All-new 5G network technology is the next generation of wireless, promising users mobile users more reliable service and faster data speeds. While the 4G LTE network has worked for several years, the number of mobile users and the demand for data continue to rise, crowding available frequencies. The development of 5G network technology promises to change all of that. Anticipated to debut in the early 2020s, the 5G network is still in the research and development stages by telecommunications companies. Still, there is a lot to look forward to as news about current research and resulting products is released. Read on to find out what you need to know about the coming 5G networks.
All-New 5G Network Technology
- What is 5G?
- How 5G Works
- The Launch of 5G Networks
What is 5G?
It is easy to hear about 5G technology and think that it’s no big deal. However, 5G networks promise to handle 1,000 times more traffic and perform 10 times faster than 4G LTE. This might not sound like a lot, but imagine downloading an HD movie in as little as a second instead of in 10 minutes with the current 4G network. Because it can handle so much more, this system needs to be smarter. Researchers have achieved this by developing smaller cells that can change shape and size when sending encoding data through radio waves. This allows telecommunications companies to leverage wider bandwidths and use advanced antenna technologies to boost capacity of the wireless network by as much as four times over 4G LTE.
- 5G handles 1,000 times more traffic than 4G
- 5G performs 10 times faster than 4G LTE
- The 5G system is smarter than previous technology
How 5G Works
While it is difficult for experts to quantify and describe exactly what a 5G network is, there are foundational principles that help explain this new technology. These include millimeter waves, small cell, massive MIMO, beam forming, and full duplex. Electronic devices use specific frequencies on the radio frequency spectrum, and because there are so many users and devices, room on these frequencies is running out. Researchers are focusing on using millimeter waves for these devices, between 30 and 300 GHz, which have not used before for mobile devices. Small cell networks help these millimeter waves to travel through buildings and not be absorbed. Instead of high-powered cell towers, small cell networks use a series of relays called bay stations to transmit signals around obstacles.
Massive MIMO, which stands for Multiple Input Multiple Output, increases the amount of antenna available. The 4G stations have about a dozen ports for cellular traffic, while MIMO can have up to 100 ports to help transmit signals. Beam forming helps to focus streams of data from these ports so there is as little signal interference as possible. MIMO is like a traffic signal to stream data in orderly ways. A basic antenna used with 4G networks can only do one job at a time, either transmit or receive, which leads to interference. Researchers have been working on full duplex systems that help to reroute signals around each other, leading to faster service.
- Millimeter waves provide more frequences for mobile devices
- Signals can be transmitted around obstacles
- The amount of ports are increased more than 20 times
The Launch of 5G Networks
The big cellular networks - AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint - are already beginning to roll out their 5G networks. Verizon is officially the first, as it launched its 5G home service in LA, Sacramento, Houston, and Indianapolis on October 1st. Verizon has announced their plans to launch their mobile 5G network in 2019, while still maintaining focus on faster and more competitive home internet service. The first global 5G network will likely be launched by AT&T, starting in 29 cities with a mobile internet hotspot followed by phones. T-Mobile is building their nationwide 5G network starting in 2019 with plans for full coverage in 2020. Sprint is launching an integrated 4G/5G phone from LG the first half of 2019.
- AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint are working on 5G networks
- Verizon has launched 5G home internet service
- AT&T will be the first to launch a global 5G network
While 5G network technology is still in progress, the current progress is promising. In fact, it is likely that more technology will be developed to make the 5G network the fastest and most reliable to date.