Updated: Nov 6
Mobile broadband technology is more communally referred to as 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G and very soon to be 5G. In simple terms, it refers to the bandwidth or the amount of data that moves in a network; including downloading files, viewing internet pages, and watching videos.
Before we can start to understand how 5G is expected to set the new standards in mobile technology and change the way we use our devices, it is very important to understand the history behind the different generations of mobile technology that gave way to 5G.
1G was the first generation of high-speed internet for mobile devices (cellular phones) which was introduced to the market around the 1980s. With the introduction of 1G (at a speed of 2.4 kbps) cellular phones were upgraded from analog phones to support voice-only digital calls, at the time considered high speed. The challenges with analog calls included; poor battery life, low quality phone calls, little security, and frequent dropped calls.
2G was first introduced around 1991 (at the speed of 50kbps to 1mbps) upgrading the mobile network to allow Short Messages Services (SMS) or text messages, picture messages, text encryptions, and data services. At this point, cellular networks moved from analog to full digital giving birth to the GSM networks.
3G was launched around 1988 (at the speed of 2mbps to 384kbps) allowing faster cellular phone activities including, video calling and mobile internet access on your cellular phones. This was the official birth of mobile broadband.
4G and 4G LTE or the fourth generation of mobile technology were born around 2008 (at the speed of 100mbps to 1gbps). By then, mobile devices provided improved mobile web access, gaming services, HD mobile TV, video conferencing, and 3D TV.
5G refers to the upcoming mobile technology which is expected to revolutionize the current standard. 5G promises to allow super-fast wireless speed connectivity at an average of 20 Mbps, allowing virtual reality and other features limited by today’s current mobile technology standard of 4G.
5G Key Advantages
Increased Bandwidth. – 5G promises to expand the amount of space available per user when using their mobile network, whether for fun; streaming a movie, uploading a YouTube video or for business; delivering a live presentation, downloading large files, or sharing databases online.
Speed. – User devices will no longer see their maximum speed be limited to the network bandwidth. As an example, downloading a 4gbs movie could take 10 minutes on a 4G network or less than 1 minute with 5G.
Mobile will Supersede Desktop. – 5G will open doors for mobile devices to handle higher processing speeds currently limited to the world of computers. More powerful mobile applications are expected to be created to facilitate traditional computer processing at the palm of your hands.
5G Key Disadvantages
Coverage. – 5G will require a major infrastructure investment from service provides to install more cell towers capable of producing the needed bandwidth for 5G. Users are expected to experience frequent coverage interruptions during the initial rollout of 5G, at least until enough towers are installed to cover bandwidth demands.
Legacy Devices not Compatible. – Old devices will not be compatible with 5G technology-forcing users to replace their existing devices if they want to use the updated technology.
Security. – Current 4G security challenges will intensify as s the number of users, data, and network bandwidth increases. Almost any smart device can be remotely operated over the internet. This situation creates a playground for cybercriminals.
The Internet of Things. (IoT)
Current mobile technology forces the network speed to be reduced based on the number of devices connected to the network. 5G looks to solve that challenge by expanding the space used to transmit data on an average 20 times greater than 4G. This means that whether you have a family or 5 each with 1 to 2 laptops, 5 smartphones, 5 tables, 5 smart TVs, 1 security camera, 1 smart refrigerator, 1 smart thermostat, etc. 5G promises to provide super-high-speed for all possible 28 devices in the household.
5G Technology for Business
We are expected to see improved business operations from communicating with consumers to storing and analyzing data. The data can help your business better understand infrastructure needs, consumer patterns, and provide improved and secure connections between a company’s network, infrastructure, and stored data.
According to a report by Huawei, 5G will support national energy transformation, increase automotive safety and efficiency, drive manufacturing transformation, improve the health industry, and open up new opportunities for telecom companies.
Let’s get ready for the digitally interconnected cities. The world as we know it, is about to change.
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