What is 5G, and when is it coming?
Unless you've been living under a rock, there is a likely chance you have heard of 5G. Unlike going from 3G to 4G, this jump is looking like it could be incredible. People have seen download speeds of up to 1.5 Gigabytes Per Second, compared to 4G's 40MBPS! Things like loading and scrubbing YouTube videos become almost instant. HD Netflix episodes can take seconds to download! You may have heard of the rumour that the frequency that 5G will operate on could cause health issues, but this could not be further from the truth.
5G will operate from 24 - 86GHz, while LTE operating on
600MHz - 6GHz. The higher frequencies allow for more bandwidth, but won't travel as far, as it operates on millimeter waves. Just like the reason microwaves only cook food inside them. Any obstacles, like walls, and some reports of even rain, can disrupt the signal - significantly hindering performance. This is what has sparked concerns, as companies' solution to the limited range is to just put more nodes (image to the right) around, allowing you to quickly switch nodes to maintain a connection. But this will cause 5G to be a rather expensive investment.
5G prices should be fairly similar to existing 4G charges. And on the topic of prices, you may have heard of AT&T's marketed '5GE', but this turned out to be a marketing move, and was just 4G.
To answer my question, 5G will not cause any health problems, and was only a concern made aware to mobile carriers, and was soon proven to be wrong.
When will 5G come to market?
Currently, you can buy 5G phones (picture below), but they come with an enormous price tag, some costing £1500 or more. This is due to having to have bigger antennas to be capable of the full bandwidth. Even if you do buy a 5G phone, only certain cities currently have it available, and within those cities, only very few places have it. Often, 5G phones will have bigger batteries, as 5G uses significantly more battery, it can also cause the device to become fairly hot.
The full market release will probably be coming around the 2020 - 2022 time, as deployment and development of this technology, is still yet to come.
So far, I have only talked about download speeds. The upload speed is currently still faster than 4G, but not as fast as companies are promising, although it is set to change as carriers look to develop these speeds.
So many new technologies are coming out, of which are game streaming services, and the likely reality is, that they could heavily depend on the 1ms latency that carriers are working on.
As Marques Brownlee put it: '5G is like folding phones, right now, in 2019. Clearly not ready - yet. But, when you use it, and you get just the right use case, and you're at just the right place, you get this amazing little glimpse into the future.'
Currently, the cons outweigh the pros. Although, this should hopefully change!
If you want to find out more, you can check out a useful video by Marques Brownlee (MKBHD)