这需要高带宽,但对延迟的要求没有那么苛刻。5G可能会改变这一点。

With URLLC (ultra-reliable low latency communications), 5G promises latencies under 1 ms, making it suitable for remote robotics or even remote surgery. The entire network chain must be designed for low latency, not just the wireless portion. As these designs proliferate, low latency performance will become more available, whether on a 5G network or a wired network. These short latencies enable* tactical feedback* in numerous applications, including gaming, remote control (Figure 3), and factory automation. Expect these applications to flourish.

凭借URLLC(超可靠低延迟通信)技术,5G可以实现低于1ms的延迟,这足以满足远程机器人甚至远程手术的要求。当然,整个网络链设计都必须满足低延迟要求,而不仅仅是无线部分。随着这类设计的激增,无论是5G网络还是有线网络,低延迟性能都将大幅提升。有了这些极短的延迟,许多应用中就可实现触控反馈,比如游戏、遥控(如图3)和工厂自动化。相信这些应用会蓬勃发展起来。

tactical feedback 这个英文有点问题,但我还是把中文加上了,根据上下文猜测是这个意思。

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Figure 3 With 5G communications, a surgeon could wear a sensing glove while performing remote surgery. Once the network is provisioned for low latency communication, a myriad of applications become possible. Image courtesy of Ericsson.

图3:通过5G通信网络,外科医生佩戴一个感应手套即可进行远程手术。一旦低延迟通信网络得以实现,无数新的应用将成为可能。图片来源:爱立信。

Disrupting the edge. The internet has been an incredible disruptor, not just of the communication network, but of the general economy as a whole. The core communication network has been transformed from a circuit-switched network delivering voice services to a packet-switched network delivering data services. Most cell phone plans today include free long-distance dialing, but you pay for data. While the core network has been transformed due to optical backbones and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), the edge retains the same topology it has always had: a phone or cable company offers internet service over wired lines.

打破边缘网络。互联网一直是一个颠覆者,不仅仅是对通信网络,对全球整体经济也是一样。核心通信网络已经从只提供语音服务的电路交换网络,转变为同时提供语音和数据服务的分组交换网络。今天的大部分手机套餐计划都包括免费的长途语音通话,但需要为数据服务付费。虽然由于光纤骨干网和内容分发网络(CDN)的发展,电信核心网已经发生了很大变化,但边缘网络仍然保持着多年不变的拓扑结构:电话或有线电视公司通过有线线路提供互联网接入服务。

With 5G, this is about to change. Fixed wireless access is an alternative method for internet access, and adds much needed competition to the ISP market. The recent debate about net neutrality highlighted fears that monopolistic ISPs would restrict internet access. Competitive ISP alternatives, such as with 5G, make this less likely, as doing so would lead to customers switching to their competitor. Even the threat of new entrants is likely to temper the actions of an existing ISP. After all, realizing that cellular providers are actively ranking city markets for best 5G opportunities, who wants to be the ISP that invites them in by mistreating their own customers?

随着5G的发展,这个局面即将改变。固定无线接入是互联网接入的一种替代方案,将会为ISP市场带来迫切需要的竞争。最近关于网络中立性的争论突显了人们的担忧:处于垄断地位的ISP服务商试图限制互联网接入。而5G将成为现有ISP服务的有力竞争者,使得互联网接入限制不大可行,因为这会导致客户转向新的竞争对手。新进入者的威胁也可能会迫使现有ISP做出一些改变。毕竟,移动电话服务商也知道城市市场是5G的大好机会,谁想因为怠慢自己的客户而引狼入室呢?

This is not to say 5G networks will be net neutral. Paid prioritization, particularly for low latency communications, is expected. These are specialized networks that don’t fit the current ISP business model. A hospital may pay for a low-latency service between itself and its ambulances to perform on-scene triage surgery.

But why stop there? Perhaps all low-latency applications will have a similar model. Gaming, robotics, education, medicine, and many other services may pay for specialized network features optimized for their needed characteristics. In the end, the edge may be transformed from a one-size-fits-all-love-it-or-leave-it architecture to one with a spectrum of performance attributes, enabling more applications.

这并不是说5G网络将是中立性的。预计优先网络,特别是低延迟通信,还是需要额外付费的。这些专用网络不符合现有ISP的商业模式。医院可能会需要与其救护车之间保持低延迟通信,以执行紧急的现场分诊手术,医院愿意为这种网络服务额外付费。

但这些服务并不仅限于医院,也许所有的低延迟应用都会有类似的模式。游戏、机器人、教育、医疗,以及许多其他行业可能都会为这种专用网络付费,以满足他们特定的需要。最终,边缘网络可能会从目前的“爱用不用”的单一型体系结构,转变为具有一系列特色性能属性的结构,从而可满足实现更多应用场景的特殊需求。

And that may be 5G's largest unintended benefit of them all. 这可能是5G最大的一个意外收益。

—Larry Desjardin is a regular contributor to EDN's Test Cafe. He served in several R&D and executive management positions with Hewlett-Packard and Agilent Technologies.

— Larry Desjardin是EDN Test Cafe栏目的撰稿人。他曾在惠普和安捷伦科技公司担任多个研发和管理职位。

《EDN电子技术设计》2018年6月刊版权所有,英文原文:Five unintended benefits of 5G, 转载请注明来源及链接。

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