5G is gathering more carriers day by day. 5G mobile networks have been launched by both Verizon and AT&T. AT&T is only limited to 19 cities including Dallas, New Orleans, and Atlanta while Verizon had launched in Chicago and Minneapolis early April. Therefore it is unlikely that it has accumulated a large number of users.
5G was the Promised Land and it has now become a reality. What will 5G do to the tech we see nowadays? People believe it will be the driving force behind fully autonomous vehicles, augmented reality and virtual reality. But let’s break it down into easier terms? What exactly is 5G? And why are people so hyped for it?
What is 5G?
5G is basically the fifth generation of cellular technology. It will boost speeds, coverage, and capacity of wireless networks. But exactly how fast are we talking? Verizon shows speeds which surge past 1 gigabit per second. Compare that to the typical speed of the 4G network which stands around 60Mbps. It will prove to be ten to a hundred times faster than your typical cellular connection today.
Not only will the 5G network bring speed but it will also bring something called ‘low latency’. Latency is basically the delay before data is transferred once you give instruction for its transfer. Like when you would click a link or stream a video, you would first send a request to the network which would, in turn, provide the response in the form of data. The current lag time is around 20 milliseconds but with 5G, it will be reduced to around 1 millisecond. This response time is critical for complex systems processing large amounts of data at once.
How does 5G work?
Initially, the 5G network was expected to use a high-frequency spectrum, which had a shorter range but higher capacity. But due to range and interference issues, a lower-frequency spectrum has also come into use to help 5G networks operate across larger distances.
AT&T claims that it will offer 5G coverage in the U.S. over its lower-band Sub-6 spectrum by 2020. On the other hand, Sprint, a telecommunications company claims that it has the biggest 5G network using its 2.5 gigahertz spectrum which offers more coverage.
Other Benefits of the 5G Network:
The 5G network will help connect more devices than the current establishment. It will help power multiple devices at once and hence boost the trend of IoT. The 5G network will also be able to handle equipment used in everyday life such as farm equipment or ATMs. It will also allow for lower battery consumption and allow access to parallel multiple services.
So when does 5G get here?
Verizon launched its first 5G service in October but it wasn’t exactly a mobile service. It was more of a broadband replacement which works when an installer uses special equipment to pick up the 5G signals and then translate them into a Wi-Fi connection your device can use. Some even question if it should even be called ‘5G’ as it does not use the preset standards agreed upon by the industry. The launch was also limited to only a few areas.
By December, AT&T started launching its mobile 5G network in around 12 different cities. It has plans to increase this to a total of 22 cities by 2019. However, the network isn’t open to consumers and we still don’t know where you can actually get the coverage. Verizon, on the other hand, launched in Chicago and Minneapolis and is the first to offer its services to consumers.
Will my existing smartphone operate on 5G?
Sorry but nope. You will have to buy the smartphone launched with the tech necessary to operate on 5G. Sprint’s LG V50 is a fine example. Similarly, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is tuned for Verizon’s network. Most phones will use the Qualcomm’s X50 modem which is designed to tap into the 5G spectrum. Later on phones, phones are expected to be equipped with a second-generation chip which picks up more spectrum bands. You can also look forward to more 5G phones launching this year.
Drawbacks to 5G:
There are a couple of things which are raising concern among the masses. If we speak about drawbacks, the most obvious one is range. The 5G network does not have great range, especially due to obstructions such as trees and buildings. As a result, more small cells (cellular radios) will have to be deployed in areas that get a 5G signal. Then people also speak of health risks and objections to cellular radios around them.
How broadly will 5G be available in 2019?
5G is carrying a lot of speculation. T-Mobile claims to be launching in 30 cities this year while AT&T will soon have 22 cities. Sprint says it will have its nine first-half cities. But it is still unclear at what range this coverage will be. Japan, China, and South Korea are all racing to build out their own 5G networks. That being said we don’t recommend buying the first 5G smartphone you find because chances on wider services won’t be available until 2020. Then if we speak about rural areas, it is unlikely they will be able to experience 5G any sooner as they lack the necessary infrastructure to support cell radios.