If you’re anything like most of the world, you’ve really only seen the letter and number combination on Verizon and AT&T users’ cell phones. 5G is just as mysterious as it is powerful. The faster cellular network is set to bring a once in a decade change to the way our wireless systems work and allow us to use data.
According to the New York Times, “this is not just about faster smartphones. The transition to new fifth-generation cellular networks, known as 5G for short, will also affect many other kinds of devices, including industrial robots, security cameras, drones and cars that send traffic data to one another. This new era will leap ahead of current wireless technology, known as 4G, by offering mobile internet speeds that will let people download entire movies within seconds and most likely bring big changes to video games, sports and shopping.” But what exactly is this powerful thing?
5G is basically a much faster, wireless cellular network that many are hyping up as the “millimeter wave” according to the New York Times. It will “let carriers transmit data at incredibly fast speeds”. Imagine being able to transfer all of your data instantly, or being able to load a YouTube clip in seconds. The proposed power of the network would instantly transfer the way we live life, especially because society’s tech is changing incredibly fast and is becoming much more attached to needing that said network to survive and work.
However, the only issue is that it can only travel short distances. It also has trouble penetrating obstacles at this current time.
Yet the shift to 5G feels like a tech revolution happening in slow motion. In 2019, AT&T and Verizon, the two largest American carriers, lit up their 5G networks in a small number of cities. Handset makers released only a handful of phones compatible with the new standard. The overwhelming majority of us saw no meaningful improvement to our cellular networks.
Kevin Petersen, a marketing executive for AT&T, said this. “2020 is pivotal because you’ve got a good foundation built, and the ecosystem starts to form”. But because of 5G’s limitations, don’t expect a huge difference right away. The technology will take time to improve, be implemented nationwide.
The good news is that where it is available, it might be faster than WiFi. Because it transmits data more efficiently, it helps more with data congestion. Like why your phone might be slower at a music festival and/or a ball game. The bad news is that it’s currently only compatible with certain cell phones. For now, we only know what to expect. When this new wave of technology hits us, is still to be determined.
While you’re here, check out Apple’s new 5G watch and why we love it.