The Best 5G Books for 2021

5G refers to the fifth-generation technology for cellular networks. Standards for 5G were released for the first time in 2017, and the first 5G network was rolled out in South Korea in 2019.

Let’s call it what it is: it’s new, es nueva, c’est nouveau, es ist neu.

In addition to providing regular cellular services like previous generations of the technology, 5G is also expected to usher in the age of IoT (Internet of Things) and massive M2M (machine to machine) communications. 5G will be able to do this as it offers increased bandwidth and lower latency.

A typical cellular network is comprised of the RAN or Radio Access Network and the CN or Core Network. The RAN is the wireless part of the network through which users access the services offered by the network. The CN provides coordination between different parts of the access network. The CN also provides Internet connectivity. For previous generations, the RAN and CN functions were functionally and geographically separate. For 5G however, the network functions are flexibly placed throughout the network, and the network intelligence is distributed throughout the network. Additionally, 5G will use advanced antenna systems to provide vastly improved services.

In this review we have selected books which provide a high level introduction, a broad overview of networks, cover the RAN, the CN and the smart antennas which will be used by the 5G networks of today and tomorrow.

BEST FOR A FRIENDLY INTRODUCTION: 5G Networking: Learning 5G Technology Explained For Dummies

If you are someone who wants to get a good introduction to 5G and its applications without getting into the technical nitty gritties, then this book is for you. This books answers the questions that all us of would have about 5G, such as

  • the difference between 4G and 5G,
  • the benefits offered by 5G, and
  • the dangers posed by 5G, and so on.

Readers found that this book contains answers to all the questions they had about 5G. It filled in the gaps in their knowledge and allowed them to say to themselves “I know about 5G now, and I know a little about its different aspects”.

Some readers felt that this is more of a blog post rather than a book. However, the book doesn’t make any bold claims: the title clearly implies that it is meant as a general introduction to 5G for people like me and you. Those who are engineers and will be researching or deploying 5G networks would want to take a look at the other books covered in this review.

BEST HIGH LEVEL OVERVIEW: From GSM to LTE-Advanced Pro and 5G: An Introduction to Mobile Networks and Mobile Broadband

This books provides a look at the evolution of cellular mobile networks, from GSM (General System for Mobile), to 3G / UMTS, to 4G and 5G. This book gives a through overview of how networks have evolved to offer the anytime-anywhere-connected experience that we enjoy today.

Readers (engineer, businessmen, scientists) who are interested in a detailed but still high level overview of 5G networks that doesn’t require going into intricate mathematical equations can select this book to improve their knowledge about 5G. This book is a comprehensive resource which also covers Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy. 

This revised and updated 4th edition of the book was only released on January 2021. We have yet to see any meaningful feedback from readers about this book. However, the 3rd edition of the book was favorably reviewed by many readers who found that it was well organized, easy to understand and detailed. Some readers would have liked more information in the book about IoT. But as we will repeat throughout this review, 5G is a new technology, and books about it are being written and updated. So stay tuned for updates!

BEST FOR RAN AND PHYSICAL LAYER: 5G NR: Architecture, Technology, Implementation, and Operation of 3GPP New Radio Standards

 This book focuses on the 5G RAN or 5G NR (new radio) as it is more commonly known. It begins with an overview of the 5G network architecture, and then goes into detail about the different aspects of the wireless part of 5G the network. This book also includes chapters on IoT, V2X (vehicle to everything communication) and operation in unlicensed/shared frequency spectrum. It is geared towards engineers and researchers who will be designing and developing 5G systems.

Readers have generally been satisfied with the coverage and depth of the book. Some readers have expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of images and figures used in the book. One thing which should be kept in mind is that this is a book highly focused on one aspect of the 5G network, which is the wireless RAN. Therefore, it is targeted towards engineers. Readers with a different educational background will find it hard to navigate.

BEST FOR CORE NETWORK: 5G Core Networks: Powering Digitalization

 This book focuses in depth on another part of the 5G network which is the Core Network. It begins which coverage of the drivers of 5G, moves onto the 5G network architecture and then goes into detail about the core of the 5G network. The book also contains an overview of 5G wireless and cloud technologies.

Readers found the book exceptional as it contains all the details which are relevant to the 5G core. Some found that book had some grammatical errors. Even though this is a valid issue, it does not take anything away from the highly relevant technical material which is covered in book. When did the authors claim to be Shakespeare anyway?!

BEST FOR ANTENNA SYSTEMS: Advanced Antenna Systems for 5G Network Deployments: Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice

5G will make use of advanced antenna systems to get a better signal to users which will be able to deliver the high data rates promised by the technology. 5G will use MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) antenna systems, or to put it into simple terms, more than one antenna will be used for transmission and reception at both the transmitting and receiving stations. 5G will also use beamforming and other advanced techniques. This book provides an in-depth coverage of antenna systems which will be used for 5G. It also covers different antenna configurations, deployment scenarios, and the differences between mid-band and millimeter wave solutions.

This is again a new book which has been included as it covers a very important part of the 5G network. Readers have usually given the book 5 stars, but detailed reviews are not available. Stay tuned for updates!


As we said in the beginning, 5G is a new technology. Deployments around the world are just getting started.  New books are being written which will be released this year (2021). And more will be released in the years to come. So you can expect updates to this review which will keep it fresh and up to date.

The first book covered in the review is targeted towards those who are ready to learn about the 5G network and its applications. The second book covered in the review is targeted towards those who need more detail but don’t want to go into the mathematics / engineering level details. The last three books covered in this review are for engineers and doctors (read PhDs) who are doing research on 5G or are developing systems to be used with 5G networks.

5G is not the finished article. It is new and is also evolving. New technologies will make it faster. And new applications which make it more a part of our lives as compared to 4G or 3G. Welcome to the future.

To summarize: