If you were around when mobile devices were first introduced, or better yet when the Internet itself as a concept was first introduced, you’ll be well aware of the fact that downloads used to be slow. But not just slow, so slow that it is not even comparable to the speeds of today. Small 40 megabyte files took 12 hours to download, something that is done in seconds today. So calling the improvement exponential is an understatement.
From 2G, to 3G, and now 4G, leaps and bounds were taken, allowing lightening fast wireless connectivity like never before. Images are loaded all but instantaneously, high definition videos can be played with no fear of buffering, and live games at online casinos can be streamed in real time, with no need for lengthily downloads. It’s a world that mobile users just a decade or two ago could only dream of.
But, as anyone who dabbles in mathematics will see, the next network evolution will be 5G, and murmurs are already being heard about this technology being on the horizon. Let the murmurs be verified; 5G is indeed inbound, due for establishment in Canada some time in 2019. This is a vague window to be sure, but such complicated upgrades are difficult to predict in advance.
Either way, 5G is incoming, and sure enough it will take wireless networks to the next level.
So What Exactly Is 5G?
You’ve probably heard 5G being spoken about, since it’s being plastered across every news outlet and marketing platform in the country. But anyone in their right mind at this point is probably asking the very obvious question; why should I be so interested in another G? There have been 4 before it, so what makes this one so special? Anyone looking for a quick explanation can find it here.
But, as vice-president of 5G spectrum and wireless networks at Telus, Bernard Bureau puts it, 5G is more than just another G. This is very obviously a buzz phrase he hopes will catch on, but also happens to be the truth. Although 5G will be, at its highest peak, 20 times faster than 4G LTE, it also comes with a host of other extremely interesting and important aspects. The short version is that 5G is laying the groundwork for future technology, making possible giant leaps like self driving vehicles, smart cities and true smart homes.
Plus, if it wasn’t already clear, Canada hopes to lead the way for the world in this regard.
A New Technology Evolution
A key aspect of 5G will be the incredibly low latency, which, for those not up on their jargon, is the time it takes for wireless information to make a round trip. The latency of 5G will be a great deal faster than anything previously seen, meaning that tech like drones and self-driving cars will be reliable.
The potential of this is endless, opening gateways for advancement that has net yet even been conceived. To put it simply; 5G is laying the groundwork for a future that has not yet even been imagined. It is the first step in what will be a truly remarkable and interesting future.
When Is It Due?
As with all previous technology integrations of this kind, it won’t be happening all at once. 5G is based on millimetre wave spectrum, otherwise known as mmWave. This is a frequency that is notably high, allowing for lightening fast data transfer rates, but coming with one serious drawback. It has disappointingly short range. So, in order for 5G to be possible, mmWave antennas need to be installed.
This will be no small task, and require an enormous amount of work across a vast area. Hence this impressive new mobile network technology will happen in increments, with the focus first being on the most densely populated metro areas, and expanding outwards. Word has it that Toronto and downtown Vancouver will be the first to get a taste of the wireless evolution, with other areas soon to follow.
So although it will be some time before most are able to take advantage, the future is incoming, and promises to revolutionise not just the way we use mobile phones, but the way we live our lives on multiple levels.