4G paved the way for the growth of ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft. Ridesharing cars might one day drive themselves using 5G, eliminating the need for a human driver. Self-driving vehicles are only one of the many possible uses for 5G, the next-generation wireless network that is slowly being introduced across the United States and other nations around the globe.
Companies are competing to construct the fastest and most expansive 5G networks. Because of the several innovative technologies, analysts predict would be built on top of 5G, countries are vying to be the first to launch fully functional, national 5G. However, wireless customers may have to wait a while to see a shift. That’s because emerging innovations, such as smart cities, remote surgeries, and automated factories, rely heavily on the network.
Greater speeds, higher bandwidth, and lower “latency,” or lag time in communications among devices and servers, are the three main differences between 4G and 5G. However, those benefits would necessitate the construction of a lot of new facilities and billions of dollars in annual expenditures.
4G vs 5G: Greater Speeds
One of the most eagerly awaited features of the next-generation network is speed. The speed of 5G is estimated to be approximately 100 times that of 4G. With those speeds, you could download a two-hour movie in less than ten seconds, compared to seven minutes on 4G. (no more panicking while trying to download your in-flight entertainment on the tarmac before the plane takes off).
Rapid speeds have clear user uses, such as movie streaming and app downloading, but they could be critical in a variety of other situations as well. Manufacturing experts discuss the prospect of installing video cameras in a factory and rapidly collecting and analyzing vast quantities of data to track product quality in real-time.
Since most 5G networks are based on insanely high-frequency airwaves, also known as high-band spectrum, such speeds are achievable. Higher frequencies are capable of transmitting much more data at much greater speeds than 4G.
Signals traveling in the high-band spectrum, on the other hand, are limited in their range and have a difficult time passing through walls, windows, streetlamps, and other hard surfaces. That’s inconvenient when we want the tiny computers we bring with us to keep running as we exit the subway station, cross the street, and into the workplace.
To address these issues, wireless carriers constructing high-band 5G networks are affixing a slew of small cell sites (about the size of pizza boxes) to light poles, walls, and towers, mostly in close proximity to one another. As a result, most carriers are expanding 5G city by city, as the network requires a dense network of small cells to function. Many buildings are also likely to get their own 5G cell sites to ensure that the network works within them.
4G-5G: Network Capacity
We’ve all had the annoying experience of trying to open a website or play a YouTube clip when in a relatively small area with a lot of people — a concert, sports venue, or the airport during the holiday travel season — and seeing the “spinning wheel of doom.”
Congestion can occur when there are too many devices attempting to use the network at the same time. The network infrastructure simply cannot handle a large number of users, resulting in slower data rates and longer download lag times.
The problem is supposed to be solved — and then some. The performance of the next-generation network is estimated to be substantially higher than that of 4G. Not only would everyone’s phones have a stronger link, but you could be able to brag about being at the big game more quickly on social media. This should allow the network to link a large number of additional devices.
The 5G network is compared by experts to a modern and expanded highway with more lanes to accommodate more vehicles. This aspect of the upgrade could result in more bandwidth for the “internet of things” age, which could be populated by connected toothbrushes, kitchen appliances, streetlamps, and other devices.
4G-5G: Improved Latency
The time it takes for devices to connect with each other or with the server sending them data has a tiny but noticeable discrepancy between speed and latency.
The amount of time it takes for your phone to retrieve the contents of a webpage is referred to as speed. The delay between sending a text to a friend’s phone and their phone registering that it has gotten a new message is known as latency. While latency is calculated in milliseconds, when sending and receiving large packets of data for anything as complex as video — or self-driving car data — those milliseconds add up.
With 4G, latency is already minimal, but with 5G, it would be nearly non-existent. That would be beneficial for new technologies like remote real-time gaming, which allows people in different parts of the world to play the same game at the same time using wireless internet-connected devices.
Other technology, such as self-driving cars, would rely on it to transmit information about their surroundings over the internet to a cloud-based device, that would analyze the situation and send signals back to the car telling it how to react. That contact must be instantaneous to guarantee the safety of self-driving vehicles (and their passengers).
Now, here’s the deal: A high-band spectrum is needed for 5G’s huge speeds, power, and low latency. However, the high-band spectrum is unreliable due to its limited coverage range.
Even in cities where carriers claim to have deployed 5G, staying linked to the network can be difficult. Even after 5G-enabled devices become more commonly accepted, it’s likely that people would use a combination of 4G and 5G for a long time. When your mobile is in close proximity to a 5G tower, it can link and access the superfast speeds. If you aren’t connected, your computer may return to 4G mode.
Other 5G deployment plans have a higher level of reliability. T-Mobile (TMUS) recently announced that it had achieved a national 5G network by relying on lower frequency airwaves rather than high-band spectrum to create the network. Although those signals cover a larger area and are better at passing through walls and trees, the “low-band spectrum” does not have the dramatic benefits that we associate with 5G.
According to a company spokesperson, T-Mobile’s network already offers a 20 percent boost in download speeds over 4G LTE. That’s a big contrast from the high-frequency 5G networks, which offer speeds 100 times greater than 4G. Both lower and higher frequency 5G should eventually reach most of the region, giving us the best of both worlds.
How 5G Could Change the World
There should be new possibilities for various companies and business models as a result of the speed and data density that 5G offers relative to our existing 4G networks. When 4G was first introduced, businesses jumped on board, creating ride-sharing services, meal delivery services, and more. With previous 3G networks, both of these systems would have failed. The speeds and capabilities of 4G are multiplied tenfold in 5G. This means that a lot of new companies, even completely new industries, may emerge that we aren’t even aware of.
Artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and other data-intensive technology would most likely be brought into the public sphere through 5G.
The internet of things is another area that seems to be well-suited to 5G technology. IoT is currently being used extensively in the manufacturing industry to track plants, as well as in the transportation industry to track fleets. Smart home systems are also part of the IoT, but when there are so many devices connected to them, lesser wi-fi networks fail.
5G has the ability to be faster than any wired wi-fi network, and it can be used almost anywhere as long as the signal is available. That means IoT devices aren’t restricted to local wireless networks and can operate anywhere. This is particularly relevant in two scenarios: smart cities and global connectivity.
To begin with, 5G has the ability to provide high-speed broadband to underserved communities all over the world. That means that people in otherwise remote areas can find employment in tech, or almost anything else, thanks to the internet’s potential.
LoT for all, focusing on smart cities, could enable cities to monitor their inner workings as never before. Deep neural networks and artificial intelligence could be used to accurately map and mitigate traffic congestion, control infrastructure repair, and ensure taxis were already where you wanted them based on pedestrian density.
These are undoubtedly frightening concepts for those worried about data protection, but that is a problem for any new technology in the twenty-first century. We have to work through the growing pains to build something long-term. Untethered ultra-high-speed networks are a big deal, with a lot of promise for our towns, infrastructure, and rural communities.
The Bottom Line
5G is an innovation that could revolutionize the world and the way we perceive it to be. The introduction of this technology provides us with the means to make incredible leaps forward, taking us closer to the goal of a completely automated lifestyle.