What’s Going on with 5G and When Will It Be Available?
Introduced in the early 1980’s, 1G cell phones relied on a precarious connection to a laptop’s dial-up modem to function. This analog system was dependent on a delicate […]
Introduced in the early 1980’s, 1G cell phones relied on a precarious connection to a laptop’s dial-up modem to function. This analog system was dependent on a delicate and unreliable connection and transferred data at severely limited rates. Fast forward several decades to the 4G/LTE generation, where mobile capabilities have far surpassed the limited abilities of the first generation phones. The 4G system provides Internet access, gaming services, high-definition television streaming, video conferencing, IP Telephony, and more.
A 5G network, the next step forward in cellular networking, is still a work in progress and probably won’t be commercially available until the early 2020’s. Earlier (though likely limited) deployments are also a possibility starting as soon as 2018. Experts have projected that the new 5G network will allow users to complete tasks previously unheard of while using a 4G network, including downloading videos in under one second.
What Will 5G Look Like?
The shift to 5G is still years away and carriers have yet to produce a hard definition of what the new generation will include. However, it is safe to assume that the new cellular generation will be much faster and more dependable. In many cases, home Wi-Fi networks will be beaten by cellular data for both speed and reliability. It is also likely that 5G will be a shift towards wider bandwidths which will resolve issues of slower services and dropped connections caused by the crowded bands that mobile providers currently rely on.
According to the Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance — a mobile telecommunications association — a 5G standard will provide a reduced latency (as compared to LTE), enhanced signaling efficiency, and data rates within the range of tens of megabits per second for tens of thousands of users, among other improvements. In addition, the networks will also likely include upgrades in order to meet needs for the Internet of Things and for lifeline communication services, such as flash flood warnings.
How Will 5G Work?
This improved network will operate within the millimeter wave of the wireless spectrum, also known as the high-frequency band. This means that users will be able to download or transmit data in less than a millisecond. While these waves allow for quick transfers of data, they often encounter problems overcoming physical obstacles such as buildings, an issue which carriers will likely address by installing more antennas. In order to access the perks of 5G, users will have to buy a new phone that will be able to support 5G.