You’ve heard all this talk about 5G before. It’s the fifth generation of mobile networks, designed to enable even more connectivity than ever before. Read on to learn everything you need to know about 5G!
In telecommunications, network connectivity is highly important to the functioning of machines and devices. 5G uses wireless technology and is superior to 4G via the following ways:
Extremely large network capacity
Increased availability and accessibility
High peak data speeds and faster delivery
Low to negligible latency
Uniform user experience
This all translates to improved performance and efficiency.
Technology Behind 5G
Such technologies are complex to even tech enthusiasts. According to Qualcomm, 5G is based on OFDM (orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing) and 5G NR air interface. This allows a digital signal to cross several channels. In addition, bandwidth technologies are required – the most common being sub-6 GHz and mmWave (24 GHz+); 5G introduces wider bandwidths and expands the usage of spectrum resources. 5G is built upon 4G LTE but OFDM enables it to be highly scalable and flexible such that more people can access the network and use it for different purposes.
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The economic impacts of 5G is less talked about than its applications. Most reports state that 5G will impact the global economy much more than previous network generations, because its developmental requirements transcend what traditional technology/telecommunications companies can offer. For example, the automotive industry will play a role in 5G’s advancements.
As with all technologies, 5G has its faults. The main ones are
Its range: 5G is relatively short range so it is more prone to physical obstructions like buildings which can absorb and disrupt 5G signals. The telecommunications industry has looked into extending cell towers to enrich 5G. Another con related to this is the visual pollution from having more cellphone towers.
High initial costs: 5G infrastructure is costly to adopt and maintain. Currently, firms are attempting to minimise these costs.
Limitations of rural access: not everybody will be able to access 5G connectivity, especially those who live in remote or rural areas.
Battery drain: users have reported that their phones get hotter when operating on 5G and their batteries cannot operate for very long.
Perhaps the most significant application of 5G is IoT (internet of things). Smart devices are said to revolutionise technology even further and enrich the lives of consumers. For instance, 5G connects large amounts of embedded sensors virtually: a low-cost connectivity solution. And generally, 5G will impact all industries: from healthcare to agriculture to transportation via the use of VR and AI. For most of us though, 5G enhances the use of our smartphones directly; there are new phones on the market designed to support 5G. In fact, 5G has already been available since early 2019. Since then, it’s been deployed in over 60 countries, as more economies are aware of its benefits.
Written by Nichapatr (Petch) Lomtakul