The next generation of mobile connectivity networks is here and it’s called 5G. Although it will completely roll out throughout the world by 2020, major cities in the US, Europe, China and South Korea are already deploying and testing their 5G networks.
However, such a new technology still has us a bit confused. What exactly is 5G? What does it mean for our everyday lives? What will we do with it? We’ve gathered some of the main questions regarding the subject so that you can learn all you need to know about 5G.
What Exactly Is 5G?
5G is the name given to the next generation mobile broadband that will work to replace and augment 4G LTE connection, offering faster download and upload speeds, wider coverage, more stable connections and decreased latency – the time needed for devices to communicate with each other.
As the data we consume increases more and more every day, current spectrum bands are heavily congested, causing breakdowns in connectivity and undermining the user experience, while making it impossible for further advances in technology and communications to be rolled out. With 5G, the existing demand from smartphones, equipment sensors, video cameras, smart and mobile devices will be better handled.
What Will We Be Able To Do With It?
As it combines the very latest research alongside cutting-edge network technology, 5G will be able to offer us much faster connections than the ones we currently have, providing average download speeds of around 1GBps. So, what you need to know about 5G is that it will allow multiple devices and sensors to be connected together on a same network at once, providing a huge change in the Internet of Things technology, since now we will have the right infrastructure to carry an enormous amount of data, allowing for a smarter and better connected world.
In factories, for instance, 5G will allow multiple elements to be monitored in order to bring large-scale efficiencies, while autonomous cars will communicate better between each other, being connected and controlled with almost zero lag.
For regular users, we will be able to do everything we already do with our mobile devices but much faster and better, experiencing less delay, which translates into clearer video calls, mobile videos charging almost instantaneously, gaming with zero lag and downloads so much faster than we’re used to.
The deployment of 5G will allow for even greater improvements in technology, providing better communication with devices and helping us enjoy much more of the advantages that the Internet of Things can provide to our daily lives, as our homes and cities will become smarter.
How Different Is It From 4G?
One of the things about 5G you need to know is that initially, we probably won’t be able to tell that much of a difference in speed from 4G to 5G since network operators will most likely use this new technology at first as a way to boost capacity on existing 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) networks in order to provide a more consistent service. However, as current 4G runs on 45MBps (MegaBites per second) on average, 5G promises to bring browsing and download speeds that are 10 to 20 times faster in real world conditions.
This means you’ll be able to download an HD movie in a minute, for example, even though we probably won’t see this happening in a few years from now.
Will I Need A New Phone?
Unfortunately yes, you will. Phone makers have decided not to make the same mistake they did with 4G as they started to roll out compatible phones onto the market before the infrastructure was fully functioning, so 5G devices are slowly coming into the market as the networks are rolled out, offering a more stable service that is guaranteed to function.
When Will We See It?
Testbeds for 5G are already live around the world, and while networks are fully expected to launch across 2020, many major cities in the US, the UK, Europe, South Korea, China and Qatar are already seeing it happen.
In the US, Verizon has already launched its mobile coverage in select areas of Chicago and Minneapolis, while its 5G home service, which works as broadband internet, is available in select parts of Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento thanks to 5G routers.
AT&T on the other hand, has launched its 5G network in several more cities, although currently it is only available via a Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot, needing visitors and residents of cities where it is available to connect their Wi-Fi devices to it, with the list of cities comprising of Atlanta, Austin and Waco Texas, Charlotte and Raleigh NC, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Orlando Fl., Los Angeles, Louisville KY, Nashville Tenn., New Orleans, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, California.
Working alongside existing 3G and 4G technology, most of the world will be able to experience 5G connections next year.