Mobile 5G: Beyond just speed
Welcome to channel four. This time on Zoom. And I love how we're sort of zooming around from one platform to another to support this conference. I'm really excited about our next conversation, which is going to be about 5G networks. I personally have a bit of a background in networking as many, many Canadian technologists do.
And, I was at a conference many years ago and met a fellow named Jim Gray, who just was an amazing researcher at Microsoft, but what he said really stuck with, stuck with me is that, asked about the future of computing, he said, compared to the cost of moving bits, everything else is free. And that really stuck with me. And at the time I really kind of rejected it. And then over the years I found myself feeling every year, it's true and truer. Which is why I'm so excited to welcome to a conversation today, to present to us on 5G and why it's more than just about speed.
And, and, I'm on the edge of my seat here, to welcome Stephen Howe, who is the chief technology officer at Bell Canada, has a long career in telecommunications himself. And happens to also be, have figured out his own solution to the pandemic is doing a lot of running, is what I understand. Welcome Stephen. Thanks Ian. Appreciate it. And welcome.
Bienvenue à tous. Thank you for joining the session today. I'm gonna share my screen. If you give me a moment. As Stephen's getting set up.
I just want to remind folks to please, feel free to add questions in the chat. And those questions will be, there'll be an opportunity for Stephen to address those questions at the end. And I also want to remind you that this will still follow the terms, terms and conditions we all agree to, to participate in the conference. And with that, I hand it back to Stephenen who looks ready to go. Great. And Ian, everyone can see my screen now? It looks perfect.
Perfect. Okay. A couple of things before I start a little bit about my background, as far as agenda goes, I'll talk about my background, just a little bit for the international people in the audience, a bit about Bell, so that people get some context to this 5G journey that we're on. And then, I'll go into 5G. I actually have four sort of distinct chapters if you will on 5G. And I'll be sure to pause at the end of each chapter.
If I can reflect on some questions from that chapter, that'd be great, but I'm happy to take questions, throughout. I won't be actively monitoring the chat rooms. So Ian, if you can just bump in and tell me to look at the chat for the question, or you can read the question out. That'd be great as well. So I do have to apologize in advance.
I do tend to use a lot of acronyms. So, if I lose someone, please also just raise, raise your hand or send the chat room and I'll clarify something. So, your technology does shape every facet sort of modern life. I took this from the website, but will it hurt us or help us? And that's a big question and I always believe as a technologist, and really a technology person through and through that, it largelly help us in the long run. And 5G in particular is one of the key enablers for our collective society and the new digital economy going forward.
So this presentation is more technology centric, bit of a primer, if you will. And with that, let's get right into it. You'll see, over my shoulder here, this is a legitimate, it's called a picture frame wall phone. It's from about the 1920s. And the reason why I show this as part of an introduction to me- no, I'm not a hundred years old, obviously- but, I've been in telecom really since I was a kid. This phone was at my grandmother's farm up in Richmond Hill, the corner of Bayview and major McKinsey.
The farmhouse is still there, although surrounded by malls and such, but the farmhouse is still there. And, I grew up sort of playing with this phone, if you will, on what's called a party line. For those that don't know what a party line is, you can Google that and be fascinated that people used to be able to listen in on your conversations that was in, Richmond Hill, Ontario, just North here of Toronto. I was born and raised in Trenton, Ontario. My dad was a teacher.
My mom was a mom and, they really instilled in me the love of science, engineering, and math. And, from there, I went to McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, engineering physics was my major, which, involved a lot of math. From there, I went to actually South of the border, to Ithaca New York, which is home to Cornell university and took my master's there. And so I'm one of those rare people, because from there I went to a lovely place called Corona Del Mar in Southern California, crown of the seat. And did a lot of work with early wireless startups, Qualcomm being one of them. And this was very early days, mid nineties of Qualcomm, and early days of Verizon and so on.
And so, spent a lot of time in the US working with various wireless technologies. And that then took me back across the border in the late nineties to Pickering, Ontario. So I'm one of those rare people who left the US and I'm very pleased, not just because of the last 24-48 hours, but I'm very pleased to be back in Canada the last 20 or so years, because it really is truly my home. I'm a very proud Canadian. And helped start up a company called Clearnet, that became Telus, that many Canadians may or may not know. And my last stop freely for the last 13 years has been with Bell Canada.
I'm based out of Toronto. That's just a little bit about my background for those that are interested in why I feel qualified at least to talk about 5G. Bell Canada has been connecting Canadians since 1880. We are arguably the oldest telco in the world. Really the founding from the early patents from, Alexander Graham Bell himself, and who was a Scottish, Scottish Canadian and not a lot of people know that, because the US would quote unquote, have adopted him and would claim to have a lot of his inventions. But in fact, he invented most of his, did most of his early work here and in Canada.
And we've been around for 140 years, which is pretty incredible. You can see at the bottom of a slide, and I'm not going to spend a lot of time on Bell, just a little introduction, like I mentioned, for the international audience. One in every 350 employed Canadians actually works at Bell.
So a really large company. 22 million customer connections, that's in a population of 34 million. So pretty big numbers. And traded in the stock exchange and everything else that nature. If you do have questions, as it relates to our financials, I won't be able to answer them because our financials get released tomorrow. So stave off any of those types of questions, should you have any.
As far as our revenue mix today, we, a hundred percent, 140 years ago would have been all not, of course business and home phone. And we've really transformed the company in the last 10 years or so to be a real broadband leader. And you can see that internet broadband TV and internet is about 37% wireless, 36% and a smaller component on the media side, through TSN and CTV and so on. And my last Bell slide is really all about the network.
We do believe in delivering the best network for Canadians, and we could really see this as part of the, during the early days of the pandemic, whether video conferencing was up, several hundred percentage points a week, over week internet usage was up massively. Wireless usage was up massively in those first, early weeks. And so, you know, delivering the best networks is a key pillar of our marketing campaigns.
For those in Canada would see that in our marketing campaigns, it's all about delivering. Our Bell Canada goal, which is at the very bottom here advancing how Canadians connect with each other, and the world. And nothing could be more important than connection during these turbulent times. And then you see a few of the brands that we support.
These are all internal Bell brands, whether it's the Bell brand itself or Bell Alliant out East, Bell MTS in Manitoba, Bell media and the various TV, and other, the properties that we run our radio as well. With that I'll get into 5G. And one of the first questions I often get among friends and family is, okay, why call it 5G? And what does G stand for? G simply put is for generation, and, excuse me, jumped to hit there accidentally. And that's really all it stands for first-generation of wireless was analog only.
It was really invented in the early seventies and really came into commercial existence in sort of 85-86 timeframe. And it was voice only. The second generation was the first time it became digital. And that was in the early nineties. And there were two digital technologies at the time, GSM, which was really more founded out of Europe and CDMA that was more founded out of the US and became more of a North American ecosystem. And so those two ecosystems kind of survived until one ecosystem eventually took over and became the third generation HSP high speed packet access.
And it really started this world of data that we know about a fairly slow speeds, 42 megabits per second. You can see that, and that was in the early two thousands. And then 4G, somehting called long-term evolution came along and it's when really data took off, was full IP packet end to end. It allowed for HD streaming and a lot of high speed internet. In fact, this is what Bell offers today with speeds up to 1.5.
gigabits per second to 99% of the population. We also have a very large rural wireless broadband service that we offer to rural Canadians, particularly important nowadays to nearly 500,000 homes in our footprint. So this is the technology we are using today as our mainstay, if you will. And last but certainly not least in the major portion of this presentation will be about, 5G.
We've been working on 5G within Bell for about two and a half years, early lab trials, you know, ensuring that we have we're following the vendor ecosystems and things like that. And yeah, ultimately it'll have speeds North of 10 megabits per second. I'll talk a little bit about that journey. There'll be IOT, private networks, all that cool stuff that you read about. But we're ways away from that, which is fine on this slide.
I say 20, 20 plus, for that technology, you'll see how with the four pillars, I'll talk to how that unfolds. Now Gartner, and many of you have probably seen this, but Gartner has what they call the hype cycle. And, so I've borrowed that, for this presentation and you can see, this is really just a directional view, you know, some of these really innovative things. You read about whether it's flying autonomous vehicles or delivery drones, those are a ways off. And eventually they hit a really peak of inflated expectations. And so you can see the flying autonomous drones, autonomous cars, and so on, really at the height of the expectations.
3D sensing cameras. Okay, you know, they didn't really make it into the market. They're heading towards what's called the trough of disillusionment, which I find is a fascinating word. But out of that trough of disillusionment virtual reality was there as well, came out and something called the slope of enlightenment, which is, okay, people are really starting to get it. They understand what it means.
They understand how it works. And eventually it becomes a much more mainstream. And almost every single technology goes through this, not just 5G, which I'll get to in a moment. But whether it's going from records to eight track tapes to cassettes, to CDs, and now to streaming, all have followed a very similar curve to this.
And if you think back and the way you may have interacted with music over the years, you can see how that curve, you get really, really excited about a new technology. And, Oh, it didn't quite live up to it, but Oh, you know, it's actually good enough. And that's something. In 5g is following that exact same curve. Now this is very directional to 5g in Canada.
Very early days. You know, we have three networks that have launched in Canada, Bell being one. And so it's super early for that. It's just been a few months, under the gun, or off the gun so to speak. 5g in the USA they launched earlier then we did in Canada and that's not because the Americans are more creative or faster or anything of that nature. It's because the spectrum, which I'll talk to in a little bit, the spectrum that's required for 5g was auctioned earlier in the US than in Canada.
So they are further down the hype curve. And last but not least, my example, South Korea, also auctioned spectrum well over now two and a half years ago, we were still waiting at Canada for this spectrum to be auctioned. It'll be actioned mid next year. So it puts South Korea kind of three years ahead of us, in the hype curve.
Excuse me I'm going to take some water. So, at some point, a lot of these huge hype and heightened expectations of 5g in Canada, I think that will temper down and eventually it will be, have a very, very productive discussion in the marketplace around 5g. Now, the title of this presentation is beyond just speed and I will talk about speed as one of the four chapters, but really to have a true 5g ecosystem, if you will, I believe you need speed latency, density, and slicing. And I'll talk about each of these in order.
I should ask Ian, are there any questions in the chat room at this point? Just the reminiscing about party lines. Yeah. Good old party lines. Definitely could go that one.
So, what are each of these? Speed is simply how long it takes to download or upload a large amount of data. You know, here megabits per second, gigabits per second, these are all measures of speed as it relates to a telecom network. And that's what people tend to get hung up on. Okay, my network's faster than your network. They do a speed test or something like that.
And that's speed. But there's really only so much speed that any given application does what people really mix up between speed and latency. I do have a chapter in latency to help better explain that, but it's how quickly a network reacts or responds to requests.
One of the best ways to think about it is that you can snap a finger. How quickly does that finger snap actually take? That's about one millisecond to two milliseconds. Has nothing to do with speed. It's all about how quick something responds. And that's just one example of a very low latency density is the ability to connect to a large number of devices in any given area.
Think about that as coverage and there's really two types of coverage. I'll talk a little bit about that. There's the breadth of coverage.
How much of the population are you covering? Or in our case, I mentioned 99% of the population with LTE, and then there's the depth of the coverage. So are you covering every so little nook and cranny, every elevator, shaft, and large building those kinds of things. And that's where density really plays a role. And last but not least is slicing. And slicing is where some of the cool stuff that you read about 5g really comes into play and you need all three components to get true slicing. And I'll talk that through, but it's really a combination of speed latency and density to offer differentiated services.
And I'll leave it at that because there's some cool examples that have later on in the presentation. So speed. How fast will my TikTok load? And TikTok, I chose TikTok specifically, because it's a, it's a fascinating case study, right? These are really short segment videos. Of course, TikTok is number three in the world in global video traffic share.
So it's right after, YouTube is by far the leader, then Netflix and then TikTok. And when you think about TikTok, the brand name came had evolution elsewhere, but the TikToK brand name has only been around for four years. And yet it's already number three in the world that just shows how fast things are evolving is pretty incredible.
And so how fast speed, it's actually really complicated. I've tried to distill it down to four key components here and, again, I hope I don't lose people, but there's really four there's many, many other components, but I distilled it down to four there's the radio. And you can think of the radio is really the cell tower or the cell site itself.
And within that, there's various technologies that help that radio work, whether it's the amount of spectrum or bandwidth that's pushed at the, whether it's the technology behind it. Something called carrier aggregation. There's many, many more. And I'll talk about each of those.
Going to the top right corner, a new core, we have a core network or core network is where we can think about it as the brains. So, of the network, you have all these cell sites attached to the brains of the network and there's multiple brains of the network, but a new core is required, in a 5g world and that new core and the radio network, those two components at the top are connected through the transport network in Bell's case views fiber. A lot of fiber. For those that know, we have a big push on building as much fiber to homes directly and as well to cell sites directly as possible. So, and I'll talk a little bit about that connection and last, but certainly not least there's a lot of industry influences to get speed and the industry is really two or three components.
There's the vendor community. There's the spectrum availability that the governments would auction off or give away depending on any given country and how they want to deal with that, as well as various standards, bodies, chip sets, whether it's Intel or Qualcomm and big chip manufacturers and things like that. And then of course the device manufacturers, the Samsung, Apple, LGS, and so on, all of that makes up an ecosystem that works with those first three components that are talked about. And I'll take each in order on the radio side of things.
And you'll see this chart a few times because it's very important chart. And so, I'll come back to it a couple different ways. If you look to the bottom of the chart, these low bands, this is sub one gigahertz spectrum. This is what we would have built our 1G, in our 2G networks on, back in the early days.
And we are over time as technology evolves and things like that. We're evolving that to 4g and 5g. And that's the way you sort of read that the mid bands, same thing also started in 2G all the way.
We'll slowly become 5g, the higher bands technology wasn't there, the spectrum wasn't available and for a variety of reasons, those all started with 4g and will eventually end up with 5g. And the ultra high bands will be 5g only. And so eventually all bands will be this dark blue 5g.
And as you go from bottom to top, you can see the speed increases and the reason the speed increases as you can see in those gray bars, there's more bandwidth. that we can add to that. So the more bits you can push down the pipe and I'll talk a little bit about that. So this chart tries to frame that up from a spectrum and bandwidth perspective, really, really complicated. You know, people get full PhDs and just one little element or aspect of this chart.
So I don't expect people to, to learn it right away, but this is sort of a high level where we think about speed, lower speed in the low bands, much faster speed in the high bands because there's more bandwidth available. Another way we talk about this is you can think of bandwidth as, really a road and the wider the band, you have the more roads you can have so much like a highway. So we were down the 400 series of highways.
You can certainly go faster right back to that speed. It also adds more capacity. You can have more cars going down any given wider road. So if you can, you can see it sort of blurred out in the background. We'll go back a slide to show it.
Again, the ultra high bands, you can get more roads, at the top of the chart, hence the broader speed, in that dark blue to the right side. And hopefully that makes sense. More country roads, single lane highways at the bottom in the low bands. There's one other aspect, that needs to be sort of mentioned as it relates to 5g. So I'll take you back and 4g. So on the left side of this chart, each of these roads actually had a maximum width.
That maximum width was 20 megahertz in 4g. And so when we think about from an engineering perspective, it's all about how many bits per megahertz, you can shove down a road. They were only able to maximize at 20 megahertz eventually as 4g evolved. I'm now on the bottom left of this chart, we could add multiple channels. So it's almost like we were stacking more roads together. So more traffic could fit in there for more speed.
Hopefully, that makes sense. So it's really four times 20 for total of 80 on the far right side, top, right? In a 5g world, you end up, if you think back to that previous slide on spectrum where I said 5g is only in that ultra high band big wide channels. The channel size in 5g is a hundred mega Hertz.
And what that means is you can fit a lot more bits, a lot more capacity, therefore, a lot more speed. The only caveat to that is if that spectrum is good and clear in that a hundred megahertz. Great.
You have full use of that a hundred megahertz. If for whatever reason, another company or user or a carrier or whatever the case might be is actually within that spectrum because they've been licensed to do, to provide there, or to satellite system or whatever the case may be around the world. Then you're actually limited and it'll actually block some of that speed from truly coming through. And so you won't be able to maximize, so all the channels, the more contiguous the channels are, the more throughput you kind of get back to the road analogy kind of makes sense, right? If you've got a whole multi-lane highway, you're all run down. You can run down all six or eight lanes all at once. If you've got construction down the middle, everything's going to slow down.
Same exact idea. So to kind of make this more practical for user customer perspective in a 4g world on the left, you have the four tons of 20 megahertz. You're actually coordinating all those channels together. You get 80 megahertz, maximum kind of throughput.
And of course, as you add multiple lanes, just like you would, or multiple roads together, you actually have to get between those roads and things like that. So things aren't as efficient in a four by 20, as they are in a two by 100 megahertz. As one example, you could see the speed dramatically increase from 4g to 5g. Now the thing that affects speed of a network is that transport network that I talked about earlier, this is what connects.
If you look on the left side of this picture, this is what connects the central office or the brains of the network to the cell site and at Bell, we use fiber. It's a direct connection. It's the fastest connection that works at the speed of light, of course, cause there's lasers at either end. It's also weatherproof.
It's not susceptible to rain fade or, or things of that nature. So a lot better. The other thing it's better for, and I'll come back to this slide in my next chapter, one millisecond latency, very, very fast. And so that's, also important to remember. And I'm going to pause there and just asking and if there's any, any questions in the chat room? Yeah.
So we've got Mark Renee who's asked about reports, that they had some issues getting sufficient coverage inside, some government Canada buildings in Ottawa. And, wondering about with 5g being still prone to being blocked by building materials, how, like what, how can they, ensure adequate coverage without having to, I think what he suggests is invest millions in repeaters. Yeah. So a couple of things. One, you can always call us and we can look at that building specifically. And you can reach out to me.
People can find me on the internet and send a question directly. And I'll maybe offer that to anybody who has a similar question. Yes, 5g, just like the other generations of technology are all susceptible to the physics at the end of the day. So if you are in, I'll do an extreme case, if you're in a fairday cage, which is much like an elevator shaft, all metal all around, unless you have a dedicated small cell site in that elevator shaft itself, then coverage would be very very limited, if not non-existent, and that's just the pure physics of getting signal into areas that are metal. Concrete is another challenge because typically concrete, especially in commercial buildings, there's a lot of rebar in it back to that metal and a real challenge, so not unlike, your microwave or something at home, you know, just can't get signal through.
And so these are our things. We are, I'll talk a little bit about that when I get to the density section, how we are working to improve the density. I talked about the breadth of the network and that's kind of macro coverage across the country.
The depth of the coverage is just as important in depth being right into those in buildings and things like that. So, yeah. Hopefully that helps answer, but there are techniques. 5g is a little better at managing interference and penetrating than 4g, just because algorithms improve over time. But there's still those basic laws of physics that we can't break, of course. Understood.
We had one other question from my friend, Steve Woodward on what is the reality of reported health concerns? That I guess some folks hear about. And I'm going to assume that Steven is not talking about how 5g infects people with COVID-19. Yeah, well, there's that too.
You know, there was, I think that started in England with Vodafone or something like that and sort of specked, actually the world with conspiracy theories around 5g and the coronavirus, which is complete conspiracy theory. You know, we of course follow, we, and all of the wireless carriers are mandated to follow world health organization and industry Canada, as far as, you know, safety guidelines and things like that. So, 5g is no different than 4g, 3g and 2G.
And it just happens to be a different, newer technology, but the same basic physics principles all hold true. And we ensure as an examples in the industry that engineers are stamping and qualifying any of the equipment that goes out into people's hands and homes and things like that. It's, it's a big industry. So you manage that very, very,strictly according to all the rules and regulations and rural health organization, guidelines. Cool.
Thanks Steven Latency. And I call this also known as quickness. And this is one of the big differentiators between 5g and 4g. And I'll try to make that as clear as possible. So I'm going to start by defining latency and, I'm actually gonna read this out, cause I think it's very important and this is from a telecom perspective because there's latency from other perspectives, but it's how quickly content or an application responds to a user request. How much time it takes for a signal to go from A to B and back to A again.
We call that the round trip time, latency. So everything I talk about is, is from A to B to A again, and very important. And so connecting to the internet for some applications, we don't need to worry about latency.
For others, very, very important. And I'll get to that, this next slide. Why does it matter? And latencies if those, those that are Michael Lewis fans of his books, he's got this one called Flash Boys, I believe. And, I was looking for it the other day on my bookshelf here, but I couldn't find it. It's a great book, but he spends the first chapter or two actually talking about latency and telecom networks.
Because for the banking industry traders, you think of traders, at both physical traders as well, and not all the automated traders. Really dealing milliseconds and milliseconds can mean millions. And if you look to that right chart here, if someone were to say, okay, sell now, but they actually don't sell for a couple of milliseconds later than the actual sale price can go down, which is bad news. And so you want it instantly from the time you say sell time that it's actually sold.
That needs to be instant, same with autonomous vehicles, right? If the autonomous vehicle is saying stop but it doesn't react fast enough, then that poor bunny could maybe not move fast enough to get it out of the way. And so really important as it relates to fully autonomous vehicles. And there's a whole bunch of other applications.
There's thousands of them that actually a examples. I've got a couple here where there's drone control or some, autonomous mining, augmented reality and virtual reality, for those that tried early virtual reality headsets, if you may have had that and you felt that sort of dizziness or motion sickness. That is actually latency.
And the, if it's highly latency, you may not notice it to your eye. So it's highly latent, but your brain and the, I need to be connected. And if what you're watching is slightly different than what your brain is registering, then you can get that motion sickness kind of queasy feeling right when you've got the virtual reality goggles. So the lower latency, right? The better. And that kind of example, and I already talked about the high-frequency training and how important it is for, for bankers in particular.
There's a few other use cases. There's many, many just like speed. There's many factors that impact latency in a network. And I'm going to talk about, just three of them, highlight three of them. I have a high level diagram of a, of a network and what could look like the 5g radio.
This is the cell sites. You can see it, whether it's hooked up to a rural, a rural home or to a person or to a machine. It's all kind of the same as it relates to the technology itself. Transport, again that's fiber between our cell sites and Central office and then something that'll call multi access edge compute, which sounds like a mouthful or M-E-C, MEC for short. And, I'll describe that a little bit later, but all of that is intended to get, how do you get into that broader internet.
How do you get to that broader internet? And again, you want the shortest distance, right? To, to have the lowest latency. On the radio side, this chart now will hopefully look familiar, changed slightly. So the speed not talking about speed here, but you see the speed increases over time.
Right? Really low at the bottom high speed at the top. It's the exact opposite with, for latency. And which sounds a little counter intuitive, you know, why is it the exact opposite with latency? Think about these ultra high man and this big channel I talked about, right? You can stuff a lot more bits into that big channel. And by stuffing a lot more bits in that big channel, you get more speed.
Yes. But there's also more bits that you can use for that speed and fewer bits needed to coordinate things across a whole channel. So the percentage of bits that you actually are using to coordinate things, whether it's a handoff to another cell site, whether it's sending details on a, on a game or your profile or whatever the case may be, you're actually using fewer bits. So, or more bits for that in fewer bits, as a ratio, of the overhead.
And therefore you have lower latency. A little confusing, a little more difficult to grasp and speed. And so let me take it to the bottom and I'll then use a lower or a higher latency example, lower speed.
So you think about that small little narrow pipe in the low bands that we're talking about, right? You can only fit a certain amount of data in order to have handoffs as you're driving from one cell site to the other across Toronto. Let's say you need a whole bunch of those bits to do multiple handoffs and things like that. For one cell site to coordinate all that activity and everything else, it's a lot of volume of data. That's not really going to the data itself, the video or whatever else you're watching. And that high volume of data takes away a whole bunch of things, which means you are actually now using too much as a ratio of your data and therefore you're not getting the low latency that you would require. And I hope that makes sense.
It's a lot of talk, a little confusing, but if you just think of that trade off between those two, that's really the best way to think about wider channels, lower latency. And low latency, a small number is a good thing here. And I'll show that in a few minutes on the transport side. Same slide I had before. In this case, I'll take you to that second row.
It's a laser, it's at the speed of light, almost at the speed of light. I'll put in air quotes, and so very, very low latency. And in this case, it's all about distance, the distance from the cell site to that compute at the central office, the lower you make that distance. Therefore, the more cell sites you have, the lower latency you have. Very, very important.
Latency is really all about geography. And if you can think about it in simple terms, if you're yelling at someone across the way from you in the park, or you're yelling really, really close by or talking really close by, they hear it immediately. When you're talking close by, they don't hear it immediately. When you're further away exact same concept, it just happens to be the speed of light that we're talking about as it relates to fiber.
Now this MEC, or multi-access edge compute, this is, pre MEC. So this is the current way networks are designed. So in Bell's case, we have fiber to a cell site. It goes to a central office. It probably goes to a couple of local data centers.
And then to the, what we call a global data center and then out to the internet, again, add on all those distances. This is a distance game. Latency is a distance game. And so we compute this depending on how many central offices and other thing nodes are in the way, anywhere from three to 35 milliseconds. If you were to do a speed test right now on your device, if you were to do a speed test right now on your device, you would hit in that range, 20, 28, 30, depending on how close you are to a cell site, depending on how close that cell site is to our data center.
And so on. That is what you are seeing from a latency perspective. And people don't notice, you know, honestly, they get echo on a phone conversation. You have to be North of a hundred milliseconds, right? Snap your fingers.
You're not going to notice that kind of difference in three to 35 seconds when you're on a phone call, but there's a lot of applications, autonomous vehicles, automated trading that really require low latency. And so that's where MEC really plays a role. And so in the MEC world, you can see, all I really did was shrink this slide. I moved that compute that brains, if you will, that edge of the network, closer to the internet. And it's simple as that. So you really have you removed all that zero milliseconds of latency, that 30 milliseconds, every now chopped all that out.
And you now only have just the latency between the cell site and that, edge data center. Again, it's all about geography sounds simple. And that's maybe a simple way to put it this all about geography. There's other complicated things behind it, but that's, as simply as it can be put. So with that, I'm going to ask if there maybe pause, if there's any questions on latency, it's a really important thing because it's one of the big differentiators to understand about 5g. Yeah, Stephen.
Thank you. So there is a question from Walter on what impact do you see in terms of 5g being, allowing the adoption of IOT in public infrastructure, and I suspect that kind of connects with what you were just talking about somehow. Yes, it does. It does. And I'll actually talk about that a little later on as well. Thanks Ian and Walter for the question.
So I'll, I'll make sure I insert a bit more IOT later on. But there are a lot of applications IOT related that that don't require latency. And I'm thinking about, I don't know, monitoring, you know, monitoring a home network, your nest, a device at home or something like that. It doesn't need to be within milliseconds, as long as you're changing the temperature within the next, you know, remotely, as long as they're changing the temperature or something like that in, within 10 seconds, a minute, whatever the case may be, it, latency doesn't really affect it, where it will be very important. Latency is with an IOT mining application, or if you're monitoring a wellhead or something like that, where millions of dollars can change in a matter of seconds.
And it's really important to shut something down. If there's a leak as an example, those kinds of things, the lower latency, the better. And I'll talk about a few of those examples later on.
Awesome. Density of network. The third concept, again, coming back to this same slide.
And I'll repeat the low bands, low speed generally, and the low bands high speed in the high bands, the exact opposite with latency, very low latency in the high bands, a higher latency in the low bands. Similar kind of thing with distance. So a high bands don't go as far. And low bands go very, very far. And you can think of this as it really relates to a couple analogies. I often use one is, if you have someone with a very low voice like me, you will hear my voice a lot further away than you will someone with a high voice or high pitched music.
You don't hear, but that's subwoofer or the boom, boom, boom you hear much, much further distances. Same kind of idea. Low band goes further. High band, not as far dropping a big rock in the middle of a pond, you get a big wave and that wave goes along long, a lot longer than if you drop a little pebble and just ripples across and decays over time. Similar kind of concept.
Okay. So, that's the way to think about spectrum reach and very important as it relates to density and coverage. But we would typically use for coverage to cover that 99% of the population, we would use lower bands as our base band and then grow mid band and high band as it relates to dense urban areas.
And how does that play out? So on the left side of your screen, before network densification, you can see this woman in the middle. She has access to the low band, mid band, this lighter blue color. And, but so she's getting decent speed, but higher latency than the person on the right, right? Because they're in the ultra high band kind of coverage. And so they're much, much happier with their faster, speeds and so on. And so on the right side, as we add more cell sites into our network and we are constantly, all carriers are constantly adding cell sites to their network, you can see that by inserting that cells, that you can take advantage of all of your spectrum assets. So you always get the low and the mid band because they can reach a little farther, but now you're also getting the ultra and the high band, access and therefore the higher speeds and the lower latency.
And that's something we're constantly trying to do. So back to that question about in building, as we add more cell sites, the in building penetration also gets better over time, just naturally as the network grows over time. And where does this really play out? If from a customer perspective, in large events, this is my plug for the Raptors, go Raptors, this is their parade. You can see 2 million people or whatever.
It was in downtown Toronto. That day bottom left is the boots and hearts festival. Really important to not only get coverage, but that density of coverage, just because the number of users is so dramatic and that'll get even bigger as everything moves to whether it's connected, smart cities or industrial IOT sensors. And back to that IOT question, just that density of devices, if you're going to have every single stoplight, as an example, have an IOT wireless IOT sensor on it, that's a lot of density of devices and 5g can handle those kinds of densities. And that's why it's important for us to continue to densify our network. Any questions there, Ian? Or I'll just move to slicing.
Looks like we're good to go. Great. On slicing, this is the really cool stuff, frankly speaking, that you read a lot about. And really all slicing is, is it's getting just a slice of a network from end to end, some rate from that customer, whether it's a fire truck or a drone or a person on the phone, or even a bank hooked up to fiber, getting a slice dedicated to them across the network rate to that application. Whether there's a banking system or voice or whatever the case may be. And that's what a slice is.
So you can think of a slice as a dedicated virtual, kind of circuit. And I'll give you a few examples that will help solidify it. Without slicing, we're really on a best efforts. Everyone gets equal access to network capacity and this and the left side of the slide. So whether you're public safety or you're a voice customer, or you're doing broadband, you're all sharing that same connection essentially with slicing on the far right. We can prioritize, right.
Should a firetruck have more capacity in lower latency than a voice call? Yes, absolutely. You could always argue that. And so these are coming, the applications that'll end up unfolding and I'll talk thought a bit of the use cases on my next slide. So public safety. And so I'm just going to take a few examples of slices and these are hypothetical because this world doesn't exist yet, but it will in 5g in a couple of years. And so public safety, should they have low latency? Yes.
And you want an instant response, right? And should they have guaranteed bandwidth? Absolutely. You know, you want that firetruck or that I haven't been on this to be able to respond and be able to do the video upstreaming or whatever they're doing on board to make sure that patient is healthy. But social media probably don't need a low latency, probably getting a, a tech talk or Snapchat or whatever within the second is probably fine. Certainly not in the sub-millisecond type of range, best efforts. Also similar, you know, they're not going to pay for dedicated bandwidth just to, to runtech talk or whatever the case, because 911 is absolutely most important.
And so that is a slice. This is all coordinated, if you will, through the brains of the network, this intelligent core, that'll be coming soon to all, all networks. So another example, and this I think is very relevant for, for today's working from home in COVID-19 unit, how does mom get a much better connection in that same household as her son who may be watching YouTube right now? And there's this wrestle, right? Everyone gets equal access. Well, no, you know, one of these things we can do in a rural broadband context. As an example, again, with her 500,000 locations that we have available for rural Bob broadband, they, in the future, we'll be able to get a work from home slice and what that work from home slice maybe they get a VPN has got really low latency and they guarantee their bandwidth so they can do their WebEx call or their Teams call or Zoom call or whatever it is without any up and poor video quality around that.
And maybe the son does, get an sliced number two. He just gets best effort bandwidth. No, maybe it's fine that the, things buffer every once in a while or whatever the case, versus mom, who's really trying to work and do some good banking as an example. So these are the kinds of things that I think we will see in two, three, four years time even.
I work from home kind of environment mining, this would be an interesting sort of IOT kind of industrial use case. There's three slices I have actually, have here. Slice number one, lowest latency, minimal bandwidth, or why is that? So blasting clearly you want really low latency, right? How does it react instantly? But there's actually not much bandwidth.
It's either kind of turn it on or turn it off, turn it on, turn it off. There's not a lot of video or anything like that, going through in a blasting. So that's slice number one, slice number two, they probably do have a lot of video, you know, if it's an autonomous, I don't know, a million dollar bulldozer that you're now working remotely, you want to be able to watch the video and be able to from headquarters, you want to be able to turn the dial and deg or whatever the case you're doing and so needs to be very low latency. Because it's gotta be fine tuned, but also guaranteed bandwidth. Because you want that streaming video to see your attraction and digging away at, so you don't miss any of that gold or diamonds or whatever the case might be.
And then management management can actually be slower than both of those. Why? Because you're not going to really need to react in the milliseconds, maybe react to every minute or every five minutes when you're getting reporting or every 10 minutes, or maybe it's an overnight kind of a data run that you're doing or whatever the case may be. So there's no latency requirement per se, and maybe it's just best effort bandwidth.
So here's an example, one use case of sort of IOT with management on top, where you could actually have three different slices working at, at any given time. Okay. With that, that's really, I've taken you through each of the four chapters. You know, I'll talk now in closing, your speed, people talk about the speed. That's the first benefit to arrive with 5g. You know, we're all advertising different levels of, of speed and speed will continue to grow.
Just like every other technology. It always gets faster and better. And so on. Latency is really the first substantially improved thing that we will see.
There are devices required and services that will take advantage of it. Not all services will take advantage of it, but VR, drones, mining, things of that nature, all take advantage of latency. We've talked quite a bit about density. How you need density of network. You need breadth of coverage as well as depth of coverage over time and last but not least putting it all together is something called slicing. And it's done with this really smart, intelligent core of the network, can really help manage all these bits and help navigate this world.
And that is getting more and more complicated, even as I speak practically. So with that, I do have quite a bit of time left. I'm happy to take any questions either. if you want to raise your hand in the room, we can open it up for a voice, or if you want to just go to the chat, I'll open that too. And we can take some Q&A. That, maybe I'll ask you, stop sharing my deck too.
Great. So I don't know that this Zoom room has the ability for people to raise their hands. And so, we do have a lot of people involved. So there's a couple of questions in the chat I can relate to you. And I'm looking at, yeah, I'm looking at them right now.
I can go, go Raptors go, I like that. Post COVID life 2022. Yes, hard to imagine. I agree. Forgotten what friends and crowds look like.
Yes. Is slicing the same idea as split tunneling? Yes. Kind of the same idea.
You know, in fact, we kind of do a slicing in a rudimentary way now, on various networks. Quality of service people would have heard of, quality of service and setting certain parameters for quality of service, but it's a very sort of blunt instrument. With slicing things will get a lot more automated and a lot more precise than the types of, you know, some of those examples that I talked a little about. Yeah. Algorithms being looked at for slicing.
Yes, there is a whole standards bodies dedicated around slicing. And it does require new equipment and new software. So I talked about earlier about this new core, and how that will, it will evolve over time and slicing even slicing itself. There's sort of this concept of manual slicing and that sort of call it 1824 months away. And that'll evolve into much more automated kind of slicing in 36, 48 months.
So just like every other technology, it'll evolve over time. How do I think 5g will impact society? That is like the penultimate question. If I knew the answer to that, I'd probably be an investment banker. Because you know, when you look back to the 4g and I've been personally involved in really 2G networks, 3g, 4g, and all the various combinations thereof throughout my entire career. And if I could have predicted the end result, I should have been an investment banker.
But I'm not. All I know is that things will change dramatically. You know, who would have predicted that TikTok would be number three in the world four years ago. It was say really, I mean, that's kind of a silly thing and it's just massive now.
So there's going to be, I will say this, I truly believe that there'll be much more positive than negative. But you will hear about the negative because we always do. Oh, if we didn't have this, we wouldn't have had that, that issue, whatever.
You know, and that bad people are taking advantage of technology. And they do, but there will be a lot of good coming from 5g and just like there was in all the other generations. Will rural benefit from this also? Yes, absolutely. Rural will benefit and we are doing that right now. And so that wireless home internet that I've talked about, that is 4g. We will, and are working on 5g as it relates to that.
So rural Canadians will not be left behind from that perspective. It is more expensive of course to deploy in rural than it is in urban areas. And so that's always a constant challenge, but yes, our plan, much like we have a 4g to 99% of the population of Canada, we will have 5g over time, not instantly, but to, also to 99% of the population. Hey, Stephen, I know there's a question a little bit further down that might relate to that, which is about Starlink and I guess satellite as a delivery model, is that, does that, play into the, the rural coverage scene and, okay, I guess just what are your thoughts on where that fits in? Yes and no. Let me engineer it, not from Starlink specifically, but more low earth orbit satellites.
And there's a bit of a crossover in those technologies. We do use satellite technology in rural areas right now. We did I think a wonderful program that took us about two years to build, we launched a year and a half ago, ish. We call it tomorrow MEC noon elite, and, which means, every community in, and what it was, was it was 25 communities up in Nunavut and how we connected those communities to 4g technology.
And we used, it was a combination of us, the Nunavut government, the federal government, and Telus that, another good Canadian company, who connected those rural, very, very remote communities to the internet and to wireless. And, we used satellite as a back haul if you will. So we're, I showed that fiber connection between the cell site and our core network can't get fiber up to the Northern tip of Baffin Island as an example, but we can get satellite there. And so that's what we did for those remote rural communities.
And so we'll continue to experiment with those kinds of things, as it relates to low earth orbit satellite technologies, and those will eventually all be 5g. So those 4g just like every transformation of technology or evolution of technology will become 5g over time. So, thanks. And we've got a question from James on whether 5g can actually replace, start to replace sort of the, maybe the last, I don't know if you'd call it the last, maybe not last mile last, however, whatever distances? Yes. Well, we are already doing that. So the answer is, is really urban versus rural.
So 5g 4g right now, 4G we do deliver to nearly 500,000 locations. As I mentioned earlier, a 4g technology to do that sort of last mile. And depending on how far people are from the cell site, it's actually five to 10 kilometers away from their cell site in. The challenge is, is that spectrum as a shared spectrum and it gets a little complicated physically, but we aren't able to offer that dedicated speeds that we are in urban areas where we're building fiber, because the fiber goes directly from, really that nearest telephone pole into your home.
And so that's the, that's the difference. And it's just so expensive to do that in rural areas. I mean, it's expensive enough to do in urban areas, but very, very, so cost prohibitive. The payoff would be hundreds of years in some rural areas.
And so, something that's unaffordable, but where we can, we do do wireless for that quote unquote last mile. Well, while you're grabbing a drink there, Rannie's got a question that's near and dear to my heart. As I work in the software defined area of, of communications.
And his questions is, or question, sorry Rannie. Will the bandwidth be configured via front-end app and will you be able to adjust on demand so that someone can go and just dial up more bandwidth for your, for their VPN? Yeah, Rannie, that's a great question. And that's a TBD. My vision would be yes, in concept. You know, this is again, early days in 5g and I think there'll be sort of a consumer version and a business version. So the business, let's say it's an enterprise, yes, they would have a portal and they would be able to configure, I don't know, bank branches, let's say.
And the bank branch for, during, I don't know, RSP and tax season or something like that, it needs to have more bandwidth and lower latency. And so maybe they pop it up for those two weeks and, and spend a little less to make sure they have the guaranteed bandwidth and low latency or something like that. And maybe during summer hours, maybe they just go to a normal thing and you just configure that rate on a portal. And I do see things like that, sort of those concepts emerging. From a consumer perspective, it, it gets a little more complicated because we need to really simplify it much more. Apple or Android has done to really simplify things.
And I could envision, you know, is there a gaming and you, you click, okay, I want the gaming app and you may not know what that means other than your gaming experiences better. And do I have the home office app and you click on that and then you, your video is automatically guaranteed. So we need to, because there's no CIO in the consumer sense that the business would have their consumers need to really simplify it for them. And maybe it's just a, a series of apps or clicks that we say, Oh, you want the gaming one? Well, that's, I don't know, $70 a month. You want the super-duper home office one? That's $80 a month. And you click or something.
That, you know, will be something TBD, but you could see that that's how my gut would say things will unfold, but we'll see. Interesting. Yeah, there's, this seems like there's so much opportunity there, for, for innovation. So we've Yuning who has asked about, you know, you mentioned the spectrum auction is happening in half a year, and yet 5g is already in the process of being rolled out, and, and that's confusing. Is it, is one dependent on the other? Can you, can you give us an idea of what's going on? Yes, it is confusing.
And I apologize for that. You know, I try to simplify in a, you caught one of my trip ups right there. And so it is a little confusing, but let me say, if you think back to the chart where I had 2g to 3g, to 4g, to 5g, and so 5g can work in any spectrum type. And so if there's an area of spectrum where we have for 3g or 4g that we're not fully using, we can actually insert 5g into that slice of spectrum, into that roadway, if you will.
And that's how we, as a collective, have been able to offer this kind of earlier version of 5g. What I would call true 5g really happens when this 3.5 Gigahertz auction happens. And that's all public knowledge that is called mid next year when the auction will start. And so that is, you know, something, what I would call really true 5g and air quotes, versus sort of these earlier 5g.
They're just kind of taking advantage of the 4g spectrum, if that makes sense. Yeah, I, I think it does. And yeah, it is, it can be a little confusing if, if, if you don't know kind of all the, all the things that are required to, to support the roll out of these services. We have an interesting question speaking of which, about what comes next? I mean, obviously we're just in the early days of rolling out, and being able to use 5g. I guess Apple, the other day kind of put 5g on the, on the main stage, in the consumer world by launching their new iPhone.
But I think most of us still haven't experienced it yet. But Dennis' question is, is what's beyond 5g. How long is this generation going to be? And then do you have any ideas as to what's next? I, I do have ideas of what's next.
It's called 6G with surprise and it, they'll actually be various iterations of 5g server along the way, but there are concepts being thrown around around 6G people are talking about tactile internet and things like that. What tactile internet is, is, is you can actually sort of feel, you know, if you wanted to do I dunno, remote surgery or something like that, you could really do it in a tactile kind of internet way. We'll see, 10 years, I don't know. If you look back to my, or I think back to my generation slide, they were each all about 10 years, separate from each other. Things are getting a little faster, so maybe it's eight years, but, it'll come.
Technology does evolve. I see one question about the wooden thing behind me. And you must've missed the, the introduction, but I'm going to go back to that one because it's one of my favorite things for those that missed it.
This is a picture frame. It's called a picture frame wall phone. It is from the 1920s ish from my grandmother's farm. And it's, sort of, it is just in my home office.
It's not something I've stuck up just for this presentation. But, I've been a telecom guy through and through for a long time. So that's why it's there. That is a cool piece of hardware.
Thanks for sharing it with us. And one of the better background objects in this pandemic. It seems a lot of folks have interesting things in the background.
I think that's a, that's a pretty cool one. I'm seeing, we're kind of the, we still have time for questions. It's, it's, we've got about 20 minutes. And since we've gone through the list so far, I encourage folks to please add more questions. I actually have a question and, it's about, sort of the role of Canadian owned and operated infrastructure in a sort of a digital world.
And so one of the, a couple of the things we've been seeing in recent years is controversy around speaking of equipment, whose equipment are we allowed to use in our networks, right? Has come up recently as an item of controversy and different countries are taking different positions on this. And, you know, I mean, obviously to do digital at the end of the day, yet that there's the cloud, but at the end of the day, all this stuff is fundamentally, you know, founded on, you know, a real physical objects and physics. And I was wondering if you could give us an understanding of, not only the importance of controlling, like how important is it for Canada that we have Canadian companies that control telecommunications infrastructure? And where do you see that going with the tensions around, around I guess not just data sovereignty, but let's just say this sort of sovereignty of infrastructure and domestic capabilities? Yeah. That's a loaded question. So I'll break it off, if I may.
So, a couple of things, you know, we always comply first and foremost, with any government kind of mandates and we do respect all the laws and data privacy and everything, in everything we do. And we do believe in delivering the most. When we talk about best network, we asked you to define it as the largest, the fastest, the best quality, the most secure, network.
And so,we, we take it very, very, to heart, these kinds of things. And so, you know, as an example, our 5g network is, it's early days, of course, but, and we've made this public a number of months ago, but, the two principal vendors are, excuse me, are Nokia and Erickson. Our two principal vendors, but that's just the electronics, which is actually a relatively small portion of, of what we do.
We use all local Canadian where we can, and if available. So if there were a Nortel, and may they rest in peace because I was a big fan of what they did, if there were a Nortel, then, you know, we would certainly look to use them. But there isn't. And that said Erickson does have a lot of Nortel in its legacy cause they bought some of the assets and Nokia has a big, they both have big R and D and, and local presence in Canada. They're investing in Canadian jobs.
But a lot of the infrastructure, so when you think about those cell sites, the towers, the construction that goes into that, the digging, for the fiber and everything like that, that is all Canadian jobs and something we're very proud of. You know, we spend $4 billion a year in, growing and maintaining our networks. And when you think about the proportion of that, that rests on Canadian soil and helps Canadian jobs directly is by far the vast majority stays on Canadian soil. And then there's the indirect, of course, the job creation because of delivering these networks that we're also quite proud of too.
So, and data sovereignty, you know, I think is a, a really important issue, and something that, that our customers should find very important as well. And so our business customers, I know, take it quite seriously. They want to make sure that, you know, the data centers are located in Canada, which they are, and consumers are becoming more educated around it jus as well.
We have an Efef who's gone mic's on. Maybe Dennis can, can help us mute that. Yes. Oh, perfect. Thank you. That's the wonders of modern technology.
It is quite amazing. Thank you for handling my, my very complex question with such poise. We do have another question here. That's sort of going way back down into the details from a super high level. Walter's asking how you would compare 5g and Lorawan in IOT applications? Do you expect 5g to eventually replace Lorawan? I do. You know, that'd be my, my humble opinion.
Maybe we can, sorry, Stephen, maybe for those of us who don't know what Lorawan is... Yeah, so it's, I'll call it an early IOT technology that, that, so if you think from the cell site to the device that is just different than 5g, a very similar kind of concept. And what they got off out of the gate, much faster than the telco world did, did some great invention, I would say, and got into the IOT space, I'm not sure how many years ago, but several years ago and have