5G: Speeding Up the Internet

25 Jun 2019

Digital technologies are progressively touching and influencing our daily lives. Whether it is e-commerce or content consumption, the internet is here to stay.  There are two things that are influencing this change. Smartphones have not only established mobile computing and communication; its features and capabilities are improving by the day. Simultaneously, the underlying networks are becoming faster, rugged and multifunctional.

The world has already left 3G networks far behind. Most of us are already using 4G, even as globally 5G technology is fast emerging as the preferred technology of the future. 5G – where G stands for Generation – is set to bring about humongous changes. A higher ‘G’ means a much, much faster connection for users.

1G gave us voice, 2G allowed messages to be sent, 3G gave us data and internet while 4G made everything faster. All that is about to change with 5G.  

So, what can 5G do?

To begin with, it is very fast – 20 gigabits per second over wireless which is well over hundred times faster than 4G. Its 1 millisecond low-latency rate, or the amount of delay between the sending and receiving of information, makes it almost real-time. Which means that latency of your favourite IPL cricket match on your 5G smartphone will be lower than on your TV transmission. Interactive Skype talking will be literally real-time. Effectively, this means that distances will no longer matter in any activity.

This low latency rate of 1 millisecond, compared with the human reaction time of about 200 milliseconds, makes 5G technology best suited for driverless cars which are already being tested abroad. Technology is being improved for driverless cars, and with 5G, they are expected to be able to communicate amongst themselves in real time, thereby dramatically reducing accidents.

Breaking down distances over such a fast network will significantly help the medical profession too. Surgeries could be conducted long distance by expert human surgeons through robotic devices in real time. And as the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 kicks in, call and data-based services will receive a big boost due to 5G technology.

While 5G is a blessing in many ways, it does have its drawbacks – 5G uses a mix of frequencies and while there is hardly any 4G signal loss over 10 kilometres, 5G cannot pass through walls and rain and exhausts itself within 300 meters.  5G would then require many transmitters, and at very short distances, and companies are experimenting to see how this issue can be tackled.   5G speeds are not restricted to smartphones. 5G is designed to connect the world in a much faster and more reliable way. It is just a matter of time before many more interesting and useful applications are developed over this super-fast, distance-breaking technology to change our lives in many ways.

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