Technologies are getting advanced overnight, what with all the news in the market about the next generation of cellular network technology – 5G. There is no end to the amount of hype generated everywhere that 5G networks would take our devices to the next level. Expectations are high to hear something about 5G wireless technologies at the Mobile World Congress, industry’s convocation at Barcelona, Spain. It is expected that Intel, Qualcomm, Ericsson Huawei and others would announce their future 5G products.
What exactly is 5G?
It is nothing but the 5th generation of mobile networking which would make our current LTE networks slower and irrelevant. The first generation was launched in 1982 which was completely analog until the launch of 2G in the year 1991. 2G was introduced in the form of GPRS and EDGE technologies. Roughly about 10 years later, 3G was launched being faster than 2G. Similarly, after ten more years, we witnessed the birth of our current LTE networks popularly known as 4G.
Following the same pattern, we may see high quality 5G smartphones in the early years of 2020. The ten year pattern has been popular for the launch of new and advanced cellular technology. Qualcomm has intentions to release 5G products before the Winter Olympics of 2018. However, this year at MWC, we cannot expect a 5G release.
Difference between 4G and 5G
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The truth is that there is no official 5G. Yes, it would be faster and efficient than 4G. But, the technicalities are not clearly known as of yet. FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler claimed that if anyone tells you about 5G, just ignore it as nothing can be truly predicted about 5G.
Certain companies such as Qualcomm, Intel, AT&T are trying out tests of 5G technology, and a term which has been cited is the use of millimeter wave (mmWave) band transmission that would unlock the high speeds.
About mmWave technology
The mobile technology transmits data over radio waves. It translates to higher the frequency, smaller would be the wavelength. Hence, millimeter technology measures the signal wavelength in millimeters. These mmWaves are defined as operating between 30 GHz and 300 GHz.
The millimeter wave technology promises high data capacity as larger amount of data would be transmitted with higher frequency. Another big advantage of using millimeter wave technology is that they allow the antennas to be even smaller than the current ones. As these antennas are the primary ways to transmit and receive signals, future smartphones would be able to take advantage of multiple antennas resulting in the efficient use of spectrum.
The challenges of mmWave technology is that with the use of higher frequencies and shorter wavelengths, users may experience issues such as interference of buildings, walls or bad weather when there’s no direct line of sight. Of course in time, as more and more tests are being carried out, these technological issues would surely be sorted out before 5G technology is made commercially viable.