by Mike Vogel
Updated 2 months ago
The technology that enables connectivity on mobile devices is in its fourth generation — 4G. That technology made mobile internet speeds up to 500 times faster than the previous generation; it enabled fast internet browsing on phones and tablets and enabled those mobile devices to receive high-definition images and make high-def video calls.
Big telecom companies like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint are now beginning to roll out the next iteration of mobile technology — 5G — that promises even faster connectivity. Ultimately, consumers will experience less lag time, buffering and dropped connections and will have an easier time accessing video and gaming and using internet-connected devices.
The new technology will also help enable data-heavy technologies like smart traffic management, remote monitoring of patient health, precision agriculture, factory production, autonomous vehicles and augmented and virtual reality.
The Promise: More Data, Faster
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says 5G will make wireless networks 100 times faster and reduce the lag time — “latency” — between a device and a network response to less than a tenth of what it is today. What that means to consumers: 3 GB of the Fortnite game for iOS comes in 24 seconds rather than 14 minutes. Networks that today support 1,000 connected devices per square kilometer will be able to handle 1 million.
The Technology: ‘Small Cells’
A small-cell “node” is a connectivity point consisting of antennas and a cabinet attached to a buried fiber-optic cable. To implement 5G, thousands of antennas and “cabinets” will have to be installed on traditional utility poles, atop streetlights, atop freestanding poles and in some cases on the sides of buildings.
Read more in our May issue.
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