Technology

5G: The Future Is On Its Way

5G, coming after its forerunners 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G, refers to the fifth generation of mobile networks. If you’re wondering why there’s all this hype around 5G, then this piece is just for you.

How’s 5G Better?

First of all, 5G is a big improvement on its older counterpart, 4G, in terms of three key metrics:

  • Low latency
  • More bandwidth
  • Higher internet speeds

This makes 5G infinitely more reliable than its previous counterparts. Sure you can download a movie or stream the game quicker than before, but 5G has the potential to change the future as we know it, especially in regards to advanced communication systems. The expansion to the IoT (Internet of Things- basically anything connected to the internet that can collect and transfer data in real-time without the need for a human being) can mark the shift to smart cities, which can collect real-time data, develop and analyze patterns to improve efficiency. Some examples of the ways this can happen are below:

  • Advanced air monitoring capabilities.
  • Electricity grids that operate smartly according to usage, thereby, reducing wastage and also acting as an eco-friendly solution.
  • Driverless cars and connected cars that can share information to allow for better traffic management and greater road safety.
  • Quicker detection and better implementation of emergency services for accidents.
  • Virtual Reality with the help of phone headsets will become more commonplace, particularly due to the new lower latency. This could also mark major changes to the gaming industry, which was already highly valued at 21.1 billion dollars in 2020.
  • Keeping a track of stocks stored in warehouses.
  • Ability to control complex robots and vehicles remotely.

How Does 5G Works?

5G works a bit differently than the previous generations of cellular networks. It operates in3 bands:

High-band

High-band 5G entails the use of millimeter-waves (mmV) and operates at higher frequencies between 20-100 GHz and entails lower range cell towers. However, these higher frequencies cover a lesser area. Plus, trees or buildings may prove a hurdle as they can block these high frequency signals.

Mid-band

Mid-Band makes use of frequencies between 2-10 GHz, which is the frequency most mobile networks and Wi-Fi operate at. This frequency is able to cover an area of approximately half a mile from their tower.

Low-band

Low-band 5G employs the frequency used by much older TV and mobile networks i.e. 2GHz. Consequently, it’s of no surprise that this band of 5G operates mostly at the level of a 4G network.

It is worth pointing out though that most Internet service providers will not use only low-band 5G, but will instead use a combination of low-band and high-band 5G or use only mid-band 5G,which seems to strikes a good balance between the two other extremes.

The Availability of 5G

While 5G’s improvements on its older counterparts might sound thrilling, it still hasn’t fully rolled out. Though it is catching users at a faster pace than its predecessors did. It is estimated that 1 billion people will be using 5G within the next 3.5 years. Currently, about thirty percent of all countries have 5G and about 58 countries had 5G by June 2021. All in all, there are 1336 cities with 5G networks — an impressive feat when we consider the fact that this marks about a 350% rise of 5G in cities since the previous year.

When thinking of 5G’s implementation and benefits in terms of commercial activities it is important to know which countries and cities are leading the way, so we’ve compiled a table with the top 5 countries that have rolled out 5G in their cities.

  Country Cities
1. China 341
2. USA 279
3. South Korea 85
4. UK 54
5. Spain 53
     

The Endnote

By 2023 it is believed that 32% of all cellular network users will be using 5G, which could have a big impact on the development of applications. It is usually a few years into the development of a new generation mobile network that applications sustainable on it are developed so one can only imagine the new apps we are going to see by 2023!

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