New tech in cellular networks for connected cars
By Aditya Abeysinghe
5G and 6G networks
5th Generation (5G) networks are the next generation of networks after 4th Generation (4G) networks. 4G is currently used as the wireless spectrum in most areas and offers most of the wireless functions we use currently. However, 5G provides faster connectivity speed and low latent connections that are typically used for real-time systems. 5G uses different networking concepts compared to that of 4G. For example, it uses millimeter wave technology that enables Gigabytes of data per second to be transferred and it uses massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) antennas to serve a large capacity of users.
6th Generation (6G) networks are still in the research stage and will be the generation after 5G networks. 6G networks will support up to about 1 Terabyte of data per second to be transferred. To transfer data faster it will use high frequency signals using a different transfer model. The model will compose of temporary hotspots and tiny cells such that data can be transferred within short distances. As 5G and 6G use different networks it is likely that they will supplement each other during data transfer between vehicles connected using these networks.
Speed for security
Autonomous vehicles, hereafter referred to as a vehicle, may use communications between different objects for different functionality. A communication between a vehicle and another object is abbreviated with different acronyms. A communication method between two vehicles is called Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) based communication. A communication method between a vehicle and the network is called Vehicle to Network (V2N) based communication. A communication method between a vehicle and an infrastructure is called Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) based communication. As a collection, these communications are called Vehicle to Everything (V2X) communications.
These types of communications are used in different modes. The two common types used by these modes are direct V2X communications and cellular V2X communications. Direct V2X communications are usually used in V2V and V2I communications as they exchange data over a short range. Cellular V2X communications usually are used in V2N communications as data is exchanged over a large range.
V2V communications enable vehicles to move with less road side accidents as these objects can communicate with each other about their location, on their internal engine statuses etc. As each vehicle moves faster low latency and high frequency in networks are needed to avoid accidents. Current 4G-based networks cannot serve this requirement due to the less bandwidth and speed in such networks. Therefore, for these communications 5G or even 6G networks are needed to provide speed, latency and frequency in data transfer.
Use of cloud processing
Data from vehicles may be transferred to the cloud using V2N communications over cellular networks. These data enable functions such as prescriptive maintenance of vehicles, real-time traffic data in a large geographic area to be notified to connected objects and to secure data during communications. To enable real-time data transfers, networks that could serve objects with low latency are often required. This could reduce the extra computation required in vehicles for such functions. To provide low latency and high reliability in these communications 5G or 6G networks may be used.
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