The history of the G!

Following on from my previous blog where I tried to explain the complex world of mobile networking and how, at each technological breakthrough, it affected both the providers of cell phone networks, the equipment they sold and how it all influenced consumers at each level. To cover the real differences between it all would take the mind and expertise of a highly qualified telecoms engineer who could talk it all through at component level. I am not he!

Technology recap

Basically, 1 G back in the 80’s brought analogue voice to the hands of consumers and not much else. Then 2G, which was now digitally transmitted and encrypted allowed both voice and texting. This was followed by 3G and for the first time also brought the internet to the mobile phone market. When 4G was released it brought a real-world feel to the internet where, all sorts of possibilities, totally impossible before this, or virtually anyway, were now a reality.

What is 5G?

To explain what 5G is, or will be, we need to look at the basics of 4G a little bit deeper. 4G, or the fourth generation of communication networks. It is around 4-5 times faster than 3G when a full signal is being received. The advantage of 4G other than speed is less network congestion, something 3G suffered badly from. Too many users, slower speeds. 4G does not suffer from this at all. 4G radio waves are long wave, meaning they travel great distances, hence why in many rural areas of the UK for instance, a decent signal can be received. 5G is different.

5G or fifth generation communications network will run using a shorter radio wave than previous networks. This will probably mean the necessity for more masts being constructed by quite some margin to maintain national coverage. Running at between 6Mhz and 6 GHz, speed comparisons between 4G and 5G are expected to be phenomenal. At around 7 times faster than 4G.

When will 5G be available?

The availability of 5G is still really up in the air. Many huge telecommunications companies are testing their own equipment throughout the world. Qualcomm, one of the largest wireless, semiconductor, telecommunications companies in the USA have invested huge sums of money into 5G. Many nations are vying for their products to be a big part of the infrastructure of 5G. Some western companies are being openly wary about equipment from South East Asia being integrated into the European and US networks. This is probably over the top worry regarding possible security breaches that the West claim could happen! So, 5G proper, in the UK anyway, will probably be rolled out sometime in 2020. Probably in London first, but I suspect also more rural areas too as testing beds for a national rollout.

The advantages of 5G

5G isn’t just faster. It allows entire separate networks to connect. 5G can be sliced into layers with zero data loss. The advantages of this are really endless. But what springs to mind for consumers is 4k and above streaming data with no loss of quality. The military will have its own needs and will surely utilise the benefits. For the medical institutions, live streaming of trauma scenes such as road traffic collisions where 4k video will be used to save lives. The fact of the matter is, just like previous forms of the G networks, 5G will arrive and no doubt beyond that something even faster.