29-07-2019 | By Moe Long
5G is coming. Well, more accurately, 5G is here, although much of that depends on specific carriers and handsets. It’s been one of the hottest tech topics since Y2K, and thankfully in a positive manner. Heralded as a disruptor, 5G is poised to revolutionize mobile communications. Learn what 5G is and how it will change the world!
If you’ve used a mobile handset in the past few years, you’re likely familiar with 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G. Simply put, the G in 5G means “generation.” Typically, a generation is denoted by its speed of data transmission. For instance, 2G debuted now-common technologies such as CDMA, TDMA, and GSM. With 3G game the likes of HSPA, EVDO, and UMTS, thus affording users mobile speeds to a few megabits per second. Then 4G allowed for LTE, a major step in wireless communications delivering up to gigabit-caliber speeds.
Now, there’s 5G which offers faster data transfer while lowering latency, all while boasting greater device connectivity. Essentially, 5G promises to send more data with increased responsiveness. Plus, its capability to communicate with more devices proves essential for the Internet of Things (IoT).
5G works by using OFDM, an encoding technique that’s similar to 4G LTE but with lower latency. The majority of 4G channels operate on 20MHz or bonded as high at 160MHz. Compare that to most 5G channels running on up to 100MHz channels, and even some as high as 800MHz.
With this increased performance comes a fresh slew of applications in mobile communications. Many carriers continue to concentrate on 5G in the mobile arena. However, Verizon plans to roll out 5G home internet services. Despite the ability to use mobile hotspot options with 4G, unlimited home internet plans just aren’t feasible with its limited capacity. 5G however upends that, with Verizon even promising a truly unlimited home internet 5G service.
Sure, Fiber Optic internet may seem more appealing, but 5G home internet remains easier to set up. Rather than delivering fiber to streets, it’s simply necessary to install fiber optics at cell sites, then dole out wireless modems to end users.
A major area 5G is poised to benefit is the Internet of Things. Since IoT relies on fast, low latency communications, 5G provides a huge leap forward in the Internet of Things. Moreover, 5G can connect to more devices which makes it suitable for sending and receiving data on a network with sensors, hubs, and other IoT gadgets. IoT networks will only become smarter, faster, and more reliable with 5G. Briefcam offers a neat solution. Its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered video surveillance system utilizes 5G for truly wireless camera placement that doesn’t sacrifice quick upload speeds.
Notably, industrial IoT will flourish. Not only will devices gain speedy, reliable communications, but efficiency increases as well. Narrowband IoT, or Cat-NB1, yields Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) communication methods for IoT applications. As such, low power IoT devices maintain the ability to send and receive data. Then, Cat-M1, an LTE network for Internet of Things purposes, may be used for the likes of consumer smart home tech and industrial IoT alike. Less power consumption coupled with higher data transfer rates and lower latency is a massive improvement which 5G beings to IoT.
There’s been much talk of connected cities and connected cars. But for truly autonomous vehicles, 5G is a must. Because 5G touts high-bandwidth, increased reliability communication, it’s essential for autonomous driving. So critical that it’s been compared to the “oxygen” for self-driving vehicles. Intel offers its V-to-X technology. This is a means of communication between the vehicle and various elements such as infrastructure, pedestrians, even other vehicles. It’s these additional objects which form a network and almost like a map, deliver improved vision.
Although 5G largely appears in conversations about smart cities, autonomous vehicles, and industrial IoT, its potential extends into the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) realms, as well as gaming space. With 5G and its ability to handle significantly larger bandwidth than 4G, complicated computing may take place in the cloud rather than locally. As such, users may be able to subscribe to a service rather than owning for AR or VR gaming, with real-time interactive environments created lag-free.
Company LiquidSky uses its software for game streaming with 5G which it claims can handle streaming games at over 100 frames per second (FPS). However, it’s not just for games. LiquidSky can handle virtually any software, so it’s a nifty service for delivering high-performance GPU applications to any device. Arvizio features its mixed reality software for getting hands-on with real objects for design purposes using headsets such as the Microsoft HoloLens. Since many of their AR demos happen in the field, 5G allows for a practical wireless set up.
Sure, many tech breakthroughs get massively hyped. But 5G truly arrives as a major upgrade to both consumer and industrial IoT, home internet, gaming, AR, and VR, plus a slew of other applications. While 5G may sound synonymous with mobile phones, and undoubtedly will aid you in loading those dog videos on Instagram faster, it’s far more capable. The ability to serve as a home internet solution alone proves the major leap forward it delivers over 4G.