You might have seen ads or heard the commentators talk about it during the Super Bowl. The cell phone carriers are excited to get the word out about 5G. 5G has been deployed in select cities, but it will be rolled out all over the country throughout the year. This sounds great, but what is 5G?

5G Defined

5G is the new mobile broadband network that will replace or supplement the 4G LTE network. This process will take some time and is started in major cities. Over time, the carriers will expand this coverage to outlying areas. 5G brings faster download and upload speeds. In addition, 5G also delivers lower latency or the time it takes for wireless devices to communicate with one another.

Is It Faster?

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is an offshoot agency of the United Nations that develops technical standards for communication technologies. In addition, it also sets rules for the radio spectrum usage and telecommunications interoperability. After several years of development, the ITU created 13 requirements back in 2017.

Next, the 3rd Generation Partner Project (3GPP), a mixture of several telecommunication standard organizations, began developing standards for 5G. The full list is complex and in technical jargon, but here are some of the highlights:

  • Peak data rates: Data rates can reach 20Gbps download and 10Gbps upload per each mobile base station. Keep in mind these speeds will be shared among all connected to that base station.
  • Actual speeds: The individual download speeds of 100Mbps and upload speeds of 50Mbps.
  • Latency: The latency will be as low as one millisecond for priority tasks (remote surgeries) but as low as four milliseconds for normal circumstances.
  • Mobility: Base stations will support the movement from 0 to 310mph. This means the station would work with a rapid antenna movement. As a result, your device will always be connected, even your traveling on a high-speed train.
  • Connected devices: The standard states that 5G should be able to support 1million connected devices per kilometer. This is a vast increase from what LTE can support.

5G’s Implication

It predicts that 5G will drastically change how we interact with technology on a day to day basis. For example, the network will allow autonomous vehicles to talk to one another in real-time. Cars will be able to communicate in real-time, avoiding accidents, and saving lives. 5G will change both the private and public sector industry. Firstly, utility companies and municipalities will function more efficiently. They can install sensors that will be able to monitor a variety of things like traffic, flood areas, cameras, and others in real-time.

Secondly, the health care industry will also have major uses for 5G.  A stable, enhanced broadband network will advance remote recovery and physical therapy via virtual reality, precision surgery, and even remote surgery. The low latency can enable a surgeon to operate on patients across the county or even the world.

In addition, more devices will be able to connect. Think of a smart home on steroids. Full automation of your home with new interconnected products designed to make your life as easy as possible.

Lastly, humans will not have to work in hazardous environments. The low latency will allow heavy machinery to be controlled via remote control. This will undoubtedly save lives, as robots will be able to complete dangerous tasks that people have had to do in the past.

When Will I Get It?

When you get access to a 5G network depends on where you live and what carrier you have. Some major cities already have the network set up. Cell phone providers are working hard to get the network up nationwide as fast as possible, but it will still take several years to implement fully. Each carrier has its strategy as well. As a result, how and when you get it may differ from those around you on other carriers.

Note: in order to tap into the 5G network, your device will need 5G capability. To find out which phones currently accept the 5G network, click here.

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