What 5G Technology Promises to Bring to Wireless Networks

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-07-18
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    What 5G Technology Promises to Bring to Wireless Networks
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    What 5G Technology Promises to Bring to Wireless Networks

    Here's why the U.S. government is so interested in 5G, and why it could be crucial to enjoying technology and creating new business models in the next decade.
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    Why the Government and Businesses Are Excited by 5G
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    Why the Government and Businesses Are Excited by 5G

    If 5G wireless connectivity goes on the air as planned over the next five years, it is apt to be one of most important technological innovations of the decade. Essentially, 5G is the next iteration of cellular connectivity that will launch across the U.S. and around the world. It's estimated that 5G will deliver faster data transmission rates than the current standard, 4G, with far less latency. It can be beamed across a wider swath of land to reach more users.
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    Speeds Will Be Dramatically Improved
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    Speeds Will Be Dramatically Improved

    Although it's unknown exactly how fast 5G will be when it's in operation, many telecoms have said that they expect the technology to deliver speeds up to 10 gigabits per second over the air. That is 100 times faster than 4G LTE and even exceeds gigabit Internet access by a factor of 10.
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    It Promises to Deliver a Truly Nationwide Wireless Network
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    It Promises to Deliver a Truly Nationwide Wireless Network

    There's a chance that 5G technology could change how people access the Internet in their homes. If 5G becomes ubiquitous and it really is as fast as service providers predict, there's a good chance that many folks will turn to those telecoms for Internet access rather than stick with slower cable access. Best of all, it'll be wireless, so devices can connect without a tether. The opportunity for 5G to become a national wireless service is real.
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    It Prepares the World for the Internet of Things
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    It Prepares the World for the Internet of Things

    The Internet of things is already exploding, but there's limited bandwidth and concern that without advanced wireless technology, there simply won't be enough bandwidth to handle all those devices. That's where 5G comes in. With 5G, the industry will have the extra speed and bandwidth to accommodate the enormous growth of the Internet of things.
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    Here's How Enterprises Could Benefit
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    Here's How Enterprises Could Benefit

    The corporate world is likely to be one of the earlier and biggest benefactors of 5G technology. Companies behind the technology believe that the enterprise will use 5G to more quickly transfer data, hold more video conferences and perhaps even create new business models based on remote wireless access.
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    Enterprises Are Exploring Potential Business Opportunities
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    Enterprises Are Exploring Potential Business Opportunities

    You can assume that just about every major IT company is interested in jumping into the 5G market. Google is exploring the possibility of using drones to beam 5G down to devices. Meanwhile, Ericsson, AT&T, Intel, Verizon and countless others are all at least researching and testing the technology. They all agree that 5G is critical to the future of technology and connectivity.
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    Emerging Markets Will Be Far Behind
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    Emerging Markets Will Be Far Behind

    Once again, emerging markets aren't likely to see the benefits of 5G as quickly as those in developed countries; however, emerging markets likely would have the most to gain from it. While 5G might only be a few years away in the U.S., in countries such as China, where 4G LTE rollouts are still going on, 5G is a ways off. It's even worse in rapidly developing regions such as India and South America. Unfortunately, 5G could end up creating a deeper digital divide between developed and emerging countries than already exists.
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    But This Is a Worldwide Initiative
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    But This Is a Worldwide Initiative

    While the U.S. is moving quickly into 5G, it's not alone. Industrialized nations such as South Korea, have already said they, too, are working on deploying 5G. In addition, the European Union has diverted significant sums of cash to test and deploy 5G across the Eurozone. Expect the U.S., Korea, and the EU to become 5G's early adopters.
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    IT Will Be Important for Connected and Self-Driving Vehicles
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    IT Will Be Important for Connected and Self-Driving Vehicles

    Connected cars and self-driving cars will really need 5G technology to work successfully. The dramatic reduction in latency that 5G will bring (down to one millisecond, which is much lower than 4G LTE) means connected cars could tell other cars on the road where they are, where they're going and react accordingly. The greater the latency, the greater the chance that self-driving cars won't react in time to avoid collisions. It's possible that 5G could significantly speed up the development and deployment of self-driving cars.
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    When Will It Actually Launch?
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    When Will It Actually Launch?

    The million-dollar question is when 5G will actually launch. As of this writing, there are no industry standards on the technology, which could take years to adopt. However, the FCC believes that 5G networks will start to come online by 2020 and slowly roll out from there. But as history has shown, new wireless rollouts take years, so there is no predicting when 5G wireless will actually be available in your city.
 

In a world where even 4G connectivity is far from ubiquitous, the Federal Communications Commission on July 14 made a decision that its chairman Tom Wheeler said "could be the most important decision the commission makes this year." The FCC announced that it would make available wireless spectrum for 5G technology. The move came just a day before the White House announced a $400 million research program focused on building 5G networks across the United States. While the White House announced its efforts would be aimed at understanding the best ways to implement 5G, the FCC said it expects the technology to go live in 2020. When this happens, the FCC believes it could have a profound impact on enterprises and consumers. This eWEEK slide show discusses the state of 5G technology, why the government is so interested in it and why the business world is so excited about it. If all goes as planned, 5G could be critical to both enjoying technology and creating new business models in the next decade. Read on to learn more.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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