LatenceTech as sponsored the Zeus Robotics team of University of Sherbrooke whom just won the 2021 Canadian International Rover Challenge! Congratulations to the team! we are proud of you! you will soon be great engineers!
Link to the Canadian International Rover Challenge (see link here)
Team and Rover in action!
Preparing the rover for the competition!
The rover in action at the event!
Q: How did the idea to present your Rover to the championship come about? your sources of inspiration? A: The rover’s presentation to the championship comes from on a long desire of the the UofSherbrooke Robotics technical group to participate in this event. Then this desire was materialized with the confirmation from our professors and fact that the participation could be included as part of our graduation project.
Q: During the process of creating your rover, what was the challenge that surprised you? A: The biggest challenge in creating the rover was the tight deadline! specially when it came to planning and executing the multiple design iterations and make time for testing phases.
Q: If you had to redesign and rebuild this machine, what would you change? A: One of the big change to be made would be to reduce the mass of the robot to increase maneuverability and lose as few points as possible in the contest! We would to increase the robustness of the robotic arm.
Q: Has latency been an issue in the efficiency and responsiveness of the robotics mechanism? Can the performance of your robot be related to the level of the degree of latency? A: Latency was a major issue in the development of our communication system; indeed, the robot was piloted remotely sometimes even from good distances. The loss of signal or too much latency reduced our performance and the actions that could be taken. Low latency combined with high bandwidth speed would be a real advantage for us. The need of low latency depends on the mission and the use you want to make of the robot, but for decentralization of calculations and control, this feature will be essential in the future.
Next steps…testing the rover with 5Gconnectivity!
LatenceTech has invited the team to test their rover with 5G optimized low-latency connectivity in the coming weeks. We will post the results on this blog.
Caution: this study is not a scientific paper, it’s a blog post with the intent to share ideas.
Before going into more details on the potential environmental and social impacts of 5G, let’s list some of the more positive impacts that will be generated by 5G cellular technology:
Improved connectivity for consumers (more bandwidth, low latency, resilience) allowing new services like 4K streaming, massive multiplayer mobile gaming, almost instantaneous access to internet, immersive AR/VR glasses, etc.
Improved connectivity for industries and businesses (top bandwidth, ultra low latency below 15 milliseconds, very high reliability at 99,999%, mobile EDGE computing and overall a much-improved connectivity that can be adjusted for specific needs and for each vertical markets with the help of network slicing and new radio technology). For many industries, seamless connectivity will be a game changer!
Improve battery life as 5G will offer energy management features to connected devices and wearables allowing them to go into a kind of “sleep mode” thanks to 5G NR-RedCap (New Radio Reduced Capability Device) and other 5G improvements.
Better internet access for all. 5G supports more consumers and devices versus 4G/LTE hence it shall be easier to widely deploy in market with low internet access. 5G will offer seamless connectivity facilitating the development of “smart cities” and probably lower the need for physical travel and commute (hence helping lower global warming).
Faster network evolution thanks to virtual and cloud Native approaches used on many components like the core and edge network nodes enabling more flexibility, openness and interoperability between equipment and vendors. In short, we shall see a faster evolution of the 5G network capable to handle new consumer and industrial needs.
Now let’s dig a bit more on the potential environmental impacts of 5G:
As stated in part 1, the study has identified three main domains of environmental impacts which are: waste, resources and ecosystems. The figure below presents some more details on each of them.
The main environmental challenges linked to the implementation of the 5G network come from the manufacturing of the 5G components linked to the infrastructure and the waste created (if we cannot or can only partially recycle) by replacing older 3G and 4G installations and the need to use new devices. Then, 5G networks may probably lead to an important increase in power consumption due to larger networks supporting more devices. As you may know, many countries still rely on fossil fuel for energy hence larger wireless networks may imply more greenhouse gases and more climate changes. Producing billions of 5G devices will also consume lots of new raw material, such as rare earth elements if we do a poor job in recycling existing devices. Finally, as explained in part 1, 5G may have impacts on the ecosystem of Earth’s living things.
Similarly, here are more details on potential social impacts of 5G:
As stated in part 1, the study has identified three main domains of social impacts which are: Urban (street) Furniture, Health and Security. The figure below provides more details on each of them.
The implementation of 5G will require the multiplication of antennas near to each other mainly in dense areas like cities. On one side, the architecture of a city often represents its history, traditions, and socio-economic aspect. On the other hand, street or urban furniture must also be practical and evolve technologically to adapt to the advanced needs of its citizens. The arrival of 5G will allow communities to move closer and enjoy the benefits of “smart cities“. More efficient and faster first aid services (ambulances, firefighters, and police), intelligent infrastructure and autonomous public transport services, seamless access to internet services are opportunities that will potentially be more accessible thanks to 5G.
However, the arrival of new technology, such as new 5G small cells, requires the evolution and adaptation of the design of current cities. The implementation of 5G will be no exception and is currently generating anxiety among many communities. This will be a real challenge for architects, urban designers, and construction companies. Indeed, the architecture of buildings may have to be redesigned to ensure an integrated and seamless installation of new antennas while allowing great indoor and outdoor 5G coverage.
The emergence of 5G will probably require the installation of multiple antennas, closer to humans and thus possibly generating more electromagnetic waves. The population is trying as best they can to find the relevant information to educate themselves, understand and try to reach some understanding of the situation. In a world of caution and with limited information, it is rather easy, for some, to jump to alarming conclusions. Currently, the noted impact on health remains a shared concern today and shows many cases of misinformation. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Despite much research, there is no indication for the moment that exposure to low-intensity electromagnetic fields is dangerous for human health”.
In addition to the continuing increase in public anxiety over a sense of uncertainty and a certain powerlessness in the implementation of 5G close to human life, more and more individuals are being diagnosed as having “technophobia”. In a world where technology is constantly evolving and where we adapt quickly, it is more than normal, for some, to feel some level of anxiety. In contrast, diagnosed technophobia is a feeling of fear, anxiety or desire to avoid new technologies (e.g., new vaccines). For example, hypersensitivity disease, or Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), seems to be on the rise but does not find any consensus in modern medicine. Whether these effects are psychological or physical, no individual should have to isolate themselves from society to feel safe. Thus, it is through better transparency, an increased sense of security, easier, clearer, and more efficient access to real-time 5G network data for medical research that the psychological effects could be researched and eventually elucidated.
Security concerns will probably have a huge impact on the adoption rate of 5G in communities. The fear mainly stems from the vulnerability of systems and the potential theft of personal information or identity. The cause of these uncertainties stems specifically from a fear of being watched and recorded by “Big Brother” often called Snowden effet. In addition, faced with the proliferation of technological links and access by international entities to citizens’ data, many fear that future conflicts will not be fought by arms, but by access to technology and data. Current research is lacking in terms of security, and the assurance that a system is foolproof holds until a breach occurs. In any case, only information, communication and transparency will resolve this issue and its potential impacts. For now, we can only observe that cellular networks, using SIM cards and a multiple of high-end security features in RAN, Core and Transport, seems to offer very strong protection of individual privacy.
On trying to conclude this long post…
There are still several hurdles to overcome before deploying 5G more widely. So far little academic research has been carried out and therefore little data is known on the potential environmental and social impacts of 5G as discussed in this article.
On solutions that LatenceTech can bring…
We can do our part by helping mobile operators collect and analyze various type of data and information from their new 5G network as shown in this representation of our solution:
For mobile operators, first and foremost is to get data to assess the situation. It’s starts by understanding the behaviour of their 5G network during the day/week/seasons by obtaining and aggregating the data and then perform deep analysis to find ways to continuously optimize their network and lower its potential impacts. As stated in part 1, with real-time data and AI, multiple insights can be extracted leading to network optimisation such as lower energy consumption of RAN sites, lower electromagnetic output of unused cells (e.g., urban small cells at night), supporting more devices and apps on the same network equipment, etc. etc.
Second most important thing for mobile operators to lower environmental impacts of 5G, is to make sure they implement strong recycling measures, in partnership with their network and device vendors, to recycle devices and obsolete network equipment.
Finally, with improved data on their 5G network, mobile operators can gradually open up and be more transparent with communities, cities, government and research entities. Data availability will foster more research helping make 5G a great solution for all of us while limiting its environment and social impacts to a minimum.
We hope you enjoyed this study. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have remarks, comments or would like to share your view point with us.
Regards, LatenceTech team
Special Thanks to the HEC Montréal MBA team (see list below) and Joey EL-Khoury (MBA, PhD), Teaching Assistant at Pôle IDEOS at HEC Montréal Business School.
Jacques Mikael Noupeu Nguemecheu
For resources consulted by the MBA team for the study, please refer to part 1.
In the last two years, we have heard many rumors and fake news about the environmental and social impacts of 5G. Some of them even linked the Covid-19 pandemic with the deployment of 5G networks…
Since the main focus of our company is related to 5G technology challenges, we have worked with a group of MBA students at HÉC Montréal Business School to investigate the topic of “How 5G will impacts our society and how and where could we help?“. We would like to share the result of this study in the form of two blog articles. This first part will classify the impacts and the second one will dig further into details and possible solutions.
Caution: this is not a scientific paper. Our intent is simply to share interesting ideas.
The main question we asked is: “Will 5G have impacts on the human life? If yes, in which fields?” The study found that yes, 5G has or will have different effects or impacts similar to any human endeavor and any new technology. 5G will most probably make impacts on human life. These impacts could be positive, negative or mixed. We have decided to focus on the negative ones in this study in order to understand if our approach with real-time 5G network data and AI can be useful to address any of them.
Some 5G impact examples
80% of the actual mobile phones (about 6 billion today…) are not compatible with 5G and will need to be replaced in the near future. How will those phones be recycled?
Similarly, a good portion of the deployed 3G/4G/LTE network need to be modernized and the same question can be asked on the level of recycling of that equipment.
More consumers, more smartphones & IoT devices and new innovative industrial use cases will also call for more antennas (specially to support high band frequencies), an overall larger mobile network needing more electrical consumption (and probably generating more greenhouse gas emissions where energy is produced with fossil fuels).
On the ecosystem, there are new studies, mentioned in a report by Columbia Climate School , showing possible impacts on living things like birds (nesting, migration) after a long exposition to radio towers. An older study by Warnke  discovered that cellular devices could negatively impact bees. In this study, beehives exposed to cellular waves may have suffered from impaired navigation abilities.
These examples show that there are different types of impacts. In short, they can be classified into two mains categories: social and environmental impacts.
5G Environmental impacts
At it is shown in above examples, environmental impacts are easier to study and to measure and therefore we have seen more research papers and reports being published on the matter (refer to resources section below). Indeed, whether it is the impact on ecosystems (e.g., on living things), on the mass of future waste or the use of resources, these impacts can currently be measured and are more confirmed. These concrete elements are often used as inputs in the deployment plans of 5G networks and are thus better understood and calculated. The main environmental issues linked to the implementation of the 5G network come from manufacturing building blocks of the 5G infrastructure (towers, radios, transport network, virtual core, etc.) and the need to use new devices (smartphones, FWA and industrial modems, IoT devices, etc.). We can subdivide the environmental group into waste impacts, resources impacts and ecosystem impacts. We will provide details on each in part 2 of our article.
5G Social impacts
On the other hand we have social impacts. Social impacts are the effects on people and communities that happens as a result of an action or inaction, an activity, project, program or a policy. They are much more difficult to understand and analyze. The information seems less concrete. There’s a lack of data and opinions diverge enormously. These can be further classified in impacts on urban furniture (street/city design), then impacts on health and finally on security. The impacts on urban furniture can be analyzed only when 5G is well and truly established in dense areas and when the companies carrying out the deployment decide on the type of installation to be deployed in our cities. We shall see many new small cells probably incorporated into the street furniture. Information regarding the impacts on the health of citizens is rather mixed. Moreover, considering the uncertainty of these impacts, this is the subject where we seem to find the most articles using disinformation. The impact on security will depend on legislation and requires a thorough understanding of 5G in order to comprehend its potential future impacts on businesses and consumers. Hence for now, most of these social impacts are speculative and unconfirmed (which does not mean they should not be studied). Again, we will provide details on each impact group in part 2 of our article.
A summary of the potential 5G impacts
The potential 5G impacts could therefore be summarized with the diagrambelow:
Our study carried on in detailing these six main impact areas and listing some existing and potential solutions to lower the negative outcome to an acceptable level for all.
It also revealed that many social impacts may be due to a lack of transparency regarding 5G cellular technology and a lack of real-time data to share facts and hopefully evidences on the real impacts. With increased access to data, there could be new research performed by 5G stakeholders. Internally, we discussed how our real-time AI-based solution could possibly be used to help address impacts on resources and ecosystem.
Here are some examples:
Electrical Consumption of 5G sites: Collecting real-time data on the electrical consumption of 5G sites (e.g., continuously collecting power level of devices emitting to the radio tower and vice-versa). This data could then be used as input for advanced AI models aiming to minimize the energy consumption of each site by optimizing the power level of radios and connected devices.
Application Optimization on EDGE: Again, collecting real-time data end-to-end latency, bandwidth usage and other application-level characteristics could enable the computing of the best possible location on the network to limit resource consumption. For example, a 5G and AI-based surveillance camera service could be optimized by placing the AI function on EDGE therefore avoiding sending the video feed up to the cloud and limiting expensive on-device compute power.
Open 5G Datafor Impact Research: Real-time collection of 5G network data could be shared with stakeholders (University Research Groups, government entities, cities/municipalities, citizen groups (NPOs and NGOs), 5G network and device manufacturers, etc.) for improved transparency, to stimulate new 5G research and help address concerns from citizens.
Other ideas? Do you have other ideas for us? if so, please share!
LatenceTech is motivated to work with a mobile operator in developing real-time tools to collect data, perform monitoring and help reduce environmental and social impacts of 5G networks. Contact us if you are interested.
In the second part of this article, we will discuss further the solutions and concrete actions which could be applied to lower the environmental and social impact of 5G as well as how we (citizens and society) and the LatenceTech could play a more active role.
Regards, LatenceTech team
Special Thanks to the HEC Montréal MBA team (see list below) and Joseph EL-Khoury (MBA, PhD), Teaching Assistant at Pôle IDEOS at HEC Montréal Business School.
Jacques Mikael Noupeu Nguemecheu
List of articles consulted by the MBA team for the study
While developing our value proposition and our SAAS & AI-based solution, we pondered a lot about which consumer or industrial use cases (or innovative service) are required now or will soon require ultra-low latency (below 15 milliseconds) combine with very high reliability.
New categories of applications require high network reliability and very low latency communication to be able to achieve tasks in network. According to , the emerging 5G is designed to support enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMMB), Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communication (URLLC) and massive Machine Type Communication (mMTC). URLLC communication ensure at the same time a very high network reliability and low latency communication, that claims most of network applications. Using the 5G communication, mobile provider network will offer high performance networks to their customer and will meets applications requirements.
The table below shows some URLLC use cases with their requirements in terms of latency and reliability compiled by our team  through academic research .
If we zoom in on Factory Automation, this use case often describes the industry 4.0 paradigm which enables interconnection and communication between machines, devices, sensors and people. High reliability and a guaranty of low latency is often required in an industrial manufacturing . The figure below shows the scenario of a factory automation use case where a robotic hand sends latest data on its action and context and in return receives command(s) from remote server control unit on the next actions to perform. This approach provides increased production flexibility compared to a pre-programmed robot that only perform repetitive batch manufacturing tasks. However, for this to result in high production quality, flawless connectivity with sustained low-latency is required.
Maintaining 5G QoS such as sustained ultra-low latency, in order fulfill B2B customer SLA is a puzzle game for the provider. It is not possible anymore to just “throw extra bandwidth” to the problem and hope it will fix itself. This strategy, proven useful in the last 30 years with IP networks, will not be sufficient with ultra-low latency (<15ms) and very high reliability (>99,999%) requirements. For us, the most efficient and effective way to ensure that QoS can be maintained is by using advanced analytics and performing the real time network monitoring.
By advanced analytics, we envision the following features (all in real-time as dealing with low-latency cannot wait):
Real-time AI-based anomaly detection of ultra-low latency metric per application or network site
Real-time decomposition analysis of ultra-low latency into its sub-components such as propagation delay, transmission delay, jitter, etc. We will soon publish a specific blog post on this topic.
Real-time AI-based prediction& trend analysis of end-to-end latency and reliability
Real-time comparative analysis between 5G networks, sites, frequency, network protocols, B2B use case, etc.
We have started to implement the above functions and would be happy to perform a live demo of our latest prototype.
X. Jiang, H. Shokri-Ghadikolaei, G. Fodor, E. Modiano, Z. Pang, M. Zorzi, and C. Fischione. Low-latency networking: Where latency lurks and how to tame it. Proceedings of the IEEE, 107(2):280-306, 2019.
In a wireless environment, a sustained end-to-end response time under 15ms is a fantastic technological achievement. For us at LatenceTech, such ultra-low latency is the key feature and differentiator of 5G mobile networks. We are confident it will have a greater impact than bandwidth improvements and higher reliability.
But first, let’s have a quick reminder of the key 5G characteristics starting with the “top 4” as shown below:
Enhancing Mobile Broadband with 10-25Gbps + per radio; up to 1Gbps + per user/device
Much lower end-to-end latency from ~50 ms in 4G/LTE networks to single digit, as low as 5ms in 5G when combined with EDGE. In many cases, the bandwidth shall be about 10x larger than 4G/LTE.
Much higher reliability with the possibility of reaching, for the first time for a wireless network, the famous “5 nines uptime” or 99,999% which correspond to an average of less than 6 minutes downtime per year.
EDGE capabilities at the radio site with compute (CPU/GPU), network, storage capacity to be shared amongst applications.
Other very important characteristics of the 5G cellular technology are:
Enhanced and more flexible machine to machine communication allowing devices to consume less power to communicate and permitting a higher density of connected IoT devide per cell site.
More and new spectrum available such as higher band in the 24-39 GHz range) and improved spectral efficiency
Cloud native Core – an optimized core network build using Network Virtual Functions (NFV) enabling dynamic and automated network topology and configuration.
Network slicing enabling segregation of virtual networks with their own characteristics.
In our opinion, all the new 5G strengths are important but the ultra-low latency is the real disruptor, especially when combined with high reliability.
Ultra-low latency is opening up new possibilities and will positively impact the value chain of many industries. Ultra-Low latency now allows multiple innovative and new use cases in the industrial field by replacing inadequate and cumbersome legacy networks, many of them reaching their limits or unable to provide appropriate quality of service. 5G’s low-latency permits instant interactions with and between connected objects such as autonomous vehicles, industrial IoT devices or robots.
5G connectivity with sustained low-latency will play a key role in the near future in many industrial services and probably in some consumer services. We consider that it is now critical to properly and continuously measure it, understand its “behavior” in different environments, detect anomalies in near real-time, predict future variations and identify ways to improve it.