5G represents “5th generation”, the most recent generation of cellphone innovations. This is going to change the way people live and work. It’s faster and handles more connected devices than the existing 4G networks. Undoubtedly this is the future of technology which will enable self-driving, machine learning, artificial intelligence, automated network management and security, virtual reality, smart cities, smart homes as well as robots that operate in the network. The benefits of the new 5G technology are expected to speedup browsing, not just for consumers but also for businesses, infrastructure and defense applications.

5G uses radio frequencies (also known as spectrum) to carry information through the air and travels on really high-frequency radio waves. Greater frequencies have quicker speeds and also bigger transmission capacity. Therefore faster and more efficient transfer of data is possible. Everyone and everything is connected together virtually in a 5G network, including machine, objects and devices.

The first 5G service in the world was launched in the late 2018 by South Korea. By 2021, 600 million devices are expected to be being used with 5G technology. A recent study says as of February 2021, over 30% of the world’s countries have 5G. Some estimates forecast that by 2026, 5G subscriptions will reach 3.5 billion.

How does 5G work?

5G uses Multiple Input Multiple Output antennas (Known as MIMO) that have large numbers of antenna elements to send and receive more data simultaneously. This helps us to send and receive multiple data signals simultaneously over the same radio channel. Through this many people can simultaneously connect to the network and maintain more number of transactions.

5G is 20 times faster than a regular 4G network. For example downloading a high-definition film over a 4G network takes around 50 minutes whereas it can be downloaded within 10 minutes on 5G. Contrary to popular belief, even though 5G is faster than any other network, it does not consume more data than 4G or other generation of networks. It aids us with faster browsing without any interruption.

How can we use it?

A 5G enabled device is needed, in order to connect and get the benefits of it. Most of the leading mobile phone providers including Samsung, Motorola, Huawei, LG, OnePlus and Apple have already released their 5G enabled devices to the market. A 5G device along with a proper 5G plan and stable network connection will help us with get connected and utilize the benefits of 5G.

5G and Internet of Things (IoT)

4G was about voice, texting and faster data. And 5G is even faster, where you can download a full length High Definition movie in few minutes. But 5G is much more than faster downloads. The unique combination of high speed connectivity, low latency (high volume of data processed with minimal delay) and wide range of coverage will support smart vehicles and transport infrastructure. The interconnection avoids any interruption in smooth flow of traffic and unwanted mishaps.

According to studies, 5G is 20 times faster than any current LTE networks. The higher speed allows devices to communicate and share data faster than ever. Over the time, massive numbers of IoT devices are expected to be connected to 5G networks, providing support for ultra-reliable and low latency communications. As 5G provides unbeatable speed and low latency, it will be a whole lot easier to control health monitors, kitchen appliances, and climate control systems. In addition to that, the role played by IoT today is more likely to be played by 5G in the future.

Advantages of 5G

  • Increased Bandwidth for All Users

Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data transmitted over an internet connection in a given amount of time. Bandwidth is not the internet speed, it’s the volume of information that can be sent over a connection in a measured amount of time which is calculated in megabits per second (Mbps).

We all have memories of 3G technology, in which we watched the progress bar load the web pages. This would not happen again with 5G. With more bandwidth available, people will also be able to use this bandwidth to do more with their devices, making them more versatile than ever before.

  • Less tower obstruction

Under 4G LTE technology, towers tend to get jammed when many people uses the same tower for browsing. This may cause buffering and signal issues. . On 5G, this will no longer be problematic. This means when users browse internet based activities, there wouldn’t be any lags. With the availability of more bandwidth, people will also be able to use this bandwidth to do further with their mobile devices, formulating them more multipurpose than ever earlier.

  • Internet of Things

Even though many IoT devices are in use, they are limited by the current internet framework. 5G allows battery-powered devices to stay active and connected with fewer tune-ups and lets the user to stay active in remote, inconvenient, or hard-to-reach areas.

  • Smart cities and Industry 4.0 gives us more efficient, safer, productive work & lives. 5G-supported IoT is key to provide better infrastructure to monitor cities. It will also be used for smart automation in factories.
  • Self-driving cars

Companies like Google and Uber are planning to invest in self-driving cars now. A fully autonomous vehicle is not possible without a 5G network. 5G lets the smart vehicles to talk to other vehicles and sensors instantly, to find out the nearest fuel station or monitor the traffic. This is attainable due to the instantly responsive network and ubiquitous coverage.

Disadvantages of 5G

  • Many of the old devices would not be compatible with 5G, hence all of them need to be replaced with new one.
  • A higher cost is involved in developing the infrastructure for 5G.

The costs related to the development of 5G infrastructure or adaptations to existing cellular infrastructure will be high. This cost is likely to be borne by the customers.

  • Broadcast distance

One major drawback of 5G is that the frequency waves can only transfer to a short distance. For example, a 5G cellular network will not travel as far as 4G. Which means a building, trees, walls or other obstacles will block, disturb or grip the high-frequency signal. Some have projected that even rain could possibly be problematic for 5G networks. To come over this, the telecom industries are extending existing cell towers to increase the broadcast distance.

  • Battery drains quickly and heat generated from the device

Mobile phones operating on 5G will experience faster battery consumption. A superior battery technology will be required if you want your device to run for a whole day. It is also expected the device may generate heat due to the radiation from 5G.

  • Limitations of rural access

The 5G carriers are currently targeting big cities with larger populations. While 5G might bring about real connectivity for the urban areas, those living in the rural areas will not necessarily benefit from the connection. As we all know, many remote areas countrywide are not able to access any form of cellular connectivity.

  • Upload speed does not match download speeds.

The download speeds of 5G technology are incredibly high. However, the upload speeds are not as fast as downloads.