What is 5G?
5G is the 5th generation of wireless network technology. 5G builds on the technology of 4G and is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together; including cars, computers, smart devices and more.
5G technology is intended to deliver very low latency, multi-Gbps peak data speeds, great increased network capacity and an enhanced user experience to more users.
How does 5G work?
5G, like the 4G LTE technology that precedes it, is based on OFDM (orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing); this is a means of modulating a digital signal across several different channels to reduce interference. While the two technologies use the same network principles, 5G can offer a much higher degree of flexibility and scalability. This can provide mobile networking to more people and things for a wide variety of different uses.
4G typically works on the sub-3GHz bandwidth, while 5G will be capable of supporting sub-3GHz through to 100GHz and even beyond. 5G can operate in both lower bands as well as millimeter-Wave (e.g., 24 GHz and up), which will bring extreme capacity, multi-Gbps throughput, and extremely low latency.
How fast is 5G?
While the actual download speeds depend on a number of factors (such as location, network traffic, etc), 5G networks are expected to be at least 10 times faster than a typical 4G LTE network. It is expected in the future that 5G will be capable of 100 times faster than 4G, as the technology advances.
5G data transfer is significantly faster than 4G, delivering up to 20 Gigabits per second (Gbps) at peak data rates and 100 Megabits-per-second (Mbps) at average data rates. Having this high transfer rate would greatly help when using remote desktop software, as the operation would be smooth and have no frame drop when using such software.
What are the advantages of 5G?
- 5G makes better use of the wave spectrum than 4G
- While 4G only works on the low end of the wave spectrum, 5G is also designed to work across a wide array of available spectrum bands—from low bands below 1 GHz, to mid bands from 1 GHz to 6 GHz, to high bands at up to 100GHz (millimeter wave).
- While much of the benefit of 5G technology will come from the greatly increased speed, 5G will have much greater bandwidth. This means that it can handle many more connected devices than previous networks. In the future it will enable more connected smart devices such as toothbrushes, light bulbs and self-driving cars.
- 5G is much more capable than 4G
- 5G is designed to support a 100x increase in traffic capacity and network efficiency compared to 4G.
- While 4G LTE was primarily focused on delivering faster mobile broadband services than 3G, 5G is designed to be a unified and more capable platform. Not only will it ensure better mobile broadband experiences, but also support new services such as Internet of Things and mission-critical communications.
- 5G has lower latency than 4G
- 5G has a significantly lower latency compared to 4G, which delivers more instantaneous, real-time access: a decrease in latency down to 1ms.
What are the disadvantages?
Users will need to have a 5G capable smartphone to make use of the 5G network speed. It is likely that significant adoption of 5G is going to take years — industry trade group GSMA estimates that by 2025, around half of mobile connections will be 5G while the remainder will be older technology, such as 4G and 3G.
There are also concerns among regulators and members of industry about the security of 5G, especially since crucial technologies such as self-driving cars, interconnected smart devices and healthcare systems will be built on top of the network.
How is 5G used?
5G is used across three main types of connected services: enhanced mobile broadband, mission-critical communications, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
- Enhanced mobile broadband
- In addition to enhancing our smartphone user experience, 5G mobile technology can support new immersive experiences such as virtual reality and augmented reality with faster, more uniform data rates, low latency, and lower cost-per-bit pricing.
- Mission-critical communications
- 5G can provide services that can greatly advance industries with ultra-reliable, low-latency data links such as remote control of critical infrastructure, vehicles, and medical procedures.
- 5G can connect a massive number of embedded sensors in virtually everything through the ability to scale down in data rates, power, and mobility, providing very efficient and low-cost connectivity solutions.
How will the average consumer use 5G?
Currently, the average consumer uses approximately 2.3GB of data per month. This is expected to increase to about 11GB per month, mostly in response to the massive growth in video traffic as a source of media and entertainment. 4G changed how we information is consumed; in the past decade we have witnessed leaps and bounds in the mobile app industry around services such as video streaming, ride sharing, food delivery and more. This trend is likely to continue with the emergence of 5G.