The fifth generation of wireless internet is finally upon us, and people have mixed feelings. On one side, there are gamers, live streamers, and businesses who can’t wait to jump on the 5G train. The other group thinks this technology has adverse health effects on people, birds, and animals. Others still have their general concerns about online safety, and hope people keep this in mind as access to the world wide web increases across the world.
Today we dive deep into 5G territory, hoping to unravel any mysteries surrounding this revolutionary tech.
Simply put, 5G is the newest generation of wireless internet technology. Its main features include low latency, support for many simultaneous connections, and crazy fast speeds.
These features are a significant upgrade from 4G, which tends to slow down as more users come online.
With 5G, I can download 8K movies in seconds, something that would take me hours with a 4G network. Live Streaming will also be considerably smoother, and gamers are open to the idea of a latency-free connection.
Generally speaking, 5G will improve everything we do on the internet.
Swarms of drones moving out for search and rescue missions, with all communicating between themselves and cell towers using 5G.
Imagine smart glasses with augmented reality that would allow a warehouse manager to keep up with inventory by monitoring what the workers are seeing.
Eventually, fridges will send data to retailers, accurately predicting what consumers might need to buy on their next trip to the grocery. The possibilities are truly endless.
5G works like any other cellular network. There is a system of connected cell sites that exchange encoded data through radio waves. Each cell system should have a connection to the internet through a wired or wireless connection.
The difference between 5G and 4G is the number of available channels. Most 4G channels are anywhere between 20MHZ and 140MHZ, while 5G channels range between 100MHZ and 800MHZ at a time. That translates to a broader highway that allows more high-speed connections simultaneously.
This technology takes advantage of the higher, short-distance wave frequencies that were previously sitting idle. The lower frequencies host 4G networks, satellite farms, military channels, and TV stations. Overlapping is strictly forbidden.
No co-operation or individual owns 5G, but companies are making the required hardware. These businesses manufacture the transmitters and receivers used in 5G cell towers around the world.
The Chinese company Huawei has the most extensive 5G portfolio, and QUALCOMM comes in at a close second. However, these statistics account for only the declared technologies. There might be more hidden patents waiting for the right time to surface.
I still think it is too early to determine the big boys of 5G. That info will come to light when the tech replaces 4G to become the leading wireless internet technology. Until then, it will remain to be a speculation game.
That largely depends on location. Qualcomm promised us they would upgrade their networks to 5G in 2020, and it looks like they are still working on the project. Other service providers are also looking to join the 5G bandwagon, with some of them deploying the new tech in selected cities around the country.
But there is a catch:
AT&T has already rolled out 5G in my city, but I can’t use it. I need a 5G ready device to unlock the lightning-fast speeds, and those are not cheap right now. Still, I’m enjoying slightly faster 4G speeds with my current connection.
US cities have already started rolling out smart city features designed to save resources and make work easier. For example, San Diego is rocking an intelligent lighting system that dims when nobody is around. This feature alone saved the city $2B in electricity costs last year.
Driverless cars are also inching their way into US roads, with Tesla leading the way. This technology requires automated car communication to avoid collision and congestion. That cannot happen unless there is a reliable wireless connection that can support thousands of high-speed simultaneous transmissions.
I particularly like the idea of wearable technology that can read and transmit medical data to a doctor. That allows medical practitioners to make a timely diagnosis and avoid preventable tragedies.