Will 5G Revolutionize or Ruin Mobile Phones and Networks? The Surprising Truth You Need to Know.
If you want to know how wireless technology works, you need to compare it with something familiar. Imagine you are going on a long flight and you want to download a movie to watch offline. A 3GB movie would take more than one hour to download on a 3G wireless network. But through 5G, you can get it in less than a minute. How is it possible?
Wireless technology has evolved through several generations, each with its own features and competencies. The first generation, or 1G, started in 1979 and reached the US in 1983. It used radio waves in the 800 MHz range, and it enabled the first analog cell phones. The second generation, or 2G, came in 1991 and expanded to the 1.9 GHz range. It also introduced new services like text messages, multimedia messages, and voicemail. The increase in bandwidth meant that cell phones could transfer more data faster. This is the main difference between the wireless generations: the higher the frequency range, the more data they can handle.
The third generation, or 3G, started in Japan in 2001 by NTT DoCoMo and in the US in 2002 by Verizon. It used radio waves in the 2.1 GHz range, which allowed for faster data transfer and more consistent network protocol. 3G also enabled new features like image sharing, GPS location-tracking, and mobile web browsing.
The fourth generation, or 4G, is also known as Long-Term Evolution (LTE). It started in 2009 in Stockholm, Sweden, and Oslo, Norway. 4G used more radio waves in the 1.7 GHz, 2.1 GHz, and 2.5 GHz ranges, as well as the previous 600 MHz and 700 MHz ranges. 4G network speeds could reach up to 400 Mbps for users who were not moving, which made it possible to stream high-definition video, have video calls, and play online games. 4G LTE also improved the latency and efficiency of the network.
South Korea was one of the pioneers in developing 5G technology. It started a research and development program for 5G in 2008. Meanwhile, in 2012, New York University established NYU Wireless, a research center focused on 5G. In December 2018, South Korea became the first country to launch live commercial 5G services. Three telecom companies – KT, LG Uplus, and SK Telecom- offered 5G to their customers.
Benefits of 5G
Increased speed and bandwidth
5G uses three different bands (the invisible radio waves that carry data between the tower and your phone): high-band, mid-band, and low-band. Verizon’s 5G network right now is on the high-band, which is also called millimeter wave (mmWave). This band covers crowded city areas and works between 24 GHz and 100 GHz. Speeds on mmWave networks are expected to be around 10 times faster than on 4G LTE networks and high-band 5G also has very low latency. Mid-band 5G works on the 3.5 GHz spectrum, and it is not as fast as mmWave 5G, but it can reach speeds that are about six times faster than 4G LTE.
One of the most important and amazing features of 5G is its very low latency. Latency is the time it takes for data to travel from one point to another. The lower the latency, the better the performance. 5G has much lower latency than 4G, which makes it stand out from the previous generations of wireless technology. Some of the first users of Verizon’s 5G Ultra-Wideband network have experienced latency of less than 30 milliseconds (compared to the average of less than 100 milliseconds for 4G LTE). And that’s not all.
As 5G UWB expands and Edge Compute develops, latency should improve even more. Another key difference of 5G is its ability to slice the network according to the needs of different applications. This means that 5G can divide the data like a pie: one slice for applications that need low latency, like transportation systems, another slice for regular internet use, and another slice for IoT services that connect machines.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is set to flourish with 5G. The new generation’s ability to connect a massive number of devices simultaneously will lead to smart cities, smart homes, and an interconnected ecosystem that will change how we interact with our surroundings. From smart appliances to autonomous vehicles, 5G will be the backbone of a fully connected world.
Impact on Mobile Phones
Faster download and upload speeds
In today’s world, we use the internet for many things, such as social media, online shopping, and entertainment. We often need to upload or download data, such as photos, videos, or documents. The speed of data transfer depends on the internet speed. The faster the internet speed, the quicker the data transfer.
5G is the newest technology that offers much higher speeds than 4G-LTE. 5G can send and receive data up to 100 times faster than 4G-LTE. For example, if you want to upload a 10-minute video to YouTube, it would take you about 8 minutes on 4G-LTE, but only 5 seconds on 5G. If you want to download a movie from Netflix, it would take you about an hour on 4G-LTE, but only 36 seconds on 5G. That’s a huge difference!
Better gaming experience
Do you love watching movies and playing games on your phone? If yes, then you will be amazed by what 5G can do for you. 5G is the next generation of mobile networks that offers much faster speeds and more bandwidth than 4G-LTE. This means that you can stream and download movies and games that need a lot of data, such as virtual reality (VR) games. VR games are very realistic and immersive, but they also require a lot of data to work well. This is because they have to send two different high-quality images to your eyes, one for each eye, to create a 3D effect. With 5G, you can enjoy VR games without any lag or buffering, and feel like you are in another world.
More efficient use of battery life
5G is faster than 4G-LTE, but it also uses more battery power. The amount of battery drain depends on the chip in your phone. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon is the most efficient chip for Android phones, followed by MediaTek, Samsung, and Google among Android phones, especially the latest version, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. This chip uses only 31% of battery power when on 5G, and 25% when on 4G-LTE. If you want to save battery life while using 5G, you should choose a phone with a newer and better chip.
Impact on Mobile Networks
5G is the most recent version of wireless technology, promising faster speeds, lower latency, and increased capacity. However, what does this mean for mobile networks? The following are some of the effects of 5G on mobile networks:
Increased data demand:
5G will enable more data-intensive apps and services, such as virtual reality, augmented reality, cloud gaming, and 4K video streaming. This will increase data demand from users and devices, putting pressure on mobile networks to offer adequate capacity and coverage.
Need for more infrastructure
5G will employ higher frequency bands, which have a shorter range and poorer penetration than lower frequency bands. To cover the same region as 4G, 5G will require additional base stations, antennas, and fiber-optic connections. Furthermore, additional edge computing and network slicing technologies would be required for 5G to optimize network speed and efficiency.
New business models and income streams
5G will enable mobile network operators to provide new services and products to their consumers and partners. For example, 5G will allow mobile network operators to offer network-as-a-service, allowing them to customize and assign network resources based on the demands of various customers and apps. Mobile network operators will also be able to engage with other industries, such as healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing, to create solutions that harness 5G capabilities.