What is 5G technology and how it will benefit us

It was not too long ago when Pakistan first got 3G and 4G networks after missing out on the technology for a very long period of time and soon afterward, everyone started talking about the next big thing in the tech world, 5G technology.

Nowadays, we have been hearing about things like the 5G battle between Huawei and the US, countries in the middle of conducting trials for testing the upcoming network, the talk about 5G equipment and infrastructure, etc. and many people have started to question whether 5G is really that big of a deal.

Recently, PTA has also issued framework for testing and development of 5G in Pakistan and if you are not sure what to expect from the upcoming 5G technology, let us help you in breaking down what it actually is, how it will work and what benefits we will be provided through this revolution.

What is 5G technology

Describing it in easy words, 5G is the next fifth generation of cellular connectivity which will either replace or supplement the current 4G LTE network to provide faster download and upload speed, a much more stable connection and wider coverage across the globe.

Interestingly, the “G” here represents that it is a generation of wireless technology. The initial standards for the 5G technology were set at the end of 2017 and ever since the telecom companies are hard at work to make it a reality for their users.

In layman terms, the 5G technology is all about the radio spectrum which will enable three things:

  • Transmission of gigabytes of data in the shortest time (think about downloading/uploading 2GB of data in seconds)
  • Far more devices (phones, sensors, and smart devices) will be able to connect at simultaneously
  • Lower latency (the time it takes for a device to communicate with other wireless networks) as 3G networks’ typical response time was 100 milliseconds, 4G took around 30 milliseconds and 5G is expected to take as low as 1 millisecond of time.

How will it work?

Now that you have a grasp on what is 5G all about, let’s break down how the technology will work. 5G, similar to our 4G network will use the network of cell sites or towers to send encoded data through radio waves. These sites will divide a region into different sectors and will be connected to the 5G  network through either wired or wireless backhaul connection.

How will 5G technology benefit us

The MIT Technology Review describes that 5G technology will bring “technological paradigm shift similar to the jump from the typewriter to the computer.” So basically, mankind will be entering a new world of connectivity with processing power which is expected to be 100 times faster than 4G (at its theoretical maximum speed).

As we explained before, 5G will allow users to download movies and stream movies much quickly but that are not its only merits. The technology will give birth to an intelligent eco-system of smart devices which will gather massive amounts of user data to change the way we live individually and in society.

In other words, with 5G, everything that you can imagine is possible.

All the emerging technologies of today like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), extended reality and blockchain, etc. will look towards 5G to create new uses for the people.

Let us explain some of the benefits with examples:

Extended Reality; Augmented & Virtual Reality

Both the increased speed and connectivity coupled with lower latency will create a major impact on the extended reality including virtual and augmented reality.

For instance, the Smart Glasses which due to connectivity problems cannot be utilized to their maximum capacity for individual or industrial use. Just imagine the technology being freed from its shackles with 5G internet.

Features like AR measurement which recently showed up in the Huawei smartphone can be introduced in the Smart Glasses and we can measure anything just by looking at an object.

Microsoft has been working on “holoportation,” a phenomenon we Star Wars fans know very well where a person can talk to a full-sized 3D hologram. The researchers are hard at study to explore this technology with its HoloLens AR headset which thanks to 5G can become a reality for communications.

Autonomous Cars

Many car and tech companies are working to perfect and explore self-driving cars and 5G technology with the ability to send and receive gigabytes of information from sensors and other smart vehicles or devices can make the autonomous vehicle a staple.

Hundreds of onboard sensors will help to drive the car safely, making drivers into passengers in their own cars.

Rural Areas

not just developed cities, the rural areas will also see a revolution with the emergence of 5G. Already, the 5G Rural First project is researching new developments in agritech (agricultural technology).

In the future, you will see autonomous tractors that can work in the field without a human and drones that will be able to provide high-definition images to help us better see the crops, soil, and weed.

The dairy farmers will be able to use sensors fitted into the collars of cows to check their health, fertility, etc. They may even be able to sense the mood of the livestock and will help the autonomous milkers to know how much milk should it collect from a specific cow.

All these sensors will simultaneously transmit data to better analyze the overall information in the cloud for better management of the farms.

Smart Cities

The developed cities will be the first to experience a world where all devices talk to each other and in return make our lives a breezy experience.

The 5G technology will finally make the concept of the smart city a living reality as cameras and sensors will track the movement of people, traffic, the environment, utility networks like electricity, gas, etc. emergency services including police to create a better living environment.

In the hyper-connected world, the lights in the streets and in your house will save energy themselves and turn on and off when needed.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence will have a symbiotic relationship with 5G. It will help the technology to know its strengths and weaknesses via machine learning to help it evolve.

At the same time, AI will help learn information through millions of sensors and data streams to help people. For example, your autonomous car will share and receive information from different sensors and with the help of AI, the car itself will make decisions like taking a different route, stopping at a coffee shop every morning, etc.

The robots will be able to learn and be better with machine learning by constantly sharing and receiving data, a feat only possible through 5G.

Availability of 5G technology

A decade in the making and now 5G technology is within our grasp. It will roll-out for the masses in 2020. Carriers around the world have initiated 5G trials and the smartphone makers have started to launch 5G smartphones for the consumer market.

5G is not a buzzword anymore and the future of innovation depends on the successful rollout and implementation of this technology which has the power to truly revolutionize the world.

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