The next “revolutionary” wave of wireless networking is all set to hit the market after almost four decades of the launch of its 1st iteration. The superfast 5G network promises to deliver download speeds of up to 20 times faster than we have now. It holds the potential to transform everything. Hence, 5G deserves all the hype it has been getting. But before we get to the applications of 5G and how amazing it is, let’s first understand what is 5G technology?
What Is 5G?
The answer to “What is 5g?” is quite simple actually. Technically speaking, the 5G network is the fifth generation of mobile internet connectivity, offering more reliable connections, wider coverage, and faster speeds than ever before.
4G has been the prevailing wireless networking technology for the past eight years now. The high speeds (of about 16.9 Mbps) you enjoy on your phone are powered by 4G. But it is all set to change in the coming years. The 5G network should provide multitudes times faster connections than we have now.
Talking numbers, 5G technology promises to deliver speeds of more than 1Gbps. Here’s an example to help you understand the previous statement better: While 4G allows you to stream your favorite videos online in full HD, 5G network will enable you to stream 4K HDR content! Yay!
5G Technology Isn’t All About Speed
5G network is not limited to data transfer speeds. The new transformative wireless network tech includes a radical shift in the number of cell sites we require today and how many devices connect to a single tower.
For instance, India relies on 400,000+ cell sites to fulfill its needs. The number is set to increase as there will be more 5G cell towers. Each of this cell tower will cover smaller areas. These towers will not only connect phones but sensors and cars too. Hence, allowing millions of IoT objects to be connected using the cellular networks.
What Is 5G Latency?
Another goal of the 5G network is to reduce latency. Latency refers to the time taken by a network to respond to a request. If we talk about the current scenario, the latency is of about 9 milliseconds (ms). In contrast to this, if 5G can pull off what is in theory right now, then the latency will reduce to as low as 1ms.
Latency has critical applications in the automotive industry. It can also be a key to providing better experiences in the VR world and online multiplayer video games.
How 5G Works?
Here’s what is 5G operation on three different spectrum bands-
- Low-Band Spectrum – On the verge of depletion, the low band spectrum is also known as sub 1GHz spectrum. It is primarily used for LTE and offers good penetration and coverage area. Though, the peak data speeds top out at 100Mbps.
- Mid-Band Spectrum – It provides lower latency and faster coverage than the low-band and offers speeds up to 1Gbps. However, it fails to penetrate the building as well as its lower counterpart.
- High-Band Spectrum is what people refer to when talking about 5G. It has very low latency and can offer speeds up to 10Gbps. Often referred to as “mmWave”, the high-band spectrum has shorter wavelengths.
What Is 5G MM Wave?
To get multi-gigabit speeds careers will be using the high-band spectrum with much higher frequencies, known as millimetre waves.
These waves have short wavelengths which are very easily blocked by buildings and offer poor coverage area. Hence, 5G requires a cluster of small (closer to the ground level) cell sites to transfer the “millimetre waves” between transmitters and receivers.
As the mmWave signals drop off faster too, cellular providers will have to use lower-power (2-10 watts output) base stations rather than fewer, more powerful (20-40 watts output) macrocells to offer the promised multi-gigabit speeds.
Do We Really Need 5G?
The short, simple, and crisp one-word answer is “Yes!” Our data consumption needs have risen at an exponential rate in the past few years. With the increasing popularity of music and video streaming apps, existing spectrum bands are becoming congested. As a result, when lots of people in same area try to access online mobile services simultaneously, a breakdown in service occurs.
After knowing what is 5G, we can safely assume it to be much better at handling millions of requests from thousands of devices simultaneously. And, these devices not only include smartphones but also video cameras, street lights, equipment sensors, etc.
Use Cases Of 5G Technology
By now, you should be knowing what is 5G wireless network. So let’s take a look at its applications!
According to CTIA – The Wireless Association, 5G will help in creating over 3 million new jobs in the US alone. The question arises, where will these many people work? Well, the use cases of 5G are not just limited to mobile phones. The applications of 5G technology are very interesting. It covers a number of industries, such as-
What Is 5G Healthcare?
5G technology holds the potential to transform the healthcare industry. Its ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC) could improve telemedicine, and remote recovery. It can enable services such as remote patient monitoring and even services such as remote surgery. Though these will require connected healthcare devices
What Is 5G Education?
Thanks to the 5G technology’s lower latency, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality will improve and expand. And through their immersive use, students will get opportunities like never before.
Smart Cities And IoT
The 5G network is expected to help power a huge rise in the Internet of Things (IoT) technology. It will provide the infrastructure needed for IoT to carry huge amounts of data, allowing for a more connected and smarter world.
5G technology will allow cities and other municipalities to operate more effectively and efficiently. The sensors can monitor the safety and health of critical infrastructure like roads and bridges, buildings, light poles, etc. As a result, they can notify public works department when street lights go out or when the drains flood.
Transportation And Self-Driving Cars
5G technology will allow your vehicle to communicate with other vehicles on the road! It will also allow it to share the road conditions, provide performance reports to automakers and drivers. Vehicle-To-Vehicle communication can be immensely helpful. Here’s a scenario to help you understand better-
Say a car up ahead, applies the brakes suddenly. Yours may learn about it almost immediately and apply the brakes too, preventing a collision.
Energy And Remote Device Control
5G technology will allow the energy grid to be more accurately monitored. As a result, it will improve management and reduce operational costs.
While the primary aim of 5G technology is to reduce risk in hazardous environment, it will also allow skilled technicians to control machinery from anywhere in the world.
“Okay, So I’m Excited When Is It Coming?”
Glad you asked. As of the current scenario, most countries are unlikely to launch the 5G services before 2020. South Korea is aiming to launch this year, while Qatar’s Ooredoo says it has already launched a commercial service.
Meanwhile, telecom companies around the world are busy with the auctioning of spectrums. So we should expect 5G to become a norm by 2022.
Also, carriers have been upgrading their networks with Gigabit LTE even before 5G arrives. Samsung Galaxy S8 was the first device to get Gigabit LTE last year. Gigabit LTE is faster than the normal 4G network and is named so because the connection speeds peak at 1 gigabit per second. (Yes, you read that right.) Read this if you want to find out more about Gigabit LTE.
Will I Need A New 5G phone?
Yes, you will need a 5G compatible phone to access the 5G network. Back when 4G was introduced in 2008/09, compatible smartphones were already available before the infrastructure was rolled out fully. It led to the consumers’ belief that they were paying more in subscriptions uselessly.
This has not been the case with 5G technology. Smartphone manufacturers are unlikely to make the same mistake. Hence, they are planning to launch 5G handsets only when the new networks are ready.
When Will 5G Phones Be Available?
The 5G smartphone launches for 2019 have already begun with the launch of Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. There are several other manufacturers including OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Huawei who are aiming to launch their 5G devices by the end of 2019.
Smart cities, distance learning, connected devices, autonomous vehicles, and what not? 5G technology has vast implications which hold the potential to transform the way we live. The future looks promising!
Hope we have answered your question “What is 5g?” Also, let us know how excited are you as we are to be a part of yet another revolution? Comment down below.