5G is best understood in terms of its predecessors 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G. Bringing a new suite of technologies and capabilities, 5G will revolutionise our digital world and will simplify the way we connect online.
Rolling back to 1981 we started with 1G connectivity. The first generation of cell phone technology, that simply allowed us to make phone calls.
We then migrated to 2G connectivity in 1992, where a few more features were added, we were able to make calls and carry out simple text messaging.
Next 3G made its mark 2001. This was a big step for wireless technology as it introduced features what most of us have come to know and love, web-browsing, email, video downloading, picture sharing and other smartphone technologies.
In 2009 4G was released, allowing people to wirelessly access the internet at much higher speeds. This level of mobile communication shaped the way we connect online today.
Today you may even have access to 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution), the most advanced mobile communications technology in terms of speed. The general claim is that 4G LTE networks can download data at speeds between 5 and 12 megabits per second.
What is 5G and what can we expect?
The telecommunications world is awaiting for the arrival of the latest generation of wireless technology, 5G (fifth generation mobile networks). With no confirmed date set, many mobile networks are claiming to roll out 5G networks in various cities by 2020, working alongside existing 3G and 4G technology to offer faster connections that help users stay online no matter where they are. It may even debut during the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.
5G is expected to send and receive signals almost instantaneously, and is approximately one hundred times faster than 4G. It’s expected to be so fast that 5G users will be able to download a full HD movie in less that five seconds. Yes five seconds! Additionally, 5G networks will help support and power a huge growth in IoP technology (Internet of Things), providing the infrastructure needed to process and carry extremely large amounts of data. Overall, making our digital world even smarter.
What will 5G networks mean for me?
Will 5G be an immediate change?
Even though 5G will be a massive step up from both 3G & 4G technology, it won’t immediately replace its predecessor. It’s very likely that it will work with existing network technologies to ensure that users never lose connection. Older networks will essentially act as back-ups in areas not covered by 5G.
Similar to when 4G was released, users may be prompted to update their technology so that it is capable of handling 5G technology, meaning homes and businesses may need to get new hardware installed that can support the power of 5G.