We’ve been hearing about 5G Internet service for quite some time now. It is supposed to be the next great leap forward with Internet technology giving us unprecedented speeds in more places.

What is 5G?

5G is simply fifth-generation cellular wireless. 1G started back with analog cell phones and has gradually expanded from a few kbps to a hundreds of mbps thanks to new technological innovations along the way like CDMA, GSM, EVDO, WiMAX and LTE. 5G is simply the next step forward increasing speed, responsiveness (latency) and adding the ability to connect multiple devices.
Adaptation will be slow and will not truly be 5G for sometime. Network infrastructure will need to be upgraded which will take time. During that time 5G devices will work off of 4G networks so speeds will be a bit slower than as advertised for what 5G can bring.

What is different?

The potential of 5G is several gbps of wireless speed so something had to have changed. 5G networks use OFDM encoding, similar to what 4G LTE uses, but should provide lower latency and better flexibility. The systems will also be smarter, which should be able to boost capacity using wider bandwidths and better technology.

5G networks will operate at two different frequencies, one above 6 Ghz and one below that. The lower frequency networks will be more flexible as they use both cellular and wi-fi frequencies and since they can cover the same distance as 4G no new infrastructure should need to be built. The higher frequency channels are used heavily by others but above 28 Ghz the potential for high speeds is enormous. These frequencies have never been used for consumer electronics as the antennas have just been too big until now. The problem is that these are not strong signals which will require more towers to be constructed to use it will cellular technology.

Where can I find 5G?

5G has already begun to be rolled out. Starting this month it was introduced in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento by Verizon. AT&T plans to release it in 19 different American cities by the end of the year though 5G phones will not be available until 2019 or later. Other carriers like T-Mobile will not be far behind.

What are the ramifications?

5G will be a major shift in how Americans (and the world) get online. Until now the high speeds and capacity that we enjoy online have only been available through a land line service from companies like Comcast, Time Warner or Verizon. 4G networks could not handle the amount of data that the average American uses online in a month. 5G will make the cable modem obsolete. We are sure that many of you are not sorry to hear that!

The infrastructure itself will also be much cheaper. Rather than digging up streets and yards to install a line that can degrade overtime or become a favorite treat of a hungry squirrel a carrier will just need to install a cell site every few hundred yards and give customers a wireless modem. This will become the new home Internet service and could potentially spur new technological innovation as well outside of the home. True smart cars or driverless cars could now become not only a reality but also affordable. Virtual reality could be the next great leap in technology. We’ve already put a cellular network on the Moon after all. More devices will become connectable. The world as we know it will change and who knows what will be added to our toolkit at Nicely Done Sites. It sounds exciting!

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