5G is Coming – Are we Ready?

One of the key advantages of 3G cell towers was that they could cover immense territory with relatively few cells.

This is because the network did not require as much bandwidth, meaning networks had to deploy fewer cells.

When technology progressed to 4G networks, the cells were producing more bandwidth, meaning the coverage radius of each cell was smaller. Users may have noticed that their coverage may drop more often than on their 3G network. 

As the 5G network gets rolled out, this trend will continue.

More cell towers will be required to produce this immense bandwidth because the cells are not able to cover as much space as a 3G or 4G cell. Because more cells will need to be rolled out, 5G users should expect that their coverage may not be as widespread at first. 

Radios, cell towers and satellites communicate using radio frequencies. Frequency is measured in Hz and the radio frequencies tend to operate in the GHz range.

Early reports on the 5G network indicate that this network is going to transmit its data in the range of around 6 GHz.

This radio frequency range is already crowded by other signals, such as satellite links. With numerous types of signals operating in the range of 6 GHz, it is fair to wonder whether or not the overcrowding is going to pose a problem as people try to transmit their data signals at this frequency. 

Will there be issues sending and receiving signals? Time will tell as this network frequency starts to spread.

5G subscription will be hellishly expensive

The annual investments required for upgrading to 5G will be over the billion mark – raising questions over the justifications of actually switching over from 4G to 5G.

Nationwide 5G coverage for the United States will probably cost more than $400 billion.

In addition, ISP and telco carriers will also have to incur heavy expenses for upgrading their existing infrastructure to accommodate the new devices and antennas required by 5G systems. It’s going to be a full-blown overhaul.

4G LTE phones are more than adequate to do video and the rest of user’s needs. Samsung have a 5G phone but it is around $US1700 and there are few places it can be used anywhere in the world.

The 5G phones will revert to 4G where there are no towers and so why would anyone give up their 4G phone before at least 2021 and even then, it is not economical to do so.

5G application today and tomorrow  

The typical latency for a 4G network (mobile to internet and back) is around 60 milliseconds, whereas 5G could decrease this to as low as 1 millisecond. This massive decrease in latency will be vital for technology such as self-driving cars, where every millisecond could make a difference in preventing a crash.

5G will allow more devices to connect to the network at the same time. While smartphone usage continues to grow, this is especially important because 5G is set to facilitate new developments in autonomous cars, connected machinery, and Internet of Things devices.


Author: Kevin Beck, Associate nem Australasia

This article is based on research and opinion available in the public domain.

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