The top of most cell phones let you know if you have service. Some phones even tell you what kind of service you have. Take a look. If you’re like most people, it says 4G, which normally means you shouldn’t have any problems placing a call or streaming a video. But what if we told you that in the very near future your phone would say 5G instead?
The mobile industry is abuzz with snippets about the next generation of wireless service, especially during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this past March. But, the fact remains that excitement about 5G is still very much in the future tense. Although testing new 5G systems is under way, there are numerous hurdles to overcome before any of us will get to experience it for ourselves.
Mobile carriers have a lot of infrastructures to install, and the issue right now is deciding what will and what won’t be included in a 5G system. Since the next generation of wireless service will be much more than just a speed upgrade, innovators all agree that the net needs to be cast much wider. Delivery drones, self-driving cars, smart homes, and all manner of connected devices will need to access 5G.
Yes, 5G will be ridiculously faster than 4G but, there isn’t a hard definition for what 5G actually means yet as the hardware standards haven’t been identified; meaning you can’t build something until you know what you want to build. And, the major carriers are all busy testing their own technologies and aren’t even close to being ready to share what contribution they’ll be making to the new networks. The major carriers do agree on one thing though; a vague notion of what the outline should be.
1Gbps seems to be an agreeable speed for most carriers, but 10Gbps isn’t outside the realm of possibility. Given that it will be dynamically versatile, stable as an oak, and lighting fast, the need for in-home Wi-Fi will likely evaporate. Companies such as Comcast and AT&T have realised this and are joining the development fray.
Verizon spokesman Marc Tracey says, “Basically, 5G will provide a wider pipeline and faster lanes.” Just imagine speeds 10 times faster than 4G LTE; download a 3-hour movie in seconds and use VR live with latency in the single digits. Speaking of latency, network communication will fly off the charts as autonomous vehicles and delivery drones crowd the same transit corridor without incident because all equipment instantly shares real-time location data.
That’s the vision for 5G in a nutshell. All we really know for sure is that it’s going be ridiculously fast. The technology for the rest hasn’t been established yet. That said, there have been a number of breakthroughs in communications lately that will undoubtedly be applied to the next generation of wireless communications. Beamforming and millimeter wave transmission advancements being just a couple. 5G is definitely on the way, it’s just a matter of when. Most experts agree that the year 2020 may be the first-time segments of the population get to experience 5G.