Russia will build its own equipment for the next generation communication standard – 5G. Long and expensive

On Tuesday, at the conference “Digital Industry of Industrial Russia” in Nizhny Novgorod, Roster employees demonstrated a fully functional model of a 5G mobile base station operating at 3.4-3.6 GHz.

Until a few years ago, experts did not believe in this.

At the same time, a draft decision of the State Commission on Radio Frequencies (SCRF) on the procedure and conditions for the construction of 5G mobile networks of the latest generation in Russia was leaked to the press. It is scheduled for adoption in October this year. According to media reports, two key points that determine the fate of high communication technologies are “not in favor of users.” Operators will be able to build them exclusively on domestic equipment in the only permitted range of 24.25-24.5 GHz.

Both issues have been discussed many times. In June, the leading operators of Russia blocked a similar proposal from the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications within the framework of the working group of ANO Digital Economy. Now the Russian communications business and its numerous allies in the industry have about a month left to enter the next battle for their interests (and our benefit as future ordinary users), which is very likely to turn into the last and hopeless one.

Technology is intertwined with politics and it seems to have failed. We learned two most important facts from foreign and domestic policy:

Putin absolutely does not trust the Chinese, and the selfishness of the security forces is above any plans to digitize our economy.

As a result, the construction of 5G networks was postponed for several years, and Russia voluntarily yields in the technology race.

Let us remind you that 5G is a new standard for mobile communications. On such equipment, users will get a download speed 60 times higher than today’s LTE, the signal delay will be reduced ten times. High speed will allow organizing distance education on the Internet, conducting remote operations using medical robots in real time, viewing any UltraHD video online. Low latency will allow you to control fast-moving unmanned vehicles and industrial robots, play in virtual reality in large teams.

The 5G network will collect and transmit these massive data streams at a very short distance from the base station. And then they will follow the already laid communications. To do this, it is necessary to dramatically increase the throughput of conventional fiber-optic networks and the entire economy of switching devices, which will always be the most important part of the global network. And these preparatory activities will require a lot of money.

This technology will connect with each other not only people, but primarily billions of sensors installed on various devices (including household ones) and in enterprises of all types. A dramatic increase in productivity will follow. Irrational losses in all areas of our life will decrease, and its comfort will increase.

Unlike previous standards, 5G uses several frequencies at once, depending on the task. The base stations with the highest speed will increase the capacity of the operator’s cells by 60 times. However, in the range of 24.25-24.5 GHz (let me remind you that it has been proposed to master it in Russia for now), their range is no more than 200 m.

To cover densely populated large cities with a network, operators are going to install stations in the range below 6 GHz. Their speed is not much higher than modern LTE networks, but the range is up to 4 km or more. Moscow area 2511 sq. km. It is obvious that the equipment of cells at 24.25-24.5 GHz at a distance of one hundred meters from each other throughout the capital will cost fantastic money. Therefore, commercial mobile operators, to the best of their ability, tried to get low frequencies at moderate speeds, but at acceptable costs.

The problem for Russia is that the most suitable for this so-called “golden” broadcasting range of 3.4-3.8 GHz is occupied by government departments, mainly the military, intelligence services and Roscommon. Can they share? They can. There is a conversion procedure when new users (commercial companies in our case) are allocated bands in different regions and frequencies, if they do not interfere with the security forces.

In general, the share of the frequency spectrum under the control of the military and special services is very large and fully corresponds to their weight in the political structure of Russia.

Organizations spiritually close to the silo Viki – the National Radio Engineering Bureau (NRTB), Geyser and Voentelecom – earn billions annually by “inscribing” merchants into the frequency domains of the silo Viki. But the conversion of the large 3.4-3.8 GHz range is no longer a trifle; you will have to part with a valuable administrative resource. Bureaucratic structures are not going to share with anyone, even if the business pays them for the transition to new equipment, new frequencies. And even if the country’s competitiveness depends on it.

This problem is superimposed on geopolitics and state security in the form in which it is understood in the Kremlin. A year ago, Russia was covered by a wave of telephone terrorism. Millions of people have been evacuated from hospitals and shopping centers simply by automated phone calls and anonymous e-mails. Our special services are completely discredited – they still do not know the executors, they do not even have versions.

5G networks, as we can see, are equally designed for industry and even more broadly for the entire economy. Over time, there will be much more data and control sensors in factories and in the machines that they will connect with each other than there are people on the planet. I will not enumerate the options for sabotage that can be arranged by seizing control of the networks, but, believe me, the opportunities will be grandiose.

There are fewer vendors with 5G solutions ready for mass adoption than fingers. They are all from Europe and China. Now, as we can see, Roster intends to line up with them. The most versatile and cheapest kits from Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. Without waiting for Chinese equipment to seize communications around the world, the United States launched a grandiose war with the help of proven sanctions weapons – first against Huawei, then against all of China. The main argument is the practice of Chinese companies to leave methods of secret management in equipment (specific cases are widely known). However, American companies have not developed their own highly competitive universal solutions for 5G.

Against the background of this epic, Putin also decided to create his own equipment for exactly the same reasons: he absolutely does not believe the Chinese who offer their equipment. It is believed that this is an initiative of the special services, but it is unlikely that such an important decision was made without the president. For more than a year, the members of the Architectural Council for the Development of 5G in Russia – Sozvezdiye Concern (a subsidiary of Roster from Voronezh), GlobalInformService OJSC and NPK Kryptonite – have been conjuring over the 5G base station.