If we have to pinpoint a technology buzzword for 2020 it’ll be 5G. It’s not even a word but we bet you’ve heard it or read it plenty of times in the past few months. For those of you who still wonder what 5G is, here’s a tidy description. 5G is the next generation technology standard for cellular networks, to follow after 4G and 3G. There’s also a nice 5G vs 4G comparison that highlights the differences between the old and the new standard. We can talk about frequencies and wavelengths all day, but the most important thing is that 5G will really change our world in various ways. Without getting too technical, we’ll show you the 7 ways 5G will change the world. Let’s get to it!
7 ways 5G will change the world, summary:
As vague as this phrase may sound, you’ve probably seen countless examples of it in sci-fi movies. 5G will make possible tiny (or big) gadgets in your home and your city to be connected to each other. Your fridge will “talk” to your smart assistant, ordering things, your thermostat will connect to your shades, telling them to rise and let some sunshine in, traffic lights and road signs will warn drivers directly on their car’s dashboard and so on. Maybe you need to wake up fast? Your smartwatch will wake you up, then notify your coffee machine and in a minute you’ll be sipping the black fuel, up and running. Sounds good, right?
There are literally hundreds of applications for the 5G connectivity in the Internet of Things. That’s because 5G can handle significantly more simultaneously connected devices than 4G and remain stable. We’re talking about millions here. While 4G can handle around 2000 connected devices per .38 square miles, 5G can deal with one million! Talking about smart cities and the Internet of things leads us to the next revolution in transportation – driverless cars.
Self-driving cars are another science-fiction promise that slowly comes to fulfillment. To operate fully autonomously though, these cars need 5G. Driverless cars require very fast response times and here the low-latency of 5G comes to play. When traveling at high speed, autonomous cars have to make really fast decisions, communicate with the cloud, and synchronize with other connected elements in the city.
The big guys know this and giants like Tesla, Google, Uber, and Apple are working hard to implement 5G in their tech. As a result, we won’t have to wait for years to see 5G adoption and these self-driving cars of the future will truly become a tech of the present.
Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality
Virtual reality was all the hype a couple of years ago, but the technology faces some tough challenges. AR/VR sets are big and bulky but the real problem is that they need to be tethered to powerful hardware. AR/VR applications require lots of bandwidth and high resolution to make the virtual world appear real. 5G will help AR/VR cut the cord and be finally free.
Furthermore, the low latency of 5G will make AR/VR games really enjoyable and maybe a lot less daze-inducing. If we take a look beyond gaming, 5G will allow people to create real-time interactions across the globe. You can apply this in business scenarios as well. Instead of traveling thousands of miles, employees will be able to attend virtual meetings.
We’re not going to summon the COVID-19 shadow for this one. Truth is, even without all the lockdowns, streaming services are on the rise and have been in the past few years. And while your 4K TV set can probably manage just fine on a LAN or WiFi connection, other devices don’t always have that luxury.
The resolution is also getting higher and higher. We now take 4K as something normal and 8K is slowly grabbing all the headlines. 5G is ideal for streaming movies in high resolution to smartphones and tablets. So, sit tight and wait for Netflix to start streaming 8K movies to your 8K tablet. It might not be as far-fetched as it seems.
There are plenty of things wrong with mobile gaming, but 5G can really transform that market as well. Almost all mobile games nowadays require an internet connection and 4G latencies just don’t allow competitive play in many genres. The average 4G LTE latency is somewhere around 70 milliseconds, while 5G can theoretically bring it to 1ms. This means that you will be able to play fast-paced games like online shooters or racers on your phone without any lag.
If we look at cloud gaming platforms like Google Stadia or Microsoft xCloud, they’ll benefit from 5G even more. The low latency will enable phones and tablets to connect to the game servers and run AAA game titles at high resolution without hiccups.
This one is obvious. 5G offers 20% faster download speeds than 4G. That little download progress bar won’t go away, of course, but you’ll definitely see it for shorter periods of time. In some countries, the 5G download speed is faster than WiFi, which means that sooner or later high-speed broadband internet will become accessible everywhere at all times.
Last but not least, 5G will have multiple impacts on healthcare and medicine. It will allow hospitals to streamline their internal communication systems. Furthermore, various medical equipment like sensors, screening machines, and diagnostic tools will benefit from the fast and reliable 5G network. Remote surgical operations will also become possible with 5G connected remotely operated surgical robots.