_5G Technology Explained: More Than Just Speed

Get ready. 5G is here, and it’s going to change humanity before you even catch your breath.

Imagine this: You’re at home with Netflix at your fingertips within seconds. You get up for a day of hiking where you use augmented reality (AR) to enhance your outdoor experience. Then, you end the fun-filled day by getting into your self-driving car. All of this is currently happening, and guess what, it’s 5G. Sounds promising, right?

The fifth-generation wireless network saw its first significant deployment in 2019. As we just entered a new decade of digital transformation, it’s necessary to understand how 5G will replace, or at least augment our 4G/LTE connection. With speed that’s 100 times faster than current 4G networks, industry analysts expect a fundamental change in the way the world is connected and the way we live our daily lives.

Smart Cities 

Imagine this: You’re at the mall and see an outfit you like. You use augmented reality to try it on, without having to physically do anything labor intensive. That afternoon you go home to watch a football game on your 5G phone, which lets you choose what camera angle you’d like to see the game in real time. Whatever you do, 5G will deliver an experience.

Connected communities require a massive network ecosystem for information to flow, be processed, and analyzed within a second. If I had to describe 5G with three words, they would be: instantaneous, connected and accessible. These features bring the vision of a truly connected city closer to reality.

Telemedicine and Robotic Surgeries 

Imagine this: a world where a surgeon can operate on a patient from another continent through robotics. Sounds unbelievable, right?

Today’s networks take a split second to send and receive communication between a device and the network. While a split second isn’t much, 5G’s zero latency opens the door to seamless communication between those two. Aside from precise and remote surgeries, the reduced latency enables the use of artificial intelligence to diagnose and treat patients, real-time monitoring them, and doing physical therapy via augmented reality. Thinking globally, this could especially benefit people living in rural areas with limited access to high-quality health care.  

Autonomous cars 

Imagine this: You’re putting on a headset and driving your car that’s somewhere else, in real life. Or, even better, you let it drive itself.

Fasten your seatbelt, because self-driving cars are the future. With high-speed connectivity and low latency, sensors are able to generate a large amount of data, measure temperature, traffic conditions, weather, GPS location, etc. With facilitated vehicle-to-vehicle communication that shares data about route and speed, cars can become aware of their surroundings and engage in a safer roadway. What will this mean for Uber and Lyft drivers? Only the future of 5G technology will tell.

Challenges

The high data speed is both a gift and a curse. See, 5G uses shorter waves and higher frequencies. While higher frequencies bring faster speed and more bandwidth, they can’t travel through walls and windows and get considerably weaker over long distances. 5G can serve densely populated areas, while rural areas might be a challenge. This situation will require extensive investments for the development of infrastructure in both places. In addition, there are also suspicions that 5G will expose us to more security breaches, privacy issues, and health problems.  

All in all, 5G is a real game-changer. But don’t panic: the advances and challenges it carries are yet to be seen in this decade. You will not just wake up tomorrow and have your car make life-or-death decisions for you. However, you might be able to download a 3D movie in 3 seconds depending on the telecommunications company you’re using, as some have already upgraded to 5G.  

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