The History – From 1G to 5G
You might remember similar hype to the one we’re experiencing right now with 5G-technology when 4G was in the pipe. The questions asked were basically the same, and many didn’t quite know what impact this new “hot thing” would have on society.
Before heading into some history, let’s start with stating that the “G” in all of these terms represents which generation of wireless cellular technology we’re talking about.
Way back in the 80’s we had the first generation called 1G, which was the analog telecommunication standard.
It was then replaced in the coming decade when 2G (the second generation of wireless cellular technology), commercially launched on the GSM standard in Finland in 1991. With its arrival, mobile data services such as SMS and MMS were introduced.
Later in the 90’s, the third generation of wireless cellular technology 3G was introduced. It brought us faster internet speed enabling things like mobile internet access, video calls, and mobile TV. The 3G services transferred information at speeds between 0.2 – a few Mbit/s.
In Scandinavia, the 4G technologies began to roll out commercially in 2009 via the LTE standard (Long Term Evolution). It didn’t quite meet the requirements for 4G service at 100 Mbit/s but was branded as 4G by service providers. The faster speeds did, however, enable applications such as high-definition mobile TV, gaming services and video conferencing.
Now we’re in 2018, and the 5G technologies are being developed since a year back by several big players on the mobile tech market. The main focus which may not be that surprising is, of course, to enable even faster speeds when transferring information. One of the companies working hard on their 5G technology is AT&T which currently serves more than 100-markets with speeds of up to 400 Mbit/s.
What is 5G – The Technology
Just as the previous generations of wireless cellular technology the fifth generation, 5G, comes with further improvements, but also introduces a bunch of new technologies.
What’s significative of 5G networks is that they’ll mainly consist of multiple networks of small cells. The primary new technologies are such as millimeter wave bands and massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output).
Millimeter wave bands, which occupies frequencies between approximately 30 – 300 GHz offer speeds as high as 20 Gbit/s. The massive MIMO technology reaches speeds of 490 Mbit/s at a bandwidth of 3.5 – 4.2 GHz.
Since these new methods will be handling more cells in various sizes and shapes, it really pushes them to be much smarter than previous technologies.
What 5G will bring – The Services
No matter what kind of technique your specific carrier is investing in, one thing is for sure – 5G will be fast.
One of the biggest advantages of 5G will be the latency which will decrease significantly. For example, the time it takes for a high-definition online video to start after you press play will be way faster with 5G.
The reduced latency will also become heavily important for bigger actions such as driverless cars and other smart vehicles that constantly have to exchange small but many packets of information.
Furthermore, 5G will play a big role in the IoT (Internet of Things) development since it connects many more devices. Basically, anything from mobile devices to appliances and other gadgets will fight for a place on the new wireless cellular network. This way they’ll be less dependent on steady Wi-Fi connections to operate.
When will 5G technology be available
Despite the fact that almost everyone already has begun to work on their 5G technologies and many also have started providing the service, 5G isn’t planned to be commercially available worldwide before 2020.
The first 5G mobile devices are also yet to be introduced to the market, which preliminary should happen sometime during 2019.
At the Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona earlier this spring, some carriers shared a bit of their 5G plans.
AT&T made promises about 5G in 2018 and have already begun to serve over hundreds of markets with their 5G Evolution technology. Whether it should be seen as true 5G or not is, of course, a question of interpretation, (since you probably only will find small pockets of 5G service close to ground transmitters).
T-Mobile also announced that they will roll out 5G in parts of the US during 2018. But just like in the case with AT&T, you need to be close to the transmitters to get access to the super high transfer speeds.
Representatives from Verizon said that they’re likely to roll out fixed 5G in late 2018 but didn’t give any timeline for “true” 5G mobile services. Unlike AT&T and T-Mobile’s use of rumored millimeter-wave bands, Verizon is said to be using home routers with fixed antennas to provide their service.
True 5G Speeds
As a conclusion, we’re probably going to have to be a bit more patient before experiencing true mobile 5G speeds. One of the next major steps, except for the carriers further developments, will, of course, be the introduction of 5G phones, which Qualcomm predicts won’t happen until 2019.
So until that, we’ll just have to wait and see how everything unfolds. One thing for sure is that we will continue to cover the development closely here at RuggedInformer.
And if you want to know even more about 5G Networks, check out the official 5G Wikipedia Page