What is 5G and why do we need it?

mobile5G is the name currently being given to the next generation of mobile data connectivity that will come after the last drop has been wringed from 4G. It will provide unbelievably fast broadband speeds, but more importantly it will have enough capacity wherever you go to perform every function you want it to without a drop in speed or connection, no matter how many people are connected at the same time.

Indeed, EE’s principal network architect Professor Andy Sutton, believes that the aim of 5G is to become invisible. It should be a technology that’s “just there”, like electricity. It will enable device manufacturers to realise the Internet of Things as it will always be on and able to be tapped into without regionalisation.

Why do we need it? – One of the main benefits of 5G technology over 4G will not be its speed of delivery – which admittedly could be between 10Gbps and 100Gbps – but the latency. At present, 4G is capable of between 40ms and 60ms, which is low-latency but not enough to provide real-time response. Multiplayer gaming, for example, requires a lower latency than that to ensure that when you hit a button, the remote server responds instantly. Another example was given to us by EE’s Sutton, who said that 5G’s prospective ultra-low-latency could range between 1ms and 10ms. This would allow, he said, a spectator in a football stadium to watch a live stream of an alternative camera angle of the action that matches what is going on the pitch ahead with no perceivable delay.

The capacity is an important factor too. With the Internet of Things becoming more and more important over time, where gadgets and objects employ smart, connected features that they have never had before, the strain on bandwidth will continue to grow. Initial ideas behind 5G is that an infrastructure will be in place to avoid that. It will be more adaptive to user’s needs and demands and therefore able to allocate more or less bandwidth based on the application. Edited from What is 5G, when is it coming and why do we need it?

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