5G Network Technology: What, When and Why?

While 4G wireless networks aren’t even fully available across the United States, the next generation, 5G network technology, is waiting in the wings. It is important to realize that these wireless networking monikers, 3G, 4G, etc., are more of an arbitrary distinction than a true scientific indicator. That said, expect 5G technology to show a marked improvement in data throughput over 4G.


What is 5G Wireless Technology and When will it Appear?

In short, 5G wireless networking is the next evolutionary step in mobile communications technology. A new “G” tends to appear every 10 years or so. 3G phones started to become widely used soon after the turn of the century, and the first 4G networks began to show up around 2010.

Samsung is currently working on a 5G wireless network and expects to begin deployment of the technology sometime around 2020. In testing, the network has shown speeds of up to 1 Gbps and the company hopes to reach 10 Gbps before the time of commercial deployment. For comparison’s sake, current 4G technology maxes out at 100 Mbps. You speed test your current internet by accessing BandwidthPlace from your mobile phone. It leverages HTML5 technology to enable testing without having to download an app.

Some skeptics feel there isn’t the frequency spectrum space for the additional bandwidth needed for 5G technology. Because of this, some pundits speculate that other technical and pricing enhancements, like longer battery life, better coverage area and the return of unlimited monthly wireless access fees will be included under the 5G moniker, if wide deployment of the technology becomes impossible due to frequency spectrum issues.

Why should I Worry about the 5G Network?

Consider that even if the frequency spectrum is available, 5G wireless technology is still six to seven years away. When and if it becomes commercially available, expect data throughput speeds rivaling the fastest current wired connections. Some of the talked about improvements to wireless technology, like improved battery life and unlimited monthly wireless access, need to be implemented by the large carriers today, whether or not 5G becomes a reality by the end of the decade.