Fiber Optics in 5G NR / 6G

Brief Introduction

This page shares the introduction and high impact publication of the next generation 5G cellular network or mobile network. It also discussed about how and why the need for fiber optics to support and enhance 5G; simply because 5G is proposed to be the integration of human technologies. One of its standards is the International Mobile Telecommunications-2020 (IMT-2020 Standard) that is expected to be completed by 2020. In 5G the network slicing is it key mechanism where multiple virtual networks can be created atop one physical network for vast 5G use cases. This new 5G capability enables Network as a Service (NaaS) to reach out to more commercial and military applications.

Key differences between the current 4G and the new 5G

Max speed: 150Mbps vs 1-10Gbps

  • Good for downloading or transferring large files

Average speed: 10Mbps vs 50Mbps and up

  • Benefit constant video streaming

Latency: 50 ms vs 1 ms

  • Benefit online computer / mobile gaming

Network architecture: one-size-fits-all vs network slicing

  • Prioritize specific resources and tailor solutions to particular use case

  • Benefit of a common network to support multiple use cases

[Read more on Wikipedia for full detail there]

5G Wireless Systems


  1. Very high data rate

  2. Very high capacity

  3. Very low latency

  4. Reliability, resilience security

  5. Long Battery lifetime (IoT)

  6. Massive number of devices (IoT)


  1. mmWave system (mmWave BS/MS, antenna array)

  2. Advanced small cells

  3. Multi-RAT (multiconnectivity)

  4. Advanced MIMO (azimuth beamforming, elevation beamforming)

  5. ACM & multiple access (FQAM, FBMC, QFDMA)

  6. Latency reduction (3-step UL scheduling, one-shot transmission, SPS)


  1. Securing the supply chain

  2. Network security

    • Ultra-high security for public safety network slice; Basic security for non-time-critical sensor network slice (i.e. new startup)

    • Slice security for isolating cyberattacks or fault with insignificant impact on other service slice

    • Slice privacy for isolating private information from each other slice

  3. Network deployment (bigger infrastructure )

  4. Standard, loss of competition and trusted options

Applications at a Glance

  1. 4K / 8K video streaming, 3D video, AR

  2. Autonomous devices and systems

  3. Massive IoT devices / smart city / smart nation

  4. eHealth


  • Download faster

  • Stream more

  • Crisper and immersive video

  • No lag in games (low latency)

Healthcare /

  • Remote surgeries/ consultation

    • Milliseconds latency between devices

    • No need to transport patient in between healthcare facilities

  • Home care

  • 5G in medicine

    • Remote diagnosis (for coronavirus infection system)


  • In-car entertainment/ navigation

  • Expands your field of view

  • Tracking vehicle position and route

  • Autonomous Vehicles (AV)

Click here to go to Robotics section

Potential Pitfalls of 5G

All old and modern systems have their breakdowns, conservatively discussed pointers are:

  • Massive users in the same area trying to access mobile services at the same moment

  • "Only Viable over Short Distances" -

    • Need many more nodes as it is a dense network (many antennas can be placed close together).

5G Telcos in Singapore

  • 5G Nationwide Network (nationwide coverage by 2025 )

    1. Singtel

    2. Starhub and M1 (joint venture)

  • 5G spot coverage (smaller 5G network)

    1. Singtel

    2. StarHub

    3. M1

    4. TPG Telecom

"TPG was the only telco not to get a slice of the nationwide network." —

5G NR / Comms Publications

Highly Cited 5G Research

Jeffrey G. Andrews, Stefano Buzzi, Wan Choi, Stephen V. Hanly, Angel Lozano, Anthony C. K. Soong, and Jianzhong Charlie Zhang, "What Will 5G Be?," IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, vol. 32, no. 6, pp. 1065-1082, Jun. 2014. DOI: 10.1109/JSAC.2014.2328098

Abstract: What will 5G be? What it will not be is an incremental advance on 4G. The previous four generations of cellular technology have each been a major paradigm shift that has broken backward compatibility. Indeed, 5G will need to be a paradigm shift that includes very high carrier frequencies with massive bandwidths, extreme base station and device densities, and unprecedented numbers of antennas. However, unlike the previous four generations, it will also be highly integrative: tying any new 5G air interface and spectrum together with LTE and WiFi to provide universal high-rate coverage and a seamless user experience. To support this, the core network will also have to reach unprecedented levels of flexibility and intelligence, spectrum regulation will need to be rethought and improved, and energy and cost efficiencies will become even more critical considerations. This paper discusses all of these topics, identifying key challenges for future research and preliminary 5G standardization activities, while providing a comprehensive overview of the current literature, and in particular of the papers appearing in this special issue.

  • Summary: Coming soon

Theodore S. Rappaport, Shu Sun, Rimma Mayzus, Hang Zhao, Yaniv Azar, Kevin Wang, George N. Wong, Jocelyn K. Schulz, Mathew Samimi, and Felix Gutierrez, "Millimeter Wave Mobile Communications for 5G Cellular: It Will Work!," in IEEE Access, vol. 1, pp. 335-349, May 2013. DOI: 10.1109/ACCESS.2013.2260813

Abstract: The global bandwidth shortage facing wireless carriers has motivated the exploration of the underutilized millimeter wave (mm-wave) frequency spectrum for future broadband cellular communication networks. There is, however, little knowledge about cellular mm-wave propagation in densely populated indoor and outdoor environments. Obtaining this information is vital for the design and operation of future fifth generation cellular networks that use the mm-wave spectrum. In this paper, we present the motivation for new mm-wave cellular systems, methodology, and hardware for measurements and offer a variety of measurement results that show 28 and 38 GHz frequencies can be used when employing steerable directional antennas at base stations and mobile devices.

Summary: Coming soon

Federico Boccardi, Robert W. Heath Jr., Angel Lozano, Thomas L. Marzetta, and Petar Popovski, "Five Disruptive Technology Directions for 5G," IEEE Communications Magazine, , vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 74-80, Feb. 2014. DOI: 10.1109/MCOM.2014.6736746

Abstract: New research directions will lead to fundamental changes in the design of future fifth generation (5G) cellular networks. This article describes five technologies that could lead to both architectural and component disruptive design changes: device-centric architectures, millimeter wave, massive MIMO, smarter devices, and native support for machine-to-machine communications. The key ideas for each technology are described, along with their potential impact on 5G and the research challenges that remain.

Summary: Coming soon

Notable 5G Articles

S. E. Alavi, M. R. K. Soltanian, I. S. Amiri, M. Khalily, A. S. M. Supa’at & H. Ahmad, "Towards 5G: A Photonic Based Millimeter Wave Signal Generation for Applying in 5G Access Fronthaul," Sci. Rep. , vol. 6, pp. 19891 , Jan. 2016. DOI: 10.1038/srep19891 or via

Abstract: 5G communications require a multi Gb/s data transmission in its small cells. For this purpose millimeter wave (mm-wave) RF signals are the best solutions to be utilized for high speed data transmission. Generation of these high frequency RF signals is challenging in electrical domain therefore photonic generation of these signals is more studied. In this work, a photonic based simple and robust method for generating millimeter waves applicable in 5G access fronthaul is presented. Besides generating of the mm-wave signal in the 60 GHz frequency band the radio over fiber (RoF) system for transmission of orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) with 5 GHz bandwidth is presented. For the purpose of wireless transmission for 5G application the required antenna is designed and developed. The total system performance in one small cell was studied and the error vector magnitude (EVM) of the system was evaluated.

Summary: Coming soon. A photonic based simple and robust method for generating millimeter waves applicable in 5G access fronthaul is reported.

Woon Hau Chin, Zhong Fan, and Russell Haines, "Emerging Technologies and Research Challenges for 5G Wireless Networks," IEEE Wireless Communications, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 106-112, Apr. 2014. DOI: 10.1109/MWC.2014.6812298

Abstract: As the take-up of Long Term Evolution (LTE)/4G cellular accelerates, there is increasing interest in technologies that will define the next generation (5G) telecommunication standard. This article identifies several emerging technologies which will change and define the future generations of telecommunication standards. Some of these technologies are already making their way into standards such as 3GPP LTE, while others are still in development. Additionally, we will look at some of the research problems that these new technologies pose.

Summary: Coming soon

Nian-Sheng Nie, Xue-Song Yang, Zhi Ning Chen, and Bing-Zhong Wang, ""A Low-Profile Wideband Hybrid Metasurface Antenna Array for 5G and WiFi Systems," in IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation [EARLY ACCESS]. Sep. 2019. DOI: 10.1109/TAP.2019.2940367

Abstract: A hybrid metasurface (HMS) is proposed to form a low-profile wideband antenna array. The antenna element is an array of 4 × 4 square metal patches, and fed by a 50-Ω microstrip line through an H-shaped coupling slot on the ground plane. Only are the edge patches of HMS antenna element grounded by shorting pins for the suppression of surface waves and cross-polarization levels as well as the enhancement of the gain. With the HMS antenna element, a compact 2 × 2 array with an overall size of 1.58λ0 × 1.58λ0 × 0.068λ0 (λ0 is the free-space wavelength at 5.0 GHz) is designed, where the adjacent elements share the edge patches of the elements. The measurement shows the impedance bandwidth of 28% (4.41–5.85 GHz) for |S11|≤–10 dB is obtained, and the boresight gain is greater than 8.4 dBi across the operating band, covering both 5G sub 6 GHz and WiFi bands.

Summary: Coming soon

Selected Publications from I2R 5G Comm

Lei Lei, Di Yuan, Chin Keong Ho, and Sumei Sun, "Power and Channel Allocation for Non-Orthogonal Multiple Access in 5G Systems: Tractability and Computation," IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, vol. 15, no. 12, pp. 8580-8594, Oct. 2016. DOI: 10.1109/TWC.2016.2616310

  • Summary: The paper reported a multi-user access scheme that is currently under consideration for 5G systems. The non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA) with successive interference cancellation (SIC) scheme allows simultaneous access at the same frequency-time resource. Technical areas such as power, channel allocation, optimality, etc. were discussed. The numerical results reported that the scheme can improve the system performance in both throughput and fairness over orthogonal multiple access and previous NOMA resource allocation scheme.

(More coming soon)

Selected Publications from I2R 5G Antenna

Xing Zhao, Swee Ping Yeo, and Ling Chuen Ong, "Decoupling of Inverted-F Antennas With High-Order Modes of Ground Plane for 5G Mobile MIMO Platform," in IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, vol. 66, no. 9, pp. 4485-4495, Sep. 2018. DOI: 10.1109/TAP.2018.2851381

  • Abstract: This paper presents a novel method of decoupling inverted-F antennas (IFAs) with high-order modes of a ground plane in 5G mobile multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) platform. The proposed method is illustrated in a dual-antenna 5G mobile platform operating at 3.5 GHz. An IFA excites a high-order mode of the field distribution in the ground plane at 3.5 GHz. The electric field of the excited high-order mode forms several stable null-amplitude field points located on the edge of the ground plane. The other IFA is then placed in one of the stable null points. By doing this, the two IFAs are decoupled with high isolation. The simulated results show that isolation improvements of 20-40 dB can be achieved when the positions and orientations of the two IFAs are optimized. The measured results confirm that the fabricated antennas have peak isolations of 45-56 dB. Finally, the proposed method is applied to design a three-IFA-based MIMO platform which verifies that the suggested concept can effectively simplify the decoupling mechanism and works well in a multiantenna-based mobile MIMO terminal.

(More coming soon)

Fiber Optics in 5G Wireless Systems

5G wireless needs fiber, and lots of it

"It’s important to lay fiber now to small and macro cells, wherever and whenever possible, if these cell sites are to be upgraded to 5G in the coming years, as copper and air-based MBH options simply cannot scale to the immense amount of backhaul traffic that’ll be generated by a 5G RAN."

  • Key Takeaway Points: Coming soon

  • Retrieved Oct. 15, 2019 from Ciena

5G Is Coming, and It’s Fortified With Fiber

"5G will happen in the airy realm of radio waves. To get there, big telecoms have to harness underused parts of the spectrum. But there's another crucial part underlying this system: lowly cable. Huge numbers of new transmitters will be needed to relay all that data to your phone, and many of those transmitters will still connect to the internet through fiber-optic cable—glass as thin as strands of hair carrying pulses of light. To make it all work, companies, including OFS Optics, a fiber-optics and cable company, are now being commissioned to produce millions of miles of new cable holding twice as many fiber pairs—two strands, one for the uplink and one for the downlink—as the old stuff."

  • Key Takeaway Points: Coming soon

  • Retrieved Oct. 15, 2019 from Wired

The role of fiber in 5G networks

"This significantly narrows down the available options of millimeter wave network topologies, particularly over distances beyond tens of meters. However, this can be seen as a win-win for landline carriers and telecommunications companies as the costly last mile fiber-to-the-home is replaced with more agile fixed wireless access solutions while the 5G traffic offload for small cell networks will rely upon deep fiber installations to carry signals kilometers away. This way, small cell deployments can be in locations that are hard to reach by dedicated fiber or other copper wired alternatives, while fiber can run distances that small cell signals are not able to reach. "

  • Key Takeaway Points: Coming soon

  • Retrieved Oct. 15, 2019 from Cablinginstall

Witze, Alexandra (2019, Apr. 26) Global 5G wireless networks threaten weather forecasts. Retrieved Oct. 15, 2019 from Nature

Key Takeaway Points: Coming soon

Pandya, Jayshree (2019, Aug. 2) Is 5G The Future? Retrieved Oct. 15, 2019 from Forbes

Key Takeaway Points: Fiber optics technology has revolutionized the internet (as backbone) and it is believed that 5G will do the same for mobile devices. Dr. Pandya also touched on hot discussion topics such as security and smart human ecosystem beyond just merely text messages, voice calls, video calls, internet surfing, and application. Where is the evolution of 5G wireless networks taking us? 5G may be the catalyst that blur the lines between cyberspace, aquaspace, geospace and space.

Leow, Annebeth (2018, Oct. 6) The 5G Frontier. Retrieved Oct. 15, 2019 from Business Times

Key Takeaway Points: Coming soon.

5G People in Singapore

Influential 5G Scientist / Researcher in Singapore

List in alphabetical order
  • Associate Professor Rui Zhang, Dean's Chair Associate Head (Research & Technology), National University of Singapore [NUS]

    • IEEE Fellow for contributions to cognitive radio and energy harvesting communications (2016)

  • Dr. Sumei Sun, Adjunct Professor, National University of Singapore [Wikipedia]

    • IEEE Fellow for leadership in design and standardization of wireless communication systems (2016)

  • Dr. Xianming Qing, Senior Scientist III, Institute for Infocomm Research [LinkedIn]

    • IEEE Fellow for contributions to antennas for radio frequency identification systems

  • Professor Dusit (Tao) Niyato, School of Computer Science and Engineering (SCSE) and School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (SPMS), Nanyang Technological University [NTU]

    • IEEE Fellow for contributions to resource allocation in cognitive radio and cellular wireless networks (2019)

  • Professor Zhining Chen, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National University of Singapore [NUS] [LinkedIn]

    • IEEE Fellow for the contribution to small and broadband antennas for wireless applications (2007)

    • Fellow at Academy of Engineering, Singapore

5G Research Performers in Singapore

Read More on 5G and Comms

5G Articles (Online)

  • Yee, Yip Wai (2020, Sep. 30). 1,000 jobs in 5G technology to be created by year end. Retrieved Sep. 30, 2019 from The Straits Times

  • Chow, Basia (2020, Sep. 29). IMDA Partners S'pore Telcos To Create 1,000 Jobs In The 5G Industry By End 2020. Retrieved Sep. 30, 2019 from Vulcan Post

  • Choo, Daryl (2020, Jun. 29). Singtel, StarHub-M1 joint venture and TPG Telecom get go-ahead for 5G network. Retrieved Jun. 29, 2019 from Today

    • Highlights: Singtel is working with Ericsson to build its network infrastructure, whereas Starhub and M1 are working with Nokia.

  • Saheli Roy Choudhury (2020, Jun. 25). Huawei loses out to Nokia, Ericsson in building Singapore’s main 5G networks. Retrieved Jul. 19, 2020 from CNBC

    • Highlights: Telcos will have to roll out 5G standalone networks from January 2021. They would also be required to provide 50% islandwide coverage by the end of 2022 and full coverage by the end of 2025.

  • Wong, Lester (2020, Apr. 30). Singapore awards 5G licences to 3 local telcos. Retrieved Jul. 10, 2020 from The Straits Times

  • n.d. (2019, Dec. 22). First Laparoscopy Using 5G Technology Performed in Moscow. Retrieved Jul. 10, 2020 from Microwave Journal

  • Whitwam, Ryan (2019, Oct. 22). Verizon 5G Can’t Even Cover a Whole NBA Arena. Retrieved Nov. 19, 2019 from ExtremeTech

    • Highlights: Report says that only a certain area of an indoor basketball arena is covered by 5G signal

  • Ang, Hwee Min (2019, Oct. 17). 5G coverage across half of Singapore expected by end-2022. Retrieved Oct. 25, 2019 from Channel News Asia

  • Tham, Irene (2019, Oct 18). Racing to gain the edge with next-frontier 5G applications. Retrieved Mar. 4, 2020 from The Straits Times

  • Wong, Chung Wee (2019, Jun 27). Singtel is leading two 5G initiatives that complement Singapore’s Smart Nation vision. Retrieved Mar. 4, 2020 from Hardwarezone

  • Tham, Irene (2019, May 7). First 5G networks to be operated by at least 2 winning telcos from next year: IMDA. Retrieved Oct. 25, 2019 from Straits Times

  • Cheng, Kenneth (2019, Jul. 15). Public raises concerns over health impact of 5G networks; Govt tracking developments. Retrieved Oct. 25, 2019 from Today

  • Vishnoi, Abhishek (2019, Oct. 17). Singapore Offers Spectrum, Targets Standalone 5G by 2022. Retrieved Oct. 25, 2019 from Bloomberg

  • Ng, Jun Sen (2019, Jun. 14). Singtel pips StarHub, M1 to be the fastest telco in town; Singapore falls to fifth in speed stakes. Retrieved Nov. 4, 2019 from Today

  • n.d. (2017, Dec 6). Singtel to open SG$42m AI lab in Singapore. Retrieved Mar. 4, 2020 from Disruptive Tech Asean

Note: This list may be added or dropped without notice. Have an interesting article or images to share? Drop a message in Feedback.

5G Books

Click on the book images below to view info at Amazon.

What's Next: 6G

  • n.d. (2019, Nov. 7). China kicks off work on 6G technology after 5G launch: State media. Retrieved Nov. 20, 2019 from Channel News Asia

    • Highlight: "Chinese government ministries and research institutes met this week in a "kick-off" meeting to establish a national 6G technology research and development group"

5G Mobile Phone in 2019

5G phones will begin to become available for carriers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc. Below are some of the latest Samsung 5G mobile phone. The phone are now available on Amazon at Amazon Renewed and Samsung.

  1. Samsung Galaxy S10 5G [via Amazon Renewed] S10+ [via Amazon Renewed]

  2. Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G [Amazon via Samsung]

  3. Samsung Galaxy A90 5G [Amazon via Samsung]

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

Screen size: 6.7-inch QHD AMOLED


Built-in storage: 256/ 512 GB

Battery: 4,500mAh

Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 16MP

Front camera: 10MP

Features: Reversible wireless charging

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G (Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G

Screen size: 6.8-inch QHD AMOLED

RAM: 12GB of RAM

Built-in storage: 256/ 512 GB

Battery: 4,300mAh

Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 16MP

Front camera: 10MP

Features: S Pen stylus

Samsung Galaxy 10+ 5G (Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung Galaxy A90 5G

Screen size: 6.7-inch

RAM: 6 / 8 GB

Built-in storage: 128 GB

Battery: 4,500mAh

Rear camera: 48MP + 8MP + 5MP

Front camera: 32MP

Samsung Galaxy A90 5G (Image credit: Samsung)


  • .n.d. (n.d.). Network silicing: Realising the benefits of 5G by tailored use of network capabilities. Retrieved Jun. 19, 2019 from Telenor

  • 5G Key Enabling Technologies. Retrieved Oct. 25, 2019 from Samsung

  • A guide to 5G network security. Retrieved Oct. 25, 2019 from Ericsson [Report]

  • .n.d. (n.d.). Best 5G phones: every 5G phone announced and still to come in 2019. Retrieved Nov. 19, 2019 from T3

  • Irene Tham (2020, Feb 17). Three-way contest for two nationwide 5G licences in Singapore paves way for smart future. Retrieved Nov. 19, 2019 from The Straits Times

  • Rosenberg, Barry (2019, Aug 12). Unsafe At Any Speed: Multiple Vulnerabilities Afflict 5G. Retrieved Oct. 25, 2019 from Breaking Media

  • Tibken, Shara (2019, Jul. 30). Why 5G for smartphones is just the start. Retrieved Nov. 19, 2019 from CNet

    • Highlights: Crazy-fast phone speeds are great, but 5G could radically change the way you drive, shop or visit the doctor. We break down how 5G might impact your life.

  • Knowledge@Wharton (Podcast: Kevin Werbach and Jeffrey Reed from Virginia Tech) (2019, Aug 17). The Promises and Pitfalls of 5G Technology. Retrieved Jul. 10, 2020 from BRINK and University of Pennsylvania

Note: Disclaimer applies. All information here are available in public domain.

Keywords: 6G, I2R 5G, Institute for Infocomm Research, Antenna, sensor, Internet of things, IoT, Comms, communication, NTU, astar, science, research, Starhub, Singtel, M1, telco

Tags: #6G #5G #IoT #mmWave #beamforming #antenna #communication #i2r #singapore