What is 5G, and How Can it Change Our Lives?

While reading the news and thinking about what to write about, I stumbled upon a report that originates from Axios.com which shows a dated government proposal which described a potential implementation of nationalized 5G network for the United States. Although the President strongly denied the nationalization of such a network and it is highly unlikely that the United States Government would ever attempt such a plan, a 5G network becomes more and more imminent by our internet service providers. I became interested enough to research the subject and I want to share the magnitude of a potential 5G network and how it could change the technological world as we know it.

 

What is 5G, and How Does it Work?

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5G is the written shorthand notation for the fifth generation of wireless networks, proceeded most recently by 3G and 4GLTE. It would be a speedier network for our devices to that could potentially cut all lag in networks, forever. As it is a network, it needs servers to send signals over high frequency airwaves- just on a much faster level. Despite being so fast, these signals are more easily interfered with by walls, rooftops, birds, etc and servers would have to be installed almost everywhere to insure that everybody would have access, everywhere. This means that companies would have to build thousands, or even potentially millions, of small servers to connect to data centers throughout the entire nation on lamp posts, buildings, or anywhere else that is conceivable. This required large investment is estimated to be up to 300 billion, and is currently the limiting factor holding back 5G’s implementation. These mini-towers are currently being built by providers like AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile, and would provide servers to the entirety of the United States.

 

What are the Implications of 5G?

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The most important innovation of 5G would have to be its download speeds. 5G is conservatively estimated to be anywhere from 10-30 times faster than the current 4GLTE network, with some reports stating that it could be up to 50-100 times faster than our current system. This extra speed would make devices much more reliable, as they could access the cloud and the internet almost instantaneously and eliminate most wait or “lag” times to practically nothing. To download a 3 hour movie, it would take 3G networks 22 hours to download, 6 minutes for a 4GLTE network, but it would only take a quick 3 seconds for a 5G network to accomplish the task. Upload speeds under 5G are expected to be up to 45 times faster than 4GLTE as well. The range of implications are limitless, as almost all data would be quite literally available instantly on your device.

This quick access also implies that most devices would no longer need a relatively large hard drive, if at all. Most information could be stored and instantly accessed from the cloud as 5G download speeds are blazingly fast. This would free up a lot of physical space on our current devices which companies could use to make larger batteries or faster processors, or any other improvements that companies would see fit.

While 4GLTE is intended primarily for smartphone use, 5G is currently being built to be accessed on all devices, including but not limited to internet modems, driverless cars, or any “smart” object. This would cut down on the connectivity lag between devices, as data would instantly transferrable between any and all technological devices. Are you grocery shopping and unsure if you have milk in the fridge? Check the app on your phone which is connected to the smart-fridge to see if you ran out of milk last night or not. Pesky UPS delivery man is at your door and about to leave after only waiting for 3 seconds after he rang the bell? Don’t worry! With smart-doors and 5G technology, you can look at him through a camera connected to your phone, talk to him through a speaker, unlock the door for him, watch him place down the package, let him leave(if you’re nice), and lock the door behind him. The implication for instant connectivity between any device at all times is quite endless, and it is so exciting to see what it may bring to our homes, businesses, or pockets. Unless you are a UPS delivery man. Sorry!

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When Could We See a 5G Network?

Past expectations for the arrival of 5G have been estimated to be all the way as late as 2022, but now the situation has changed for the better. Verizon’s CEO has been quoted saying that a smaller, not as widely distributed offering of 5G will be accessible THIS YEAR, with expansions starting as quickly as possible. Most other companies now project to have a quality 5G up and running as soon as 2019 or 2020.

Conclusion

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It is easy to get extremely excited about all of this. Although projections are very optimistic, offerings often fall short. Unless you are literally sitting right next to a modem, it is unlikely that you will get these blazingly fast speeds. However, these servers are as speedy as they are potentially finicky, and we have the right to be excited to see what is to come. What do think think will be the biggest impact of 5G? Are you ready to binge watch all of Game of Thrones at even faster download speeds? Let me know in the comments below.

-Jake

Sources

https://www.axios.com/trump-team-debates-nationalizing-5g-network-f1e92a49-60f2-4e3e-acd4-f3eb03d910ff.html

https://5g.co.uk/guides/how-fast-is-5g/

https://www.axios.com/what-is-5g-wireless-network-151717237-f2b9bbed-6a20-487f-a39b-33b30eaf91c0.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=&stream=top-stories

http://money.cnn.com/2018/01/29/technology/what-is-5g/index.html

9 thoughts on “What is 5G, and How Can it Change Our Lives?

  1. Hi Jake! It seems the anticipated arrival of 5G speeds and capabilities coincides with the rise of the Internet of Things, as 5G is not limited to smartphone use. The increase in download speeds and connectivity abilities among all devices will be pivotal to the wearable technology industry (and IoT in general) gaining traction. I am excited to see the implications of this new generation of wireless networks, but would be surprised if it is here–at least not widely accessible–before 2019 at the earliest.

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  2. Great post Jake! I’m extremely excited for 5G to be introduced, especially if I can download a movie in 3 second! While I believe pushing innovative technology is incredibly important, do you think that the quick introduction of 5G will create a sort of network gap? About 1/5 of the country doesn’t have 4GLTE. I was wondering if this division of coverage would cause any potential issues.

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  3. Hey Jake, nice post! I am definitely ready for 5G download speeds. The thought of 10 – 500 times faster is almost impossible to fathom at this point as I feel as though my phone is already pretty fast. I agree that the large investment, up to 300 million dollars, is definitely a limiting factor and that it will certainly be interesting to see how fast the companies work to build the towers necessary!

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  4. Jake, great post! As cool as this sounds, I feel like 5G speeds will be fuel for all of the addictive technologies out there right now. Whenever I get to visit other countries with my parents, I immediately feel like their Internet runs at a snail-pace. This just proves to me how privileged I am to have this type of thought. I also wonder if consuming data this quickly might rack up very large bills.

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  5. Jake, thanks for opening up the discussion on 5G. Your post and everyone else’s comments have brought up a lot of important considerations for the implementation of such technology. While I would love the speeds and connectivity 5G brings, I do see the challenges in infrastructure to support this network. Thinking from a design aspect, 5G technology could open up a world of possibilities for new features and applications. It will be interesting to see how companies will balance taking advantage of these capabilities while also considering the fact that 5G won’t necessarily be available to everyone all at once and that they will still need to accommodate for older networks.

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    • I second what Julia says. Your stat about download time for a 3 hour movie was what really put this 5G technology into perspective: 3 seconds (5G) versus 6 minutes (4G)! Thanks for the discussion… and the memes 🙂

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  6. While everyone focuses on sexy new technologies, it’s important to take a step back and consider how those will be powered. So, thanks for analyzing how 5G is developing! I wonder what sort of technologies will need 5G as a prerequisite in order to develop to their highest potential. For example, could smart cities and driverless cars work well enough on 4G, or is 5G a necessity for optimal development? If so, will companies who would benefit from 5G invest in its development, or leave that to legacy network providers?

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