The idea of ‘infinite capacity,’ where technology is no longer constrained by the physical limits of space and memory, was once an optimistic dream. It still is now, though the world is getting close to achieving such heights. Taking centre stage at the Mobile World Congress, an annual conference bringing everyone involved in the mobile industry, was the advent of 5G, the next phase in wireless mobile technology, following the previous standard 4G.
This new development in wireless broadband technology will see speeds of up to 10 gigabytes per second or Gbps, and also comes with improved signalling efficiency and latency reductions bettering that of LTE. It comes while 4G connectivity is still being provided in several countries, with broadband providers such as AT&T and Verizon announcing that they will be testing out prototypes with the new technology. South Korea hopes to have it available for the 2018 Winter Olympics. This illustrates the rapid pace of the technological developments along with its particularly strong demand.
The progression of the capabilities of wireless technology has taken place in a relatively short space of time. 3G, which emerged in the 2000s, allowed mobile devices to browse the web and supported information transfers at speeds of at least 200 kbit/s. This was a big step up from previous technologies which could provide such capacities. Yet it was improved further with the introduction of 4G in 2010. The improvements included enhanced mobile web access, as well as upgrades in speeds to support the streaming of high-definition mobile video and TV, as well as 3D television and cloud computing.
Fast-forward to 2016 and the next-generation of mobile connectivity is entertaining a host of new opportunities. One of those includes the rise of ‘the internet of things’ products, of which 5G will help to improve. Reductions in latency and faster information transfer speeds will help IOT products to work quicker and better. Everything from self-driving cars to electronic door locks can be instructed from mobile devices from miles away, at unprecedented speeds, with the capacity to send and receive gigabytes worth of information in seconds.
In addition, improvements in cloud-computing are also on the horizon with the arrival of 5G. Mobile devices will be able to upload and download files in a greater variety of sizes, and will not be constrained by slow speeds. Along with this, users will be able to keep of all their files up in the cloud, further eradicating the need for physical local storage space on their devices itself.
Video and music streaming services will also appreciate the benefits of 5G. Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, Netflix and other streaming services will look forward to being able to provide their services with faster speeds, and encourage more consumers to move to these kinds of subscription services.
5G, therefore, entertains a world of ‘wirelessness’; where internet and broadband users can enjoy the closest version to infinite capacity as possible. The change will be drastic. Though it may face competition from Wi-Fi connectivity, as more people use this to make phone calls and send texts, as well as access their apps, videos and music. Nevertheless, 5G will remain a significant technology which will allow for improvements to be made in IOT products, streaming services, cloud computing, and the whole economies. Thus, generation wireless is fast approaching.