That is 4G – the mobile networkthat’s used around the world to make calls, send messagesand surf the web. Now there are plans for 4G tobe replaced by, you guessed it, 5G – a new, faster network that hasthe potential to transform the internet. 5G is a software defined network – it meansthat while it won’t replace cables entirely it could replace the need for them bylargely operating on the cloud instead. This means it will have a100x better capacity than 4G – which will dramaticallyimprove internet speeds.
For example, to download a two-hour filmon 3G would take about 26 hours, on 4G you’d be waiting 6 minutes, and on 5G you’ll be ready to watch yourfilm in just over three and a half seconds. But it’s not just internet capacitythat will be upgraded. Response times willalso be much faster. The 4G network responds to our commandsin just under 50 milliseconds.
With 5G it will take around one millisecond -400 times faster than a blink of the eye. Smartphone users will enjoy amore streamlined experience but for a world that is increasingly dependanton the internet just to function, a reduction in time delay is critical. Self-driving cars, for example,require a continuous stream of data. The quicker that information is delivered to autonomousvehicles, the better and safer, they can run. For many analysts this isjust one example of how 5G could become the connectivetissue for the internet of things, an industry that’s set to grow threefold by 2025,linking and controlling not just robots, but also medical devices, industrialequipment and agriculture machinery.
5G will also provide a much more personalized webexperience using a technique called network slicing. It’s a way of creating separatewireless networks on the cloud, allowing users to createtheir own bespoke network. For instance, an online gamer needs fasterresponse times and greater data capacity than a user that just wantsto check their social media. Being able to personalize the internetwill also benefit businesses. At big events like Mobile World Congress forexample – there is a mass influx of people in one particular area usingdata-heavy applications.
But with 5G, organizers could pay foran increased slice of the network, boosting its internet capacity and thusimproving its visitors’ online experience. So when can we start using 5G? Well, not yet and according tosome analysts not until 2020. 5G was created years ago andhas been talked up ever since. Yet it’s estimated that even by 2025,the network will still lag behind both 4G and 3G in terms ofglobal mobile connections. Its mainstream existencefaces multiple hurdles. The most significant ofthese of course is cost. According to some experts, 5Gcould cause network operators to tear up their current businessmodels for it to make business sense. In the U.K.
for example, 3G and 4G networkswere relatively cheap to set up because they were able to roll out on existingfrequencies, on the country’s radio spectrum. For 5G to work properly however, it needsa frequency with much bigger bandwidth which would requirebrand new infrastructure. Some analysts believe that the extensivebuilding and running costs will force operators to share the use andmanagement of the mobile network.
This has been less of an obstacle for countries likeChina, who are taking a more coherent approach. The government, operators andlocal companies such as Huawei and ZTE are about to launch big 5G trialsthat would put them at the forefront of equipment productionfor the new technology. That may be at the expense of the West, wherethere is concern regarding Asia’s 5G progress. A leaked memo from the NationalSecurity Council to the White House called for a nationalized 5G network to keepthe U.S. ahead of their global competitors.
White House officials dismissed the idea,but some experts predict that by 2025 nearly half of all mobile connectionsin the U.S. will be 5G, a greater percentage thanany other country or region. It’s still likely however that much of the Westwill have a more gradual approach to 5G, driven by competition but witha patchy style of development.
For example, AT&T pledged to start rolling out5G later this year but in just a handful of cities. For key industrial zones however, it’s predictedthe technology will be adopted quickly, while for many in rural areas5G may be a long way off. But when 5G does establish itselfand fulfills its supposed potential, it could even change how we getthe internet at home and at work – with the wireless network replacing thecurrent system of phone lines and cables.
It may not happen overnight,but 5G is coming. Hi guys, thank you for watching. If you’d like to see more of ourtech videos then check out these. Otherwise comment below the video for anyfuture explainers you’d like us to make, and remember don’t forget to subscribe. Thanks for watching!