5G is the fifth generation of mobile networks. It is the new worldwide wireless standard following its predecessors, the 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G networks. With 5G, a new form of wireless network has been developed that will connect virtually everyone and everything together, including machines, objects, and devices.
5G wireless technology delivers higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds, extremely low latency, greater reliability, huge capacity, more availability, and a more uniform experience for most users. Higher performance and improved efficiency empower new user experiences and connect new industries with the use of 5G.
5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology and is based on Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) and operates on the same mobile networking principles as 4G-LTE. However, the new 5G New Radio (5GNR) air interface will enhance OFDM to deliver a higher degree of flexibility and scalability.
5G delivers faster, better mobile broadband services and expands into new service areas. Among those are mission-critical communications and connecting the various sectors of the massive IoT. This is enabled by many new 5GNR air interface design techniques, such as a new self-contained TDD design.
Four previous generations of mobile networks preceded 5G. The first generation, 1G from the 1980s, delivered analog voice communications. 2G, the second generation, came along in the 1990s and introduced digital voice communications or Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). By the early 2000s, we had 3G, which added mobile data to the bix with CDMA2000. Finally, the fourth general of 4G LTE brought us to the era of mobile broadband. All of these led to 5g, offering more connectivity than ever before.
So, what does 5G offer that 4G LTE did not? 5G is a more robust air interface with much lower latency. It was designed with an extended capacity to enable improved user experiences, empower new deployment models, and deliver new services. With higher speeds, better reliability, and virtually no latency, 5G expanded the mobile ecosystem into new realms.
5G has impacted everyone, making safer transportation, remote healthcare, precision agriculture, digitized logistics, and so many other new developments a reality.5G networks offer 50 times more speeds, ten times less latency, and 1000 times more capacity than 4G. In other words, GB connects more devices and transmits more data than at any time in the past. It delivers super fast connectivity and greatly enhanced user experience on both cellular networks and internet access.
The most significant difference between 5G and everyone else is the reduction in latency. 5g claims its latency is under 5 milliseconds, while 4G ranges from 60 ms to 98 ms. And obviously, lower latency improves other areas, including much faster download speeds.
The main problem with 5G technology is that, despite what all the internet, wireless services, and cellphone providers tell you, 5G is still available only on a limited basis. Right now, only large cities have any significant coverage, and rural areas won't see 5G for years.
5G has a lot to offer for those who can access it. It is one of the fastest, most robust technologies the digital world has yet encountered.
One of the most critical applications of 5G is its elimination of the hardware-focused centralized data architecture we all knew well. 5G replaced that technology with a cloud-based distributed infrastructure within which to build and operate new networks. Very rapidly, we have all become used to the "cloud," whether through work or by storing our excess kitten photos in it. Your home internet service is likely cloud-based, and your data storage and backup almost certainly are.
5G makes the Internet of Things (IoT) more possible and more efficient. Today, our homes are smart, from coffee pots to thermostats, and Alexa watches over everyone. On a larger scale, more and more cities are also becoming smart, with traffic lights and traffic monitoring being based on digital systems. Given its virtually real-time speed, 5G was the natural partner of the IoT, and both impact nearly every consumer and marketplace today.
As wireless services and other cellular networks convert to 5G, their systems will become closer and closer to the feel and effectiveness of enhanced mobile broadband. This is one of the most noticeable applications of 5G to cellular technology for several reasons. First, the cellphone service providers shout about their 5G services as much as they can. It can take real work to get them to admit how little 5G service is really available outside large metropolitan areas. On the other hand, as consumers gain more and more access to 5G, they will begin to use their smartphones more like tablets or laptops, video streaming, and researching at will.
The move to cloud-based 5G networks allows businesses to use strategically distributed computational power more efficiently. This allows more data to be processed and stored when and where it is needed for each application. Intelligent edge computing takes advantage of the confluence of 5G’s low latency, the IoT, and AI technologies. Businesses can make use of multiple virtual networks for different purposes and meet different needs with them.
Devices and applications can use these computing resources without needing to access a centralized data center that might be thousands of miles away. Eventually, the spread of 5G will allow businesses to make ever greater use of their data and apply artificial intelligence to it.
5G has essentially created a new healthcare industry. Mobile-based healthcare enables healthcare providers and their patients to maintain a connection more than ever before. Wearable devices such as blood sugar and heart rate monitors are no longer on the cutting edge but are becoming common. They can now alert healthcare providers when a patient is experiencing dangerous symptoms.
Retail applications making use of the high speeds of 5G are also becoming common as more companies adopt them. Large retailers have introduced scan and pay technology so that a consumer scans the items on an app on a cellphone while shopping. When the basket is full, all of the items have already been countered and paid for. 5G will also, when the supply chain becomes more normal again, assist retailers in managing and maintaining inventory and stocking their shelves.
5G assisted driving, whether in an electric car of the future or a fossil-fueled remainder, is one of the most important developments in transportation. Its impact on improved safety, while accompanied by sometimes inexplicable accidents, has transformed the auto industry. At that same time, insurance companies and the courts are grappling with the liability issues that arise when no one is really driving the vehicle. Who is at fault and therefore liable, when only the autonomous vehicles were driving.
Finally, agriculture uses 5G cloud-based mobile technology and connected devices in surprising ways. Much farm equipment today is programmed with information stored in cloud services about the crop to be planted and the field conditions in which it will grow. The farmer calls on the data, and the programmed planting, plowing, or fertilizing is carried out with virtually no actions by the farmers themselves. Managing seed, fertilizer stocks, and herds of animals can all be made more manageable using cloud-based 5G technology and AI data analysis.
So, what do we see as the impact on the consumer, the individual use of the superior speeds and enhanced mobile broadband of the 5G network? It certainly spoils us with speed and capacity that even a decade ago were unimaginable. It provides user access to systems that were only available to the largest corporations a few years ago.
5G has made Alexa a virtual member of the family and Amazon a go-to store for practically everything you might want to buy. Our homes are smart, our vehicles are getting smarter all the time, and we spend more and more time looking at mobile phones and tablets rather than at one another.
Ironically, as we become ever more connected to the world, the cloud, and the universe, we are less and less connected to each other. Think of the last time you ate in a restaurant. How many family tables feature a family of cellphone users utterly oblivious to everyone else?
For right now, the future of 5G networks wi-fi technology includes a lot of 4G technology. It's a big world with a cut-throat wireless industry, and high-speed 5G network towers and cell sites are expensive to build and bring online. Expect at least several more years, or even a decade of a mostly 4G network, outside of major cities, even if you've already got a 5G phone. Your 4G phone and other connected devices will work on a 4G LTE network, and your 5G will work on the still primarily 4G network. Either way, technology will continue to improve as the industry works to get 5G fully integrated into the wireless grid. We've come a long way from the cable internet and will no doubt keep moving toward new technology in unanticipated directions.
What is 5G? It is probably the most transformative high-speed wi-fi technology to date.