5G – What you need to know

Though many consumers are still getting their heads around 4G, more-tuned in individuals are keen to see what the future of wireless systems will look like. 5G is indeed the next step forward, though it is by no means a simple technology to develop and roll-out globally. So to get you clued in on 5G technology, here is everything you need to know.

First off, what is 5G?

5G simply stands for 5th Generation and refers to the next stage of the wireless mobile standard. Though no formal standard for 5G has yet been set, it will be based on broadband technology standard IEEE 802.11ac.

When can we expect to see 5G?

5G is something that has seen growing investment in recent years but is certainly not yet ready for consumers. The earliest we may expect to see it is 2020, though how widespread the coverage will be is questionable. Even when you look into 3G and 4G, you see that there are still problems in how they operate.

Many also believe that by bringing in 5G to the wireless spectrum, we run the risk of overcrowding the frequency range. As well as this, many older devices, or even newer ones, will likely be incompatible with 5G.

Is 5G going to be worth it?

When you compare what 5G offers compared to 4G, it is easy to get very excited about what it will mean for us in our day-to-day lives. After the 5G technology and compatible devices are fine-tuned we can expect to see streaming speeds that 4G could simply never offer. Whereas 4G signals have the potential to provide 100s of Mbps to its users, 5G will allow multiple Gbps.

This then paves the way for advancements in a number of futuristic technologies that are simply not feasible now. So yes, once fully deployed and operational, 5G is set to dramatically change the way that consumers and businesses operate.

Who is leading the way?

As already mentioned, recent years have seen greater levels of investment into this space. Back in 2016, the Vodafone-Huawei partnership successfully carried out the first 20 Gbps test. As well as these major players in the industry, numerous other companies are joining in the race to develop both consumer and business-focused technologies capable of making proper use of 5G.

Ericsson and Nokia are creating mobile platforms aimed towards mobile carriers rather than consumers. The City Of London recently switched on 400 small cell transmitters across the capital and intends to start running 5G tests on this network in the near future. Furthermore, the 2017 Budget announcement saw £16 million being pledged by the UK government to help build a 5G hub.

As that 2020 target looms, more and more news is starting to surface surrounding 5G and the capabilities it will offer. With the technology developing rapidly, it’s an exciting time to stay tuned in to see what happens next.

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