13 Jan 2021

The 5G Revolution

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 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 has a theoretical download speed of 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 incorporating 5G technology in their handsets, and the cost of this is passed onto the consumer in terms of the price of the phone (for example the new iPhone 12 range). 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!