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Communication using wireless cellular networks has been around for a while. Over the years, we’ve seen some significant upgrades regarding speeds a particular network can provide. As things sit at the moment, the fastest network available is 4.5G LTE Advanced Pro. The basis of  4.5G is almost ten years old, so you can say that it’s getting a little outdated. This is where 5G wireless network standard steps in, promising some amazing stuff. Before I dive into the matter of why 5G is going to be so revolutionary, let’s talk about history.

Natural Progression

The beginnings of wireless cellular networks weren’t all that great. Sure, you could use them to send messages and receive calls, but even those were slow. I remember using the internet on my phone over 2G networks while I was in elementary school and the experience was less than enjoyable. Comparing the speed of a 2G network to its successor, 3G, the difference is more than obvious.

Still, the 384 kbit/s for download and 60 kbit/s for upload of the digital 2.75G EDGE cellular network was miles faster than the sluggish speeds of the analog 1G network. But, that makes sense since internet connectivity on phones wasn’t a thing in the ’70s.  With users starting to use their devices for social media, browsing and even business functions, network speeds progressed massively.

Introduced in 2001, the 3G network greatly improves all aspects of it’s predecessors. In terms of speeds, the year 2008 is when 3.5G HSPA+ saw the light of day with its, at the time, mental 56 Mbit/s for download and 22 Mbit/s for upload.

5G Wireless Network G Speed
Image Credit : mikroe.com

However, for the rising needs of it’s users, a faster cellular network was needed; 4G LTE/WiMax. This generation is special in many ways, mainly because it’s the stepping stone of the 5G wireless network. This is also when smart devices in your home became a usable thing.

Let’s Talk Technical About The 5G Wireless Network

The fifth generation will introduce many advancements to wireless networks. The main focus of the 5G network is operational performance. High data rates, less lag, reduction in cost and energy levels as well massive device connectivity without any noticeable losses. Major network providers and companies, such as Verizon, Intel and Qualcomm, are already testing the 5G wireless network technology.

The Release-15 is the first stage for 5G, where we’ll see what the network can really do. I read about Verizon’s demo at this years CES, and all I can say is that if it’s anything nearly as good as in the demo, the network will open up a bunch of new usage opportunities. The demo featured a conference call to a house in Houston, set up with Verizon’s 5G home network and about 30 smart devices connected to the same network.

A speed test was performed. The results? Somewhere in the neighborhood of 690 Mb/s. Still not over the 1Gb/s mark, but still impressive.

5G Wireless Network Specs
Image Credit : frankrayal.com

Responsible for such high speeds of the 5G wireless network is the 28 GHz frequency. Latency are supposed to be 1 ms, which is almost instant. In terms of connection density, 5G networks would be able to cover 2.6 million devices per square mile, with the same energy efficiency per device as 4G. Theoretically, the throughput over the 5G wireless network coverage area is 260 Mbps per square mile.

Plenty Of Usage Scenarios

The impressive specs open up the doors for many usage scenarios in three major categories; Enhanced Mobile Broadband(eMB), Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications(URLLC) and Massive Machine Type Communications(mMTC).

5G Wireless Network Usage
Image Credit : fiercewireless.com

Enhanced Mobile Broadband targets handsets and is meant to replace the 4G network. The automotive world and industry takes advantage of the networks low latency for autonomous purposes in the URLLC segment, while mMTC enhances communication between machines and sensors.

I see the 5G wireless network as an important step towards automation, but I think that the technology isn’t there yet, at least not for the average user. In some industrial and specialized applications, sure. Also, I simply can’t but not think about futuristic movies in which they conduct regular phone calls over video and holograms.