Your Guide to 5G Internet
You have probably heard the term 5G on TV or you may have read about it in the news. Lately, it has become a political controversy as well. Experts are hailing that 5G internet is the way of the future. So, what is 5G? What can 5G do? And, most importantly, what are the implications on our lives?
This technology has been in the making for about a decade. Since the internet is a truly global force now, the development of this technology has also been borderless. 5G networks are already rolling out in major cities around the world.
What is 5G?
5G is the fifth generation of mobile broadband technology. You know how you see 4G LTE or 3G written on the top of your phone screen? This will replace those technologies. The advancement with this new generation of mobile internet is that it will deliver lightning-fast speeds of data transmission.
With a 5G network, we are talking speeds up to 20 Gbps. That is a big step forward from 4G, which on average provides 10 to 20 Mbps speed. Not only that, but it will also improve the latency rate. Latency refers to the time it takes for devices to communicate.
The History of 5G
5G network developments go back to the late 2000s when the smartphone boom was in its heyday. The 3G networks came around in the early 2000s but took quite some time to spread, especially in the U.S. At the time, mobile devices were using the second-generation network, which only provided data transfers competitive with dial-up or early DSL.
When the iPhone was first released, it did not even have support for 3G. However, other mobile companies and countries were on their way to building the 3G network. As smartphones became a norm, the app industry developed. These apps required even better mobile internet speeds.
As a result of the smartphones and apps, the U.S. lead the way to roll out the 4G LTE network. This was a much more advanced network, delivering speeds we had never experienced before. But innovation never stops. So, carrier and mobile phone companies began developing the next-generation network, known as 5G.
The core specifications for this new technology were defined in 2011, but not completely. It took seven more years until 2018, for these specifications to be complete. This was the time when companies started testing the technology in select cities.
How Does 5G Work?
The 5G network revolves around infrastructure changes that have been costly and challenging. It essentially uses the same system as 4G, where you have several cell sites connected to a backbone network. These cell sites are divided into sectors.
This new network uses an encoding system, OFDM, that makes things better. Since the encoding system is more efficient compared to 4G, it is able to deliver faster speeds. Also, 5G uses larger channels, which helps transmit data in GBs.
A single 5G channel can be 100MHz, which is higher than those of 4G. To achieve these larger channels, the network uses much higher frequencies. Low frequencies are already heavily used, so to create a faster network with broader channels, companies are using higher frequencies.
5G networks use many smaller cells that make airwave transfer quicker and more efficient. These cells can change form and shape, as per requirements. However, the high-band spectrum has a major drawback, which is poor coverage. There are low-band and mid-band spectrums as well, but the peak speeds for these bands are lower than what 5G could potentially offer with the high-band spectrum.
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Applications of 5G
The impressive speed of 5G networks means you will be able to upload and download data much faster. You can download an HD movie in just seconds. But this is not the most important application of 5G. The implications of 5G will be huge for Artificial Intelligence (AI). It’s simple: the more devices connected to the network, the more data there will be for AI. This could further revolutionize many industries around the world.
The most talked-about application of 5G is self-driving cars. These cars have been in the testing phase for some years now, with companies like Google and Uber pouring in millions. A well-structured 5G network would allow self-driving cars to exchange information in real-time.
With a 5G network, the cars can share data about their surroundings, preventing accidents and traffic. This new technology can also revolutionize the healthcare industry. With robotics, surgeons can remotely perform surgeries in real-time, thanks to the fast data transmission.
The Internet of Things will benefit greatly with the 5G technology. Currently, the sensors in small devices need a lot of resources. With the next generation internet, these devices will need much fewer resources. Also, a huge number of devices will be able to connect to one base station.
Pros of 5G Internet
All the talk about 5G makes you wonder what the limit is. If you look at its massive benefits, it makes all the sense. Here are the pros:
- Lightning-fast speed
- Extremely low latency
- Less tower congestion
- Improvements in AI
- More connectivity
Cons of 5G Internet
The 5G technology may be great, but it has some drawbacks as well, such as:
- Lack of coverage
- Expensive infrastructure
What Will 5G Cost?
The end-consumer is always interested in knowing what the new technology will cost. This technology is still in the development stage and companies are working on the pricing strategy. However, experts say that the cost of the development could be high.
Still, there is no reason to suspect that this internet would be more expensive than 4G. After all, a lot of companies are relying on the same infrastructure. In the U.K., the companies offering 5G data are charging the same rates as their 4G packages.
5G will change the way we work, communicate, commute and live. It will create a lot of new use cases that we have yet to see. It’s not surprising that countries are racing to build nationwide 5G networks because it could drastically improve the economy of a country. It could take another few years for this new mobile network to be the de facto network for mobile.