If ever there were a technology from which much is expected, it would have to be 5G. The next generation communications system is being set up to do everything from break the stranglehold of monopoly cable providers to bringing connectivity to the countryside. Some new reports suggest that it might be able to even do things that were previously impossible for any mobile connectivity to do.
On the surface, 5G might look like just another G slapped on and declared “next generation communications.” In a way, that's so; 5G is faster than 4G just as 4G was faster than 3G. That means faster responses to data requests, more connections at once, and a better overall experience. In that way, yes, 5G is just another step forward and similar to 4G in the same way that a Porsche is similar to a tractor because they both have four wheels and an engine.
Here's the key point, however: we don't even know exactly what 5G can do just yet. As a standard, it's still being modified, and though we're seeing some early tests go on that suggest this is going to be a quantum leap forward, it's a safe bet we won't actually see 5G-capable devices until 2020 at the earliest.
Samsung (News - Alert)'s early tests of 5G coaxed 7.5 gigabits per second out of the connection. That's about 935 megabytes per second, meaning that a 1080p movie could be downloaded in one measly second. Nokia (News - Alert) Bell Labs topped that by landing 10 gigabits, or enough to download and upload that HD movie in under a second. The current theory suggests that maximum 5G speed could be 20 gigabits.
Of course, these are lab tests under ideal conditions. Samsung found that a moving data receiving unit dropped that connection down to 1.2 Gbit/s. Still, given current speeds of even fixed broadband—averaging about 54.97 Mbit/s—that's still a quantum leap.
That's the biggest point about 5G yet. Even the earliest tests suggest more speed and better latency than anything ever seen before, and that could open up new possibilities in everything from gaming to surgery staged by remote from thousands of miles away. We could be looking at streaming virtual reality, or any of dozens of other possibilities built on the backbone of a connection so robust it could truly be measured in Libraries of Congress per Second.
Still, these days are far away, and we'll have a few years to wait before we see how it all comes out. The possibilities, though, are staggering and almost endless, and we may well see the world about to change in front of us thanks to a next generation communications technology called 5G.
If you’d like to learn more about this topic, be sure to check out TMC (News - Alert) and Crossfire Media’s newest conference and expo, Communications 20/20, happening July 18-20 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The event will focus on the next wave of technology and innovations that will transcend the importance of person to person contact, disrupting the future of the entire communications industry. Find out more HERE.
Edited by Alicia Young