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What Is 5G and will it work everywhere without our 5G Signal Booster?

Sep 19, 2018

What Is 5G and will it work everywhere without our 5G Signal Booster?

What is the need for 5G when 4G gets the job done? It all depends on what we mean by "job". If it is merely checking emails or surfing the web occasionally to look up some info, then yes, 4G would suffice. However, 5G digital networks will enable 5G smartphones and other devices (Internet of Things IoT) to do a whole lot more. It is a way for wireless devices - both stationary and mobile, to receive and send wireless data without having to plug them into a wall outlet. For example, 5G will also enable driverless cars, power delivery drones, and will replace traditional Wi-Fi in your home and office.

Comparing 4G with 5G.

The "G" in 4G and 5G stands for generation. In addition to vocal voice communication, 4G and 5G networks also connect our mobile devices to the Internet. The difference between 4G and 5G from a user's perspective is that 5G will be faster, smarter, and more efficient than 4G. With predicted speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second, 5G should ultimately become up to 1000 times faster than 4G.

In the late 2000's, 4G mobile Internet speeds increased by up to 500 times from 3G, which allowed for faster mobile browsing, high-quality video calls, and support for HD TV on mobile. Mobile technology received a huge boost with the introduction of 4G, particularly for the evolvement of tablets and smart phones. However, things are about to change again, because it is anticipated that, eventually, 4G will not be able to manage the enormous number of connections that will be on the network. In fact, experts state that by the year 2020 there will be more than 20 billion connected devices; each device requiring a connection with great capacity. Enter 5G! We saw the first capabilities of 5G during the 2008 Winter games, providing an exciting experience for both participants and fans.

Basically, currently with 4G there are so many people with cell phones, but there are a limited number of radio frequencies. Areas are divided by cellular systems into overlapping cells, so a tower in that area will transmit the radio signal required for talking or using online apps. As users of cell phones move around the area, so too does their phone connection jump from tower to tower. This means that, without becoming overloaded, the same frequency can be reused throughout the city. However, this does result in service disruptions and/ or delays. In addition, users of 4G devices use the same bands of the radio frequency spectrum that cell phone carriers use, resulting in slow connections for all mobile users.

How Will 5G Work?

Phone providers have been looking for ways to get around the lack of bandwidth, so instead of using radio waves for 5G they will be using millimetre waves (mmWaves). As we know, radio signals are measured by wavelengths: the higher the frequency, the shorter the wavelength. Wavelengths of between 30 and 300 GHz will be used for 5G signals, and these are measured in millimeters, which is why 5G is being referred to as a millimeter wave (mmWave) technology. That is why, with its very high-frequency signals, 5G will be capable of handling unbelievable data bandwidth. These high frequencies are ideal for a variety of reasons, one being their huge capacity to support fast data. Second, they are not already cluttered with existing cellular data, meaning they can be used for increasing bandwidth demands in the future. Another bonus is that they are highly directional and can be used alongside other wireless signals without creating interference.

5G networks will ultimately be capable of beaming ultrafast data with high precision and little latency to more users. But because these ultrahigh frequencies only work when there's a direct, clear line-of-sight between the antenna and the device accessing the signal, and because high frequencies are easily absorbed by rain, humidity, and other objects, we should expect to see lots of strategically placed antennas in support of 5G. These might be large antennas positioned throughout a city or really small ones in rooms or buildings – perhaps even both. And, in order to support long-range 5G, we should also expect to see many repeating stations to ensure radio waves are pushed as far as possible.

Mobile users will be able to simultaneously receive and send enormous amounts of data. Indeed, 5G is shaping up to be the new way for all devices, both stationary and mobile, to receive and send data without being plugged in to a wall at the office or in your home.

Consumers will enjoy Low Latency with 5G.

Latency, or delay, can be described as amount of time from when a device sends information to when it can be used by the receiver. It is "low latency" that is the key difference between 4G and 5G. Because 5G will have reduced latency, your mobile device connection will be a replacement for your cable modem and Wi-Fi. Downloading and uploading files will be quick and easy. You will never have to worry about your phone or the network crashing, freezing, or hanging up. An added bonus is that you will be able to watch 4K videos almost immediately without the annoying buffering.

5G will fix Bandwidth issues for Carriers.

Bandwidth issues will be fixed with 5G. With so many different devices connected to 3G and 4G networks, they simply can't cope effectively because they don't have the infrastructure. With improved bandwidth, there should be reduced latency between devices it connects. With 4G, there's a latency of approximately 70 milliseconds, whereas 5G should have less than 1 millisecond, which means more productivity and much less frustration. And, of course, 5G could be a lifesaver. For example, with driverless cars vehicles will be able to connect instantaneously to prevent accidents.

Is There a Downside to 5G?

It is quite possible that in certain areas, 5G may only be able to span a few blocks. This means that 5G may not be capable of projecting over long distances. And, signals may be disrupted because smaller frequencies are not capable of penetrating obstacles, so trees and concrete walls may be disruptive to the signal. Therefore, this technology may be a line-of-sight technology, meaning that for best lightning fast transfer speeds your phone or wireless modem will probably have to be close to a base station.

Rolling out 5G Compared to Earlier Technologies.

The rollout of 5G's infrastructure will be different to earlier technologies. Previously, communications companies built tall cell towers to broadcast cell signals throughout a specific geographical area, but this may not be the case with 5G. Instead of building towers for 5G, equipment known as "small cells" will be installed by service providers on existing buildings and telephone lines. It is anticipated that these cells will have a range of approximately 820 feet (250 meters) so customers will use wireless modems to tap into the signal. It could well mean that cable-based Internet services will no longer be required.

Why 5G Phones Will Be Different?

Your 5G phone will come equipped with many small antennas, designed to tap into whichever 5G frequency is most prevalent in your location. Today's 4G phones are not forward compatible because, at the time of manufacturing, phone manufacturers were not aware of the standards of the 5G platform. The good news is that your new 5G phone will be backward compatible, meaning it will work on a 4G network when 5G is unavailable due to lack of coverage.

When it comes to delivering next-generation services within buildings, 5G signal boosters will become absolutely essential. Within buildings, signal boosters, small cells, in fact the whole cellular industry will all work together. With the eminent arrival of 5G, there is going to be a lot of innovation, and lots to capitalize on. We must keep in mind that 5G is not simply an extension of 4G.

Both AT&T and Verizon in United States are planning to use high band millimeter wave spectrum and launch commercial 5G networks in certain cities. 5G will provide tremendous capacity gains, but it does come with challenging penetration and propagation characteristics. Nothing goes through a concrete wall at 28 GHz – absolutely nothing at all; so without some type of device like a signal booster or small cell to help out, in-building coverage issues will be a disaster.

Getting 5G Inside a Building with 5G Signal Boosters.

When it comes to buildings between 100,000 ft.² and 500,000 ft.², in-building wireless signal boosters will be hugely advantageous for improving 5G coverage. Carriers typically save their in-building investment capital for venues like convention centers, transit hubs, stadiums, and so on, which still leaves an enormous number of buildings requiring in-building systems where investment comes from tenants, building owners, or neutral host providers. You can see that there's a very clear need for signal boosters because statistics show that approximately 80% of mobile traffic comes from within buildings.

Therefore, before 5G becomes available to the general population we must have a solution to get 5G inside buildings. Of course one obvious potential solution for this huge issue is signal boosters, and our prediction is that 5G signal boosters will be manufactured to help indoor wireless reception by the time need arises in large volumes in late 2019. Read more about 5G and AT&T's 5G-E to learn everything else there's to know about 5G.


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  • I just ordered Galaxy Note 10+ 5G, should be getting it anytime now. Can’t wait to experience it.

    ANDY N JOHNSON on
  • Verizon seems to be flooding the airwaves with commercials for 5G. I know people are excited and there’s a lot of talk about how fast 5G really is. If this article is accurate, people are going to be amazed at Verizon 5G. It sounds like any battle between 5G vs. 4G is going to go to 5G, but I don’t know if I want to spend the money on it just yet. I’m going to wait until other carriers start promoting 5G and the wonderful world of free market capitalism gives me some deals.

    Henry K. Cord on
  • Seems like 5G is going to be very different from 4G whether it’s 5G’s speed or how it operates differently from 4G. This article is good for anyone who wants 5G explained. I was wondering what was different about 5G cells and this gave me some much-wanted insight into this new technology. This didn’t sound like an ad for 5G either so I’m giving it more credibility.

    Antoine DeMarco on
  • I’m glad I read this because I’ve been seeing a lot of commercials for 5G and I wasn’t sure what it meant. I’m contemplating getting a new cell phone and don’t know if I should go with existing technology or the new 5G. I really wanted to know how 5g technology works so this was helpful. I can watch commercials about 5G vs. 4G and 5G speed, but I want something a little more objective. I like the idea of faster speeds and I love the concept of latency (which you explained nicely). I am definitely looking forward to 5G and although I normally give new technology some time to work the bugs out, I think I’m going to get a 5G next.

    Jess Hanson on

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