The Truth About 5G Connectivity
In recent months, there has been a lot of hype surrounding the nation-wide rollout of 5G services. While true 5G connectivity is only available in a handful of cities at this point, that hasn’t kept some telecommunications companies from trying to convince users 5G is already here. For example, take AT&T, which recently rebranded its 4G LTE networks as “5G Evolution” in an attempt to persuade its customers that it was providing next-generation coverage before anyone else.
Needless to say, this move wasn’t exactly praised by AT&T customers, many of whom felt that the company was intentionally trying to dupe them into paying a premium for the same old network. With marketing gimmicks like this in mind, it’s time to set the record straight surrounding 5G connectivity. In this post, we will be sharing the truth about 5G so our readers can know exactly what they may be getting into before upgrading to the world’s newest telecommunications service.
What Is 5G?
The term “5G” is the everyday label assigned to the newest broadcast transmission protocol created by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), a global group of telecommunications companies. While it can be easy to get lost in the technical details, 5G will allow for connections that are significantly better than 4G.
This technology was tailor-made with the growth of mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices in mind, and should allow for a higher volume of data to be transmitted between devices. Some experts are even estimating that 5G wireless networks could deliver data at whopping 10 gigabits per second. This is many times larger than the 100 megabits per second provided by 4G and would enable mobile users to download large files like movies and music almost instantly.
Why Isn’t 5G Here Already?
While there have been limited rollouts of 5G networks in select markets, the technology has been slow to spread. This is due in large part to the immense complexity associated with this next-generation networking technology. 5G may allow for quicker data transmissions, but this comes at the cost of a shorter maximum distance for transmitting signals between devices.
In practice, this means that the infrastructure underlying the upcoming 5G networks is extremely complex, with far more transmitters and base stations required when compared to traditional 4G. To put things in perspective, modern cellphone towers are capable of transmitting 4G LTE signals over a distance of several miles.
With 5G, the maximum transmission distance is often less than a mile, which requires a higher concentration of smaller service transmitters over the same area. Thankfully, these transmitters can be hidden in plain sight within street lamps, utility poles, and urban rooftops. Unfortunately, rural areas generally have less infrastructure in general, which means it will be more challenging to set up genuinely reliable 5G networks in remote rural areas.
Like any technology, 5G will have many pros and cons associated with it. While it appears that widespread access to 5G networks is still a few months away, we hope that this article has helped to clarify the true nature of 5G, and what users can expect once it is finally up and running.