The Rise Of 5GThe rise of 5G has been a topic of much speculation and interest for the past few years, but it looks like it’s finally set to become a reality later in 2018. Ahead of this year’s CES, AT&T announced that they would introduce mobile 5G to a dozen select markets by the end of 2018. Verizon, meanwhile, is partnering with Samsung to introduce fixed 5G to a handful of cities in the second half of this year, beginning with Sacramento, CA. Other carriers, like Sprint and T-Mobile are making plans of their own, promising to bring 5G to mobile in 2019 and 2020. 5G wireless service has even been included as an infrastructure priority in a national security report published by The White House.It’s clear that 5G is a priority for many parties, including the U.S. government, and the service providers hoping to harness the technology to outpace the competition. Wondering what all the hype is about? Below we break down the promise of 5G and get into the implications the technology will have for the future of digital. What is 5G?5G is the fifth generation of cellular technology (the “G” in 3G, 4G, 5G, etc. stands for generation), following on the 4G standard that rolled out in 2011. A formal standard was established in December 2017 that laid out the specification for 5G. In short, 5G will outperform the current 4G and 4G LTE standards when it comes to download and upload speeds by up to 100 times. 5G will also reduce the latency problems (delays in processing data that lead to laggy connections) that exist in current networks. The result will be faster, more reliable mobile connectivity that powers the next wave of technological advances. What are the implications of the rise of 5G?Faster speeds are, of course, desirable in and of themselves, but 5G will have more meaningful and far-reaching implications for consumers and businesses than speed alone. Autonomous Cars & IoTThe rollout of 5G will allow autonomous cars to become more efficient, safer, and more enjoyable. 5G’s low latency will enable autonomous cars to remain in close and constant contact with other connected devices (ie; other autonomous cars, and smart city infrastructure such as traffic lights), not to mention the ability to stream endless entertainment wherever your vehicle takes you. In a more general sense, the increase in the number of connected devices that we’re currently experience puts a strain on existing 4G LTE networks. 5G will help make the IoT faster and more efficient because it allows for quicker transfer of the large volumes of data produced by so many connected devices. Because bogging down the network will no longer be a concern, it will be  possible to have more devices connected at once without sacrificing performance. Better overall performance will help drive even greater adoption of connected devices.Mobile InnovationFaster mobile internet will be a boon for mobile innovation. 5G will enable technological leaps in terms of what’s possible from a mobile perspective. This means higher quality augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences, as well as the advent of other hitherto unimagined mobile experiences which can’t be sufficiently supported by current 4G technology. Current smartphones can’t run on 5G, but as 5G service is gradually rolled out over the course of the next two years we can expect to see compatible devices begin to hit the market. In fact, ZTE has already announced that they plan to bring a 5G phone to market at the end of this year or early in 2019. 5G will also help alleviate strain on current 4G infrastructure, which won’t be able to support the weight of an increasingly mobile-connected world population forever. It will also make peak time connection issues a thing of the past, which means no more interrupted communication during busy times of day or at crowded events.  Home Internet Fixed 5G is predicted to see broader initial rollout than mobile 5G, which means home internet is the area where consumers will first be able to experience the benefits of 5G. Other than fast speeds and low latency, a major selling point of 5G is that it doesn’t necessitate massive investment in new infrastructure the way installing fiber optic cables does. 5G home internet will be truly wireless, connecting consumers to the internet via a router that receives signals wirelessly from their service provider. After years of speculation and much anticipation in the tech community, 5G is expected to begin making an appearance by the end of this year. Some of the implications of the rise of 5G, like benefits to autonomous cars, connected devices, and improved mobile experiences, are knowable. In the long term, however, 5G technology will help usher in a new era of digital innovation, powering many changes and ideas we can’t yet conceive of.


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