Network CablesFollowing on from my blog post outlining an A-Z of Digital, here is “N is for Networks”.

Networking in general is well known and understood as its an integral part of the worlds infrastructure today. In this post I will cover two areas at a high level where there is significant developments going on – Neural Networks and 5G.

Neural Networks

A Neural network is a network that is modeled on a biological brain and nervous systems pathways (synapses) that allows computations to take place at speed and across many nodes.  Neural networks have been used across a vast number of tasks but are probably best recognised  today as the underlying network of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Machine Learning.

You are using neural networks in your every day lives without knowing it with things like the voice activated assistants Alexa, Siri, Google Home, Cortana, which deploy neural networks at the back end to provide the basis of the AI and machine learning algorithms that take your voice commands and transact the outcomes based on the instruction. These networks are constantly being developed and improved to provide the services of today and tomorrow.  There are lots of other services that we use daily that have neural networks behind them.

Businesses are looking at neural networks as part of their move to AI and machine learning, especially as neural networks are becoming easier to use with availability via online services for developers, scientists, companies or even a home user to start to consume.

A great site to play with a neural network and look what they can achieve is at Tensorflow (Google).  http://playground.tensorflow.org/ Here you can operate a neural network in your browser and increase and decrease the input and hidden layers to change the output.


Further Reading



One of the latest developments in networking and mobile communications is 5G (the fifth generation of wireless systems). A set of criteria that 5G should fulfill has been set out by the Next Generation Mobile Network Alliance:

  • Data rates of tens of megabits per second for tens of thousands of users
  • Data rates of 100 megabits per second for metropolitan areas
  • 1 Gb per second simultaneously to many workers on the same office floor
  • Several hundreds of thousands of simultaneous connections for wireless sensors
  • Spectral efficiency significantly enhanced compared to 4G
  • Coverage improved
  • Signalling efficiency enhanced
  • Latency reduced significantly compared to LTE.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5G

There are currently field trials of test networks across the world operated by some of the telecom providers using the 28GHz spectrum band and development in to using Drones across the 5G networks.

5G will not only provide improved bandwidth to mobile devices, but provide the next generation communications infrastructure to things like autonomous cars requiring a low latency (around 20Gbps download, 10Gbps upload speeds and 1ms latency) and the IoT (Internet of Things) allowing a greater performance for large scale deployments.

The timescales for 5G are expected around 2020 for a release of the networks following development and testing till then.

Further Reading