After nearly a decade of hype, 5G is finally becoming a reality. On Wednesday, Verizon announced that it will launch its mobile 5G network in two cities (Chicago and Minneapolis) on April 11th while AT&T and other carriers will launch their respective 5G networks later this year. As news about release dates have begun circulating, we’ve received a number of questions from our clients about 5G, how it works, when it’ll be available and much more. Hopefully, this article will shed some light on the new technology.
1. What the heck is 5G?
At its most basic, 5G is a set of wireless networking standards/requirements that a network must meet to be in order to be called 5G. The “G” stands for generation, so 5G simply means that this is the 5th generation of such standards. It should be noted that each new generation of standards is classified by data transmission, so 1G was the first (and slowest) and 5G will be the most recent (and fastest). Like… Usain Bolt fast.
2. Will 5G replace WiFi?
While 5G promises to embody a mobile-connectivity revolution, the short answer is that it will not replace WiFi. From a consumer standpoint, there are billions of existing (and forthcoming) WiFi-only devices (think tablets, entertainment systems, etc.) that aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. From a business perspective, enterprises will continue to value the availability of WiFi connections for multi-connectivity scenarios.
3. When will 5G be available for me?
The answer to this question depends on 3 major factors:
- Where you live
- Your service provider
- What you want to use 5G for
Most experts are estimating that 2020 will be the year 5G really emerges as the next big mobile networking technology.
4. What role, if any, will fiber play in the 5G network?
Fiber will play a large role within the 5G network. The common consensus is that 5G radio networks will utilize fiber as the technology wherever possible because of 5G’s bandwidth requirements. The density of radios for 5G will push the requirement for network conjunction between wired and wireless traffic, which will only increase the requirement for fiber network solutions that focus on providing the density, accessibility and flexibility to support multiple applications needed for the future.
5. In Lehman’s terms, what will 5G be capable of?
You’ll be able to download a full-length feature movie in a matter of seconds. 5G could offer speeds up to 1000X faster than 4G. With 5G, you’ll have much quicker access to files and photos in the cloud.