Despite the fact that 4G hasn’t been fully rolled out yet, people are already talking about 5G. But while plans are being made for the fifth generation of mobile broadband technology, 5G is a long way off yet.
When can we expect 5G?
Most experts seem to agree that we are about a decade away from the introduction of 5G. The technology required for 5G still has a long way to go, and if we as consumers want to see a significant difference between 4G and 5G, we will need to wait for that technology to advance.
What speeds can we expect from 5G?
4G users can currently experience speeds of around 8Mbps to 10Mbps. That can increase to 20Mbps under certain conditions.
However, mobile broadband speeds vary according a number of factors, such as how many users are on the network, how far away the user is from the tower, where the user is connecting (inside or outside, or if there are any obstacles or obstructions), and the weather.
4G is expected to allow speeds up to 100Mbps in the future, but again, that will depend on the technology the user uses to connect, the provider, and the aforementioned variables that can affect connection speeds. You can find out your current internet speed with iiNets online speed test.
5G speeds are expected to be much faster than those currently available from 4G. Recent 5G trials by Samsung in South Korea have revealed data transfer speeds of 1Gbps.
What else can we expect from 5G?
Considering the advances in mobile broadband technology over the past decade, it would be difficult to predict the advances we will see in the next decade.
However, some say smartphones will access their entire operating system via 5G connection from the cloud. Some point to the increased definition of video content, and the ability to stream 4K UltraHD and 8K HD content to devices.
Some point to the Internet of Things, where multiple devices connect to the internet. According to ABI Research, more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the Internet of Things by 2020.
One possibility of the Internet of Things could mean your fridge sends a message to your smartphone to tell you that you have run out of milk. It also means there will be a greater need for fast, reliable wireless internet.
While 5G may still be a long way off, 4G LTE Advanced may be available much sooner. As a step up from 4G LTE, 4G LTE-A is supposedly now being worked on by some providers, and it should mean better coverage, greater stability, and faster performance.
4G LTE-A is expected to use carrier aggregation, as well as having enhanced use of multi-antenna techniques (MIMO) and support for relay nodes.
Unlike 3G and 4G, which connect to the best signal available, carrier aggregation will allow 4G LTE-A to combine multiple signals, even on different frequencies.
MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) can transmit two (or more) different data streams on two (or more) different antennas, helping to increase data speeds.
Relay nodes are designed to enhance coverage and capacity for users, allowing for better, more reliable speeds, even for those further away from the tower.
To use 4G LTE-A, users will probably need a special chip in their smartphone or device. Interested? Providers in the US say the new technology will be available within the next year.