If you’re sick of paying for 4G coverage, only to never be able to access the service, or if you can access it, you’re disappointed by its speed or reliability, you’re in luck. The latest tech is changing the wireless service game and making fast, reliable coverage easier and more accessible than ever before.
Fifth-generation wireless, or 5G, is the next big thing coming to cellular technology. It’s packing faster speeds and less latency for a solution that will revolutionize the way we utilize our smartphones. Wondering what the big deal is and exactly how 5G is changing the game? Keep reading to learn more.
The Problem with 4G
While the invention of Fourth-generation wireless, or 4G, around 2008 promised lightening fast speed compared to the previous 3G technology, it’s difficult to actually obtain those speeds. That’s because 4G requires very large, high-power cell towers in order to radiate signals over long distance.
Because it requires these large, expensive towers to operate, and due to the fact that many users were buying new 4G-equipped smartphones, the speed of this service was notoriously slow and unreliable at first. The International Telecommunication Union, or ITU-R, required that 4G reach peak speeds of 100 megabits per second in order to be labeled as such. Yet, at times, users complained that it wasn’t much of an improvement over the previous 3G technology, though there were also reports that part of the problem was cell companies labeling services as 4G when it was really just 3G.
To adjust for cell providers’ inability to reach 100 megabits per second, the ITU-R decided to add an additional label, Long-term Evolution, or LTE. LTE actually describes the efforts by the cell companies to reach true 4G speeds. The ITU-R added the label to allow these companies to label their service as 4G when the speeds weren’t really that fast yet.
The 5G Solution
5G is the latest and greatest in wireless service. Just as 4G built on 3G service, 5G is building on the previous 4G, but in innovative ways that are actually resulting in fast speeds and increased reliability.
Rather than requiring large cell phone towers in order to radiate its signal, 5G will utilize small cell stations that will be connected to existing telephone poles, light poles and even rooftops. These small cells are necessary because 5G relies on the millimeter wave spectrum between 30GHz and 300GHz. These wavelengths can only transmit over short distances, and interferences like weather and obstacles like buildings can interrupt the signal.
It may even be possible in the future to use a lower-frequency spectrum for transmitting 5G, which would mean that networks would be able to use their own existing infrastructure to add 5G to their service.
When Will 5G Become Available?
The world’s first announced 5G modem is already changing the wireless service game. And the widespread availability of this revolutionary service might be here sooner than you think. Qualcomm is playing a pivotal role in the future of 5G technology. Later this year, Qualcomm will be testing their 5G solutions to make sure they meet expectations by the time 5G technology is available to the public.
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project, which governs the use and definition of 5G service made the move to accelerate the use of 5G. Now, 2019 will see a push for the development and testing of 5G service. You could be seeing it as a feature on smartphones soon after that!