What is 5G and why is it a big deal?



What is the big deal with 5G?

5G networks will begin popping up in a number of cities this year, but experts warn of a significant improvement will not be seen for a number of more.

As third-generation wireless technology (3G) is a junior high school rock band, and 4G is a high school band harder and faster, AT&T’s chief technology officer Andre Fuetsch said 5G is an orchestra.

What is 5G?

Fuetsch described the fifth-generation technology as a “whole new network platform that is going to provide a much higher speed, as well as the much lower latency,” that is the reaction time between the time you click on a link and when the network responds. “5G will also serve many more different types of devices.”

Verizon spokesman Christopher McCann called it a “fat-pipe” by means of huge amounts of data from a variety of different platforms.

What is the big deal?

It is a technology that is so coveted, even as President Donald Trump stepped in to block Broadcom bid for Qualcomm, a company that will be the next generation of microchips.

Think 100 times faster than your normal mobile connection – the 5G.

Verizon is the introduction of 5G in up to five cities in 2018.


McCann told Fox News latency will be as low as a millisecond. To put this in perspective, the blink of an eye is between 300 and 400 milliseconds.


But the technology is more than the enabling of a faster connections; it is about new connections. 4G allowed the communication between in principle two types of devices: smartphones and tablets – according to Fuetsch. He added that 5G will connect many different types of devices that not necessarily make use of the network in the same way.”

Now, Fuetsch said a self-driving car generates a few terabytes of data per hour between the cameras and radar systems. In place of the processing of that massive amount of data only in the vehicle, 5G will offload much of the processing out of the car and put it in the network, allowing the autonomous vehicles to make it easier to make quick decisions and to “talk” with each other. It goes back to the McCann’s thick pipe analogy, the provision of more bandwidth.

Dr. Ian Akyildiz, Ken Byers Professor in Telecommunications at the Georgia Institute of Technology examined 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G. He said with 5G, “everything will be smart – smart traffic, smart cities, smart buildings, smart shopping malls.”

The Atlanta-based tech start-up Roadie expects to see a huge improvement in efficiency for the service: Connecting someone with a shipping request to a driver via an app. For example, by means of 5G-enabled traffic sensors, Roadie can determine “the most durable time and the quickest delivery method to something by [her] system,” says Roadie CEO Marc Gorlin.

In addition, Gorlin expects an improvement in the entire tech industry, especially for companies “where you have multiple people doing multiple things at the same time.” He said: “the more data, the pipes and the more sources of supply of input” will be increasingly important, because “at the end of the day, [they] have a faster service for the consumer.”

“Do you know where the place is? The handsets are not from here.”

– Dr. Ian Akyildiz, telecommunications expert

So, when can I use it?

All four major US carriers are working overdrive to roll out 5G. Verizon and AT&T announced implementations in a number of cities this year, although in different modes.


Verizon introduces fixed service in three to five cities, which will be in Sacramento, California. It starts with residential high-speed internet access, using radio signals instead of copper or fiber optic cables to provide Internet access in homes.

AT&T plans for mobile 5G to customers in a dozen cities, including parts of Atlanta, Dallas and Waco, Texas. The company told Fox News it will release 5G-compatible mobile devices this year, but not on smartphones.

For customers of T-Mobile, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Las Vegas will be the first of the 30 cities experienced 5G via smartphones, when the hand-held devices starting early next year.

Sprint unveiled six 5G-ready cities of Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Washington, D. C – the announcement of a plan to roll out its 5G network in the first half of the year 2019.

But experts warn not to expect significant change this year, as many Akyildiz called 2018 “pre-5G.”

Roadie CEO Marc Gorlin expects an improvement in the provision of services in the entire tech industry with 5G.

(Fox News)

“Do you know where the place is?” Akyildiz asked. “The devices are not here. All these mobile phones we do not have to deal with these goals … there is a desperate need for these devices.”

All four major US mobile networks to roll out 5G over the next year, but only a selected number of cities have been revealed.

(Fox News)

Even Verizon McCann acknowledged that 5G is an evolving process. But anyway, he says 2018 is great, because after years of talking about 5G, “it is the year it is actually real.”


Emilie Ikeda is a multimedia reporter based in Atlanta.

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