5G Internet – the What & the When
What is 5G?
The term 3G, 4G and 5G are actually just marketing terms that relate to different generations of wireless connectivity technology rather than specifically labeling a certain technology. We’re still at the very early stages of this technology where huge tech companies like Samsung are only starting to explore what it might look like. They demonstrated a new router at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) this year that achieved speeds of 500mbs. That would allow you to stream a 4K movie at ease and bandwidth issues would be a thing of the past. That being said though, Samsung were obviously able to manipulate the environment to provide the perfect settings for their demo, so the chances of you receive that speed at home are quick slim, but they’re still significantly more than most receive now.
If 5G is still some way off then and firms are only at the stage of testing prototypes, how can tech firms state that their products are 5G ready? Intel, Qualcomm and Samsung have recently claimed that their CPUs and modems are ready for the 5G revolution when these firms themselves are still developing the technology to define what form this might take. As previously mention, the 4G and 5G labels are mainly just a marketing ploy to simplify the offering to the market. While we know full well that 5G technology isn’t established, we as consumers should be aware of products claiming to be 5G ‘ready’.
What does 5G mean for you?
Of course, you don’t need to be a rocket science to work out it’s going to be a hell of a lot faster than the current 4G offering. That means that your phone will be able to access information far quicker than it currently does, which will have a huge impact on your user experience. However, it also has far wider implications. The router that Samsung demonstrated at MWC was a router that uses the wireless data network instead of plugging into your landline. It does that using an antenna that would be placed outside of your home to receive the best signal. This is purely hypothetical, but this could mean that in future you only pay for one data plan that covers your home internet, smartphone, tablets and other devices. With more devices gaining internet connectivity and the Internet of Things developing, having one data plan to cover everything will not only offer a more convenient solution, but should make it clearer exactly what we’re paying for in regards to internet speeds and data limits.
How long will it take to roll out?
5G certainly won’t be introduced overnight. 5G will use higher frequencies to achieve the faster speeds, which requires a sophisticated network of fibre optic. Many homes across the world still do not have access to fibre, so expecting the implementation of 5G technology to be quick is unrealistic. Nations and companies will have to invest significant amounts of money to make 5G available to the masses which is likely to take years to achieve. That being said, when 5G technology does become available, it should drive down the price of existing speeds and make internet more affordable for everyone.
When Will 5G Be Making Its Way to You?
If you cast your mind back, you’ll remember that 4G was first announced in 2010 and received a mainstream roll out in 2012 but every main carrier around the world. The jump from 3G to 4G was unbelievably dramatic. Downloading apps went from taking a considerable amount of time to lightning fast and YouTube videos that used to buffer intermittently offered silky smooth playback. For many now, 4G can hit speeds that already match what many people receive through their phone lines, and 5G looks set to reach even better speeds.