2018/10/20: IOT is driving the need for new networks and computing on the edge.
5G models are varied and flexible; expect companies to compete based on their ingenuity in implementing them.
5G is important to low-latency, high-bandwidth applications, but competitors such as LoRa may dominate smart homes and other low-bandwidth uses.
Edge computing will enable autonomous driving and the empowered mobile workforce.
Competition will determine who wins the new network race, and I expect some surprising candidates will emerge for your investment dollar.
2019/01/29: Stingrays (AKA IMSI catchers) are a widespread class of surveillance devices that target cellular phones by impersonating cellular towers to them (they're also called "cell-site simulators").
IMSI catchers are so easy to build and operate that they have leapt from police agencies to criminals, and foreign and corporate spies, exposing us all to potential surveillance from all quarters.
That's why it was so important that the new 5G mobile protocol be designed to foil IMSI catchers, and why the 3rd Generation Partnership Project, or 3GPP (the body standardizing 5G) updated the Authentication and Key Agreement (AKA) to resist IMSI catching techniques.
But new research from ETH Zurich and Technische Universität Berlin has revealed a critical flaw in AKA, a defect that not only allows attackers to track the number of calls and texts being sent while a user is connected to the fake tower, but also a count of calls and texts from before the device was compromised. More importantly, the attack allows for fine-grained location tracking.
Smaller antennas are easier to install and will be loss obtrusive, reducing the concerns of urban preservationists to unsightly tower masts that have long plagued the deployment of 4G antennas in communities across the United States.
Perhaps most importantly, these small cells emit less radiation, since they are not designed to provide as wide of coverage as traditional cell sites. The telecom industry has long vociferously denied a link between antennas and health outcomes, although California’s Department of Public Health has issued warnings about potential health effects of personal cell phone antennas. Reduced radiation emissions from 5G antennas compared to 4G antennas would presumably further reduce any health effects of this technology.
Restrictions like Mill Valley’s will make it nearly impossible to deploy 5G in a timely manner. As one industry representative told me in an interview a few months ago, “It takes 18 months to get the permit to deploy, and 2 hours to install.” Multiplied by the hundreds of sites required to cover a reasonably-sized urban neighborhood, and the 5G rollout goes beyond daunting to well-near impossible.
Telecom companies say that the world needs mountains of new, way faster, Fifth Generation (=5G) mobile networks to cope with the unavoidable arrival of the Internet of Things. GDPR and seahorses may disagree.