29 Sep 2017

5G Technology

Mobile technology is advancing at an ever-increasing rate. Every day, more and more users are switching to smartphones, so that they can browse the internet, check their emails and play games online. In the next few years, 4G will start to become overpopulated, meaning that speeds and connection will degrade. So, what’s going to happen?

Well, we faced the same problem a few years ago, with 3G. The 3G network became saturated with the number of users, and speeds reduced. The solution was 4G, which works the same as 3G but with a faster internet connection and a lower latency.

So, the solution for the saturation of 4G, is simply 5G. 5G simply stands for fifth generation and refers to the next and newest mobile wireless standard based on the IEEE 802.11ac standard of broadband technology, although a formal standard for 5G is yet to be set.

Sources at the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) state that for 5G to be successful, it should meet most of these eight criteria:

  • 1 to 10Gbps connections to end points in the field
  • One millisecond end-to-end round trip delay
  • 1000x bandwidth per unit area
  • 10 to 100x number of connected devices
  • (Perception of) 99.999 percent availability
  • (Perception of) 100 percent coverage
  • 90 percent reduction in network energy usage
  • Up to ten-year battery life for low power, machine-type devices

Advantages and disadvantages of 5G

The main obvious improvement of 5G will be that it is incomparably faster than 4G. It is rumoured that the theoretical download speeds of 5G could reach up to 10,000Mbps. This is a huge leap forward compared to the theoretical maximum downloads speeds of 4G, which is around 150Mbps.
There are going to be downsides to this new technology however. It relies on phone companies such as Apple and Samsung developing 5G technology in their handsets, and the cost of this is likely to be passed onto the consumer in terms of the price of the phone. It will also mean that older handsets will not be able to use the 5G technology, meaning that for a lot of people they will be forced to upgrade their phone which once again is bad news for our wallets!

When is 5G likely to be introduced?

5G is still in the early stages of development, with experts predicting it won’t be ready for deployment until 2020 at least. Despite this, several big-name companies have started the research and development process to ensure that they are ready for 5G’s imminent arrival.

Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, Ericsson and BT are amongst those who are planning ahead for 5G with growing numbers of companies forming 5G partnerships and pledging money to continue to research into 5G and its application.

Qualcomm and Samsung have started developing 5G hardware such as mobile phones. However, Qualcomm have taken a different route and are looking at creating a 5G modem, with Samsung following suit and planning a 5G enabled home router.