Tech

What is 5G?

5G is the next generation of wireless technologies and it will be faster than 4G. But 4G has not even reached its final maturity, and speeds do not actually reach close to 100Mbps.

On top of that, 4G is not even yet available everywhere, yet some companies have already begun testing 5G. So yes, it’s already in development!

Why do we need 5G?

  • As Internet access is getting more crucial to our daily lives, we have to be connected anytime, anywhere we go. We need not just an Internet but a fast and stable Internet to get ourselves connected.
  • As “smart” technologies continue to evolve, we now power other things such as smartwatches, cars, smart home appliances and accessories, home security equipment, even smart clothes.
  • While the power of 4G has continued to provide us great benefits, several companies have already been looking forward to 5G. And being the fifth generation, it should help bridge this new wave of incoming devices.

Look at how far we will have come when 5G finally becomes available. While 3G focuses on simple mobile data and 4G on the mobile internet, then 5G will be concentrated on the interconnectivity of the newest and latest devices.

How fast is 5G?

How fast is 5G? Various sources say that it’s going to be miles away faster than 4G, as it promises to have speeds of 1 up to 200 Gbps. 4G, on the other hand, has speeds of 100Mbps to 1Gbps.

5G promises to handle 1000 times more traffic than 4G and 3G, and is expected to be ten times faster than 4G LTE.

To visualize how fast is 5G going to be, here’s an example:

If you are going to download a two-hour HD movie on 3G, it will take about 26 hours of waiting time. On 4G, it will take about six minutes. While on 5G, it will take only 3 ½ seconds to download and you’re now ready to watch the movie! In theory, 5G allows you to download multiple movies in just a matter of seconds.

It’s not just the speed that 5G will have an advantage over 4G. It’s also the faster response time:

“Latency,” in this respect, means how long it takes data to travel from its source to its destination, and then come back to its source.

Latency is measured in miliseconds (ms). 3G has a latency time of about 100 ms, while 4G has about 40 to 60 ms. The 5G technology, on the other hand, is expected to have a latency time between 1 ms to 10 ms – much faster than a blink of an eye!

What is 5G?

Lower latency time means less delay of transmission of data. 5G, with its incredibly low latency and short lag time, promises to be reliable and consistent throughout. It is expected to guarantee instant and real-time response.

With its potentially low latency, users will be able enjoy a greater livestreaming experience, or online experience in general.

5G is anticipated to have a greater bandwidth which ranges from 100 to 1,000 – which is definitely miles bigger than 4G’s bandwidth. So 5G could (ultimately, perhaps) address connection capacity needs that are brought about by a vast range of devices.

The “Internet of Things” and how they will be impacted by 5G

The “Internet of things” or “IoT” is a term which refers to the interconnection of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, via the Internet. The term was first used during the late 1990s, and was likely attributed to Kevin Ashton (who worked for Procter & Gamble at the time).

These objects, which are provided with unique identifiers (UID), enable them to assemble and send data electronically. They include smart devices that have access to the Internet.

The incoming advent of the 5G network could revolutionize the IoT. 5G promises to be faster and smarter; that’s why devices have to be faster and smarter as well.

5G is anticipated to become the “thread” that connects to the IoT, an industry which is expected to grow three-fold by 2025.

5G will link and control several devices and “smart” objects – not just robots and electronic gadgets, but also household appliances, medical equipment, industrial and agricultural machinery, and many more.How will 5G power self-driving cars?

Autonomous or self-driving cars require a continuous stream of data. The quicker and more continuous delivery of data towards self-driving cars, the better, safer and more efficiently they can run.

5G will definitely help to provide direct communication which will enable vehicles to send data to each other and allow the software to drive themselves automatically.

With a dramatically reduced latency and faster response time, self-driving cars will be able to communicate as well as to respond to changing traffic conditions even better than a human driver might.

Once the 5G technology is fully implemented, it will be capable of turning possibilities such as remote traffic management, preventive collision detection and real-time navigation, into a reality.

Network slicing

5G will also allow for a more personalized online experience through a technique called “network silcing.”

In network slicing, operators will provide separate portions of their networks so that users will have their own customized networks for a specific purpose.

For example, an online gamer will require a faster response time and a greater data capacity than someone who just regularly checks their social media accounts. So each user will have their own “slice” of the network (each with different response time and data capacity) that caters to their own specific needs.

A certain business department, field, industry or organization may require more data capacity, security and faster response time than the others, in order to operate more efficiently. With network slicing’s flexible nature, businesses will also benefit from it as it can be adapted to suit to different business needs.

Other interesting facts about 5G

  • 5G’s worldwide launch is expected in 2020, but because of the fast pace of technology, it may happen even sooner than that.
  • Many operators – which include AT&T, Verizon and Sprint – have already announced 5G trials.
  • South Korea’s three major mobile networks – KT, LG U+ and SK Telecom – collaborated together to showcase 5G trials during the 2018 PyongChang Winter Olympics, which turned out successfully.
  • 5G is expected to cost more than 4G or 4G LTE, but probably not much more. It’s because network operators are slashing the price of data a little bit every year. So if you’re using a 5G service, you’ll be most likely charged around the same rate as you would from using a 4G LTE service.

Five Technologies that Make 5G Possible

For the time being, experts cannot tell which certain technologies will work best for 5G in the long run. But right now, there are a handful of contenders that would make the 5G technology possible:

  • Millimeter waves – Millimeter waves, named so due to a narrower-than-average wavelength, occupy the frequency system from 30 GHz to 300 GHz. The very high frequency system of these wavelengths is enough to avoid interference from surrounding signals. However, these wavelengths are too high that they are unable to penetrate walls. They also have the tendency to be absorbed by foliage and rain. To counter this problem, small cells have been considered to augment traditional cell towers.
  • Small Cells – they comprise of miniature cell phone towers which can be placed in inconspicuous areas (such as roofs or light posts) to be closer to individuals. Small cells require minimal power compared to full-sized cell towers, and they transmit data through millimeter wave.
  • MIMO – It stands for “multiple-input, multiple-output,” a wireless system that uses two or more transmitters and receivers to send and receive data simultaneously. The current 4G LTE networks support up to eight transmitters and four receivers. 5G networks cell towers can, hypothetically, support more of them. However, massive MIMO can also cause interference and distortion if signals cross into each other.
  • Beamforming – This is where beamforming comes to address the problems of MIMO. Basically, beamforming is a type of technology that finds the most efficient data-delivery route to certain users. In beamforming, the base station will be able to detect and locate the user and it will beam signals only to that user’s direction. This is so unlike conventional base stations which transmit signals in every direction, resulting to signal interference and distortion.
  • Full Duplex – This technology helps boost the signal even further by increasing the speed of wireless communication. A 5G full duplex technology will allow the transreceiver to transmit and receive data simultaneously, and on a single frequency. Full duplex phones can transmit incoming and outgoing data at the same time, and this potentially doubles the bandwidth.

Conclusion:

As more people are becoming increasingly dependent on the Internet in order to function, a faster and more stable Internet connection is indeed vital. 5G promises to bring faster speeds, higher data capacity and transfer rates, and lower latency.

With these exciting prospects and perceived benefits that 5G will bring, it will dramatically transform the way we live, work, travel and interact – both with people and everyday objects alike.

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