02 Jun What You Need To Know About 5G and How it Revolutionized the Internet
The first official 5G standard was developed by the wireless industry at the end of 2017. Some companies have already announced their plans in launching 5G this year. AT&T plans to launch mobile 5G this year, Verizon says it will launch 5G for homes, and both T-Mobile and Sprint stated that they will be launching 5G phones early next year.
With all this talk about 5G, it is important to be informed on what you need to know about 5G.
What exactly is 5G?
The “G” in 5G stands for “generation.” Wireless phone technology started with 1G in the early 1990’s. It then expanded to 2G when companies first started enabling people to send text messages between two cellular devices. Eventually 3G was developed, which gave people the ability to make phone calls, send text messages, and browse the internet. 4G enhanced many of the capabilities that were made possible with 3G. People could browse the web, send text messages, and make phone calls. And a new feature in 4G is downloading or uploading large video files can occur without any issues. Then companies added LTE which is short for “Long Term Evolution,” to 4G connectivity. LTE became the fastest and most consistent variety of 4G.
5G will build on the foundation created by 4G LTE. It’s going to allow people to send text, make calls, and browse the web. But it will dramatically increase the speed at which transfer of data across the network. 5G will make it easier for people to download and upload Ultra HD and 3D video. It will also make room for the thousands of internet-connected devices entering our everyday world. It’s hard to comprehend the changes that would occur when you convert your 4G LTE to a 5G. But one way to imagine the upgrade is when you switch your garden hose to a fire hose. The difference would be very noticeable.
Is 5G really significantly much faster than 4G?
There’s no question about it. Speeds in 5G would be significantly faster. Currently, 4G LTE transfer speeds top out at about one gigabit per second. This means that it would take about an hour to download a short HD movie in perfect conditions. The common problem of most people is they rarely experience 4G’s maximum download speed. This is due to the signal disruption by so many different factors. Such as buildings, microwaves, and other WiFi signals.
5G will increase download speeds up to 10 gigabits per second. That means a full HD movie can be downloaded in a matter of seconds. It will also reduce latency significantly which would give people faster load times. In short, 5G will give wireless broadband capacity it needs to power thousands of online devices. That will also reach our homes and workplace.
Other advantages of 5G over 4G are:
- Shorter delays. Although it’s not always noticeable, there is often a brief lag in time from when data is sent to when it’s received. 5G would reduce this so-called latency. Making it possible, for example, to watch high speed virtual reality video with no delays or glitches.
- Increased connectivity: cell towers equipped with 5G technology would have greatly increased capacity over 4G LTE. That means more people and more devices should be able to communicate at the same time.
Those are still the basics of what you need to know about 5G. Want to know more about how 5G can greatly improve your connection?
How does 5G work?
Like other cellular networks, 5G networks use a system of cell sites that divide their territory into sectors and send encoded data through radio waves. Each cell site must be connected to a network backbone, whether through a wired or wireless back-haul connection. 5G networks will use a type of encoding called Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) which is similar to the encoding that 4G LTE uses. The air interface will be designed for much lower latency and greater flexibility than LTE.
Wireless networks are composed of cell sites divided into sectors that send data through radio waves. 4G LTE wireless technology provides the foundation for 5G.
Unlike 4G, which requires large, high power cell towers to radiate signals over long distances. 5G wireless signals will be transmitted via large numbers of small cell stations. Located in places like light poles or building roofs. The use of multiple small cells is necessary because the millimeter wave spectrum which is the band of spectrum between 30 GHz and 300 GHz that 5G relies on to generate high speeds, can only travel over short distances and is subject to interference from weather and physical obstacles, like buildings.
The 5G standard will work all the way from low frequencies to high, but it also gets the most benefit over 4G at higher frequencies. 5G may also transmit data over unlicensed frequencies currently used for WiFi, without conflicting with existing WiFi networks.
5G networks are more likely to be networks of small cells, even down to the size of home routers, that to be huge towers radiating great distances. Some of that is because of the nature of the frequencies used, but a lot of that is to expand network capacity. The more cells you have, the more data you can get into the network.
So there is a need for 5G networks to be much smarter than previous systems because they are juggling many smaller cells that can change size and shape. But even with existing macro cells, 5G will be able to boost capacity by four times over current systems by leveraging wider bandwidths and advanced antenna technologies. The goal is to have far higher speeds available and far higher capacity per sector and at far lower latency than 4G.
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What are the applications of 5G?
5G’s speed and reduced latency has the potential to transform entire industries.
Connected cars are a key growth driver. Futurists predict that self-driving vehicles of the future will exchange cloud management info, sensor data, and multimedia content with one another over low latency networks. According to ABI Research, 67 million automotive 5G vehicle subscription will be active, three million of which will be low latency connections mainly deployed in autonomous cars.
5G will be the first network designed with the Internet of Things (IoT) in mind.
These next generation networks and standards will need to solve a more complex challenge of combining communications and computing together. With 5G, computing capabilities will be fused with communications everywhere, so trillions of things like wearable devices don’t have to worry about computing power because the network can do any processing needed.
Smartwatches and tablets that use location and context aware sensors to share data with someone on your calendar, and save energy while delivering location-based services are envisioned. Eventually, everything from wearable, to internet connected things such as washing machines, smart meters, traffic cameras, and even trees with tiny sensors could be connected.
There will be an underlay network with computing and communications, so not everything needs to go through back-haul because lots of capabilities will be available close to where they are needed. Even wireless charging will be integrated to help keep devices running.
Virtual reality and Augmented reality
5G could bring about advances in virtual reality and streaming video. Sprint recently demonstrated streaming wireless VR at the Copa America soccer tournament, and Huawei showed a demo of 360-degree video streamed live from a 5G network.
Remote storage and web apps stand to benefit from 5G. The cloud becomes an infinite extension of your phone’s storage. You never have to worry about running out of photo space. In addition to added phone storage, you may see a significant difference in mobile hardware design overall. With 5G, many of the computing tasks completed in your device can be moved to the network. Since the devices will not require the same computing capabilities, we may see so called “dummy phones” with minimal hardware using the network to complete tasks. The transfer of power from device to network also means that your cell phone may have greater longevity as it will not necessarily require incremental hardware improvements to keep pace.
When will 5G be available?
Telecommunications companies like AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, and Charter are all planning to launch their 5G services in late 2018 or early 2019. There are still numerous things that should be done for the widespread use of 5G. Just as 2G phones could not connect to 3G or 4G networks, today’s 3G and 4G/LTE phones will be unable to connect to a 5G network so experts predict that you would most likely need a new phone to connect to 5G.
Still want to know more about what you need to know about 5G?
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