Smartphone users always seek a technology that let them download full-length movies in a few seconds, no need to look further since that technology, in Reality, is known as 5G. Carriers of the 4G network promoted it with a promise that it would deliver a theoretical gigabit-speed, thereby allowing the user to download full-length movies in seconds. But we all know that it was nothing but a marketing promise.
Yes, 4G network increased download speed yet it wasn’t what we were expecting. Wireless carriers in the UK and USA have started offering 5G network which you can access through 5G Phones. Although 5G doesn’t reach yet to its full potential, we are going to enjoy blazing internet downloading speed with lower latency in the early 2020s.
What is meant by 5G?
5G is the next/fifth generation of wireless communication standards. It is the next generation communication speed brings speeds faster than its predecessors; its theoretical speed is 10Gbps. Many wireless carriers are already offering this network in a few cities of USA, and early test of that network unlock a real-world speed of 700-3025Mbps. A full-length movie usually takes a few minutes to download with 4G speeds, but it will only take a few seconds with 5G.
This technology will surely make our communication experience better on a smartphone. But it is not just useful for a smart device. It has much viable application in different industries such as health care, automotive, retail, and manufacturing. The high speed and bandwidth provided by 5G network are going to benefit The Internet of Things IoT. It means you can expect autonomous vehicle in the automotive industry, robotic surgery in health care, and in-depth infrastructure monitoring in the manufacturing industry. In the retail sector, you can expect the use of augmented reality with 5G-IoT enabled devices.
There are three features which make 5G can transform the wireless communication system in many industries. The first feature is lower latency; now, massive data streams will be transferred at an exponential speed with 5G devices. Reliability is another excellent feature that comes alongside a 5G device. This feature makes better data transmission even in extreme conditions. This next-generation technology is quite flexible that it provides support to a wide variety of methods, sensors, and wearable.
History of Wireless Communication System
Before 5G, we have four standards which step-by-step bring improvement in our communication level. The first-generation of wireless communication standard (1G) introduced cell phones, which allowed us to make a wireless phone call.
Then it was replaced with 2G in the early 2000s, so we got a chance not only to make some phone calls but also to send and receive text messages. Later, this new set of standards allowed a multi-media message (MMS) and data transmission.
The 3G technology came into place and brought some media-rich application such as video calling and internet streaming on a mobile phone. The latest version of this technology brings speed up to 4Mbps.
The most recent communication system available to the consumer is 4G that offers speed up to 5-10 Mbps. The latest iteration of this version is 4G LTE. With this current wireless communication, we can download a full-length movie at high speed, usually requires a few minutes depending on network speed and carrier. With this speed, you can experience mobile gaming experience, group video-conference, few delightful AR/VR experience, and connected home solutions. It delivered a specific rate we require to make the most from many different applications and try some live video streaming experiences.
How does 5G Network Work?
The fifth-generation wireless communication standard is based on low, mid, and high-band spectrum. It operates with two frequencies, such as sub-6 GHz and millimeter-wave (20-60 GHz). Many carriers are using sub-6 GHz frequency for their 4G LTE networks. However, they need to again work on this frequency to make it work for the 5G network. As far as millimeter-wave rate is concerned, it’s never been used before. So, the 5G network will allow carriers to offer fast speed network to their users.
There is a shortcoming of millimeter-Wave. It can’t travel a long distance. Therefore, if a device is running on a 5G network, then it must be close to 5G node for getting a proper signal. In cities where there are so many buildings and cell towers, it is not a problem for a wireless carrier to install a 5G node. However, this installation is not possible in rural areas where there are a few or no building. For widespread 5G network reach, both sub-6 and mmWave frequencies are required.
Sprint has introduced a 5G network with its existing mid-band 2.5 GHz spectrum. Although this network offers a reliable signal, yet it doesn’t provide a very high speed expected with mmWave. T-Mobile also launched its 5G network with mmWave and low-band (600 MHz) spectrum in 2019. This wireless carrier offers excellent wireless connectivity, but it still requires some improvement as service is in the testing phase.
Key Elements of 5G Network
Many wireless carriers in USA and UK already launched a 5G network but only in a few cities. This network is in the testing phase. In order to widespread 5G network and full deployment of its useful features, every carrier has to work on four main drivers or critical elements. Let’s find out what these are.
Fiber-optic infrastructure works as a nervous system for a mobile network. Data transfer through wires from one place to another while wireless antenna helps in making the last few miles of data delivery possible. In case of 5G network, fiber-optic is a must to offer 1-10 Gbps speed to the mobile users by wireless carriers. Information moves at lightning speed only through a proper fiber-optic infrastructure.
The fiber-optic system catches data from data centers and moves it to the cellular antenna, and this is how this system offers real-time speed expectation we all have from 5G. The current 4G network is using fiber-optic infrastructure, but for turning 5G into Reality, more of it is requisite.
Macro and Micro Cells Deployment
Today, you can enjoy fast delivery of wireless data due to macrocells, which are popularly known as cell towers. They help transfer data from data centers to end-users. They are a part of the wireless connectivity foundation and serve thousands of users within a radius of 30-40 miles.
Telecom industry is making the most from these cells. However, deployment and maintenance of traditional macro cell are expensive and complicated.
With the introduction of microcells, the telecom industry takes a deep breath. They are an efficient contributor to wireless connectivity. The problem is that these cells can serve only a few users, but a good thing about them is that they are easy to install and maintain. They’re going to support the present and future of wireless system as they are more energy-efficient and cheaper as compared to macrocells.
Microcells get connected with data centers through macro cells or other microcells, and thereby they communicate with mobile devices. When installed in big cities, they can help in signal strength. But they prove quite useful in the rural area as they help to extend wireless network coverage there.
A 5G network requires both macro and microcells for its better connectivity mechanism. Wireless carriers are thinking of replacing traditional macrocells with multiple microcells since they can serve a small area with fast speed and better coverage. T-Mobile is done with the installation of 15K micro-cells as a part of its 5G network plan. With these cells, the wireless carrier is offering 5G services in 30 cities. It has a plan to install 25K more microcells in the near future.
Many other carriers are working on small cell deployment. We can say that better 5G services are going to knock with 5G mobile devices at your door in early 2020.
High-frequency spectrum availability
For making a dream of this 5G fast speed real, this next-generation wireless communication system requires radio waves with very high frequencies which require line-of-sight within a small radius. Without the availability of high-frequency spectrum, you can’t expect a successful communication with fast speed 5G network. It means that new bands are a must within the radio wave spectrum. A band comes with specific frequency ranges from very low 3-30kHz to very high (30-300 GHz).
Fast data transmission in the 5G network is only possible with bands of super high (3 – 30 GHz) to incredibly high (30 – 300 GHz) frequencies. But the problem with high-frequency band is that it can pass through specific structures. Therefore they need line-of-sight. To overcome this issue, small cells will be set in a way that they successfully maintain clear line-of-sight between mobile users and other small cells. So, the abundance of small cells will maintain ultimate 5G coverage.
5G Indoors with Fixed Wireless
Fixed wireless is going to replace your cable-connected wireless system. You will be able to enjoy the high frequency of 5G network within a building or home through fixed wireless, which makes cellular coverage possible. The fixed wireless antenna will be installed on top of home and building; these antennas will communicate with adjacent small cells or macro towers.
Fixed wireless antennas are placed on top of homes and buildings to communicate with nearby small cells or macro-cell towers. While these fixed wireless antennas must maintain line-of-sight with the nearby cells, they can extend cellular coverage into homes and buildings. They might get connected to internal picocells or femtocells via fiber and thereby offering wireless coverage to indoor mobile users. The wireless signals of the antenna can be converted into Wi-Fi through routers or models.
Verizon has started offering internet services to home and business with its fixed 5G wireless services in a few cities. This service is an alternative to traditional fiber internet access while it offers better internet speed. The company teamed up with Samsung for the development of fixed wireless 5G routers through which offer Wi-Fi compatibility to users.
5G Rollout and Coverage
In a few cities of USA, four wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint have launched their 5G networks. For using a 5G network, you must have a 5G smartphone that can catch 5G network signal available only in a few cities. The problem is that there are only three 5G-compatible phones available in the market such as Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Moto Z3 for Verizon and LG V5 ThinQ 5G. The service is launched only in few parts of certain cities. You can head to either Verizon or T-Mobile and get Galaxy 5G phone for $1299.
As 5G network is on the run, we can expect more 5G devices very soon. If you are a loyal iOS customer, then you should know that Apple has no plan to launch 5G iPhone in 2019, but you can have it next year for sure. Samsung already launched its 5G phone, and you will meet its next-generation version in 2019. One Plus, ZTE, and Huawei 5G phones are also coming this year.
AT&T is also offering Samsung Galaxy 5G phone but only for business customers and developers. You can try Sprint 5G network after paying $1,152 for LG V50 ThinQ.
5G Network Providers in the USA
- AT&T: It rolled out 5G mobile hotspots in 2018. The company already launched its 5G network through mmWave technology in 20 cities of the USA. It has a plan to extend its coverage to 30 cities by the end of 2019. Supported devices are Galaxy S10 5G and Netgear Nighthawk 5G hotspot.
- Sprint: The company launched its first 5G network with Massive MIMO (2.5 GHz) technology in five major cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Kansas City, and Dallas-Fort Worth. It has a plan to extend this network in 9 more cities by the end of 2019. Supported Devices are HTC 5G Hub, Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, and LG V50 ThinQ 5G.
- Verizon: In 2018, the company launched its first 5G broadband network only in 4 cities. In 2019, it launched a 5G wireless network with mmWave frequency in four cities: Chicago, Denver, Providence, and Minneapolis. Company has a plan to target 30 more cities by the end of 2019. Supported devices with its 5G network are Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, LG V50 ThinQ 5G, Motorola Moto Z4 and Z3 with Moto Pad.
- T-Mobile: The company introduced its first 5G network with mmWave and 600Mhz frequencies in six cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, Cleveland, and Atlanta. By the end of 2019, it will extend its 5G network coverage in 30 more cities. Only compatible device with T-Mobile 5G network is Samsung Galaxy S10 5G.
What is Future of 4G Network and 4G Phones?
As 5G is coming fast on the track, it doesn’t mean it will replace the 4G network completely. Unlike past generation systems which replace one-another, 4G and 5G network will coexist. Wireless carriers are offering 5G speed, but when 5G signal drops, then your device will catch the 4G signal. This will continue until the 5G network is widespread with the help of its key drivers. Nationwide 5G network rollout will also bring improvement in 4G network.
Some areas of the country like big cities will adopt the 5G network quickly in the early 2020s, but in other regions, consumers will rely on both 4G and 5G speeds side-by-side.
As far as 4G phones are concerned, they are going to die for sure because 5G is the next-generation wireless connectivity system which requires its compatible 5G device. That’s mean you are going to throw your 4G phones if you want to use a 5G network for faster downloading speed and quality video streaming.
How 5G is Going to Change Our Life?
I already told you with a 5G network; you can download a full-length movie within a few seconds on your smartphone. Also, you can expect a high-quality streaming experience on your smart devices. But it is not just a smartphone where we can expect a significant change due to this technology. There are other parts of our lives where we will make the most of it. Lower latency features mean faster data transmission without any lag, and this only thing will allow you to make the most from augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Let’s find out more.
Fixed Wireless Facility At Home
As I explained before, the 5G network comes with 5G fixed wireless, which is going to replace your wireless broadband services. Install an antenna of fixed wireless and get Wi-Fi at your home.
There is no need to pay to cable companies and install some wires for getting an internet connection. You can get an antenna for fast internet service. Rural areas can make the most from a fixed wireless antenna because it is quite expensive for them to install cable in those areas. This antenna you install will offer you fast internet at a lower price than broadband service.
Think About Self-driving Cars
Self-driving cars are already tested on 4G networks, but they are not available yet because of some shortcomings associated with that network. Now with the emergence of 5G, experts are confident that people are going to enjoy safer rides with self-driving cars. This next-generation network deals with all those concerns that experts have with a 4G network. The primary concern was about high latency rate of 4G, and which gets solved with a 5G network.
Drones technology is going to improve with the 5G network. Now drones can receive the message and deliver footage instantly over a 5G. So, rescue missions will be enhanced through this advancement in technology.
5G in the classroom
Kids in classrooms will feel a significant difference with 5G because its faster speed and lower latency allow a teacher to use augmented reality and virtual reality programs and application. Kids can touch the space elements to get a better understanding of things around them. They can better experience subjects which they only explore only in books.
Holographic Surgeries in Health Care
The next-generation wireless communication system is also changing surgeries in hospitals. Now surgeons and doctor can expect perfect surgeries output and minimize errors through holographic surgeries. They are made possible through Surgical AR- this augmented reality program will guide a surgeon through a holographic overlay on the patient. Real-time surgeries will be performed in the near future due to lower latency and fast speed of 5G. The next step is to move the surgeon out of the operating room, where doctors are allowed to perform operating remotely with the help of 5G-connected robots.
What to Expect Next in 5G world?
I already told you that 5G broadband and wireless services are available through a few wireless carriers. In the future, we can expect :
- Launch of more 5G- compatible devices, as today we have only three to four options available in the market.
- Although many wireless carriers are going to adopt 5G network yet telecom industries will take some time to make this shift from 4G to 5G network. They will have to spend a lot of money on its 5G vital elements and drivers.
- Zayo is a company which is helping to create requisite fiber infrastructure in the USA. As I told before, wires are a must for successful coverage of the 5G network.
- Siklu is offering small cells and fixed wireless antennas to wireless network providers.
- We will also see a shift in device design so that that upcoming device can adjust with 5G antenna correctly.
- Although 5G is starting to roll in significant cities, it will still take some time like less than a decade or more to widespread.
- The most advanced 5G industrial applications will start heading the market in the early 2020s.
- Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality will bring useful applications which you can use at home or school.
- Last but not least, the 4G network will work as a default service in the areas outside densely populated cities. So if you are living in those areas, then it means you can still use your 4G phone in 2020. Even when you are using a 5G network and lose a signal, your device will quickly catch a 4G signal for better communication experience.