All You Need to Know About 5G

Aug 3, 2020
6 min read

The Next Generation of High-Speed Wireless Communication

What is 5G?

The super-fast Internet is just around the corner. 5G or the 5th Generation is the next-gen of the global network. 5G is here not only to give you improved and uninterrupted Internet and cell-phone connections, but this will also enable better performance for various innovative activities like driverless cars, delivery drones, improved A.I., and whatnot. Everything in our lives has become Smart – smartphones, smart homes, smart kitchens, smart cars, and all of them need even quicker connectivity for smooth functioning with no room for error. The Internet has reshaped our world in ways that we could never have imagined. Everything is just a snap of your fingers!


History of 1G to 5G

1G – In the year 1979, the first Generation or 1G was launched by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) in Tokyo, many other countries followed suit. However, 1G suffered from some initial drawbacks like calls not being encrypted, poor network, awful sound quality, and no roaming support.

2G – 2G was launched under the GSM Standard in Finland in 1991, and it promised better structures than 1G. Calls could be better encrypted, and digital voice calls were clearer with less background noise. With some arithmetic here and there, 2G was here to revolutionize the telecom sector.

3G – NTT DoCoMo launched 3G in the year 2001. 3G brought in increased data transfer capabilities and gave rise to more video conferencing, and video streaming became easier. Even the iPhone was launched in 2007 in the era of 3G.

4G – 4G took this game of streaming high-quality videos to another level. With multiple deployments in some countries as the Long Term Evolution (LTE), 4G offered unparalleled streaming of gaming services, H.D. videos, and H.Q. video conferencing like never before.

5G - 5G has brought the evolution of The Internet of Things (IoT) into our pockets and purses in the form of mobile phones. 5G is here to transform everything - our homes, our banks, our education, our healthcare, everything!

On June 13, 2018, the Santiago 3GPP Conference laid the foundation of the first international 5G standard. No company or person owns 5G, and it'll be wise to call 5G the brainchild of some of the leading mobile giants.

5G was first launched in a few American and South Korean cities in April 2019.

How is it different from 4G?

The 4G cellular system is nearly 5000 times faster than the current 3G structure, and it gives a download speed that reaches 100 Mbps. 5G has a download speed of almost 10,000 Mbps, and it can also connect 100 times more devices and gives 100 percent more coverage.

4G gives a download speed of an average of 20Mbps to download an H.D. movie that would generally take around 10 to 20 minutes to download, whereas 5G will download that same movie in an unbelievable 25 seconds with a stunning speed of 500Mbps to 1500Mbps. Not only is this a much better and faster upload and download of any video, but it is 3D/ultra-high definition videos, A.R., V.R.

2020 has promised not only twenty billion plus connection devices such as phones and computers but also captors, cars, drones, medical equipment, smart home devices, and so much more! And this is why we need 5G.

What are its advantages?

With the arrival of 5G, smart devices will become adept with improved and prompt connectivity.

For instance, your smart kitchen can connect with your smart oven through 5G to inform you about the exact cooking time needed.

Education will become more accessible. Students and teachers sitting in any part of the world can team up anytime.

Places in the most remote location will have access to better health and medical assistance. The functioning of multiple parallel services will become smoother.

5G can give you better coverage, can handle large bandwidth, Dalian connection, and low latency.

Thanks to a faster and more reliable network, any video will be downloaded and uploaded in a whiplash. Sending data to a large number of users will become easier. Monitoring a plethora of machines and equipment connected through 5G will guarantee more efficiency without disruption or delay.

There's also a possibility that natural disasters like tsunami or an earthquake can be detected faster and earlier.

The coronavirus outbreak has pushed everyone indoors, making "social distancing" the new norm. Students, businesses, healthcare, even the number of home deliveries have been affected in some way. All of these need more robust 5G technologies in the U.S.

Jessica Rosenworcel, an FCC member, said the influx of people working from home is a test for the current networks. "We're going to have a big stress test on our networks," she said. "There are a lot of potential points of stress."

Countries that are spearheading 5G

World leaders in technology like Japan, Germany, China, South Korea, the USA, England, Spain, followed by France, are theoretically ready for 5G.

"According to estimates published in an Informa Tech research paper, 5G technology could be responsible for 22.3 million jobs and $13.2 trillion of global economic output by 2035."

South Korea, China, and the United States are already leading the world in building and deploying 5G technology in various cities.

Sweden, Turkey, and Estonia are some names in the league of smaller countries with superior technology that have taken significant steps to make 5G networks commercially accessible to their citizens.

South Korea is way ahead of its counterparts and is expanding its 5G spectrum. It has already set up 5G to 85 of its cities as of January 2020. According to government officials, by 2026, around 90% of Korea's mobile users will be on a 5G.

China holds the second position after South Korea, with the deployment of 5G in 57 of its cities as of January 2020.

AT&T Inc., KT Corp, and China Mobile are some of the telecommunication giants working relentlessly to build the fifth-generation (5G) of wireless technology.

Controversies regarding 5G

Since its conception, planning, and execution, 5G has been the favorite child of controversies, be it the stories about its radiation transmission leading to various health hazards, or alleged espionage. Among these, the most dangerous aspect of 5G that the world is worried about and is discussing at almost every Global dais is the enormous radiation it emits.

According to some reports, 5G network frequency is extremely dangerous as it is way above the current standard and could be exponentially risky for humans. However, according to another study that counters this view,

humans emit a high amount of radiation during their lifetime. The frequency of this radiation is at least 5000 times higher than 5G. Let that sink in! Does that mean that humans are more dangerous?

Researchers opine that technology like 5G is not 'the problem.' The problem lies in the spectrum and the power it brings along. To understand this better, the closer you are to the antenna and transmitter, the higher is the power and the better connectivity you get.

Most devices transmit a very low power to have any effect on the human body. For instance, the Wi-Fi uses a spectrum band of 2.4 GHz, even the microwave at your house uses the same band. The spectrum band is the same here, but the level of power both of these uses is different. The microwave uses more power, whereas the Wi-Fi uses lesser power.

5G is promising unlimited coverage, which means developing mega infrastructures like putting more number of radio heads closer to people for better connectivity; this will send up the cost for laying such structures.

5G also adheres to the risk of security breach and threat of espionage. The U.S. has banned the use of Chinese components in its 5g network, citing a probable chance of espionage.

Amidst the Covid-19 stress, the ever-existing race for dominance between the USA and China has also amplified. Supremacy in the 5G revolution has become the absolute goal of the two superpowers, to the extent that the U.S. has banned the use of Chinese components in its 5g network, citing a probable chance of espionage.

Recently, the U.S. even blocked Huawei Technologies, which is a leading 5G gear supplier.

What is beyond 5G?

What lies beyond 5G is up for debate, discussion, more and more analysis, experiments, speculation, and the colossal funding that it needs. 6G is still theoretical, and we may also have 7G or 8G as the future looks quite promising.

5G is the next frontier that combines evolution with innovation for the entire telecommunication industry.

The top four carriers in the U.S., Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and At&T are now offering 5G. However, coverage is still limited around the U.S.

Verizon spearheaded the 5G revolution in the U.S. and, as of 2020, is offering 5G in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta, Dallas, and in smaller cities like Memphis, Columbus, and Grand Rapids.

The Verizon subscribers in Chicago, US have managed to get speeds of up to 1.4Gbps. This is way faster than 4G's theoretical top speed of 300Mbps.

As more and more devices connect to the Internet, 5G is the need of the hour, and is here to change people's lives.