In this day and age, everything is striving to always be ahead; be better, be smarter, be faster. Internet speed is no different – The world loves speedy internet connections whether it’s their Wi-Fi coverage at home or on their mobile phone while they are out and about. And what with it being the day of the smart phone, it’s not surprising that all the major telecom providers across the world are working tirelessly to make it faster and be the best in the business.

We are surrounded by devices that require connectivity. Smart phones (obviously), watches, our houses and even cars are all needing a stable internet connection to be able to function. In turn, this means that we will be needing a new form of wireless signal that can provide enough bandwidth – Introducing, 5G.

Next in succession to 3G and 4G, the 5G wireless connection is being built specifically to keep up with the rapid increase in the amount of devices reuiring a mobile internet connection. It’s not just mobile phones now – We are quiet literally surrounded by inert devices that are starting to connect to the web (home appliances, door locks, security cameras, wearable technology, dog collars… the list goes on).

It’s been predicted by technology research company Gartner, that by 2020 there will be 20.8 billion devices connecting to the internet. At the moment this figure is estimated to be around 6.4 billion. That’s a huge increase in the amount of devices needing a quick connection.

So exactly what is 5G and how will it be making my life better? Here is an easy guide to the future of wireless internet.

What is 5G?

Ever wondered what the “G” in 3G, 4G and now 5G stands for? It stands for “generation.” Remember the terms 1G and 2G being thrown around back in the ’80’s? No, didn’t think so, but that is technically where it all began. In the early 1990’s, wireless phone technology expanded to 2G when the world of text messaging between 2 cellular devices began.

This then moved on to 3G; people could now make phone calls, send text messages, and browse the internet on their hand held devices. After the third generation of wireless came the 4th; 4G enhanced many of the capabilities that were using 3G plus people could now even download and upload large video files without any issues.

Next came LTE – ‘long term evolution’. This was not only the most consistent but the fastest variant of 4G in comparison to competing technologies like WiMax. The best way to describe the difference between LTE and WiMax is likening it to that of the differences between Blu-ray and HD DVDs. Both of these technologies achieved very similar outcomes, however it was important to create a standard for everyone to use. This is what LTE did, making 4G technology even faster.

So just how 4g built on 3G capabilities, and LTE improved 4G; 5G will once again build on the 4G LTE foundations. It will have the same capabilities as the previous, plus it will drastically improve the speed at which data can be transferred across a network.

WIth the world going HD crazy, 5G will enable to people to upload and download Ultra HD and 3D video a lot more easily.

In addition, earlier we mentioned the huge increase we are going to see in devices requiring internet connections in our everyday lives, and 5G will be making room for this to happen. You might liken the data connection upgrade to that of changing your standard garden hose to a fire hose. There will be a noticeable difference.

Is 5G really that much faster than 4G?

Well, yes. Internet speeds will be significantly faster. To put it simply, in perfect conditions the current transfer speeds you can expect are…

4G LTE > one gigabit per second > Approx 1 hour to download a short HD movie

But how often do you experience perfect connection conditions? And how often do you get 4G’s maximum download speed? There are so many potential disructions to the signal (buildings, appliances, other Wi-Fi signals etc).

In comparison…

5G > up to 10 gigabits per second > A full HD movie downloaded in seconds

It will also significantly reduce the delay before a transfer of data begins following the instruction which will give people faster load times.

The long and short of it is that it will provide wireless broadband with the capacity it needs to power the thousands of connected devices that will reach our homes and workplaces.

How does it work?

In the most basic of forms, our mobile phones are basically two-way radios. When we make a call to somebody, our phone converts our voice into an electrical signal which it then transmits to the nearest cell tower using radio waves. The cell tower receives the electrical signal and bounces the radio wave through a network of cell towers until it eventually reaches our friend’s phone. This is the same for other forms of data across the network, such as photos and videos.

Each time a new mobile wireless technology comes along, it is typically assigned a higher radio frequency. For example, 4G occupied the frequency bands up to 20 MHz. In the case of 5G, it will likely sit on the frequency band up to 6GHz.

Higher frequencies are not generally in use, which is the reason why new wireless technologies are generally assigned to them, and thus can then move information at a much faster speed. The only problem is that higher frequency signals don’t travel as far as lower frequencies. This means that multiple input and output antennas (MIMOs) will probably need to be used to boost signals anywhere that 5G is offered.

Perhaps most importantly, experts are expecting it to be backwards compatible so that it can still work alongside 3G and 4G. Furthermore, major global telecoms organisations are working to create worldwide standards so as to aim for interoperability across the world.

When will 5G be available?

It’s already available via test locations in some parts of the United States by their 2 largest internet service providers.

The UK telecoms regulator has set a timetable for the launch of 5G services in Britain by 2020, with early trials set to take place as soon as next year. The Ofcom announcement comes ahead of a spectrum auction due to take place this year that will free up the airwaves needed for faster 5G networks.

But will it be worth the wait? Yes, well worth it. Even now we expect a speedy internet connection as a given, almost a right, wherever we are. This need for fast connections is only going to increase with the rise in devices. 5G is going to help us reach the holy grail of blazing fast internet if that vision of billions and billions of future connected devices is going to be realised.


With thanks to www.kitguru. net for the image.