5G - What is It, and Can it Replace My Home and Office Internet?
At the dawn of mobile phone technology, there were 1G phones, which gave users the capability for low-quality voice calls transmitted over an analog wireless network. The G stands for generation, and the first generation of phones was prone to security issues and woeful battery life.
Subsequent generations of mobile phones (2G, 3G, and 4G) introduced more power and greater capabilities. The higher the number before the G means more power for extra bandwidth and higher efficiency.
3G technology arrived on the scene in 1998 and gave phones internet connectivity with speeds up to 384 Kbits/s downstream and 128BKbits/s upstream. The term "mobile broadband" was first applied to 3G enabled phones, which provided enough bandwidth for low-quality video calls and web browsing.
Improvements provided more features and faster speeds, with 3.5G and 3.75G adding incremental updates until the arrival of 4G, the current standard for smartphones.
A 4G device on the move can achieve speeds of 100Mbps, while a stationary device can reach 1Gbps, which is enough bandwidth for HD video streaming, video conferencing, and online gaming; but the best is yet to come.
5G is the up and coming new standard of mobile technology that promises to improve dramatically on the capabilities offered by 4G. With 5G, we will see theoretical speeds of up to 20GBps per second in ideal conditions. The technology is yet to be rolled out in Australia, but if these speeds are indeed possible, then a full-length 4K movie will be downloadable in less than a minute.
With 5G's high speeds, many experts are heralding 5G as the death knell for internet services delivered by cable, but whether this eventuates any time soon will depend upon many factors, such as price and availability.
New technology always takes a few years before it filters down into being accessible and affordable for the average consumer, with high-population urban centres getting first dibs, and only to those willing to pay a premium to gain access to new technologies.
It will be some years before 5G becomes mainstream, which gives plenty of time for providers to up their game. Most internet providers will also be unwilling to offer a cheaper alternative before being able to recoup the massive investments they have put into the NBN rollout.
However, with the average Australian home internet connection only capable of speeds below 50Mbps, only time will tell whether 5G becomes the defacto standard for home internet connections, with most experts agreeing that, in time, it's a very likely scenario. Until that happens though, check with your local Telco Adviser for professional advice and the best deals on personalised internet services.