What needs to happen for 5G to be a reality?

January 19, 2018 // By Richard Edgar
Today, we rely on networks to ensure all our devices and gadgets are connected all the time, enabling us to do all the things we want to do–send emails, read online, chat to friends, stream videos and so much more.

As this becomes ever further entrenched in our lifestyles it becomes increasingly important–no one wants to experience delays; they simply want their email to be sent, their message received and their favourite TV show to start streaming immediately. Whilst 4G has served us well, that doesn’t stop us looking to the future – hello 5G!

Some may question why we need 5G when 4G is sufficient for most current requirements. However, 5G will provide even faster data speeds, and more importantly, it will, over time, offer enough capacity for users to perform every function they want without loss of connection or drop in speed, no matter how many people are connected at the same time. Indeed 5G could even provide ‘always on’ connectivity.

Furthermore, when it comes to latency and increasing user demand and expectation, 4G simply won’t be able to keep up for much longer. 5G’s proposed ultra-low-latency could be as low as between 1ms and 10ms, compared to 4G’s 40ms to 60ms. It would have the ability to provide the real-time responses users are starting to crave. For example, it would enable a sports spectator at a stadium to watch a live stream of an alternative camera angle of the same game, with no delay.

So what needs to happen for 5G to become a reality?

The initial standard for 5G has just been approved and further iterations will be finalised by 2020.  Business applications based on 5G will appear very shortly and it’s fair to assume that we will then start to see consumer access a couple of years later. Analyst house Ovum suggests there will be 24 million 5G subscribers by 2021.

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