While there’s quite a bit of information to wade through when it comes to separating fact from fiction – what is 5G, and how does it work with smartphones?
It’s no secret that we live in the digital age, and our appetite for faster and stronger internet and mobile data is only growing. Like most technology, the infrastructure and functionality behind our phone networks regularly receive upgrades and tweaks to make them work more efficiently, the latest being the 5G network – so what’s changed?
5G is the fifth generation of global wireless technology used for mobile and internet services, building on the progress and expectations already established via 4G, 3G, 2G and 1G. Like the earlier generations, it is made up of radio waves rather than physical matter so it is not something you can touch or feel, unlike the equipment that supports it.
5G has been designed to be more efficient, consume less energy from our mobile phone batteries, and provide more advanced capabilities when compared to previous generations of mobile technology. Much like it’s predecessor 4G, the latest release focuses on mobile data coverage, with the primary updates and associated benefits including:
Faster Network Speeds – 5G networks will be capable of download speeds as fast as 20Gbps. However, the exact speeds an individual user will get will depend on how the network has been configured, the number of devices on the network, and the device in their hands. The 5G specification states that users should see a minimum download speed of 100Mbps.
Lower Latency: In simple terms, latency is best described as the time it takes information to get from your phone to the wider internet and back again. While the standard latency for the current 4G network is around 60 milliseconds, 5G could decrease this to as low as 1 millisecond. This massive decrease will be vital for future technology such as self-driving cars.
More Connections: 5G will allow more devices to connect to the network at the same time, without experiencing a lag or slowdown. While smartphone usage continues to grow, this is especially important as 5G is set to facilitate new developments in revolutionary rollouts such as autonomous cars and connected machinery.
While 5G will ultimately succeed 4G, it will not replace it – for now. Both 4G and 5G networks will exist simultaneously, and Australian telecommunications providers intend to keep the older 3G networks around until at least 2021.
Like previous generations, 5G is not a single product. Instead, it is an industry standard against which telecommunications companies (known as carriers) roll out 5G technology with equipment that uses radio waves.
5G networks have higher bandwidths, and are as such more reliable than other mobile networks. 5G will use large scale MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) antennas that have very large numbers of antenna elements or connections in order to send and receive more data simultaneously. What this means is that 5G can be used for a new range of applications that need a lot of data, such as remote health services.
Australian 5G networks are being switched on right now, and the big players in the market like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have now been selling device plans for over a year. However, as Optus and Telstra networks are still being rolled out, you may not get connectivity where you live and work right away, which is why the older networks will remain active.
Quite simply, 5G is an extension, upgrade and improvement on existing networks. While 5G is the way of the future, we might have to wait a little while longer to see exactly how the rollout and it’s associated impacts has on our day to day lives.
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If you have any questions, come in and see the team and we can help you out!