5G – The Next Generation

by William O'Grady for Blog
5G – The Next Generation

The fifth generation of mobile network (aka 5G) is on its way. How fast will it be? What will be possible? Will I need to get a new phone?!  When 5G arrives we can expect to see drones monitoring cows Netflix for gaming  and, eventually, a world without traffic lights.

Wait. Didn’t we just get 4G?

It seems strange to move onto a new generation when 4G has only 77.28% penetration in the UK. Put simply, 5G equals faster upload and download speeds than 4G. It is believed that speeds will be between 20 to 30 times faster than the previous generation.  All of this is possible because of the use of “high-spectrum band” frequencies. Better use of the radio spectrum will allow more mobiles to have access to the internet at the same time. The catch is that these higher frequencies cannot travel as far as 4G signals. This means that more antennas will need to be built.

One of the most notable changes will be felt with latency. Gamers rejoice! 5G may bring an end to dreaded lag. While 4G had latency of approximately 45 milliseconds, 5G’s latency could theoretically be as low as 1 millisecond. This would make delays undetectable to humans.  With vastly greater upload and download speeds, incredible changes will be possible using new technology. An internet connection will always be there. The Internet of Things (IoT) will become a reality.

You can expect driverless vehicles to take advantage of 5G technology. The low latency will be vital in keeping the vehicle on the road and making split-second decisions.  Imagine opening your door in the morning to find a parcel delivered by a delivery drone. This is not far from happening with Amazon applying for a patent for its own hack-proof drones in 2016.

 

amazon-drone

Amazon’s delivery drone which can be flagged down as shown.

Emergency services will also benefit. In the event of a disaster, drones would be able to access hazardous areas whilst remaining in constant communication. Wearable tech will also be able to communicate immediately. Ambulances could be contacted automatically if a person is injured or has no heartbeat.

The fun part

5G will truly change how we consume media. In gaming, it will be possible to stream games rather than own a physical copy. A Netflix-style business model would become a real possibility. Along with developments in cloud computing, 5G will signal the end of games console as we know it. Furthermore, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality on the go will become a reality.  Increased download speeds will allow for the streaming of 4k Ultra HD video without buffering issues.

With 5G not due to roll out in the UK until 2020, we have a while yet to wait in anticipation… and yes, to access the new 5G network you will need a new phone.

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