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Understanding 5G

After being worked on for almost a decade, 5G is finally becoming a reality. Sure, some cities already have 5G networks, but coverage is largely limited to certain urban pockets. But before you start checking if your carrier is providing it in your area, take a few minutes to understand what 5G is.

5G is the next generation of a mobile broadband network that will begin to complement 4G LTE networks and eventually replace them. It is expected to offer incredibly fast download and upload speeds, reduce the time devices take to communicate, and with wireless networks, i.e., it will be a very low latency network.

Unlike 4G LTE, 5G has three network bands that will affect your daily usage. The low-band spectrum, which is a sub-1GHz spectrum, is the primary band used by American carriers for LTE. While it offers great coverage and wall penetration, the bandwidth is almost depleted and only offers peak speeds of about 100Mbps. The mid-band spectrum provides faster speeds up to 1Gbps and lower latency. But it won’t penetrate buildings effectively. The high-band spectrum, also called mmWave, delivers download speeds of up to 10Gbps and has extremely low latency. But it also has the smallest coverage area per tower and the worst building penetration. Carriers are rolling out all three bands in different areas at the moment.

5G is expected to change the way we interact with technology significantly. It is the technology that will finally enable the autonomous vehicles that we’ve been reading about for years. It will enable vehicle-to-vehicle communication that will dramatically enhance safety and could save a lot of lives. 5G is also expected to allow cities and municipalities to operate more efficiently. Utility companies will be able to track and fix issues quickly, and surveillance will also become relatively inexpensive.

Its low latency will allow for remote control of medical equipment, heavy machinery, and enable people to limit exposure to hazardous conditions. Telemedicine, remote recovery, physical therapy via AR, remote surgery, smart pills can all become a possibility thanks to 5G.

It’s exciting to note that some neighborhoods already have 5G access, and all you need to experience the blazing speeds of this network is a 5G-enabled smartphone.