yong Predicting future trends is an essential skill for companies.  To help them discover new trends that may be disruptive to existing Internet bandwidth, Time Warner Cable, in conjunction with the NYC Media Lab, has provided a $40k grant to NYU WIRELESS Professor Justin Cappos.  Prof. Cappos is working with his post doc, Dr. Yanyan Zhuang, to study potential new technologies that may drive different home user bandwidth trends.  While there are several topics they are investigating, the work of NYU WIRELESS on 5G is particularly disruptive and different to end user bandwidth.  According to Prof. Cappos, “The 5G initiative at NYU WIRELESS has the potential to completely shift and change bandwidth patterns as it relates to end users. With 1000 times more bandwidth, it not only enables more applications, but also allows some backhaul links that would be currently wired to be wireless.”

Internet bandwidth has been driven by two factors: network build­out and disruptive technologies.  5G happens to be both. Network build­out includes the carrying capacity, speed, and other quality factors. Using the less ­crowded millimeter­wave spectrum, 5G will enable up to 1000 times higher capacity than the current 4G. Disruptive technologies dramatically shifts the bandwidth use pattern by changing how users access a network. In this sense, 5G changes the way for people to use a smartphone or computer: via the development of smaller, smarter cells, devices cooperate for, rather than compete for, spectrum bandwidth. Amongst the four topics investigated, it is anticipated that 5G will first lead to a ground­swell of network use that is fundamentally different than any previous expectations would have predicted.

5G will be the driving force. It enables more devices to be connected to the Internet through the use of abundant spectrum at a different frequency. It also encourages wireless relaying and cooperative communication. This paves the way for the second technology for future bandwidth trend: Internet of Things (IoT). The other two technologies are peer-­to-­peer (P2P) cloud / overlays, and software defined networks (SDN) for consumer networks. All four technologies will shift the use pattern of network bandwidth and result in a different bandwidth demand curve in the future.

Prof. Cappos is the leader of the Seattle project at NYU WIRELESS, a testbed deployed on tens of thousands of computing devices and used by thousands of developers around the world. Seattle is also being commercialized to build a P2P cloud storage environment. “With 5G initiative and Seattle testbed, the new disruptive and transformative technologies at NYU WIRELESS will bring together people, devices, computation and data. They will turn resources and information into unprecedented service capacities. This is in fact the goal of lots of companies and government, including Cisco’s vision on Internet of Everything (IoE), Fog Computing, and Mozilla IGNITE,” says Dr. Yanyan Zhuang. With the four technologies, 5G, IoT, P2P cloud and SDN, it’s not difficult to imagine a future Internet where network infrastructure becomes less complex, everyday devices have ubiquitous connectivity, and power meters, washing machines, thermostats, and toasters are all connected to the Internet. “Computation, storage and data transfer will no longer be up in the cloud. They will happen right inside our homes and buildings.”