If you own a smartphone in 2019, you most likely have heard the word “5G” being thrown around. Most of this year’s flagship phones such as the S10 5G, the Galaxy Fold, OnePlus 7 Pro and the Huawei Mate X all support 5G connection. It’s exciting that after all these years, there’s a new innovation in mobile connectivity. But what are getting? What is 5G exactly?
What is 5G?
5G networks are the next generation of mobile internet connectivity, offering faster speeds and more reliable connections on smart phones and other devices like we have never seen before. It promises much faster download and upload speeds (10 – 20 times faster than 4G), more reliable connections and wider coverage. 5G is expected to have download speed of up to 10Gbps. Imagine downloading an entire HD movie in under 10 seconds (amazing, right?).
What does that mean for you?
- The coming of 5G means that whatever we are able to do with our smart phones, we will be able to do faster and better.
- Smart glasses featuring augmented reality, mobile virtual reality will be improved upon.
- Greater number of devices will be connected to the internet of things (IoT).
- Automated cars will be able to communicate with each other, read live maps and with traffic systems.
- Gamers will notice less delay or latency from the time the controller button is pushed till the effect is seen on screen. For instance, with coming of Google Stadia, 5G network will enhance the experience. Also, video calls should become clearer and less jerky.
- Wearable fitness devices could monitor your health activity in real time and alert your doctor in case of any danger.
- Lower battery consumption on devices.
- Low communication latency. This is the time it takes to pass a message from sender to receiver. 5G networks will have a lower latency of 1 millisecond, compared with 30-70 ms for 4G.
Why do we need it?
The world is going mobile and we’re consuming more data every year, especially with the increase in streaming of movies and music and also backing up data on cloud services. Existing spectrum bands are becoming congested, leading to breakdowns especially when a larger number of people are trying to access it at the same time. And frankly, 4G doesn’t feel as fast as it was when it was just released. So I guess it’s time for something new.
How soon will I be able to use it?
Most countries won’t be officially launching 5G services until 2020. However, South Korea is aiming to launch in 2019, with its three largest network operators agreeing to kick off at the same time. And of course China is also en route to launching 5G services in 2019.
However, it may take a very long time for 5G to become mainstream and as widely used as 4G is now. Ericsson are predicting about 1.5 billion users will have access to a 5G network by 2024. Note that that is just 40% of the global population coverage.
How does it work?
There are a good number of ways the technology could work, but standards haven’t been set yet for all 5G protocols. Higher-frequency bands – 3.5GHz (gigahertz) to 26GHz and beyond – have a lot of capacity but their shorter wavelengths mean their range is lower – they’re more easily blocked by physical objects.
So it is likely we will see clusters of small phone masts closer to the ground transmitting millimetre waves between more transmitters and receivers. Bottom line is, test that have been made and so far 5G connection from companies like Verizon is silly fast.
Will I need a new device?
Unfortunately, yes. Unlike 5G, when 4G was launched about 10 years ago, compatible devices had already been in full circulation. This led to complaints from consumers who felt they were paying more in subscriptions for a patchy device. Phone producers are most likely not going to make the same mistake and will probably wait till the new networks are ready. These devices will also be able to switch seamlessly between 4G and 5G, especially in locations where 5G cannot be accessed.
In the last couple, many challenges and requirements were needed for successful implementation of 5G technology in the market.
However, in 2019 we already know a few devices that will support 5G such as the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the OnePLus 7 Pro, the Moto Z3 (with the use of the Moto Mod) and the LG V50 ThinQ. So, I think we’re ready.