What is 5G?

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You've just got your head round 4G, and now everyone's talking about 5G. What is it?
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What is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation of mobile networks, and it’s expected to be up and running by 2020.

5G technologies were a major part of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona recently. We especially liked SK Telecoms’ robot that mimicked the user’s moves instantly.

With 5G built-in, it could become a remote rescue robot. This is the kind of thing that 5G will be able to do for us in the future. But first of all, let’s start at the beginning…

What is 5G?

A new generation of mobile networks has been introduced roughly every 10 years since 1G in 1981. 2G appeared in 1991, 3G in 2001 and 4G was standardised in 2012.

Now we’re hearing that 5G is expected to succeed 4G in just 5 years’ time. And it’s going to be a huge leap forward. Not just a faster, better version of 4G, but something that’s going to change the way we live.

5G is going to connect us to the whole internet of things, not just our mobile devices. And it’ll make us feel like we’re always connected, whether we’re in a city centre or half way up a mountain. For 5G to do all this for us, it’s going to have to be a lot faster than 4G. But that’s not a problem.

How fast will 5G be?

4G’s download speeds are roughly the same as fibre-optic home broadband, at around 30-40Mbps. 5G will go well beyond that.

Chinese mobile manufacturer Huawei expects 5G to be 100 times faster than 4G. Fast enough to download a HD film onto your phone in under a second, in other words.

5G is also expected to have a capacity 1000 times greater than 4G, which should ensure there’s never a drop in 5G download speeds, no matter how many users are connected at the same time.

And because 5G will also offer ultra-low latency (response time), everything’s going to happen almost instantaneously. This could have a huge impact on healthcare, with remote surgery becoming a real possibility.

When is 5G coming?

Most mobile manufacturers and industry experts think 5G will ready by 2020.

Korea and Japan are likely to play a lead role in developing 5G by 2020. The 2018 Winter Olympics are in Korea, and Samsung is hoping to launch a 5G network trial to coincide with it. Japan is hosting the 2020 Olympics, and they’re planning on having the world’s first commercial 5G network in place for the event.

And let’s not forget that mop-topped Mayor of London Boris Johnson has also pledged his support for 5G, saying that London will be 5G ready by 2020. The Isle of Man could also be one of the first places in the world to receive 5G believe it or not, with plans to start testing in 2016.

2020 and beyond...

5G is going to have a huge impact on all areas of our lives. But here’s the tough thing about predicting the future with 5G – we don’t know what it’s capable of yet.

With this kind of technology far in advance of what’s gone before, it may need to be up and running for a while before we work out exactly what it can do for us. The most popular 5G products of 2030 might not even have been thought of yet.

Are you excited about the possibilities of 5G? Do you think Boris will beat The Isle of Man in the battle for 5G? Let us know, comment below.

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