5G Is on the Horizon. How’s It Shaping Up?

With 4G holding such a predominant spot in our daily lives, it’s only natural that people look forward to when 5G will come out. Fortunately, we already have a rough idea on when it’ll be released to the widespread public: sometime around 2020. However, if you’re in the vicinity of specific cities, you may even be able to give it a test run this year! Add to the fact there’s plenty of 5G news coming out, and it’s shaping up to be an exciting time for mobile network fans. So, how is 5G looking?

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3G and 4G routers have been a thing for a while now, including models designed for both home and travel usage. Now, even before 5G has properly reached customers’ phones, Samsung has managed to get the FCC’s approval to make a 5G home router. All this is early preparation for when Verizon wheels out their 5G plans which will include the home router as part of their lineup of mobile network devices.

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Here’s the reason why the Samsung routers are being developed so much in advance. Verizon has done simple trial runs of 5G in cities beforehand, but by the end of 2018, they hope to have 5G up and running in Sacramento. Verizon also claims that two to four other cities will see 5G capabilities by the end of this year but hasn’t said much else on the matter. By looking at the FCC documents for the router, the date “October 2018” comes up as a potential point for the first public 5G connections to go live.

Verizon aren’t the only ones in the race to get 5G up and running; however. Sprint has six cities in its sights, AT&T has twelve in their plans, and T-Mobile has named thirty cities in its quest to get 5G devices in the hands of customers by next year.

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Meanwhile in Europe, Deutsche Telekom have begun to roll out a test 5G network in Berlin. While there have been minor test runs and demos within Europe in the past, this will be the first time within the continent that 5G will operate under real-world conditions. It’s still a test for now, with Deutsche Telekom also quoting a 2020 date for full-fledged 5G, but it’s a good insight into how 5G will operate once it’s fully launched.

Of course, it may not be as easy as simply bringing your phone to a demonstration. Phones these days only go up to 4G speeds, and as such, can’t simply connect to 5G and use it. Users who want to give 5G a spin may have to wait a little for phones and routers to be released with 5G capabilities. Some networks, such as AT&T, allow you to connect to a 5G network via a WiFi connection so you can get a feel for the speeds.

With 5G coming up, some people may be wondering what the benefits of 5G are over 4G. If 4G can do pretty well by itself, what can 5G possibly do that’s better?

We’ve seen Ericsson, Intel, and Telstra fighting to prove 5G is suitable for competitive gaming. Telstra’s 5G Innovation Center did a demo where the games being played had a latency of 5-6ms, which was four times better than using 4G. While gamers traditionally want fibre optic cables to play online games on, network suppliers will be keen to try to convert people to 5G gaming instead; especially with the home routers being available.

5G is also a great enabler of self-driving cars. With the sheer amount of data a self-driving car both sends and receives, a 5G connection will be able to churn through that data faster and with more bandwidth than a 4G connection. It may be that cars come with their own 5G modem for self-driving and/or user connection purposes.

The release of 5G to the general public is getting closer, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely under wraps until 2020. With a little luck, you could be experiencing the benefits of 5G two years in advance!

Are you excited for 5G? Or are you completely satisfied with 4G? Let us know below!

Image credit: Ericsson 5G Networked Society @ MWC 2013 Barcelona

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