22 Jun 5G Internet – What’s Up with the Latest WiFi Tech
Everyone likes fast internet, billions of people around the world are looking to connect through the web daily. It’s a no brainer that major telecom players in different countries are looking to make it faster. With a growing number of users and devices, we are going to need more bandwidth to tend to the demand. To do that, we would need a new form of wireless signal – what we now call as 5G internet.
5G internet like 4G and 3G before it, is a wireless connection made to keep up with the world’s demand of mobile internet connection. Today, it is no longer just your phone or mobile computer anymore. A lot of smart devices like electronic appliances, security cameras, door locks, and cars. As well as wearable gadgets among others are beginning to connect to the web. Online sources say that there are an estimated 20 billion connected devices on the web and counting. By 2020, experts say that number would grow to more than 30 billion. That’s a lot more devices that need connection.
To make it a little easier to understand, we’ll try to simplify what 5G internet is and how is it the future of wireless internet? And of course, why should it matter to you?
What is the definition of 5G internet?
5G is an abbreviation of “5th generation”. Wireless technology technically started with 1G in the 1990s. It expanded to 2G when telecom companies enabled customers to send text messages between two cell phones.
Eventually, the whole world moved to 3G, which enabled internet browsing. 4G wireless internet enhanced a lot of the capabilities made possible with 3G internet. It is now possible to browse the web, send text messages, make phone calls, and even download or upload large video files without any problems. Basically, what anyone does today since social media took over the world wide web.
Then, telecom providers added LTE (long-term evolution) to 4G internet. LTE is the fastest and most consistent variety of 4G internet when compared to competing technologies like WiMax network. The difference between the two is like the difference between Blu-Ray and HD DVDs – both achieved the same results, but it was important to create a standard which everyone in the field could use. LTE achieved that, and it made 4G internet even faster.
5G internet will be built on the foundation created by 4G LTE. On top of allowing all the things that you can now do with 4G, it will also increase the speed at which data is transferred across the web. In other words, 5G will ease the downloading or uploading of Ultra HD and 3D video. It will also create more space for people and devices that are connecting to the web daily.
How much faster is 5G compared to 4G LTE?
Significantly faster. Currently, 4G LTE’s maximum is around 1 gigabits per second (Gbps). Just imagine a 1 GB download finished in under 30 minutes on average. Though, it could be much faster than that if there were no disruptions to LTE signal. Consumers rarely experience 4G LTE at full speed because of many factors like buildings, microwaves, even other WiFi signals that disrupt 4G LTE signal.
With 5G internet, the maximum speed is increased to 10 Gbps. That means the same 1 GB download, could finish in under a minute. It also reduces latency giving you faster response times. You’ll see that “loading in progress” icon less often. All that said, it will give the wireless network the capacity it needs to cater thousands of devices connecting to the web.
What makes 5G tick?
Several companies have come together to create global standards around 5G with the goal of backward compatibility and interoperability in mind.
In essence, cellphones are two-way radios. When you use it for anything like calling, texting, or browsing the web, it converts your message into an electrical signal. Then, it transmits that signal as a radio wave to the nearest cell tower. The tower passes the signal through a network of other towers until it reaches the receiver. It might be your friend’s phone, PC, or what not.
Usually, in the development of a wireless technology, it’s assigned a higher radio frequency. 4G for example, use frequencies below 6 GHz. 5G networks, use frequencies of up to 86GHz to achieve greater speeds. New wireless technologies occupy higher frequencies because these frequencies are not usually used and are much faster in transmitting data.
The issue with higher frequencies is its range. The higher the frequency, the less distance it travels. Likely, this means signal boosters like multiple input and output antenna (MIMO) will be used in locations 5G is offered.
For the deployment of 5G service, 5G will be operating in the 6 GHz frequency like 4G LTE for the mobile networks. In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have freed vast amounts of bandwidth in the high-band spectrum (otherwise called as mmWave) to be used in faster 5G network services. Lawmakers in the European Union also agreed to open 3.6 GHz and 26 GHz by 2020 for the deployment of 5G networks.
Is 5G available now?
Many telecom operators in the US, UK, South Korea, and Australia have either started 5G network trials or launch their own 5G network service.
In the United States, 5G network launch plans fall into two categories – Fixed wireless and Mobile. Fixed wireless will cater to residential broadband customers with speeds of more than 1 Gbps. Mobile on the other hand, will be operating in a similar manner to 4G LTE at frequency bands of less than 6 GHz.
Verizon and T-Mobile have a target launch for their 5G fixed wireless service on the second half of 2018 and end of 2018 respectively. For mobile, first half of 2019 and end of 2018 respectively. AT&T and Sprint have yet to have a launch plan for fixed wireless. They will launch 5G mobile by end of 2018 and first half of 2019 respectively.
In the UK, EE has trial plans slated by the fourth quarter of 2018. Several homes and businesses in East London Tech City will be taking part in the trial. BT Group, the owner of EE said in a presentation in May 2018 that they plan to launch a commercial 5G service within 18 months. The United Kingdom plans to deploy 5G to London and other major cities as a starting point. Then other major cities. Then small and medium sized towns.
South Korea had a successful trial launch of 5G showcases during the recently concluded 2018 Winter Olympics. KT, LG U+, and SK Telecom, the three major players in South Korea’s telecom industry agreed to collaborate on a single 5G infrastructure for the country by the end of the first half of 2019. Currently, they are looking infrastructure costs for the deployment and looking to collaborate with China and Japan in 5G infrastructure standardization.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has assigned new frequency bands to enable 5G mobiles service. The frequency bands are between 3.6 GHz and 5.6 GHz. The mmWave bands are still under consideration for use 5G mobile service in Australia.
Why go 5G?
Why go 5G when you can do the same things you can do on 4G LTE? Well, the simple answer is just improved experience. Browsing through the net will be a breeze, downloading Ultra HD videos would be just like downloading 480p videos, your favorite MMO game will stop lagging, video calls will finally have a smooth picture instead of a pixelated one. No more seeing that buffering icon! Those are just the simple things that you do on the internet.
With the advent of smart devices today and the internet of things, when a lot of different devices on our own home use the internet, there is always the issue of not having sufficient bandwidth that will support smart electronic appliances like Smart TVs, switches, wearable gadgets, phones, tablets, or PCs and what not. 5G can very well eliminate that issue.
5G services and hardware will allow you to connect all your smart electronics at home to a single router without worrying about them not working when they are all on at the same time.
With a growing number of user base connected online, 4G will eventually become unviable to future living where the vision of society is internet enabled technology. 5G opens that kind of technology where communication of device-to-device is so heavy and reliant to the web.
In almost every country in the world, the use of online navigation systems by private car owners, or public transportation is so rampant. The need for real-time data for these aspects of the modern world is growing exponentially on these trends alone. 4G LTE alone just cannot support that kind of growth in demand.
The bottom line is, in the age of information, we need better means of sharing information with one another around the globe. 5G will just become the norm in the future just like what 4G LTE is today.
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