Have any of these happened to you?
• A colleague says that “5G can solve that.”
• You read: “This new feature will require 5G.”
• Advertisement declares “5G can do this.”
For each of the situations above, if you’re a little unclear on how 5G fits into each of them, please read on. We’re writing this to help people understand the background, context, and goals of 5G.
Some might ask, “What does 5G even mean in the first place?” 5G is the fifth generation of cellular networks, building on technology that’s been around since the first cellular network was launched in 1983. The first three generations of cellular networks – the first three G’s -- were mainly designed to cater to voice and text transmissions, with data transmission being measured in kilobytes per second. The fourth generation (4G) was designed to support rising data transmission rates as people began using their phones for everything from gaming to video, with data transmission being measured in megabytes per second.
The goals and design of fifth-generation cellular networks are influenced by the rapidly rising levels of data consumption across the globe. In order to support data-intensive cellular applications like video, live streaming, and gaming, networks need to be upgraded and expanded. Businesses looking for a competitive edge will rely on 5G applications such as the Industrial Internet of Things, connecting robotic devices and sensors, as well as robust in-building cellular connectivity, enabling them to maintain a workforce untethered from their traditional desk, computer, and landline.
The ultimate goal of 5G is to achieve cellular connectivity on par with the fixed-line service you get at home or at work. That means gigabyte-per-second connectivity from your phone.
If you use a cell phone, 5G will affect you. If you run a business, 5G will affect you and your customers. Regardless of your profession, we believe everyone should be better equipped with basic 5G knowledge in order to have good conversations with colleagues and customers alike. Without this fundamental knowledge, it becomes much harder to have meaningful conversations on 5G or capture the opportunities it presents.
Now that we’ve covered the context behind 5G, let’s explore the major benefits it delivers, and how those benefits will impact our day-to-day lives.