Set to be one of the biggest advances in mobile technology witnessed to date, 5G is widely considered to be the next step up for our smartphone network service. But just how far off is the 5G revolution? Will it be making an appearance next year? Or will the wait be substantially longer than that? We’re about to find out!
What is 5G?
5G network is the obvious successor to the 4G signal we currently receive from our networks in terms of mobile service, earning its name as it will be the fifth generation of the technology which gives us access to the mobile web.
It will essentially be an upgraded version of what we currently have, but will be notably faster and allow us to do more with it.
What makes the 5G network so exciting for every tech savvy consumer out there is firstly the speed that it will produce for our devices, but also the opportunities it will open up in terms of other forms of internet reliant hardware. The possibilities include the development of driverless cars, smart cities and the ‘internet of things’, all of which can theoretically change the way we live.
This means that even extremely hard tasks will be aided by our handheld technology, all thanks to the added speed and openness of 5G networks.
How fast is 5G?
This is the question on everyone’s lips and for good reason, as speed is what will make 5G so important when it does finally come our way. Currently companies have been proven to test 5G phones with speeds up to 1Gbps (Gigabit per second), in simple terms this means that you could download a full HD movie onto your tablet, phone or PC in just 30 seconds.
However, this isn’t the limit for 5G, with the service apparently capable of running at speeds of 800Gbps; meaning that you could download 33 HD films in just one second. You can imagine that with these kinds of speeds, buffering and page loading will be an absolute breeze, let alone simple tasks like downloading an app.
With these kinds of speeds, it will massively boost the likelihood of driverless cars being roadworthy, as cars will be able to communicate with one another at breakneck speeds, and react much faster than any human could at the wheel. Similarly, human controlled robots would also be much more effective, as they could react faster to remote controls and without the risk of lag.
How will 5G work?
The best way to describe our mobile networks is like a motorway with cars acting like data, with improvements acting like adding lanes. 5G will add several lanes to the road, meaning data is less likely to bunch up or slow down, whilst also allowing more users to access it.
Using ‘base station’ instead of ageing masts, 5G will be focused into lower area transmitters on a much more plentiful basis. Some countries have already discussed adding these stations into things like lamp posts, or road signs, meaning that regardless of where you go, you will have signal without the risk of losing it.
With smaller base stations, it also means that signal clogging, something which commonly happens during New Year’s celebrations or if you’ve ever been to a concert or large sporting event where there are multiple users gathered with just one mast to accept signal, won’t be an issue. Again, this means that features like a smart city could become a reality, with all facets of day to day life controlled and recorded through the net.
Finally, another major plus side for smaller transmitters is that they will be much more secure for the day to day user. This is because you’ll only be accessing each transmitter for a matter of minutes, rather than hours on end, making it much harder for people to access your data by hacking a set station or tower.
When will 5G arrive?
This is a subject open to plenty of debate, with companies battling each other to try and be the first to implement the technology. The earliest we are likely to see the service trialled is 2017 or 2018, with many companies trying to get it in place for the 2018 World Cup.
However, more conservative predictions place 5G hitting the general public by 2020, with 6G not coming around until 2040. This won’t be cheap though, with bills expected to hike up by around £5 per person on mobile contracts featuring the technology.
Obviously, our current handsets won’t have the capability to work with 5G, so you will also have to invest in a 5G phone when the service rolls around, further adding to the cost. But with speeds close to those mentioned earlier, we can’t imagine too many complaints.
It’s safe to say that we can’t wait for the 5G revolution, can you? As there’s still a bit of a wait, why not check out our range of 4G handsets in the meantime?