Everything You Need To Know About 5G

5G stands for 5th generation. It’s a mobile wireless standard that’s likely to be based on the broadband technology standard IEEE 802.11 ac – though a proper 5G standard is yet to be officially announced. 5G is slated to replace 4G. However, 5G specifications are not likely to be standardised until 2018. If you’re reading this in 2017, it means there’s still a year to go. This also probably means consumer usage-ready 5G networks would not be available before 2020.

But what 5G would really be like and how would it differ from existing standards – in terms of speed, price, etc.? According to industry experts, 5G would have a more unified design, meaning it would encompass various bands and deliver a holistic experience. This means with 5G around, network congestion in crowded places such as airports or train stations should become a thing of the past.

What Improvements to Expect Over Existing Standards?

5G is likely going to be a massive leap from current wireless networks. The estimate speeds, not considering the various bands, would be 4-8 times better than 4G. The enhancements won’t just be in network speed: lower latency and less congestion would also be for the taking.

The faster Internet is also expected to be available cheaper. According to an analyst, 5G would mean wireless companies incurring lower cost for every gigabyte. In theory, this should mean cheaper mobile plans, or true unlimited mobile data.

Thanks to the lower latency, applications such as instant language translation or live-streaming VR would become possible, thanks to the speed with which devices could interact with cloud-based servers and transmit information.

More consistent coverage should be another positive side effect. One of 5G’s primary focus would be to provide a more uniform and consistent user experience. In other words, widespread 100Mbps connection would become a reality with 5G. And this would be made possible by the purported low-band spectrum.

Companies and Testing

Nokia, Samsung, Qualcomm, BT and Ericsson have come up with notable progression in 5G technologies. And more companies are creating 5G partnerships and investing money in 5G research.

Samsung and Qualcomm are focusing their 5G initiatives on hardware: Samsung is making a 5G-enabled domestic router, and Qualcomm is producing a 5G modem. Both Ericsson and Nokia have made 5G platforms directed at mobile carriers instead of consumers. Ericsson made the inaugural 5G platform early in 2017, which claims to offer a 5G radio system. Ericsson started its 5G testing work in 2015.

Similarly, early in 2017, Nokia introduced 5G First, a technology platform that intends to offer holistic 5G support to mobile carriers.

5G Arrival?

As aforementioned, 5G specifications are still under process. And post the standardisation, manufacturers would need some time to make devices and certify them for 5G specs. But people who cannot wait so long, kindly take note that existing 4G speeds would continuously get better in the interim and should have something referred to as advanced LTE-A, which would be a major improvement over current LTE standards. In fact, some wireless carriers in the U.S have started deploying advanced 4G infrastructure and are calling it 5G. LTE-A would use quite a few 5G principles, which means when 5G is officially launched, users won’t find the migration to be sudden.

Conclusion

According to few industry analysts, 5G won’t begin journey as a standalone service. Initially, it would be a 4G add-on, using the signaling channels and core of 4G and only adding some additional radio channels. With time, it would gradually procure standalone capability and slowly transform itself into a primary solution. This would be unlike 4G, which when arrived was a brand new radio technology with fresh frequency bands. All of this means 4G and 5G would blend so well with each other, the transition from one standard to another would not be as palpable as expected.