Because there has been and continues to be a major influx of devices that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT), a need for a newer level of wireless Internet is imminent. The critical piece of technology required to meet the demand created by these devices, and those yet to come, is the fifth generation (5G) of wireless technology.
In late January 2018, Axios.com reported that the Trump administration was mulling over a proposal to create a nationalized 5G network to address security concerns about China. This potential 5G network would either be made by the government or by a coalition of U.S. based telecommunications companies. This kind of government involvement in a data network would be unprecedented and was shot down by the chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, who argued that "Any federal effort to construct a nationalized 5G network would be a costly a counterproductive distraction from the policies we need to help the United States win the 5G future."
While it's unknown what role the government will take in shaping the 5G future, here are some important facts to know about the technical aspects of 5G.
1) The Internet of Things
The phrase "Internet of Things" was first used in 1999, attributed to Procter & Gamble's Kevin Ashton. This term is used to describe a network of objects that have the capacity to assemble and share information electronically, and it includes the vast array of smart devices that access the Internet. 5G is a faster and smarter way for devices to connect to the Internet, so the devices must also be faster and smarter as well.
The IoT is poised to include updated and smarter appliances that will make use of 5G technology, including washers and dryers, cars, traffic cameras, and roads. Analysts predict that over 20 billion things will join the IoT in the next decade, and the 5G technology is anticipated to be the thread that connects this unimaginably larger network of devices.
2) Increased Bandwidth Capacity
Analysts predict that 5G will address the need for connection capacity brought about by a world of smart devices. 5G is expected to have a bandwidth between 100 and 1,000 times greater than the current 4G network.
3) Super Speed
The speed for the 5G network is set to be faster than any technology the world has seen to date. Samsung's early trials of the technology in 2014 set a speed record with mobile technology, transmitting nearly 8 gigabytes of data per second. The consensus estimate is that 5G will ultimately be able to transmit 10 or more gigabytes per second in its initial stages of use, and transfer rates could reach nearly 1,000 gigabytes per second in the future. Analysts posit that such speeds will revolutionize the global technology sector worldwide.
The most striking prediction about 5G is that it will be unbreakable, that it will remain consistently reliable and above-average in its effectiveness. The 5G network is expected to have a latency of just one millisecond. This factor is one of the most significant because of its implications for the possibilities of use. A flawless interconnected system makes new devices and concepts possible in the future.
5) Release Is Imminent
The release of 5G technology is imminent. However, the date and location of 5G's rollout is highly speculative. Consumers in the United Kingdom, for example, don't expect to see the technology until 2020 at the earliest. The CEO of Nokia, Rajeev Suri, suggested that a rollout as early as 2020 would likely be only a trial release, and that the network would have many kinks yet to work through. Still, the release is touted to be unlike anything the world has ever experienced.
Various companies have different timetables when it comes to rolling out 5G to the general public. Each of the major companies are working on their own networks. While it won't be available nationwide for a few more years, both Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) have plans to begin setting up the network for testing and deployment this year.
Verizon has a plan to begin offering 5G as a home broadband service (basically WiFi) in three to five cities by the end of 2018. While it hasn't been revealed which cities will be getting a visit from Verizon, it can be sure that all major telecommunications companies will be watching this test run closely to see if the internet-of-things age really takes off. AT&T announced in a press release in January 2018 that they expect to launch mobile 5G service in a dozen markets by end of year. These trial runs will form the basis of the future of the internet, so keep your eyes open for future announcements.
The release of this new, faster system is expected to be transformative in many ways, but one of the most promising is the effect 5G is likely to have on transportation. The future of vehicles manned by technology is no longer reserved for major motion pictures. Remote traffic management, real-time navigation, automatic braking systems, and preemptive collision detection and prevention are just a few of the possibilities that the implementation of this technology is capable of making a reality. The impact that such advances will have on personal and commercial transportation is truly revolutionary.