Memory // Storage

Five Ways to the 5G Future with Micron

By James Meeker - 2018-10-04

With the 5G global rollout set for 2020, innovations are required to deliver scalability, capability, security, and efficiency. Vast and fast is the major theme in the 5G digital transformation infrastructure being built on Micron technology. 5G adds a boost in bandwidth to 10Gbps, drops system latency to sub 1ms and pairs this with a significant reduction in power consumption over existing networks, all with nearly unlimited availability and area coverage. New solutions are required to feed these innovations.

To be clear, 5G proves how the future is bound to data. Micron has been working with 5G ecosystem partners and customers to help build the infrastructure and ensure all data is securely connected, from the edge to the cloud. How can Micron help your organization capitalize on this new connected environment? As we accelerate global networking, we’d like to discuss five ways to the 5G future and how they’re tied to data.

The Mobile Edge

Mobile edge computing will reap huge benefits from 5G. In fact, NetworkWorld states, “5G will make edge computing a necessity.” Mobile edge computing provides a highly distributed computing environment in which to deploy applications and services as well as to store and process content close to mobile users. Edge computing has moved beyond connected phones and tablets to encompass the billions of devices and systems that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Processing high volumes of data from these devices at speeds 10x that of 4G connections puts an emphasis on moving data processing as close to the source as possible. 5G is projected to create a 100x increase in traffic capacity over 4G (from a Qualcomm statistic quoted in Forbes). This highlights the importance of low-power, high reliability memory and storage, which will also continue to explode in capacities. During the calendar year 2017, our mobile team estimated the average smartphone contained 2.7 GB of DRAM and 43 GB of NAND flash storage. We also estimate that this will go up to 4.8GB of DRAM content by 2021 with flagship phones packing as much as 12GB. Look forward to the average phone having 142 GB of NAND flash storage by then, with some devices coming with a mind-boggling terabyte of flash storage.

Micron’s position in mobile is strong and getting stronger. We have the smallest 512-gigabit NAND die, and we are the first in the industry to introduce a 12-gigabit DRAM die. Our mobile LPDDR4 and LPDDR4x are the lowest power consumption DRAM in the industry for mobile applications, based on surveys and direct feedback from our customers. For fast, immersive graphics at the edge, our GDDR6 provides 16 Gbps bandwidth in a small size. We’re also delivering application-specific multi-chip packages for smart, connected devices in wearables, healthcare, retail, and more.

Automotive and Connected Cars

5G networks and Cellular V2X (Vehicle to Vehicle and Vehicle to Infrastructure, collectively called V2X communication) are expected to lower latency and improve connectivity in automotive wireless communication. This is currently being incorporated into designs of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), which are now working toward autonomous cars. Micron’s automotive-focused storage and memory help feed on-board AI for autonomous driving, traffic management and infotainment. Plus, a group of leading vehicle manufacturers has formed the 5G Automotive Association with experts in the telecom industry to accelerate communication and connectivity for autonomous vehicles.

Industry estimates for ADAS memory bandwidth requirements cover a wide window depending on system architecture. Current industry opinion is that Level 4 and 5 ADAS (the highest autonomy, planned for by 2020) will need between 300GB/s and 1TB/s of memory bandwidth, and a typical vehicle will contain more than 300 million lines of code. These combine to increase storage needs per vehicle by an average of 32X by 2021.

Micron’s GDDR6 provides the essential memory bandwidth that fuels the artificial intelligence engines, which underpin the capability of autonomic vehicles to act responsibly and ensure safety. We also offer JEDEC-compliant multi-chip packages in AEC-Q100 Grade 2 and Grade 3 highly valued by this industry. As the technology matures, personal and public transportation will be forever transformed. Eventually, some expect driverless cars will take human motorists out of the equation entirely.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IoT)

The new era of connectivity is nothing new for the Internet of Things (IoT), also called Industrie 4.0 in Europe. Smart things connected via 4G networks are currently the heart of IoT. Enterprises can understand their device and system data, as well as human input, in order to better manage business and forecast more efficiently. In the current data deluge, human- and machine-generated data is experiencing an overall 10x faster growth rate than traditional business data, and machine data is increasing even more rapidly at 50x the growth rate, says

In the frequently quoted Gartner Group prediction, there will be 20.4 billion IoT devices deployed by 2020, with about one third of those coming from business/industry, which is called Industrial IoT (IIoT). These 7.5 billon IIoT devices at the network edge will eventually, though not immediately, be connected primarily via 5G networks with the planned 1 millisecond latency rate. These fast connections are needed to enable the near-real-time analytics and insights that IoT has been promising for years.

Data streamed from 7.5 billion devices and systems will be a lot to store, process, and analyze. 5G will enable more IoT connections at once (up to one million per square kilometer) at very low power. Micron memory and storage scalability and speed can help keep data flowing fast from the edge, to the integrated fog cloud, to the cloud.


5G will push data centers to grow storage 4x to handle the 10Gb mobile connections. Micron’s networking team has been preparing for 5G for the past few years by engaging with OEMs to develop, deliver and advise on the correct products to fulfill the requirements for 5G networking. This includes roadmap discussions and system architecture definitions to outline the power, space, performance requirements.

We’ll be there with our innovative SSDs, NAND and 3D XPoint™ technologies to help make data growth and networking seamless. From lowest latency RLDRAM3 to highest bandwidth solutions with GDDR6 and even non-volatile mass storage solutions, Micron’s portfolio covers your 5G equipment needs, whether that’s active antenna elements, radio heads, base stations or backbone equipment. Micron networking-grade solutions are built to meet the requirements of our customers’ latest, high-performance designs. Look to us for assistance with low latency, high reliability and price competitive components for 5G NR mobile broadband.

Cloud Deployments: Public, Private and Hybrid

The pressure is on: Many of the benefits of 5G move beyond the network and into the data center. Data centers will have to grow memory and storage 4x -10x to handle the 10Gb mobile connections. Latency reduction is also important, as the 5G network requires more than 100 times higher transmission rates and bandwidth than what’s needed on the 4G network. Data will have to be stored, hosted and streamed at volumes and speeds not universally seen yet for 5G to become a reality.

The switchover is coming. Cloud data centers are the core hub of the 5G digital ecosystem and will play a pivotal role in this evolution. Enterprise and cloud storage must accelerate the transition from hard disk drives (HDDs) to solid-state drives (SSDs) to be ready for 5G. Several factors are already in play that show that technology infrastructures are ready for the influx.

Micron storage and memory work with major hypervisors, so that whatever path to virtualized computing you choose, we can accelerate the time to results and help you store your data for the best TCO. Our many improvements in 3D NAND technology, such as our latest QLC (quad level cell) SSDs, deliver capacity, density, low latency and high performance. More performance improvements can be yours from our innovations in DRAM – including NVDIMM, a nonvolatile persistent memory solution that combines NAND flash and DRAM. Tiered storage, hyperconverged infrastructures, and software defined storage will be critical as 5G comes online.

Want to Learn More?

Don’t underestimate the value of early design discussions with a technology partner that is tracking industry demands and can advise on a full suite of memory and storage solutions. Micron has the silicon-to-system perspective you need for planning infrastructure. Our collaborative industry relationships are your key to having the best seat in the house when 5G arrives. Contact your account representative to continue the conversation, and stay up to date by following @MicronStorage on Twitter!

James Malatesta

James Meeker