5G is not only a better version of 4G LTE. It won’t be just another upgrade of current technology. 5G will unlock new opportunities that today nobody can even predict. Carriers will launch 5G probably in 2020 and by 2025 5G service will be commercially available. Telecoms invest in the new network because it will allow for stable, faster connection for a large number of devices, to 1M per square km. 5G will make it possible for IoT to reach everyone.
What 5G is
G in 4G, 5G stands for a generation of wireless technology. 1G was an analog network used for first cellular phones -those known as bag or brick phones. 2G (for example GSM) was the first digital network. It enabled to send SMS. 4G allowed for Internet connection. It achieved a speed as high as few megabits per second. 4G was even faster, and 4G LTE can reach up to 300 MBits/sec. Except none of the phones won’t attain such speed because it should be right next to the base station which would send and receive signals only from this one device. In practice, devices can reach up to 50 MBit/s.
4G is not enough
Work is ongoing on improving 4G technology that is to be more stable and faster in the future. However, it’s not enough for solutions being developed like autonomous cars, smart home or smart cities.
Devices works because they receive radio signals from the base station. Today they rely on frequencies below 6 GHz. This spectrum is getting crowded. Today already smartphone is only one of many connected devices. There will be approximately 26 billion connected devices. More and more often it causes latencies and interferences, what prevents from unleashing the full potential of IoT. 5G is to solve this problem. This technology extends the scope of airwaves it uses. 5G will operate at wavelengths between 30 and 300 GHz. Though, it causes new problems.
Why we still wait for 5G
The radio waves spectrum used by the new technology is much broader, but waves are much shorter – millimeter. They travel much faster but have trouble with obstacles. With 4G we talk about walls, whereas with 5G, rain, wind, and even a leaf falling from a tree pose problem. That is why the infrastructure will require a thorough rebuild. It will be necessary to build a very dense network of antennas that will avoid all obstacles.
5G should also be reliable as regards maintaining the connection. 5G will reduce latency to 1 millisecond. It’s a fundamental issue for many solutions, for instance, autonomous cars. Losing connection means here safety risk.
There is one more main advantage of 5G. It is incomparably faster. Most frequently, it is estimated that it will be from 100 to 1000 times faster than 4G. Download of a 4K movie will take few seconds. We will have to wait for the ultrafast Internet, and be ready for buying a new smartphone because it will need a new microchip for it to work. Each new smartphone must adapt to receiving signals with such a broad frequency.