The digital world has developed at a rapid rate since the revolution began in 1947. These advancements witnessed around the world have become an integral part of our daily lives and have allowed us to lead a more sufficient and sustainable lifestyle online. However, one development has been anticipated more than any other — the introduction of 5G.
You’ve probably heard the likes of 3G and 4G, but do you how 5G will benefit you?
Understanding what is meant by 5G
Similar to the likes of 3G and 4G, 5G stands for fifth generation in association with mobile networks. Simply put, it’s the evolvement of mobile internet connectivity.
"Whatever we do now with our smartphones, we'll be able to do faster and better. Think of smart glasses featuring augmented reality, mobile virtual reality, much higher quality video, the internet of things making cities smarter.
"But what's really exciting is all the new services that will be built that we can't foresee."
That was one comment from Ian Fogg from OpenSignal to the BBC.
Each generation of mobile networks has had a profound impact on our lives, but how?
- Introduced in the 1980s, first-generation networks were analogue and allowed voice to be carried.
- 2G launched in the 1990s and phones which were compatible with this network could send both text messages and picture messages.
- 3G arrived in the early part of the new millennium and brought with it access to mobile data and video calling.
- 4G was ushered in during the second decade of the new millennium, with phones and networks alike designed so that they could support mobile internet and achieve faster speeds when someone used a mobile device for video streaming, gaming, and similar activities.
What are the benefits of 5G?
As 5G is still in development and is not expected to arrive until 2019, there’s a lot of information that cannot be disclosed. However, it is thought to be a lot faster than previous generations.
Some reports around 5G have suggested that download speeds will be between 1GB/s (1,000Mbit/s) and 10GB/s (10,000Mbit/s). To understand that figure fully, previously, 3G has offered download speeds of 384Kbit/s, before 4G enhanced this figure to 100Mbit/s and top-end 4G networks. This was otherwise known as 4G+ and had the capability of download speeds of 300Mbit/s.
But what does this mean for our mobile usage? The below table compares the average download speeds of 4G and the expected 5G times according to Qualcomm.
12-track music album
App 1GB in size
A two-hour full-HD movie
A 30-minute TV show in 4K
Although this fifth generation of mobile networks is set to be much quicker, it’s also rumored that it will offer a much lower latency at around one millisecond in comparison to 3G (120 milliseconds) and 4G (45 milliseconds) which took considerably longer.
Essentially, this upgrade will encompass a smoother streaming process for online content. Not only that, you should expect better quality video and voice calls as well as more reliable mobile connections. As the Internet of Things grows in popularity, expect more devices too — including more advanced technology across smart cities and autonomous vehicles.
Gaining access to 5G
Before 5G comes into play, you must understand that you will require a phone that has access to a 5G network to connect to 5G. So much so, that some devices that were released with 4G networks in mind may not be able to connect and if they can, you may experience some additional costs to do so.
5G will not replace previous generations of network connectivity, though. Alternatively, it may link with these networks to offer a similar experience to all mobile users around the world; so, no one misses out on this great technological development. As a result, the older networks will act as back-up in areas that is not covered by the new 5G coverage.
When will we see the introduction of 5G?
Although there is no official date for the introduction of 5G, it is expected to be within the next two years — either being released in 2019 or 2020. Developments for the technology have already begun, with the following organisations set to trial 5G speeds by the end of 2018:
- China Telecom
- China Mobile
- China Unicom
- Deutsche Telekom
- LG U+
- NTT Docomo
- SK Telecom
- Vodafone Group
The following device makers are working with Qualcomm’s X50 5G modem in 2019:
- HMD (incorporating Nokia phones)
- NetComm Wireless
- Oppo (incorporating OnePlus & Oppo phones)
- Sierra Wireless
“The commitment by so many carriers and handset makers underscores the reality that 5G — after years of hype — is finally upon us. The technology, which promises faster and more responsive wireless networks, is expected to radically transform our world and power other burgeoning tech like self-driving cars and the vast universe of connected devices that make up the Internet of Things,” was one quote extracted from tech-publication, CNET.
The digital age is not shy of developments and 5G is just one area that you should be looking forward to. When it comes to updating your device, why not check out our iPhone cases too?