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Growth of India in future lies in 5G

INDIA’S  FUTURE  ECONOMIC GROWTH  LIES IN IMPLEMENTATION OF 5G TECHNOLOGY FAST

Why 5G? To put it in simple terms, mobile phones using 2G, 3G, 4G technologies bring mobility and connectivity to do voice, data, video transmissions for human to human communications faster and better from 2G to 4G migration in technology. The big difference with 5G strength wireless technology is adding human to machine and machine to machine communications reliably and faster too.

Human to machine and machine to machine communications with Artificial Intelligence (AI) with Cloud interfaces are very much needed if manufacturing sector must survive today, particularly in these Corona COVID times.

(By the way, I do not believe this monster virus will go away even in a year. If it does, people will still need periodic vaccine shots similar to flu shots, every now and then, to stay healthy… to do their day to day work at home, in a factory or even on the streets. Factory floor workers may have to be given ‘time-offs’ and ‘days-off’ at first sign of fever, sneezing and coughing to avoid infection. Such situations could disrupt seamless activities in  manufacturing and service sectors. )

Coming to myself, after brief careers in basic engineering work at start, quality assurance in space communications, I found my niche career in telecom switching technology all in USA. I had to wear different hats, learn new technologies fast, go back to Post Graduate school when required, to learn advanced skillsets for my own survival in the US of A for over a period of 35 years. Fortunately, the companies I worked for, supported me financially, in all my advanced schooling efforts (on my own time, that is, evenings and weekends.) In the peak of my career in US, I have been nominated to Circle of Excellence at AT&T USA for my work connected with re-design with new technology to re-engineer a complicated process (for trouble shooting of long distance phone calls) that was previously consuming too much man power for no reason. I saved the company millions of maintenance dollars every year. Telecom switching, phone call tracking and processing of Land Line telephone calls that I retired with, in my final decade of work at the largest telecom company in the world (legacy AT&T), earned me laurels and gave me gainful employment. 

However, Land Line telecom technology is outdated practically everywhere in the world today. AT&T has made a complete turn around in USA, shredding fat at the top. One Chairman, probably the biggest single investor in AT&T walked out with 100 million dollars after selling off AT&T to SBC, making sure the ‘merger’ retained AT&T brand name. We used to have over 3 or more Presidents, hundreds of VPs, Directors and Division Managers, who all wanted their ‘shiekdoms and AT&T projects and activities’ under them. “All hats and no cows,  as the Texans say!” Chairmen and VPs would come & go practically every 2 to 3 years during sunset times for AT&T. Some of them would get 20 million USD as joining bonus in AT&T stock to fix the company. AT&T stock nose dived between years 1999 to 2001 and the company nearly halved its market capitalization.

Today’s AT&T is different,  it has  joined hands with wireless, radio and mobile telecom companies discarding switched land line technology that needs huge investments in hardware, not to mention large man power and lots of maintenance that bankrupts a company. During the peak of Land Line networks, the network had millions of dollars worth monster switches (4ESS) the size of 10 to 12 large refrigerators joined back to back at key network nodes. Then AT&T had a million employees that controlled all land line communications in USA; had hundreds of thousand technicians with own trucks purchased from soft loans given by the company to approach trouble spots, do maintenance of phone lines, over ground and underground, all over USA.

If I am not mistaken BSNL in India is undergoing the same turmoil now; over the years the government owned BSNL has not even bothered to privatize Land Line maintenance, BSNL and ITI switches {featuring Alcatel (French technology)} is outdated too; BSNL technicians do not even have bikes to go and trouble shoot a problem on the streets!

25  YEARS  OF  TELECOM  IN  INDIA

I learn that on July 31, 1995, India made history as the first mobile phone call was connected between then West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu and erstwhile Union Telecom Minister Sukh Ram. Mobile phone services, then, were reserved only for the politicians, celebrities, rich and elite and every call costed a whopping Rs 24 (60 cents a call in USD of those days.) for each call.

[In those days although there were mobile phones and technology in US, Land Lines gave unlimited calls for local communications after consumer paid a monthly fee to AT&T; so AT&T top brass did not think mobile networks were economical for the consumer till the year 2000 in USA. AT&T  did not understand the huge upsurge in mobile networks in Central and South Asia and the far East… I think AT&T did not want a mobile phone in the hands of field & factory workers for fear they might be misused or frequently used to talk to girlfriends when on duty! All field staff were supposed to carry a ‘pager’ on their person. The boss could always page the worker to call back using a nearby telephone. ]

For the commoners in India, what was available then was land line telephones to communicate with a family member in own neighborhood. If they had to talk to someone in a neighbouring state or another country it meant booking a trunk call. The line would get connected sometime after a 2-3 hour wait and one had to stand in another queue at the telephone exchange to pay for it!

Twenty-five years later, India (and many advanced countries of the world,) have come a very long way, leaps and bounds to put it correct, as cell phones connect now over millions and billions of humans with voice and data services. I am told phone connectivity has reached remote villages and areas where data networks would have been unimaginable; but all with 3G technology in most villages and 4G technology in A class cities and their hinterlands.

In fact, cell phone has emerged as a real savior during the ongoing pandemic, becoming a major driver of the economic engine of the country.

In the last 25 years, the telecom sector has witnessed tremendous transformation – in connecting a billion people in India  ushering in several technological developments such as innovative Mobile apps, Mobile payments, connected devices and wearables, Internet of Things (IoT), e-commerce & m-Commerce.

In telecommunications, 5G is the fifth generation technology standard for cellular networks, that cellular phone companies began deploying worldwide in 2019, it is the planned successor to 3G and 4G networks which now provide connectivity to most current cellphones in India.

pic: A 5G tower picture for purposes of illustration only. Design, RF receivers and transmitters, associated components can vary from vendor to vendor. Variations exist with designs of different vendors. Picture shown is a 5G 3.5 GHz cell site of Vodafone in Karlsruhe, Germany (picture is from Wikipedia.)

  • Like its predecessors, 5G networks are cellular networks, in which the service area is divided into small geographical areas called cells. All 5G wireless devices in a cell are connected to the Internet and telephone network over  radio waves through a local antenna in the cell.
  • The main advantage of the new networks is that they will have greater bandwidth, giving higher download speeds, eventually up to 10 gigabits per second (Gbit/s).
  • 5G runs on the same radio frequencies that are currently being used for your smartphone, on Wi-Fi networks and in satellite communications, but it enables technology to go a lot further. 
  •  Beyond being able to download a full-length HD movie to your phone in seconds (even from a crowded stadium), 5G is really about connecting things everywhere – reliably, without lag – so people can measure, understand and manage things in real time.
  •  
  • Due to the increased bandwidth, it is expected that the new networks will not just serve cellphones like existing cellular networks, but can also be used as general internet service providers for laptops and desktop computers, competing with existing ISPs such as cable internet, and also will make possible new applications in Internet of things (IoT) and human to machine as well as machine to machine connectivity… very handy when large work force cannot come to work to a factory floor, particularly with the Corona Covid-19 pandemic spreading like wildfire and here to stay, for a considerable length of time.
  •  Examples of machine to machine interface can be: Operating Metro coaches, remotely in the absence of a Driver; Operating textile mill spinning shop with no one on the floor.
  • ERICSSON 5G implementation in Europe is transforming industries.
  • 5G has become the foundation for flexible, efficient and responsible business.
  • Production lines autonomously reacting to supply and demand
  • Digital replicas that can warn about real machinery faults ahead of time
  • Logistic networks autonomously routing goods based on real-world conditions
  • Full traceability down to the individual item at warehouses and ports
  • Remote access to powerful robots and vehicles for improved safety in risky environments
  • Increased use of IoT in agriculture to efficiently grow crops
  • Even if Corona vaccines are invented and made available soon, employees on factory floors and street vendors will have to be compulsorily administered vaccines (like flu shots,) perhaps every 3 months, to keep them healthy enough to do their work. Factory floor workers may have to be given time-off and days-off at first signs of fever, cough, sneeze etc for fear of infection catching others on floor.
  • Current 4G cellphones will not be able to use the new 5G network enabled wireless devices. A complete overhaul of hardware and software will be needed as organisations switch from 4G to 5G.
  • Wireless components, their meticulous manufacture and testing is key to 5G networks. The parent company I worked for (AT&T) has already deployed 5G networks. AT&T has also deployed gigabit 5G connection in three cities: Waco TX, Kalamazoo MI, and South Bend IN. Recently, AT&T said that it wants to test 24GHz millimeter wave equipment as well as further “sub6” equipment testing in Texas. AT&T applied for a two-year “5G” experimental license to cover testing in the 5GHz and 24 GHz bands in Austin, Texas, on February 20. Not sure who all are the vendors for AT&T 5G networks.


Post Script:

I have sent this article to India PM Modi Administration in August 2020.

Good news is… India has invited tenders from many foreign companies with 5G technology. India is likely to finalize one or more vendors by end of year 2021, begin installation of much needed 5G towers all over India and jumpstart infrastructure necessary to get 5G phones made in India. 

MORE NEWS: IIT Delhi has announced a certification course on 5G starting in August, 2021. It is a “8-month online course” one can complete from home…  https://talentedge.com/iit-delhi/certificate-programme-in-5g-iot-ai/ 

Installation of new 5G towers all over India (with retention of existing 3G, 4G towers for those who continue to use 3G/4G phones;) plus giving license for production of newer ‘5G hand held phones’ for those willing to change over to 5G will boost India’s economy.

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Suresh Rao

Mellowed out and enlightened septuagenarian. Tech savvy. Social writing is just a pastime to kill time. I keep contributing to several developmental projects in the area of engineering education, IT and Healthcare projects launched by my kith and kin. I am too lazy to write a book, 'cause I think my life itself is a book! I am also at www.facebook.com/sureshnrao
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Navneet Bakshi
1 year ago
Reply to  Suresh Rao

Ericsson and Nokia? Are they still in the business 🙂 I thought they had become a history. Are these fully Indian owned? It’s true that the technology changed very fast and those who were slow to adapt to the change had to incur heavy losses. The companies like AT&T were big enough to take such a hit, but many smaller ones must have sunk. The warnings are there on the wall but they are often ignored. Now the transition from Automobiles to Electric Cars is the next big change that we are going to see in this decade, but if any of the auto manufacturers don’t make the switch they will go down.

Navneet Bakshi
1 year ago
Reply to  Suresh Rao

Thanks Suresh Ji, but I think Huawei wasn’t ever invited here or else there might have been a set back, but I don’t know how far the charge of Huawei being a Chinese spy network is true, but one thing I know that whether it’s a Chinese Company or a Swedish, Finnish or American, the components, must all still be getting manufactured in China 🙂

Navneet Bakshi
1 year ago

Imagine if this pandemic had occurred in the days, when there was no internet connectivity. We can’t even imagine how would we have coped up- though the nature has nothing to do with it. All the epidemics that swept the globe before this had come in the era when no other means besides communication through letters was possible. As new technology comes, new equipment and apps get developed and the dependence on them becomes a necessity. While you were with AT&T could you have ever imagined that all those bulky and huge telecommunication equipment will become useless with in a decade. Who could have imagined that a hand held mobile will could hold Gegabytes of data and it could be recalled by click of a button. Now with 5G, we will have Cloud computing as a mere extension of our Mobile phone. One thing that intrigues me is- Is India too in the 5G race? We hear about China’s Huawei being resisted entry in the U.S. and maybe in Europe too as a fall out of Covid, but who is going to provide the alternative? I haven’t heard any names.

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