What is 5G?
5G is the name currently given to the next generation of mobile data connectivity that will come after the last drop has been wringed from 4G.
It will provide fast broadband speeds, but more importantly it will have enough capacity wherever you go to perform every function you want it to without a drop in speed or connection, no matter how many people are connected at the same time.
Indeed, EE’s principal network architect Professor Andy Sutton, believe that the aim of 5G is to become invisible. It should be a technology that’s just there like electricity. It will enable device manufacturers to realise the Internet of Things as it will always be on and able to be tapped into without regionalisation.
Why do we need it?
One of the main benefits of 5G technology over 4G will not be its speed of delivery – which admittedly could be between 10Gbps and 100Gbps – but the latency. At present 4G is being capable of between 40ms and 60ms, which is the low-latency but not enough to provide real-time response. Multiplayered gaming, for example, required a lower latency than that to ensure that when you hit a button, the remote servers responds instantly.
Another example was given to us by EE’s Sutton, who said that 5G prospective ultra-low-latency could range between 1ms and 10ms. This would allow he said a spectator in a football stadium to watch a live stream of an alternative camera angle of the action that matches what is going on the pitch ahead with no perceivable delay.
The capacity is an important factor too. With the Internet of Thing becoming more and more important over time, where gadgets and the objects employ smart, connected feature that they have never had before, the strain on the bandwidth will continue to grow.
Initial ideas behind 5G is that an infrastructure will be in place to avoid that. It will be more adaptive to the user’s needs and demands and therefore able to allocate more or less bandwidth based on the application.
When is it coming?
It is expected that standards for 5G will be agreed upon and set by 2020 and that business applications for the technology will start to appear in 2022/23. It could take another two or three years for consumer access to the tech.
It is expected to utilise higher radio frequencies than currently, as well as the existing spectrum held by mobile networks. But it is just the fundamental research stage at present.
Development will continue on 4G technologies before then, with much ground yet to be cover. This is decade for 4G, said the Professor Sutton. The next for 5G.
4G can take us to 1Gbps, he added. 5G is everything beyond than that.