5G stands for the 5th generation of mobile networks and internet and it is coming soon. For reference:
- 1G – rolled out in the ’80s and carried only voice
- 2G – came in the 1990s and introduced essential features such as SMS and the transfer of pictures
- 3G- video calling and the beginning of mobile data
- 4G – supports mobile internet usage
So what is 5G and why is it revolutionary?
5G is incredible because studies have shown that it is 100 times faster on average than our present day 4G. Simply stated, you can download an entire cinema in 10 seconds of 5G. It would otherwise take 10 minutes with our modern 4G.
A problem with our current generation of mobile networks is that there is latency, or lag. This used to be a tremendous problem in earlier generations but for us, it is still there. 5G eliminates that, having lag times of microseconds.
New developments such as IoT (internet of things), Machine Learning, and Big Data demand greater space on the network and once developed more, they will cause significant problems. Using 5G, the capacity of the system will increase drastically, allowing for these innovations to thrive. For example, this can support advanced, high definition streaming of augmented reality – making it seem like you are actually there. It will also be needed for the proper functioning of autonomous cars.
Sai, that sounds amazing but how does it work?
All mobile systems consist of transferring electrical energy to acoustic energy in the phone. These radio waves go to cell towers and arrive at their destination. 3G and 4G use specific frequencies but have been too cluttered. 5G will use much higher frequencies to get around the clutter and the bandwidth limitations. These frequencies will be on the scale of millimeters, allowing incredible amounts of data to both be sent and collected.
There is a con, however. Having wavelengths so small means that 5G cannot spread and be available over long distances like 3G and 4G. Also, such small frequencies are easily stopped by physical barriers such as buildings or rocks. To work perfectly, you need to be near a multiple input and output (MIMO) antenna.
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