Imagine you are stuck in the aftermath of a hurricane. You need to call for help, but networks are down. Drones suddenly appear over the horizon. Equipped with 5G technology, they form an aerial network that allows you to send texts and look up evacuation information.
Developed by AT&T, these flying “cells on wings,” or COWs, are expected to expand access to larger numbers of people stranded in disaster zones. Using fiber optic tethers, flying COWS connect to trucks on the ground that serve as communication and power bases, according to CNET. So far, they have been tested in rural Missouri in regions that lack network access.
As climate change spurs more severe weather events, including wildfires, hurricanes, and floods, the flying COWs are increasingly necessary.
“Emergency preparedness and disaster recovery for the carriers has become critically important,” Bob O’Donnell , Technalysis Research analyst, told CNET. “These COWs literally become a lifeline.”
South Korea Gets First-Ever Private 5G Network
As we reported previously, 5G networks are slowly phasing out older ones. Unlike its 4G and 3G predecessors, 5G can carry massive amounts of data at lightning-fast speeds. Combined with cloud computing and artificial intelligence, 5G will serve as a backbone for the Internet of Things, autonomous machines and vehicles, and other emerging technologies.
While rollouts are fraught with delays due to the pandemic, 5G is expected to reach millions of people in the U.S. this year given that telecommunications companies bought millions of dollars worth of highly-coveted mid-band spectrum from the Federal Communications Commission.
As 5G slowly unfurls across the world, some organizations have decided to build their own private 5G networks. For example, a joint effort between Samsung Electronics and NAVER Cloud will create a 5G private network at NAVER’s headquarters in South Korea this June, which will be used to power mobile robots that will provide services to employees. The project will be the country’s first private 5G network. The robots will operate on NAVER’s cloud platform with 5G technology provided by Samsung. Rather than relying on chips embedded in each individual robot, the robots will process information using the cloud, which will act as a “brain” they all share.
“Samsung’s private 5G network plays the role of a neural network that connects the robots and the cloud, enabling the cloud to control and support tens of thousands of robots in real-time and allowing them to be smarter together,” states Samsung in a news release. “In addition, advanced technologies such as digital twin, 3D/HD mapping and AI are applied to help robots learn to find their way inside the building by creating a virtual space that replicates the real world.”
To start, 40 robots will deliver packages, coffee, and lunch to employees in the building. While the robots are currently limited to three floors, the project is expected to expand to the building’s full 36 floors.
Private 5G networks like these represent a new frontier in telecommunications. As 5G rollouts continue to expand, 5G will eventually dominate networks worldwide.
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Press release. (2 June 2022). Samsung Electronics Collaborates With NAVER Cloud To Launch Korea’s First Private 5G Network. Samsung Newsroom.
Shankland, Stephen. (2 June 2022). These Drones Could Bring You 5G Networking After a Hurricane. CNET.