Thune: US must be first in implementation of 5G technology
MADISON -- In the race to develop safe and secure fifth-generation (5G) technology, U.S. Sen. John Thune said the United States has to be first. Thune described 5G as the next generation of mobile networks and the next step for connectivity and c...
MADISON - In the race to develop safe and secure fifth-generation (5G) technology, U.S. Sen. John Thune said the United States has to be first.
Thune described 5G as the next generation of mobile networks and the next step for connectivity and communication. He said there are an estimated 16 billion wireless devices in the world today, and by "magic date" of 2020, there will be more than 50 billion devices. This will put a strain on the country's digital networks, creating a significant need for increased capacity and speed, while also maintaining security.
Thune spoke about the path to deploy 5G in the U.S. and the revolution of the country's wireless capabilities during an open forum Tuesday afternoon at Dakota State University in Madison.
"I also just wanted to point out that you look at where we need to go in terms of the future and we're very interested to getting to 5G first. We're competing with Europeans, Asians and everybody wants to get to that fifth generation technology first," Thune said. "We have to win that race. "
The predicted implementation of 5G digital networks is 2020, and it's become a race to who can be the biggest and best. But before the country can obtain the 5G technology, there are barriers, Thune said.
One step to defeat these barriers is through the Mobile Now bill, Thune said, which was reintroduced in January. It is currently awaiting action in the Senate.
The legislation, Thune said, will boost the development of 5G wireless broadband. He describes the bill as a "down payment" on what the country needs to do to get 5G fast. With 2020 looming, Thune said there first needs to be more spectrum for commercial use to ease the need for capacity and speed. There also needs to be more bandwidth. All of which, he said, will be ensured with the bill.
With full implementation predicted by 2020, Thune said the Mobile Now bill also provides sighting and streamlining to make it easier to obtain permits. 5G is going to require more infrastructure and facilities, Thune said, and this process needs to be extradited, he added.
"The connectivity of the future is something we have to care for and we have to be thinking of that today and plan for it," Thune said.
Dakota State University's role
Thune said that the work being done at Dakota State in terms of cyber security and workforce issues will help exponentially in the path to 5G.
The research at DSU is helping workforce shortage issues, Thune said, bettering the state's economy, as well as addressing national security interests.
Students and faculty at Dakota State are researching nine cyber security areas, according to Kevin Streff, a professor of computing at DSU. One of these area is called the "Internet of Things" that includes a lab focused on security. Streff said in the lab they hook up devices that can connect to the internet, such as a crockpot, and figure out how to break into it. This, in turn, allows them to figure out how to better secure the device.
Streff agreed with Thune's legislation and his ideas balancing both security and the new technology.
"There is congestion in the spectrum space and so (Thune's) trying to create more room in the spectrum as we quadruple the number of devices connecting into the internet over the next few years," Streff said.
Dakota State President José-Marie Griffiths said the campus is uniquely positioned to serve as a potential national information transportation leader. She, along with Thune, are looking forward to working together in the future in developing a 5G network.
And Streff agreed, remaining confident in his students' work.
"We are very proud of work being done here," Thune said to the students and faculty in attendance. "We want to partner with you and do whatever we can to assist and help as you continue to pursue not only your career ambitions but also as the school looks to new and better ways to serve the students in this community and region, but the country."