So we have heard a lot of news about the upcoming 5G connectivity, not only do we receive a ton of press releases about the connectivity, but a range of companies are working on new implementations, even the UK government unveiled plans to expand 5G connectivity with an investment of £16 million to create a 5G facility to trial the technology.
Recently, Samsung also unveiled plans to work with Arqiva to develop 5G in the UK soon.
Despite that, there is still quite the cloud surrounding what 5G, or rather the Long-Term Evolution Advanced (LTE-A) standard is, how it works, or how it will improve your mobile internet connectivity over 4G or 3G.
So we have written up this article in an attempt the answer the big questions in the best way that we can currently, of course, the technology is going to be developing over the next few years, so expect a lot of this to be different in the future.
What is it?
As the 5G technology hasn’t been set in stone yet and the basis of it hasn’t really been defined, there’s no real answer to this question just yet, but as the technology gets closer to that faster future, the details of what 5G will be will solidify.
The basis of 5G is mainly around the download speed increases, but the technology is also expected to lower the amount of latency or lag on the connection, which is the time it takes for a download to actually start downloading.
As of yet, no devices have been announced to support 5G technology, however, we expect to see many of these devices announced, or at least teased over the next year or two, at which point TechNutty will be sure to keep you updated.
How does it work?
A number of organisations have already begun testing a number of methods for 5G, Huawei has previously stated speeds of 3.6 Gbps, Samsung has claimed speeds of 7.5 Gbps, and Nokia claims to have what is currently the fastest of the bunch with speeds of 10 Gbps.
If any of those speeds come to fruition then you are going to find huge speed increases wherever you go, and possibly better broadband connections for those who can’t get cables to their houses today, especially when you consider that the fastest 4G connection in the UK is currently around 300 Mbps, and that’s why 5G is such an impressive technology that deserves your attention and the attention of the governments and organisations around you.
Of course, this isn’t going to become a reality until we have devices that can support such speeds, but people are working on that already.
Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon X20 features a new modem that can achieve LTE category 18 speeds of 1.2 Gbps, which isn’t quite Nokia’s 10 Gbps, but certainly awesome. We think where you will really see the advantages of 5G will be in more powerful devices like a laptop or tablet.
5G also improves upon old technologies with reduced latency, as we previously mentioned.
When will it be available?
Support for 5G is increasing daily, with more organisations supporting it and more money coming to develop it, the technology is moving fast, however, before it will actually hit smartphones we will need to work out the 5G standard.
Thankfully, the International Telecommunications Union has set out some guidelines to get a standard out there by February 2017, with their expected specifications set to include the following:
- 20Gbps peak download rate
- 10Gbps peak upload rate
- 30bps/Hz peak spectral efficiency downlink
- 15bps/Hz peak spectral efficiency uplink
- 100Mbps user experienced download rate
- 50Mbps user experienced upload rate
Once the standard has been set, it is expected that 5G will roll out initially in 2020 or soon after, and be available on contracts as well as SIM only plans. Of course, a lot of infrastructure is needed around the UK to get this started.
So there are a lot of ifs around the technology right now, but with the support that we are seeing, we are expecting to hear much more about 5G over the next year (or sooner), at which point we will be sure to update you.