What is 5G?

5G not only speeds things up even more, it changes the way devices connect to the internet.

May 17, 2019 09:09
1 minute read.
What is 5G?

A Samsung employee poses with the new Samsung Galaxy S10 5G smartphone at a press event in London, Britain February 20, 2019.. (photo credit: HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS)


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The fifth generation of broadband connection, 5G, is much more than a faster network connection that enables users to instantly download and watch videos.

1G enables users to talk on the phone, 2G to send messages, 3G to surf the Internet and receive and transfer broad data packages, and 4G allows users to do all the above, but faster. 5G not only speeds things up considerably, but changes the way devices connect to the Internet.

5G uses millimeter wave technology, which consists of radio waves in high frequency. AM radio signals, for example, are composed of waves that can reach longer distances, but with lower quality than FM signals, which are constrained to city boundaries yet deliver better sound. 5G, on the other hand, stands out as a frequency much higher than any other mobile technology currently on the market. Higher frequency means it can both carry a greater amount of data and deliver it faster. The drawback, however, is that the signal can only reach a distance of around 300 meters. The infrastructure necessary to adopt such technology, therefore, requires building transmitting stations close to one another thus creating a network.

Self-driving cars are the most notable examples of 5G technology. Such vehicles equipped with 5G technology have a reaction response rate of just 1 millisecond, compared to human reaction of 200-300 milliseconds.

Since the response rate of cars driving with 5G technology is much faster than human reaction time, the probability of crashes and traffic jams are close to zero for the reason that such cars emitting and receiving signals from one another know each other’s exact location.

While 4G technology is fast enough to permit such data transfer, another significant difference between 4G and 5G is that the latter uses a technique called MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output), in which cells contain multiple antennae that can communicate with multiple devices simultaneously and enable multiple bitstreams of data. In other words, the signal can supply several devices, such as mobile phones, televisions, cars, drones and airplanes that receive signals through the same node, under the same area, without losing strength.

In short, it goes beyond mobile technology.

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