Tech Talk

SSD & DRAM: enabling the 5G era

Last updated 25 April 2022

As we as consumers and businesses look to access data faster and interconnect more devices, the fifth-generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks, or more commonly known to you and I as ‘5G’ is driving this.

Higher multi-Gbps, lower latency, massive network capacity – it all rings a bell when we talk future technology, right? 5G technology will deliver this, and more

What do we mean by a 5G era?

Following from above, we are about to enter an era of high speeds and less lag between initiating an action and getting a response. The 5G era will allow us to send and receive signals almost at in an instant, with mobile internet speeds of more than 10 Gbps which works out at around 100x faster than that of its predecessor, 4G.

As with anything, the era is being driven by demand drivers. For consumers, we demand an enhanced mobile network and broadband. It is fair to say we live our lives through our smartphones, and with 5G mobile technology we can drive greater data rates, lower cost-per-bit and a faster connected network.

For businesses, the drivers are just as important. The language we commonly hear within enterprise and data centre is mission critical. The same can be said with communications; it’s mission critical. 5G will enable faster, lower-latent links with control of critical infrastructure, which can be said of great important in things like healthcare, as well as autonomous factory machines, or super-needy transactional environments. All of which has the same drivers as IoT and edge, which we have written about here recently.


How will 5G and edge work in harmony?

As applications for end users and businesses advance, they'll demand more which will make something that felt pretty fast feel pretty slow overtime - unless new advancements work in tandem to meet demand.

With 5G and edge, they'll certainly do this. A great way of thinking about it is that prior to 5G, you had 4G, which was a four-lane motorway. Now with 5G, we have a 16-lane motorway, allowing for more vehicles to move through. Edge helps the vehicles in that it brings the motorway close to the end user, reducing latency through compute capabilities in the network. A marriage made in heaven to meet 21st century data demand.


How can SSD unlock 5G?


With no moving parts, read/write times within SSD is much faster, especially when NVMe connections come into play. With latency king for 5G, SSDs and their location directly on the computers PCIe lanes result in super-throughput and latency within the system.

5G is expected to deliver 10ms latency in an effort to be give times lower than that of 4G. SSD can help unlock this goal, with NVMe allowing more direct control from the OS, providing that super-low latency.


5G is close to seven times better in terms of throughput compared to 4G, at 10Gbs compared to 1.45Gbs. So how can SSD unlock this and enable this amount of data transferrable within a given period of time? 

With NVMe or SSD over HDD, such enterprise-level technology allows significant I/O throughput. A good read is this SSD vs HDD article from Crucial (Micron) around read and write, with it's benefits in terms of latency also.

Example of max generation speeds


How can memory (DRAM) play a role?


When looking at consumer and specifically mobile devices, DDR5 has features which can truly maximise 5G.

For example, LPDDR5 from Micron has maximum DRAM bandwidth of up to 6400 Mbps, which is 50% more compared to that of LPDDR4x). This kind of feature goes heavy in capabilities to meet 5G demands and specifically, 5G smartphones to reach and process peak speeds to prevent bottlenecks.

Dr. Raj Talluri, senior vice president and general manager of the mobile business unit at Micron said “Micron’s leadership in delivering the industry’s first low-power DDR5 DRAM for use in a smartphone will accelerate enablement of 5G and AI applications.” 

Continuing with, “Our customers and partners require next-generation memory solutions, based on the latest process technology, that drive unmatched power and performance to support 5G and AI systems. Micron’s LPDDR5 DRAM addresses those requirements with a 50% increase in data access speeds and more than 20% power efficiency compared to previous generations.” 


Simply put: more compute, more memory

5G is hungry for more memory than previous generations. The simple need of needing more memory alone shows the importance of technologies like DRAM in enabling such an era to succeed.

DRAM is playing a role in succeeding the likes of SRAM and TCAM (ternary content-addressable memory) as infrastructure in telecoms which is enabling 5G. 

Ryan Baxter, snr director for data centre at Micron, claims that that the distributed nature of a 5G platform means there has been proliferation of different memory technologies being considered and just standard DDR. Baxter says that low power double-data rate (LPDDR) and graphics double-date rate (GDDR)-based technology are being looked at and the requirements of such broad spectrum are driving a fair amount of fragmentation because 5G presents itself as a blend of telecom and computing networking.




Digital and demand is driving a data explosion. Much like IoT and edge, 5G is another enabler for the demand consumers and businesses require to keep pace with the changing world.

Moving with this demand is changing technology within memory and storage. In emergency of DDR5 and the NVMe within DRAM and SSD can provide feature sets to unlock 5G. From the outside, they might seem a like a small cog in the works, but it's getting the whole thing moving as one that will deliver a successful 5G era and in working with experts at Simms, one step from the actual innovators in memory and storage, businesses have a partner of choice to rely on when building their 5G and edge future. 



Drew is Marketing Lead at Simms, leading our datacentre and server proposition. He has a history of working for a datacentre and brings a wealth of knowledge from this area to help educate and inform our customer base.