5G: The Next Step Forward

5G is the next generation for cellular data networks and it has already begun its expansion throughout the country. 

With 5G faster speeds will be achieved compared to previous generations of cellular data connectivity. This is because 5G operates on a higher frequency than previous generations, and because of this data can be carried at much higher speeds. The downside is that with higher frequencies, the range data can be transmitted is much shorter. This means that unlike the past, where large cell towers are put up and spread out over large distances for connectivity, many cells(which will transmit the 5G connection) will be put up throughout areas in short distances.

On T-Mobile’s website it is explained, “high-band millimeter wave frequencies have greater bandwidth available to carry more data in dense urban areas but require cell sites to be in close proximity and have limited penetration in buildings. Mid-band balances speed and range, providing broader coverage than high-band. And it’s less impacted by buildings. However, much of its bandwidth is already in use, so there’s not a lot available for 5G growth. Low-band, like our powerful 600MHz spectrum, travels farther than other bands—over hundreds of square miles—and can pass through more obstacles, providing a better, more reliable signal both indoors and out.”

Faster speeds are just one part of 5G, as 5G will affect many different things by making them more connected

As can be found on Verizon’s website, “5G Ultra Wideband will eventually allow even more technology to connect, enabling the Internet of Things on a truly massive scale. Today, there are some 14.2 billion connected “things” in use, and that number is expected to grow to more than 55 billion by 2025. 5G Ultra Wideband is intended to help meet the staggering demands on network bandwidth.“This would mean that different smart devices within homes and in cities will be more reliably connected. 

For 5G to be implemented fully and properly there will have to be a lot of work done in terms of infrastructure. Internet Service Providers such as Verizon and T-Mobile will have to invest heavily in putting up their cells and towers for 5G. The first part is that there must be cells put up throughout the country in all areas. The short-range of 5G makes it so that cells will have to be put up in many places in short distances from one another. Along with all the cells being put up, there will have to be new fiber-optic lines to power the architecture. The cells will need wireline connectivity to be able to provide the wireless signals to users, which means a lot of wiring will have to be run to set up the cells.        

The speed boost provided by 5G is so great that Verizon explains, “ Feature-length HD movies can be downloaded in seconds rather than minutes.” This will allow people to download applications and stream videos on their mobile devices much faster.

 Not all phones will be able to utilize 5G since it operates at a different frequency. Phones will have to come out with special 5G receiving chips, to be able to utilize the connection. Samsung has already showcased this as they released their Galaxy S10 5G on June 21, 2019. This was the first 5G phone to release and since then there have slowly been more companies releasing 5G phones. These companies include OnePlus, LG, Sony, and Motorola. 

5G, for now, is slowly making its way into the country with some places having cells set up, for cellular connectivity. It will take at least another 5 years for 5G to be readily accessible to a large number of people as this is when it is expected that enough cells will be put up by different Internet Service Providers. From there 5G will continue to develop and become more prevalent as it will be integrated into smart devices, to connect different smart devices.

Sylvester Stewart