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5G network phones and capabilities: Everything you need to know now!

Jan 04, 2017

5G network phones and capabilities: Everything you need to know now!

Find out everything you need to know now in 2020 about the new 5G network slated to be fully launched in 2020 by major cell carriers in USA including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint in USA and by major mobile service providers in Canada including Rogers Wireless, Bell Mobility, and Telus. 5G is a totally new concept in comparison to 2G, 3G, or 4G because 5G is a very user centric network concept (or initiated by the cell phone manufacturer) instead of service provider initiated (as in 1G) or system developer initiated (as in 2G, 3G and 4G) standards. Current 4G cell phones won't work on 5G network when 5G is up and running, but they will continue to work on their current 4G LTE network which will stay on as the backup option for all users of all carriers.

Anyway, it appears that every year or so a new generation of networking becomes available. When the 2G and 3G networks made their way into our lives, we could hardly believe the speed and data available. Now, with the 4G network 2G looks a bit bleak. As one would expect, the next generation 5G is intended to dwarf the 4G network. But do we really need a next generation network, and what does the 5G really mean for speed and performance on devices? Let us first find out what is 4G & 4G LTE. Here is what you need to know.

What is 4G LTE?

LTE (Long Term Evolution), marketed as 4G LTE, is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals. It is based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies, increasing the capacity and speed using new modulation techniques.

The goal of LTE was to increase the capacity and speed of wireless data networks using new DSP (digital signal processing) techniques and modulations that were developed around the turn of the millennium. A further goal was the redesign and simplification of the network architecture to an IP-based system with significantly reduced transfer latency compared to the 3G architecture. The LTE wireless interface is incompatible with 2G and 3G networks, so that it must be operated on a separate wireless spectrum.

What is 5G?

5th generation mobile network or 5th generation wireless system is the next wireless telecommunication standard beyond the current 4G LTE standard. Rather than faster peak Internet connection speeds, 5G networks aim for a higher capacity than the current 4G LTE, allowing greater number of mobile broadband users per area unit, allowing consumption of higher or probably unlimited data quantities in gigabyte per month and user. This would make it feasible for a large portion of a cellular service provider customers to stream high-definition media non-stop, 24 hours per day with their mobile devices, when out of reach of Wi-Fi hotspots. 5G will also provide better support of M2M (machine to machine) communication, also known as IoT (Internet of things), at a lower cost, lower battery consumption, and lower latency than current 4G and 4G LTE equipment.

Incredible Speeds.

Given that a great deal of programs now exceed a gigabyte, the current downloading capabilities of the 4G network is typically around 300 megabytes per second (MPs). This is in an idealistic situation as well. As the signal strength of the network greatly plays upon the actual speeds one will experience, it is often found that the upload and download is closer to 150 MBs. 

With the new 5G network, it has been predicted that the speeds will be up to 1Gb/s. This would certainly expedite the process of large software downloads and make image and video sharing almost instantaneous. Keep in mind that thousands of connections (or multi-connections) will divide up this speed, but the result will still be that the 5G will be approximately 100X faster than 4G LTE. With the increase in speed smart phone users will be able to have lower latency than current systems, improved signal efficiency, leverage wider bandwidth, revolutionize the internet. Carriers will also be able to accommodate more data transfers on their network because if 4G was a freeway (versus how 3G was a paved highway), 5G would be like a super freeway with lots more capacity for simultaneous wireless data transfers.

Will buffering be a thing of the past?

Yes and No. For older movies and software, the 1 GB/s speed of the 5G network will eliminate buffering. However, it should be expected that with increase in download speeds, that software and apps will push the envelope in development. This will result in a boost in the size of files. Compare the average file size of applications when 2G was dominant to the size of files now, and you will see that as the speed of data transference increases, so does the size of the files. And with computers having Terabyte storage, it can be expected that files will quickly exceed 20Gb with the development of the 5G networks.

What is the main difference beside speed?

The term LTE (long term evolution) will become a thing of the past as the 5G relies upon OFDM (Orthogonal frequency division). This method encodes data on multiple carrier frequencies. The main advantage of the multiple carrier abilities lies in the ability for the network to lower the effects of sever channel conditions which would on a LTE system cause for a loss of coverage.

5G should not be considered a single technology, as there are multiple factors which come into play. Primarily, the carriers will need multiple input and output antennas to boost the 5G signals. Access points will therefore need to be positioned in various locations instead of one central tower.

Rural and Urban 5G.

It has been predicted that the 5G network will be integrated into the main portion of the US by 2020. However, there’re a few considerations which may be somewhat problematic to its development. First, as the frequencies will require multiple access points, rural areas are less apt to jump on board. Changing over from a network tower where there are for example 1 million people subscribing is more ideal for networks than allocating funding to make a network available for a city with 25,000 people. Additionally, the zoning and permitting of such access points in Urban cities is far more likely to occur than in rural areas. This is not to say that 5G will not eventually make it to smaller cities, but it is quite unlikely that 2020 will be the actual date of full integration.

A network paradigm shift.

As the 5G network will have access points from virtually anywhere, the need for the towers will cease to exist. This may cause some networks to abandon their towers after a period of time. This may seem drastic to some, however, do note that it won't be implemented by any cellular service provider until atleast the year 2020. 4G phones will possibly still be supported, but it is quite unlikely that 2G and 3G phones will have any functionality after the 5G network takes off. As 4G is incorporated into vehicles, smartphones, and other marketable devices which are not so easily upgraded, it can be concluded that the 4G LTE network will see updates which will make them able to access, albeit with far less speeds, than the 5G network.

Read more about 5G and AT&T 5G-E and learn everything else there's to know about 5G.

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  • Are you saying cell phone towers may be a thing of the past? Wow. That’s hard to believe. I’m still puzzled by how the 5G network will do this. Now I saw cell phone boosters are being designed to work with upcoming 5G networks. That’s good to know. I hope people with older generation phones 2G and such know they could be up the creek without a cellular paddle soon.

    Jack Irving on
  • 5G! I’m really pumped about these fast speeds. However, it seems like a cell phone signal booster will be. the perfect companion. 2020 will be here before long.

    Gene Walker on

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