THE fifth generation of wireless network technology – or 5G – is the next generation of mobile broadband that will eventually replace, or augment your 4G connection.
People are excited about the promise of ultra-fast 5G speeds, 500 to 1,500 megabits per second. This is the difference between downloading a movie in 20 minutes versus 20 seconds.
Since 5G has remarkably low latency, this could bring many benefits, notably in fields such as virtual reality. The highest-quality VR applications now typically require bulky headsets. With 5G, that will be replaced with goggles the size of eyeglasses.
One of the most exciting and crucial aspects of 5G is its effect on the Internet of Things (IoT). There are expected to be 125 billion devices linked by 2030, up from 11 billion last year. This leap forward in connectivity will be key to the spread of artificial intelligence and machine learning, enabling massive amounts of data to be collected from remote and mobile sensors and analyzed in real time. This will drive everything from home appliances that order groceries to autonomous vehicles to smart cities. Expect to see autonomous vehicles rise at the same rate that 5G is deployed. The factory of the future will also rely on 5G to enable augmented reality, autonomous mobility, sensor networks and machine learning. The result will be “extreme automation” and dramatic advances in productivity.
5G allows physicians to perform surgeries from hundreds of miles away. Elderly people, particularly those in rural or under-served communities, should benefit. Remote control of heavy machinery will become a reality to reduce risk in hazardous environments, and it will also allow technicians with specialized skills to control machinery from anywhere in the world.
While the rollout of 5G has already started in South Korea and selected US cities, the most dramatic changes are still years away.