February 14, 2023

What is 5G? The rising generation of wireless technology


5G is definitely here. The latest generation of wireless connectivity can be found in everything from flagship and budget smartphones to laptops, and even some conspiracy theories.

The next-generation wireless standard doesn’t just provide higher data speeds so you can browse the Internet faster. No, 5G-enabled devices can also offer ultra-low latency, reliable connections to a large network of devices, and more. 5G isn’t just for smartphones, it’s designed to connect everything with a cellular pulse.

With 5G taking the Internet of Things (IoT) to greater heights, increasing data transfer speeds to make full use of virtual and augmented reality and offering new services such as autonomous farm machines, upgraded network full of potential. For many of us, however, there are good reasons to ask, “Do I really need 5G?”

If you are wondering what 5G can do for you and why we are already talking about 6G when the current wireless network just seems to be draining battery life even on the best smartphones on the market, read on.

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation wireless cellular standard. These standards are created by an organization known as the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) which is made up of seven telecommunications standards development organizations. Members range from mobile network operators like T-Mobile and component manufacturers like Qualcomm. Interestingly, no one actually owns 5G; it is a number of companies that lean on the foundations of the network.

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

Get real Technically, 5G is based on OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing), which modulates a digital signal on several different channels to reduce interference. As Explain By Qualcomm, 5G also uses higher bandwidth technologies such as frequencies below 6 GHz and mmWave.

Like before reported, there are three distinct frequencies that 5G can operate on – low, mid, and high band spectra – each of which offers advantages and disadvantages.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Low band
This is the same area that LTE operates in the United States: frequencies below 1 GHz. The advantage of the low band is that it can travel long distances and penetrate buildings. But with peak speeds of around 100 Mbps, the low band cannot deliver the speeds promised by medium or high band solutions. That’s pretty much what we see in strong 4G LTE areas today, although it’s worth noting that 4G isn’t limited to these speeds. While low band will still be relevant in the future for providing coverage in rural areas, it will not offer the kind of speeds and latency benefits that most would expect from a “5G network”.

In many ways, the midband seems like the perfect fit for 5G nationwide, as it still offers reasonable range while delivering much of the speed 5G promised. This has been a popular option for the spread of 5G to the rest of the world, but in the United States the available mid-band spectrum is extremely limited due to existing commitments.

Much of the initial 5G deployment takes place in the high band via millimeter wave (mmWave), which covers frequencies in the radio band from 30 GHz to 300 GHz. This is where we are currently seeing the amazing speed tests with download speeds exceeding 1Gbps under the right conditions. However, the limits for high-speed 5G are closer to 10 Gbps, and potentially 20 Gbps. As you might have guessed, the big downside here is the range. Real-world testing of current mmWave implementations has shown that connections drop after just a few hundred feet, and any obstruction – like getting inside – will reduce that even further.

From 1G to 5G

5G would not have been possible without the very first generation of mobile networks, 1G. As detailed by Brainbridge, it was first introduced by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) in Tokyo, Japan, in 1979. However, it was not properly deployed throughout Japan until 1984, while the United approved the cover and released on Motorola DynaTAC 8000x in 1983.

Inventor Martin Cooper using the Motorola DynaTAC (Image credit: Wikipedia)

The DynaTAC was the first instance of a mobile phone with coverage, which cost $ 3,995 and offered 30 minutes of talk time and a 10 hour charge. That price converts to $ 10,897.85 in 2021, so it’s good to know that we can get 5G coverage on a cheap phone for less than $ 500 today.

Then came 2G, which was introduced in Finland in 1991. Mobile users achieved much better call clarity through digital voice calls, and could even send text messages (SMS), picture messages and messages. multimedia (MMS) on their phones. Mobile phone towers have also been introduced, offering transfer speeds of up to 500 kbit / s. Today those speeds are unbearable, but 3G would soon follow.

NTT launched 3G in Japan in 2001, dramatically improving data transfer speeds so that users can start video conferencing and other services like Skype. The Blackberry was the first mobile device to make full use of 3G, but new network coverage also spawned Apple’s first iPhone in 2007.

(Image credit: Adobe Stock)

The era of internet access on a mobile device began when 4G was introduced in Stockholm, Sweden and Oslo, Norway in 2009. Also known as Long Term Evolution 4G (LTE), the Enhanced Network enabled the streaming of HD videos thanks to the data transfer speeds. up to 1 Gbit / s. The introduction of 4G is arguably what made smartphones so popular, leading to a boom in popular apps like FaceTime, Uber, Deliveroo, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.

This leads us to 5G, which first appeared in South Korea in 2019, offering data transfer speeds of up to 20Gbps, a 100x increase in network efficiency, and low latency at 1 ms. We are now seeing services like cloud gaming become a reality, thanks to Xbox cloud games and Google Stadia (although there is still work to be done).

Is 6G already on the way?

It’s no surprise that 6G wireless technology is already on the move. Tech giant Apple is apparently already in development the next generation of wireless technology, while Samsung predicted 6G will be launched as early as 2028. However, 6G will not emerge overnight, as the creation of the next generation of wireless technology takes some time.

(Image credit: Samsung)

While 5G has only recently been launched in the wild; it was already in development since 2008. All this thanks to a 5G R&D program in South Korea, with the help of NASA to develop Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology and the 5G technology that goes with it.

It’s more than a decade in the works, and 5G still hasn’t been fully utilized given that it’s the first line of flagship 5G smartphones, such as the iPhone 12, were only released in 2020. 5G can offer a massive upgrade over 4G, from faster connectivity and sharing unlimited amounts of data, but it can also completely drain the network. battery of a device. Samsung even has an official support page on how Galaxy phone batteries drain quickly on a 5G service.

For now, there is still a lot of progress to be made in the mainstream 5G market. We’re still in its infancy, so who knows what the capabilities of 6G will be (the mind is mind boggling). Still, a number of researchers and companies have their views on what 6G might entail.

According to research from Samsung, the integration of 6G in machines will exceed “human limits”. We can expect services including Immersive Extended Reality (XR), bringing together VR, AR and MR; high fidelity mobile holograms; and digital replicas. Standard mobile devices displaying holograms are the future we’re headed for, apparently.

Researchers at the University of Oulu in Finland imagine that 6G will bring “augmented projection interfaces” that can act as the user interface (UI) of a current smartphone, multidimensional design technology and “smart material” can project animations on products such as bottled water.

While professionals and businesses may dream of endless possibilities for the future of wireless technology, Qualcomm has more confidence in 5G. Already deep in the development of 5G components, the semiconductor company States the full economic effect of 5G is likely to be fully realized across the world by 2035. In fact, the “5G effect” on the global economy could enable up to $ 13.1 trillion in goods and services to the world. over the next decade.

Do you need 5G?

Until now, 5G has offered the possibility of seamless connections between devices. UK Communications Office (Ofcom) noted 5G is used in a variety of ways, including in agriculture. Machines are used to scan the fields using a video sensor and apply fertilizers and pesticides where they are needed.

(Image credit: APPLE)

If it can also be used in the health sector and help improve transport networks, 5G is still in its infancy for the general public. 5G aims to provide near-instant access to cloud services, multiplayer cloud games, better augmented reality, as well as real-time video translation and collaboration, but you’ll find a 5 GHz Wi-Fi connection. an Internet Service Provider (ISP) can offer the same.

Ultimately, unless you urgently need super-fast data transfer speeds and instant connections, you might not need 5G connectivity … just yet. The potential of 5G has yet to be fully exploited, so while a good Wi-Fi connection can deliver high speeds and low latency, the latest generation of wireless technology could go even further in the near future. . Outraged, budget smartphones are already making 5G the norm, so it won’t cost you an arm and a leg like the $ 10,000 Motorola DynaTAC 8000x to be ready for the future.

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